Sony Alpha A580 Brief Review

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REVIEW SUMMARY

Specifications

  • 16.7 megapixels
  • EXMOR CMOS sensor
  • In-body optical image stabilization
  • 3-inch articulating LCD
  • 7fps burst shooting
  • 15-point phase-detection autofocus
  • ISO 100-12,800 (25,600 extended)
  • 1080p HD video mode (AVCHD/Motion JPEG)
  • JPEG + RAW formats
  • Sony A-mount, Konica-Minolta AF-mount
  • Captures to SD/SDHC/SDXC and Memory Stick Pro Duo media cards
  • Rechargeable lithium-ion battery
  • Release Date: 2011-01-15
  • Final Grade: 89 4.45 Star Rating: Recommended

4.45 Star Rating: Recommended

Sony Alpha A580
16.7 megapixels; EXMOR CMOS sensor; In-body optical image stabilization; 3-inch articulating LCD; 7fps burst shooting; 15-point phase-detection autofocus; ISO 100-12,800 (25,600 extended); 1080p HD video mode (AVCHD/Motion JPEG); JPEG + RAW formats; Sony A-mount, Konica-Minolta AF-mount; Captures to SD/SDHC/SDXC and Memory Stick Pro Duo media cards; Rechargeable lithium-ion battery
By , Last updated on: 9/29/2014

The A580 is a mid-range consumer dSLR with a handful of intriguing features, including 15-point autofocus, articulating LCD, and 1080p HD video. It was released alongside Sony’s headline-grabbing A55 SLT and may be the last conventional dSLR Sony produces. Although larger than the A55, the A580 has better handling and a true optical viewfinder. If you dislike the A55’s electronic viewfinder but like the Sony Alpha system, this is your next best option, and it even has some en vogue features like iSweep panorama, 3D panorama, and HDR. 

The A580 also manages to churn out an impressive 7fps burst mode, quite good for a mid-range traditional dSLR. Noise performance is actually slightly better than the A55 and comparable to the competition, although JPEGs are on the smeary side. Video is full 1080p but is crippled by a lack of autofocus. While a solid choice for enthusiasts, the A55 is the Sony Alpha to beat at this price point. In the grander scheme of mid-range dSLRs, we prefer a number of other models over this one, notably the Pentax K-r. It's not a bad camera; we just think that there are better options out there, all tings considered.

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Sony Reviews

Sony has been at the forefront of the market for consumer electronics for the past 30 years by offering innovative imaging products in response to changes in the market. Sony has made cameras that are ideal for casual users, hobbyists, and professional photographers through their dedication to implementing the most current technology with a sleek and minimal style, resulting in an end result of the highest quality.

Sony was the first to put a full-frame sensor inside of a mirrorless camera, the A7 and A7R, and a little later, the A7S. While the first-of-its-kind cameras aren't without flaws, Sony executed their ideas fairly well and made some pretty solid cameras to start the new line.

Speaking of first-of-its kind, Sony also designed a “camera-without-a-camera,” the QX10 and QX100. These cameras have a sensor and lens, but no operating system—instead, consumers use their smartphone via wi-fi or NFC to operate the camera. While the cameras certainly have flaws (mainly in the slow response due to operating through wi-fi), we still have to applaud Sony for the way they've responded to the rise in smartphone photography (plus the cameras have actually sold remarkably well).

Sony has also been highly successful with the RX compact camera line that began with the RX100, a compact camera with a 1” sensor, excellent image quality and full manual modes. The camera has since seen some solid updates, and remains a good option. Sony also added the RX10, a camera with a 1” sensor but instead of focusing on compact size, adds a much bigger zoom.

While their focus is on more advanced models, it’s usually a pretty safe bet to pick up a Sony compact, even a budget priced one, and still get a lot of bang for your buck. We're also big fans of Sony's designs, making their cameras easy to use and adjust, like the HX400 that has an automatic sensor on the electronic viewfinder as well as a control ring around the lens.

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