Consolidating Sony’s entry-level SLT line-up, the Alpha 58 replaces both the Alpha 37 and Alpha 57. Phil Hall finds out how successful the merger has been. Read the Sony Alpha 58 review...
Sony Alpha 58 review – Build and handling
While the exterior construction of the Alpha 58 is predominantly plastic, it is more than satisfactory for the job, though it’s a little disappointing to see a plastic lens mount replacing the more durable metal lens mount found on the majority of DSLRs – including the Alpha 57.
Otherwise, the exterior design of the Alpha 58 is pretty much identical to that of the Alpha 57. In the hand, and thanks to a substantial grip with a pleasing rubberised surface that features depressions for both middle and ring fingers, it provides a comfortable grip and is probably the best in its class.
Overall, the Alpha 58 is fairly straightforward and quick to use. This is in part thanks to the selection of body-mounted controls that provide quick access to ISO, exposure compensation, drive mode and AF. An Fn button is also present, which offers further access to other key shooting controls, while navigation of the camera’s interface is carried out via the four-way D-pad on the rear.
One annoyance concerns raw shooting, which, as with previous Alpha models, is restricted by some of the camera’s modes – for instance, its not possible to shoot with any of the picture effects when shooting raw + JPEG. It would seem that the Alpha 58 simply wants the user to shoot JPEG-only. A warning pops up on screen, but it can only be changed manually by going through the main menu. This is a little frustrating, given that rival models are happy to shoot in similar modes to produce an altered JPEG file and an untouched raw file that can be revisited later.
Shooting at full resolution, the Alpha 58 is capable of shooting 10 JPEGs or 6 raw files at a maximum burst rate of 5fps – however, even with the Alpha 58’s increased resolution over previous models, we would have expected longer bursts than this, while in Tele-zoom Continuous Advance Priority AE mode at 8fps, the Alpha 58 is only capable of producing a burst of 19 frames before it slows down.