Which is Better the Sony A65 or the Sony A58?

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The Sony Alphas series of cameras have been extremely popular with consumers looking for an advanced camera in a small and lightweight package and the A65 and A58 have been two of the most popular cameras in the Alpha lineup.  While the target market for these cameras is primarily entry-level photographers, both cameras are packed with advanced features that will appeal to more advanced photographers looking for a small and light weight alternate to the traditional DSLR camera.

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Presenting the world’s smallest and lightest1 full-frame interchangeable lens camera. With a groundbreaking 35mm large pixel image sensor rated at 15.3-stops of dynamic range and an ISO 409,600 sensitivity2, the α7S reveals astonishing detail and color even in the dead of night.

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The Similarities

The A65 and the A58 share a number of significant similarities, which set both cameras apart from their competitors.  These similarities include the use of Sony’s “translucent mirror technology” and the use of an electronic viewfinder.  Unlike traditional DSLR cameras, which have a mirror that moves out of the way of the sensor when the shutter is released, the A65 and A58 are able to utilize a fixed mirror.  The image is instead exposed on the sensor thru the mirror when the shutter is released.  This is significant as it allows continuous autofocus and a fast frame rate. The small size and weight of both cameras is a result of the elimination of a moving mirror.

While electronic viewfinders are found in many smaller cameras, it is unique to find an electronic viewfinder in cameras at the price points of the A65 and A58.  In both cameras, the finder provides 100% coverage of the image being captured.  In addition, the viewfinders are responsive, as the cameras are moved around while composing images.  As one would expect, the viewfinders are also bright and display critical data, as well as providing 15 autofocus points, which are evenly distributed in the viewfinder.

In both the A65 and A58, Sony uses the APS-C format, which is based on a smaller and less expensive CMOS sensor than traditional full-frame sensors.  While less expensive, these sensors produce outstanding results in a variety of conditions including low light conditions where high ISO settings are required.  One of the benefits of the APS-C format is the 1.5x crop factor used in the sensor.  This means that standard lens used on either camera will be 1.5x longer than the same lens used on a full-frame camera.  An example of this would be an image captured using a standard 50mm lens on the A65 or A58 would equivalent to the same image captured using a 75mm lens on a full-frame camera.  APS-C sensors are used extensively in sports and wildlife photography, where longer lens are needed to get closer to the subject.

Native ISO range in both cameras is 100 – 16,000 and is expandable to 25,600 when conditions require such a high setting.  It is important to keep in mind that image quality will decrease at high ISO settings as the noise reducing software in both cameras tend to aggressively reduce detail as well as noise at high ISO settings.  Generally, ISO settings of 800 and below tend to produce the best results n both cameras.

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$499.99

Best of both worlds, 24.3 megapixels, and up to 10 fps. Get action photos, HD Movies, and Live View shots that other cameras miss, thanks to Sony’s exclusive Translucent Mirror Technology. Enjoy smooth and creative HD video at full 1920 x 1080 resolution – at either 60p or 24p frame rate - plus the world’s first OLED electronic viewfinder.

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Once the images on both cameras are captured; they are processed by a single BIONZ processor and then stored on a single SD, SDHC, SDXC memory card as either RAW or JPEG files.  Sony also has a number of proprietary memory sticks that may be used as storage as well.  In both cameras, there is only one slot available for the storage medium used.

Sony has been a major player in video technology and this technology is found in both the A65 and the A58.  Both cameras can shoot in a variety of video formats including HD at 1,920 x 1,080.  The frame rate on both cameras can be as high as 60 frames per second depending upon the format used.  Video is captured as MPEG-4 files.   One of the most useful features associated with both cameras’ video function is the presence of a dedicated video button, which is red in color allowing it to be found quickly.

As one would expect, the A65 and A58 both allow the photographer to shoot in a variety of exposure modes including automatic, aperture priority, shutter priority, and manual.  This is significant as the photographer can take as little control or as much control of the technical side of capturing the image as is desired.  The cameras also have a number of scene modes, as well as picture effects.  These features are both useful and fun to use, as they allow a create deal of creative options when composing images.

Other similarities include the use of a tilting rear LCD display, which allows the camera’s menus to be navigated as well as providing preview of images and “live view” capabilities.  The screen on the A65 is slightly larger at 3.0” compared to the 2.7” on the A58.  In both cameras, the rear LCD is not a touch screen.

The Differences

The only significant differences between the A65 and A58 include megapixel count, GPS, cost, frame rate, size and weight.  While both cameras offer excellent image quality, the A65 has a total effective megapixel count of 24.3 compared to 20.1 found in the A58.  However, this difference is not as significant as it may seem as the images captured on both cameras are virtually identical and the megapixel count on both cameras exceeds the count found on most professional grade cameras.

A more significant difference between the Sony A65 and the A58 is the absence of a GPS receiver on the A58, which undoubtedly contributed to the significantly lower price point of the A58 kit.  Based on current pricing, an A58 kit with an 18-55 lens will cost around $599.99, compared to around $999.99 for an A65 kit with the same lens.

The elimination of a moving mirror in both cameras contributes to their fast frame rates, however, the A65 is slightly faste, allowing images to be shot at 10 frames per second compared to 8 frames per second in the A58.  In both cases, the A65 and A58 would be somewhat suitable for sports and action photography with the appropriate Sony “A” lens attached and a shutter speed faster than 1/4,000 of a second is not required.

While both cameras are compact and lightweight, the A58 is slightly smaller measuring 5.063” x 3.76” x 3.06” compared to the A65’s dimensions of 5.2” x 3.8” x 3.2”.  The A58 is also slightly lighter weighing in at 17.3 ounces compared to the A65’s 19.0 ounces.  While the size and weight differences are slight, they are noticeable, especially in regards to the A65’s larger size.

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$279.00

You get incredible detail and gorgeous enlargements. Thanks to the 20.1 megapixel APS-C sensor size and Sony Exmor APS HD CMOS technology, the camera achieves high resolution with no penalty in low-light sensitivity or sensor noise.

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The Pros and Cons

As with most cameras, the A65 and the A58 are not perfect, with both cameras having a combination of positive and negative features.  The significance of those features will vary depending on the individual photographer’s needs and their style of photography.

In the case of the Sony A65, the camera’s most significant positive feature is the incorporation of a GPS receiver in the camera.   This feature has proven its worth to many skeptics with the ability to geo-tag images with the exact location the image was captured.

The A65’s most negative feature is the camera’s overall value for that the camera represents, as the price is still relatively high for a discontinued camera that is nearly 5 years old.  There are a significant number of cameras on the market at the $1,000 price point and the Sony A65 is facing significant competition from other cameras based on more up to date technology.

The biggest positive feature of the A58 is the great value the camera represents.  The ability to have such an advanced camera with a decent kit lens at a price point of $600 is amazing.  The advanced features of the A58 is evident in the fact that the camera is still being offered in Sony’s line up despite being introduced approximately 3 years ago.

As far as negative features are concerned, the only real downside to the A58 is the size of the camera.  While both cameras are small and light weight, the A58 is slightly smaller and may feel small and uncomfortable to photographers with larger hands or if larger lens are used.

Just the Facts, A Side-By-Side Comparison

While most serious photographers look at image quality over technical specifications, many feel that the specifications are equally important.  The Sony A65 and the Sony A58 both have excellent image quality, as well as technical specifications, which are shown in the table below.

Item Sony A65 Sony A58
Year Introduced 2011 2013
Format APS-C APS-C
Megapixels 24.3 20.1
Sensor Type Exmor APS HD CMOS Exmor APS HD CMOS
Processor BIONZ BIONZ
Lens Mount Sony A Mount Only Sony A Mount Only
Image Format RAW or JPEG RAW or JPEG
Sensor Size 23.7mm x 15.6mm 23.2mm x 15.4mm
Sensor Cleaner Yes Yes
Auto-focus Points 15 15
Modes Automatic, Program Auto, IAuto, Shutter Priority, Aperture Priority, Manual, Sweep Panorama Automatic, Program Auto, IAuto, Shutter Priority, Aperture Priority, Manual, Sweep Panorama
Scene Modes Portrait, Landscape, Macro, Sports Action, Sunset, Night Portrait, Night View, Handheld Twilight Portrait, Landscape, Macro, Sports Action, Sunset, Night Portrait, Night View, Handheld Twilight
Picture Effects Posterization, Pop Color, Retro Photo, Partial Color, High Contrast Monochrome, Toy Camera, Soft High Key, Soft Focus, HDR Painting, Richtone Monochrome, Miniature, Sweep Panorama, Anti Motion Blur, Multiframe Noise Reduction Posterization, Pop Color, Retro Photo, Partial Color, High Contrast Monochrome, Toy Camera, Soft High Key, Soft Focus, HDR Painting, Richtone Monochrome, Miniature, Sweep Panorama, Anti Motion Blur, Multiframe Noise Reduction
Metering 1200-Zone Evaluative, Center-Weighted, Spot 1200-Zone Evaluative, Center-Weighted, Spot
View Finder Electronic Electronic
View Finder Coverage 100% 100%
Live View Yes Yes
Frames Per Second 10 8
ISO 100 – 12,800 100 – 16,000
Highest Expandable ISO 25,600 25,600
Shutter Speed Range 1/4,000 – 30 Seconds 1/4,000 – 30 Seconds
Built In Flash Yes Yes
Card Slots 1 1
Card Type SD, SDHC, SDXC, Various Proprietary Memory Sticks SD, SDHC, SDXC, Various Proprietary Memory Sticks
LCD Screen Size 3.0” 2.7”
LCD Screen Type Tilting Tilting
Moisture And Dust Resistant No No
Video Yes Yes
Video Type Full HD (1,920 x 1,080 At 60 Frames Per Second); Various Other Formats As Well Full HD (1,920 x 1,080 At 24 Frames Per Second); Various Other Formats As Well
Video Format MPEG-4 MPEG-4
GPS Yes No
Wireless No No
WIFI No No
Battery NP-FM500H NP-FM500H
Battery Life +/- 510 Shots +/- 690 Shots
Unique Features Translucent Mirror Technology Translucent Mirror Technology
Size Without Lens 5.2” x 3.8” x 3.2” 5.063” x 3.76” x 3.06”
Weight Without Lens 19.0 Ounces 17.35 Ounces
Manufactured In Thailand Thailand
Included Accessories Sony A65, DT 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 SAM II Lens, NP-FM500H Lithium Battery, BC-VM10 Battery Charger, Eyepiece Cup, Shoulder Strap, Body Cap, Micro USB Cable Sony A58, DT 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 SAM II Lens, NP-FM500H Lithium Battery, BC-VM10 Battery Charger, Eyepiece Cup, Shoulder Strap, Body Cap, Micro USB Cable
Cost With 18-55mm Kit Lens Around $999.99**

Check out the latest prices and discounts here.

Around $599.99

Check out the latest discounts and prices here.

*Information from the Sony USA website, including pricing.

** Although the Sony A65 has been discontinued, it is still widely available at a variety of price points, depending on the retailer.

The Final Frame: My Overall Recommendation

The A75 and the A58 are both excellent cameras capable of capturing excellent image quality in a compact and lightweight camera.  Although the A58, which was first introduced in 2013, still remains in Sony’s current lineup, I prefer the older A65, which has been discontinued but is still widely available.  This preference is based upon the slightly larger size of the A65, which seems to fit my hands better, as well as the inclusion of a GPS receiver in the A65.  After manually tagging the location of thousands of older images in my computer, I have grown to really appreciate GPS capabilities in a camera as it allows images to be quickly and easily geo-tagged!  In either case the A65 and A58 are excellent cameras despite their age and would be an excellent choice for a photographer looking for a compact and lightweight DSLR style camera that produces excellent image quality!

Sony ILCE7S/B Alpha a7S Mirrorless Digital Camera | Amazon
$645.00

Presenting the world’s smallest and lightest1 full-frame interchangeable lens camera. With a groundbreaking 35mm large pixel image sensor rated at 15.3-stops of dynamic range and an ISO 409,600 sensitivity2, the α7S reveals astonishing detail and color even in the dead of night.

Buy at Amazon.com
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
09/25/2022 05:45 am GMT

The Camera Guide Team
 

The Camera Guide Team is a group of writers, shutterbugs, and professional photographers. We know the challenge of looking through different cameras or accessories. We want you to learn everything about cameras. We provide honest reviews, detailed guides, and helpful comparisons. We have everything you need. We are here to help you find the perfect click.

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