PetaPixel

Sony Officially Debuts Two Revolutionary Lens-Style Cameras for your Smartphone

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Earlier today, after weeks worth of rumors and leaks, Sony finally announced the ‘lens cameras’ we had heard so much about. No need to parse through rumors and speculate about what’s truth and what’s fiction, the company’s QX100 and QX10 smartphone-attachable lens-style cameras are officially here.

In case you’ve not been following our previous coverage, a general overview might be in order. The Sony ‘lens cameras’ as they have been called, consist of a digital camera packed inside of a lens. The lens contains not only the glass, but also the sensor, processor, microSD slot and wireless capabilities required to make the camera tick.

They’re meant to work in concert with Sony’s PlayMemories App on either an Android or iOS smartphone, using the smartphone as the LCD screen and controller, while the “lens-style camera” does the heavy hardware lifting.

Today, Sony is officially debuting two models: a beefier QX100, and a more affordable QX10.

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The QX100 is the “premium, large-sensor” model of the two. Inside, you’ll find the same high-end 20.2MP 1-inch sensor you’d find in Sony’s capable RX100 II compact camera. On the glass side of things, the QX100 sports a Carl Zeiss® Vario-Sonnar T* f/1.8-4.9 lens that offers 3.6x optical zoom.

In addition to the larger sensor and wider aperture, what sets the QX100 apart from its brother is the manual control ring at the front, which allows you to adjust either focus or zoom.

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Like its sibling, the QX100 will work with the new version of Sony’s PlayMemories App, allowing you to dial in settings using Program Auto, Aperture Priority, Intelligent Auto, Superior Auto and more.

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The QX10 is the less expensive, more consumer friendly of the two. Although the 18.2MP 1/2.3-inch sensor inside isn’t as powerful or large as the QX100’s, the f/3.3-5.9 lens offers 10x optical zoom so users can get closer to the action without losing quality.

No manual focus/zoom ring will be available on the QX10, but the smaller of the two lens-style cameras weighs in at only 4oz, making it the most portable option by far. This one will allow the selection of Program Auto, Intelligent Auto and Superior Auto, although no mention is made of Aperture Priority mode.

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Both cameras feature Optical SteadyShot Stabilization built-in, so the photos you take with them can stay shake-free even if you don’t. They’ll connect to your smartphone via WiFi (or one-touch NFC communication on compatible devices, as seen here) and allow you to control the majority of settings from there.

The cameras can be attached physically to your phone using the provided adapter, or used separately so you can take photos from angles that might otherwise not be possible.

Both lens-style models will arrive on store shelves later this month. The more-capable QX100 will run you $500, while the more-portable QX10 will only set you back $250. You can already pre-order both the QX100 and QX10 at B&H Photo by following the corresponding links.


 
  • Coop

    Am I the only one annoyed at the amount of smart phone camera articles? :

  • Ricardo

    Just another stupid idea…..

  • tyrohne

    meh, it’s their sandbox…

  • Leonardo Abreu

    I see a fail coming…

  • TechLegend

    I’m glad they’re innovating and pushing the limits of design. Without “stupid” ideas, there’d be fewer great ones.

  • Coop

    Can’t see anyone having this. A pro would have a dslr, and I can’t picture a phone user snapping this on every time there’s something a phone can’t capture.

  • mark

    I bought one of those 60.00 macro, wide, lenses… and I can’t find it already…..more attachment crap

  • Donald Wright

    This is going to make my upskirting SOOOO much easier…

    I keed…I keed…

    In any case I applaud Sony for trying something different but this still fails in that if I have to carry something extra around, I’ll carry my S100 before I would put one of these round things in my pocket… But maybe the pictures from these things are amazing… I have a friend who already ordered one so we’ll see…

  • eric westpheling

    its not like a lot of R&D money was spent piecing this together. I know a few people (food/fashion bloggers, etc) who would use such a thing if it worked seamlessly.

    paired with an ipad mini and you have a tiny, powerful, and speedy capture/edit/transmission system for a person who doesn’t need to get bogged down with gear.

  • Andi

    Program Auto, Intelligent Auto and Superior Auto… :-D

  • TechLegend

    The QX100 uses the same sensor as the heralded RX100, so it’s a pretty capable piece. I believe this is a product that appeals to users who are looking at a “high-end” point and shoot like the RX100, s110, or Panny LX7. I see this much more versatile and capable. Built in tether shooting is a feature lots of people would love to have. Lastly, DSLR’s are much bulkier and good luck trying to snap DSLR shots in the subway or places where those cameras are not permitted.

  • Coop

    You can’t use a dslr in a subway? What the hell..

  • TechLegend

    It depends on the area. I’ve been told to put away my gear plenty of times on a shoot. They never bother to stop a guy shooting with a pocket camera though

  • Coop

    I’ve never been on a subway but they seem like the grimiest places, as if they care about tiny things like taking photos. Taking photos seems to be getting shut down everywhere anyway.

  • http://www.michaelpalmer.com/ Michael Palmer

    Fail.

  • http://www.flickr.com/avaviel Avaviel

    Oh. This is nifty. Does it seem like the savings in not including the lens housing apply to a better camera system? I already have a Galaxy S3, and this could snap right to it. I like it.

  • Matt

    You probabily can’t see the mirrorless market or 4/3’s market either…

  • Matt

    I’m glad to see new things on the market. This looks appealing, it would be great if it could stream HD video as well.
    Kind of cool that you don’t actually have to mount it on your device. Opens a lot of opportunities…

  • MJ Coffey

    $500 for the QX100? That’s just ridiculous.

  • Rabi Abonour

    To be fair, it has the same sensor and lens as the RX 100, which costs significantly more. While I still think this product is a little silly, the price doesn’t seem unreasonable.

  • Rudy Bega

    I don’t buy Sony products anymore.

  • Roxy Lucifairy

    I’ll buy both because they are good for spy photography and street photography because they can be used without being attached on the phone so they don’t look like cameras! Also good for selfies! Now I can get photos of people without permission !

  • OSAM

    Sony, just stop. Just… just stop okay?

  • Jonathan Maniago

    Upskirts? Lifelogging devices such as the Memoto would probably be a stealthier option.

    Besides having to carry an extra device with you, I can’t exactly imagine capturing fleeting moments with this contraption. Imagine having to pull out 2 gadgets from your pockets and fumbling around to set them up.

    On the other hand, always keeping them out and ready is out of the question if you happen to be in a city where theft is a rather common occurrence.

  • Furunomoe

    Next : Auto mode for choosing the right auto mode – Autoception

  • Peter D

    For what it’s worth, so far these QX cameras are the most pre-ordered Sony Cameras ever, from several US and UK retailers….

    I won’t personally use one of these (I already own a rx100m2 and an a77) but you have to give props to sony for thinking outside the box.

  • Graham Case

    Say what you will about the concept, but at least Sony is doing something – anything – different from just making the same boring updates to their current camera line up. Canon T5i, anyone?

    Who’s going to use this? Well, just about anyone who wants to get angles of view impossible with the standard cameras. The lens doesn’t have to be attached to the camera, remember? It can be free float, and hang out where ever is best for you. Just connect via WiFi, and you’ve got the remotest camera shooting ever.

    I don’t know how the software interfaces, but I would imagine that soon (if this doesn’t already exist) you’ll be able to control a collection of these from one device – iPhone, Android, iPad, whatevs – while seeing a live view from each. Imagine, just tap a live screen and you take a photo with that lens. Tap a button in the interface, and they all shoot at once. Or automatically set times exposures from the app, creating instant bullet-time shots, each lens shooting a fraction of a second after the one before it.

    True, you can already do most of this with DSLRs, but even if these lenses in particular take off, I think this is the first real big step towards changing how we use and interact with cameras. And don’t tell me people don’t talk on and on about how digital cameras are a function following a form, rather than form following function – DSLR bodies are made the way they are because that’s how film cameras were always made – a functional necessity due to the film canister.

    /rant – oops :)

  • Eziz

    To succeed you gotta fail numerous times. Not everyone is lucky to strike gold from first attempt

  • Ørjan Laxaa

    No manual mode?

  • Kestas Z

    For example this is excelent cameras for areal photography, maybe timelapse, much better dashboard camera and so on – where you don’t need extra weight of grip/screen/etc

  • Furunomoe

    Soon : QX1 full frame with fixed 35mm f/2?

    Maybe next time they’ll have QNEX & QA series with interchangeable lens. Or how about a new Alpha Xperia DSLT with interchangeable phone back?

  • Dhaval Panchal

    Hipster selfie galore!

  • Tim

    Except it’s all the pre-orders are sold out.

  • Tim

    Nope. The QX is already their most preordered camera.

  • Robert Mark

    They’ve got it all wrong. Instead of mounting it on the back of the phone, they should include a head strap so you can put it on your forehead.

  • ShootrZ

    No RAW and Manual mode for $500 . . . I’ll wait