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The SLR/professional cameras are used by photography enthusiasts and mainly professionals. These cameras under $500 are high-end compact models aimed at giving best performance in terms of image resolution, quality and stabilization.

Browse All Top SLR Digital Cameras Under $500 »

Sony SLT-A58

Sony SLT-A58K Digital Camera


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Sony SLT-A58
Sony SLT-A37
Canon EOS 600D / Rebel T3i
Nikon D5100
Sony Alpha SLT-A33
Sony SLT-A58K Digital Camera
Sony SLT-A37K Digital Camera with 18-55mm lens
Canon EOS 600D / Rebel T3i Digital Camera with 18-55mm lens
Nikon D5100 Body Only Digital Camera
Sony Alpha SLT-A33 Body Only Digital Camera
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Release Date
Feb 2013
Jun 2012
Feb 2011
Apr 2011
Sep 2010
Camera Type
SLR/Professional, Compact SLR
SLR/Professional
SLR/Professional
SLR/Professional
SLR/Professional
Optical Zoom
3.0 x
3.0 x
3.0 x
3.0 x
Resolution
20.0 Megapixel
16.5 Megapixel
18.7 Megapixel
16.9 Megapixel
14.2 Megapixel
Image Sensor Type
CMOS
Exmor APS HD CMOS
CMOS
CMOS
CMOS
LCD Screen Size
2.7 in.
2.7 in.
3.0 in.
3.0 in.
3.0 in.
Image Sensor Size
28.2 mm
28.2 mm
26.7 mm
28.2 mm
28.2 mm

  • The new Sony A58 offers most of its predecessor's design, features and performance at an aggressive price-point, which can only be good news for us consumers. Look under the hood and you do find a few corners have been cut to keep the cost down, but all things considered, this is simply a very good interchangeable lens camera at a very attractive price.


  • Overall, Sony has produced a very good camera in the Alpha a58, and we're sure that anybody who buys one will be very pleased with its performance. At its current retail price of £449 / US$599.99 / AU$799 with the 18-55mm kit lens, it also offers excellent value for money, especially compared with its closest rivals.


  • The entry-level DSLR market is one of the most competitive in photography and, as a result, anything that a camera can do to stand out is more than welcome. Sony had achieved this with past SLT range cameras, but the Sony A58 is a step back. The full resolution continuous shooting rate of 5fps isn't even best in class - other similar DSLRs shoot faster and maintain that speed for longer.

    The Sony A58 is a decent camera, but it's difficult to recommend it above several other models in a competitive market.


  • A good option if you're looking for something fast with a viewfinder and tilting LCD, the Sony Alpha SLT-A37 is a solid but not outstanding sub-$800 dSLR-style camera.

  • Rating Unavailable

    The Sony Alpha A37 is a fairly standard upgrade for the company's entry-level SLT DSLR lineup. It replaces the A35 with some basic upgrades to control, a new image sensor, but a largely unchanged design. The A37 is aimed largely at beginners, with most of its features designed for those adapting to DSLRs from point and shoots. The highlight feature is the auto portrait framing mode, which will automatically crop your portraits shots to better highlight your subject according to standard rules of photographic composition.


  • The Sony A37 is a compelling entry-level DSLR camera with features, still and video image quality, and overall performance that beat its main rivals. Only the small, low-resolution, non-articulating LCD screen detracts from an otherwise outstanding camera that will more than satisfy the needs of its target audience. The A37 marries most of the core features of its bigger brother, the A57, with the more diminutive body of its predessor, the A33, resulting in the cheapest SLT camera to date.

  • Rating Unavailable

    As it stands, the Canon T3i is the flagship Rebel, with the T3 and T2i beneath it in features. Its still image quality is among the best in its price range, and its video modes are quite complete, offering excellent quality, provided you can handle shooting video more carefully than you would with a digicam or camcorder.


  • For the money, the Canon EOS Rebel T3i is a great choice for dSLR videographers--though the cheaper T2i can still suffice if you don't need the articulated LCD--and it's a solid choice for creative still shooters. But though the image quality and general shooting performance are top-notch, if you're upgrading to capture sports, kids, or pets, the T3i may not be able to keep up.

  • Rating Unavailable

    We definitely can recommend the T3i for its video quality, solid handling, access to the EOS EF lens library, and image quality. There are some issues with menu organization, slow live view autofocus, and the quality of the 18-135mm kit lens, but these don't necessarily outweigh the positives of shooting with the T3i.

  • Rating Unavailable

    Of course, this is a camera aimed at consumers, with the design choices that brings. Notably, Nikon hasn't included a screw-drive autofocus motor, or in-camera wireless flash commander functionality in the D5100, and for some photographers, that may cause them to look elsewhere. For its target market, though, the Nikon D5100 offers an approachable design that couples a great feature set with excellent image quality, and that combination makes it an easy choice for a Dave's Pick.


  • Though it doesn't rank first based on any individual aspect of the camera, the Nikon D5100 delivers a solid combination of image quality, performance, features, and design that puts it out in front if you're looking for a well-rounded option under $1,000.


  • The Nikon D5100 offers a fantastic mix of still-image and video-recording quality, along with plenty of features including top-notch in-camera effects. This well-rounded shooter is an easy Editors' Choice for under-$1,000 D-SLRs.

  • Rating Unavailable

    - I did find the small body and grip a little problematic when shooting with a long or heavy lens, though: I spent quite a bit of time with the excellent Sony 70-200mm f/2.8 mounted on the camera, and did experience some wrist fatigue by the end of the day.
    - The net result is that you can hand-hold ridiculously long exposures and still get sharp results, with very low image noise to boot.
    - Leaving their advanced capabilities aside, the Sony A33/A55 are also remarkably compact cameras.


  • The Sony A33 turns conventional design on its head to provide what is in many ways a better user experience than traditional DSLRs can achieve, at a price point that Canon and Nikon must be worried about. If you can overcome your reservations about electronic viewfinders, the Sony A33 is a great choice for both beginners and more cautious enthusiasts alike.

  • Rating Unavailable

    Sony has taken a bold step in launching a new breed of interchangeable lens digital camera via their Single Lens Translucent (SLT) design that offers some unique abilities like giving you Live View with fast Phase Detect Autofocus for both stills and video. We were impressed with the A33's usability, image quality and performance oriented features during our testing, especially when you consider it's attractive price point, and we have little doubt that this camera will appeal to a wide variety of photographers.


Top 5 slr digital camera under $500:

  1. Sony SLT-A58K Digital Camera
  2. Sony SLT-A37K Digital Camera with 18-55mm lens
  3. Canon EOS 600D / Rebel T3i Digital Camera with 18-55mm lens
  4. Nikon D5100 Body Only Digital Camera
  5. Sony Alpha SLT-A33 Body Only Digital Camera