The Sony A58 is Sony’s new entry-level DSLR. It replaces two cameras, the Sony A37 and Sony A57 as Sony looks to simplify its camera range for 2013. It has a 2.7-inch, tilting display and supports 1080p HD video recording. At launch it’s available for around £500.
The Sony A58 sees a range of updates from its main predecessor, the A57, the main one being the sensor. The Sony A58 sensor has the same core elements, an Exmor APS HD CMOS unit, but it now has a 20.1MP resolution instead of 16.1MP. It combines with a BIONZ processor that Sony claims individually adjusts levels of noise reduction across the image, improving performance across the 100-16000 ISO range.
The Sony A58 has a 15-point autofocus (AF) system that includes three cross-type points for more sensitive AF detection. It also benefits from a new 'Lock-on Autofocus' technology that should offer both faster and more accurate AF performance.
As is the case with all new Sony DSLRs, the Sony A58 uses Sony's translucent mirror technology (SLT). It’s a fixed, semi-transparent mirror that replaces the traditional mirror of a DSLR.
One consequence is the Sony A58 has an electronic viewfinder (EVF), rather than an optical one. It retains the same 1.44m-dot resolution as the A57, and now incorporates OLED Tru-Finder technology to reduce power consumption. One benefit of the EVF is that it offers a 100% field of view, something that equivalent DSLRs rarely match.
If you’d rather shoot on the Sony A58’s LCD screen, you might be interested to know that the version found on the rear of the A58 is smaller than that on the A57 – down to 2.7-inch and 460k-dots from 3-inch and 921k-dots.
Another benefit of the SLT technology is the promise of fast burst modes, even in entry-level models. The Sony A58 offers an impressive headline speed of 8fps, although this is in a cropped mode that uses only a small amount of the sensor. If you want to shoot at full resolution you'll have to make do with a rate of 5fps.
One of the interesting new features is the new Auto Object Framing technology that arrives to supplement the Auto Portrait Framing feature added last year. The new technology judges everything in a scene and then tracks, frames and crops the shot to create what Sony is labelling a 'professionally-framed composition' while then being boosted back to the camera's native resolution using Sony's By Pixel Super Resolution technology.