04
Sep
Sony Cyber-shot QX10 Lens-style Camera_7

After having been leaked in full yesterday, Sony has officially announced the QX series of 'lens-style' cameras, with two models introduced today at IFA in Berlin.

The DSC-QX100 is the flagship version, coming it at $500, and is based on the RX-100 II camera, utilizing the same big 1x1" 20.2MP Exmor R sensor. It's equipped with an f/1.8 Zeiss lens capable of 3.6x optical zoom, and even has a manual-focus / zoom adjustment ring. The less-powerful DSC-QX10 uses a 1/2.3" 18.2MP sensor, an f/3.3 Sony G lens with 10x optical zoom, and will be available in black or white for $250. Both come with mechanical smartphone mounts, though Sony isn't totally clear on just how well-supported the mounts will be on oddly-shaped devices. Based on the photos, it looks unlikely that the mounts will work on tablets at all.

Sony Cyber-shot QX100 Premium Lens-style Camera_6

QX100

The lenses connect to iOS or Android (3.1 or higher) devices using Sony's Play Memories app, allowing your phone to act as a digital viewfinder and setting hub for the QX. The connectivity is Wi-Fi based, though pairing can be achieved using NFC. Each photo you capture is then saved to the smartphone and optionally the camera itself (if it has a microSD card).

However, if you were hoping to turn your smartphone into a full-fledged high-end point-and-shoot replacement, or even as a way to ditch your entry-level DSLR, it may be time to put some brakes on those expectations. There are quite a few things the QX cameras can't do, and they're probably going to be discouraging to anyone serious about photography.

Sony Cyber-shot QX10 Lens-style Camera_7

QX10

Most important, perhaps, is that ISO and shutter speed are set automatically no matter what mode the camera is in. There is no full manual mode or shutter priority mode. Further, only the QX-100 supports manual focus (via the physical focus ring on the lens) and aperture priority, and neither device can record more than 25 minutes (2GB) of continuous video. Battery life is estimated to be 220 shots, or 110 minutes of active use on both models, though the batteries can be swapped. They also don't appear to have a continuous shooting mode, and the average time between each shot is estimated at 1-1.2 seconds. And as far as I can tell, there is no integration with your Android phone's LED flash, and the QXs have no flash modules of their own.

Granted, Sony is clearly aiming these lenses at not-super-serious photographers - just people who want a nice portable camera without the "carrying an entire camera" part of the equation. Each lens also comes with three "auto" modes - Intelligent Auto, Superior Auto, and Program Auto. I'm not 100% sure what the different between intelligent and superior auto is, though I believe intelligent mode will do some fancy post-processing / HDR-like stuff to your photos, while superior just picks the best possible settings.

If these are the kind of limitations you can live with, though, perhaps the QXs will fill a niche. Given that both can be used as standalone cameras, or mounted to a tripod, their wireless versatility may be exactly what some folks are looking for. I could definitely see setting the QX100 on a tripod and standing next to it with a connected tablet as the viewfinder. That actually sounds pretty cool. Then again, isn't it entirely possible we'll see Play Memories viewfinder integration on future Sony cameras that are actually, you know, full-blown cameras? One can hope.

Sony has not provided a specific release date for the QX100 or QX10, though both devices should be available at Sony's online store sometime later this month.

Sony Cyber-shot QX10 Lens-style Camera_1 Sony Cyber-shot QX10 Lens-style Camera_2 Sony Cyber-shot QX10 Lens-style Camera_5

Sony Cyber-shot QX100 Premium Lens-style Camera_2 Sony Cyber-shot QX100 Premium Lens-style Camera_3 Sony Cyber-shot QX100 Premium Lens-style Camera_4

David Ruddock
David's phone is an HTC One. He is an avid writer, and enjoys playing devil's advocate in editorials, imparting a legal perspective on tech news, and reviewing the latest phones and gadgets. He also doesn't usually write such boring sentences.

  • hyperbolic

    I want these toys !

  • Herman

    Thanks AndroidPolice for clarifying this isn't for me after all.
    I'd love to replace my Nikon D40 but I just can't lose those manual settings.

    I'm seriously wondering now how many people will buy this expensive piece of equipment, considering you can't play with the options much.

    • csgabor

      Yep, I was very tempted by this thing, but I'll get the first series RX100 after all. I've used that for a week last year and it's fantastic for travelling.

      Too bad

    • Sergio

      Same opinion here. This would be great if open to third part apps and giving user most control over it. I won't buy it either

    • bozs13

      No full manual controls? No sale.

  • Danny365

    Couldn't 3rd-party apps add manual settings and such?

    • Pradeep Viswanathan R

      Yes!

  • http://twitter.com/geoff5093 Geoff Johnson

    Nexus :)

  • catiremedina

    Amazon had the for sept 27th in the us but they have since deleted them from their site.

  • tom

    So I could hide this in a room and watch it live somewhere else, will be great for pervs

  • saimin

    Only people who are super-serious about photo quality would even think about paying $500 for a pocket camera. If this camera is difficult for serious photographers to use, then I can't see anyone buying it.

  • Sorian

    I think I will wait for the review.

  • sumguy2006

    With all the tiny high end cameras on the market, who wants to lug this thing around for a sub par experience?

    • saimin

      There is only 1 tiny high end camera on the market, the Sony RX100, which is the basis of this product.

      • sumguy2006

        By "High end" I mean many camera's with specs that match or beat this, are much more "pocket-able" AND have a flash.

        • saimin

          There are no pocket cameras with 1 inch or larger sensors other than the Sony RX100

  • Matthew Fry

    I think this will do very well on the iOS side but I feel like high-end Android users are going to be left wanting for lack of manual control.

  • Branimir

    putting it on my nexus 7 (2012) and pretending it's 2013 version :D

  • spydie

    I'm surprised the expensive one has 3X zoom and the cheap one has 10X! I'll take the optical 10X zoom. The coolest feature about this is the lense being able to be held remotely from the view finder (phone). I can think of a lot of uses for that. I'm in!

    • saimin

      The expensive one has a much bigger sensor for much better image quality. If you don't know what image quality means, then it is likely not worth the price for you.

  • Mike C.

    Neither have support for raw files and manual only have limited support. Was planning to get a QX100 because of the nice sensor and lens but now I will pass.

  • Loran

    Although Sony already has a number of apps for its Wi-Fi-equipped cameras, the company announced that it is releasing the API (Application Program Interface) for a limited number of its cameras. The program is designed to encourage the development of apps that will enable users to shoot and control still and video camera functions via Wi-Fi smartphones and tablets.

    Currently, eight Sony cameras are compatible with the Camera Remote API beta including the NEX-6, Nex-5R, the recently announced NEX-5T, DSC-QX100 DSC-QX10, HDR-MV1 movie video recorder as well as two Action Cam models. The listed NEX-series cameras need to be updated with the Play Memories Smart Remote Control app, v. 2.0 (slated to be released on September 26) and the HDR-AS15 Action Cam needs a software update before these four cameras are compatible with the API beta. Sony plans to add more cameras to this list in the future.

    The JSON-based API is platform agnostic and Sony provides detailed information, development and reference guides, along with a sample app on the program site. You'll also find a developer's forum to share ideas and contact information for Sony. Note, however, that technical support is only available for U.S. and Japan-based developers. http://connect.dpreview.com/post/6308211513/sony-releasing-api-for-select-wi-fi-enabled-smartphones-and-tablets