Increasingly, it’s hard to argue that buying a point-and-shoot has, well, any point to it. While the market for DSLR cameras with interchangeable lenses and more control over the image has gone right through the roof, the market for point-and-shoot has plunged, largely thanks to the fact that if you’re going to take a terrible snapshot, you might as well do it with your smartphone. But the Q Camera is hoping, with a set of fairly unique features and a low price, to turn that around.
And the features are fairly impressive, for the $199 price. First of all, it’s got 3G; the idea is that you slide in a SIM card, and can automatically upload your photos to your website of choice, or pick and choose. The one drawback is that it doesn’t seem to have any WiFi onboard, which is kind of absurd if you’re going 3G, and there’s 2GB of on-board storage, so you can’t add an Eye-Fi card. To be fair, that’s because the camera is waterproof: You can be up to one meter down for a half an hour.
Surrounding the lens is a ring flash that also doubles as a selfie timer and a battery indicator, and is a really smart idea, we have to say: A ring flash will make those pictures you take look a lot better. Focus is manual, which is a welcome bit of control, and the 24mm lens has a stop of f2.4. Everything is controlled via one microUSB port, and the sensor is a decent five megapixels. Yeah, we know, you can get four times that, but let’s face it, this is basically replacing your smartphone, and five megapixels on a bigger sensor will get you a better image. Needless to say there are also a bunch of filters if you must do that.
All that and it comes in nine colors. Not bad.
Dan Seitz is an obsessive nerd living in New England. He lives in the Boston area with a fiancee, a dog, a cat, and far too many objects with processors.