Sony officially announces QX lens-style cameras


September 4, 2013

The QX100 is one of two new add-on cameras that can be mounted on mobile devices, such as the new Xperia Z1

The QX100 is one of two new add-on cameras that can be mounted on mobile devices, such as the new Xperia Z1

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As any regular Gizmag reader will know, there’s currently quite an assortment of add-on lenses available for smartphone cameras. The problem is, no matter how good those lenses may be, the light ultimately ends up having to squeeze through the phone’s own tiny lens, to be processed by the phone’s tiny sensor. Sony is taking a fresh approach, however, with its much-rumored but just-officially-announced Cyber-shot QX series of lens-style cameras.

The two QX models may look like lenses, but they’re actually self-contained cameras that are mounted on the user’s iOS or Android smartphone or tablet via different adapters. They communicate with a mobile device via Wi-Fi, with NFC allowing one touch setup on compatible devices. Once connected, the cameras utilize the mobile device's screen as a viewfinder, and as a means of accessing functions such as shutter release/video record, shooting mode, zoom and focus.

They can even be used detached from the mobile device. As long as they’re still within Wi-Fi range, the phone can be used as a remote control unit. If they’re out of range, though, they can still be used on their own – both models are equipped with their own shutter release, rechargeable battery and memory card (they're compatible with Memory Stick Micro/Memory Stick Micro Mark 2 and Class 4 or higher Micro SD/SDHC/SDXC Memory Cards) ... they just don’t have a viewfinder.

In the regular with-the-phone configuration, images are saved to both the phone and the camera.

Users who want high-quality images above all other considerations will probably want to go with the US$500 DSC-QX100 model. It features a 1.0-inch, 20.2-megapixel Exmor RCMOS sensor (which is also found in the Cyber-shot RX100 II camera), and a wide-aperture Carl Zeiss Vario-Sonnar T* lens with 3.6x optical zoom and a BIONZ image processor. It also has a physical control ring for manual control of focus and zoom, along with a variety of shooting modes including a Superior Auto setting that recognizes and adjusts for up to 33 different types of shooting conditions.

If telephoto shots and/or portability are more of a priority, the smaller and lighter $250 DSC-QX10 might be a better choice. It has a 10x optical zoom Sony G Lens, Optical SteadyShot image stabilization, and an 18.2 effective megapixel Exmor RCMOS sensor.

Both cameras should be available later this month. More information is available in the video below.

Source: Sony

About the Author
Ben Coxworth An experienced freelance writer, videographer and television producer, Ben's interest in all forms of innovation is particularly fanatical when it comes to human-powered transportation, film-making gear, environmentally-friendly technologies and anything that's designed to go underwater. He lives in Edmonton, Alberta, where he spends a lot of time going over the handlebars of his mountain bike, hanging out in off-leash parks, and wishing the Pacific Ocean wasn't so far away. All articles by Ben Coxworth

Wow, imagine trying to carry that around in your pocket. Hmmm, I cannot quite decide..... Should I slip my Nokia Lumia 1020 phone with the 41megapixel camera into my shirt pocket or get a backpack to carry this 20megapixel lens camera around.

Hey, maybe I missed something..... Or maybe Sony did.

Gavin Keats the whole camera fits inside the lens, except for a nice big display screen. Photography experts say it's the lens first and camera second.

Does a bulge in the pocket need a backpack?


@Gavin Keats, Yes you missed something. The lens quality! As Treesixty says: "lens first". Something all the smartphones are missing, a good lens.

Try to find a smartphone with a 10x zoom that works! If you would zoom in 10x with you your Nokia Lumia 1020 38MegaPixel camera you will only have 0,38MegaPixels left! But this 10x DSC-QX10 still has 18,2MegaPixels left when it is fully zoomed in! Big difference!

Plus the opening angles. Your Nokia Lumia 1020 has a focal length of 26.0mm. The DSC-QX10 has a focal length of 4.45-44.5mm And the focusing: Your Nokia Lumia 1020 can focus from 15cm! (Pretty bad!) Both these Sony Lenses focus from 5cm. That is Macro photos All your Nokia Lumia 1020 has is a good camera-sensor. It still is missing the lens to go with it.

Joost de Nijs

@Joost - you too missed some things.

First of all, the very important improvement is not the lens, but rather the size of the CCD imager. The larger the imager (more specifically, the larger tie individual photo sites ), the better the low-light image quality. Smaller photo sites are more susceptible to 'noise'.

You are right, of course, to point out the misleading 'virtue' of digital zoom on the phone (as well as with any camera) - this cropping of the original image does lower resolution.

However, as for the lens focal length; the 26MM for the Nokia is not the lens' true focal length; rather it is the 35MM equivalent of whatever the actual length on that size imaging chip is. So to be equal, the Sony's 35MM equivalent focal length range is actually from 25-250MM. Basically, at the widest end it has the same angle of view as the Nokia; zooming in allows for that full quality image rather than the digital zoom nonsense.

Of course, if one's life is geared towards posting to Instagram and FB, where image quality requirements are far lower than for large prints, then this lump of glass may not be worthwhile. But if you plan to make some reasonable enlargements then this is an interesting way to go.


That obviously rehearsed "interview" made me wanna puke. Get real Sony and just tell us what it does.

Tim Collins
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