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Sony A58 - Design, Build Quality and Performance

By Phil Hall

Reviewed:

Summary

Our Score:

7

User Score:

Sony A58 – Design & Build Quality

The Sony A58 takes many of its design cues from its predecessor, the Sony A57. It has a large grip, complete with logical depressions where you can rest your middle and ring fingers, as well as a comfy location on the rear to do the same.

There’s a good selection of controls located around the body for quick access to key settings, such as ISO, drive mode and AF control. As well as these direct controls, a well-placed customisable 'Fn' is on hand for any function you want quick access to.

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The Sony A58's exterior is mostly plastic, although the grip is rubberised and thus provides an extra secure hold over the camera. It feels reassuringly solid, even if it lacks the ultimate strength of more expensive cameras with alloy-derived bodies.

The only issues with the Sony A58 build quality is its plastic, rather than metal, lens mount. Anyone who switches lenses often should think twice as the plastic mount is bound to wear faster than a metal one.

Sony A58 – Performance

SLT technology should outperform equivalent DSLR models when it comes to AF performance and continuous shooting, but in these categories the Sony A58 falls short. While it's handy to shoot at 8fps if needs be, the fact it’s only available with a heavy crop of the image and only for a burst of 19 frames, it's far from perfect. In JPEG mode, the Sony A58 only shoots for 10 frames at full resolution before it starts to slow, and this drops to just six frames when shooting Raw.

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AF performance, however, is impressive for a camera in this class. AF acquirement is prompt, it only hunts in low light conditions, and there's the added benefit of using the full 15-point phase-detect AF system in either Live View or video shooting, where rival models have to rely on a slower contrast-detect AF system.

As mentioned previously, the SLT technology also means that the Sony A58 incorporates an EVF as opposed to an optical viewfinder. It offers a 100% field of view as well as plenty of shooting info. While it generally performs well, it's worth noting it struggles to display the full amount of detail in areas of highlight and shadow due to its limited dynamic range

Kruger

May 9, 2013, 6:51 pm

Looks like the predecessor, the A57, was just too good for its price and actually performed better than the A65/A77 in certain areas (e.g. noise and in low-light), thanks to the 16.1 MP APS-C sensor. It was also ahead of Canon and Nikon's equivalents at the time. I'm glad I got the A57 before SONY decided to downgrade their successor. The A57 is a really good and snappy camera with fantastic video capabilities and I think it can be found at a very reasonable price since it's getting discontinued.

I just wish I used my A57 more often though. It's not a bulky camera by any means but I've been looking for a more compact camera when going to New York in summer. The new Fuji cameras could be a good option or even SONY's own RX100 might be a good choice.

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