Expert Review of Sony Alpha SLT-A58K DSLR 18-55 mm Black
Sony SLT A58K SLR camera comes with a 20.1 megapixels Exmor R CMOS type APS-C sized sensor and features ISO sensitivity range from 100 to 16000. The specs array also includes BIONZ image processor for better photos in low light conditions. The camera includes a mechanism for countering any type of camera shake by moving the sensor through SteadyShot Inside. Sony’s translucent mirror technology means the device uses a transparent mirror with different autofocus sensor that enables the continuous autofocus such that the mirror does not move when you are taking photos. With use of mirror technology, the camera does not feature optical viewfinder like other DSLRs, yet uses an EVF. This model flaunts a 1.44 million dots OLED viewfinder, a 2.7 inches wide 460k dots monitor and an eye-detection sensor. The auto object framing feature enables the camera to frame portraits by itself, crop, create macros or AF tracking, while retaining the original image.
This features an update to the auto-portrait function that came on previous models and can be switched off whenever needed. The Lock on AF is a new feature that detects the size of the subject and tracks its movement accordingly. The 20.1 megapixels sensor offers an ISO range of 100 to 16000 and the enhanced low light performance comes from area based noise cut. Sony Alpha A58K comes with a new kit lens, Sony DT f/3.5-5.6 18-55mm SAL18552, which has been worked up to suppress ghosting and flare. The mechanical elements have been updated for positive and comfortable operation. The detail and colours are good enough and Sony SLT A58K SLR generates images with rich saturated colors. The performance of the flash is good and there is no red-eye in the portrait pic that are taken with flash.
The panorama shoot mode allows you to pan the camera while you hold the shutter release button and then, it automatically stitches the photos to deliver decent results. The Auto white balance performance is good and the device performs well under tungsten lighting conditions with results that are slightly warm with the tungsten preset giving results that are even more precise. The Auto white balance performance for fluorescent lighting is similarly good. The preset for the same gives cold images. Every white balance preset can be customized further and alternatively, you can make use of the manual white balance to get accurate results. After you have shot JPEG shots, 8 shots in number to speak in continuous shoot mode, the camera slows down from 2 to 3fps.
The high speed burst mode over the dial shoots at 8fps at a cropped resolution of 4 megapixels, and after 15 shots, slows down to 5fps. The camera also offers a number of picture effects and creative styles wherein, the creative style allows you to setup and customize saturation, sharpness and contrast. The device, Sony SLT A58K SLR, offers 8 scene modes including handheld twilight mode that takes shots in quick succession and joins them for an impressive shot.
Design and Build Quality
Sony SLT A58K SLR, should you notice, seems to have followed in the footsteps of many Sony Alpha and NEX cameras in terms of design concepts. It features an even better ISO standard flash hot shoe along with multi-terminal Ni accessory port. An adapter to turn it back into old style Sony flash mount can be used, if needed. At the front portion, a shutter release button is used to control the wheel for managing shutter or adjusting the aperture depending on the mode one is in. A moulded front grip allows for good level of resistance since it is made of rubber. At the rear, there is a decent textured thumb grip, which made of mere plastic. The EVF, electronic viewfinder, is of the same resolution as that of Sony Alpha A57. Though a new model consists of OLED viewfinder than LCD, its display is good enough.
At the back, there are buttons such as video, AEL, FN, exposure, AEL and HELP. Also, the 4 way controller and the middle AF button are present wherein, the 4 way controller allows for quick access to WB, Drive, DISP and creative shoot effects. Moreover, below the camera, you use tripod socket. There is a compartment for battery and memory card, which can be accessed from the side. The lens mount is made of plastic while some previous models, A57 and A37, offered metal lens mount. Now, this is the front portion, where even the back portion is also plastic built. You can change the lenses easily though and when the lenses are taken out and the camera is viewed, the appearance gives the feel of a slightly unfinished design job.
Focus and Face Detection
Sony SLT A58K SLR comes with the following focus modes - Face detection, spot, autofocus tracking, manual, multi, centre and autofocus.
Lens and Image Stabilization
Sony SLT A58K SLR comes with an 18-55mm SAL lens that shows a lot of barrel distortion at the wide-angle, 18mm end. This can be corrected within the camera via the use of compensation correction that is built in the device itself. Also, with this correction feature, you can correct shading, distortion and chromatic aberration. The dynamic range of the lens is impressive and comes with a number of options to extend the range with DRO or HDR where DRO stands for dynamic range optimization and HDR stands for high dynamic range. This takes a number of shots at different exposures and combines them. Some purple fringing can be observed when chromatic aberration is off. The lens is resistant to flare and a good amount of detail can be seen at the corners with images benefitting from sharpening. As far the image stabilization is concerned, you get SteadyShot Inside as the image stabilization sensor.
Screen and Menus
Sony SLT A58K SLR offers easy to use menus and menu systems that are cleanly laid out and a number of settings on screen can be set using the Function button. The camera sports a 2.7 inches wide monitor with 460k dots resolution. If you view it from different angles, the view is not commendable.
Sony SLT A58K SLR comes rated with around 700 shots as per Sony/CIPA testing results. The battery life is slightly longer when you use the LCD monitor. The rechargeable battery is called infolithium NP-FM500H.
Sony SLT A58K SLR catches Full HD videos in continuous AF. This means that you can avail of continuous autofocus via optical zoom while catching the video. There is a wind noise filter, optical steady shot as hinted and a number of options for compression of videos like MP4, 25p, 50i and AVCHD. The ISO setting can be set to a maximum of ISO3200 for recording videos. There is also a mic socket for recording audio. Full HD videos can be shot in the frame size of 1920 x 1080 pixels and also, one can choose VGA recording with a frame size of 640 x 480 pixels.
Sony SLT A58K SLR offers an Exmor CMOS type APS-C sized 20.1 megapixels sensor. The width of the pixels is 5456mm and height is 3632mm. The aspect ratios used are 3:2 and 16:9. The width of the sensor is 23.5mm and height is 15.6mm. The ISO sensitivity range begins from ISO100 and goes up to ISO16000. Normally, till ISO400, the noise is low and some noise becomes visible at ISO800. You can see minor loss in detail at ISO1600, though the noise is slow. At ISO3200, the noise increases and detail drowns. At ISO6400, more noise is added and detail is reduced, though still some of the resultant images can be used. Above this level, 12800 and 16000ISOs are better avoided since they do not offer acceptable image qualities.
Sony SLT A58K SLR produces good image quality
Well-lit color saturation
You can avail of focus peaking in manual focus
Battery life is impressive
Burst mode shoot speed is of 5fps
You get value for money
The bundle comes with a wide strap
Comes with a plastic lens mount and the appearance of it could make people take off their eyes from the device easily
You can see strong barrel distortion at the wide-angle end
2.7 inches wide screen is low in contrast
The burst mode speed is 8fps at 5 megapixels resolution
Warranty is of 1 year