Rumor: Sony to Launch a Revolutionary Lens with a Built-In Sensor


Crazy rumor brewing in the camera world today: Sony is reportedly building a camera lens with a built-in sensor — a lens that could be paired with a smartphone to create an interchangeable lens camera!

sonyalpharumors reports that two of its trusted sources have confirmed this new product, which contains not only an integrated camera sensor, but a battery and some memory as well.

The “lens camera” will connect wireless to a smartphone or tablet via NFC and Wi-Fi, allowing the mobile device to be used as the camera’s LCD screen and “body” while the lens snaps images and transfers them wirelessly.

In addition to being mounted to a smartphone as the lens — presumably with a special mount attachment (shown in the image above) — the lens will also have the ability to be used when unmounted.

Does that remind you of something? Yeup — it’s the same concept as the WVIL concept camera that caused quite a bit of excitement back in 2011. Here’s the “fake CES 2011 demo” video that captivated photographers’ imaginations:

And here’s a video introducing the concept camera:

If the rumored specs are true, this device is far from being a cheap gimmick: it will reportedly be comparable to the RX100 II compact camera, containing the same large-ish sensor and the same Zeiss glass. A followup model will reportedly contain a smaller sensor but a larger zoom.

SAR reports that this “lens camera” will almost certainly hit the market, as it was confirmed by the site’s top sources. Get ready for a world in which lenses don’t have to be mounted to cameras for photography to happen!

  • Greg

    Isn’t that kinda like the Ricoh GXR which failed miserably?

  • Danny

    Exactly what I was thinking.

  • Jonathan Maniago

    Not quite. Pretty much everybody owns a smartphone these days so it may sell a bit better than the GXR.

    On the other hand, grabbing spontaneous shots may be more challenging. Unless this is permanently mounted on your phone, taking a picture would require pulling out 2 separate gadgets.

  • Rob Elliott

    This is kinda neat, the lens would likely be expensive, but you’d be able to have a small sensor, long zoom for something like amateur astrophotography, but a big sensory 60mm macro or 85 1.4 portrait. Specializing the sensor as much as the lens.

  • Patrick Ahles

    Wouldn’t that be an Interchangeable Camera Lens?

  • Vsevolod Zhovtenko

    It doesn’t have to be mounted,connects wirelessly, so you can point lens any direction you want while having phone at confortable postion for view live picture.

  • MikeY

    why bother? Get a DSLR!

  • dannybuoy

    Imagine holding a heavy lens mounted on a think smartphone. crampy hands.

  • Mike

    What’s going to power the lens? another battery, great, more bulky…

  • Stefan Heymanns

    Why add the sensor to the lens. That would just make every lens you buy more expensive.

    Wouldn’t it make more sense to have a traditional lens and add a separate barebones sensor unit to the back. The rest could then still function as they describe above (using a smartphone/tablet screen to remotely trigger). That way you can swap the sensor to multiple lenses.

  • Steven Wade

    Why would you attach a lens to a phone if it has a sensor? It wouldn’t be an interchangeable camera if the sensor was always in the same lens…

  • Ufupuw

    Yes battery, and the battery in the lens doesn’t have to be large as the battery will not need to power the LCD like in regular camera.

  • Ufupuw

    The sensor in the cellphone is tiny pea size. Thus, low quality images.. This sensor, if it as the same size as RX100, would have like 10 times more surface area.