Design

Sony Releases Gizmo That Hacks Your Phone Into A High-End Camera

Sony has unveiled an intriguing pair of smartphone peripherals at the IFA 2013 tech expo which turn your smartphone into a high-end camera. The Cyber-shot DSC-QX10 and DSC-QX100 are mountable cameras that communicate with iOS and Android devices via Wi-Fi. They increase your phone’s megapixel count by up to 20MP and can boost optical zoom by up to 10x. In other words, you’ll never need to lug around a chunky compact again.

The IFA 2013 announcements have been coming thick and fast from Berlin, with Samsung’s hotly-anticipated ‘Gear’ smart watch stealing much of the limelight. But for photography fans, one of the most intriguing announcements has been Sony’s DSC-QX10 and DSC-QX100 smartphone attachments.

Cyber-shot DSC-QX100

The Cyber-shot DSC-QX10 and DSC-QX100 are being pitched as a brand new product category for camera enthusiasts (although we’ve actually seen similar concepts for iPhone in the past). They are fully-functioning Cyber-shot cameras in a size that’s not much bigger than a lens.

The cameras are designed to fit onto the back of your smartphone with all controls accessed through your phone’s touch screen which also acts as the viewfinder.

Boasting an Exmor R CMOS sensor, a BIONZ processor, optical SteadyShot and an optical zoom, the units significantly boost the photographic capabilities of your smartphone; especially in low-light environments. The high-end DSC-QX100 also comes with a wide-aperture Carl Zeiss VarioSonnar T lens and a full gamut of manual controls.

Both models come with a Micro SD card slot which allows the user to save full resolution images. Handily, the inbuilt software will compress the photos you choose to share over your phone’s network which cuts down on data consumption and lengthy upload times.

Here’s a look at the chief specifications of each model:

Model DSC-QX100 DSC-QX10
Image Sensor 20.2 megapixels 18.2 megapixels
Effective resolution BIONZ BIONZ
Maximum aperture Carl Zeiss Vario-Sonnar T1, with 7 elements in 6 groups (4 aspheric elements including AA lens) Sony G Lens, with 7 groups (including 4 aspheric elements)
Lens F1.8(Wide angle)- F4.9 (Tele) F3.3(Wide angle)- F5.9 (Tele)
Focal length (35mm equivalent)(still image 4:3) f=28-100mm f=25-250mm
Optical zoom 3.6x 10x
ISO Sensitivity (Still Image) ISO160-6400 (iAuto), ISO160-256003 (Superior Auto), ISO160-3200 (Program Auto), ISO160-3200 (Aperture Priority) SO100-3200 (iAuto), ISO100-12800 (Superior Auto), ISO100-1600 (Program Auto)
Movie record MP4: 12MP (1440×1080/30fps) MP4: 12MP (1440×1080/30fps)
Image stabilisation Optical SteadyShot (with Active Mode for movies) Optical SteadyShot (with Active Mode for movies)
Focus type Contrast detection AF Contrast detection AF
Focus Modes Single-shot AF; Manual Focus; Touch AF Single-shot AF; Touch AF
Shooting modes Superior Auto, Intelligent Auto, Program Auto, Aperture Priority, Movie Mode Superior Auto, Intelligent Auto, Program Auto, Movie Mode
Wireless networking Wi-Fi: Send to smartphone / control with smartphone NFC: One-touch remote Wi-Fi: Send to smartphone / control with smartphone NFC: One-touch remote
Dimensions (WxHxD) 62.5 x 62.5 x 55.5mm 62.4 x 61.8 x 33.3 mm
Weight (main unit only) 165g 90g

 

Last week, we were given a sneak-peak of the devices during a pre-IFA Sony media briefing. While hands-on time was limited, we were very impressed by what we saw. The fastening mechanism has been crafted with Sony’s typical engineering ingenuity: a pair of retractable arms keeping the lens in place which makes the attachment/removal process quick and easy.

Naturally, you’ll still be able to take calls and use other smartphone functions with the camera attached, but you’ll probably look a bit odd while doing so.

We didn’t get a chance to review the image quality in detail, but the results looked great on the smartphone’s 4-inch display. We also happened to be using the device in moderate indoor lighting, which is another good sign.

The cameras are compatible with phones with a width of 54-75mm and up to a maximum thickness of 13mm. Most bigger Android or iOS devices will also work with the products — you just won’t be able to fasten the lens in place.

The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-QX10 and DSC-QX100 will be available in Australia from mid-October for $279 and $599, respectively.

See also: The Best DSLR Upgrades And Accessories | Make A “Phone-O-Scope” SLR Lens For Your Mobile Phone


Have you subscribed to Lifehacker Australia's email newsletter? You can also follow us on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.