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.
Being no stranger to innovation itself, Sony has made its contribution with its NEX mirrrorless system and its unique SLT models, yet the four Alpha DSLRs also announced in the past year should alleviate any fears of it abandoning its original system in their favour.
Despite this, the similarities between all three of its systems and the company's Cyber-shot range of compacts aren't difficult to spot. With the same innovations eventually filtering from one system to another, the A580 isn't too great a surprise in what it offers, nor does it particularly break new technological ground.
Even so, its position in the Alpha DSLR line up places it just below Sony's full-frame Alpha 850, so it arrives with a healthy feature set and some interesting inclusions. Much is expected if it is to compete with recent APS-C offerings from the likes of Canon and Nikon. So, how does it do?