Sony SLT-A65 Review
The A65 comes with the same video specification as its bigger sister model A77. It is capable of recording full 1080p video, with the ability to record at 60p. The new AVCHD 2.0 format is now compatible with the newest Blu-ray players, as well as many older players after a firmware update. The newest version of Sony's PMB software allows for lossless editing of your movies, and can write your 60p movies directly to a Blu-ray disc.
Full manual control of shutter speed, aperture and exposure compensation is possible when shooting video but there are some restrictions. You can only take manual exposure control in the A65's dedicated movie exposure mode (found on the main exposure mode dial), and this is incompatible with AF. If you want to take advantage of the A65's full-time AF during video, you'll have to shoot in program AE mode, at which point the camera will not select an aperture smaller than the lens' maximum (or f/3.5, in lenses with a maximum aperture of greater than f/4). This simply reflects the fact that the AF system will stop working properly if the aperture is set smaller than f/5.6.
Pressing the Movie button when shooting in one of the PASM modes on the A65 will begin recording video in program AE mode, with AF operating continuously. AF can be locked using the center button of the four-way controller (assuming it is so assigned in the custom menu), while ISO, AF area and object tracking can all be adjusted during recording. A wind cut option is available.
Video quality options
1920 x 1080 60i/50i Avg. 24 Mbps (high quality)
1920 x 1080 60i/50i Avg. 17 Mbps (standard quality)
1920 x 1080 60p Avg. 28Mbps (highest quality)
1920 x1080 24p/25p Avg. 24Mbps (high quality)
1920 x 1080 24p/25p Avg. 17Mbps (standard quality)
1440 x 1080, 1080p (30/25fps), Av. 12Mbps
640 x 480 (30/25fps)
|Audio||• Dolby Digital Audio
• Stereo audio capture via optional external mic.
|Format||AVCHD / MPEG4|
|Max file size per clip||2.0 GB for Motion JPEG, card capacity for AVCHD (new file is created automatically after file size has reached 2.0 GB)|
|Recordable time||Approx 29 minutes (around 13 min when temperature exceeds 40 degrees C)|
Handling in Video modeThe A65 handles very well in video mode. The tiltable screen allows you to hold the camera at waist or chest height and view the LCD from above, just like you would do with a dedicated video camera. You cannot control exposure settings and use AF at the same time but the camera still offers a very fluid shooting experience. Compared to a conventional DSLR, the convenience of being able to compose video using either the viewfinder or LCD screen with equal ease cannot be overstated, and we love having full-time phase-detection AF available during movie shooting too, albeit only in program AE mode.
Just as the original SLT-A55 was, the A65 is one of our favorite stills cameras for casual video work. The addition of a 60p capture mode might not mean much to the average consumer, but it has the potential to make the A65 more interesting to more 'serious' video professionals, although the complicated method of setting and using manual exposure during filming might take the shine off a little.
This short clip shows the A65's video performance in good light. The motion is smooth and image stabilization is working well, keeping things steady while the camera is hand-held. The built-in microphones are doing a decent job at capturing the engine sounds of the motorbikes.
|1920x1080 60i, MTS, 11 sec, 22.3 MB Click here to download original file|
In this panning shot you can see the very slight focus 'jumps' as the camera's AF sensors try to lock onto different subjects. The sound of the AF motor is also picked up but the built-in microphones. In a situation like this manual is arguably the preferrable focusing method. In low light some image noise becomes visible but it is well within acceptable limits.
|1920x1080 60p, MTS, 14 sec, 45.2 MB Click here to download original file|
When shooting videos in very low light the SLT-A65 does not make use of its full ISO range which can result in underexposed footage, as seen in this sample clip. At the minimum shutter speed for 30p video (1/30 sec) the camera could not push the sensitivity high enough to expose the image correctly.
In this clip you can also hear that the built-in microphones are picking up quite a lot of background noise. For more directional recording of sound we recommend you invest in an external microphone.
|1920x1080 30p, MTS, 12 sec, 39.0 MB Click here to download original file|
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