The rumors, we're thrilled to see, are true. Sony's unique lens cameras are now official, and they're coming to a smartphone or tablet near you beginning later this month. As expected, there are two models on offer. Both cameras lack the display and controls of an ordinary point-and-shoot -- instead, you'll pair your Android or iOS handset or slate with the camera via WiFi, and use that device to adjust settings and frame each shot. Naturally, we expected lag to be a major issue here, but the feed was delayed by only a fraction of a second, and it was perfectly sufficient for this type of shooting. To get started, you'll power on the camera then connect to the device's ad-hoc access point. Then, launch the PlayMemories Mobile app and start shooting. You can also zoom and capture images using a toggle and shutter release on each camera, so they can be operated independently, if you're willing to roll the dice with framing and exposure. Images can only be saved to the camera's microSD or Memory Stick slot when you're not connected to a smartphone or tablet -- when the devices are paired, you can save images to either, or both.
There are two flavors on offer here, and while they look similar, internally they're quite unique. The DSC-QX10 is the "high-zoom" model, with a relatively compact 10x optic. That 18.2-megapixel model will ship in black or white for $249, but it's specifically geared toward entry-level shooters, with mid-range optics and limited manual control. Advanced photographers are going to want to focus on the "quality" QX100, which features the same 1-inch 20.2-megapixel sensor and 3.6x f/1.8-4.9 lens as the $750 RX100 Mark II. It's no surprise, then, that this chunkier lens camera will retail for $499. With it, you'll have access to advanced modes like aperture or shutter priority, but Sony opted to exclude access to a full-manual mode, so you'll need to use exposure compensation to make any tweaks. We weren't able to review image quality in detail with either model, but both performed quite well during our hands-on. Expect more in-depth analysis after the QX100 and QX10 launch in a few weeks, but you can snag a sneak peek now in our hands-on video after the break.
Gallery: Sony DSC-QX100 and QX10 lens cameras hands-on | 23 Photos
Gallery: Sony DSC-QX100 and QX10 lens cameras hands-on | 23 Photos
New Sony QX Series "Lens-Style Cameras" Redefine the Mobile Photography Experience
New Concept Cameras Link Flawlessly to Smartphone, Offering High-Zoom, Stunning
Quality Images and HD Videos for Instant Sharing
NEW YORK, Sept. 4, 2013 – Merging the creative power of a premium compact camera with the convenience and connectivity of today's smartphones, Sony today introduced two "lens-style" QX series cameras that bring new levels of fun and creativity to the mobile photography experience.
The innovative Cyber-shot® DSC-QX100 and DSC-QX10 models utilize Wi-Fi® connectivity to instantly transform a connected smartphone into a versatile, powerful photographic tool, allowing it to shoot high-quality images and HD videos to rival a premium compact camera. It's an entirely new and different way for consumers to capture and share memories with friends and family.
With a distinct lens-style shape, the new cameras utilize the latest version of Sony's PlayMemories Mobile™ application (available for iOS™ and Android™ devices, version 3.1 or higher required) to connect wirelessly to a smartphone, converting the bright, large LCD screen of the phone into a real-time viewfinder with the ability to release the shutter, start/stop movie recordings, and adjust common photographic settings like shooting mode, zoom, Auto Focus area and more. For added convenience, the app can be activated using NFC one-touch with compatible devices. Once pictures are taken, they are saved directly on both the phone and the camera*, and can be shared instantly via social media or other common mobile applications.
"With the new QX series cameras, we are making it easier for the ever-growing population of 'mobile photographers' to capture far superior, higher-quality content without sacrificing the convenience and accessibility of their existing mobile network or the familiar 'phone-style' shooting experience that they've grown accustomed to," said Patrick Huang, director of the Cyber-shot business at Sony. "We feel that these new products represent not only an evolution for the digital camera business, but a revolution in terms of redefining how cameras and smartphones can cooperatively flourish in today's market."
The new compact, ultra-portable cameras can be attached to a connected phone with a supplied mechanically adjustable adapter, or can be held separately in hand or even mounted to a tripod while still maintaining all functionality and connectivity with the smartphone. They can also be operated as completely independent cameras if desired, as both the DSCQX100 and DSC-QX10 cameras have a shutter release, memory card slot and come with a rechargeable battery.
Premium, Large-Sensor QX100 Camera
The Cyber-shot DSC-QX100 camera features a premium, high-quality 1.0 inch, 20.2 MP Exmor® RCMOS sensor. Identical to the sensor found in the acclaimed Cyber-shot RX100 II camera, it allows for exceptionally detailed, ultra-low noise images in all types of lighting conditions, including dimly lit indoor and night scenes.
The sensor is paired with a fast, wide-aperture Carl Zeiss® Vario-Sonnar T* lens with 3.6x optical zoom and a powerful BIONZ® image processor, ensuring beautifully natural, detail-packed still images and HD videos. As an extra refinement, the DSC-QX100 sports a dedicated control ring for camera-like adjustment of manual focus and zoom. Several different shooting modes can be selected while using the camera including Program Auto, Aperture Priority, Intelligent Auto and Superior Auto, which automatically recognizes 33 different shooting conditions and adjusts camera settings to suit.
High-Zoom Cyber-shot QX10 model
Boasting a powerful 18.2 effective megapixel Exmor RCMOS sensor and versatile 10x optical zoom Sony G Lens, the Cyber-shot DSC-QX10 camera allows mobile photographers to bring distant subjects closer without sacrificing image quality or resolution, a common problem in smartphones. It's also extremely portable and lightweight - weighing less than 4 oz and measuring about 2.5"X2.5"x1.3", it's a great tool for travel photography. Additionally, the camera has built-in Optical SteadyShot image stabilization to combat camera shake, keeping handheld pictures and videos steady and blur-free. It has Program Auto, Intelligent Auto and Superior Auto modes to choose from, and will be available in two different colors – black and white.
Pricing and Availability
The new Cyber-shot DSC-QX100 and DSC-QX10 lens-style cameras will available later this month for about $500 and $250, respectively. The cameras and a range of compatible accessories including a soft carry case and dedicated camera case attachment for Sony Mobile phones like the Xperia™ Z can be purchased at Sony retail stores (www.store.sony.com) and other authorized dealers nationwide.
Please visit www.blog.sony.com for a full video preview of the new Sony Cyber-shot QX Series cameras and follow #SonyCamera on Twitter for the latest camera news.