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SONY Alpha DSLR-A580

We haven't had a chance to fully test this product yet, but we've assembled this helpful overview of relevant information on it.

The Sony A580 is a 16.2 megapixel Digital SLR camera that comes with an APS-C size HD CMOS image sensor. It offers the ability to record video in full HD 1080i or in 720p in the MP4 format for internet use. You can check what your adjustments will do to the image using Live View on the 3 inch tiltable LCD screen. It has 7 fps continuous shooting with a high ISO sensitivity ranging from 100 to 12800. The camera has a built-in pop-up flash, HDMI port, and SteadyShot stabilization. There are slots for two kinds of media including Memory Stick Pro and SD/SDHC memory cards. There are several built-in modes like Sweep Panorama shooting and HDR image capture. It doesn’t weigh too much at 1.5 pounds.

Features List:

– 16.2 megapixel resolution

– APS-C size HD CMOS image sensor

– Record video in Full HD 1080i

– Live View

– 3 inch LCD screen

– 7 fps continuous shooting

– ISO 100 – 12800

– HDMI port

– Built-in pop-up flash

– Two kinds of memory slots

– HDR image capture

– Weighs 1.5 lbs

Digital Trends’ digital camera buying tips:

What are some basics I should look for?

Your new digital camera should have these key features:

  • At least a 6MP imaging device for a D-SLR
  • At least a 7MP imager for a point-and-shoot
  • Optical zoom of 3x, not just a digital zoom
  • The highest quality optics
  • A large LCD screen; the more pixels, the better the quality
  • The widest range for aperture (f/stops), shutter speed and ISO
  • An AF Illuminator or AF Assist mode for best flash shots in dim light
  • A variety of Scene Modes for more convenient shooting in a variety of situations
  • Make sure you do your own ergonomic hands-on test

How many megapixels do I need?

In 2000, the answer to this question was “more is always better.” In 2010, the answer is more likely “if you have to ask, you have enough.” Even the cheapest cameras these days typically pack eight or more megapixels onto a sensor, which produces superb 4 x 6 prints, all the way up to 8 x 10, and sometimes more. The physical size and quality of the image sensor along with the corresponding optics play a much bigger role in image quality than megapixels alone, so don’t be fooled into thinking more megapixels will produce better photographs. Unless you’re planning to blow up shots to poster or billboard size, any modern camera has enough resolution.
When you’re researching different cameras, manufacturers will state the maximum file (or picture) size you can take. In the case of a 6 megapixel (MP) camera, it’s 2816 horizontal pixels x 2112 vertical pixels, with 7MP it’s 3072 x 2304 and so on. Simply multiply the numbers and you get the effective resolution of the imaging device. We suggest you avoid anything less than 6 or 7MP at this point unless you’re looking for an inexpensive camera for the kids.
Pros have access to 21-megapixel imagers in very expensive D-SLRs. You don’t have to go this route or spend that much money for great everyday photos. However, 6MP should be your minimum and if you plan on making very large prints, such as 13x19s, or you feel you’re going to experiment cropping photos with imaging software, consider 8- or more megapixels. There are no hard and fast rules since so much depends on your final end use

Flexibility and Options: SLR or Point-n-Shoot?

Lens Flexibility: Point-and-shoot cameras offer a wide variety of zoom lenses from the basic 3x up to 26x. If you’re thinking compact, you have many options, but we recommend starting out with a basic wide-angle view (28mm or so) then multiplying that to your heart’s content. A 24x model like the Nikon Coolpix P90 even offers 28-624mm options so you can take nice group shots and zoom into subjects you can barely recognize. There are many small cameras with wide focal ranges that are easily toted around-a huge plus for point-and-shoots.

Contrastingly, DSLRs are far from compact and typically are supplied with a 3x kit lens. From there you can go crazy, spending a small fortune on interchangeable lenses. Canon and Nikon, the two biggest DSLR sellers by far, each have over 65 to choose from. And these lenses use finer glass than point-and-shoots, adding to overall quality advantage of DSLRs. The downside is that they are much heavier, bulkier and require at least a backpack to lug everything around. Still, for the professional or prosumer, DSLR is the natural fit.

Options: Most point-and-shoot digital cameras offer limited manual options for adjusting aperture (f/stops) and shutter speeds. Granted, the vast majority of amateur paparazzi out there couldn’t care less about this small range of potential adjustments, and will be perfectly happy firing away in Auto mode. But while DSLRs have Auto settings too, they also let you unleash your inner Annie Leibovitz by adjusting depth of field, blurring subjects and going wherever the creative muse takes you. If you’re looking to get more creative with photos, a DSLR is the right choice.

What Should I look for in an LCD Display?

Camera manufacturers market display size quite prominently because it’s easy to visualize, but other factors also come into play. Resolution (usually measured in the number of pixels, like 461K) will determine how clear the display looks, and brightness will help determine whether it gets washed out when shooting outdoors. An optical viewfinder makes a great backup when shooting with a less-than-ideal LCD.

LCD screens are measured diagonally and 2.5 inches is a common size. We prefer even larger ones, up to 3 inches. If your eyesight is a bit challenged, definitely look for a larger LCD. Screens are measured in pixels, just like image size. Again, the more pixels, the better the image you’ll see on screen.

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