This is a great camera.
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.
Great Camera for a Great Price.
**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.
Easy To Overlook
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...
Superb entry level camera
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.
Sample images, Outstanding Quality!!
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 OnlineShopDealer 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: "OnlineShopDealer 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.
Your problems are solved.
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 onlineshopdealer 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.
Great camera, SteadyShot Inside is the ultimate feature, 1080i60 is the main downside
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.
Excellent camera, especially in consideration of price.
I bought this camera as a second camera to take along when I do not want to change lenses constantly. I also have an Alpha 65. I upgraded from an older Alpha 200. It is great to pair a 8 to 16mm or 70-300mm with a 17 - 50mm.
I could not be more happy with my purchase. Incredible quality and features for the price. The EVF is indispensable, probably one on my favorite features (100% coverage, focus check, DOF check, real time histogram before you take the shot, etc.). In camera HDR is excellent. Hand Held Twilight/ multi frame noise reduction also are excellent in the correct situations (providing extremely high light sesitivity with low noise for non-moving subjects). Yes, the sensor starts to get noisy at 1600 ISO, but is easily useable up to 6400 with good raw processing. I can not notice any difference between the 24 MP sensor in the alpha 65 and the 20 MP sensor in this camera.
I would not worry about the slightly smaller LCD or plastic lens mounting plate (durability can be superior depending on the material used).
I have read a few negative reviews of this camera, most complaining about a missing feature or the smaller LCD. I do not believe any other camera can match these features at this price, especially if you subtract the value of the kit lens that comes with it. If you are looking for a more upscale camera with all the features, there are many cameras from $1000 to $2000 price range that may fit the bill.
Conclusion after 1 week of use...
The "upgrade" that you would imagine the A58 is over the A57 is all but that. Be sure to compare features carefully before you purchase because there are definitely differences between the A57 and the A58 and not all of them are better on the A58.
The viewfinder and LCD screen are smaller than they could be (A57 is 3 inches and A58 is only 2.7 inches). Speed and performance have taken a hit with the increased resolution as well. However, it still compares well feature-wise with its rivals but with a lower price. It can't quite match the quality and performance of the Pentax K-30.
However, if you want an SLR-like camera but also want live view, video autofocus and lots of interesting shooting modes, the A58 is an excellent choice.
A General Bargain
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.