Sony SLT-A58 : entry level translucent mirror DSLR

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The electronic viewfinder DSLR Sony SLT-A58 does not replace the SLT-A57 in Sony’s digital SLR range.  The new Sony SLT-A58 is based on the new APS-C CMOS sensor of 20.1 megapixels. Its sensitivity ranges from ISO 100 to 16,000 and it gets a sensor shift image stabilization. The camera itself offers the image stabilization which makes it unnecessary to buy stabilized lenses and you can therefore benefit of the image stabilization with all lenses you may have already. The latest generation of Sony Alpha cameras fight on the velocity. This is also the case of the Sony SLT-A58, to a lesser extent compared to the SLT-A57. It offers burst shooting rate of 8 fps. Its autofocus system has 15 sensors, can track a moving subject. The 3 center sensor are cross type ones for better sensitivity.

In video mode, no 1080p high frequency on the Sony Alpha 58, but 1080i “only”. The video is recorded in 1920 x 1080 pixels at 50i or 25p. The autofocus is active full time while filming video thanks to the translucent mirror technology, SLT. The movies are encoded in AVCHD and MP4, more flexible, can be accessed but only at 1440 x 1080 pixels. The lack of progressive scan 50p / 60p could suggest that the video mode of this DSLR is somehow restrained, however, the camera offers the pleasure of a microphone input to capture audio with an external microphone of better quality.

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The SOny SLT-A58 gets a tiltable rear screen.

 

The Sony SLT-A58 is as feature-rich as other high-end Sony cameras with Superior auto mode that complements the Intelligent Auto mode by combining multiple exposures to create an HDR scene when shooting a too contrasted scene, to denoise an image in low light and at high ISO setting, etc.. scene mode allows access to the adapated parameters for portrait, landscape, macro, sunset, night portrait, night snapshot handheld and the SLT-A58 creative modes allow for example to soften a portrait, boost colors for a landscape or to reproduce the warm tons of a sunset and to shoot in black and white mode. In parallel, it offers artistic filters like color pop photo, retro look that will give a vintage Instagram photo look, toy camera, miniature, etc.. The Sony SLT-A58 benefits from the D-Range Optimizer that enlightens dense shadows and preserve the highlights. The system is adjustable on five power levels. The swipe panoramic photo is also there and I love this feature which appeared on Sony cameras in 2010 with the Cyber-shot DSC-HX5V.

The Sony SLT-A58 is equipped with a built-in flash which provides a guide number of 10. It is compatible with the flash metering system developed at the time by Minolta, called ADI, which takes into account the focus distance of the subject to dose the power of the strobe.

 

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As a translucent mirror technology digital SLR, the Alpha 58 / SLT-A58 gets a full time autofocus in video mode. The SLT-A58 inherits of the 16MP APS-C sensor quite wellkokwn now.

 

Like all Sony DSLR of the SLT line, the Alpha 58 is equipped with an electronic viewfinder. This is an OLED display officiating here. It is complemented by a 3″ Xtra Fine LCD screen with a relatively modest definition of 460,800 dots. The screen is tiltable 135° up and 55° down. The viewfinder as the screen can display a grid as a composition assistance to meet the rule of thirds, an artificial horizon, or a histogram to check the exposure of the photo. Like the NEX-6 I tested last week (stay around for the Sony NEX-6 review very soon), the Sony SLT-A58 has the ability to display the image in the viewfinder at the same time as other shooting information on the rear display. This type of dual display is very interesting on the field.

The Sony SLT-A58 weighs 492 g without battery nor memory card. Its battery life is 700 photos. It is equipped with a micro USB port (2.0), a mini HDMI Type D connector and a microphone input. It is sold €550 body only and $750 with the 18-55mm lens. The camera is confirmed in Europe but not yet for America.


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