Olympus E-520 vs Sony A58
The Olympus E-520 and the Sony Alpha SLT-A58 are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in May 2008 and February 2013. Both are DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras that are based on a Four Thirds (E-520) and an APS-C (A58) sensor. The Olympus has a resolution of 10 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.
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Olympus E-520 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.
The physical size and weight of the Olympus E-520 and the Sony A58 are illustrated in the side-by-side display below. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three consecutive perspectives from the front, the top, and the back are available. All width, height and depth dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Sony A58 is somewhat smaller (2 percent) than the Olympus E-520. Moreover, the A58 is markedly lighter (8 percent) than the E-520. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the E-520 nor the A58 are weather-sealed.
The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete since they do not consider the interchangeable lenses that both of these cameras require. Hence, you might want to study and compare the specifications of available lenses in order to get the full picture of the size and weight of the two camera systems.
The following table provides a synthesis of the main physical specifications of the two cameras and other similar ones. In case you want to display and compare another camera duo, just click on the right or left arrow next to the camera that you would like to inspect. Alternatively, you can also use the CAM-parator to select your camera combination among a larger number of options.
|Olympus E-520||136 mm||92 mm||68 mm||535 g||750||n||May 2008||699|
|Sony A58||129 mm||95 mm||78 mm||492 g||690||n||Feb 2013||599|
|Nikon D3300||124 mm||98 mm||76 mm||430 g||700||n||Jan 2014||499|
|Olympus E-450||130 mm||91 mm||53 mm||440 g||500||n||Mar 2009||499|
|Olympus E-600||130 mm||94 mm||60 mm||535 g||500||n||Aug 2009||449|
|Olympus E-620||130 mm||94 mm||60 mm||521 g||500||n||Feb 2009||699|
|Olympus E-P1||121 mm||70 mm||36 mm||355 g||300||n||Jun 2009||799|
|Olympus E-P2||121 mm||70 mm||36 mm||355 g||300||n||Nov 2009||799|
|Olympus E-30||142 mm||108 mm||75 mm||701 g||750||n||Nov 2008||1,299|
|Olympus E-420||130 mm||91 mm||53 mm||440 g||500||n||Mar 2008||599|
|Olympus E-410||130 mm||91 mm||53 mm||435 g||500||n||Mar 2007||699|
|Olympus E-510||136 mm||92 mm||68 mm||538 g||750||n||Mar 2007||799|
|Panasonic L10||135 mm||96 mm||78 mm||556 g||450||n||Aug 2007||599|
|Sony A68||143 mm||104 mm||81 mm||610 g||540||n||Nov 2015||699|
|Sony A7 II||127 mm||96 mm||60 mm||599 g||350||Y||Nov 2014||1,999|
|Sony A6000||120 mm||67 mm||45 mm||344 g||360||n||Feb 2014||599|
|Sony RX100||102 mm||58 mm||36 mm||240 g||330||n||Jun 2012||649|
Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.
(1) Number of images that can be taken on a full battery charge according to the CIPA-standard; (2) Official announcement.
The price is, of course, an important factor in any camera decision. The manufacturer’s suggested retail prices give an idea on the placement of the camera in the maker’s lineup and the broader market. The A58 was launched at a somewhat lower price (by 14 percent) than the E-520, which makes it more attractive for photographers on a tight budget. Normally, street prices remain initially close to the MSRP, but after a couple of months, the first discounts appear. 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. Then, after the new model is out, very good deals can frequently be found on the pre-owned market.
The size of the sensor inside a digital camera is one of the key determinants of image quality. A large sensor will tend to have larger individual pixels that provide better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and richer color-depth than smaller pixel-units in a sensor of the same technological generation. Moreover, a large sensor camera will give the photographer more control over depth-of-field in the image and, thus, the ability to better isolate a subject from the background. On the downside, larger sensors are more costly to manufacture and tend to lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.
Of the two cameras under consideration, the Olympus E-520 features a Four Thirds sensor and the Sony A58 an APS-C sensor. The sensor area in the A58 is 63 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 2.0 and 1.5. The sensor in the E-520 has a native 4:3 aspect ratio, while the one in the A58 offers a 3:2 aspect.
Technology-wise, both cameras are equipped with CMOS (Complementary Metal–Oxide–Semiconductor) sensors.
With 19.8MP, the A58 offers a higher resolution than the E-520 (10MP), but the A58 has smaller individual pixels (pixel pitch of 4.31μm versus 4.74μm for the E-520). Yet, the A58 is a much more recent model (by 4 years and 9 months) than the E-520, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixel-units.
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 Olympus E-520 are 18.2 x 13.7 inches or 46.3 x 34.7 cm for good quality, 14.6 x 10.9 inches or 37.1 x 27.8 cm for very good quality, and 12.2 x 9.1 inches or 30.9 x 23.2 cm for excellent quality prints.
The Olympus E-520 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 1600. 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.
For many cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. 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. Of the two cameras under consideration, the A58 offers substantially better image quality than the E-520 (overall score 19 points higher). The advantage is based on 1.9 bits higher color depth, 2.1 EV in additional dynamic range, and 0.5 stops in additional low light sensitivity. The following table provides an overview of the physical sensor characteristics, as well as the sensor quality measurements for a selection of comparators.
|Olympus E-520||Four Thirds||10.0||3648||2736||none||21.4||10.4||548||55|
|Olympus E-450||Four Thirds||10.0||3648||2736||none||21.5||10.5||512||56|
|Olympus E-600||Four Thirds||12.2||4032||3024||none||21.5||10.3||541||55|
|Olympus E-620||Four Thirds||12.2||4032||3024||none||21.3||10.3||536||55|
|Olympus E-P1||Four Thirds||12.2||4032||3024||720/30p||21.4||10.4||536||55|
|Olympus E-P2||Four Thirds||12.2||4032||3024||720/30p||21.5||10.4||505||56|
|Olympus E-30||Four Thirds||12.2||4032||3024||none||21.3||10.4||530||55|
|Olympus E-420||Four Thirds||10.0||3648||2736||none||21.5||10.4||527||56|
|Olympus E-410||Four Thirds||10.0||3648||2736||none||21.1||10.0||494||51|
|Olympus E-510||Four Thirds||10.0||3648||2736||none||21.2||10.0||442||52|
|Panasonic L10||Four Thirds||10.0||3648||2736||none||21.3||10.8||429||55|
|Sony A7 II||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||24.9||13.6||2449||90|
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but also of capturing video footage. The A58 indeed provides for movie recording, while the E-520 does not. The highest resolution format that the A58 can use is 1080/60i.
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. For example, the A58 has an electronic viewfinder (1440k dots), while the E-520 has an optical one. Both systems have their advantages, with the electronic viewfinder making it possible to project supplementary shooting information into the framing view, whereas the optical viewfinder offers lag-free viewing and a very clear framing image. The viewfinder in the A58 offers a wider field of view (100%) than the one in the E-520 (95%), so that a larger proportion of the captured image is visible in the finder. In addition, the viewfinder of the A58 has a higher magnification (0.57x vs 0.46x), so that the size of the image transmitted appears closer to the size seen with the naked human eye. The adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Olympus E-520 and Sony A58 along with similar information for a selection of comparators.
|Sony A7 II||2400||n||3.0||1230||tilting||n||1/8000s||5.0||n||Y|
The E-520 writes its imaging data to Compact Flash or xD Picture cards, while the A58 uses SDXC or Memory Stick PRO Duo cards. The E-520 features dual card slots, which can be very useful in case a memory card fails. In contrast, the A58 only has one slot.
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 Olympus E-520 and Sony Alpha SLT-A58 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
| WiFi |
|Sony A7 II||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
Both the E-520 and the A58 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The A58 was replaced by the Sony A68, while the E-520 does not have a direct successor. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Olympus and Sony websites.
So what is the bottom line? Which of the two cameras – the Olympus E-520 or the Sony A58 – has the upper hand? Is one clearly better than the other? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.
Arguments in favor of the Olympus E-520:
- Brighter framing: Features an optical viewfinder for clear, lag-free composition.
- Greater peace of mind: Features a second card slot as a backup in case of memory card failure.
- More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in May 2008).
Advantages of the Sony Alpha SLT-A58:
- More detail: Has more megapixels (19.8 vs 10MP), which boosts linear resolution by 44%.
- Better image quality: Scores substantially higher (19 points) in the DXO overall evaluation.
- Richer colors: Generates noticeably more natural colors (1.9 bits more color depth).
- More dynamic range: Captures a broader range of light and dark details (2.1 EV of extra DR).
- Better low-light sensitivity: Can shoot in dim conditions (0.5 stops ISO advantage).
- Broader imaging potential: Can capture not only stills but also 1080/60i video.
- More framing info: Has an electronic viewfinder that displays shooting data.
- More complete view: Has a viewfinder with a larger field of view (100% vs 95%).
- Larger viewfinder image: Features a viewfinder with a higher magnification (0.57x vs 0.46x).
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (460k vs 215k dots).
- More flexible LCD: Has a tilting screen for odd-angle shots in landscape orientation.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (5 vs 3.5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- More affordable: Was released into a lower priced segment (14 percent cheaper at launch).
- More modern: Reflects 4 years and 9 months of technical progress since the E-520 launch.
If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the A58 is the clear winner of the contest (14 : 3 points). However, the pertinence of the various camera strengths will differ across photographers, so that you might want to weigh individual camera traits according to their importance for your own imaging needs before making a camera decision. A professional wedding photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a travel photog, and a person interested in cityscapes has distinct needs from a macro shooter. Hence, the decision which camera is best and worth buying is often a very personal one.
How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Olympus E-520 and the Sony A58 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best DSLR Camera listing whether the two cameras rank among the cream of the crop.
In any case, while the comparison of the spec-sheets of cameras can offer a general idea of their imaging potential, it says little about, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance of the E-520 and the A58 in practical situations. At times, user reviews, such as those published at amazon, address these issues in a useful manner, but such feedback is on many occasions incomplete, inconsistent, and unreliable.
This is why expert reviews are important. The table below provides a synthesis of the camera assessments of some of the best known photo-gear review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, and photographyblog). 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.
|Olympus E-520||87/100||+ +||4.5/5||4/5||4.5/5||May 2008||699|
|Sony A58||..||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2013||599|
|Nikon D3300||+||77/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2014||499|
|Olympus E-450||..||..||4/5||..||4/5||Mar 2009||499|
|Olympus E-600||..||..||..||..||4.5/5||Aug 2009||449|
|Olympus E-620||88/100||72/100||4.5/5||o||5/5||Feb 2009||699|
|Olympus E-P1||+||66/100||4/5||4/5||4.5/5||Jun 2009||799|
|Olympus E-P2||+||69/100||4/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Nov 2009||799|
|Olympus E-30||..||71/100||4.5/5||..||4/5||Nov 2008||1,299|
|Olympus E-420||85/100||+ +||4/5||o||4.5/5||Mar 2008||599|
|Olympus E-410||86/100||+ +||4/5||o||4.5/5||Mar 2007||699|
|Olympus E-510||89/100||+ +||3.5/5||o||4.5/5||Mar 2007||799|
|Panasonic L10||85/100||+||3.5/5||o||4/5||Aug 2007||599|
|Sony A68||..||..||4/5||..||4/5||Nov 2015||699|
|Sony A7 II||+||82/100||4.5/5||5/5||5/5||Nov 2014||1,999|
|Sony A6000||+||80/100||4.5/5||5/5||5/5||Feb 2014||599|
|Sony RX100||+ +||78/100||4/5||5/5||5/5||Jun 2012||649|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
The above review scores should be interpreted 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 comparisons of ratings among very different cameras or across long time periods have little meaning. It should also be noted that some of the review sites have over time altered the way they render their verdicts.
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 your choice using the following search menu. As an alternative, you can also directly jump to any one of the listed comparisons that were previously generated by the CAM-parator tool.
- Canon M10 vs Sony A58
- Canon R6 vs Sony A58
- Canon RP vs Olympus E-520
- Fujifilm X-T30 vs Olympus E-520
- Nikon D5500 vs Sony A58
- Olympus E-420 vs Olympus E-520
- Olympus E-520 vs Panasonic FZ1000 II
- Olympus E-520 vs Sony A9
- Olympus E-520 vs Sony RX100 IV
- Panasonic TZ95 vs Sony A58
- Sony A58 vs Sony RX0 II
- Sony A58 vs Sony RX1R
Specifications: Olympus E-520 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 Model||Olympus E-520||Sony A58|
|Camera Type||Digital single lens reflex||Digital single lens reflex|
|Camera Lens||Four Thirds lenses||Sony A mount lenses|
|Launch Date||May 2008||February 2013|
|Launch Price||USD 699||USD 599|
|Sensor Specs||Olympus E-520||Sony A58|
|Sensor Format||Four Thirds Sensor||APS-C Sensor|
|Sensor Size||17.3 x 13.0 mm||23.5 x 15.6 mm|
|Sensor Area||224.9 mm2||366.6 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||21.6 mm||28.2 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||10 Megapixels||19.8 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||3648 x 2736 pixels||5456 x 3632 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||4.74 μm||4.31 μm|
|Pixel Density||4.44 MP/cm2||5.41 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||no Video||1080/60i Video|
|ISO Setting||100 - 1,600 ISO||100 - 16,000 ISO|
|ISO Boost||no Enhancement||100 - 25,600 ISO|
|Image Processor||TruePic III||BIONZ|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||55||74|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||21.4||23.3|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||10.4||12.5|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||548||753|
|Screen Specs||Olympus E-520||Sony A58|
|Viewfinder Type||Optical viewfinder||Electronic viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||95%||100%|
|Viewfinder Resolution||1440k dots|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||2.7inch||2.7inch|
|LCD Resolution||215k dots||460k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Tilting screen|
|Shooting Specs||Olympus E-520||Sony A58|
|Focus System||Phase-detect AF||Phase-detect AF|
|Manual Focusing Aid||no Peaking Feature||Focus Peaking|
|Max Shutter Speed (mechanical)||1/4000s||1/4000s|
|Continuous Shooting||3.5 shutter flaps/s||5 shutter flaps/s|
|Image Stabilization||In-body stabilization||In-body stabilization|
|Fill Flash||Build-in Flash||Build-in Flash|
|Storage Medium||CF or XD cards||MS or SDXC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Dual card slots||Single card slot|
|Connectivity Specs||Olympus E-520||Sony A58|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||no HDMI||mini HDMI|
|Microphone Port||no MIC socket||External MIC port|
|Wifi Support||no Wifi||no Wifi|
|Body Specs||Olympus E-520||Sony A58|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||750 shots per charge||690 shots per charge|
136 x 92 x 68 mm
(5.4 x 3.6 x 2.7 in)
129 x 95 x 78 mm
(5.1 x 3.7 x 3.1 in)
|Camera Weight||535 g (18.9 oz)||492 g (17.4 oz)|
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