Pros I think this is the best camera for this kind of price compared to any other competitors.
- Great FPS
- Great Image quality
- Night twilight modes, portrait modes
- Focus check on Live View mode
- In camera HDR
- Good low light performance at higher ISO
Cons - I bumped at burning pixel issue - one of the pixels will never go 'off' on the live view mode alone. I had resolved the issue myself using the pixel mapping option that is to be done around once a year
- 18 - 55 kit lens - The lens doesn't turn smoothl
Summary I think at the end of the day, the camera is nice to use and serves an enthusiast purpose. I have been using for around 3-4 months.
Pros Sensor is best in the world under $1,500!!
Cons Video needs manual focus - or just use a high F stop
Summary I guess what sealed MY A580 choice was the little fact that Dx0 labs rated it as the 11th best digital camera (in terms of sensor performance) in the world: http://www.dxomark.com/index.php/Camera-Sensor/All-tested-sensors/Sony/Alpha-580
The next cameras on their list are $1500, $1300, $3000, and $9000 respectivly! Go SONY!
I actually was going to sell my Canon HD camcorder and go 100% to this thing but...
They're about 85% there but SLRs are really not the right format for video yet.
They're actually using flip-less (****!) mirror cameras with semi-translucent mirrors now (SLT-55) that are waaaaaaaaay cool. Again, SONY (really Minolta bought by Sony) is pioneering that.
The problem? We're still in an era where an SLR does either video well or photos well....
The good? They pretty much all do both now...so pick your preference and you get to have the other on the side. You can bet I'll shoot some gorgeous landscape/nature videos with this camera - but not of kids so much - camcorders are better at that. Strangely enough - I saw that 3 years ago when I started all this - and it's still true - but not quite so pronounced.
I came into this SLT-55 all the way...because it does both well - it's really a a SLR video cam.
But God Darn it...I started *reading* and....sorry - the "Mr. Still Photo" in me can't pass up something like that A580 I bought. It's this 12 month era's masterpiece and oh....it takes all my vintage cheapie (but shaarp!) lenses I bought off E-Bay over the last 2 years. The circle is complete...now my SLR system is REALLY REALLY good....and for peanuts.
Also...I asked the wife if I could sell our HD full 1080i HV-20 camcorder and she said no....she likes using it and doesn't want to touch my $850 camera with $300 lens on it...or let the kids get to it - and I concur ; ) The camcorder cost us $299 refurb and it's solid and 'cheap as chips' to shoot - each 9GB tape was bought 2 years ago for like .75 cents each at Costco!
The bottom line is: I have a tendency to spend about 85% of my time shooting stills. I know the medium better, it's much easier to share, and of course you could actually PRINT (we just did a bit collage of 42 paper photos from digital) them...