Sony A580 Review

January 18, 2011 | Mark Goldstein | Rating star Rating star Rating star Rating star Half rating star


The Sony A580 is a new mid-range DSLR camera that was launched alongside the headline-grabbing A55. Unlike that smaller camera, which uses Translucent Mirror Technology to offer high-speed shooting and a smaller body size, the A580 is a traditional DSLR with an optical viewfinder. The 16.2 megapixel A580 features up to 7fps burst shooting, 1080i HD movie recording, 15-point phase-detection autofocus system, Quick AF Live View, optical viewfinder with 95% frame coverage, in-body sensor shift image stabilisation, a 3-inch free-angle LCD, 3D Sweep Panoramas, Auto HDR and Multi-frame Noise Reduction. The Sony A580 costs $800 in the US and £599.99 in the UK for the body only, and about $900 / £659.99 for the body and 18-55mm zoom lens.

Ease of Use

The Sony A580 replaces the A550 as the new flagship model in the A5- series of Sony DSLR cameras, with the cheaper 14 megapixel A560 sitting below it, which offers a lower-resolution 14 megapixel sensor. The two cameras are otherwise identical, so most of the comments that we make about the A580 apply equally to the A560.

The A580 is quite a big camera, with a pronounced handgrip that markedly improves the handling, particularly if you have medium-to-large hands. Instead of the A550's two-tone black and grey colour, the A580 has a more professional-looking textured all-black finish. Although it feels a little plastic-y in hand, build quality is on a par with other DSLR cameras in the same price range, neither cheap enough to put you off or solid enough to contend with more pro-level models.

The A580 features an adjustable rear 3-inch LCD that tilts up and down, still a relative rarity on a digital SLR. A tilting LCD is always a better choice for a Live View capable DSLR than a fixed one, though some competing models from Nikon, Olympus and Panasonic go even further by offering full LCD articulation, as do Sony's own A55 and A33. The A580 also has a clever eye level sensor that switches off the rear screen's info display as you bring your eye close to the optical viewfinder, plus a facility that automatically flips the same display through 90° should you turn the camera on its side to shoot portrait fashion.

One advantage of the Sony range over either Canon or Nikon is that the A580 features built-in sensor shift image stabilization, hence no need to spend extra on specialist lenses to help combat camera shake. On the Sony A580 light sensitivity stretches from ISO 100 all the way up to ISO 12,800, with a quasi top speed of 25,600 achieved by taking and combining six frames at once. Sony's long-standing D-Range optimizer function helps to even out tricky exposures, for example where a bright background would normally throw the foreground into deep shadow, and the High Dynamic Range Optimiser (HDR) is Sony's solution for capturing more contrast than a single exposure can handle by combining two exposures into one image, with 6 different EV settings and an Auto option.

The fastest continuous shooting speed of 7 fps at full resolution when using the OVF or in Live View mode is excellent for a mid-range camera, although the focus and exposure are fixed at the first frame. If you don't use this Speed Priority burst mode, then the A580 can shoot at 5fps using the OVF or 3fps in Live View mode with the ability to refocus and set the exposure for each individual frame. Also the A580 can't maintain Live View during burst shooting, instead displaying the frame that you've just taken, making panning with the subject virtually impossible and rather going against the grain of the otherwise excellent Live View system.

In use, the Sony A580 proved to be pleasingly quick. Start-up was nearly instant, autofocus with the kit lens was fairly speedy if not quite as quiet as with an SSM lens. Thanks to the secondary-sensor approach, there was no noticeable AF speed penalty when shooting in Live View. The camera's burst mode is a pretty impressive 7 frames per second (fps) in the speed-priority continuous mode, 5fps with the optical viewfinder, or 3fps in Live View (1fps slower then the A55). Image playback speeds were also acceptable. Magnifying into an already captured image does take a couple of seconds though. Maximum image magnification is 12x, but there is little point in going beyond the default 6.1x setting as the image progressively falls apart at higher values.

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-T90 Sony Cyber-shot DSC-T90
Front Rear

The A580 can record 1080i HD 1920 x 1280 pixel movies at either 25fps (PAL) or 30fps (NTSC) in the AVCHD format, or 1440 x 1080 pixels at 25fps in the MPEG-4 format, useful as this format can currently be shared more easily. There's also a 640 x 480 VGA mode at 25fps. There's a limitation of up to 29 minutes, or 9 minutes if SteadyShot is turned on, for the AVCHD format, and a 2Gb file size for MP4 video. Stereo sound is recorded during video capture, and you can fit an optional external stereo microphone to further improve the quality. The HDMI port allows you to connect the A580 to a high-def TV set, but only if you purchase the optional HDMI mini-cable. Unlike the Sony A55 / A33 models, auto-focusing is not possible during movie recording, and just like those cameras, you can't change the shutter speed or aperture during recording either. On the plus side, exposure compensation, creative styles, white balance, AF area and metering mode all apply equally to stills and moving images.

From the front the Sony A580 looks unthreatening to the novice DSLR user. Apart from a familiar ridge housing the pop up flash above the Alpha lens mount, its most distinguishing feature is the traditional handgrip complete with leather-look rubberized covering that extends around the side and rear of the camera. It's easy to fit three fingers around and makes it straight-forward to hold the camera completely steady for shooting handheld. Built into the grip itself is a narrow sliver of a window for the remote sensor, should use of one be required as an optional extra.

At the top of this grip, but still at the front, is the camera's one and only control/command dial, situated beneath the main shutter release button and on/off switch, where it falls readily under the forefinger. In the absence of any top-mounted LCD window, users can spin this to rapidly scroll through screen menu options and folders, a task also achieved in slower, steadier fashion by tabbing through the same using the familiar four-way control pad at the rear, as well as adjust apertures and shutter speeds.

Over at the other side of the lens mount we find a comfortably large button to release the lens, adjacent to which is a self-explanatory slider switch for alternating between auto and manual focus. Sony has subtly incorporated instances of its Alpha trademark 'cinnibar' (orange to the rest of us) colour on the camera, here only visible in the Greek symbol for Alpha that makes up the logo and a thin line encircling the lens surround. The Alpha mount also offers backwards compatibility with A mount lenses from the Minolta and Konica Minolta range, Sony having bought up that company's expertise wholesale in 2005 to launch its own range. Completing the front of the A580 is a new and very handy Depth of Field Preview button located just below the lens mount.

The A580's top plate features a tactile shutter release button encircled by an on/off switch that visually apes the zoom levers found on some compact cameras. The shutter-release has a definite half-way point, with the focus points (an increased choice of 15 with 3 cross-type points) rapidly illuminating in the viewfinder and a confirmation bleep signaling that focus and exposure has been determined and the user is free to go on and take the shot. With imperceptible shutter delay, a full resolution JPEG is committed to memory in just over a second in single shot mode, a RAW file in three.

The Self-timer/ Drive Mode and ISO and buttons are more logically positioned nearer the shutter release button than on the A550, and they are aren't mapped onto the four-way controller as on the A55/33, which is free to function as the quick AF point selector in the Local AF area mode. You can also choose Wide to let the camera choose the most appropriate AF point from the 15 choices, or use the central AF sensor and recompose if needed. This age-old focus-recompose technique is much faster than selecting an off-centre focus point, and works every time except when dealing with extremely shallow depth of field. Alternatively, you can use the AF button in the centre of the four-way navigation pad to focus on whatever is in the centre of the frame, and hold it down not only while recomposing but also while releasing the shutter too (so that pressing the shutter button does not cause the camera to refocus).

The new Focus Check LV function improves further on the A550's innovative MF Check LV option. As the name suggests, the A580 can now autofocus in this mode, using either contrast detection or phase detection, as well as manual focusing as before. This feature provides the ability to magnify into the live image for accurate manual focusing in macro and tripod shooting. Simply press the Focus Check LV button when in Live View mode to allow critical assessment of focus and fine detail. The live image in this mode offers an improved 100% field coverage, assisted by framing grid lines for precise composition, and you can also select the 7x/14x zoom function for close-up confirmation of focus by using the AEL button.

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-T90 Sony Cyber-shot DSC-T90
Front Tilting LCD Screen

The D-Range button provides one touch access to the A580's extensive number of Dynamic Range options. D-Range Optimiser (DRO) is Sony's solution to improve shadow detail in photos taken in contrasty light, while the High Dynamic Range Optimiser (HDR) captures more contrast than a single exposure can handle by combining two exposures into one image. Also retained by the A580 is Face Detection technology, which as on most compact cameras recognises faces and applies the proper focus, exposure and white balance, and Smile Shutter mode, another compact camera feature which automatically takes the shot when your subject smiles.

One of the main highlights of the Sony A580 is its Live View implementation. None of the currently manufactured competitor DSLR models can auto-focus quickly in live view mode, and that's because competing DSLRs get the live view feed off the main imaging chip, which means their mirror must be raised while in this mode, blocking light from reaching their AF sensors. So they either have to temporarily lower their mirror for auto-focusing, which is loud and interrupts the live view, or resort to contrast-detect AF, which their lenses are not optimised for.

Sony have circumvented this problem by using a secondary imager. While the solution is not new - secondary-sensor Live View debuted in the Olympus E-330 of 2006, where it was called Live View Mode A - Sony took a fresh look at it and came up with their own version. Given that no other manufacturer - not even Olympus - offers this in any of its current models, it was logical of Sony to continue using it in the A580. The benefit of secondary-sensor Live View is that autofocus is just as fast, and shutter lag is just as short as when using the OVF, unlike in the case of competing models that offer main-sensor Live View. The main downside of Sony's solution is a much lower Live View frame coverage (90%).

The Live View / OVF slider switch alongside the pop-up flashgun alternates between the A580's clever Live View shooting mode and the more traditional optical viewfinder. If choosing 'OVF' with the camera set to auto-focus, bringing your eye level with the viewfinder and sensor below will neatly prompt the camera to automatically focus on whatever it's aiming at (you can turn this feature off by disabling the Eye-Start AF menu option). Moving the switch to Live View changes to the LCD screen, automatically blanking out the viewfinder with the rear screen bursting into life instead.

The A580's top plate also features a hotshoe for an optional accessory flash situated just above the optical viewfinder, with a dedicated button to manually release the pop up flash situated to the left. The built-in flash can also trigger an optional wireless accessory flash. Two sets of four small holes for the built-in stereo speakers are located just in front of the hotshoe.

Over at the far left of the A580's top plate is a prominent shooting mode dial. Arranged around this are 8 selectable options, running from full Auto to the creative quartet of Program, Aperture Priority, Shutter priority and Manual, plus dedicated modes for the Sweep Panorama (normal or 3D), Flash Off and a Scene option which includes pre-optimised scene modes for common subjects such as portraits, landscapes, close ups (macro), sports, sunset, night, night portraits and handheld twilight.

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-T90 Sony Cyber-shot DSC-T90
Pop-up Flash Top

The Sony A580 allows you to take both 2D and 3D panoramic images very easily, by 'sweeping' with the camera while keeping the shutter release depressed. The camera does all the processing and stitching and even successfully compensates for moving subjects. The main catch is that the resulting image is of fairly low resolution. Also new is the Multi-Frame Noise Reduction mode, which combines six frames together into one image, offers a two-stop advantage over the regular ISO mode - you can see the results on the Image Quality page.

The optical viewfinder (OVF) of the Sony A580 delivers 0.80x magnification and 95% frame coverage. The 15 autofocus points are permanently marked on the focusing screen, and are therefore always visible in the viewfinder. The active AF point lights are isolated on-screen when in use, and if focus is acquired, a green focus confirmation dot appears on the left side of the in-finder LCD, similar to other manufacturers' models.

To the left of the viewfinder is a button marked Menu. Press this and a number of shooting and set up folders appear on screen, with white text on a black background aiding visibility. The three shooting folders allow users to select image quality and - if JPEG (RAW and RAW+JPEG also available) - compression rates too. Here users can also set the Movie quality and audio options, switch on SteadyShot, long exposure and high ISO noise reduction - all in fact activated as a default, as is the likes of the eye start feature. Settings, playback, memory card, time and two further set up folders allow the likes of LCD brightness to be adjusted, the help guide to be turned on or off, plus user languages, folders and file numbering to be specified.

To the right of the viewfinder is a small wheel for dioptric adjustment that isn't too stiff and rigid. Just below and to the right of this is a welcome dedicated button for one-touch movie recording, which thankfully replaces the A550's nearly useless 'Smart Teleconverter' button, which acted as a 1.4x / 2x digital zoom when shooting JPEGs in Live View mode, delivering a cropped image. Alongside is another button for adjusting exposure compensation (+/- 2EV) in P,A,S,M modes, which also doubles up as a means of zooming out of images when in playback mode, and a handily-placed third marked AEL for locking the exposure, which logically zooms into images during playback.

The LCD screen on which Live View is delivered on the A580 is a 3-inch, high-resolution 921,600-dot affair that tilts up and down. The fixed nature of the screen's bracket does make it impossible to attain the video-friendly side-on position that some other rival models offer, a real shame considering the A580's video capabilities. The brightness of the screen can be set manually, but it can also adapt to ambient light levels automatically. Outdoors visibility is average - we've seen much worse (more reflective) LCDs on some competitors, but would still like to see some improvement to the antiglare coating. As previously mentioned, switching between Live View and the optical viewfinder is done by way of a mechanical switch to the right of the pentamirror housing, a simple and elegant solution.

To the right of the A580's screen is a Function ('Fn') button for those details that we'd expected to find amidst the menus but didn't. Here for example we find the Drive modes, Flash modes, along with Autofocus modes (a choice of single shot, auto or continuous), AF area (wide, spot or local), Face Detection, Smile Shutter, ISO speed, Metering (multi segment, centre weighted or spot), Flash Compensation, White Balance (including a custom setting), DRO/Auto HDR, plus Creative Style settings. These pre-optimised user selectable settings run from the default of 'standard' through the self-explanatory vivid, portrait, landscape, sunset and black and white. For each of these creative options, contrast, saturation and sharpness can be individually adjusted.

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-T90 Sony Cyber-shot DSC-T90
Memory Card Slot Battery Compartment

Beneath the Function button we find a familiar four-way control pad. At the centre is a 'AF' button that comes in particularly handy when scrutinizing the screen in Live View mode. Press this and, as with a press of the shutter release button, the camera will automatically and rapidly determine a point of focus for you. Underneath these options is a playback button for the review of images and a self-evident trash can button for deleting images on the fly.

The Sony A80 has a pop-up flash with a guide number of 12 (in metres at ISO 100). There is a mechanical button to raise the flash or you can raise it manually by hand. The pop-up flash can also act as a TTL controller for wirelessly slaved external flash units. External flashguns can of course also be mounted to the camera itself via the hot shoe. Be reminded that it is not of the standard variety - non-dedicated flashguns and other hotshoe-mounted accessories such as PocketWizards physically cannot be mounted without a separately sold hot shoe adapter.

The A580 offers Sony's proven SteadyShot Inside sensor-shift image stabilisation system. This works very well for providing camera stabilisation at relatively slow shutter speeds, but it's less effective at the other function Sony has tasked it with; namely, shaking off any dust particles that may have settled on the sensor during a lens change. Apparently the anti-shake system was simply not designed to move the sensor fast enough to shake off the dust - Sony (still) really need to make some improvements here.

The innovative help guide display is a useful tool which teaches beginners about the effects of aperture and shutter speed, both by way of a text guide and via icons such as stick figures. This approach is certainly better than simply throwing in an auto mode and a host of scene modes (which is not to say the A580 lacks any of these, but the inclusion of the help guide does mean it goes a step further).

The Sony A580 has slots for both SD/SDHC/SDXC and Memory Stick PRO Duo memory cards on the right side. Dual card slots are always welcome, though the A580 unfortunately has one of the least useful implementations of the concept. The camera cannot record simultaneously on both cards, cannot copy images from one to the other, and cannot even switch automatically to the second card when the first one fills up. To do that, you need to open the sliding cover that hides the memory card compartment and manually move a small mechanical switch to the desired position.

The USB and HDMI OUT ports are located on the left side of the camera, just below the newly added three-hole speaker grille. There's also a port for the optional Remote Cable for hands-free operation of the shutter release and a new 3.5mm port for an optional microphone, the latter potentially allowing better sound quality to be recorded than via the camera's built-in stereo microphones. Battery life is around 1050 shots if exclusively using the optical view finder, or 550 shots for the Live View mode, both very impressive for this class of camera and a significant improvement on the A550. Two partially recessed metal eyelets on either side of the body allow the supplied camera strap to be attached, and there's a metal tripod socket that's in-line with the centre of the lens mount.

Image Quality

All of the sample images in this Review were taken using the 16.2 megapixel Fine JPEG setting, which gives an average image size of around 5Mb.

The Sony A580 produced images of excellent quality during the review period. The Sony A580's has an extensive and very usable ISO range of 100-12800. ISO 100-800 is noise-free, whilst ISO 1600 and 3200 produce more than acceptable results, and even ISO 6400 and 12800 are OK for emergency use. The impressive Multi-Frame Noise Reduction mode, which combines six frames together into one image, offers a two-stop advantage over the regular ISO mode, with noise not appearing until ISO 6400 - note that you should use a tripod when using this mode to maintain image sharpness, so it's not that well-suited to hand-held shots. Chromatic aberrations are very well controlled, only appearing in areas of high contrast.

The effective Dynamic Range Optimizer function extracts more detail from the shadow and highlight areas in an image, without introducing any unwanted noise or other artifacts. The High Dynamic Range mode combines two shots taken at different exposures to produce one image with greater dynamic range than a single image would produce. It only works for JPEGs and for still subjects, but does produce some very effective results.

The 16 megapixel images are a little soft straight out of the camera using the default creative style and ideally require some further sharpening in an application like Adobe Photoshop, or you can change the in-camera sharpening level. The built-in flash worked well indoors with no red-eye and good overall exposure. The night photograph was excellent, with the maximum shutter speed of 30 seconds and the Bulb mode offering lots of scope for creative night photography. The built-in SteadyShot anti-shake system works well when hand-holding the camera at slower shutter speeds.


There are 8 ISO settings available on the Sony A580. Here are some 100% crops which show the noise levels for each ISO setting, comparing JPEG, JPEG with multi-frame noise reduction, and RAW:

JPEG JPEG - Multi-Frame Noise Reduction RAW

ISO 100 (100% Crop)

ISO 100 (100% Crop)

ISO 100 (100% Crop)


ISO 200 (100% Crop)

ISO 200 (100% Crop)

ISO 200 (100% Crop)


ISO 400 (100% Crop)

ISO 400 (100% Crop)

ISO 400 (100% Crop)


ISO 800 (100% Crop)

ISO 800 (100% Crop)

ISO 800 (100% Crop)


ISO 1600 (100% Crop)

ISO 1600 (100% Crop)

ISO 1600 (100% Crop)


ISO 3200 (100% Crop)

ISO 3200 (100% Crop)

ISO 3200 (100% Crop)


ISO 6400 (100% Crop)

ISO 6400 (100% Crop)

ISO 6400 (100% Crop)


ISO 12800 (100% Crop)

ISO 12800 (100% Crop)

ISO 12800 (100% Crop)


ISO 25600 (100% Crop)



Here are two 100% crops which have been Saved as Web - Quality 50 in Photoshop. The right-hand image has had some sharpening applied in Photoshop. The out-of-the camera images are a little soft at the default sharpening setting. You can change the in-camera sharpening level if you don't like the default look.

Original (100% Crop)

Sharpened (100% Crop)


File Quality

The Sony A580 has 2 different image quality settings available, with Fine being the highest quality option. Here are some 100% crops which show the quality of the various options, with the file size shown in brackets.

14M Fine (3.93Mb) (100% Crop) 14M Standard (2.81Mb) (100% Crop)
14M RAW (16.1Mb) (100% Crop)  

Chromatic Aberrations

The Sony A580's 18-55 kit lens handled chromatic aberrations well during the review, with limited purple fringing mainly present around the edges of objects in high-contrast situations, as shown in the examples below.

Example 1 (100% Crop)

Example 2 (100% Crop)


The flash settings on the Sony A580 are Autoflash, Fill-flash, Slow sync, Rear flash sync. and High Speed sync., with Red-eye reduction available in the Main Menu. These shots of a white coloured wall were taken at a distance of 1.5m.

Flash Off - Wide Angle (27mm)

Flash On - Wide Angle (27mm)

ISO 64 ISO 64

Flash Off - Telephoto (82.5mm)

Flash On - Telephoto (82.5mm)

ISO 64 ISO 64

And here are a couple of portrait shots. Neither the Auto setting or the Red-eye reduction mode caused any amount of red-eye.

Flash On

Flash On (100% Crop)

Red-eye reduction

Red-eye reduction (100% Crop)


The Sony A580's maximum shutter speed is 30 seconds and there's also a Bulb mode for even longer exposures, which is excellent news if you're seriously interested in night photography. The shot below was taken using a shutter speed of 20 seconds at ISO 100.

Night Shot

Night Shot (100% Crop)

Dynamic Range Optimizer

D-Range Optimiser (DRO) is Sony's solution to improve shadow detail in photos taken in contrasty light. There are 4 different levels and an Auto option.


Level 1 Level 2
Level 3 Level 4
Level 5  

High Dynamic Range

High Dynamic Range Optimiser (HDR) is Sony's solution for capturing more contrast than a single exposure can handle by combining two exposures into one image. There are 6 different EV settings and an Auto option.



Creative Styles

There are 6 Creative Style preset effects that you can use to change the look of your images.









Sweep Panorama Mode

The Sony A580 allows you to take panoramic images very easily, by 'sweeping' with the camera while keeping the shutter release depressed. The camera does all the processing and stitching and even successfully compensates for moving subjects. The main catch is that the resulting image is of fairly low resolution.

3D Sweep Panorama Mode

The Sony A580 also offers a 3D Sweep Panorama mode. If you're lucky enough to own a compatible 3D HDTV, download the sample below to experience the full 3D effect.

Download the Full Size Image

Sample Images

This is a selection of sample images from the Sony A580 camera, which were all taken using the 16.2 megapixel Fine JPEG setting. The thumbnails below link to the full-sized versions, which have not been altered in any way.

Sample RAW Images

The Sony A580 enables users to capture RAW and JPEG format files. We've provided some Sony RAW (ARW) samples for you to download (thumbnail images shown below are not 100% representative).

Sample Movie & Video

This is a sample movie at the highest quality setting of 1920 x 1080 pixels at 25 frames per second. Please note that this 16 second movie is 31.8Mb in size.

Product Images

Sony A580

Front of the Camera

Sony A580

Front of the Camera / Flash Raised

Sony A580

Front of the Camera

Sony A580

Isometric View

Sony A580

Isometric View

Sony A580

Isometric View

Sony A580

Isometric View

Sony A580

Rear of the Camera

Sony A580

Rear of the Camera / Image Displayed


Sony A580

Rear of the Camera / Turned On

Sony A580
Rear of the Camera / Function Menu
Sony A580
Rear of the Camera
Sony A580
Rear of the Camera
Sony A580
Rear of the Camera
Sony A580
Top of the Camera
Sony A580
Bottom of the Camera
Sony A580
Side of the Camera
Sony A580
Side of the Camera
Sony A580
Front of the Camera
Sony A580
Front of the Camera
Sony A580
Memory Card Slot
Sony A580
Battery Compartment


The Sony A580 is a more traditional alternative to the headline-grabbing A55 model, and an excellent DSLR camera in its own right. It doesn't offer the continuous auto-focus during video recording or the small size and light weight of the A55, but its optical viewfinder and more comfortable handling make it well worth a look.

Despite its reliance on more traditional technologies, the A580 is certainly no slouch in the performance stakes, matching the A55's fastest 7fps continuous burst shooting rate, albeit without the ability to focus for each individual frame. The same 15 point AF system delivers fast auto-focus for both stills and video, while the refined and intuitive Live View system is still market-leading, although the optical viewfinder can only provide 95% frame coverage. The addition of Full HD video importantly brings the A580 up to speed with its main rivals, although its reliance on manual focusing may put some potential buyers off.

Image quality is very good, with noise not rearing its ugly head until ISO 1600 for JPEGs and not until 6400 if you use the innovative Multi Frame Noise Reduction mode, although the A580 does apply some pretty aggressive noise reduction to keep the files clean, resulting in a loss of fine detail. The myriad assortment of clever effects such as HDR, Dynamic Range Optimisation, creative styles and the innovative 2D/3D sweep panorama mode really help to get the most out of the A580.

When Sony launched the A55 and A580 cameras alongside each other, many questioned why they needed two such similar cameras in their line-up. While they do share a lot of common ground, the larger and easier-to-use A580 with its trusty optical viewfinder is a great DSLR, and thanks to its 16 megapixel sensor, full HD video and improved AF system, also a real rival to similar offerings from Canon and Nikon.

4.5 stars

Ratings (out of 5)
Design 4.5
Features 4.5
Ease-of-use 4.5
Image quality 4.5
Value for money 4

Review Roundup

Reviews of the Sony A580 from around the web. »

Being announced alongside Sony's attention-grabbing Translucent Mirror cameras, the A33 and A55, the launch of the Sony A580 will perhaps be robbed of some attention -- and that's maybe a little unfair, because when compared to its predecessor, the A580 sports some genuinely useful changes.
Read the full review »


Lens Mount
Sony α mount YES
Compatibility with A-Mount bayonet lenses from Minolta and Konica Minolta YES
Lens Compatibility
All types of Sony α lenses YES
Minolta & Konica Minolta α/MAXXUM/DYNAX lenses YES
Image Sensory
Image sensor type CMOS Sensor
Image sensor colour filter R, G, B, Primary color
Size (mm) 23.5 x 15.6mm (APS-C size)
Total sensor Pixels (megapixels) Approx. 16.7
Effective Pixels (megapixels) Approx. 16.2
Automatic White Balance YES
White balance: preset selection Daylight, Shade, Cloudy, Incandescent, Fluorescent, Flash
White balance: custom setting YES
White balance: types of color temperature 2500 - 9900 k with 19-step Magenta / Green compensation
White balance bracketing 3 frames, Selectable 2 steps
ISO Sensitivity Setting ISO100 - 12800 equivalent
SteadyShot INSIDE
System: Sensor-shift mechanism YES
SteadyShot INSIDE scale (in viewfinder) YES
Camera-Shake warning (in viewfinder) YES
SteadyShot INSIDE capability Approx. 2.5 EV - 4 EV decrease in shutter speed (varies according to shooting conditions and lens used)
SteadyShot INSIDE compatibility All Sony DSLR lenses and A-Mount bayonet lenses from Minolta and Konica Minolta
*SteadyShot INSIDE was previously known as Super SteadyShot  
Charge protection coating on Low-Pass Filter and electromagnetic vibration mechanism YES
Auto Focus System
TTL phase-detection system YES
Contrast AF system YES - selectable in focus check live view mode
Sensor 15 points (3 points cross type)
Sensitivity Range (at ISO 100 equivalent); EV -1 - 18
Eye Start AF System (on off selectable) YES
AF Area: Wide focus area YES (auto with 15 areas)
AF Area: Spot YES
AF Area: Local focus area selection YES (15 local areas)
AF Area: Multi Point NO
AF Area: Center Weighted YES
AF Area: Flexible Spot YES
AF Modes Continuous, Single Shot, Automatic, Manual Focus
Predictive Focus Control YES (AF-A and AF-C)
Focus Lock YES
AF Illuminator YES (with built-in flash)
AF Illuminator range (meters) Approx. 1-5
Auto Exposure System
Light metering type TTL metering (OVF), 1200-zone evaluative metering (LV)
Light metering cell 40-segment honeycomb-pattern SPC (OVF)
Light metering: Multi segment YES
Light metering: Spot YES
Light metering: Center weighted YES
Exposure: Automatic YES
Exposure: Program Auto YES
Exposure: iAUTO NO
Exposure: AUTO+ NO
Exposure: Shutter priority YES
Exposure: Aperture priority YES
Exposure: Manual YES
Exposure: Scene selection YES
Sweep Panorama YES (2D, 3D)
Anti Motion Blur NO
Exposure compensation YES (+/-2.0 EV, 1/3 EV step)
AE Bracketing With 1/3 EV / 2/3 EV increments, 3 frames
Type Electronically-controlled, vertical-traverse, focal-plane type
Shutter Speed Range (seconds) 1/4000 - 30 and bulb
Flash Sync Speed; second 1/160
Flash Sync Speed (With Steady Shoot On); second 1/160
Built-in-Flash Guide Number (in meters at ISO 100) 12
Flash Metering System ADI / Pre-flash TTL flash metering
Flash Compensation +/-2.0 EV (1/3 EV steps)
Built-in-Flash Recycling Time (approx. time in seconds) 4
Flash Mode Autoflash, Fill-flash, Slow sync, Rear flash sync. High Speed sync.
Wireless flash mode YES (with optional compatible accessory flash)
Slow Synchronization YES
Red-Eye Reduction YES
Flash Popup Auto
Automatic Flash YES
Type Fixed eye-level, penta-Dach-mirror
Focusing Screen Spherical Acute Matte
Field of View (%) 95
Magnification (with 50mm lens at infinity) 0.80x
Eye Relief Approx. 19mm from the Eyepiece lens
Diopter Adjustment -2.5 to +1.0 diopter
Live View
Type YES - Quick AF and Manual Focus Check Live View
Other Face detection / Smile shutter *with Quick AF and Focus Check LV mode
LCD screen
Screen Size 7.5cm / 3"
Monitor Type Xtra Fine LCD
LCD Total Dot Number 921.600
LCD on/off YES
Brightness adjustable YES
Tilting screen YES - 2 way tilt
Drive Mode Single, Continuous, Speed-priority Continuous, 10 seconds and 2 seconds Self-timer
Continuous-Advance Rate (approx. frames per second at maximum) Max.5 fps with Viewfinder, max.3 fps in live view mode (approx.), max.7 fps in Speed-priority Continuous mode
Number of Continuous Advance JPEG (L size, Fine): 44 images, RAW: 22 images, RAW+JPEG: 20 images
Recording Media Memory Stick PRO Duo™, Memory Stick PRO-HG Duo™, SD, SDHC, SDXC memory cards
Recording Format JPEG (DCF Ver. 2.0, Exif Ver. 2.3, MPF Baseline) compliant, DPOF compatible, RAW (Sony ARW 2.2 format), RAW + JPEG
Image Size L - JPEG (pixels) 4912 X 3264 (16M)
Image Size M (pixels) 3568 X 2368 (8.4M)
Image Size S (pixels) 2448 X 1624 (4M)
Panorama size:Max. degrees of sweep angle(focal length 16mm/18mm) Image Size: Std Horizontal: 8,192 x 1,856(135deg/120deg) / Vertical: 3,872 x 2,160(101deg/90deg) Image Size: Wide Horizontal: 12,416 x 1,856(202deg/180deg) / Vertical: 5,536 x 2,160(142deg/126d
3D Panorama size:Max. degrees of sweep angle(Focal length:16mm/18mm) Image Size: 16:9 Horizontal: 1920 X 1080(69deg/62deg) Image Size: Std Horizontal: 4912 X 1080(178deg/158deg) Image Size: Wide Horizontal: 7152 X 1080(259deg/230deg)
Still Image quality RAW, RAW + JPEG, JPEG (Fine, Standard)
Movie Recording Format AVCHD / MP4
Video Compression MPEG-4 AVC / H.264
Audio recording Format Dolby® Digital (AC-3) / MPEG-4 AAC-LC
Movie recording mode - AVCHD YES, 1920 x 1080(50i, Interlace), Approx.17Mbps(Average bit-rate) (PAL)
Movie recording mode - MP4 YES, 1440 x 1080(Approx.25fps, Progressive), Approx.12Mbps(Average bit-rate) (PAL) / VGA(640 x 480, Approx.25fps, Progressive), Approx.3Mbps(Average bit-rate) (PAL)
Noise Reduction (Long exp.NR) On / Off, available at shutter speeds longer than 1 second
Noise Reduction (High ISO NR) YES
Delete Function YES
Color Space (sRGB) YES
Color Space (Adobe RGB) YES
Color mode/DEC/Creative styles Standard, Vivid, Portrait, Landscape, Sunset, B/W
Dynamic Range Optimizer Off, Auto, Advanced: Level
Date/Time Print YES
Information Display YES
White/Black Out Alert YES
Index Playback YES (9,4)
Enlarge (Maximum magnification) L size: 11.8x, M size: 8.8x, S size: 6x
Image Rotation YES
Auto Image Rotation YES
Battery Remaining Indicator YES
InfoLITHIUM Battery Indicator YES (in %)
Histogram Indicator YES
Exif 2.3
Exif Print YES
PictBridge NO
Menu Language English / French / German / Spanish / Italian / Portuguese / Dutch / Russian / Swedish / Danish / Norwegian / Finish / Polish / Czech / Hungarian / Greek / Turkish
Zone Matching NO
Depth-of-Field Preview YES
PRINT Image Matching III YES
Remote Release Terminal YES
IR Remote Control YES (with RMT-DSLR1)
DPOF(Digital Print Order Format) YES
Indicator of remaining memory space (CF) YES
Beep Sound On/Off selectable
File Number Memory On/Off selectable
Folder Name Mode Standard and Date
Operating Temperature (degrees C) 0 - 40
Video Out NO
HD/HDMI® Out HDMI® mini connector (Type C), BRAVIA® Sync (Sync menu), Photo TV HD
USB 2.0 Hi-Speed YES
USB Mode Mass Storage (PC connection) / PTP
Battery System NP-FM500H
Supplied Battery NP-FM500H
Stamina (battery life in CIPA condition) Approx. 1050 images with Viewfinder, approx. 560 images in live view mode
Weight (g) Approx. 599
Width (mm) 137
Height (mm) 104
Depth (mm) 84

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