Sony’s Alpha 65 has the same class-leading 24.3-million-pixel, APS-C-size, CMOS sensor as that fitted in the enthusiast-level Alpha 77. The sensor has a 6000×4000-pixel output in the common Bayer-pixel arrangement.

At the maximum output and 300ppi resolution, digital files can be printed at A3+ size without any need for upscaling, while reducing the resolution to 240ppi is acceptable for even larger prints. In short, the high resolution makes large prints possible without loss in image quality.

Single lens translucent cameras have a translucent fixed mirror between the lens and the imaging sensor. The mirror reflects roughly 20% of the light entering the lens onto the autofocus sensor.

This constant exposure of the AF sensor to light provides the benefit of full-time autofocus, which is
a clear advantage for continuous shooting and video recording. However, reducing the imaging sensor’s exposure to light by 20% will always result in higher levels of noise. Just how noticeable this noise is depends on the camera’s settings and the available light in the scene.

Sony’s SteadyShot Inside sensor-based image stabilisation is included in the Alpha 65. This shifts the sensor to compensate for movement, giving an extra 2.5-4.5EV of handholdable shutter speeds, depending on the lens being used.

A shooting rate of up to 10 frames per second is possible when the continuous priority AE mode is selected on the shooting-mode dial. This frame rate is available for both raw and JPEG capture, in 11 and 17-frame bursts respectively. However, to retain exposure control, the maximum possible frame rate is 8fps, again for 11 and 17 shots respectively.

A real standout feature is the 2.359-million-dot XGA OLED electronic viewfinder (EVF). In our test of the Alpha 77 (see AP 15 October 2011), we commented that it is the best of its type to date.

The Alpha 65 is available as body only or as a kit with an 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 lens, whereas the Alpha 77 can be bought with a 16-50mm f/2.8 optic.

The Alpha 65’s in-camera lens corrections make a big difference, certainly in edge highlights where chromatic aberration is an issue

The available kit lens for each camera is a clear indication of the intended market for each model. The fact that both use the same imaging sensor, though, means that users will not get the most out of the Alpha 65 using the less expensive 18-55mm kit lens.

An alternative option is to buy the Alpha 65 body only and the 16-50mm lens separately, but this decreases the margin in price between the two camera models from £350 to £170. This is a common issue for a camera at this level.

As another example, the Nikon D5100 uses the same sensor as the more expensive D7000, but is only available with a cheaper lens as part of a kit.

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