Sony Alpha a65 review

High-end features in an SLT for a lower-end price

Sony Alpha a65 review
The Sony A65 offers much of the same spec as the A77, at a lower price

Why you can trust TechRadar We spend hours testing every product or service we review, so you can be sure you’re buying the best. Find out more about how we test.

Sony alpha a65 review

Currently, Sony's online shop price for the A65 stands at £789 (body only) or £869 (with 18-55mm lens). This places the A65 in the same arena as mid-entry-level DSLRs like the Canon EOS 600D and Nikon D5100 – albeit at a higher price-point that's justified by its raft of high-end features.

In essence, the A65 attracts largely the same points of praise and criticism as the more expensive A77, due to the fact that it shares much of the same technology underneath its unassuming plastic outer shell. For a lower price, you don't miss out on that many features, so if you're not bothered about having a weather-sealed camera body, top LCD panel, marginally faster continuous burst mode or more sophisticated AF system than the (still very good) one that the A65 offers, then it makes perfect sense to save some cash and plump for the A65.

What you do still get for your money is Sony's astounding new XGA OLED Tru-Finder EVF, which offers the highest resolution and subsequent level of clarity we've seen to date, and is a shining example of the sort of advancements in camera design that the manufacturer's SLT technology affords. The A65's 24.3mp sensor also presents the highest resolution for any camera in its class, really coming into its own when you switch to shooting raw files in particular. JPEGs are still very good, but there is a more evident shortfall between the A65's ability to control noise compared to the competition if you stick with this image format setting.

In many other respects – namely its AF speed, the size of its viewfinder, Full HD movie mode and overall level of responsiveness – the A65 is a class-leader, matching and sometimes even exceeding the specifications belonging to some of its closest rivals.

We liked

The SLT-A65's comprehensive range of high-end features borrowed from its big brother – the A77 – all add enormous appeal to this camera when comparing it to the competition. Its EVF – although not quite able to knock the traditional optical viewfinder off its pedestal – is superb; the camera handles very well and is capable of producing very detailed, high quality images.

We disliked

The occasionally sluggish performance when navigating some of the menus takes a bit of the shine off the A65's otherwise speedy performance, as does the incorporation of only one control dial (if you work in manual mode a lot). The loss of the live view feed when using the A65's high-speed burst mode is also a little disappointing.

Final verdict

The Alpha 65 is very well-specified in comparison to its rivals, matching or exceeding the competition's feature-sets in many respects. It's pricier, but we feel the impressive stack of high-end features that this camera has to offer more than outweigh its cost.