Sony QX Lens-Style Series Transform Smartphones into REAL Cameras [Hands-on]

It’s tough to put a point-and-shoot out on the market right now. They’re becoming a hard sell now that smartphones are coming with increasingly respectable cameras of their own. Even if the camera on a smartphone is a step down in quality from a high-end point-and-shoot, the convenience of being able to share photos instantly and save them on a device you use frequently throughout the day is a strong enough draw to make most cameras outside of DSLRs unnecessary. That’s why we’ve seen a lot of cameras, like the Galaxy Camera, that can share photos on their own. None, however, might represent as clever of a solution as the upcoming Sony QX cameras.

The two cameras – the QX100 and QX10 – look like camera lenses, without the bodies. But, they’re fully functional cameras, with a shutter release right on them. So, they’re easily portable, but the best part is how the camera can become one with a smartphone, to really give you the best of both worlds – increased picture quality, and the ability to have your photos shared on the device you always have with you.

The cameras come with a mount that allows you to attach them to a smartphone. The QX can connect via Wi-Fi to the smartphone. An app, which can be activated using NFC (by tapping phone to the QX) or manually handles all the camera work, so you’ll be hitting the shutter release and doing some light editing work right from your smartphone. You can also detach the QX from the smartphone and use it remotely, while still controlling the shutter from the phone. Because the smartphone also acts as the viewfinder, this means you can get all kinds of angles and can take pictures of hard to reach or narrow places, because the cameras themselves are so small.

The QX100 will have a 1” 20.2 MP Exmor RCMOS sensor, a Carl Zeiss Vario-Sonnar T* lens with 3.6x optical zoom, and a BIONZ image processor. This is actually the same powerful optics that can be found in Sony’s popular RX100 series. You can also flip through several different modes for different lighting conditions. There’s also a memory card slot right on the camera itself. The Q10 will be a small step down, with an 18.2 MP Exmor RCMOS sensor, but will have a very nice 10x optical zoom Sony G lens. It’ll be available in black or white, and has the advantage of being more compact than the QX100. Either way, you’re probably getting a huge upgrade over your smartphone’s camera.

The QX100 and QX10 are pretty nice pieces of hardware, but they manage to stay somewhat competitive in terms of price. When they hit stores near the end of September, the QX100 will be $500 and the QX10 will be $250. The app for the QX series will only be available on iOS and Android devices.