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Nikon B500 vs Sony A58

The Nikon Coolpix B500 and the Sony Alpha SLT-A58 are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in January 2016 and February 2013. The B500 is a fixed lens compact, while the A58 is a DSLR. The cameras are based on a 1/2.3-inch (B500) and an APS-C (A58) sensor. The Nikon has a resolution of 15.9 megapixels, whereas the Sony provides 19.8 MP.

Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.

Headline Specifications
Nikon B500
versus
Sony A58
Nikon B500   Sony A58
Fixed lens compact camera Digital single lens reflex
22.5-900mm f/3.0-6.5 Sony A mount lenses
15.9 MP, 1/2.3" Sensor 19.8 MP, APS-C Sensor
1080/60i Video 1080/60i Video
ISO 80-6,400 ISO 100-16,000 (100 - 25,600)
No viewfinder, LCD framing Electronic viewfinder (1440k dots)
3.0 LCD, 921k dots 2.7 LCD, 460k dots
Tilting screen (no touchscreen) Tilting screen (not touch-sensitive)
7.4 shutter flaps per second 5 shutter flaps per second
Lens-based stabilizationIn-body stabilization
600 shots per battery charge690 shots per battery charge
114 x 78 x 95 mm, 541 g 129 x 95 x 78 mm, 492 g

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Nikon Coolpix B500 and the Sony Alpha SLT-A58? Which one should you buy? Read on to find out how these two cameras compare with respect to their body size, their imaging sensors, their shooting features, their input-output connections, and their reception by expert reviewers.

Body comparison

The side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size and weight of the Nikon B500 and the Sony A58. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three successive views from the front, the top, and the rear are shown. All width, height and depth dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

The B500 can be obtained in two different colors (black, red), while the A58 is only available in black.

Size Nikon B500 vs Sony A58
Compare B500 versus A58 top
Comparison B500 or A58 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Sony A58 is notably larger (38 percent) than the Nikon B500. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the B500 nor the A58 are weather-sealed.

The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the B500 has a lens built in, whereas the A58 is an interchangeable lens camera that requires a separate lens. Attaching the latter will add extra weight and bulk to the setup.

The adjacent table lists the principal physical characteristics of the two cameras alongside a wider set of alternatives. In case you want to display and compare another camera duo, you can use the CAM-parator app to select your camera combination among a large number of options.

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Body Specifications
    Camera
Model
Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life
Weather
Sealing
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
1.
 
Nikon B500 114 mm 78 mm 95 mm 541 g 600 n Jan 2016 299i
2.
 
Sony A58 129 mm 95 mm 78 mm 492 g 690 n Feb 2013 599i
3.
 
Nikon B600 122 mm 82 mm 99 mm 500 g 280 n Jan 2019 349 i
4.
 
Nikon A1000 114 mm 72 mm 41 mm 330 g 250 n Jan 2019 429 i
5.
 
Nikon P1000 146 mm 119 mm 181 mm 1415 g 250 n Jul 2018 999 i
6.
 
Nikon W300 112 mm 66 mm 29 mm 231 g 280 Y May 2017 389 i
7.
 
Nikon B700 125 mm 85 mm 107 mm 565 g 350 n Feb 2016 499 i
8.
 
Nikon P900 140 mm 103 mm 137 mm 899 g 360 n Mar 2015 599i
9.
 
Nikon L840 113 mm 78 mm 96 mm 538 g 590 n Feb 2015 299i
10.
 
Nikon D3200 125 mm 96 mm 77 mm 505 g 540 n Apr 2012 599i
11.
 
Panasonic FZ80 130 mm 94 mm 119 mm 616 g 330 n Jan 2017 399 i
12.
 
Sony HX80 102 mm 58 mm 36 mm 245 g 390 n Mar 2016 349 i
13.
 
Sony A68 143 mm 104 mm 81 mm 610 g 540 n Nov 2015 699i
14.
 
Sony A5100 110 mm 63 mm 36 mm 283 g 400 n Aug 2014 549 i
15.
 
Sony A6000 120 mm 67 mm 45 mm 344 g 360 n Feb 2014 599i
16.
 
Sony A3000 128 mm 91 mm 85 mm 411 g 470 n Aug 2013 329i
17.
 
Sony H200 123 mm 83 mm 87 mm 530 g 240 n Jan 2013 249 i
Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.

The price is, of course, an important factor in any camera decision. The listed launch prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The B500 was launched at a lower price than the A58, despite having a lens built in. Usually, retail prices stay at first close to the launch price, but after several months, discounts become available. Later in the product cycle and, in particular, when the replacement model is about to appear, further discounting and stock clearance sales often push the camera price considerably down.

Sensor comparison

The size of the sensor inside a digital camera is one of the key determinants of image quality. All other things equal, a large sensor will have larger individual pixel-units that offer better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and richer color-depth than smaller pixels in a sensor of the same technological generation. Furthermore, a large sensor camera will give the photographer more possibilities to use shallow depth-of-field in order to isolate a subject from the background. On the downside, larger sensors tend to be associated with larger, more expensive camera bodies and lenses.

Of the two cameras under consideration, the Nikon B500 features a 1/2.3-inch sensor and the Sony A58 an APS-C sensor. The sensor area in the A58 is 1211 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 5.6 and 1.5. The sensor in the B500 has a native 4:3 aspect ratio, while the one in the A58 offers a 3:2 aspect.

Nikon B500 and Sony A58 sensor measures

With 19.8MP, the A58 offers a higher resolution than the B500 (15.9MP), but the A58 nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 4.31μm versus 1.33μm for the B500) due to its larger sensor. However, the B500 is a much more recent model (by 2 years and 11 months) than the A58, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixel-units. Coming back to sensor resolution, it should be mentioned that the B500 has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.

The resolution advantage of the Sony A58 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the A58 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 27.3 x 18.2 inches or 69.3 x 46.1 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 21.8 x 14.5 inches or 55.4 x 36.9 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 18.2 x 12.1 inches or 46.2 x 30.8 cm. The corresponding values for the Nikon B500 are 23 x 17.3 inches or 58.5 x 43.9 cm for good quality, 18.4 x 13.8 inches or 46.8 x 35.1 cm for very good quality, and 15.4 x 11.5 inches or 39 x 29.3 cm for excellent quality prints.

The Nikon Coolpix B500 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 80 to ISO 6400. The corresponding ISO settings for the Sony Alpha SLT-A58 are ISO 100 to ISO 16000, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 100-25600.

B500 versus A58 MP

Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for many cameras. This service assesses and scores the color depth ("DXO Portrait"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports") of camera sensors, and also publishes an overall camera score. The table below summarizes the physical sensor characteristics and sensor quality findings and compares them across a set of similar cameras.

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Sensor Characteristics
    Camera
Model
Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
1.
 
Nikon B500 1/2.3 15.9 4608 34561080/60i........
2.
 
Sony A58 APS-C 19.8 5456 36321080/60i23.312.575374
3.
 
Nikon B600 1/2.3 15.9 4608 34561080/30p........
4.
 
Nikon A1000 1/2.3 15.9 4608 34564K/30p........
5.
 
Nikon P1000 1/2.3 15.9 4608 34564K/30p........
6.
 
Nikon W300 1/2.3 15.9 4608 34564K/30p........
7.
 
Nikon B700 1/2.3 20.2 5184 38884K/30p........
8.
 
Nikon P900 1/2.3 15.9 4608 34561080/60p........
9.
 
Nikon L840 1/2.3 15.9 4608 34561080/60i........
10.
 
Nikon D3200 APS-C 24.1 6016 40001080/30p24.113.2113181
11.
 
Panasonic FZ80 1/2.3 18.0 4896 36724K/30p........
12.
 
Sony HX80 1/2.3 18.0 4896 36721080/60p........
13.
 
Sony A68 APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60i24.113.570179
14.
 
Sony A5100 APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p23.812.7134780
15.
 
Sony A6000 APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.113.1134782
16.
 
Sony A3000 APS-C 19.8 5456 36321080/60i23.712.8106878
17.
 
Sony H200 1/2.3 15.2 5184 2930720/30p........

Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but also of capturing video footage. Both cameras under consideration are equipped with sensors that have a sufficiently high read-out speed for moving images, and both provide the same movie specifications (1080/60i).

Feature comparison

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the A58 has an electronic viewfinder (1440k dots), which can be very helpful when shooting in bright sunlight. In contrast, the B500 relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. The following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Nikon B500, the Sony A58, and comparable cameras.

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Core Features
    Camera
Model
Viewfinder
(Type or
000 dots)
Control
Panel
(yes/no)
LCD
Specifications
(inch/000 dots)
LCD
Attach-
ment
Touch
Screen
(yes/no)
Mech
Shutter
Speed
Shutter
Flaps
(1/sec)
Built-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Built-in
Image
Stab
1.
 
Nikon B500none n3.0 / 921 tilting n 1/4000s 7.4 Y Y
2.
 
Sony A581440 n2.7 / 460 tilting n 1/4000s 5.0 Y Y
3.
 
Nikon B600none n3.0 / 921 fixed n 1/4000s 7.4 Y Y
4.
 
Nikon A10001166 n3.0 / 1036 tilting Y 1/4000s 7.0 Y Y
5.
 
Nikon P10002359 n3.2 / 921 swivel n 1/4000s 7.0 Y Y
6.
 
Nikon W300none n3.0 / 921 fixed n 1/4000s 7.0 Y Y
7.
 
Nikon B700921 n3.0 / 921 swivel n 1/4000s 5.0 Y Y
8.
 
Nikon P900921 n3.0 / 921 swivel n 1/4000s 7.0 Y Y
9.
 
Nikon L840none n3.0 / 921 tilting n 1/4000s 7.4 Y Y
10.
 
Nikon D3200optical n3.0 / 921 fixed n 1/4000s 4.0 Y n
11.
 
Panasonic FZ801166 n3.0 / 1040 fixed Y 1/2000s 10.0 Y Y
12.
 
Sony HX80638 n3.0 / 922 tilting n 1/2000s 10.0 Y Y
13.
 
Sony A681440 Y2.7 / 460 tilting n 1/4000s 8.0 Y Y
14.
 
Sony A5100none n3.0 / 922 tilting Y 1/4000s 6.0 Y n
15.
 
Sony A60001440 n3.0 / 922 tilting n 1/4000s 11.0 Y n
16.
 
Sony A3000202 n3.0 / 230 fixed n 1/4000s 2.5 Y n
17.
 
Sony H200none n3.0 / 460 fixed n 1/1500s 0.8 Y Y

The B500 writes its imaging data to SDXC cards, while the A58 uses SDXC or Memory Stick PRO Duo cards.

Connectivity comparison

For some imaging applications, the extent to which a camera can communicate with its environment can be an important aspect in the camera decision process. The table below provides an overview of the connectivity of the Nikon Coolpix B500 and Sony Alpha SLT-A58 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.

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Input-Output Connections
    Camera
Model
Hotshoe
Port
Internal
Mic / Speaker
Microphone
Port
Headphone
Port
HDMI
Port
USB
Port
WiFi
Support
NFC
Support
Bluetooth
Support
1.
 
Nikon B500-stereo / mono--micro2.0YYY
2.
 
Sony A58Ystereo / monoY-mini2.0---
3.
 
Nikon B600-stereo / mono--micro2.0Y-Y
4.
 
Nikon A1000-stereo / mono--micro2.0Y-Y
5.
 
Nikon P1000Ystereo / monoY-micro2.0Y-Y
6.
 
Nikon W300-stereo / mono--micro2.0Y-Y
7.
 
Nikon B700-stereo / mono--micro2.0YYY
8.
 
Nikon P900-stereo / mono--micro2.0YY-
9.
 
Nikon L840-stereo / mono--micro2.0YY-
10.
 
Nikon D3200Ymono / monoY-mini2.0---
11.
 
Panasonic FZ80Ystereo / mono--micro2.0Y--
12.
 
Sony HX80-stereo / mono--micro2.0YY-
13.
 
Sony A68Ystereo / monoY-micro2.0---
14.
 
Sony A5100-stereo / mono--micro2.0YY-
15.
 
Sony A6000Ystereo / mono--micro2.0YY-
16.
 
Sony A3000Ystereo / mono--mini2.0---
17.
 
Sony H200-mono / mono---2.0---

It is notable that the B500 offers wifi support, while the A58 does not. Wifi can be a very convenient means to transfer image data to an off-camera location.

Both the B500 and the A58 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The A58 was replaced by the Sony A68, while the B500 was followed by the Nikon B600. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Nikon and Sony websites.

Review summary

So what is the bottom line? Is there a clear favorite between the Nikon B500 and the Sony A58? Which camera is better? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.

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Arguments in favor of the Nikon Coolpix B500:

  • Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
  • Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.0" vs 2.7") for image review and settings control.
  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (921k vs 460k dots).
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (7.4 vs 5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • Ready to shoot: Comes with a built-in lens, while the A58 requires a separate lens.
  • More compact: Is smaller (114x78mm vs 129x95mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
  • Easier file upload: Has wifi built in for automatic backup or image transfer to the web.
  • Easier device pairing: Supports NFC for fast wireless image transfer over short distances.
  • Easier wireless transfer: Supports Bluetooth for image sharing without cables.
  • More affordable: Was introduced at a lower price, despite coming with a built-in lens.
  • More modern: Reflects 2 years and 11 months of technical progress since the A58 launch.

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Reasons to prefer the Sony Alpha SLT-A58:

  • More detail: Has more megapixels (19.8 vs 15.9MP), which boosts linear resolution by 14%.
  • Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
  • Better image quality: Features bigger pixels on a larger sensor for higher quality imaging.
  • Richer colors: The pixel size advantage translates into images with better, more accurate colors.
  • More dynamic range: Larger pixels capture a wider spectrum of light and dark details.
  • Better low-light sensitivity: Larger pixels means good image quality even under poor lighting.
  • Better sound: Can connect to an external microphone for higher quality sound recording.
  • Easier framing: Has an electronic viewfinder for image composition and settings control.
  • More flexible: Makes it possible to change lenses and thus to use specialty optics.
  • Longer lasting: Gets more shots (690 versus 600) out of a single battery charge.
  • Better lighting: Features a hotshoe and can thus hold and trigger an external flash gun.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been around for much longer (launched in February 2013).

If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the A58 comes out slightly ahead of the B500 (12 : 11 points). However, the relevance of individual strengths will vary across photographers, so that you might want to apply your own weighing scheme to the summary points when reflecting and deciding on a new camera. A professional wildlife photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a family photog, and a person interested in architecture has distinct needs from a sports shooter. Hence, the decision which camera is best and worth buying is often a very personal one.

B500 11:12 A58

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Nikon B500 and the Sony A58 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Superzoom Camera and Best DSLR Camera listings whether the two cameras rank among the cream of the crop.

In any case, while the comparison of technical specifications can provide a useful overview of the capabilities of different cameras, it remains incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the B500 or the A58 perform in practice. User reviews, such as those found at amazon, can sometimes inform about these issues, but such feedback is often incomplete, inconsistent, and biased.

Expert reviews

This is where reviews by experts come in. The table below provides a synthesis of the camera assessments of some of the best known photo-gear review sites (amateurphotographer [AP], cameralabs [CL], digitalcameraworld [DCW], dpreview [DPR], ephotozine [EPZ], photographyblog [PB]). As can be seen, the professional reviewers agree in many cases on the quality of different cameras, but sometimes their assessments diverge, reinforcing the earlier point that a camera decision is often a very personal choice.

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Expert Camera Reviews
     Camera 
 Model 
 AP 
 score 
 CL 
 score 
 DCW 
 score 
 DPR 
 score 
 EPZ 
 score 
 PB 
 score 
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
1.
 
Nikon B500..+....4/53.5/5 Jan 2016 299i
2.
 
Sony A583/5......4.5/54.5/5 Feb 2013 599i
3.
 
Nikon B600..+....3.5/53/5 Jan 2019 349 i
4.
 
Nikon A1000..+ +3.5/5..3.5/53/5 Jan 2019 429 i
5.
 
Nikon P1000..+3.5/573/1003.5/53.5/5 Jul 2018 999 i
6.
 
Nikon W300..+....4/54/5 May 2017 389 i
7.
 
Nikon B700..+....4/54/5 Feb 2016 499 i
8.
 
Nikon P900......77/1004/54/5 Mar 2015 599i
9.
 
Nikon L840..+ +....3.5/54/5 Feb 2015 299i
10.
 
Nikon D32005/5+ +..73/1004.5/54.5/5 Apr 2012 599i
11.
 
Panasonic FZ80..+ +....4.5/54.5/5 Jan 2017 399 i
12.
 
Sony HX80............ Mar 2016 349 i
13.
 
Sony A683/5......4/54/5 Nov 2015 699i
14.
 
Sony A51004.5/5+....4.5/55/5 Aug 2014 549 i
15.
 
Sony A60005/5+4.5/580/1004.5/55/5 Feb 2014 599i
16.
 
Sony A30003/5+....4/54/5 Aug 2013 329i
17.
 
Sony H200........3.5/53.5/5 Jan 2013 249 i
Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.

The review scores listed above should be treated with care, though. The ratings are only valid when referring to cameras in the same category and of the same age. A score, therefore, has to be seen in close connection to the price and market introduction time of the camera, and rating-comparisons among cameras that span long time periods or concern very differently equipped models make little sense. Also, kindly note that some of the listed sites have over time developped their review approaches and their reporting style.

Nikon B500:
Check Ebay offers
Sony A58:
Check Ebay offers

Other camera comparisons

Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? In case you are interested in seeing how other cameras pair up, just make a corresponding selection in the search boxes below. There is also a set of direct links to comparison reviews that other users of the CAM-parator app explored.

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    Specifications: Nikon B500 vs Sony A58

    Below is a side-by-side comparison of the specs of the two cameras to facilitate a quick review of their differences and common features.

    Camera Specifications
    Camera Model Nikon B500 Sony A58
    Camera Type Fixed lens compact camera Digital single lens reflex
    Camera Lens 22.5-900mm f/3.0-6.5 Sony A mount lenses
    Launch Date January 2016 February 2013
    Launch Price USD 299 USD 599
    Sensor Specs Nikon B500 Sony A58
    Sensor Technology BSI-CMOS CMOS
    Sensor Format 1/2.3" Sensor APS-C Sensor
    Sensor Size 6.17 x 4.55 mm 23.5 x 15.6 mm
    Sensor Area 28.0735 mm2 366.6 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 7.7 mm 28.2 mm
    Crop Factor 5.6x 1.5x
    Sensor Resolution 15.9 Megapixels 19.8 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 4608 x 3456 pixels 5456 x 3632 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 1.33 μm 4.31 μm
    Pixel Density 56.73 MP/cm2 5.41 MP/cm2
    Moiré control no AA filter Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability 1080/60i Video 1080/60i Video
    ISO Setting 80 - 6,400 ISO 100 - 16,000 ISO
    ISO Boost no Enhancement 100 - 25,600 ISO
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) .. 74
    DXO Color Depth (bits) .. 23.3
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) .. 12.5
    DXO Low Light (ISO) .. 753
    Screen Specs Nikon B500 Sony A58
    Viewfinder Type no viewfinder Electronic viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 100%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.57x
    Viewfinder Resolution 1440k dots
    LCD Framing Live View Live View
    Rear LCD Size 3.0inch 2.7inch
    LCD Resolution 921k dots 460k dots
    LCD Attachment Tilting screen Tilting screen
    Shooting Specs Nikon B500 Sony A58
    Focus System Contrast-detect AF Phase-detect AF
    Manual Focusing Aidno Peaking FeatureFocus Peaking
    Max Shutter Speed (mechanical) 1/4000s 1/4000s
    Continuous Shooting 7.4 shutter flaps/s 5 shutter flaps/s
    Image StabilizationLens-based stabilizationIn-body stabilization
    Fill Flash Built-in Flash Built-in Flash
    Storage Medium SDXC cards MS or SDXC cards
    Second Storage Option Single card slot Single card slot
    UHS card support no no
    Connectivity Specs Nikon B500 Sony A58
    External Flash no Hotshoe Hotshoe
    USB Connector USB 2.0 USB 2.0
    HDMI Port micro HDMI mini HDMI
    Microphone Port no MIC socket External MIC port
    Wifi Support Wifi built-in no Wifi
    Near-Field Communication NFC built-in no NFC
    Bluetooth Support Bluetooth built-in no Bluetooth
    Body Specs Nikon B500 Sony A58
    Battery Type 4xAA NP-FM500H
    Battery Life (CIPA)600 shots per charge690 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 114 x 78 x 95 mm
    (4.5 x 3.1 x 3.7 in)
    129 x 95 x 78 mm
    (5.1 x 3.7 x 3.1 in)
    Camera Weight 541 g (19.1 oz) 492 g (17.4 oz)

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