Inspecting images at full magnification shows some issues with the A65's rendering of JPEGs, with a distinct lack of detail and sharpness, and a fair amount of noise even at low ISO ratings. We can't help but feel that a slight reduction in the megapixel rating would have gone far in alleviating many of these issues. Naturally, shooting in RAW does give a lot more detail to play with, though images even at lower ISO ratings still have a great deal of noise.
A 100 per cent crop (inset) of a photo from the A65.
There's no doubt that the A65 is fast in general shooting metrics. But, it's a little slow in other areas that matter in everyday shooting situations. There's a slight lag in reviewing images, navigating through menus and it did freeze while starting up on one occasion, which required a hard reset by removing the battery. We hope these are issues that can be addressed in a firmware update.
A comparison between the RAW and JPEG files that the A65 produces, with 100 per cent crop inset. As you can see the RAW image at 100 per cent shows more detail but there's also more noise present. This image was taken at ISO 250.
Video quality is very good, with accurate colours and exposure on automatic settings. Audio quality from the built-in microphone is decent though it is possible to hear the slight sounds of the lens continuously focusing in a quiet environment. To offset this, you can easily use an external mic.
Exposure: 1/160, f/4.5, ISO 1600
Exposure: 1/50, f/5.6, ISO 1600
Exposure: 1/160, f/8, ISO 100
Exposure: 1/500, f/8, ISO 100
While most people definitely don't need a 24-megapixel camera, the Sony A65 has a range of other features that will attract photographers in droves. Bear in mind that for all the features you get, the A65 doesn't offer a flawless shooting experience. There's intermittent lag issues, and images taken with the kit 18-55mm lens aren't as sharp and detailed as those from its main competitors.
The A65 is available for AU$1299 as body only, AU$1399 for a single lens kit with the 18-55mm, or AU$1599 with the 18-55mm and 55-200mm lens.