A rumor started circulating last week claiming that the Nexus 5 could potentially revolutionize smartphone photography (again) by being the first to ship with a MEMS camera, introducing ultra fast autofocus speeds and post-shot refocusing. As it turns out, Oppo will ship the first smartphone with DigitalOptics' MEMS camera. On top of that, Oppo will be an exclusive launch partner. DigitalOptics' press release explicitly puts an end to the rumor that the Nexus 5 will ship with one of their camera modules.
Back at IFA, I got my hands on Sony's QX10 lens camera, one of two such devices the electronics manufacturer announced in Berlin. I wasn't sure what I thought about it then, having only played with it for about a day, but I've spent some quality time with the device since, and I'm ready to lay down my full impression.
For those not quite up to speed, the QX10 (and its higher-end counterpart, the QX100) is a camera in a lens.
The online-only T-Mobile variant of the Moto X was the first to get the surprise update, followed quickly by Sprint. Now AT&T is next out of the gate, leaving Verizon trailing behind. We probably could have pre-written this, and maybe we did. You'll never know.
Give Sony points for creativity if nothing else: the QX series is unlike any gadget you've seen before. These smartphone add-on lenses made a big impact (for better or worse) at IFA and now the cheaper model is available for purchase on Amazon, right on schedule. The DSC-QX10 is $248 in both black and white, but the QX100 is marked as releasing on October 15th, and shows as "out of stock" from one of the other resellers.
Samsung has announced a new advanced pixel technology for CMOS image sensors called ISOCELL that it promises will get higher color fidelity in poor lighting conditions. This new technology has currently been developed for use in an 8MP camera, and it's scheduled to enter mass production in Q4 2013. We can reasonably expect this advancement to appear in future Galaxy products down the road.
The flower on the right shows more yellows than the one on the left, a detail that makes more of a difference once you pan out to view the entire image (an option we unfortunately don't have with the one picture Samsung provided).
The Moto X is still rolling out to all corners of the (American) Android world, but the T-Mobile variant is getting an update that improves camera performance dramatically. The difference is noticeable in a variety of situations, most notably in backlit and low-light settings. Presumably the update will hit other Moto X variants once testing and certification is completed by the carriers.
Low light – left: not updated, right: updated
The Moto X uses a fairly large sensor with 1.4µm pixels with an RGBC color array and F/2.4 aperture.
Sony's QX attachable lens cameras are among the oddest new products we've seen in a while. They are full cameras inside a lens body, can attach to your smartphone, and capture photos with Sony's Play Memories app.
The company announced two variants of the QX during their pre-IFA press conference – the QX10 and its higher-end counterpart the QX100.
Over the past couple of days, I've had the chance to live with the QX10, so I thought it may be helpful to share some initial impressions on the device and how it works.
Voice control? That's so 2010. The future of mobile computing is... well, I have no idea what it is, but Danish startup company The Eye Tribe would like you to think that it's eye tracking. And not the simple, on-off tracking demonstrated in the latest versions of Samsung's TouchWiz - their hardware can track eye movements with enough precision to replicate a finger tap or mouse cursor. Check out the video below:
IFA is well under way in Berlin, and Sony is the first manufacturer to let loose with a volley of hardware clamoring for your bleeding edge dollars. The Xperia Z1 (nee "Honami"), the sequel to last year's flagship Xperia Z, was just revealed in Sony's press conference. It's a modest bump to most hardware with a massive, massive focus on the camera. As leaked in multiple reports, the Z1 sports a 20.7 megapixel rear camera, soundly smashing current-generation Android competitors.
Remember the allegedly hilarious video for "The Smart Cube" from last week, which toed the line between awkward funding campaign and a parody of awkward funding campaigns? We mentioned at the time that it was almost certainly an alternative marketing campaign for a Samsung product, probably the Android-powered Galaxy NX camera. There's no way to say this without sounding a little smug, so: yeah. It is.