Sony A580 review

As its best-specified APS-C DSLR, does the Sony A580 marry its competent feature set with commendable results?

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With a current Sony A580 price at around £650, it goes up against Nikon's D5000 and Canon's EOS 550D. In terms of specifications it presents a number of benefits over the former, with almost 4MP extra on its sensor, full HD recording, a faster burst rate and a larger, higher-resolution LCD screen.

Based on similar criteria the A580 arguably comes up a little short next to the EOS 550D, whose 18MP sensor and (slightly) more detailed LCD screen may be preferable, although its burst speed and fixed LCD may not be.

With regards to operation, the EOS 550D offers a similar set of controls on its rear to the Alpha 580, while the D5000 maintains the Nikon style of a column of buttons to the left of the LCD, and just a few around the rest of the camera. Which way is 'best' is down to personal preference, although direct access to controls is perhaps easiest on the Canon, with the Nikon and Sony requiring many changes to be made through each camera's respective graphic user interface.

The Sony A580 body is also both the bulkiest and weightiest of the three offerings, particularly when compared with the Canon EOS 550D. A heavier camera isn't always necessarily a disadvantage, however, as it can help to balance longer lenses. Plus, with image stabilisation incorporated in the Sony A580 body, it's worth bearing in mind that Sony's lenses don't require the extra size, weight or premium of image-stabilised lenses.

In addition to rival manufacturer's offerings, the Sony A580 also faces competition from its A560 launch partner, whose only real difference is its 14.2MP sensor, and there will also be competition between the Sony A580 vs A55 and A33 SLT models.

As the Sony A560 release is due in the coming months, it remains to be seen how much cheaper it will be against the Sony A580 price, although for those not needing the extra 2MP it may prove to be the more tempting proposition.

Tech Specs

Product TypeDigital SLR Camera with Lens
Battery Size SupportedProprietary Battery Size
Maximum Video Resolution1920 x 1080
Effective Camera Resolution16.2 Megapixel
Wide AngleNo
Product Familyalpha
HD Movie ModeYes
Memory Card SupportedSecure Digital (SD) Card, Secure Digital High Capacity (SDHC) Card, Secure Digital Extended Capacity (SDXC), Memory Stick Duo, Memory Stick PRO Duo, Memory Stick PRO-HG Duo
Image StabilizationOptical
Optical Zoom3x
Digital ZoomNo
Brand NameSony
FeaturesManual White Balance, Aperture Priority, External Flash Shoe, Continuous Shooting Mode, Face Detection, Live View
Screen Size7.6 cm (3")
Video FormatsMP4
Viewfinder TypeSLR
Weight (Approximate)599 g
Image Sensor Size23.50 mm x 15.60 mm
Maximum Image Resolution4912 x 3264
Display Screen TypeLCD
Height104 mm
Width137 mm
Depth84 mm
Focal Length18 mm to 55 mm (Lens 1)
Image FormatsRAW, JPEG
Focus ModesAuto, Manual
ManufacturerSony Corporation
Product ModelDSLR-A580
Product Namealpha DSLR-A580 Digital SLR Camera
Product Linealpha
Exposure Control
  • Program Auto
  • Shutter Priority
  • Aperture Priority
  • Manual
Aspect Ratio16:9
Manufacturer Part NumberDSLRA580L.CEH
Manufacturer Website Address
Marketing Information

Step up to new levels of DSLR refinement and performance. Enjoy all the freedom of Quick AF Live View shooting plus speedy responses, generous creative options and extremely high quality, low noise Full HD video and still images.

Package Contents
  • alpha DSLR-A580 Digital SLR Camera
  • SAL-1855 Lens
  • NP-FM500H Battery
Limited Warranty1 Year