t was no secret that Sony has been working on a set of camera lenses that attach to any smartphone. And today the company unveiled the final and official production versions.
In total there are two models: the QX100 and the QX10. As the model numbers suggest, the QX100 is the more robust of the two and with that the more expensive, costing $500 and $250 respectively.
The QX100 is effectively the same sensor and tech found inside of Sony’s RX100 camera that Sony released last year. I’ve never used it, but reviews are positive. Specs include a 1-inch 20.2-megapixel Exmor R sensor and an f/1.8 Carl Zeiss lens. The results should be top grade photos with the much desired blurry background that not only smartphone cameras but stand alone point and shoots strive to achieve. I had hoped that the optical zoom would be in the neighborhood of 10x, as seen in Samsung’s Galaxy S4 Zoom, but I’ll gladly settle for 3.6x. Oddly, Amazon’s product page states that the QX100 can record full HD video where as Gizmodo is reporting that it will be limited to just 1440×1080 – one thing is for sure, and it will encode it in the MP4 format.
While the QX10 sports a smaller sensor (1/2.3” 18MP) and a crappier f-stop (f/3.3-5.9), it does boast a 10x optical zoom. Keep in mind it’s half the price of its big brother and more applicable for those who are less serious about photography. That said, once you’ve had a touch of blurry background goodness (i.e. depth of field), it’s hard to settle for anything less.
Since the QX100 and Q10 simply mount to your smartphone, and don’t make a physical connection, Sony is depending on WiFi to bridge the proverbial gap. For those with NFC enabled smartphones this is as simple as tapping the two devices together. For those without NFC, the task will be a bit more arduous. I’ve used a few WiFi enabled cameras, and for lack of better words, color me skeptical, as more often than not speed and a reliable connection are the crux of their success.
That said, both lenses can be mounted or set up remotely, and smartphone owners will need to download Sony’s associated app, PlayMemories in order to control the QX100 and QX10. A series of on lens functions, including shutter and zoom control, allow some manual orchestration, but needless to say a smartphone and the app will be a necessity to achieve quality photos.
So in short order I’m intrigued. The price of the QX100 is dissuading to say the least, and the QX10 isn’t much more tolerable. Size wise the QX10 is 2.5”X2.5”x1.3” and weighs “less than 4oz”. The QX100 is a bit bigger, but by all means both are smaller than a standalone camera. There are also apparently microSD card slots on both, so storage, or lack there of can be addressed even if you don’t have smartphone with vast memory. However, that all said, they’re both not quite small enough to carry around in a pocket, but tolerable if the requirement presented itself.