Sony's New SLT-A58 Could be a Step Backwards

A couple of days back, I wrote that Sony had announced their replacement for the SLT-A57. Called the SLT-A58, it initially looked as if the camera was made just for me! But, as official specs come forward, it appears that the camera could be a bit of a disappointment, as compared to the current model. While the SLT-A58 gains the OLED EVF found on the higher-end SLT-A65, SLT-A77 and SLT-A99 models, and gets a resolution boost and slightly improved autofocus system, Sony have chosen to reduce specs in other areas.

Most notably, the rear LCD screen has been reduced from a 3", 921,600 pixel display to a 2.7", 460,000 pixel screen. Even my entry-level SLT-A35 has the better 3" "XtraFine Tru-Black" display.

The screen isn't the only downgrade, either. Here are a few other highlights -- or rather, lowlights:

  • The new camera forgoes Sony's traditional metal lens mount in favor of composite plastic.
  • Auto Exposure Bracketing is reduced from +/- 3 stops to +/- 2.
  • Continuous frame rate is reduced to 5fps at full resolution.
  • While the Sweep Panorama mode is retained, there is no mention of the Dynamic Range Optimization and in-camera HDR functions.

Based on pre-order pricing at B&H Photo and Adorama, it looks as if the price will be very similar to the SLT-A57. This for a camera that is, in some ways, a step backwards even from the previous entry-level models. This is not to say that there are not some very nice improvements to the camera. Sony's new continuous autofocus enhancements are exciting, and the OLED viewfinder is a really big deal.

But...

Sony is making the SLT-A57 body available at a stupid-low price, and I'm thinking that I may want to find a way to pick one up before they're gone, or be prepared to either be disappointed or buy the much more expensive SLT-A65.

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