Sony A58 vs NEX-5R
The Sony Alpha SLT-A58 and the Sony Alpha NEX-5R are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in February 2013 and August 2012. The A58 is a DSLR, while the NEX-5R is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera. Both cameras are equipped with an APS-C sensor. The A58 has a resolution of 19.8 megapixels, whereas the NEX-5R provides 16 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 Sony Alpha SLT-A58 and the Sony Alpha NEX-5R? 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 side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size and weight of the Sony A58 and the Sony NEX-5R. 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 measures are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
The NEX-5R can be obtained in two different colors (black, silver), while the A58 is only available in black.
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Sony NEX-5R is considerably smaller (47 percent) than the Sony A58. Moreover, the NEX-5R is substantially lighter (44 percent) than the A58. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the A58 nor the NEX-5R 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.
Concerning battery life, the A58 gets 690 shots out of its NP-FM500H battery, while the NEX-5R can take 330 images on a single charge of its NP-FW50 power pack.
The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the two cameras alongside a broader set of comparators. If you would like to visualize and compare a different camera combination, you can navigate to the CAM-parator app and make your selection from a broad list of cameras there.
|1.||Sony A58||129 mm||95 mm||78 mm||492 g||690||n||Feb 2013||599||ebay.com|
|2.||Sony NEX-5R||111 mm||59 mm||39 mm||276 g||330||n||Aug 2012||749||ebay.com|
|3.||Canon SL1||117 mm||91 mm||69 mm||407 g||380||n||Mar 2013||549||ebay.com|
|4.||Canon T5i||133 mm||100 mm||79 mm||580 g||440||n||Mar 2013||649||ebay.com|
|5.||Nikon D3300||124 mm||98 mm||76 mm||430 g||700||n||Jan 2014||499||ebay.com|
|6.||Nikon D3200||125 mm||96 mm||77 mm||505 g||540||n||Apr 2012||599||ebay.com|
|7.||Pentax K-S1||121 mm||93 mm||70 mm||558 g||410||n||Aug 2014||749||ebay.com|
|8.||Ricoh GR||117 mm||61 mm||35 mm||245 g||290||n||Apr 2013||799||ebay.com|
|9.||Sony A68||143 mm||104 mm||81 mm||610 g||540||n||Nov 2015||699||ebay.com|
|10.||Sony A77 II||143 mm||104 mm||81 mm||647 g||480||Y||May 2014||1,199||ebay.com|
|11.||Sony A5100||110 mm||63 mm||36 mm||283 g||400||n||Aug 2014||549||ebay.com|
|12.||Sony A6000||120 mm||67 mm||45 mm||344 g||360||n||Feb 2014||599||ebay.com|
|13.||Sony A3000||128 mm||91 mm||85 mm||411 g||470||n||Aug 2013||329||ebay.com|
|14.||Sony NEX-3N||110 mm||62 mm||35 mm||269 g||480||n||Feb 2013||499||ebay.com|
|15.||Sony NEX-5T||111 mm||59 mm||39 mm||276 g||330||n||Aug 2013||699||ebay.com|
|16.||Sony NEX-5N||111 mm||59 mm||38 mm||269 g||460||n||Aug 2011||699||ebay.com|
|17.||Sony NEX-3||117 mm||62 mm||33 mm||297 g||330||n||May 2010||599||ebay.com|
|Note: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.|
Any camera decision will obviously take relative prices into account. 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 20 percent) than the NEX-5R, 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 imaging sensor is a crucial determinant 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. Further, a large sensor camera will give the photographer additional creative options when using shallow depth-of-field to isolate a subject from its background. On the downside, larger sensors tend to be associated with larger, more expensive camera bodies and lenses.
Both cameras under consideration feature an APS-C sensor, but their sensors differ slightly in size. The sensor area in the NEX-5R is 1 percent smaller. They nevertheless have the same format factor of 1.5. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.
With 19.8MP, the A58 offers a higher resolution than the NEX-5R (16MP), but the A58 has smaller individual pixels (pixel pitch of 4.31μm versus 4.78μm for the NEX-5R). However, the A58 is a somewhat more recent model (by 5 months) than the NEX-5R, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time that enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixels.
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 Sony NEX-5R are 24.6 x 16.3 inches or 62.4 x 41.5 cm for good quality, 19.6 x 13.1 inches or 49.9 x 33.2 cm for very good quality, and 16.4 x 10.9 inches or 41.6 x 27.6 cm for excellent quality prints.
The Sony Alpha SLT-A58 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 16000, which can be extended to ISO 100-25600. The corresponding ISO settings for the Sony Alpha NEX-5R are ISO 100 to ISO 25600 (no boost).
Technology-wise, both cameras are equipped with CMOS (Complementary Metal–Oxide–Semiconductor) sensors. Both cameras use a Bayer filter for capturing RGB colors on a square grid of photosensors. This arrangement is found in most digital cameras.
Since 2007, DXO Mark has published sensor performance measurements that have been derived using a consistent methodology. This service determines an overall sensor rating, as well as sub-scores for low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and color depth ("DXO Portrait"). Of the two cameras under consideration, the NEX-5R has a markedly higher DXO score than the A58 (overall score 4 points higher), which will translate into better image quality. The advantage is based on 0.4 bits higher color depth, 0.6 EV in additional dynamic range, and 0.3 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.
|10.||Sony A77 II||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||24.4||13.4||1013||82|
Many modern cameras cannot only take still pictures, but also record videos. 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).
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), which can be very helpful when shooting in bright sunlight. In contrast, the NEX-5R relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. That said, the NEX-5R can be equipped with an optional viewfinder – the FDA-EV1S. The table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Sony A58 and Sony NEX-5R in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras.
|1.||Sony A58||1440||n||2.7 / 460||tilting||n||1/4000s||5.0/s||Y||Y|
|2.||Sony NEX-5R||optional||n||3.0 / 920||tilting||Y||1/4000s||10.0/s||n||n|
|3.||Canon SL1||optical||n||3.0 / 1040||fixed||Y||1/4000s||4.9/s||Y||n|
|4.||Canon T5i||optical||n||3.0 / 1040||swivel||Y||1/4000s||5.0/s||Y||n|
|5.||Nikon D3300||optical||n||3.0 / 921||fixed||n||1/4000s||5.0/s||Y||n|
|6.||Nikon D3200||optical||n||3.0 / 921||fixed||n||1/4000s||4.0/s||Y||n|
|7.||Pentax K-S1||optical||n||3.0 / 921||fixed||n||1/6000s||5.4/s||Y||Y|
|8.||Ricoh GR||optional||n||3.0 / 1230||fixed||n||1/4000s||4.0/s||Y||n|
|9.||Sony A68||1440||Y||2.7 / 460||tilting||n||1/4000s||8.0/s||Y||Y|
|10.||Sony A77 II||2359||Y||3.0 / 1229||full-flex||n||1/8000s||12.0/s||Y||Y|
|11.||Sony A5100||none||n||3.0 / 922||tilting||Y||1/4000s||6.0/s||Y||n|
|12.||Sony A6000||1440||n||3.0 / 922||tilting||n||1/4000s||11.0/s||Y||n|
|13.||Sony A3000||202||n||3.0 / 230||fixed||n||1/4000s||2.5/s||Y||n|
|14.||Sony NEX-3N||optional||n||3.0 / 460||tilting||n||1/4000s||4.0/s||Y||n|
|15.||Sony NEX-5T||optional||n||3.0 / 922||tilting||Y||1/4000s||10.0/s||n||n|
|16.||Sony NEX-5N||optional||n||3.0 / 920||tilting||Y||1/4000s||10.0/s||n||n|
|17.||Sony NEX-3||optional||n||3.0 / 920||tilting||n||1/4000s||7.0/s||n||n|
|Notes: *) Information refers to the mechanical shutter, unless the camera only has an electronic one.|
One difference between the cameras concerns the presence of an on-board flash. The A58 has one, while the NEX-5R does not. While the built-in flash of the A58 is not very powerful, it can at times be useful as a fill-in light.The NEX-5R has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing. This characteristic will be appreciated by vloggers and photographers who are interested in taking selfies. In contrast, the A58 does not have a selfie-screen.
Concerning the storage of imaging data, both the A58 and the NEX-5R write their files to SDXC or Memory Stick PRO Duo cards.
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 Sony Alpha SLT-A58 and Sony Alpha NEX-5R and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
Mic / Speaker
|1.||Sony A58||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|2.||Sony NEX-5R||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||Y||-||-|
|3.||Canon SL1||Y||mono / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|4.||Canon T5i||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|5.||Nikon D3300||Y||mono / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|6.||Nikon D3200||Y||mono / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|7.||Pentax K-S1||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||-||-||-|
|8.||Ricoh GR||Y||mono / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||-||-||-|
|9.||Sony A68||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||-||-||-|
|10.||Sony A77 II||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|11.||Sony A5100||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|12.||Sony A6000||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|13.||Sony A3000||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|14.||Sony NEX-3N||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||-||-||-|
|15.||Sony NEX-5T||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|16.||Sony NEX-5N||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|17.||Sony NEX-3||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
It is notable that the A58 has a microphone port, which is missing on the NEX-5R. Such an external microphone input can help to substantially improve the quality of audio recordings when a good external microphone is used.
Both the A58 and the NEX-5R have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on ebay. The NEX-5R was replaced by the Sony NEX-5T, while the A58 was followed by the Sony A68. Further information on the features and operation of the A58 and NEX-5R can be found, respectively, in the Sony A58 Manual (free pdf) or the online Sony NEX-5R Manual.
So what is the bottom line? Which of the two cameras – the Sony A58 or the Sony NEX-5R – has the upper hand? Is one clearly better than the other? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.
Advantages of the Sony Alpha SLT-A58:
- More detail: Offers more megapixels (19.8 vs 16MP) with a 11% higher linear resolution.
- 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.
- Longer lasting: Can take more shots (690 versus 330) on a single battery charge.
- Sharper images: Has hand-shake reducing image stabilization built-in.
- Easier fill-in: Is equipped with a small onboard flash to brighten deep shadow areas.
- More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced segment (20 percent cheaper at launch).
- More modern: Is somewhat more recent (announced 5 months after the NEX-5R).
Reasons to prefer the Sony Alpha NEX-5R:
- Better image quality: Scores markedly higher (4 points) in the DXO overall evaluation.
- More dynamic range: Captures a broader range of light and dark details (0.6 EV of extra DR).
- 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 (920k vs 460k dots).
- Fewer buttons to press: Has a touchscreen to facilitate handling and shooting adjustments.
- More selfie-friendly: Has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (10 vs 5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- More compact: Is smaller (111x59mm vs 129x95mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
- Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 216g or 44 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
- More legacy lens friendly: Can use many non-native lenses via adapters.
- Easier file upload: Has wifi built in for automatic backup or image transfer to the web.
- More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in August 2012).
If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the NEX-5R is the clear winner of the contest (12 : 8 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 sports photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a street photog, and a person interested in family portraits has distinct needs from a landscape 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 Sony A58 and the Sony NEX-5R place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best DSLR Camera and Best Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens 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 partial and cannot reveal, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance when actually working with the A58 or the NEX-5R. User reviews that are available, for instance, at amazon can sometimes shed light on these issues, but such feedback is all too often partial, inconsistent, and inaccurate.
This is why expert reviews are important. The following table reports the overall ratings of the cameras as published by some of the major camera 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.
|1.||Sony A58||3/5||..||..||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2013||599||ebay.com|
|2.||Sony NEX-5R||..||..||..||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2012||749||ebay.com|
|3.||Canon SL1||4/5||+||..||78/100||4/5||4/5||Mar 2013||549||ebay.com|
|4.||Canon T5i||..||..||..||76/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Mar 2013||649||ebay.com|
|5.||Nikon D3300||3/5||+||..||77/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2014||499||ebay.com|
|6.||Nikon D3200||5/5||+ +||..||73/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Apr 2012||599||ebay.com|
|7.||Pentax K-S1||4/5||..||..||..||4.5/5||4/5||Aug 2014||749||ebay.com|
|8.||Ricoh GR||5/5||..||..||79/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Apr 2013||799||ebay.com|
|9.||Sony A68||3/5||..||..||..||4/5||4/5||Nov 2015||699||ebay.com|
|10.||Sony A77 II||4/5||..||..||80/100||4.5/5||5/5||May 2014||1,199||ebay.com|
|11.||Sony A5100||4.5/5||+||..||..||4.5/5||5/5||Aug 2014||549||ebay.com|
|12.||Sony A6000||5/5||+||4.5/5||80/100||4.5/5||5/5||Feb 2014||599||ebay.com|
|13.||Sony A3000||3/5||+||..||..||4/5||4/5||Aug 2013||329||ebay.com|
|14.||Sony NEX-3N||3/5||..||..||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2013||499||ebay.com|
|15.||Sony NEX-5T||..||..||..||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2013||699||ebay.com|
|16.||Sony NEX-5N||3/5||+ +||..||79/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2011||699||ebay.com|
|17.||Sony NEX-3||..||..||..||70/100||4.5/5||4/5||May 2010||599||ebay.com|
|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. Thus, a score needs to be put into the context of the launch date and the launch price of the camera, and comparing ratings of very distinct cameras or ones that are far apart in terms of their release date 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 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.
- Canon 50D vs Sony A58
- Canon 5D Mark III vs Sony A58
- Canon 6D Mark II vs Sony NEX-5R
- Nikon D3400 vs Sony NEX-5R
- Nikon D40 vs Sony NEX-5R
- Nikon D70s vs Sony A58
- Olympus E-410 vs Sony NEX-5R
- Olympus TG-6 vs Sony NEX-5R
- Panasonic FZ82 vs Sony A58
- Pentax K-30 vs Sony A58
- Sony A5100 vs Sony A58
- Sony NEX-5R vs Sony RX10 II
Specifications: Sony A58 vs Sony NEX-5R
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||Sony A58||Sony NEX-5R|
|Camera Type||Digital single lens reflex||Mirrorless system camera|
|Camera Lens||Sony A mount lenses||Sony E mount lenses|
|Launch Date||February 2013||August 2012|
|Launch Price||USD 599||USD 749|
|Sensor Specs||Sony A58||Sony NEX-5R|
|Sensor Format||APS-C Sensor||APS-C Sensor|
|Sensor Size||23.5 x 15.6 mm||23.4 x 15.6 mm|
|Sensor Area||366.6 mm2||365.04 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||28.2 mm||28.1 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||19.8 Megapixels||16 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||5456 x 3632 pixels||4912 x 3264 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||4.31 μm||4.78 μm|
|Pixel Density||5.41 MP/cm2||4.39 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||1080/60i Video||1080/60i Video|
|ISO Setting||100 - 16,000 ISO||100 - 25,600 ISO|
|ISO Boost||100 - 25,600 ISO||no Enhancement|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||74||78|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||23.3||23.7|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||12.5||13.1|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||753||910|
|Screen Specs||Sony A58||Sony NEX-5R|
|Viewfinder Type||Electronic viewfinder||Viewfinder optional|
|Viewfinder Field of View||100%|
|Viewfinder Resolution||1440k dots|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||2.7inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||460k dots||920k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Tilting screen||Tilting screen|
|Touch Input||no Touchscreen||Touchscreen|
|Shooting Specs||Sony A58||Sony NEX-5R|
|Focus System||Phase-detect AF||Contrast-detect AF|
|Manual Focusing Aid||Focus Peaking||no Peaking Feature|
|Continuous Shooting||5 shutter flaps/s||10 shutter flaps/s|
|Image Stabilization||In-body stabilization||Lens stabilization only|
|Fill Flash||Built-in Flash||no On-Board Flash|
|Storage Medium||MS or SDXC cards||MS or SDXC cards|
|Single or Dual Card Slots||Single card slot||Single card slot|
|UHS card support||no||no|
|Connectivity Specs||Sony A58||Sony NEX-5R|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||mini HDMI||mini HDMI|
|Microphone Port||External MIC port||no MIC socket|
|Wifi Support||no Wifi||Wifi built-in|
|Body Specs||Sony A58||Sony NEX-5R|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||690 shots per charge||330 shots per charge|
129 x 95 x 78 mm
(5.1 x 3.7 x 3.1 in)
111 x 59 x 39 mm
(4.4 x 2.3 x 1.5 in)
|Camera Weight||492 g (17.4 oz)||276 g (9.7 oz)|
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