110 of 114 people found the following review helpful
on January 22, 2014
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I will start by apologizing for the long review, but I felt it necessary to put some solid information out there concerning the A58 and how it compares to the A57...from an owners perspective. Like you, I read everything possible on the A58 prior to purchase. Unfortunately, this camera has had a lukewarm response from professional reviewers and has flown under the radar. There's good reason for that. If you are a reviewer who has the camera in your possession for a few days or a week, you will likely see the obvious. Unfortunately, many people read these reviews and then repeat the same misinformation on forums. I am an experienced photographer who actually owns both the A58 and the A57, so I can give you a balanced opinion. More importantly, I am not a fanboy of Sony (or any other camera manufacturer), nor am I a fanboy of the A58 or A57. With that said, here are my observations.
First, lets dispel some myths. For starters, the plastic mount is not an issue and should not be a concern for most buyers. It is a tough plastic that is solidly built and shows no signs of weakness. After mounting the lens over and over again, I can't see any signs of wear. If you somehow manage to break the mount, then it is likely that you would have done so with a metal mount. Just use common sense, if your lens weighs 10 pounds, then it is probably wise to support its weight independently from the camera body (enough said). Secondly, the build quality is slightly different than the A57, but every bit as good. If anything, the grip material feels slightly tackier and better. The plastic used on both cameras is of similar quality, but of slightly different texture. They both look and feel good. The buttons feel similar, but I do like the feel of the shutter on the A57 a little bit more. Not a huge difference; it's more of a personal preference and not a quality issue. As for the highly touted High ISO capability of this camera, the pro reviewers missed the mark and were fooled by Sony's clever trickery (more on this below). It performs well, but not substantially better, if at all, than the A57.
So which one is better?!!! Well....it all the depends on the features which you value more and here's why...If you like the newest camera, marketed as having more megapixels, better high ISO, better EVF (viewfinder), with new technological wizardry like lock on object tracking, then stop reading and go buy the A58. Unfortunately, things aren't so clear cut when you look under the hood.
For example, 20.1 Mp's sounds like a great increase over the 16 Mp's found in the A57. In practice, however, the 4 extra megapixels do little in terms of cropping ability. I took the same shots with both cameras and tried cropping them to see if there was any tangible difference. In real world cropping, the answer is "no". If you crop 200%, then you might see a difference. And if you are doing that, then you're engage in some activity, but I would not call it photography.
***ISO Performance (the truth and why)***
As for ISO, this camera really performs well. Depending on how demanding you are, you can get acceptable results even as high as 6400 or 12800. I don't recommend shooting at such high ISO's because a point and shoot camera with a flash will yield better results than this camera at 12800. But the capability is still there. So how does it compare to the A57? They actually perform similarly, with the edge going to the A57. WHAT? What did I just say? It's true!
Sony has improved the JPEG processing on this camera allowing it to perform well despite having more MP's. They did this by employing very high levels of Noise Reduction at all ISO's, especially at the upper range. Because of the slightly higher MP's, this gives a cleaner appearance at first blush, but upon closer inspection, you see that a whole lot of detail has been lost. If you don't crop at all, this may not be an issue. If you do, then you will be disappointed because it severely limits your ability to do any cropping at higher ISO's and even moderate ISO's. When you do, you end up with a picture that lacks detail and pop. Again, not a huge difference between the A58 and A57, but I like the JPEG output of the A57 better at all ISO's. This was confirmed when I compared RAW files from both cameras. Indeed, the A58 has much more visible noise at all ISO's. I must give Sony credit for increasing MP's while maintaining noise levels in JPEG's. However, in practice, this is just an illusion and results will be no better with this camera than those coming out of the A57. Believe me, I shot both cameras under all types of conditions, metering, creative style settings, etc. and the results were consistent.
It should be noted that the A58 fixes an issue I found with both the A57 and Nex-6. Those two cameras tend to underexpose by as much as two thirds to a full stop under low light conditions when using the standard multi segment metering (that is what most people, including many reviewers, use when shooting). Many people ignore metering, but it is extremely important in getting the right exposure and for controlling noise. Initially, it appeared that the A58 did indeed have much better ISO capabilities than the A57 (about half a stop to a full stop). However, this only held true when using multi segment metering. With multi segment, the A58 demonstrated substantially better noise performance at high ISO's. However, when using center weighted or spot metering, the A57 performed as well, if not better than the A58 do to its less aggressive processing. I believe this is why many have touted the A58 as having much better high ISO performance than the A57. Underexposing at high ISO's invariably leads to much higher noise levels, especially in the shadows. So don't buy the camera for it's perceived high ISO capabilities, because they are good, but no different than the current market options. You will have better results in JPEG if you pay attention to your settings. If you want better results, make sure your creative style is set to standard, drop down the contrast and sharpness and your images will look substantially less noisy than if shot in Vivid with boosted contrast and sharpness. Be sure to meter correctly. Underexposing shots (even a little), can create much more noise at high ISO's. (Just my two cents)
Now for the EVF. The EVF in the A58 is nice. It has nice contrast and good colors. In that sense, it is better than the one found in the A57. The A57 looks washed out with much less contrast by comparison. On the other hand, the A57 has greater magnification and looks bigger. The A58's EVF looks like you are looking through a tunnel when comparing it next to the A57. The A58's viewfinder is also more difficult to use in bright conditions. I found myself constantly cupping my hand over the viewfinder in bright daylight in order to see better. It also displays a lot more noise/grain in low light situations. After using both cameras extensively, I wouldn't get the A58 just for the improved EVF. It is both good and bad and certainly not Sony's best implementation. What you will find is that it is reasonably good and you will not be disappointed under most conditions.
As for the LCD, there are many reviewers panning the smaller screen and its lower resolution. Again, in practice, when compared to the A57's there is no real disadvantage. It's good enough! I never caught myself noticing the difference in size or resolution in actual use and I was using both cameras at the same time. Yes, the A57's is bigger and has better resolution, but you won't be missing out by not having the size or resolution. The same thing goes for the articulating aspect of the LCD. The A58's is similar to the implementation on the Nex-6 (which I also own) and I would not classify the A57's as being better. It's just different and just as good under most circumstances.
***Important Differences (FPS, Buffer Depth, Object Tracking and Auto ISO in Manual Mode)***
Now here is where we do get to some important differences. If you like sports photography and are used to shooting in bursts, you should probably go with the A57 or something else. There is the obvious 8-10-12 FPS advantage that the A57 has over the 3-5-10 FPS of the A58. Remember that the A57 can shoot at 8 FPS while changing focus and exposure, the A58 can only do 5 FPS. The A57 can even go to 10 FPS while locking exposure at full resolution. The A58 cannot. The A58 can do 8 FPS, but this it at a reduced resolution and with locked exposure. The A57 does the same at 12 FPS, with an even still larger file size.
Unfortunately, the buffer/processor on the A58 has not been updated to cope with the demands of higher MP's and processing requirements. As such, with normal-high noise reduction and/or lens distortion correction set to "auto", you will get 3-4 shots before the camera slows down. Sure it will shoot at five FPS, but you'll only get three in practice before it slows down. You will then need to wait a second or two to let the buffer catch up before shooting another burst. It's not an issue for most photographic scenarios, but it is a deal breaker for high ISO sports shooting. And this is a real shame because the new object auto-lock function is really great and superior to that found on the A57. You can work around this by lowering your noise reduction to "low" and setting lens distortion correction to "off". This will allow you to shoot at 5 fps without limitations, but be prepared to do more noise reduction and/or distortion correction in post-production. Not an issue for some, but it is one for me. By contrast, the A57 can shoot an acceptable amount of frames with both these settings on and can go on endlessly (or so it seems) if you turn off lens distortion correction. The A57's much larger effective buffer and its ability to shoot at much higher FPS for far longer, is more desirable in my opinion. In that category, the A57 wins hands down. All is not lost for the A58. You can still use it for sports in a pinch. It does manage to shoot at 8 FPS, albeit at a reduced MP level. Unfortunately, this mode automatically reduces your resolution and cropping ability. As mentioned above, the A57 can do the same, but at an even higher resolution and at 12 FPS. This is where Sony cut corners in order to keep the price low.
Both cameras have object tracking. The function sets up a focus rectangle the follows the object being tracked as it passes through the various focus points. However, the A57 often fails to lock focus on the object despite following it, relying on standard focusing processes to lock focus when releasing the shutter. It works well enough on the A57, but it's at another level on the A58. In the A58, the camera actually changes the shape of the box and its size to match the actual object being followed. In my testing, the A58 managed to lock focus (green borders) on the subject much more so than the A57 did on the same objects. This allows for much easier tracking when shooting moving subjects. Having said all of that, I never felt at a disadvantage when using the A57. Its version works well enough and its face recognition works just as well. All in all, this is a cool feature, but not a deal maker on it's own and I wouldn't buy an A58 just for this feature.
-ISO in Manual Mode:
And finally Sony listened to its customers by adding Auto ISO in manual mode to the A58...It's about time!!! For example, in the A57 and NEX-6 you have to manually select all parameters, including ISO when in manual mode. Canon and Nikon have been implementing auto ISO in manual mode for years in all their DSLRs. I'm glad Sony finally came around. Now if they only allowed you to set upper/lower limits along with shutter speed minimums...I know, that's too much to ask for.
***Ergonomics (Size and Weight)***
Both cameras feel good in the hand and are more similar than different. As for size and weight, both cameras feel about the same, but the A58 is slightly smaller (actually shorter) and lighter. It is difficult to tell the difference, but you can feel the difference more than you can see it. If you have small hands, you will definitely like the A58 more.
***Minor Focus Issue (Back Focusing)***
I have read a few reports that the A58 has some focus accuracy issues. My testing confirms these findings, at least with my copy of the A58. The camera routinely back focused on shots without rhyme or reason. I am an experienced photographer and know for certain that it wasn't user error. I did not experience these same problems with the A57. Having said that, it wasn't too bad and mostly noticeable because I was looking for such issues. In real world use with the standard kit lens, you will likely not notice any issues. If you use large aperture lenses, you may want to test this out before the return period expires.
Conclusion and Recommendation:
So which one am I going to keep.....I'm leaning toward the A57. For my needs, it has a good enough EVF. It has better dynamic range in RAW files. It gives me better sports capabilities and I find that many of the new features that the A58 has are not absolute must haves for me. Still, I have not made a final decision and I would recommend the A58 to anyone as an incredible bang for the buck camera. Canon and Nikon cannot compete with this camera at this price point. I have owned or still own current generation Canon and Nikon bodies and I am well aware of their capabilities and I think that the A58 has a much better feature set for the money and better high ISO capability straight out of the camera than either Canon or Nikon. If you prefer shooting RAW, you may want to consider the A57 or a Canon/Nikon. If you are JPEG shooter, then don't think it twice and get this camera. You will absolutely enjoy all its features and will forgive its shortcomings when you consider how little you spent.
126 of 137 people found the following review helpful
on April 23, 2013
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I took possession of my a58 from a local merchant last week and I've been delighted with the camera. The sensor is very good. Maybe two thirds to a full stop better than the a57 at ISO 3200. The EVF is now OLED so it's clearer, brighter and more detailed than the LCD finder in the a57 it replaces. In my week of use I've found the finder to be really good and the performance of the sensor to be equally good. I am not a beginner and also own Sony's full frame a99 and their previous full frame camera, the a850. I've owned the a77 camera as well. This camera is smaller, lighter, has longer battery life than any of the other Sony SLT models I own. The video is really good. I wish the camera had the ability to hook up headphones and monitor the sound but it doesn't. Only the a99 does that.
So, why did I buy this one if I have better spec'd cameras in the studio? Well, I use the full frame cameras in my advertising photography business and I want a camera that's smaller, lighter but doesn't give up much image performance. The a58 fills that bill.
With the right assortment of lenses it comes close to being my idea of the ultimate travel camera. If people bought with their brains rather than being led by advertising I'd consider this camera to be a first rate Canon Rebel killer. It's a much better imaging machine.
64 of 69 people found the following review helpful
on April 28, 2013
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**Updated after One Year of use:
I am a hobbyist (at best) photographer. I got into the DSLR world when I purchased a used Sony A230 in April of 2012. I purchased this A58 in April of 2013.
The A58 works as expected with all of my Minolta A-mount lenses, a 28-85 f3.5-4.5, a 50mm f1.7, a 70-210 F4, a 75-300 f4.5-5.6, and a 28-135 f4-4.5.
Update written after One year of use, about 9,000 shots
My impressions are:
Indoor/High ISO performance is good. Unfortunately, I have never used another brand, so I have no idea how the High ISO performance would stand up to Cannon/Nikon, etc.
Macro performance is amazing.
Wide angle performance is excellent.
Portraits look excellent (I disabled the automatic object framing, as I prefer to crop my own photos)
I have shot three videos, which look great, but I do not take that many videos.
Still playing with the Panorama function. I have only tried it once with mediocre results, possibly due to intense low angle sunlight in my shot.
- Battery life seems excellent. I have taken 700 shots in a 1.5 week period, starting with a full charge, and the indicator suggested 33% of my charge was remaining. This leads me to believe the battery could regularly go longer than the 600 shots specified.
- Camera feels sold and well built.
- The "Live View" capability is awesome, and a huge advantage, especially when handing your camera to someone unfamiliar with DSLR's, and asking them to take a photo.
- The EVF is good, and clicks right on as soon as you put your eye to the eyepiece.
- In my opinion, image quality is excellent.
- Auto Focus is excellent.
- Reasonably priced.
- Not a Pro or a Con, but the plastic lens ring has held up fine. I change lenses frequently, and use heavy old Minolta lenses. I have not noticed any issues.
- The type USB interface on this camera is very "sticky" for lack of better terms. I feel like I am yanking the plug out. I much prefer the "mini USB" port on my A230.
- Even when using the Focus Peaking, I still feel that focusing using the EVF is difficult, especially in bright light.
- The camera does not have the capability of using an aftermarket remote for shots, or even a Sony remote for that matter. Very disappointing. (Sony does have WIRED shutter release available)
I started an A58 group on Flickr for myself and others to post some images.
39 of 42 people found the following review helpful
on July 10, 2013
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The A58 gets some negative press based on how it compares to the A57. Sony should have probably named it the A48 or something like that. However, this is a great camera in its own right. I owned the A57 and like the A58 better for the following reasons:
1. The OLED viewfinder is MUCH better than the viewfinder on the A57. I honestly did not think the difference would be a big deal. But, after using it, my opinion is different.
2. The JPEG image quality is the best I have seen on an Alpha camera to date. Sony finally tweaked the JPEG engine for better results.
3. The quiet shutter sound of the A58 is great. This is especially useful in a quiet setting.
Highly recommended camera...
20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
on December 2, 2013
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I have had this camera for a couple of months now and I will start this by saying I am not even close to a professional and never will be. However, this camera is simply great. All of these people on here dogging it because of the lens mount or the viewfinder are really just grabbing at straws in my opinion. This is not marketed as a professional grade camera and unless you are a professional photographer, who is switching lenses dozens of times daily? I have done several lens swaps and had no problems and after looking at the overall build quality on this camera, I am not worried about the mount wearing out. I used to have a Nikon D3100 which was great for my needs but I dropped it and ruined the lens and the body so I needed a new one. I was going to just get another 3100 but decided I'd look around first. Personally, I love the electronic viewfinder compared to the traditional type found on the rest of the DSLRs on the market. It makes it easy for an amateur to see exactly what the shot will look like before you take it. The video quality is second to none. It is better than the Rebel T5i (my sister owns) and the D5200 (my neighbor owns). I am going to get an external mic before long to completely get rid of the noise of the auto focus but it is nowhere near as loud or annoying as some would have you believe. Coming from a Nikon, the controls are slightly different. I wouldn't say better or worse, just different. I mention this because some people say the controls are not user friendly but I say BS to that as well. If you learned on something else, you are used to that format and anything different will take some getting used to. For me, the image quality is better than anything in its class (sub $800). Even the high ISO pics I have tried gave me less noise than I was ever able to achieve on my old Nikon. All in all, if you are in the market for and entry level camera and aren't afraid to stand up to all the Nikon and Canon fan boys out there, this camera will surpass your expectations.
90 of 116 people found the following review helpful
on May 10, 2013
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Those who are familiar with recent Sony dSLTs/dSLRs will be confused by this product. As a disclaimer, let me state that I do not own this camera. I do own an earlier model, and I did take a look at and handle this camera.
One would expect the Sony A58 to be an update of the A57. This is NOT the case at all. Sony had 4 models previously. The entry level was the A37. The top tier APS-C camera was the A77. In between, they had the A57 and the A65. With the introduction of the A58, they have replaced the A37 and the A57. In reality, this is the update of the A37. The A57 was discontinued, but was not replaced.
For the most part, this camera would be a significant downgrade from the A57. (While a clear update from the A37).
Before getting into a comparison of the cameras, a little background on Sony dSLTs. Sony no longer makes dSLRs. The A37/57/58 retain the form factor of a dSLR, and most of the basic functionality of a dSLR, but it's actually a very different camera.
A true dSLR has a move-able mirror between the lens and the sensor. The mirror reflects the image into the optical viewfinder, where the photographer views a reflected image of their subject. While being reflected into the optical viewfinder, the image is also reflected into a dedicated auto-focus array, which is typically superior to non-dSLR cameras. In order to take a picture, the mirror flips up, and the light from the subject travels to the sensor which is behind the mirror. Sony dSLTs use a translucent fixed mirror -- The mirror doesn't flip. Instead, most of the light travels directly through the mirror, onto the sensor. The mirror reflects upwards just enough light, to feed a dedicated autofocus sensor. But it doesn't reflect enough light for an optical viewfinder. So therefore, Sony uses an electronic viewfinder.
For a typical consumer -- That is the main difference you will notice, an electronic viewdfinder, instead of an optical viewfinder.
This whole setup has some very basic advantages. Since you're never blocking the main sensor, you can always use "live view" on the LCD screen. On other dSLRs, to have live-view on the LCD screen, you first need to flip up the mirror, which means you lose the superior autofocus array. (Typically such dSLRs have a secondary inferior auto focus array on the sensor). So with most dSLRs, if you choose to use the LCD screen instead of the optical viewfinder, you are sacrificing auto-focus speed. On the Sony dSLT, you can instantly switch back and forth between the "live view" on LCD, and the viewfinder. Get full autofocus either way. Makes it much much easier to use the LCD for composing photos. Means you can shoot video with full auto focus, which isn't possible on most other dSLRs.
Another great advantage of the Sony dSLT -- Since you don't have to flip the mirror between shots, the cameras can theoretically shoot at very high burst rates (high frames per second).
Now let's look at the Sony A57 compared to the A58.
The A57 had a large, fully articulated, high resolution LCD screen. Considering how great the "live view" feature on a dSLT is, it is nice to have a great LCD screen to use it. The A58 went with a smaller screen, lower resolution, which can tilt, but not fully articulate. So the "live view" is much better on the A57 than on the A58.
A benefit I use significantly on my dSLT is the high burst rate -- 10 frames per second. The A57 can shoot full resolution photos at 10 frames per second. Fantastic for shooting sports. Great for trying to snap portraits of the kids when you want just the right facial expression. Outside of super expensive professional cameras, there really are no other dSLRs than can shoot 10 frames per second. Most consumer level dSLRs shoot at 4-5 frames per second.
So what can the A58 shoot? At full resolution, a mere 5 frames per second. Not bad, but no better than the competitors. There is a "crop mode" that can shoot at 8 frames per second -- Capturing a lower resolution crop of just the center of the image.
THere are some other downgrades as well (a plastic lens mount instead of metal, for example).
Now, the A58 is still a very good camera for the price. And there are some upgrades -- It has a 20 megapixel sensor compared to 16 on the A57. (Though there is very limited value to the extra 4 megapixels). It also have a slightly upgraded electronic viewfinder. (Same resolution, but a slightly better technology).
Finally, the A58 does have some software updates, which are nice for the true entry level photographer. For example, there is an auto-crop feature, which automatically crops a picture based on some basic rules of composition, giving you a suggested final photograph. This would be useless to an experienced photographer, but it can be helpful to someone newer.
Still, when considering the few advantages of the A58, and the many disadvantages when compared to the A57 -- I'd recommend that interested buyers grab any remaining A57s while they are at clearance pricing. For the same money, the A57 is a better camera than the A58.
The A58 isn't a bad camera, but it should have been named the A38.
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on June 29, 2014
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In the past, I owned a Canon Rebel. Every single shot from the Canon was overexposed. In fact the whole entire Rebel line on that note, overexposes everything. Canons got it right on with color. They do outstanding job. But who cares about color if your sky is white? This is why when looking for a DSLR I took a look at Sonys lineup. From the sample photos, it did not disappoint. But for me you can look at all the sample photos in the world, but until you take the pictures yourself with the camera in hand, and have a chance to adjust the settings how you want them, in the mode that you want them (never leave a camera on default at least move into program mode), until this is done I remained unconvinced.
It arrived with the kit lens, and I took it out for its first photo shoot. Ill put it this way: For the next good 10 years, I am set with a camera and other than looking for a point and shoot for circumstances where mobility is needed, this is going to remain my number one camera.
The thing is, a lot of people who post photos online of cameras, are leaving everything at default settings. It does an injustice to both the software on the camera (seeing what its capable of), as well as the senor. For instance this camera like many today has an HDR mode. This mode brings out the shadows so that you can see more of what otherwise would have been more black. Do you know why people like Panasonic or some of the Samsung TVs so much? Because of the blacks! Because of the contrast. So that was the first default option that was clicked off. Then I set it to program mode. I also turned up the sharpness one. On a point and shoot, adjusting sharpness up is typically a no go. They oversharpen as is. With a larger sensor like this, having the in camera sharpness turned up just one notch IS completely acceptable.
By searching Flickrs website search bar for: "Sony A58 Amazon Review" you will be able view images I took in the last day here with this camera. the V (down) arrow button on flicker will let you view full size. I would recommend viewing on a high resolution monitor. I'm using a Dell 2340MC on multimedia default setting with a good graphics card. Most modern laptops are good enough...there was a huge difference viewing these images on this very external monitor on my old PC and on my HP laptop.Night and day in terms of seeing image quality. It wasnt the monitor, it was a much better graphics card, but any laptop or PC now adays even with intel chips on board should do just fine. But with the settings I have the monitor calabrated to, I have compared these images with Canon and other cameras. Its has the best image quality I have used apart from the Mirrorless Gf6 which I loved just as much. Unfortunately that camera isnt working right so this was my replacement. And actually now that I have it, Im glad I went with the alphas series over a mirrorless camera. There are SO MANY lenses. SO MANY!! All the AF Minolta lenses..they are compatible with this! Tamron makes them for sony A mount, Sigma does as well. There are simply endless possibilities with lenses that wont cost you over 100,000,000 dollars.
CONCLUSIONS: This camera is worth its value. It has a fast autofocus, unlike canon focuses on all spots instead of simply the one spot closest to you (thank you Sony), has an outstanding viewfinder (it gives you a really good idea of your shot before shooting, does a good job with exposure, has a screen that comes out and turns up or down for flexability, a flash shoe, many lenses as state, a good grip, has perfectly acceptable ISO images at 1600 (havent tried 3200 yet though 1600 looks great, is fast (5FPS...really with an entry level camera and many of the nikons and canons being at 3fps , I fail to see what people are complaining about), has a good battery life, has a built in flash as well, has the option of viewing your photo both through the digital viewfinder or digital display (and the digital viewfinder can be adjusted to suit your color warmth or brightness)...Bottom line is the pictures on flicker: "Amazon Sony A58 Review" speak for themselves. They are all unedited and strait from the camera. Some do have exposure turned down but you can click on the details in flicker and see which. All of them have sharpness set to hard, and by hard that means +1 out of 0, 1, 2, 3. Other than in camera sharpening those pictures viewed an a good monitor will give you an idea of what this camera is capable of. Shots that I normally have missed with other past cameras I have yet to miss on this. Its worth the price. I cant speak for the a57, but I have compared the two side by side and really cant see a difference. Ill take more megapixels for larger prints, because between the two Im just not seeing it in all the test photos. The A58 does a fantastic job and on a scale of 1-20, I would rate it at a solid 19/20. One point off for missing the greens that panasonic hits with their GF series.
heading on over to image-resources and reading what they have to say, taking a look at photography blog, reading what they have to say and also taking a look at the samples. Very fast auto focus (and unlike Canon doesnt just focus on what is closest), really high ISO with outstanding results (though pershaps part of this is related to the fact that I come from point and shoots...but still its better than any of the rebel line ive used, great color saturation, just an all around great camera.
11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on September 1, 2014
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First, let me say that this is my first SLR like camera. However, I have previously experimented with manual controls on a canon point and shoot including many long exposure photos so I have a good amount of knowledge. I mostly shoot non-moving subjects and as a piano player, I like to record my music.
I briefly tried the Nikon d3200 so any comparisons will be made to that camera. Please correct me if I make any mistakes.
I hope to create a general summary of the a58's unique features.
With their SLT line of cameras, Sony has created a great alternative to Canon and Nikon that is genuinely different. Its fixed translucent mirror provides a number of special features
One large difference between the a58 and its competitors is its viewfinder. The a58 uses an electronic viewfinder which may not be as clear as an optical viewfinder, but it can show a very accurate preview of what a photo will look like. Stepping up from a point and shoot, I appreciate this feature. The EVF responds very fast so moving the camera creates very fluid natural movement on the EVF except during very low-light (Indoor at night with dim lighting).
As the camera has a translucent mirror, pictures can be taken using the LCD screen with full speed autofocus. This makes it easy to give the camera to a friend and not confuse them. On the d3200, using the screen will slow down the autofocus.
The screen also tilts up or down which I find very helpful and because using the LCD doesn't slow the autofocus as it does on other DSLR's, shooting from the waist is very easy. The d3200 has a fixed screen.
Image Quality: I cannot say that it is better or worse than its competitors. However, one big feature I appreciate is the multi-frame noise reduction / handheld twilight mode. This mode takes multiple photos and combines them to provide a better photo in low light. I have found that it works really well and I now use it all of the time when taking photos of non-moving subjects in poor lighting.
Note: handheld twilight is a scene mode and Multi-Frame Noise Reduction is considered an ISO setting.
The camera JPEG sharpening is a bit subdued which can be good or bad. I personally would like just a little bit more sharpening. This can be fixed in the camera settings.
Video : As video can use the faster phase-detection autofocus all the time, autofocus is very fast. You can also connect an external mic easily with the port on the side of the camera. (also on d3200) I can't really compare the video with anything else.
Image Stabilization: Image stabilization is built into the camera. This means that you can buy cheaper lenses and still have image stabilization. Nikon relies on each lens having image stabilization which can be expensive.
The a58 is rated to take over 700 shots and in my experience the battery will last through more than a whole day of shooting.
At 5fps with autofocus, the a58 is relatively fast. There is also a dedicated 8fps mode which crops some of the photo.
(d3200 burst rate is 4fps without autofocus)
Old lenses: The camera has a built in autofocus motor, so old minolta lenses can easily be used with autofocus. I bought a cheap zoom and I hope to buy a 50mm f1.7 in the future. The D3200 does not have an autofocus motor so many old Nikon lenses will not be able to autofocus.
Focus-peaking: Focus-peaking puts an outline around areas that have high contrast and are therefore in focus. This makes manual focus easier and it also works during video. The color and intensity of the focus-peaking can be changed. D3200 does not have this feature.
I love the grip on the a58. I consider it to be better than the one on the d3200 although this may just come down to personal preference.
Video: Video cannot be shot in 60 fps progressive even in 720p resolution so I can't turn movies into half speed slow motion. The d3200 can shoot 60fps in 720p.
Video is also missing manual audio control. In my opinion, the audio levels change too fast which makes music videos sound poor as the loud parts of songs sound about the same as the quite parts.
For some reason, video autofocus and manual control over shutter speed and/or aperture cannot be used at the same time.
Translucent mirror: Some of the light entering the camera is lost due to the translucent mirror, so if you often shoot in low light, this may be an issue.
Button layout: Some of Sony's button choices are a bit strange. They allow some buttons to be reprogrammed, but others cannot. For instance, there is a dedicated button for Sony's special digital zoom, a feature I never use except occasionally for video. This button cannot be changed. However, the ISO button next to it can be changed. Also, there is a button for picture effects. This picture effects buttons only works in Manual modes and video modes, but there is also a separate mode on the mode dial for picture effects. Why picture effects is important enough to have two physical spots is beyond me. HDR on the other hand has to be accessed through the function menu.
Switching between raw and JPEG can also be cumbersome on the camera.
No IR receiver for remote shutter release.
Viewfinder: EVF may not be as clear as an optical viewfinder.
Screen: screen is only 460K dots rather than the standard of over 900K dots like on the d3200. However, I find that the d3200 screen is less useful because it cannot articulate and using the screen to shoot pictures slows the autofocus.
The A58 screen is also less than 3 inches across which is a bit small.
Megapixels: 20.1 megapixels on a58 vs 24.2 on d3200. I would not use megapixels as a factor when comparing cameras, but I'll list this here.
a58 can record movies for 29 minutes instead of 20 on the d3200
The a58 has a plastic lens mount instead of a metal one, but it feels very solid.
I don't use sweep panorama, but it is included as a dedicated mode.
So overall, I would definitely recommend this camera. It is generally affordable, has many unique features, and its in-body image stabilization could save money down the line. It may not be the best for everyone due to its unique approach in viewfinder and for its other minor issues.
21 of 27 people found the following review helpful
on October 11, 2013
Style Name: w/ 18-55mmConfiguration: BaseVerified Purchase
This is a great camera. Don't worry about all the bs you are going to read about the plastic lens mount or the translucent mirror technology being worse than the floppy mirror of yesterday. It's been fairly easy to learn with and has been taking awesome photos right from the start. If you are just getting started and you are trying to pick between the canon, Nikon and Sony like I was, go with this camera. Great frame rate, great low light shooting. If you get a chance to get an extra lens do so. You will find Minolta Lenses online that work fine with the camera. I picked up a 50mm f1.7 for $60 and it is amazing with this camera. There is a. 70mm - 300 kit lenses that often comes with this in a package. Get that, it will help keep you from getting bored. The most important thing is to get out and press that button as much as you can, and certainly play with those manual settings. There is a lot of talk going back and forth about what camera is best to start on, and a lot of people will get caught up on things that don't mean much to beginners. Everything I was looking for in a camera, this one has. Don't waste time looking for the a57 which some of these whiners will tell you is better. Just buy the camera and enjoy it. If you turn out to be serious about the hobby, you will have a new higher grade camera as soon as you can afford one anyway. For the money, you can't go wrong.
EVF stands for electronic view finder and there is one on this camera and I find it to be fantastic. I love the ability to make my ISO and shutter speed changes and see the results in the view finder or the rear screen for that matter. If you are new to DSLR's you will love it, if you are a long time user of old DSLR's you will complain that its not better for a week and then realize you were wrong.
Still loving this camera. I don't leave manual settings anymore. I picked up a $79 Yongnuo YN 560 III flash which works fine with this camera. It is a manual flash but I dont mind, the alternative is a $400 $ony flash. the Yongnuo flash doesnt work with the A58's wireless like I was hoping, so I picked up the Yongnuo RF-603 C3 remote triggers for $35, you have to solder a resistor into these to get them to work on a Sony camera but that is very easy to do and there are directions online. Some of the directions tell you to take a cutting tool to the trigger body, you dont need to do that, just solder in the 120kohm resistor.
With the release of the A7 and A7R with the multi-interface shoe I'ld bet you will see some great stuff coming out in the next year, which makes buying this camera all the better.
I haven't had any issues with the plastic lens mount and I don't notice any issues with any photo brightness problems caused by the translucent mirror. Two things that so many other people had to complain about in other reviews. I doubt they own this camera, and if they did, they sent it back for ridiculous reasons. Yes it has a slightly smaller screen on the back.. big deal-- it doesn't make any difference to me and probably wont to you either. Im not watching amazon prime movies on it, Im not editing photos on it, I use the viewfinder way more than the rear screen and you probably will too.
camera is still awesome.. Kinda noisy at 3200 ISO, but you will find that with most of the smaller sensor cameras. NO WEAR at all on the plastic lens mount that every one had problems with .. no scratches on it.. NOTHING,, can't even tell a lens has been removed from it, and trust me I have been removing and putting on lenses a lot. Battery life is great for me.. Im not a pro, I have yet to get it under 60% on a single day of shooting.. the only problem I have right now is that the price is almost $200 less now than it was when I bought it.. you gotta buy this camera for that price.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on December 21, 2013
Style Name: w/ 18-55mmConfiguration: BaseVerified Purchase
We use this as an inexpensive camera for mobile shots and a Canon 5D for studio shots.
Excellent image quality and a great selection of lenses. The lens mount hasn't failed, and I imagine Sony knows how to engineer and test something like that.
If there was one thing I could change, it would be that the video quality, while excellent, would be better if it supported 1080p60 at higher bitrates, even if that was outside some arbitrary standard.
Otherwise, a great camera.