Sony A65 Review

November 1, 2011 | Mark Goldstein | |

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#1 Emopunk

What a great camera, and for what a price!! Biggest bargain of the moment. Definitively.

10:40 am - Wednesday, November 2, 2011

#2 Alan Chin

So far, this camera performed good in hand on experiences from myself. But the major problem, is the slightly poor focusing speed and accuracy, as well as the noise control during high ISO, much more considered not-acceptable. For Sony fanatics, it’s cool when using on daylight or medium available light. The color much more too yellowish even after the White Balance setting and perhaps need more adjustment during dark indoor. Just 2 cent ... =)

2:51 pm - Wednesday, November 2, 2011

#3 CHFels

Looks like a nice camera for the money, feature-wise.  But I can’t agree that the high pixel count has not hurt IQ.  The JPEG engine has to work hard starting at 400 to cover up noise, and that means detail loss and smearing on things that are the least bit challenging.  The book-spines are just about the easiest thing imaginable for the JPEG engine to clean up without harming detail; I don’t know why the author uses it for his ISO ladder on the IQ page.  But look at the cigars in the wood box at ISO 1600 on the sample gallery page:  many details are obliterated that would have been preserved on a Nikon or Canon at the same price.

One thing puzzling me is:  Why 24 megapixels?  Not many people need 6000x4000 pixel images; and those that do, will not like the smearing and detail loss this Sony (and the A77) gives above 800ISO.  An improved 16mp sensor would have made much more sense. 

And a final question:  if you must have 24mp, why try to pack them into jpegs of only 5mb?  Surely some of that IQ loss is due to the severe JPEG compression, not just the noise supression.

4:40 pm - Wednesday, November 2, 2011

#4 Vladimir

I switched to A65 from A55 and must admit that along with a lot of new and excellent features that it has (fantastic viewfinder, better grip, etc.) it has NOISIER high ISO pictures than A55, starting from ISO 1600. It is not vital for me as I rarely use ISO higher than 1600 but it’s a fact. IMHO it is due to new high pixel count. In real life I prefer bigger size and 6000 by 4000 is a lot more useful for cropping or downsizing.

6:44 pm - Wednesday, November 2, 2011

#5 Jo

Great camera, great review. Thanks a lot!

8:13 pm - Wednesday, November 2, 2011

#6 dj

Nice camera /nice price! -keep the iso below 800 and its amazing!—would be a great landscape camera. High ISO is not its strong point though, Surprisingly the little Panasonic G3 seems to have less noise at 1600 iso. But never the less : well done Sony

6:09 am - Thursday, November 3, 2011

#7 Thomas

You fail to mention that the A65 lacks AF-adjustment.

6:20 am - Thursday, November 3, 2011

#8 Lynx

I really think my canon Eos 1100d/T3 can actually produce slightly better quality images.

9:33 am - Thursday, November 3, 2011

#9 Rob

Good review, but in this review along with all the others it fails to highlight the difference the EVF does to the shooting experience. You see what the sensor does, that’s any change in white balance,DOF, exposure compensation even photo effects. This ability is light years ahead of an OVF and mark my words the other players will go there too.
Once you use this system, there’s no going back. It gives too much power to the photographer. As it should be too. Excellent Sony.

6:42 am - Friday, November 4, 2011

#10 Burkhard

I would have bought an A65 but without a dedicated battery/vertical grip, it is not an option for me as I need to be able to have a firm grip on the body. Neither is the A77 which has one. It is just too pricey given that I will not use half of the features that set it apart from the A65. I have a modest A200 body but some very long and expensive lenses (Sigma 4.5 500mm EX and 5.6 800mm EX; waiting for the 2.8 120-300mm EX in Sony mount) for wildlife photography. I prefer to spend my money on lenses not bodies. I will stick with my A200 for now (I sold the A700 I had!). It has remarkable image resolution for a 10MP sensor camera and, unlike the A700, noise is negligible up to ISO 800 (I never go higher). So, sorry Sony, I will postpone upgrading until your next offering (A99?).

1:45 pm - Friday, November 4, 2011

#11 Larry

I have an a55 and considering upgrading to the a65. The first reason is the size. I don’t have very big hands and the 55 leaves my pinky out. Fine for a cocktail party but not gripping a camera with a $2k lens. Also my small range zooms leave the camera, lens heavy and a bit awkward. The 65 is better balanced. I love my 55 but I am concerned about low light performance and the buffer with continuous shooting. I am shooting indoor arena cheer/gymnastics where I need that 1600-3200 (sometimes higher) The quality of the a55 shots just blow away my previous super zoom. The other is shooting my son’s golf swing. If I can only get 17 images, I’d have to give up the beginning and end of his swing. 10 fps has been a great training tool for him.

Given my circumstances, can someone tell me if the 65 will be a solid choice or leave me disappointed?

Thank you

3:01 am - Wednesday, November 16, 2011

#12 Ken

I am wondering if the low light and noise at a high ISO is something a potential firmware update would be able to resolve?  Thoughts?

9:23 pm - Friday, November 18, 2011

#13 John

I’ve just bought a Sony A65, great camera through out.
I don’t see an issue having “noise” over ISO 800, because 99% of the times in general who needs it? in this type of camera is not for professionals, then why analyzing this camera as such?
Sony you did a wonderful job keep up as always in most of equipment that the company does.


2:52 pm - Wednesday, December 7, 2011

#14 Eri N

I’ve Just bought this camera, it is a great camera, it has a lot of features n specifications compare to its rivals which only have higher price

11:54 pm - Saturday, January 14, 2012



6:52 pm - Tuesday, January 24, 2012

#16 Reo

Cheers for the great review, which helped solidify my decision to get the ?65. It really was a toss-up between that and the ?77, but I went with the ?65 because of its compact body and price point. The few extra features that the ?77 offered was not worth the extra mark up, for me.

Another big reason I went with the ?65 is because of the superb quality and features of its video recording. I don’t recommend the kit lens that comes with this camera (at least for video recording) because the noise from the lens motor when it auto focuses will be clearly picked up by the on-board mic. But couple it with Sony’s SAL 1650 16-50mm f/2.8 SSM DT, and you have a fast and silent first class lens that’s capable of recording near professional-grade videos.

The only drawbacks of the ?65 for me is the often-mentioned relatively high noise above ISO 800. It isn’t a deal-breaker obviously since I’ve already bought the camera, but I don’t think it’s wrong to have expected better from such an otherwise great piece of machine. Also, Sony made a mistake by putting the hinge of the swiveling LCD on the bottom of the camera because it literally becomes useless on a tripod. The only way to check composition of a scene with the photographer in it is to hold the camera by hand.

Otherwise, a big thumbs up to Sony for challenging Nikon and Canon with the Alpha line of cameras. I’m sure Sony will be top player in the camera field in no time if they keep this kind of quality up.

7:01 am - Thursday, February 2, 2012

#17 Scott

This is to the author.  You mentioned in your conclusion that the a65 cannot pan with its subject.  Why is that?  Thanks.

9:40 pm - Monday, February 13, 2012

#18 sorin

Sony a 65 amazing mid level camera.Only high ISO noise over 1600.

1:51 pm - Saturday, March 3, 2012

#19 joshua

I chose this camera after using(not trying, but having owned)the pentax k5 and a580. The bells and whistles are acrually useful. i do not know why some people seem to think 24 mp is too much. while iso performance may in theory suffer, the overall iq is fantastic. dont get lost in the MP count we say, but thats with regards to maybe a couple. most of the competition is on 16mp. A difference of 9 is not a marketing ploy alone. it is massive. and useful.

7:17 pm - Wednesday, April 18, 2012

#20 m2o361

Perfect camera for me since im a begginer. I bought this A65 here in japan, my only disappointment… Billingual menual. Design are very good compare to cannon& nikon

8:47 am - Saturday, April 28, 2012

#21 Sam

Really good camera overall. The 10fps is beautiful!
Really good for still photography and video, however with video a major disadvantage is no AF if you wish to choose your own shutter speeds, iso, aperture. Another big problem is you are either stuck with NTSC or PAL. So if you are in Australia (like me) you cant get 24p on them. You are much better off going with a 550/600D (Rebel T2i/T3i) which is the same price and its direct competitor and i dunno why feels much better to hold.
However still photography wise, the a65 I think is one of the best in the market atm.

4:15 pm - Saturday, April 28, 2012

#22 sorin

I like this camera and I testet in dificult conditions with dust.It works well.The EVF is better than I expected.With good quality lenses it has the best resolution for a FX camera.Also HDR function with 6 steps is great in light and shade conditions like tunnels,when you take photo from interior through a window with good exposure for inside and outside,multiframe NR is very important in low light conditions.For an amator it is a good option also for steady shot inside. It has Auto Exposure also for manual lenses.

11:13 pm - Monday, May 14, 2012

#23 Dean

WHile I really like the Sony A-65 and A-77, can somebody (fomr Sony or otherwise) tell me why the opint and shoots (i.e. Sony HX100V) allows you to shoot at iso 100,125, 160, 250, 320, 500, 640, 800 etc while the D-SLT only allow 100, 200, 400 & 800. I find this awefully limiting! Any comments would be appreciated.

1:03 am - Friday, August 3, 2012

#24 sorin

I have sony A 65 and my wife sony HX 100V and I can say there are no limitations with this iso settings. I think the compact sony HX 100V is a good option for beginner,it performs good IQ and HD videos,with a great zoom lens.Amazing mid level SLT is A65 and high level A77.The option 10fps or 12fps is great for wildlife.Correct exposure makes the difference between a noisy or not so noisy photo. Try night shoot 5 s, f2,8 iso 16000 vs 5s f2,8 iso 1600. Cheap good lenses are sony 1650 f2,8 and 35 f1,8 also manual samyang lenses.

7:33 pm - Monday, August 6, 2012

#25 Steven

I know that this is basically a dead thread, but we have an A65 and I wanted to emphasize that this SLT along with a few other Sony SLTs do what no other entry level or mid range DSLRs that I am aware of can do.  Despite the narrow depth of field inherent with a camera with an APS-C sensor that literally has nearly 12x more surface area than the 1/3” CMOS in my Sony HC3 HD camcorder and 28x more surface area than the 1/4.58” CMOS in my Canon R300 HD camcorder… in most conditions it manages to make auto focus corrections on a moving subject so quickly and accurately that it is not noticeable afterwards.  The A65 manages to keep focus nearly as well as both of my consumer HD camcorders.

That may not sound like that great of an accomplishment but it really is.  Even the Canon T4i, the Nikon 3200 or even the Nikon 5200, all lauded in reviews for their live view video focusing abilities are nowhere near as good at keeping focus on a moving subject as our A65… while taking video.  The results can be distracting for your viewers.

So why not just use an HD camcorder?  All of the cameras mentioned do beautiful video which is superior to a consumer HD camcorder especially in low light.  They also have that narrow depth of field that looks like it came from a professional production company.  The A65 can also record in full 1080P at 60 frames per second, which is also quite amazing.  And unlike the other DSLRs mentioned it can go up to 29 minutes continuously in 1080.  The others are limited to shorter times.  For some types of events this is not that important, but for a lot of others it really is.

1:46 am - Wednesday, April 3, 2013

#26 Johnfalky

Very nice camera. Bought it because I got tired of the mirror noise in my other cameras. Got some older Minolta lenses that work well on this camera. The big display gives you compositional power like a medium format film camera. With this display the battery demands are high. The battery life is correspondingly shorter. A second battery is not a luxury but a practical must have. The battery powered remote control is also recommended.

7:04 pm - Monday, June 17, 2013

#27 sorin

In 2014 SLT become mirrorless.This model fabrication will stop.Also ISO performance will be better.In 2014 we can have Sony top performer A mount cameras with APS C and full frame sensor.This is an sony alpha rumour.

6:37 pm - Wednesday, June 19, 2013

#28 Dave

I love the quality I’m getting having gone to the A65 from a Maxxum 6mp. However, the EVF has been troublesome in bright sunlight. I can’t see a thing through it in bright sunlight. Just wondering if anyone else has had this problem.

2:31 am - Monday, October 28, 2013

#29 Steven

Hi Dave, You are talking about the EVF and not the LCD correct?  The only time I have noticed any difficulty seeing throught the EVF in bright conditions is when I am in a manual mode before I have adjusted the settings from those that I had been using in dim light.  To me it sounds like there must be something wrong either with the camera or the way you are using it.

2:51 pm - Monday, October 28, 2013

#30 Chip T,

I found the inverted hydro drive system to be completely unsuitable from a compatibilty standpoint, much akin to the relaxed sub frequency channeling program included in higher end military DSLY optic systems.  If software engineers could only multiplex the ratifiers, then I believe the final production quality would be much less divisive. Probably, a radar transducing fixed point beacon indicator was developed but left on the drawing board with a half eaten box of cookies!  On a brighter note, when this camera is used trans dimensionally, it delivers a hyper superior image only if semi quasi-manipulated through all 9 existing and proposed dimensions, including vertical mind matter/quantum intraference lapsed based bias development.  Great job to Sony on a well thought out matrix of individual circuit blocking and inter connection, and if they can begin to phase in conventional retro-module specific dual time pre-sequencers, I think this camera will eventually take really pretty pictures.

6:37 pm - Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Entry Tags

hd video, review, hd, 3 inch LCD, 1080p, hdmi, sony, DSLR, tilting, 10fps, 24 megapixel, EVF, alpha, slt, slt-a65, a65, Sony A65

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