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Sony reveals QX10 and QX100 camera modules for smartphones

By dpreview staff on Sep 4, 2013 at 15:00 GMT

Sony has announced a pair of mobile photography camera/lens modules, the QX10 and QX100. Both units are essentially self-contained cameras that can be controlled by smartphones, using Wi-Fi. The QX10 ($250/£179/€199) features a standard compact-camera 1/2.3" sensor and a 25-250mm equivalent zoom lens. The QX100 ($250/£399/€449) uses the 1" sensor and 28-100mm equivalent zoom used in its high-end RX100 II compact. Both are NFC-compliant to make connection to some smartphones even easier.

Although designed primarily for use with smartphones, both modules include their own batteries, memory card slots, zoom controls and shutter buttons, allowing their use remotely from (or entirely unconnected to) a phone.

What does this mean for mobile photography? Check out the links below to read connect.dpreview.com's take on the QX concept, and also a first impressions piece covering both modules and an in-depth look at the higher-end QX100 model.

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Press Release:

New Sony QX100 and QX10 “Lens-Style Cameras” Redefine the Mobile Photography Experience

NEW YORK, Sept. 4, 2013 – Merging the creative power of a premium compact camera with the convenience and connectivity of today’s smartphones, Sony today introduced two “lens-style” QX series cameras that bring new levels of fun and creativity to the mobile photography experience.

The innovative Cyber-shot® QX100 and QX10 models utilize Wi-Fi® connectivity to instantly transform a connected smartphone into a versatile, powerful photographic tool, allowing it to shoot high-quality images and HD videos to rival a premium compact camera. It’s an entirely new and different way for consumers to capture and share memories with friends and family.

With a distinct lens-style shape, the new cameras utilize the latest version of Sony’s PlayMemories Mobile™ application (available for iOS™ and Android™ devices, version 3.1 or higher required) to connect wirelessly to a smartphone, converting the bright, large LCD screen of the phone into a real-time viewfinder with the ability to release the shutter, start/stop movie recordings, and adjust common photographic settings like shooting mode, zoom, Auto Focus area and more.

For added convenience, the app can be activated using NFC one-touch with compatible devices. Once pictures are taken, they are saved directly on both the phone and the camera*, and can be shared instantly via social media or other common mobile applications.

“With the new QX100 and QX10 cameras, we are making it easier for the ever-growing population of ‘mobile photographers’ to capture far superior, higher-quality content without sacrificing the convenience and accessibility of their existing mobile network or the familiar ‘phone-style’ shooting experience that they’ve grown accustomed to,” said Patrick Huang, director of the Cyber-shot business at Sony. “We feel that these new products represent not only an evolution for the digital camera business, but a revolution in terms of redefining how cameras and smartphones can cooperatively flourish in today’s market.”

The new compact, ultra-portable cameras can be attached to a connected phone with a supplied mechanically adjustable adapter, or can be held separately in hand or even mounted to a tripod while still maintaining all functionality and connectivity with the smartphone. They can also be operated as completely independent cameras if desired, as both the QX100 and QX10 cameras have a shutter release, memory card slot and come with a rechargeable battery.

Premium, Large-Sensor QX100 Camera

The Cyber-shot QX100 camera features a premium, high-quality 1.0 inch, 20.2 MP Exmor® RCMOS sensor. Identical to the sensor found in the acclaimed Cyber-shot RX100 II camera, it allows for exceptionally detailed, ultra-low noise images in all types of lighting conditions, including dimly lit indoor and night scenes.

The sensor is paired with a fast, wide-aperture Carl Zeiss® Vario-Sonnar T* lens with 3.6x optical zoom and a powerful BIONZ® image processor, ensuring beautifully natural, detail-packed still images and HD videos. As an extra refinement, the QX100 sports a dedicated control ring for camera-like adjustment of manual focus and zoom.

Several different shooting modes can be selected while using the QX100 including Program Auto, Aperture Priority, Intelligent Auto and Superior Auto, which automatically recognizes 44 different shooting conditions and adjusts camera settings to suit.

High-Zoom Cyber-shot QX10 model

Boasting a powerful 18.2 effective megapixel Exmor RCMOS sensor and versatile 10x optical zoom Sony G Lens, the Cyber-shot QX10 camera allows mobile photographers to bring distant subjects closer without sacrificing image quality or resolution, a common problem in smartphones. It’s also extremely portable and lightweight - weighing less than 4 oz and measuring about 2.5”X2.5”x1.3”, it’s a great tool for travel photography.

Additionally, the camera has built-in Optical SteadyShot image stabilization to combat camera shake, keeping handheld pictures and videos steady and blur-free. It has Program Auto, Intelligent Auto and Superior Auto modes to choose from, and will be available in two different colors – black and white.

Pricing and Availability

The new Cyber-shot QX100 and QX10 lens-style cameras will available later this month for about $500 and $250, respectively.

The cameras and a range of compatible accessories including a soft carry case and dedicated camera attachment for Sony Mobile phones like the Xperia™ Z can be purchased at Sony retail stores (www.store.sony.com) and other authorized dealers nationwide.

Please visit www.blog.sony.com for a full video preview of the new Sony Cyber-shot QX Series cameras and follow #SonyCamera on Twitter for the latest camera news.

Sony QX10 and QX100 specifications

 Sony Cyber-shot DSC-QX10Sony Cyber-shot DSC-QX100
Price
MSRP$250$500/£399/€449
Body type
Body typeCompact
Body materialComposite
Sensor
Max resolution4896 x 36725472 x 3648
Other resolutions2592 x 1944 (4:3), 4896 x 2752 (16:9), 1920 x 1080 (16:9)3:2: 2736 x 1824; 4:3: 4864 x 3648, 2592 x 1944; 16:9: 5472 x 3080, 2720 x 1528; 1:1: 3648 x 3648, 1920 x 1920
Image ratio w:h4:3, 16:91:1, 4:3, 3:2, 16:9
Effective pixels18 megapixels20 megapixels
Sensor photo detectors19 megapixels21 megapixels
Sensor size1/2.3" (6.17 x 4.55 mm)1″ (13.2 x 8.8 mm)
Sensor typeBSI-CMOS
Color spacesRGB
Color filter arrayPrimary color filter
Image
ISO100-3200160-6400
White balance presets68
Custom white balanceNo
Image stabilizationOptical
Uncompressed formatNo
JPEG quality levelsNormal
File format
  • JPEG (DCF)
Optics & Focus
Focal length (equiv.)25–250 mm28–100 mm
Optical zoom10×3.6×
Maximum apertureF3.3 - F5.9F1.8 - F4.9
Autofocus
  • Contrast Detect (sensor)
  • Multi-area
  • Touch
  • Face Detection
Autofocus assist lampNo
Digital zoomNo
Manual focusNoYes
Macro focus range5 cm (1.97)
Screen / viewfinder
Articulated LCDNo
Touch screenYes (via smartphone)
Screen typeDepends on connected smartphone
Live viewYes (via smartphone)
Viewfinder typeNone
Photography features
Minimum shutter speed4 sec
Maximum shutter speed1/1600 sec1/2000 sec
Built-in flashNo
External flashNo
Flash modesNone
Drive modes
  • Single
Self-timerYes (2, 10 secs)
Metering modes
  • Multi
Exposure compensation±2 (at 1/3 EV steps)±3 (at 1/3 EV steps)
WB BracketingNo
Videography features
Resolutions1440 x 1080 (30 fps)
FormatMPEG-4
MicrophoneStereo
SpeakerNone
Storage
Storage typesmicroSD, microSDHC, microSDXC, Memory Stick Micro
Connectivity
USB USB 2.0 (480 Mbit/sec)
HDMINo
WirelessBuilt-In
Wireless notes802.11b/g/n with NFC
Remote controlYes (via smartphone)
Physical
Environmentally sealedNo
BatteryBattery Pack
Battery descriptionNP-BN, NP-BN1
Battery Life (CIPA)220200
Weight (inc. batteries)105 g (0.23 lb / 3.70 oz)179 g (0.39 lb / 6.31 oz)
Dimensions62 x 62 x 33 mm (2.46 x 2.43 x 1.31)63 x 63 x 56 mm (2.46 x 2.46 x 2.19)
Other features
Orientation sensorYes
Timelapse recordingNo
GPSNone

Additional images

Sony QX10

Sony QX100

23
I own it
15
I want it
6
I had it
Discuss in the forums
21
I own it
22
I want it
3
I had it
Discuss in the forums
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Sony Cyber-shot DSC-QX100

Comments

Total comments: 131
12
ianimal
By ianimal (7 months ago)

Odd products. If this product line becomes a success, I will be surprised.

4 upvotes
Comitant
By Comitant (7 months ago)

Sony's camera department is on FIRE.

Even though I would never get this camera, it's an impressive piece of hardware.

2 upvotes
Roland Karlsson
By Roland Karlsson (7 months ago)

Hmmm ... I love surprises. And this was a surprise ... at least to me.

Lets see if this thing becomes a success or fail.

0 upvotes
mick232
By mick232 (7 months ago)

Well, according to rumors it is already the camera with the highest number of pre-orders in Sony history.

2 upvotes
Chaitanya S
By Chaitanya S (7 months ago)

Sony always has been taking risks with product design and has pushed some really innovative products in market. Lets hope these two camera modules really sell well.

Comment edited 42 seconds after posting
13 upvotes
AndyHWC
By AndyHWC (7 months ago)

This is what I am looking for and I actually mentioned about this in my Lumia 1020 post last week. But sadly, the dimension is 2.46 x 2.46 x 2.19″ (this is not much different than carry a thinner RX100 or WX300) and the cost saving is not much. Still a great step in the right direction. Sony can probably reduce the cost by another 30% by piggy back on the camera battery but that will become a proprietary design.

1 upvote
whtchocla7e
By whtchocla7e (7 months ago)

This is what the Galaxy NX should have been.
Man, if only these Sonys were leaked earlier, Samsung would've copied the correct design. Darn it.

5 upvotes
SDF
By SDF (7 months ago)

According to SAR, Samsung clone of QX100 is coming out later this year.

2 upvotes
Rob Bernhard
By Rob Bernhard (7 months ago)

Anything that stops you and makes you say "Wait, what??" is a win in my book. Might not be a win for the finance department at Sony, but I'll give the company credit for trying something different.

10 upvotes
dbateman
By dbateman (7 months ago)

Very interesting.
I would love to see it paired up with the Samsung NX camera. Or other cameras running Android.

1 upvote
nimrod1212
By nimrod1212 (7 months ago)

Give either of these a way to power-up externally and an app to remotely connect to something other than a mobile device and I'd buy one or three. The compactness, relatively low price and wireless transmission has numerous applications in wildlife photography, multiple camera video capture, scientific work etc etc.

2 upvotes
Artistico
By Artistico (7 months ago)

This is clearly aimed at someone who thinks their smartphone's built-in camera isn't good enough, yet they don't want the hassle of bringing along a compact camera as well as their omnipresent phone. I think it has good market potential and I wouldn't mind seeing more camera manufacturers getting in on this idea to give us a better choice of smartphone camera modules.

Now. If only the QX100 (and the RX-100 for that matter) had a more sensible 10 megapixels - it can't resolve any more detail than that anyway, so the extra megapixels only serve to reduce dynamic range and increase noise. I can't speak for the QX10 from experience, but 18 megapixels in a 1/2.3" is way to much.

3 upvotes
AndyHWC
By AndyHWC (7 months ago)

I am not a fan of megapixel race but 18Mp for 1/2.3" is a popular setup. I see very good results from HX200, ZS27, WX300, HX50.

3 upvotes
Tahir Hashmi
By Tahir Hashmi (7 months ago)

I've never felt the RX100 lens lacking in any way to match the 20MP sensor. At 1:1, RX100 pictures look much sharper than what I get on the 24MP D7100 with any of 35mm f/1.8G Nikkor or 16-85mm VR Nikkor or 55-300mm VR Nikkor.

5 upvotes
Roland Karlsson
By Roland Karlsson (7 months ago)

The MP myth again and again and again.

This was started many years ago and even DPReview believed in it. When will it ever stop?

Having fewer pixel is only interesting for higher frame rate and achieving very high ISO.

Many pixels is good for low ISO and if the lens is sharpest in the middle for digital zooming.

That Nokia has 42 MP exactly for that reason. Digital zooming that is.

Comment edited 59 seconds after posting
2 upvotes
Karroly
By Karroly (7 months ago)

@Roland Karlsson,
What myth ? Bigger photosites have better S/N ratio and wider dynamic. This is physics. Personally, I just find myself more often struggling in low light or with high-contrast scenes than in the need of cropping/enlarging (what you call digital zooming) a picture. My choice is clear : big photosites ! But if you mainly shoot outdoor at noon with a "flat" light and an ultra-compact camera/smartphone with no zoom, then high megapixel count may help, I agree. Just buy the camera YOU need and, please, let others decide what they need...

4 upvotes
ezradja
By ezradja (7 months ago)

too expensive imo

3 upvotes
SDF
By SDF (7 months ago)

Definitely cheaper than Samsung NX camera.

2 upvotes
ezradja
By ezradja (7 months ago)

Galaxy NX price is not expensive, it just stupid, as if Samsung don't want to sell the camera, only for bragging right

0 upvotes
HowaboutRAW
By HowaboutRAW (7 months ago)

SDF:

Let me see, none of these phone add-ons have APSC sensors, while all of the Samsung NX cameras do.

Then separate from the hugh sensor size/quality difference: I think you've confused the Galaxy NX with the NX line generally.

And the Galaxy NX, like all NX cameras, shoots raw.

0 upvotes
onlooker
By onlooker (7 months ago)

Sony has strange R&D priorities. How is that NEX 7 replacement coming along?

4 upvotes
Paul Guba
By Paul Guba (7 months ago)

Actually brilliant idea. Using the phone as the back end of the camera. How well it actually works remains to be seen.

2 upvotes
peevee1
By peevee1 (7 months ago)

All they use from the smartphone is the screen. I mean, usefully. Processing, WiFi, battery are all doubled.

1 upvote
garyknrd
By garyknrd (7 months ago)

Really a non starter for me. No RAW, some one spiked the cool aid in the R&D dept.

2 upvotes
fuego6
By fuego6 (7 months ago)

RAW isn't the end all/be all ... especially for camera phone pics... if you take a good JPG - you can do an awful lot in PP these days....

12 upvotes
SDF
By SDF (7 months ago)

Do you think smartphone users care about RAW file? It will eat up their data usage.

7 upvotes
sdribetahi
By sdribetahi (7 months ago)

I love the "I only shoot raw" people, as if it's a religion. It's a camera phone basically, how much DR are you really pulling? Can you ever just take a pic and work with what a jpeg gives you? Sheesh.

2 upvotes
Roland Karlsson
By Roland Karlsson (7 months ago)

RAW is not so interesting for 1/2.3 inch sensors. You gain so little for the extra hassle.

1 upvote
HowaboutRAW
By HowaboutRAW (7 months ago)

fuego6:

Right there are good jpegs, Fuji, Olympus, the Nikon D3s. But raw still gives you a lot more room to play. And many Android phones take extra SD cards, Blackberry’s too.

SDF:

Ever notice that most Samsung Android 4 smartphones have card slots? The microSD cards that can be inserted into said slots can be used to store raw picture files.

Roland K:

Raw for smaller sensors helps a great deal with colour, white balance and exposure–not so much noise. So basically what you posit is only true in a very limited sense. And the RX100 has a much bigger sensor..

1 upvote
hammerheadfistpunch
By hammerheadfistpunch (7 months ago)

can someone tell me if the processing happens in the module or on the phone? Also, whats up with those useless video specs? This would make such a great remote POV camera!

1 upvote
ktmglen
By ktmglen (7 months ago)

The press release says

"They can also be operated as completely independent cameras if desired, as both the QX100 and QX10 cameras have a shutter release, memory card slot and come with a rechargeable battery."

So my guess is the processing happens in the ...

1 upvote
ktmglen
By ktmglen (7 months ago)

Needs a published WiFi-based API so that I can write my own software on any platform to control the camera and download photos / video.

2 upvotes
TommieH
By TommieH (7 months ago)

They just released it!
http://www.dpreview.com/forums/thread/3542311

2 upvotes
ktmglen
By ktmglen (7 months ago)

This is very, very, very cool. Hopefully, they'll support downloading movie files from the camera in the near future.

1 upvote
nathondetroit
By nathondetroit (7 months ago)

I'd love to see this concept applied to a prime lens. Think how compact the RX1 is with its 35mm/Full Frame combo, and just shrink that down to a 1" sensor with nice glass.

Regardless, Sony are once again experimenting and innovating while others continue to produce cycles of blah.

15 upvotes
ktmglen
By ktmglen (7 months ago)

I agree. I'd go for a fixed 14mm eFOV f/2.8 or 24mm eFOV f/1.8 version. This would be great for getting into hard-to-reach or dangerous places where I typically want to go with a wide angle lens. (eFOV = equivalent 35mm field of view)

3 upvotes
Boerseuntjie
By Boerseuntjie (7 months ago)

No RAW capture for $500? Sony go home you are drunk.

Comment edited 54 seconds after posting
13 upvotes
Lucas_
By Lucas_ (7 months ago)

I wonder who's really drunk...

3 upvotes
AngryCorgi
By AngryCorgi (7 months ago)

$500 with no raw support? No thanks.

13 upvotes
Photomonkey
By Photomonkey (7 months ago)

And for this money I would have expected FF. And just what sort of video are they giving us? They are completely ignoring pros and advanced amateurs. I predict their exit from the camera business anytime. :)

4 upvotes
agentul
By agentul (7 months ago)

yeah, this is inappropriate, when you can buy a FF camera for $1600.

0 upvotes
rpm40
By rpm40 (7 months ago)

Are these replies sarcasm? I can't tell...

2 upvotes
Photomonkey
By Photomonkey (7 months ago)

@rpm40, It is hard to tell isn't it? One knows the world is topsy-turvy when so many comments seem to be real responses despite their foolishness.

2 upvotes
ncsakany
By ncsakany (7 months ago)

Reminds me of 1980's gadgets.

0 upvotes
Clint009
By Clint009 (7 months ago)

Sony’s Hotly Discussed DSC-QX10 and DSC-QX100 Phone Cameras Available for Pre-Order

Interesting video to explained the use of this camera/phone

http://fstoppers.com/sonys-hotly-discussed-dsc-qx10-and-dsc-qx100-phone-cameras-available-for-pre-order

0 upvotes
mypobox
By mypobox (7 months ago)

I think separating the lens from the body is genius. I think this will do well.

11 upvotes
Dazed and Confused
By Dazed and Confused (7 months ago)

Out of interest, do you think Sony is the first to do this? I'm getting the impression that a lot of people do.

I think this might be one of those 'Google was the first search engine' or 'the iPhone was the 1st touch screen phone' moments - i.e. Sony aren't the first to do it, but might be the first to do it well and really capture the public's imagination.

0 upvotes
Dazed and Confused
By Dazed and Confused (7 months ago)

How does it differ from using a GoPro Hero 3 and the free app for remote viewing, release, etc on any Amdroid or iOS device?

Surely the Sonys can't be that different, apart from the fact they come with a little clip to attach to your phone.

0 upvotes
meanwhile
By meanwhile (7 months ago)

Image quality.

9 upvotes
Dazed and Confused
By Dazed and Confused (7 months ago)

But that's not a different concept, which is what everybody seems to think is the innovation here - it's just a slightly different design.

It's like people waiting until the second DSLR to come along with better image quality than the first, and then heralding it as the invention of the DSLR.

0 upvotes
Joesiv
By Joesiv (7 months ago)

I kinda like it,the tethering options are quite neat...

0 upvotes
chillgreg
By chillgreg (7 months ago)

Go Sony for innovation and identifying market niches. Don't mock - the profit from these dinky toys might just be paying for the R&D of your next NEX lens (!), or RX2/200.

6 upvotes
Antonio Rojilla
By Antonio Rojilla (7 months ago)

Or the PlayStation 5.

1 upvote
filipeb
By filipeb (7 months ago)

or next nikon sensors :)...or new 4k HD tv...or new sound systems or new dslrs lcd for almost all the brands....or...

1 upvote
Just a Photographer
By Just a Photographer (7 months ago)

I yet have to see if this will become successful.

My feeling says utter failure - an obsolete product with no future..
That 'special moment' is already over.... once you have finally attached this lens to your phone.

8 upvotes
straylightrun
By straylightrun (7 months ago)

I don't think your name is very befitting.

2 upvotes
Josh SZ
By Josh SZ (7 months ago)

The most interesting thing is not attaching it to a smart phone, but separating it from the phone. I think it is useful in a lot situations.

2 upvotes
Lucas_
By Lucas_ (7 months ago)

As "just a photographer" maybe you're becoming quite obsolete, new bold ideas just won't excite you any more...

1 upvote
Antonio Rojilla
By Antonio Rojilla (7 months ago)

Like any other product, these devices are not for everyone. With those video specs, they are for almost no one.

0 upvotes
Total comments: 131
12