Sony has finally announced the Cyber-shot DSC-QX100 and DSC-QX10 lens-style cameras that will set up a brand new mobile photography experience.
Sony has been rumored to introduce a couple of lenses with built-in image sensors for quite some time. More details about the revolutionary devices have been leaked shortly after they got their first mention in the rumor.
Either way, none of these things matter now, as the Sony QX100 and QX10 lens-style cameras have been unveiled officially at the IFA Berlin 2013 show.
Sony officially introduces Cyber-shot DSC-QX100 and DSC-QX10 lens-style cameras
The Japanese company says that it is aware that more and more people retort to their smartphones to satisfy their photography needs. This fact has had a devastating effect on compact camera sales, but it is also an opportunity to change the digital imaging business.
Sony has a solution which is said to bring the same image quality found in dedicated cameras into the world of smartphones. The new Cyber-shot lens-style lineup is all about the two QX100 and QX10 lens-camera modules which can be attached to Android and iOS smartphones.
These two products are lenses with built-in image sensors and the camera-level specs that can use smartphones are viewfinders. However, they can easily function as standalone shooters, providing a very lightweight system for photographers.
Specs lists: Sony QX100 vs QX10
The Sony QX100 is based on the RX100 II compact, which has been introduced earlier this summer. It features a 1-inch-type Exmor R CMOS 20.2-megapixel image sensor, Zeiss 28-100mm f/1.8-4.9 lens, and a maximum ISO of 25,600.
On the other hand, the Sony QX10 features a new 1/2.3-inch-type Exmor R CMOS 18.2-megapixel sensor, 25-250mm f/3.3-5.9 Sony G lens, and a max ISO sensitivity of 12,800. The focal length ranges are expressed for the 35mm format equivalent on both devices.
The pair comes packed with built-in Optical SteadyShot image stabilization technology, Contrast Detection AF, BIONZ processing engine, WiFi, NFC, and microSD/SDHC/SDXC memory card slot.
How does the “lens-camera-smartphone” system work?
Sony is claiming that a number of smartphones will support its new Cyber-shot lens-style devices. A special mount will be supplied in the package, so that users can mechanically attach the devices to an iPhone or Android phones. However, a smartphone’s width must lie somewhere between 54mm and 75mm, while their thickness must not be greater than 13mm.
Connecting the modules and an Android / iOS handset will be very easy. The first way to do it is via NFC, which can be done with a single touch. The second option is via WiFi, but this one requires the installation of the Sony PlayMemories app, which can be downloaded at the Google Play Store and iTunes Store, respectively.
Smartphone screens can be used as viewfinders. They are also a direct user interface allowing users to set exposure modes, “press” the shutter, engage movie mode, zoom, and focus. The content can then be saved on both the SD card and the phone’s memory.
Additionally, Sony has solved the problem of self-portraits. Users can detach the modules from their smartphones and set them up on a tripod via their dedicated tripod mount. The devices will remain connected so all that is left is to fire the shutter button.
Lack or RAW image support is a major stumbling block for professional photographers
The Sony QX100 and QX10 have a couple of important downsides, too They cannot record full HD videos, as the maximum movie resolution stands at 1440 x 1080. However, the more important drawback is the lack of support for RAW photos.
This means that professional photographers might skip past the lens-style devices, as they will not be able to apply pro-level post-processing techniques to their images.
Sony QX100 and QX10 release date and prices
Their designs are somewhat similar, as evidenced by their dimensions. The QX100 measures 62.5 x 62.5 x 55.5mm and the QX10 is sized at 62.4 x 61.8 x 33.3mm and they weigh 179 grams and 105 grams, respectively.
Nevertheless, the former is the higher-end version, while the latter is the low-entry one. This fact is corroborated by their prices and the aforementioned specifications.
The QX100 will cost $499.99 and sports a Zeiss lens, bigger sensor with more megapixels. The QX10 will become available for $249.99 and is packing a Sony lens, smaller sensor with fewer megapixels.
Both will be released in late September in several markets, followed by a global rollout later in 2013.
Several accessories will be made available, such as a soft carrying case. Moreover, some smartphones will get special covers with a built-in mechanism to lock onto the lens-style cameras.
For the time being, only the new Sony Xperia Z1 will get a case, though the handset is no pushover when it comes to photography, thanks to a 20.7-megapixel sensor and Sony G lens.