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Sony A58

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Sony A58 Performance


Timing and Performance

Excellent autofocus speed and shutter lag, but sluggish power-on, power-off and mode switching, and mediocre full-res burst mode.

Startup/Shutdown

Power on
to first shot

~1.9 seconds

Time it takes to turn on and capture a shot.

Shutdown

~1.4 seconds

How long it takes camera to turn off before you can remove the memory card.

Buffer clearing time
4 seconds after 8 large/fine JPEGs*
Worst case buffer clearing time. -- This is the delay after a set of shots before you can remove the card.
7 seconds after 6 RAW files*
8 seconds after 5 RAW+ L/F JPEG files*
*Note: Buffer clearing times measured with a SanDisk Extreme Pro 95MB/sec UHS-1 SDHC card. Slower cards will produce correspondingly slower clearing times. Slow cards may also limit length of bursts in continuous mode. ISO sensitivity and noise reduction settings can also affect cycle times and burst mode performance.

Startup and shutdown times are much slower than most DSLRs. Buffer clearing times are good, but buffer is shallow.


Mode Switching

Play to Record,
first shot

~1.1 seconds

Time until first shot is captured.

Record to Play

~3.0 seconds

Time to display a large/fine JPEG file immediately after capture.

Display
recorded image

~0.6 second

Time to display a large/fine JPEG file already on the memory card.

Mode switching performance is sluggish (particularly Record to Play), though displaying a previously captured image is fast.


Shutter Response (Lag Time)

Full Autofocus
Single Area (center) AF

0.126 second

Time from fully pressing shutter button to image capture. (All timing measurements made with a Sigma 70mm f/2.8 lens)

Full Autofocus
Wide Area AF

0.139 second

Time from fully pressing shutter button to image capture.

Full Autofocus,
Single-area AF mode
Auto Flash Enabled
0.326 second

Time from fully pressing shutter button to image capture, with the lens already at the proper focal distance setting, Auto flash enabled.

Continuous AF
0.132 second
This mode usually shows no speed increase with our static subject; we have no way to measure performance with moving subjects.
Manual focus
0.082 second
For most cameras, shutter lag is less in manual focus than autofocus, but usually not as fast as when the camera is "pre-focused."

Prefocused

0.054 second

Time to capture, after half-pressing and holding shutter button.

Looking at the Sony A58's ability to determine that it's properly focused when shooting the same target multiple times, its autofocus speed is excellent. The A58 required only 0.126 second for full AF using the center focus point in our tests. This decreased only slightly to 0.139 second in wide-area AF mode. With the flash enabled, the A58's full AF shutter lag increased to 0.326s to account for the preflash metering, which is still pretty good.

Continuous autofocus mode lag time was 0.132 second, and manual focus was quite fast at about 0.082 second. When prefocused, shutter lag was 0.054 second which is very fast for an SLR-class camera. 

To minimize the effect of different lens' focusing speed, we test AF-active shutter lag with the lens already set to the correct focal distance. We also use the same Sigma 70mm f/2.8 macro with most interchangeable lens cameras (on all platforms except NX, Four Thirds/Micro Four Thirds and Nikon models lacking an in-body focus motor), to further reduce variation, and because our tests showed that focus-determination time with this lens was close to the fastest, across multiple camera bodies from different manufacturers. Being an older design with a non-ultrasonic motor, it wouldn't be the fastest at slewing from one focus setting to another, but that's exactly the reason we measure focus determination speed, which is primarily a function of the camera body, vs focus adjustment speed, which is primarily a function of the lens.

Cycle Time (shot-to-shot)
Single Shot mode
Large fine JPEG
0.51 second

Time per shot, averaged over 6 shots, 3 seconds to clear*.

Single Shot mode
RAW
0.55 second

Time per shot, averaged over 2 shots, 3 seconds to clear*.

Single Shot mode
RAW + L/F JPEG
0.57 second

Time per shot, averaged over 2 shots, 4 seconds to clear*.

Early shutter
penalty?

No

Some cameras refuse to snap another shot if you release and press the shutter too quickly in Single Shot mode, making "No" the preferred answer.

Continuous Hi mode
Large fine JPEG
0.21 second (4.86 frames per second);
8 frames total;
4 seconds to clear*
Time per shot, averaged over buffer depth of 8 shots, then slows to an average of 0.49s or 2.05 fps.
Continuous Hi mode
RAW
0.21 second (4.85 frames per second);
6 frames total;
7 seconds to clear*
Time per shot, averaged over buffer depth of 6 shots, then slows to an average of 1.15s or 0.87 fps.
Continuous Hi mode
RAW + L/F JPEG
0.21 second (4.88 frames per second);
5 frames total;
8 seconds to clear*
Time per shot, averaged over buffer depth of 5 shots, then slows to an average of 1.67s or 0.60 fps.
Tele-zoom Continuous mode
Small JPEG
0.13 second (7.95 frames per second);
15 frames total;
4 seconds to clear*
Time per shot, averaged over buffer depth of 15 shots, then slows to an average of 0.27s or 3.66 fps.

Flash Recycling

2.1 seconds

Flash at maximum output.

*Note: Buffer clearing times measured with a SanDisk Extreme Pro 95MB/sec UHS-1 SDHC memory card. Slower cards will produce correspondingly slower clearing times. Slow cards may also limit length of bursts in continuous mode. ISO sensitivity and other settings such as DRO or NR can also affect cycle times and burst mode performance.

Shot-to-shot cycle times are about average for an SLR-class camera, ranging from 0.51 to 0.57 second depending on the file type, though buffer depths are shallow, at which point cycle times slow down.

Full-resolution continuous mode speeds are about average these days for a consumer model at about 4.9 frames-per-second in Continuous Hi mode, no matter the file type. The A58 offers a faster, cropped "Tele-zoom Continuous Priority AE" mode that managed 7.95 frames per second in our tests, however it only captures small (5-megapixel) JPEG images.

Full-resolution buffer depths are quite shallow, with only 8 large/fine JPEG, 6 RAW and 5 RAW + large/fine JPEG files captured before the burst rate slows down, though that's not uncommon in entry-level models. You should be able to do better with typical subjects when shooting JPEGs (our target for this test is designed to be difficult to compress). Tele-zoom Continuous mode managed 15 small JPEGs before slowing down. Buffer clearing is relatively fast for the resolution, but keep in mind buffers are shallow.

The flash was able to recycle from a full discharge in 2.1 seconds, which is very fast.


Download Speed

Windows Computer, USB 2.0

11,263 KBytes/sec

Typical Values:
Less than 600=USB 1.1;
600-769=USB 2.0 Low;
Above 770=USB 2.0 High

Download speeds were very fast, quick enough that you won't feel the need for a separate card reader, even with large memory cards. (Note that this test was performed with a SanDisk Extreme Pro 95 MB/sec UHS-1 SDHC card: Slower cards would likely show slower transfer times.)


Bottom line, the Sony A58 offers mixed performance. Autofocus and shutter lag are very fast, cycle-times and full-resolution burst speed are average, but startup and mode switching are sluggish, while buffers are shallow.

Battery

Battery Life
Very good battery life for an interchangeable lens camera with an EVF.

Operating Mode Number of Shots
Electronic Viewfinder,
(CIPA standard)
690
LCD Monitor,
(CIPA standard)
700

The Sony A58 uses a custom rechargeable NP-FM500H lithium-ion battery for power, and ships with a charger. Battery life is pretty good for a consumer-level interchangeable lens camera equipped with an electronic viewfinder, and about average compared to traditional consumer DSLRs using an optical viewfinder. We recommend you pick up a spare battery and keep it freshly charged and on-hand for extended outings or shooting video.

The table above shows the number of shots the camera is capable of (on either a fresh set of disposable batteries or a fully-charged rechargeable battery as appropriate), based on CIPA battery-life and/or manufacturer standard test conditions.

(Interested readers can find an English translation of the CIPA DC-002 standards document here. (180K PDF document))