Sony Alpha A58 pictures and hands-on

Sony continues to march out the megapixels: the latest update to its Single Lens Translucent (SLT) series, the Alpha A58, houses a brand new 20.1-megapixel APS-C sensor at its core. Pocket-lint met up with Sony ahead of the official unveiling to take a look at the latest SLT, megapixels an' all.

Perhaps it's less of a march and more a full-on charge, as the A58 is positioned in the "entry-level" triangle of Sony's SLT proposition, according to the slideshow presentation we saw. With 20-megapixels, a five frames per second burst mode (it's 8fps in the dedicated Tele-zoom Continuous Advance Priority AE mode), ISO 100-16,000 with the same processing algorithm as per the top-spec A99 and a 1.44m-dot OLED viewfinder, it hardly sounds much like an entry-level model, does it?

Sony's pushing forth its tech in a flag-waving, peacock-feather-like display that, with the £450 price tag that the A58 is set to have - including the new 18-55mm SAM II lens - is an undeniably impressive offer. What was once the mid-level Sony SLT is now on a level playing field with the likes of the Nikon D3200.

READ: Nikon D3200 review

The A58 houses some new technology that's said to make the shooting experience all the better, including the brand new Lock-On AF mode which not only tracks moving subjects' faces but can also recognise larger moving objects within a frame. In the office space we had to tinker with the camera there wasn't exactly a pack of horses on the charge, so we couldn't test out how well this new mode worked beyond its face detection mode. The phase-detect autofocus sensor is otherwise the same 15-point system as per the Alpha A57 model.

There's also, just like the also-announced NEX-3N, the new Auto Object Framing mode which can auto-crop images based of their content for a supposed better composition. We weren't sold on the Auto Portrait Framing mode of the previous generation of cameras, so we'll have to wait and see how the latest mode pans out as and when we can shoot more pictures to test it thoroughly.

READ: Sony NEX-3N pictures and hands-on

The A58 also has a rejigged mode dial that adds in quick-access to picture effect options. These in-camera effects are something Sony, like its competitors, is pushing to the fore - quite literally as, although the A57 housed these options they weren't available directly from the mode dial itself.

Sitting side by side with the older A57 and the A58 doesn't look drastically different. It's the rear that has the biggest change in the form of a smaller 2.7-inch 460k-dot LCD screen - presumably a size downgrade on account of cost. The same can be said for the tilt-angle bracket mount which is now less complex than its predecessor's and can only cater for a limited downward tilt.

But not all is not lost. A quick eye-up of the hotshoe and - yay - it's finally taken a leaf out of the A99's book and ditched the old Minolta shoe.

Plenty to look forward to in this fair-priced camera then. Looks like the toss up between DSLT and DSLR is now tighter than ever.

It's available from mid-March, and we'll bring a full review of the Sony Alpha A58 as and when we get our mitts on a full production sample.