In use, the Sony A58 is a relatively simple camera to use and benefits from a host of settings to hand should you need them. One slight grievance is Raw shooting – as with some previous Alpha models, you're limited by some of the shooting modes you can use when looking to capture Raw. For example, should you want to shoot any of the Picture Effects mode, the A58 simply won't let you, instead forcing you to shoot in JPEG only.
The screen is disappointing, too. The downgrade in size and resolution in comparison to its predecessor means that the Sony A58 now lags some way behind its rivals, such as the Canon EOS 650D and Nikon D3200. Not only that, but the new configuration of hinge means that, while it can be pulled away from the body, it doesn’t have the same range of movement as the A57.
Overall, the Sony A58 delivers reliable shots. The white balance system delivers consistent results and pleasing skin tones across a wide range of lighting conditions, and should you wish to alter the results in any way there are a host of presets to hand to help you. The exposure and metering system is also fairly reliable, and the slight tendency to under-expose is easily remedied with the camera’s exposure compensation.
Click the image above to see the gallery of full-res sample shots
The new 20.1MP sensor delivers an impressive amount of detail in comparison with its competing DSLRs. It’s worth noting, however, that to get the very best and sharpest results we recommend investing in another lens to replace the adequate, but not outstanding, supplied 18-55mm kit lens.
A side effect of this higher resolution is that the camera is likely to suffer with noise control at higher ISO settings, and unfortunately this is the case with the A58. Images are generally noise free at the lower settings, although luminance and colour noise becomes and issues at ISO 1600. The effect of noise increases therein, and we’d certainly think twice about shooting above ISO 6400.
The entry-level DSLR market is one of the most competitive in photography and, as a result, anything that a camera can do to stand out is more than welcome. Sony had achieved this with past SLT range cameras, but the Sony A58 is a step back. The full resolution continuous shooting rate of 5fps isn’t even best in class – other similar DSLRs shoot faster and maintain that speed for longer.
The Sony A58 is a decent camera, but it’s difficult to recommend it above several other models in a competitive market.