Excerpt: We review the Sony 580, an entry-level DSLR that may by Sony's last conventional SLR It isn't outside the realm of possibility that the Alpha 580 will be Sony’s last ‘conventional’ digital SLR. With the translucent-mirror system used in its A33, A55 and recently-announced A35 gaining popularity, there is a distinct possibility that the Alpha DSLR range will be phased out in favour of its DSLT range.
Summary: The Sony DSLR-A580 is an excellent all-round performer but also offers a range of innovative features. It's a great alternative to more 'traditional' DSLRs and Sony's unique dual live view system makes it the ideal compromise for those who like the option of shooting in live view but can't or don't want to live without an optical viewfinder.
Pros: Good detail and color at lower sensitivities, Consistently reliable metering and AF, High ISO JPEG output usable up to ISO 12800 for smaller prints, Low shadow noise levels at lower sensitivities, Good dynamic range, Good quality 1080p full-HD video output, 7 fps continuous shooting, Good handling, decent sized comfortable grip, Multi-frame noise-reduction useful for static subjects, HDR and sweep panorama modes are fun to use and produce attractive results, External ...
Cons: Quite aggressive noise reduction from ISO 1600 upwards, Limited control over high ISO noise reduction in JPEG mode ('auto' or 'weak'), Limited control in movie mode, Occasionally unreliable white balance in low artificial light, Limited customization (compared to peers), No program shift, Face detection AF works only with faces that are close to an AF-sensor in the frame, Protruding LCD screen not ideal for photographers with glasses, Awkward to navigate between still...
Conclusion: The Sony Alpha DSLR-A580 is the only digital SLR that can deliver beautiful images and blazing fast autofocus whether you're framing your shots with the optical viewfinder, or with the LCD in Live View mode. Video-capture options are a bit limited, though.
Pros: Beautiful still image and video quality. Fast auto-focus with optical viewfinder or in Live View mode. Articulating LCD. Innovative in-camera software for noise reduction, HDR, and panoramic photos.
Cons: Manual focus-only video recording. No control over shutter speed while recording video. Limited selection of video modes.
Summary: In an age of making minor adjustments to cameras between generations and repackaging the results as a new model Sony has made the A580 a perfect example of choice for choice's sake. The differences between this model and the A55 are as minor as the change in mirror type would allow, although it's understandable that a number of consumers wouldn't immediately trust the technology.
Conclusion: The fine results which may be obtained from its video function also score it a few extra points, too, although anyone looking for a capable video-shooting camera should also add Sony's SLT A33 and Alpha 55 to their shortlist, both of which use the same Alpha mount as the Sony A580. While not strictly DSLRs in themselves, the fluid autofocusing available during video recording make them better suited where manual control isn't likely to be used.
Summary: It is easy to see why the Alpha 580 slipped under the radar while the Alpha 55 grabbed most of the attention. While in reality the key functions are all much alike, the Alpha 55 edges the Alpha 580 on more counts. The Alpha 55 is smaller, lighter, offers a faster frame rate and its SLT technology boasts quicker AF.
In its own right, the Alpha 580 is likely to please amateur photographers.
Excerpt: By way of comparison here we have a standard DSLR from Sony . The A580 comes without GPS but with traditional internal mirror mechanism, fielding the same core sensor as the A55 with 16.2-megapixel effective resolution plus 15-point auto-focus system. Unsurprisingly the control layout and positioning is very similar, yet the A580 is noticeably chunkier and weightier, and its thicker ‘bezel’ flip-out-and-twist 3in LCD is presented in 3:2 aspect ratio rather than the A55’s...
Excerpt: The Sony A580 replaces the A550 as the new flagship model in the A5- series of Sony DSLR cameras, with the cheaper 14 megapixel A560 sitting below it, which offers a lower-resolution 14 megapixel sensor. The two cameras are otherwise identical, so most of the comments that we make about the A580 apply equally to the A560.
Excerpt: In the five years since Sony's Alpha range was conceived, the camera market has changed decidedly. Notably, the addition of mirrorless models to many manufacturers' stables has provided an alternative means of achieving high-quality results in a small-format body.