Sony Alpha DSLR-A580 Review
Sweep Panorama and 3D Sweep Panorama
The A580 features the same Sweep Panaroma and 3D Sweep Panorama functions that were first introduced with the Sony NEX. 3D Sweep Panorama essentially creates a stereo pair of panoramic JPEGs which can be played back on Sony's 3D Bravia TVs. The camera records both a conventional panoramic JPEG, and alongside it an 'MPO' file (Multi-Picture Object - sometimes known as 'Multi-Picture Format', proposed as a standard 3D file format in 2009 by CIPA) containing the stereoscopic image pair that's precisely double in size. If you have a Bravia television or other compatible viewing device, you can download a .MPO file from the link given below.
In 3D mode you gain an additional 16:9 option in the Image Size menu, alongside Normal and Wide settings with similar aspect ratios as before; all three produce images that are 1080 pixels high to match HD TVs. You get the same limited exposure controls as before, but the camera will only allow you to pan left-right (or vice versa). The image sizes created are as follows:
1920 x 1080 (2Mp)
4912 x 1080 (5Mp, 4.5:1)
7152 x 1080 (7.3 Mp, 6.6:1)
|Sweep Panorama ('Wide'/'Left', 8192 x 1856 px, 18-55mm lens)|
|3D Sweep Panorama ('Wide'/'Left', 8192 x 1856 px, 16-105mm lens)
click here to download .MPO file
Conventional Sweep Panorama mode in the A580 works in exactly the same way as it does in the NEX series and the A55 (on which the lower of these two samples was shot). You can read our conclusions on the relevant section of the NEX-3/5 review here.
The DSLR-A580 offers the' Auto HDR' feature that we've seen on the A55 before. It takes three shots of the same scene at different exposures, then combines them to produce a single image that incorporates a larger range of tones than would be possible from a single exposure. The breadth of the exposure gap between these three shots can either be chosen automatically by the camera or set manually. Here, we've shown you an example of the +6EV HDR effect.
Auto HDR on the DSLR-A580 does a very good job. It enables users to easily capture high-contrast scenes and maintain highlight and shadow detail without having to use expensive and/or complicated HDR software applications. There's no need to bracket shots or even use a tripod, the fully automatic hand-held HDR shooting works surprisingly well. Understandably, because the end result is a composite of three exposures, there can be ghosting effects where subjects have moved between the three exposures, but the system does remarkably well at canceling out movement. Although some moving objects can be a little blurred, most usually appear frozen in a single exposure.
Multi-shot NR is a new mode on the SLT-A55 and DSLR-A580, which becomes effectively an 'extension' ISO setting available in JPEG capture mode. When set to multi-shot NR, the A580 takes 6 frames in a fast burst, then automatically aligns them to cancel out any camera shake, and blends them together to produce a final image.
Please note that the sample below has been taken from the Sony SLT-A55 review as the multi-frame NR mode is identical on the A580.
|ISO 25,600 (using Multi-Shot NR). Click the magnifying glass for the full size original (opens in a new window).||100% crop of ISO 25,600 (top) and 12,800 (bottom). Click the magnifying glass for the full size original (opens in a new window).|
Because high ISO noise is random, blending multiple images together it is possible to 'cancel out' the worst of it. If you have some time on your hands you can do the same thing in Photoshop, but as you can see here, the Sony does an excellent job. Assuming that your subject is static and your hands don't shake too much, JPEG image quality at ISO 25,600 using multi-shot NR is slightly superior to ISO 12,800.
The latest generation of sensor (as seen in the Sony A580, Nikon D7000 and Pentax K-5), has gained a great deal of dynamic range at low ISOs with a new design that offers much lower (sensor/electronics-derived) read noise. This means that much of the detail captured in shadow regions can be pulled back into images without bringing too much noise at the same time, giving tremendous latitude in post-processing.
In the example below we've illustrated this by pulling up the shadows using Adobe Camera Raw with all noise reduction turned off, to give the closest possible representation of the two sensors' inherent capabilities. As expected the shadow noise levels are essentially identical on the A580 and Nikon D7000 and substantially lower than on cameras with more conventional sensors. The A580 captures its image information in 12 bit RAW files vs the Nikon D7000's 14 bit. In theory this means the Sony records less shadow detail but in practice, when playing with these Raw files, we could not notice any difference.
|Sony DSLR-A580 - ACR+3.0EV||Nikon D7000 - ACR+3.0EV|
|100% crop||100% crop|
|100% crop||100% crop|
The Sony DSLR-A580 comes with the same software bundle as the SLT-A55. It includes the cataloging and browsing application Picture Motion Browser (Windows), the browsing and workflow application Image Data Lightbox (Windows / Mac) and the RAW converter Image Data Converter (Windows / Mac). You can read more about the software package on the RAW page of our A55-review. The samples below have been converted using Adobe ACR 6.4.
As you can see in the sample shot above converting the A580 output in ACR does not get you an awful lot of additional detail. However, RAW conversion is of course about much more than only sharpening. It allows you to take control over white balance and noise reduction and, to a degree, even exposure. This is demonstrated in the sample image below.
Overall Image Quality / Specifics
As we've mentioned before the Sony DSLR-A580's uses a sensor and imaging pipeline that is very similar to its translucent mirror sibling SLT-A55. It's therefore not a surprise that the output of the two cameras is very close. Of course the A580, which comes with a traditional moving mirror design, doesn't show any of the (hardly noticeable) ghosting effects that are inherent to the A55's fixed mirror design but other than that (assuming you can spot it) you'd struggle to distinguish the two Sonys' image output.
The A580's 16.2MP sensor and the BIONZ processor produce good JPEG results across the ISO range, only low-contrast areas, such as distant foliage, can appear a little 'mushy'. Other than that the images show good detail and are generally usable straight out of the camera. The multi-segment metering and the 15-point AF-system are usually doing a reliable job but in low artificial light the Auto White Balance can occasionally produce very strong (mostly warm) color casts. In these situations it's a good idea to shoot RAW or choose one of the White Balance presets.
High ISO performance is among the best APS-C cameras. Up to ISO 1600 you don't really need to worry much about noise or loss of detail through noise reduction and while at the higher settings noise and detail smearing get visibly more intrusive the output is still good enough for at least the family album or web use, even at ISO 12800. Like the A55 the A580 also has a very good dynamic range in JPEG mode which means that assuming metering is accurate, highlight clipping is not a problem in all but the most challenging of scenes.
As we've demonstrated in the section above shooting RAW and spending some time processing your .ARW files will only get you a marginal amount of additional detail. It will however get you a lot of flexibility in terms of white balance and noise reduction as both these parameters can easily be modified in the process. Thanks to the A580's sensor producing very low levels of shadow noise at low ISOs it also gives you the option to alter the tone curve without introducing unacceptable amounts of noise to the exposure.
|The Lone Photographer by ed rader|
from My Best Photo of the Week
|_ERN9064 by ernesto juarez|
from Shoot yourself ! (with your camera)
|Neighbourhood Watch by Stevie Boy Blue|
from Zoo trip ~ Cute...
GoPro has announced its HERO7 camera lineup. The updated action cameras feature new HyperSmooth and TimeWarp modes, as well as improved video and photo specs.
The latest Samsung midrange smartphone offers a super-wide-angle lens in its triple-camera setup.
The Sony 24mm F1.4 is the latest lens to join the company's premium G Master lineup. We've been shooting with one for a couple of days - here's what you need to know.
Apple released iOS 12 a few days ago and some iPhone X users are less than happy with how the new operating system has made their phones look.
Camera bag manufacturer Lowepro has introduced mark II backpacks for its ProTactic AW range with models that are said to feature an improved handling experience as well as a collection of accessories that can be attached to the outside.
Canon has announced its latest superzoom camera, the PowerShot SX70 HS. Compared to the SX60 that came before it, the SX70 has the same lens but offers a higher resolution EVF, 4K video capture and support for Canon's new CR3 Raw format.
Cosina has announced its eighth lens designed specifically for Sony's E-mount system. The Voigtlander 21mm F3.5 lens is due out October 2018.
Sony has taken the wraps off of its new 24mm F1.4 GM full-frame lens, which the company claims is the lightest in its class. Despite its fast aperture, the 24mm F1.4 is remarkably light, weighing just 445 grams (15.7 ounces). The lens will set you back $1400 when it ships next month.
In this episode of DPReview TV we take a look at Sony's brand new 24mm F1.4 GM lens, a desirable focal length for many photographers. How does it perform? Chris and Jordan give us their first impressions.
We've had a little time to shoot with Sony's new wide/fast prime, both close to home and on the water in San Francisco. Check out our initial sample images.
Fujifilm released a firmware upgrade for its X-T3 mirrorless camera that addresses issues with distortion compensation and the mechanical lock on SD cards.
The app's algorithms have been trained using using 200 million cropping data points from real photographers.
Thanks to a software update, the Loupedeck+ editing console can now be used for video editing.
British photographic engineer MTF Services is claiming the world’s first third-party lens adapters for the new Nikon Z system with a collection of four units designed to allow cinema lenses to be mounted on the mirrorless full frame bodies.
Think Tank Photo has updated its line of heavy-duty rain covers and introduced a new, compact version for emergency situations.
The X-T3 is our first opportunity to analyze what's likely to be Fujifilm's next generation image sensor. Take a look at how it performs next to the competition in our studio test scene.
Canon's new normal is seriously sharp wide open. After shooting with it for a few days, we've prepared a gallery of real-world sample images.
Nikon will cease offering Brazil-based customer service and technical support, though the company stresses that it will still offer technical assistance and warranty repairs for valid warranties.
Two years ago, CatLABS of JP announced a plan to save Packfilm from the dead. Now, it's announced it's giving up its efforts to better focus its resources elsewhere.
The GoPro Fusion is designed to make it easy to capture 360-degree video and stills. We took it out recently on a typically hot Seattle summer day to see what it can do.
We've got our hands on a full-production Nikon Z7 camera and have updated our gallery with additional samples.
A new Kickstarter campaign seeks funding for Chroma Chrono, a programmable RGB camera flash that emits multiple colors during long exposures.
Think Tank Photo has launched a new lineup of six dual-access, water-resistant protective lens cases it calls Lens Case Duo.
Canon and Nikon finally entered the full-frame mirrorless market this summer with the brand-new RF and Z mounts. Now that we've had some time with the cameras, we wanted to revisit our earlier predictions and take stock.
The devices' camera specs look pretty much identical to last year's iPhone X but under the hood a number of important improvements have been made.
Blackmagic Design has announced the public beta of its new Blackmagic RAW video codec. The company says the new format combines the benefits of shooting Raw video with the ease of use and smaller file sizes usually associated with non-Raw video files.
Serif, the company behind the Affinity suite, has announced the latest update for its mobile Photoshop competitor Affinity Photo for iPad.
The Atomos Ninja V external video recorder and monitor will be ready to ship at the end of this month. The 5.2in Ninja V is designed to provide a smaller option, while still offering many of the features of the larger 7-inch models.
Having shot with the camera, spoken to Canon and read the tea leaves, here's what DPR Technical Editor Richard Butler thinks the EOS R tells us about Canon and the RF's mount's future.
After last week's teaser, lighting manufacturer Profoto has announced its 'small big' new product. The B10 is designed to be used as studio flash head but in a very small body, and has a powerful continuous light source for videographers as well.