Sony A65 Review

 
Camera Reviews / Sony Cameras / Sony Alpha i Initial Test

Sony A65 Performance


Note: The following performance data was obtained from a production unit running v1.03 firmware.


Timing and Performance

Excellent autofocus and burst speeds, but sluggish power-on, power-off, mode switching and buffer clearing.

Startup/Shutdown

Power on
to first shot

~2.8 seconds

Time it takes to turn on and capture a shot.

Shutdown

~6.0 seconds

How long it takes camera to turn off before you can remove the memory card.

Buffer clearing time
12 seconds after 18 large/fine JPEGs*
Worst case buffer clearing time. -- This is the delay after a set of shots before you can remove the card.
20 seconds after 14 RAW files*
26 seconds after 13 RAW+ L/F JPEG files*
*Note: Buffer clearing times measured with a SanDisk Extreme Pro 45MB/sec UHS-I SDHC card. Slower cards will produce correspondingly slower clearing times. Slow cards may also limit length of bursts in continuous mode. ISO sensitivity and noise reduction settings can also affect cycle times and burst mode performance.

Startup and shutdown times were much slower than typical SLRs, and buffer clearing times were slow especially with RAW files.


Mode Switching

Play to Record,
first shot

~1.2 seconds

Time until first shot is captured.

Record to Play

~1.8 seconds

Time to display a large/fine JPEG file immediately after capture.

Display
recorded image

~0.6 second

Time to display a large/fine JPEG file already on the memory card.

Mode switching performance was sluggish, though displaying a previously captured image was reasonably fast.


Shutter Response (Lag Time)

Full Autofocus
Single Area (center) AF

0.138 second

Time from fully pressing shutter button to image capture. (All timing measurements made with a Sigma 70mm f/2.8 lens)

Full Autofocus
Wide Area AF

0.130 second

Time from fully pressing shutter button to image capture.

Full Autofocus,
Single-area AF mode
Auto Flash Enabled
0.285 second

Time from fully pressing shutter button to image capture, with the lens already at the proper focal distance setting, Auto flash enabled.

Continuous AF
0.132 second
This mode usually shows no speed increase with our static subject; we have no way to measure performance with moving subjects.
Manual focus
0.081 second
For most cameras, shutter lag is less in manual focus than autofocus, but usually not as fast as when the camera is "pre-focused."

Pre-focused

0.054 second

Time to capture, after half-pressing and holding shutter button. (Electronic first curtain shutter enabled.)

Looking at the Sony A65's ability to determine that it's properly focused when shooting the same target multiple times, its autofocus speed is very good. The SLT-A65 required only 0.138 second for full AF using the center focus point. This decreased slightly to 0.130 second in wide-area AF mode. With the flash enabled, the A65's full AF shutter lag increased to 0.285s, to account for the preflash metering, which is still pretty fast.

Continuous autofocus mode lag time was 0.132 second, and manual focus was fast at about 0.081 second. When prefocused, shutter lag was 0.054 second which is very good for an enthusiast model. These timing results were obtained with the Sony A65's electronic first curtain shutter active, which is the default setting.

 

Cycle Time (shot-to-shot)
Single Shot mode
Large fine JPEG
0.47 second

Time per shot, averaged over 15 shots.

Single Shot mode
RAW
0.41 second

Time per shot, averaged over 5 shots.

Single Shot mode
RAW + L/F JPEG
0.46 second

Time per shot, averaged over 5 shots.

Early shutter
penalty?

No

Some cameras refuse to snap another shot if you release and press the shutter too quickly in Single Shot mode, making "No" the preferred answer.

Continuous Hi mode
Large fine JPEG
0.13 second (7.98 frames per second);
18 frames total;
12 seconds to clear*
Time per shot, averaged over buffer depth of 18 shots, then slowed to an average of 0.72 seconds, or 1.39 fps.
Continuous Hi mode
RAW
0.13 second (7.98 frames per second);
14 frames total;
20 seconds to clear*
Time per shot, averaged over buffer depth of 14 shots, then slowed to an average of 1.47 seconds, or 0.68 fps.
Continuous Hi mode
RAW + L/F JPEG
0.13 second (7.89 frames per second);
13 frames total;
26 seconds to clear*
Time per shot, averaged over buffer depth of 13 shots, then slowed to an average of 2.10 seconds, or 0.48 fps.
Continuous Advance Priority AE mode
L/F JPEG
TBD
TBD

Flash Recycling

2.0 seconds

Flash at maximum output.

*Note: Buffer clearing times measured with a SanDisk Extreme Pro 45MB/sec UHS-I SDHC memory card. Slower cards will produce correspondingly slower clearing times. Slow cards may also limit length of bursts in continuous mode. ISO sensitivity and other settings such as DRO or NR can also affect cycle times and burst mode performance.

Shot-to-shot cycle times were good for an SLR-class camera, ranging from 0.41 to 0.47 second depending on the file type. Continuous mode speeds were excellent, especially for the extreme resolution, at about 8 frames-per-second in standard continuous mode. Continuous Advance Priority AE mode is rated by Sony at 10 frames per second, however we did not test that mode yet.

Buffer depths were good for the size of files, ranging from 13 to 18 frames per burst before slowing down in our tests. You should be able to do better with typical subjects when shooting JPEGs (our target for this test is designed to be difficult to compress).

Buffer clearing was sluggish with our fast 45MB/s SanDisk Extreme Pro UHS-I compliant SDHC card, at 12 seconds after a maximum-length large/fine JPEG burst, 20 seconds after a RAW burst, and 26 seconds after RAW + large/fine JPEG burst. We have been told that unlike the A77, the A65 does not take advantage of faster UHS-compliant cards. Also, the Sony A65 does not support the Extra Fine JPEG setting found on the A77, offering just Fine and Normal compression settings.

The flash was able to recycle from a full discharge in 2.0 seconds, which is very fast.


Download Speed

Windows Computer, USB 2.0

11,771 KBytes/sec

Typical Values:
Less than 600=USB 1.1;
600-769=USB 2.0 Low;
Above 770=USB 2.0 High

Download speeds were very fast, quick enough that you won't feel the need for a separate card reader, even with large memory cards. (Note that this test was performed with a SanDisk Extreme Pro 45 MB/sec UHS-I SDHC card: Slower cards would likely show slower transfer times.)


Bottom line, the Sony Alpha SLT-A65's autofocus, shutter lag, and burst performance were excellent, though not quite as fast as the A77. Buffer depths were good for its class given the large files, though buffer clearing was slow. Startup, shutdown, and mode switching times were sluggish.

Battery

Battery Life
Good battery life for an interchangeable lens camera with EVF, but below average compared to a traditional SLR with optical viewfinder.

Operating Mode Number of Shots
Electronic Viewfinder,
(CIPA standard)
510
Live View LCD,
(CIPA standard)
560

The Sony A65 uses a custom rechargeable NP-FM500H lithium-ion battery for power, and ships with a charger. Battery life is a below average compared to an SLR using an optical viewfinder, but pretty good for one equipped with an electronic viewfinder. We recommend you pick up a spare battery and keep it freshly charged and on-hand for extended outings or shooting video.

The table above shows the number of shots the camera is capable of (on either a fresh set of disposable batteries or a fully-charged rechargeable battery as appropriate), based on CIPA battery-life and/or manufacturer standard test conditions.

(Interested readers can find an English translation of the CIPA DC-002 standards document here. (180K PDF document))

 

Sony A65

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Note: For details, test results, and analysis of the many tests done with this camera, please click on the tabs at the beginning of the review or below.

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