Sony A58 Image Quality Comparison

The crops below compare the Sony A58 to the Sony A57, Canon T5i, Nikon D3200, Pentax K-50 and Sony NEX-6.

Note that these images are best quality JPEGs straight out of the camera, at default settings including noise reduction. Each camera was shot with one of our very sharp reference prime lenses.

Sony A58 versus Sony A57 at ISO 100

Sony A58 at ISO 100
Sony A57 at ISO 100

The A57 had great image quality for the price, but the A58 takes it a few steps further. With roughly four more megapixels of data, the mosaic crop from the A58 here looks sharp and the pink fabric swatch has nice detail. A noticeable improvement to Sony's entry-level DSLR image quality.


Sony A58 versus Canon T5i at ISO 100

Sony A58 at ISO 100

Canon T5i at ISO 100

The Sony A58 is far superior to the T5i across all crops above, especially with the sharpness in the mosaic and the detail in the pink fabric swatch. The same goes for the red fabric swatch.


Sony A58 versus Nikon D3200 at ISO 100

Sony A58 at ISO 100
Nikon D3200 at ISO 100

The D3200 boasts roughly four more megapixels than the A58, but the first two crops have a smeared appearance compared to the Sony. The higher resolution does, however, help in the difficult red fabric swatch, an area that Nikon typically does particularly well with.


Sony A58 versus Pentax K-50 at ISO 100

Sony A58 at ISO 100
Pentax K-50 at ISO 100

The Pentax K-50 has roughly four less megapixels than the A58, and it shows in the fine detail department. The K-50 also does a relatively poor job with the red fabric swatch and renders the pink fabric swatch with a pumped and artificial magenta hue.


Sony A58 versus Sony NEX-6 at ISO 100

Sony A58 at ISO 100
Sony NEX-6 at ISO 100

Also with four less megapixels than the A58, the mirrorless NEX-6 still does a nice job against its cousin, with sharp detail and a good job with the red fabric swatch. The A58's increased resolution certainly shows its teeth (or, in this case, threads) in the pink fabric swatch.

 

Moving onto ISO 1600 now, where noise processing starts to show its character.

Sony A58 versus Sony A57 at ISO 1600

Sony A58 at ISO 1600
Sony A57 at ISO 1600

The A58's strength against its predecessor is particularly evident above in the mosaic tiles, which are smeared and soft in the A57 but still fairly tight in the new A58.


Sony A58 versus Canon T5i at ISO 1600

Sony A58 at ISO 1600

Canon T5i at ISO 1600

The T5i loses most-all contrast detail in both the mosaic and the red fabric swatch, with the A58 a clear winner in image quality between the two.


Sony A58 versus Nikon D3200 at ISO 1600

Sony A58 at ISO 1600
Nikon D3200 at ISO 1600

The D3200 images just don't look to be in the same league as the A58's here, with pronounced noise apparent in the bottle crop, softness in the mosaic, and both noise and softness in the fabric crops. Not really a close call in any of them.


Sony A58 versus Pentax K-50 at ISO 1600

Sony A58 at ISO 1600
Pentax K-50 at ISO 1600

Again, the K-50 struggles with rendering the red fabric swatch, and pumps magenta into the pink swatch, as well as some artificial yellow into the mosaic frame. It also imparts more noise into the bottle crop than does the relatively clean A58.


Sony A58 versus Sony NEX-6 at ISO 1600

Sony A58 at ISO 1600
Sony NEX-6 at ISO 1600

As with base ISO, the NEX-6 does a nice job, going toe-to-toe with the A58, but the higher resolution DSLR comes out slightly ahead in most areas, especially fine detail.



And, below at ISO 3200, the stakes really start to show in today's cameras.

Sony A58 versus Sony A57 at ISO 3200

Sony A58 at ISO 3200
Sony A57 at ISO 3200

Yet again the A58 has a better handle on rendering some detail, even at this ISO, than the A57. This should come as no surprise, but if you're thinking of trading up it's still nice to know, as it is not always the case for every successor camera.


Sony A58 versus Canon T5i at ISO 3200

Sony A58 at ISO 3200

Canon T5i at ISO 3200

The T5i really loses ground here, and just can't match stride with the A58 for image quality at this level. Most-all image crops are either smeared or noisy in comparison.


Sony A58 versus Nikon D3200 at ISO 3200

Sony A58 at ISO 3200
Nikon D3200 at ISO 3200

As with the T5i, the D3200 can't match stride at this ISO with the A58. Images are grainy in areas, soft in others, and not particularly usable in general.


Sony A58 versus Pentax K-50 at ISO 3200

Sony A58 at ISO 3200
Pentax K-50 at ISO 3200

Noise in the shadows and bottle for the K-50 become much more apparent here compared to the A58, and the differences in the fabric crop are more pronounced as well.


Sony A58 versus Sony NEX-6 at ISO 3200

Sony A58 at ISO 3200
Sony NEX-6 at ISO 3200

Similar showings from these two cousins at ISO 3200. As stated before, the higher resolution pays off for the A58 in some of the more detailed areas like the tiles.

 

Detail: Sony A58 vs. Sony A57, Canon T5i, Nikon D3200, Pentax K-50 and Sony NEX-6

Sony A58
ISO 100
ISO 3200
ISO 6400
Sony A57
ISO 100
ISO 3200
ISO 6400
Canon T5i
ISO 100
ISO 3200
ISO 6400
Nikon D3200
ISO 100
ISO 3200
ISO 6400
Pentax K-50
ISO 100
ISO 3200
ISO 6400
Sony NEX-6
ISO 100
ISO 3200
ISO 6400
Detail comparison. Sony emerges as the clear victor in this fine detail table, with both the A58 and the NEX-6 doing a better job at resolving detail across the ISO spectrum. The D3200, K-50 and T5i do a nice job at base ISO, but then quickly lose ground as ISO rises. By ISO 3200, the Sony cameras are the only two left standing.

 

Sony A58 Print Quality Analysis

Excellent 30 x 40 inch prints at ISO 100/200; a nice 11 x 14 at ISO 3200; and even prints a good 4 x 6 at its highest ISO of 16,000.

Canon PRO-1000 Printer ImageISO 100/200 prints are very nice at a whopping 30 x 40 inches, with excellent detail and vibrant colors. Great wall display prints are possible at 36 x 48 inches.

ISO 400 makes a very tight 24 x 36 inch print with sharp detail, and wall display prints up to 30 x 40 inches.

ISO 800 yields a nice, crisp 16 x 20. The 20 x 30 inch print here is suitable for less critical applications where minor film grain-like noise is OK in some areas.

ISO 1600 is capable of a good 13 x 19 inch print. There is minor noise now apparent in some shadow areas, and a slight decrease in contrast in our target red swatch.

ISO 3200 prints a good 11 x 14. There is now a fair amount of noise visible in some flat areas, but otherwise a nice print overall.

ISO 6400 produces a nice 8 x 10 for this ISO. It is beginning to lose contrast detail in our tricky red swatch, as most cameras do here, but a very solid print.

ISO 12,800 prints a good 5 x 7, with colors still popping nicely. This is the same print size we rated as good at this ISO for the A58's acclaimed great uncle the RX1.

ISO 16,000 makes a good 4 x 6. This is significant because so many cameras we have reviewed lately do not yield a suitable 4 x 6 at their highest ISO.

We could say the Sony A58 does a very good job in the print quality department from JPEGs, but when you consider its body-only street price of somewhere under $600, it'd be fairer to say it does an excellent job. We don't take price or any other factors into consideration when evaluating prints, just how they look, but drawing a conclusion is another story. Simply put, if you are looking at stepping into your first DSLR, or if you need a solid back-up to your more advanced model, the A58 can be counted on in the JPEG image quality department across the ISO spectrum.

About our print-quality testing: Our "Reference Printer"

Canon PRO-1000 Printer ImageTesting hundreds of digital cameras, we've found that you can only tell so much about a camera's image quality by viewing its images on-screen. Ultimately, there's no substitute for printing a lot of images and examining them closely. For this reason, we routinely print sample images from the cameras we test on our Canon imagePROGRAF PRO-1000 printer, which we named our "Printer of the Year" in our 2015 COTY awards.

The Canon PRO-1000 has a lot of characteristics that make it a natural to use for our "reference printer." When it comes to judging how well a camera's photos print, resolution and precise rendering are paramount. The PRO-1000's more than 18,000 individual nozzles combine with an air feeding system that provides exceptional droplet-placement accuracy. Its 11-color LUCIA PRO ink system delivers a wide color gamut and dense blacks, giving us a true sense of the cameras' image quality. To best see fine details, we've always printed on glossy paper, so the PRO-1000's "Chroma Optimizer" overcoat that minimizes "bronzing" or gloss differential is important to us. (Prior to the PRO-1000, we've always used dye-based printers, in part to avoid the bronzing problems with pigment-based inks.) Finally, we just don't have time to deal with clogged inkjet heads, and the PRO-1000 does better in that respect than any printer we've ever used. If you don't run them every day or two, inkjet printers tend to clog. Canon's thermal-inkjet technology is inherently less clog-prone than other approaches, but the PRO-1000 takes this a step further, with sensors that monitor every inkjet nozzle. If one clogs, it will assign another to take over its duties. In exchange for a tiny amount of print speed, this lets you defer cleaning cycles, which translates into significant ink savings. In our normal workflow, we'll often crank out a hundred or more letter-size prints in a session, but then leave the printer to sit for anywhere from days to weeks before the next camera comes along. In over a year of use, we've never had to run a nozzle-cleaning cycle on our PRO-1000.

See our Canon PRO-1000 review for a full overview of the printer from the viewpoint of a fine-art photographer.

*Disclosure: Canon provided us with the PRO-1000 and a supply of ink to use in our testing, and we receive advertising consideration for including this mention when we talk about camera print quality. Our decision to use the PRO-1000 was driven by the printer itself, though, prior to any discussion with Canon on the topic. (We'd actually been using an old Pixma PRO 9500II dye-based printer for years previously, and paying for our own ink, until we decided that the PRO-1000 was the next-generation printer we'd been waiting for.)

 



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