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
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.