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Sony announces 'PlayMemories' Camera Apps to extend NEX-5R capabilities

By dpreview staff on Aug 29, 2012 at 15:00 GMT

Sony has announced the first in a series of 'PlayMemories' Camera Apps. These apps will be available to Sony owners with an account on the company's 'PlayMemories' web service and can be installed on the newly-announced Alpha NEX-5R. The Apps allow various features and capabilities to be added to the camera, including image processing and remote triggering options. The move comes as Sony expands the 'PlayMemories' service to make sharing images across its devices easier.

Press Release:

Sony Launches Exciting New Developments for PlayMemories Family of Digital Imaging Apps and Services

SAN DIEGO, August 29, 2012 – Sony is expanding its PlayMemories family of digital imaging services and applications with the introduction of PlayMemories Camera Apps, the world’s first application download service that allows for on-demand install of camera functions and features to boost the overall imaging experience.

Sony is also adding several new enhancements to increase the connectivity and compatibility of PlayMemories, allowing users to more easily share, edit and enjoy digital photos and videos across a range of products from cameras, smartphones and tablets to Sony PlayStation®3 and compatible BRAVIA TVs.

PlayMemories Camera Apps

Initially supported by the Wi-Fi enabled NEX-5R interchangeable lens camera, the PlayMemories Camera Apps service offers a variety of applications that expand camera functionality, allowing users to personalize their photographic experience and enhance their network connectivity. These include:

  • “Picture Effect+” -- expands the range of artistic treatments available in the camera’s standard Picture Effect mode.
  • “Bracket Pro” -- automatically shoots a rapid burst of two to three images at different ‘bracketed’ settings – for shutter speed, aperture or focus or flash (flash bracket includes two frames). Users can see the effect of setting changes on the three shots and choose the one that best fits their needs.
  • “Multi Frame NR” -- captures a series of images in rapid succession and stitches them together to create one low-noise photo at selected ISO speed. It’s ideal for capturing atmospheric night-time scenes, or shooting in dark conditions without using flash.
  • “Photo Retouch” -- adds a generous palette of adjustments like brightness, saturation and contrast plus Soft Skin, re-size and other post-shooting effects.  Also available is the Auto Portrait Framing feature which detects the faces in images captured and intelligently applies the recommended composition afterwards.

Sony also plans to introduce several other new apps including:

  • “Time-lapse”” -- automatically captures a series of still pictures at adjustable intervals. These images are automatically combined by the camera, and can be replayed like a video clip.
  • “Cinematic Photo” captures a series of frames and stitches them together into a fun, animated picture effect where parts of a static image appear to move while others remain static.

Additionally, directly downloadable utilities include:

  • “Smart Remote Control” -- tethers the NEX-5R camera to a compatible smartphone or tablet, allowing users to see a live view image on the screen of their connected device, adjust exposure if necessary and release the shutter of the camera. Captured pictures are also sent automatically to the connected device.
  • “Direct Upload” -- enables images to be directly uploaded from the connected camera to PlayMemories Online and Facebook™ using Wi-Fi connectivity.

New PlayMemories Camera Apps will be available beginning in October 2012.

PlayMemories Online

Sony’s compatible BRAVIA TVs are now able to view photos and video posted on PlayMemories Online directly, expanding the breadth of devices capable of using the service.

PlayMemories Mobile

This Android/iOS app simplifies video and photo transfers to smartphones or tablet devices from Wi-Fi enabled cameras such as the NEX-5R model. Additionally, while using the PlayMemories Mobile application in tandem with the “Smart Remote Control” camera app (as referenced earlier), consumers have the ability to remotely control the NEX-5R camera and new HDR-AS15 Action Cam (comes pre-installed with Smart Remote Control App) using their smartphone.

PlayMemories Studio

PlayMemories Studio makes organizing, editing and viewing videos and photos on PlayStation®3 as fun and intuitive as playing a game.

This application evolves with the brand-new ability to output images on Sony’s 4K televisions, which contain about four times more detail than full high-definition. Consumers can enjoy high resolution images taken by current digital cameras on Sony’s new BRAVIA XBR-84X900 4K LED TV.

Additional enhancements to PlayMemories Studio include easy content uploads to YouTube and PlayMemories Online.


Total comments: 18
By Syncflash (Dec 27, 2012)

Sony's Playmemories camera app is flipping useless. I've tried installing the Smart Remote application three times, with no success. The Playmemories app demands that I log into my Sony Entertainment account because I'm a first-time user.

So, I dutifully log in using Sony's horrible keyboard app, burning up valuable time in the process... and the camera just sits there and does nothing. Eventually a 'cannot connect to server, please wait a while and reload' error message comes up because the bloody thing has timed out! I also ask the log in app to remember my sign-in ID details, but it doesn't remember it, of course.

Sony are great (sometimes) when it comes to some of their products. But they seem to quickly forget their customers once they've got their money. Their camera apps seem like a marketing gimmick to get people to buy their cameras. "Oh, you actually expected it to work? <snigger>"

By Boerseuntjie (Aug 31, 2012)

Nice Apps and good start

By Cheezr (Aug 30, 2012)

How sad, the gaming division gets it but the imaging division really does not. No wonder that Samsung is eating Sony's lunch and dinner in most product areas.

By joelR42 (Aug 30, 2012)

iOS started out as a totally closed ecosystem (before I get flamed, yes, it is still considered "closed" to android's "openness") but later opened the devices up to third party developers with Apple's careful review process. Honestly, while that process has been far from perfect, it makes me feel better about buying a third-party app and developers like it because it helps them make money--which is one big reason why iOS is still the beating Android in development.

I hope Sony is just keeping this to themselves while they work out the kinks. The NEX cameras run a version of Linux anyway so presumably it wouldn't be hard to create a set of android-like API's that make porting apps to the Sony world easy for developers. Sony, like Apple, will then be a gatekeeper. I know many people here would disagree but I like that arrangement better. Apps are cool but I want my camera to work. Period. Disclosure: I doubt I would ever buy/use more than a small handful of apps in any case.

Comment edited 56 seconds after posting
deniz erdem
By deniz erdem (Aug 30, 2012)

the thing is ios has a huge user base. even if this closed sony ecosystem becomes easy and polished enough, will it ever be crowded enough?

By scotbot (Aug 30, 2012)

HUGE MISTAKE. Sony is infamous for making their systems propriety and seem to have totally overlooked the fact that there will be hardly any apps compared to the hundreds available for Android. The camera will succeed as it will no doubt produce excellent images but no-one is going to care about the apps.

By waitformee (Aug 30, 2012)

This nex is getting too good.

By DezM (Aug 29, 2012)

Smart Remote Control This should've been implemented long ago for iOS or Android devices.

Ross Murphy
By Ross Murphy (Aug 29, 2012)

Sony is smart

By ProfHankD (Aug 29, 2012)

I've been saying for years that Sony should take advantage of the Linux security features to allow secure 3rd party apps to run on and control the camera, etc. This doesn't sound like that. Let's hope this announcement is quickly followed by an announcement about how to become a registered 3rd party developer....

By Jefftan (Aug 30, 2012)

what if 3rd party app mess up the camera?

Sergey Borachev
By Sergey Borachev (Aug 29, 2012)

This sounds like MemoryStick! another attempt to use proprietary stuff. Yuck.

Android is already available in Nikon and Samsung cameras, and open applications will be available for those cameras. I bet there will be a dozen or more of these Android cameras soon, and then PlayMemories will be just memories.

Comment edited 5 minutes after posting
1 upvote
By peevee1 (Aug 29, 2012)

I wonder if those proprietary "Apps" are just firmware features which used to be free and now will be charged for?

1 upvote
By Alec (Aug 29, 2012)

These remind me of Minolta 700si's Creative Expansion cards. To these days I have my 700si and a special little wallet to hold the cards. Just like SONY apps these cards added pretty unique features not otherwise easily found on any camera. But the cards were poorly received by the public.

I feel SONY would do better if it made a NEX that runs or fully emulates Android so the apps can use Android camera API. This is NOT about Android itself at all - this is about gaining access to a whole ecosystem of app developers and tools that would give SONY camera apps the instant momentum that it could never hope to match on its own with a proprietary system.

luben solev
By luben solev (Aug 29, 2012)

If it is true that these apps will be proprietary, then Sony is missing a trick.

Android's popularity has all been about open source and the low barrier to entry for 3rd party app developers.

As Sony is already involved in Android (through their mobile phones), one would have thought that they would move over to the OS for all of their consumer grade cameras and other electronics (TV etc.) and then have a single app store for all of them to access. You'd only be able to download the apps that work on your piece of electronics.

But that would make too much common sense to implement I guess :-)

By dbateman (Aug 29, 2012)

This is great and a good start. What is not mentioned is how easy it will be for 3rd party people to buy a SDK and program what they want, get it approved and upload it to Sony for added camera features. This is why Android is so popular, since anyone can code what they want.

Why I say sony approved is I don't what it fully open to get viruses and Malware on my camera. But I do what more than what Sony has here.

I find the 3 image "Bracket Pro" a joke. I want 10 images taken in rapid shot with all my own settings applied. Why have 10fps if you can't use it. 3 images would be good with 3fps camera. Heck even 20 images captured would be great with all the settings adjustable.

By Rmano (Aug 29, 2012)

I agree fully. it's a good start, but what's needed now it's an API, better if open, to have a wealthy set of apps.
And yes, seeing the state of bracketing in Sony cameras (I own an A55), seems that Sony never understood bracketing...

By tokyojerry (Aug 30, 2012)

Why is that? ( "Sony never understood bracketing...")

Total comments: 18