Sony A58 Camera Review: Inimitable choice of amateurs
Over the last few decades, the camera industry has experienced a drastic change or I can say a significant transformation in its technology. It was the time in the way back 1990s and in early 200s that we used to have reel (roll) camera. In those cameras, reel film was used and we can snap only a few pictures and we have to take negatives of it. These cameras were often quoted as “the journey from reel to the real world”. I can still remember the time when I (actually my parents) used have a Kodak reel camera.
Now as 21st-century progress, the digital technology has comprehended camera industry as well and now almost all the companies have come up with their SLRs (single lens reflex) and DSLRs (digital single lens reflex). So we can we have high megapixels, we can click as many pictures as we can and in high definition. Similarly, during these years many companies emerge and some disappear also. But market leaders remained in the top positions among the DSLR and mirror-less segments. These market leaders are Nikon, Canon and Sony.
Sony SLT-A58 or Sony A58 camera:
Despite the fact that DSLRs have taken photography to the next level, Sony has made an attempt to counter DSLR with its SLT series cameras. Originally, Sony offers a wide range of digital cameras under the brand name – Cybershot (point-n-shoot). It is also true that entry-level DSLR market is the most competitive market, hence something which can create a difference was needed. This difference was filled by Sony, by launching its SLT (single lens-translucent) cameras in 2006. The SLT camera was branded as alpha series and Sony SLT-A58K Digital SLR
is one of its product. Since then, Sony’s camera business has shown an exponential growth and better competition to Nikon and Canon. Henceforth, its SLT have gained the popularity among both the amateurs and professionals.
Talking about Sony A58 or A58K: It is a mid-range SLT camera which was introduced in March-2013. Basically, it came up with an advanced (upgraded) feature of 20MP sensor technology and has replaced both previous A37 and A57 cameras. The reason behind replacing these cameras was that it came up with a new feature called OLED viewfinder. Also, it has a new lock-on focus mode and auto-object framing mode which is an upgrade to previous cameras. Furthermore, the letter A in A58 stands for A-mount technic. Moreover, the camera has a tiltable 2.7″ LCD screen which allows it to capture photographs at different angles. I was more satisfied with the thing that the camera is accompanied with 2 lenses: 18-55mm lens and Sony 55-200mm f/4-5.6 Telephoto Zoom Lens . There are a lot of things to tell you about the camera but first I have to tell you the difference between SLT and DSLR.
SLT and DSLR:
First, let’s see how DSLR camera functions: DSLR camera uses a mechanical mirror system to reflect the image obtained to the viewfinder. When the shutter button is pressed, the mirror allows light from the lens to enter the camera sensor. Actually, there occurs a movement of mirror system when the shutter is pressed and when exposure is captured. During this system the light reaching the auto-focus system is great.
Now, when it comes to SLT camera: Camera does not have a mirror to relay the image, but, it has an electronic viewfinder which takes the image to the camera sensor. The purpose of the translucent mirror is to detect the auto-focusing. This translucent mirror is kept in front of the sensor to allow the light to enter the sensor all the time. Moreover, due to the translucent mirror, the movement and shaking problem which the mechanical mirror in DSLR creates is eliminated. Hence, the weight of the camera is reduced and the camera can capture a number of images more significantly.
But the biggest problem in SLT camera is, the absence of optical viewfinder as the light reaching the camera sensor is relatively less than the DSLR. But nevertheless, in the low light conditions, its ISO settings and constant focusing ability have easily solved this problem. However, the last thing which I still feel is that if your a DSLR user or DSLR lover you might find difficult to work with SLT cameras. The manual settings are so different from Nikon and Canon DSLRs.
A short guide to Sony A58:
- Body type: Plastic body
- Resolution: 20.1 MP
- Sensor size: APS-C sized CMOS sensor
- ISO range: 100-16000
- Shutter speed: 1/4000 to 30 sec
- Screen: 2.7″ LCD tiltable screen
- Focus points: 15 points
- Battery life: 690 shots
- Flash: Built-in-flash, 10.00 m
- Continous shooting: 8fps shooting
- Video shooting: 1080/60i and 1080/24p video in both AVCHD and Mpeg formats
- Autofocus system: 15-point phase-detection autofocus system
- Viewfinder: High-resolution OLED Tru-Finder
- Audio format: Dolby Digital (AC-3)
Pros and cons of Sony A58:
Since some of the pros and cons are discussed under the heading of “SLT and DSLR” so others pros and cons are listed as:
- Awe-inspiring image quality
- Ability to functions best in low light conditions
- Excellent battery life
- High video quality
- fast auto-focusing
- Plastic lens mount
- Little hard to understand its manual mode
- Slower burst shooting rate
- Not suitable in tough conditions (no environment sealing)
Performance of Sony SLT-A58:
As I had purchased this camera directly from the Sony store that’s why I could clearly validate the performance of Sony SLT-A58 as said by the company. So let’s see in brief what I got from it.
Since the basic aim of Sony-Alpha range is to compete with DSLRs and to provide a significant difference from Nikon and Canon cameras. That’s why it does not have a mirror system, but still, it is heavier than and looks similar to DSLRs (for example Nikon D3300 and Canon EOS 700D). This is what we see in SLT-A58. It is made up of a hard plastic camera accompanied with an amazing grip to handle. Similarly, the shape is quite larger and heavier than DSLRs of Nikon and Canon. The controls are also quite similar to Nikon and Canon DSLRs. However, there are some differences like in using manual mode and some modes are different. According to me, I found a little difficult to adjust manual settings.
For instances, if we talk about autofocus (AF) modes; there are three autofocus modes: Single-shot AF, Automatic focus and Continuous focus mode. Its AF works well in best light conditions but it is quite difficult to set in low light conditions. Moreover, since the camera uses 15-point AF system, it is capable to shoot at 8fps, giving it one of the fastest burst rates. Again, it gives us an option of digital zooming which is absent in DSLRs.
The fun of having this camera:
The control ring which accompanies different modes is exceptional. This is because, the camera has separate modes like landscape, portrait, night, manual, panorama and some funky and cartoonish modes which I didn’t find so easily in Nikon/Canon cameras. However, describing performance furthermore, switching between modes, for example, from manual to landscape or portrait; the camera performance lags. It takes more seconds than DSLRs.
Talking about time performance:
The opening and closing timing of camera is quite slow. It takes nearly 2-3 seconds to start-up or shutdown which is really slow in comparison to DSLRs. However, the shutter lag time is excellent (0.13 sec) hence, we can take the photo quickly. So, according to me, it might be possible to miss some photographic shots (example, in case of wildlife or instant shots). But in broader respect, we don’t bother about these timings.
Talking about the price of Sony A58, it currently costs $350. And in Indian Rupees, it cost around Rs. 40,000/-
Some shots from Sony SLT-A58:
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Flower and macro photography:
Here, in the following pictures, I have used 18mm-55mm wide lens and used macro close-up (zoom) x10 lens for macro-photography. Just have a look at it and if you like it then please comment your views.
In the end, I would like to say that Sony has brought its alpha range cameras in the market to bring a transformation in camera industry and to bring something different from DSLRs. And according to me, by seeing the results which I got while travelling, I can conclude that one can rely totally on Sony SLT-A58 and can test it. Sony A58 is one of the best-suited cameras for amateur photographers.
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