If you've heard of Leica, then you probably know your way around a nice camera... or at least a very expensive one. The German manufacturer, a private company that's over 150 years old, specializes in extremely well-crafted point-and-shoot and swappable lens cameras, plus lenses for a few other camera makers. With prices that start at around $1000 for the cheapest models and go up to over 20 grand for specialty and professional cameras, they're generally restricted to the most extravagant of luxury buyers or career photographers.
It's interesting, then, that Leica has announced a "strategic partnership" with Huawei, China's biggest smartphone manufacturer and a rising player on the world stage.
But the Korean giant doesn't want you to forget the cameras it included in this bad boy. In the following video, it demonstrates some of the cool features of both 5MP front and 16MP back shooters, emphasizing the f/1.9 aperture for better lighting, fast launch time thanks to the double click on the home button shortcut, faster auto-focus, Pro camera mode for manual control over ISO and exposure, real-time HDR for both cameras (selfies!), OIS, and fast and slow motion video recording.
It's hard to believe something as wacky as Sony's QX series of add-on smartphone lenses could be considered "conventional." But compared to the QX1 leaked yesterday, which may allow any Sony E-series lens to mount onto a standard phone, the new QX30 is rather plain. Sony Alpha Rumors posted shots of the newest member of the QX family, which includes an impressive 30x optical zoom (4.3mm-129mm) in the same form factor.
The lens-and-sensor combo is otherwise similar to the previous QX models, though we don't know what model or quality of camera sensor it will be using. The leaked press images show an F-stop range of 3.5-6.3, which is pretty typical of a mid-range DSLR or mirrorless camera lens with this range of zoom.
Sony announced at the Symposium on VLSI Technology that it is trying to improve the functionality and light capture of CMOS sensors by bending them, using - get ready - a proprietary "bending machine." So far, their efforts sound successful. The manufacturer has created a pair of curved CMOS sensors, one sized for cameras (43mm) and one for mobile devices (11mm), that they say have improved sensitivity 1.4x at the center of the sensor, and 2x at the edges.
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 generally lens-shaped body houses a sensor, microphones, and telescopic zooming lens assembly.
This odd device can clip onto your smartphone with a special adapter included in the box, accommodating most form factors adeptly with its spring action.
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.
First, let's talk specs. The QX10 carries with it a 1/2.3" 18.2 megapixel sensor inside a Sony G Lens with a maximum aperture of 3.3 and 10x optical zoom.
Samsung's Galaxy Camera, the manufacturer's first entry into the world of dedicated shooters powered by Android, was announced with little warning at IFA earlier this year. Besides Nikon's foray into the market, the Galaxy Camera is one of the only Android cameras we've yet seen. Frankly, of the two, Samsung's entry is the only one that seems worth looking at.
The question of how much longer point-and-shoot cameras can see success is a fair one – after all, DSLRs are becoming smaller and more affordable all the time, while smartphone cameras are reaching to fill the gap point-and-shoots would leave behind.
The Samsung Nexus S has already shown off its camera once, but up until now, we haven't seen what that 5MP shooter's capable of when it comes to video recording. Well the wait is over, as a (portrait) video shot by none other than the GT-i9020 has hit YouTube:
The quality is more or less what we've come to expect from 720p video taken by a cameraphone, though it certainly won't blow any minds. What may blow some minds is the fact that Google apparently has a (pretty nifty) bus of its own, as shown in this photo, which was also captured by the Nexus S:
By now we've already seen the PlayStation Phone in a video or two, a number of pictures, and the usual batch of rumors. However, one of the few things we haven't known about the device is what its camera will be like. Well as of today, you can officially cross camera quality off the list of unknowns - four pictures taken by a certain "Sony Ericsson Zeus" have just hit Picasa:
A little digging revealed that all of these pictures were captured by a 5MP camera (with an aperture rating of 2.4 and a focal length of 4.1mm), and as the second one shows, it is indeed accompanied by a flash.