Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Goods For The Original "A" Mount

Goods For The Original "A" Mount
February 2013, Carl Garrard
 Well it looks like the original Sony A-Mount also gets some attention this year, with two new full frame lenses (one completely new, one is version II), and a new version of the kit lens in APS-C only.  Not only that, but a new Alpha SLT body comes too, also a refresh, in the shape of the A57 now dubbed the A58 SLT from Sony. Only one of the three lenses is actually all new in the lineup, but one that could very well become the most popular lens in the Alpha Mount lens lineup yet- the new Sony Zeiss 50mm f/1.4 SSM. SONY DSLRS AT B&H


So what is coming out very soon? Thanks to the reliably leaky internet it is- take a look and see. First we have the Zeiss 50mm f/1.4 SSM lens, for about $1,500 dollars. Pro Sony shooters no doubt will gobble it up, and those with full wallets might find them a bit lighter soon as well. Looks great.

Next at bat we have the new Sony 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 DT SAM II  kit lens. Word on the street is it's faster and quiter to focus and supports new features found in the newest SLT bodies. Fit and finish are also upgraded although the lens mount is still industry common plastic. Front element is said to rotate as well when focusing too, but that's not confirmed yet. SONY DSLRS AT B&H

And now we have the new white colored Sony 70-400mm f/4-5.6 G SSM II telephoto lens, which is said to also support the new focusing features and upcoming features on future SLT models as well. The white finish undoubtedly changed due to demand from those that prefer familiarity to new colors. I like it this way, but also liked the platinum color on the previous version. Optics are upgraded yet again and this will probably be the best performing zoom of its kind by any manufacturer. Quite lovely. SONY DSLRS AT B&H

Lastly, the new Alpha A58 SLT. It has both upgrades and downgrades compared to its predecessor but comes with a very nice price tag of $599 with the new kit lens. The sensor is said to be updated in dynamic range and noise control over the already stellar 16mp unit in the A57 model it replaces. The processor is likely the same and can only handle 5FPS with full resolution raw + Jpeg files, but does allow 8FPS for reduced resolution "crop" Jpegs in a special high speed shooting mode. SONY DSLRS AT B&H

Sony for A-Mounters there's a lot to take in here. And the year isn't over yet, because there are already leaks about the A78 coming later in the summer or fall. It is highly likely the A78 will have a different sensor and new OLED EVF than the A58 has (which is using the A77 and A99's OLED EVF now). But it could also use the same new 20mp unit as well, achieving higher burst rates with a much deeper buffer than the A58 can muster. But we'll just have to wait and see on that. SONY DSLRS AT B&H


Carl Garrard



Sony A58 Digital SLT camera with Translucent Mirror Technology

  •     Capture fine detail with new 20.1 effective megapixels Exmor APS HD CMOS sensor
  •     Grab fast-moving action with speedy 8fps* shooting and new Lock-on Autofocus
  •     Shoot and view with confidence through new OLED Tru-Finder
  •     Compose like a pro with new Auto Object Framing

For life’s spontaneous moments – catch all the split-second excitement with the new α58 interchangeable lens camera from Sony. With Translucent Mirror technology for speedy shooting with fast, accurate autofocus, it’s the must-have choice for grabbing those once-in-a-lifetime picture opportunities. Even if you’re new to interchangeable lens photography, you’ll enjoy image quality that effortlessly exceeds your point-and-shoot compact camera, plus features you’d expect from a far higher-priced DSLR.

At the heart of the α58 is a brand new Exmor APS HD CMOS sensor with an extremely high resolution of (approx.) 20.1 effective megapixels. It’s teamed with an improved BIONZ image processing engine for exceptionally detailed, low-noise stills and Full HD video, plus an extra-wide sensitivity range of ISO 100 to 16000.

Pick from the choice of 35 interchangeable A-mount lenses (including two tele-converters) and experience flawless images in virtually any lighting conditions, from dimly-lit interiors to atmospheric twilight scenes. Even if you’re shooting handheld, SteadyShot INSIDE keeps pictures crisp and stable, letting you shoot with confidence at slower shutter speeds or higher zoom settings where wobbles are often a worry.

Unlike ordinary DSLR cameras, SLT cameras by Sony use Translucent Mirror technology that directs light onto the main image sensor as well as a separate autofocus sensor. This means that subjects stay sharply focused at all times as you compose scenes with the tilt-angle LCD or through the high-resolution, high-contrast OLED Tru-Finder. And with no moving mirror to slow you down, you’ll enjoy non-stop live image preview during speedy burst shooting or while you’re recording Full HD video.

The α58 is your ideal partner for grabbing the action as it happens – like sports, wildlife or spur-of-the-moment fun with friends and family. Tele-zoom Continuous Advance Priority AE mode brings that decisive moment closer with a high-speed burst of sharp images at 8 frames per second. The high-performance 15-point AF system now features Lock-on Autofocus with speedier, more accurate subject tracking. So now you can capture the athletic grace of a gymnast or animals in the wild with a burst of crisply-focused images, even if your subject’s moving.

Featured on previous models, Auto Portrait Framing has now evolved into even more versatile Auto Object Framing – helping you get better-looking, more professional results without effort. The α58 judges what’s in the scene – one person, two people, even moving objects or macro subjects – tracking, framing and cropping the shot to create powerful, professionally-framed compositions. Thanks to Pixel Super Resolution Technology by Sony, cropped images preserve the same resolution as the original exposure.

Instantly selectable from the mode dial, Picture Effect lets you pick from a palette of 15 artistic ‘in-camera’ treatments, like Toy Camera, Mono and Partial Colour.

Framing, focusing and viewing your shots is a pleasure through the new OLED Tru-Finder. This bright, high resolution electronic viewfinder accurately shows the results of adjusting camera settings in real time. Instantly see the result of adjusting exposure compensation, aperture, ISO, white balance, Picture Effect and other parameters before you shoot… not after. It’s a great way to compose the perfect shot with confidence.

The α58 is the first-ever A-mount interchangeable lens camera from Sony that offers support for new ‘TRILUMINOS Colour’. You’ll experience a dramatically expanded palette of vivid, ultra-realistic colours when videos and still images are played back on any BRAVIA TV with support for ‘TRILUMINOS Display’.

The new α58 interchangeable lens camera from Sony with Translucent Mirror technology is available from April 2013.

* In Tele-zoom Continuous Advance Priority AE mode

Technical Specifications



Image Sensor


Effective pixels

20.1 megapixels (approx.)

Sensitivity range

ISO 100 – 16000 (25600 with Multi Frame NR)

Autofocus system

15-point phase detection Live View AF with 3 cross sensors; with AF tracking in Tele-zoom Continuous Advance Priority AE mode

Continuous burst shooting (max.)

5 fps (8 fps in Tele-zoom Continuous Advance Priority AE mode)

Movie recording

Quick AF Full HD Movie (AVCHD 1920×1080, 50i/25p)

Electronic viewfinder

OLED Tru-Finder with 100% field coverage


460k-dot 6.7 cm (2.7-type) with adjustable angle

Image compositing functions

Auto HDR; Hand-held Twilight; Sweep Panorama; Anti Motion Blur; Multi Frame Noise Reduction

Image stabilisation system

SteadyShot INSIDE

Built-in flash

GN 10


HDMI; Multi Interface Shoe; Multi Terminal; Memory Stick Duo / SD card slots

Picture Effect

11 modes, 15 effects


128.6 x 95.5 x 77.7 mm (approx.)

Weight (body only)

492g (approx.)

Shooting stamina

Using Tru-Finder: 690 shots

Using LCD: 700 shots


  1. I think the A58 wont' have as good of low light performance as the A57 but will have better dynamic range as stated, so I'll keep my A57 for now. Thanks for letting us know Carl

    Bill W.

  2. Carl:
    You suggest the A58 “is using the A77 and A99’s OLED EVF”; I’m less certain. While it clearly is OLED (like the A77 and A99), the A58’s specs posted on Sony’s web site indicate it is 1.5 million dots [“The ultra-sharp, bright 1.44 million dot display”], rather than the 2.4 million dots on the A65/A77/A99 [“It begins with 2359K dots for amazing resolution”]. How that will translate in practice is unknown (at least to me) at this point….

    Tom J.

  3. Fair enough not the same unit, but its oled and the viewing size is very similar. The experience is probably just about the same.

    Honestly I preferred the EVF on the A57 to the Oled unit in the A77 and NEX7 because of its lower contrast and subsequently making the camera a lower price as well. I don't care about the tearing effect because in good light when you are panning you hardly notice it. I thought the OLED unit was better indoors and the unit on the A57 was better outdoors.


  4. Bill, you were correct based on initial sample images and I think first impressions tell most of the story. The A58 is pretty much a full downgrade than the A57 is.

    Oh well!


  5. The A58 is physically the successor to the A37, not A57. And the SAL1855-2 Kitlens
    is a slightly redesign from the original SAL-1855 according to the sony website in these terms:

    Zoom operation has been redesigned for a more comfortable feel when zooming.
    Changed shape of rear lens element shade to reduce flare and ghost.

    I bought my SAL1855, which i use on my "as mint" bought Dynax 5D, for about 30 bucks only. ;)
    When the SAL1855-II Version would be better, because of the rear element and slightly better
    mechanical feel, i'd upgrade to this next year or so, when i can get it cheap while ppl are
    selling this kitlens in masses. ;) that's more economical. My main DSLR is the D90/Tamron 17-50/2.8
    team, and sometimes the Sigma DP1s, DP2s, or R1...or even the LC1. But for example, i still have
    my old DSC V3 like you Carl, and the Olympus C-5050 Zoom, was my 2nd digital Cam,
    after a 2 MP Fuji A203, which was my really 1st one after Film.