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Sony A58 vs RX100

The Sony Alpha SLT-A58 and the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in February 2013 and June 2012. The A58 is a DSLR, while the RX100 is a fixed lens compact. The cameras are based on an APS-C (A58) and an one-inch (RX100) sensor. The A58 has a resolution of 19.8 megapixels, whereas the RX100 provides 20 MP.

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

Headline Specifications
Sony A58
versus
Sony RX100
Sony A58   Sony RX100
Digital single lens reflex Fixed lens compact camera
Sony A mount lenses 28-100mm f/1.8-4.9
19.8 MP, APS-C Sensor 20 MP, 1" Sensor
1080/60i Video 1080/60p Video
ISO 100-16,000 (100 - 25,600) ISO 100-6,400 (100 - 25,600)
Electronic viewfinder (1440k dots) No viewfinder, LCD framing
2.7 LCD, 460k dots 3.0 LCD, 1229k dots
Tilting screen (no touchscreen) Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)
5 shutter flaps per second 10 shutter flaps per second
In-body stabilizationLens-based stabilization
690 shots per battery charge330 shots per battery charge
129 x 95 x 78 mm, 492 g 102 x 58 x 36 mm, 240 g

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Sony Alpha SLT-A58 and the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100? 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 Sony A58 and the Sony RX100. 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.

Size Sony A58 vs Sony RX100
Compare A58 versus RX100 top
Comparison A58 or RX100 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Sony RX100 is considerably smaller (52 percent) than the Sony A58. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the A58 nor the RX100 are weather-sealed.

The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the RX100 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.

Concerning battery life, the A58 gets 690 shots out of its NP-FM500H battery, while the RX100 can take 330 images on a single charge of its NP-BX1 power pack. The power pack in the RX100 can be charged via the USB port, which can be very convenient when travelling.

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.
 
Sony A58 129 mm 95 mm 78 mm 492 g 690 n Feb 2013 599i
2.
 
Sony RX100 102 mm 58 mm 36 mm 240 g 330 n Jun 2012 649i
3.
 
Canon 100D 117 mm 91 mm 69 mm 407 g 380 n Mar 2013 549i
4.
 
Canon 700D 133 mm 100 mm 79 mm 580 g 440 n Mar 2013 649i
5.
 
Nikon D3300 124 mm 98 mm 76 mm 430 g 700 n Jan 2014 499i
6.
 
Nikon D3200 125 mm 96 mm 77 mm 505 g 540 n Apr 2012 599i
7.
 
Sony A68 143 mm 104 mm 81 mm 610 g 540 n Nov 2015 699i
8.
 
Sony A7 II 127 mm 96 mm 60 mm 599 g 350 Y Nov 2014 1,999i
9.
 
Sony A5100 110 mm 63 mm 36 mm 283 g 400 n Aug 2014 549 i
10.
 
Sony A6000 120 mm 67 mm 45 mm 344 g 360 n Feb 2014 599i
11.
 
Sony RX100 III 102 mm 58 mm 41 mm 290 g 320 n May 2014 799i
12.
 
Sony A3000 128 mm 91 mm 85 mm 411 g 470 n Aug 2013 329i
13.
 
Sony RX100 II 102 mm 58 mm 38 mm 281 g 350 n Jun 2013 749i
14.
 
Sony NEX-5R 111 mm 59 mm 39 mm 276 g 330 n Aug 2012 749i
15.
 
Sony NEX-5N 111 mm 59 mm 38 mm 269 g 460 n Aug 2011 699i
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. 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. Then, after the new model is out, very good deals can frequently be found on the pre-owned market.

Sensor comparison

The imaging sensor is at the core of digital cameras and its size is one of the main determining factors 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 are more costly to manufacture and tend to lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.

Of the two cameras under consideration, the Sony A58 features an APS-C sensor and the Sony RX100 an one-inch sensor. The sensor area in the RX100 is 68 percent smaller. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 1.5 and 2.7. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.

Technology-wise, the RX100 uses a more advanced image processing engine (BIONZ X) than the A58 (BIONZ), with benefits for noise reduction, color accuracy, and processing speed.

Sony A58 and Sony RX100 sensor measures

Despite having a smaller sensor, the RX100 offers a slightly higher resolution of 20 megapixels, compared with 19.8 MP of the A58. This megapixels advantage comes at the cost of a higher pixel density and a smaller size of the individual pixel (with a pixel pitch of 2.41μm versus 4.31μm for the A58). Moreover, it should be noted that the A58 is a somewhat more recent model (by 8 months) than the RX100, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time that further enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixels.

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 Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 are ISO 100 to ISO 6400, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 100-25600.

A58 versus RX100 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. Of the two cameras under review, the A58 has a notably higher overall DXO score than the RX100 (overall score 8 points higher), which gives it an advantage in terms of imaging quality. This advantage is based on 0.7 bits higher color depth, 0.1 EV in additional dynamic range, and 0.9 stops in additional low light sensitivity. 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.
 
Sony A58 APS-C 19.8 5456 36321080/60i23.312.575374
2.
 
Sony RX100 1-inch 20.0 5472 36481080/60p22.612.439066
3.
 
Canon 100D APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p21.811.384363
4.
 
Canon 700D APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p21.711.268161
5.
 
Nikon D3300 APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.312.8138582
6.
 
Nikon D3200 APS-C 24.1 6016 40001080/30p24.113.2113181
7.
 
Sony A68 APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60i24.113.570179
8.
 
Sony A7 II Full Frame 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.913.6244990
9.
 
Sony A5100 APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p23.812.7134780
10.
 
Sony A6000 APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.113.1134782
11.
 
Sony RX100 III 1-inch 20.0 5472 36481080/60p22.412.349567
12.
 
Sony A3000 APS-C 19.8 5456 36321080/60i23.712.8106878
13.
 
Sony RX100 II 1-inch 20.0 5472 36481080/60p22.512.448367
14.
 
Sony NEX-5R APS-C 16.0 4912 32641080/60i23.713.191078
15.
 
Sony NEX-5N APS-C 16.0 4912 32641080/60i23.612.7107977

Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but also of capturing video footage. Both cameras under consideration have a sensor with sufficiently fast read-out times for moving pictures, but the RX100 provides a faster frame rate than the A58. It can shoot movie footage at 1080/60p, while the A58 is limited to 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 RX100 relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. The following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Sony A58, the Sony RX100, 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.
 
Sony A581440 n2.7 / 460 tilting n 1/4000s 5.0 Y Y
2.
 
Sony RX100none n3.0 / 1229 fixed n 1/2000s 10.0 Y Y
3.
 
Canon 100Doptical n3.0 / 1040 fixed Y 1/4000s 4.9 Y n
4.
 
Canon 700Doptical n3.0 / 1040 swivel Y 1/4000s 5.0 Y n
5.
 
Nikon D3300optical n3.0 / 921 fixed n 1/4000s 5.0 Y n
6.
 
Nikon D3200optical n3.0 / 921 fixed n 1/4000s 4.0 Y n
7.
 
Sony A681440 Y2.7 / 460 tilting n 1/4000s 8.0 Y Y
8.
 
Sony A7 II2400 n3.0 / 1230 tilting n 1/8000s 5.0 n Y
9.
 
Sony A5100none n3.0 / 922 tilting Y 1/4000s 6.0 Y n
10.
 
Sony A60001440 n3.0 / 922 tilting n 1/4000s 11.0 Y n
11.
 
Sony RX100 III1440 n3.0 / 1229 tilting n 1/2000s 10.0 Y Y
12.
 
Sony A3000202 n3.0 / 230 fixed n 1/4000s 2.5 Y n
13.
 
Sony RX100 IIoptional n3.0 / 1229 tilting n 1/2000s 10.0 Y Y
14.
 
Sony NEX-5Roptional n3.0 / 920 tilting Y 1/4000s 10.0 n n
15.
 
Sony NEX-5Noptional n3.0 / 920 tilting Y 1/4000s 10.0 n n

Concerning the storage of imaging data, both the A58 and the RX100 write their files to 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 Sony Alpha SLT-A58 and Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 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.
 
Sony A58Ystereo / monoY-mini2.0---
2.
 
Sony RX100-stereo / mono--micro2.0---
3.
 
Canon 100DYmono / monoY-mini2.0---
4.
 
Canon 700DYstereo / monoY-mini2.0---
5.
 
Nikon D3300Ymono / monoY-mini2.0---
6.
 
Nikon D3200Ymono / monoY-mini2.0---
7.
 
Sony A68Ystereo / monoY-micro2.0---
8.
 
Sony A7 IIYstereo / monoYYmicro2.0YY-
9.
 
Sony A5100-stereo / mono--micro2.0YY-
10.
 
Sony A6000Ystereo / mono--micro2.0YY-
11.
 
Sony RX100 III-stereo / mono--micro2.0YY-
12.
 
Sony A3000Ystereo / mono--mini2.0---
13.
 
Sony RX100 IIYstereo / mono--micro2.0YY-
14.
 
Sony NEX-5RYstereo / mono--mini2.0Y--
15.
 
Sony NEX-5NYstereo / mono--mini2.0---

It is notable that the A58 has a hotshoe, while the RX100 does not. This socket makes it possible to easily attach optional accessories, such as an external flash gun.

Both the A58 and the RX100 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The RX100 was replaced by the Sony RX100 II, while the A58 was followed by the Sony A68. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Sony website.

Review summary

So what is the bottom line? Is there a clear favorite between the Sony A58 and the Sony RX100? Which camera is better? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.


Arguments in favor of the Sony Alpha SLT-A58:

  • Better image quality: Scores markedly higher (8 points) in the DXO overall assessment.
  • Better low-light sensitivity: Requires less light for good images (0.9 stops ISO advantage).
  • 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 LCD: Has a tilting screen for odd-angle shots in landscape orientation.
  • Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/4000s vs 1/2000s) to freeze action.
  • More flexible: Can take a variety of interchangeable lenses, including specialty optics.
  • Longer lasting: Can take more shots (690 versus 330) on a single battery charge.
  • Better lighting: Features a hotshoe and can thus hold and trigger an external flash gun.
  • More modern: Is somewhat more recent (announced 8 months after the RX100).


Reasons to prefer the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100:

  • Better jpgs: Has a more modern image processing engine (BIONZ X vs BIONZ).
  • Better video: Provides higher movie framerates (1080/60p versus 1080/60i).
  • 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 (1229k vs 460k dots).
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (10 vs 5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • Ready to shoot: Comes with an integrated lens, while the A58 requires a separate lens.
  • More compact: Is smaller (102x58mm vs 129x95mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
  • Less heavy: Has a lower weight even though it has a lens built in (unlike the A58).
  • Easier travel charging: Can be conveniently charged via its USB port.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in June 2012).

If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the match-up finishes in a tie (10 points each). 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.

A58 10:10 RX100

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Sony A58 and the Sony RX100 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best DSLR Camera and Best Travel-Zoom 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 A58 or the RX100 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.
 
Sony A583/5......4.5/54.5/5 Feb 2013 599i
2.
 
Sony RX1005/5+ +..78/1004/55/5 Jun 2012 649i
3.
 
Canon 100D4/5+..78/1004/54/5 Mar 2013 549i
4.
 
Canon 700D......76/1004.5/54.5/5 Mar 2013 649i
5.
 
Nikon D33003/5+..77/1004.5/54.5/5 Jan 2014 499i
6.
 
Nikon D32005/5+ +..73/1004.5/54.5/5 Apr 2012 599i
7.
 
Sony A683/5......4/54/5 Nov 2015 699i
8.
 
Sony A7 II5/5+4/582/1004.5/55/5 Nov 2014 1,999i
9.
 
Sony A51004.5/5+....4.5/55/5 Aug 2014 549 i
10.
 
Sony A60005/5+4.5/580/1004.5/55/5 Feb 2014 599i
11.
 
Sony RX100 III5/5+ +..82/1004.5/55/5 May 2014 799i
12.
 
Sony A30003/5+....4/54/5 Aug 2013 329i
13.
 
Sony RX100 II5/5+ +..79/1004.5/54.5/5 Jun 2013 749i
14.
 
Sony NEX-5R........4.5/54.5/5 Aug 2012 749i
15.
 
Sony NEX-5N3/5+ +..79/1004.5/54.5/5 Aug 2011 699i
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.

Sony A58:
Check Ebay offers
Sony RX100:
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: Sony A58 vs Sony RX100

    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 Sony A58 Sony RX100
    Camera Type Digital single lens reflex Fixed lens compact camera
    Camera Lens Sony A mount lenses 28-100mm f/1.8-4.9
    Launch Date February 2013 June 2012
    Launch Price USD 599 USD 649
    Sensor Specs Sony A58 Sony RX100
    Sensor Technology CMOS CMOS
    Sensor Format APS-C Sensor 1" Sensor
    Sensor Size 23.5 x 15.6 mm 13.2 x 8.8 mm
    Sensor Area 366.6 mm2 116.16 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 28.2 mm 15.9 mm
    Crop Factor 1.5x 2.7x
    Sensor Resolution 19.8 Megapixels 20 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 5456 x 3632 pixels 5472 x 3648 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 4.31 μm 2.41 μm
    Pixel Density 5.41 MP/cm2 17.18 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability 1080/60i Video 1080/60p Video
    ISO Setting 100 - 16,000 ISO 100 - 6,400 ISO
    ISO Boost 100 - 25,600 ISO 100 - 25,600 ISO
    Image Processor BIONZ BIONZ X
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) 74 66
    DXO Color Depth (bits) 23.3 22.6
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) 12.5 12.4
    DXO Low Light (ISO) 753 390
    Screen Specs Sony A58 Sony RX100
    Viewfinder Type Electronic viewfinder no viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 100%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.57x
    Viewfinder Resolution 1440k dots
    LCD Framing Live View Live View
    Rear LCD Size 2.7inch 3.0inch
    LCD Resolution 460k dots 1229k dots
    LCD Attachment Tilting screen Fixed screen
    Shooting Specs Sony A58 Sony RX100
    Focus System Phase-detect AF Contrast-detect AF
    Manual Focusing AidFocus PeakingFocus Peaking
    Max Shutter Speed (mechanical) 1/4000s 1/2000s
    Continuous Shooting 5 shutter flaps/s 10 shutter flaps/s
    Image StabilizationIn-body stabilizationLens-based stabilization
    Fill Flash Built-in Flash Built-in Flash
    Storage Medium MS or SDXC cards MS or SDXC cards
    Second Storage Option Single card slot Single card slot
    UHS card support no no
    Connectivity Specs Sony A58 Sony RX100
    External Flash Hotshoe no Hotshoe
    USB Connector USB 2.0 USB 2.0
    HDMI Port mini HDMI micro HDMI
    Microphone Port External MIC port no MIC socket
    Wifi Support no Wifi no Wifi
    Body Specs Sony A58 Sony RX100
    Battery Type NP-FM500H NP-BX1
    Battery Life (CIPA)690 shots per charge330 shots per charge
    In-Camera Charging no USB charging USB charging
    Body Dimensions 129 x 95 x 78 mm
    (5.1 x 3.7 x 3.1 in)
    102 x 58 x 36 mm
    (4.0 x 2.3 x 1.4 in)
    Camera Weight 492 g (17.4 oz) 240 g (8.5 oz)

    Did you notice an error on this page? If so, please get in touch, so that we can correct the information.

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