We all knew that standalone stills cameras and even camcorders were being ditched in favour of smartphones in many situations – but this, surely, is the killer blow: Sony’s launched two new cameras that strap onto your smartphone and use the phone as a controller and storage device via WiFi.
The QX100 and QX10 look like a lens rather than an entire camera but use a iOS / Android app to turn the smartphone screen into a realtime viewfinder with controls for shutter, zoom, focus and so on. Pictures are then saved on both the phone and the camera. They can shoot both stills and HD video.
Sony says it means mobile photographers can now capture superior quality images without lugging around a separate camera and is calling the products a revolution in photography.
Take note – this is not a lens that bolts on to your smartphone’s camera. The smartphone camera is redundant. This is an entire camera that bolts onto your phone to make it easier to handle and give you controls.
You can also use the cameras handheld or on a tripod if required, either with the smartphone still controlling all the functions or as independent cameras since the QX pair come with their own battery, memory and shutter release.
The QX100, costing around $500 USD, has a one inch 20.2 megapixel sensor as found in the Cyber-shot RX100 II camera. That’s paired to a fast, wide-aperture Carl Zeiss® Vario-Sonnar T lens with 3.6x optical zoom. It also sports a dedicated control ring for camera-like adjustment of focus and zoom.
Shooting modes include Program Auto, Aperture Priority, Intelligent Auto and the rather-fond-of-itself “Superior Auto” which automatically recognizes 33 different shooting conditions and adjusts camera settings to suit.
Meanwhile the QX10, costing around $250 USD, has an 18.2 “effective” megapixel sensor and 10x optical zoom Sony G Lens. Weighing less than 4 oz and measuring about 2.5”x2.5”x1.3”, Sony pitches it as ideal for travel photography.
The QX10 has built-in Optical SteadyShot image stabilisation, Program Auto, Intelligent Auto and Superior Auto modes to choose from and – wait for it – will be available in both black and white versions.