Sony Alpha A77 vs A65 SLT Hands On Preview - We take a look at the new Sony Apha A77 and A65 and see what the differences are between the two new top of the range SLT translucent mirror cameras from Sony.
The new cameras are the first Digital SLRs to feature GPS built in and as per usual with the Sony Alpha range of Digital SLR / SLTs all feature built in "anti-shake" / Super steady shot sensors, as a continuation of the Konica Minolta DSLR heritage. (The Anti-Shake / AS name was featured on Konica Minolta DSLRs, but canned in favour of Sony's SteadyShot INSIDE name.)
The new Sony Alpha A77, will be available with a new DT 16-50mm f/2.8 SSM lens and produces 24.3 megapixel images from an APS-C sized sensor. Full HD video with continuous auto focus is also available. 12fps shooting is possible at the full 24.3 megapixel resolution with continuous auto focus, while 10fps shooting is possible with the A65.
Sony Alpha A65 vs A77 SLT Features
The A77 sits at the top of the Alpha SLT range, with the A65 above the A55, and the new A35 the entry level model.
Sony Alpha A77 Sensor and Shutter, rated for 150,000 Actuations.
Both the A77 and A65 share a lot of features such as the high resolution 24.3 megapixel sensor, high speed shooting, high resolution OLED viewfinder, and lens shading and aberration compensation but they also differ in a number of ways. Here's a table showing the main differences between the two new models:
1/250 flash sync speed, wireless (IR transmitter),
Front / Rear dials / AF dial, rear joypad, and other buttons
Not vertical grip compatible
Vertical grip compatible
No top LCD
Top LCD (illuminated)
Tilting / rotating rear screen
Tilting / Rotating / Floating rear screen
510 Battery Rating
470 Battery Rating
18-55 SAM Kit lens
16-50mm SSM Kit lens
Size 132.1 x 97.5 x 80.7mm
Size 142.6 x 104 x 80.9mm
Price: £799 Body Only
Price: £1149 Body Only
Sony Alpha A65 vs A77 SLT Handling
The new OLED EVF: The A77, A65, NEX-7 and NEX-5N EVF all use a new OLED electronic viewfinder developed by Sony, with a 2.359 million DOT resolution. The new OLED technology, compared to traditional LCD EVFs, does not show chromatic aberrations at the pixel level, as the pixel level does not have to show RGB at each level, while traditional EVF do (for example, the Sony OLED can leave red and green off, if it only needs to show blue).
Sony Alpha A65 Top
Sony Alpha A77 Top
Menu System: The menu system is well laid out with the menus starting with photo options and then spread over a number of pages are the playback, setup and more advanced options. Due to both cameras having numerous external controls, I rarely needed to access their menus.
Controls: The A77 with rear dial, front focus dial, top LCD and rear joypad makes it more suited to someone who likes to quickly switch modes and someone who uses manual controls more often than automatic or program modes. The A65 still provides good access to the majority of controls, making it easy to set ISO, exposure and other settings.
Sony Alpha A65
Sony Alpha A77 Bottom
Battery Life: With between 470 and 510 shots per battery charge, depending on model, with the A65 offering slightly better battery life, both cameras should provide enough for a day or two's shooting (depending how trigger happy you are and how many photos you take each day). Both cameras use the same battery which is a nice feature. Using the A77's continuous shooting mode, at 12fps, we took around 1000+ photos in one day and the battery was still not flat, although with such a high speed shooting mode and 24.3 megapixel photos, it's easy to quickly fill a memory card.
Build Quality: With a smaller body, the A65 felt more manage-able, with a good sized rubber grip for your hand (front and back). The A77 felt much larger but as a result has a deeper hand grip, and may be more suited to someone with larger hands - it also features a rubber grip that goes the whole way around the camera from the back thumb grip to the front. With the optional vertical hand grip the camera becomes much larger again and thanks to the magnesium alloy weather sealed body, it feels very well made and very strong. The A65 feels solidly built but without the magnesium alloy body isn't as reassuringly solid as the A77.
Sony Alpha A65 vs A77 SLT Performance
With the same ISO range, same CMOS sensor, same translucent mirror (with new coating designed to remove any potential ghosting) as each other, the A65 and A77 should offer the same image quality, with the main differences being in features and physical design. Click to view larger or click "Hi-Res" to view full size sample photos. Additional photos and product shots can be found in the Equipment Database for the Sony Alpha A65, and Sony Alpha A77.
Sony Alpha SLT-A65 Other sample images
Sony Alpha SLT-A77 Other sample images
As the cameras tested were both pre-production, we were advised not to perform extensive "pixel peeping" or ISO noise test shots as the final versions should provide better image quality. However, looking at the results we were able to see the image quality was very good.
Sony Alpha SLT-A65 ISO test images
Sony Alpha SLT-A77 ISO test images
These are pre-production shots but show really low noise in images at ISO100 (or below with the A77), and low noise up to ISO1600. There's quite low noise at ISO3200 / ISO6400. It's at ISO12800 that noise starts to become destructive to detail in photos and at ISO16000 noise is at its worst.
Video Sample: Both cameras record Full HD video, with continuous auto focus available while recording, and the camera has done a good job keeping the car in focus in this video.
Sony Alpha A65 vs A77 Verdict
The Sony Alpha A77 and A65 are capable of producing some excellent photos, with great colour, detail and extremely solid exposure performance. Reds are extremely vibrant and colourful and the cameras both produce excellent JPEG output straight from the camera on default settings. Noise control is very good with low noise right up to high ISO settings. The cameras also offer continuous focus when using the video mode.
GPS is an excellent built in feature and the price of the A65 in particular is extremely competitive. The A77 body only is £1149, this puts it in direct competition with the 18 megapixel Canon EOS 7D. The A65 body only is £799, this puts it in almost direct competition with the 16 megapixel Nikon D7000 and if the price drops further, the Nikon D5100 and Canon EOS 600D. The A65 significantly out-specs these cameras with 10fps shooting, GPS and extremely fast focusing due to the translucent mirror. Although there is no optical viewfinder with SLT cameras, the new OLED EVF is simply stunning and makes the view through the camera look excellent. I'm looking forward to spending more time with these cameras.
Sony Alpha A65 vs A77 Pros
Built in GPS
Extremely fast continuous shooting
Stunning OLED EVF (has to be seen to be believed)
Excellent image quality
Continuous focus during videos
Sony Alpha A65 vs A77 Cons:
Quite Large (Particularly the A77)
Professionals may still be waiting for the new version of the A900/A850