Sony wants to get serious when it comes to smartphone photography, and today they've officially announced their brand new "Lens Cameras" that can attach to any smartphone. We know basically everything already at this point, and previous leaks were 100% accurate, but today Sony just made it all official. They're called the Cyber-shot QX10 and QX100 and we have plenty of picture and details below.
The brand new Sony Lens Camera lineup is set to bring an unprecedented level of quality to smartphone photography, and any photography for that matter. Sony is aiming to bring that premium compact (more than a point and shoot) camera experience to smartphones, and both of these attachable devices will achieve exactly that.
Everything we've heard in previous reports and rumors were correct, and these will be able to attach to any Android or iOS smartphone. Not only that, but you don't have to pair to a phone at all if you don't want. You won't be able to see what you're shooting, but there's a shutter button on both models if you'd like to take that route. They stand on their own.
For most though, you'll pair to Sony's companion app for a viewfinder, and custom settings. Using the Sony Play Memories app you'll be able to instantly pair the device to the lens, and those NFC touting devices (like the Xperia Z) will be able to do so with a quick tap. Then of course we have WiFi on board as well, which will allow for easy pairing and sharing. One important note is the "High quality photos and HD video" will be stored on both the smartphone, and the lens camera. You'll never miss anything, no matter what.
We'll start with the QX100, since it's the bigger, better, more expensive of the two. It's much larger than the smaller version and is a 28mm wide-angle lens. It sports a full 1.0-inch, 20.2 megapixel Exmor R CMOS sensor, which will offer the best photo experience of any smartphone. Rocking 3.6x optical zoom, optical image stabilization with Sony's "Optical SteadyShot" as well as full 1080p video recording. And again, both pictures and video are stored on the phone, and the QX100.
The QX100 offering a 28mm zoom, bigger sensor, and a dedicated control ring for manual adjustments to focus and zoom are what set it apart from the smaller and cheaper QX10, and this it will run $499 later this month.
The Cyber-shot QX10 however, is a much more realistic option in terms of size and pricing. Coming in at just $249 this is likely what most smartphone-touting photography enthusiasts will go for. Again attaching to the device via the magnetic attachment which goes on any smartphone that's 13mm or thinner (so almost everything these days) its specs include a smaller 1/2.3 Exmor R sensor vs the 1-inch sensor of the bigger brother. However it offers 10x optical zoom and the same Steadyshot OIS.
As you can see the QX10 is quite small, coming in at 2.5 x 2.5 x 1.3 inches, and weighing less than 4 ounces. This will also work with some awesome cases for some of Sony's Xperia smartphones that will have the magnetic clip-on part built right in. Meaning you can just toss it against your Xperia phone and shoot away, then take it off and go. No clip-on needed.
Another important note aside from the fact the pictures and video are stored on both the phone and the lens, is that you don't actually have to have the lens camera attached to the smartphone to take photos. Yes your phone will control advanced settings, zoom and be a viewfinder for what you're about to shoot, but it doesn't need to be attached. Your smartphone and the Sony app will control the camera directly, or remotely, it's your choice. Then as mentioned above you can still click the shutter button for smartphone-less photos, you just won't get a preview of the image until you pair it to a phone to see your work.
Sadly we were only able to snap some pictures of the devices themselves, and not actually test out the Sony app or photo experience, so we didn't want to call this a hands-on. Surely we'll get plenty of pictures, video, and sample shots for a full review so stay tuned.
Both of these will be available later this month, coming in at $249 and $499 respectively. Who's interested?