We all know that a large part of photos and videos are shot from smartphones, and the point-and-shoot camera market share is shrinking. According to a NPD Group study published in December 2011, consumers now take more than a quarter of all photos and videos on smartphones.
Inventing the next-generation camera that will be competitive in the smartphone market has become a necessity for manufacturers. Sony has often been at the forefront of product innovation in the past, and with the release of its new “Lens Style Camera,” the company exceeded our expectations. Basically, the Cyber-shot DSC QX100 and DSC-QX10 are stand-alone cameras that look like lenses and that can be attached to a phone to be used as a grip, a view finder and a remote control.
We are not sure yet if consumers will adopt this product on a large scale, but we were impress by the “out of the box’ thinking when the device was unveiled during Sony’s briefing.
Both models can be used as autonomous camera, be held in one hand while the other operates it from the smartphone, to enable unusual shooting angles, or attached on the phone to shoot pictures using both hands (see photo gallery). They come with a SD card slot and a battery, and when shooting, the images are both saved on the SD card and in the smartphone gallery simultaneously via Wifi. NFC allows for one-touch connectivity. The automatic wireless transfer of pictures to the phone is the reason why the camera does not shoot in RAW as the files are too large.
The Sony Cyber Shot DSC QX100 is equipped with a large 1-inch 20 megapixel EXMOR R CMOS Sensor and a high quality Carl Zeiss F1.8-4.9 3.6x zoom. The DSC-QX10 offers a 1/23” 18 Megapixel EXMOR R CMOS Sensor and a Sony G9 25-250 mm equivalent lens that delivers a 10x optical zoom. Both cameras record 1440×1080 video at 30 fps with continuous shooting limited to 25 min and a maximum file size is 2 GB. The battery is recharged via USB, and the micro SD slot allows for up to 64GB of memory.
One of the more interesting aspects of both the QX10 and QX100 is the fact you don’t have to own a Sony-manufactured smartphone in order to use it. Yes – Sony has a case that fits around a number of its smartphones that make it easy to snap the QX10 and QX100 into place, but they also offer a universal bracket that fits over most smartphones. During Sony’s briefing, they used were able to use the bracket to fasten a QX10 to an iPhone 5, although Sony representatives said the device’s application isn’t available in the App Store yet.
Both the QX10 and QX100 will be made available later this month for $249 and $499, respectively.