Sony wants to sell you the important half of a digital camera and use your smartphone as the other half

Daniel Bader

August 17, 2013 10:57 am

It goes without saying that there is more than one important component in any piece of technology; rarely, for example, does a cellphone work without antennas, or a tablet without a touchscreen.

If the rumours are true, however, Sony wants to sell you one half of a digital camera — the important half, mind you — and let your smartphone act as the other half. Specifically, Sony is expected to debut two products, the DSC-QX10 and DSC-QX100, during IFA next month, that appear as little more than a digital camera lens. This is in fact what they are, but what is so intriguing about them is how they work in conjunction with your smartphone.

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The lenses wrap around a smartphone — specifically, an Xperia smartphone, but we’re assuming it will be compatible with all Android devices — and use a companion app as a live viewfinder and shutter button. The lens, therefore, exists mainly as a portable extension of your smartphone’s tiny built-in camera, and can presumably be set up to take photos in a number of different orientations.

Sony is essentially transplanting the guts of its NEX camera line — the newly-released RX100M2 with a massive 1-inch 20MP sensor and 20MP, and a WX150 with a 1/2.3-inch 18MP sensor, respectively — onto a lens, without the LCD screen.
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Of course, the “lenses” will have WiFi, NFC, Bluetooth and a number of other additions in them to make it possible to quickly communicate over the air with a smartphone.

We’ll know more in the coming weeks, as Sony is expected to debut the QX10 and QX100 during a press conference on September 4th, alongside the i1 “Honami.”

  • Muff1nB4k3r

    It’ll certainly be interesting to see how well it performs if Sony manage to pull it off. I’m hoping it might even allow the lens to be held away from the phone to really do some cool shots like a seperate viewfinder. Also NEX is Sony’s line of interchangeable lens cameras (With CMOS sensors) the RX and WX are part of their Cybershot (aka PointAndShoot Line). Just a small correction. Keep up the stellar work guys!

  • Dan Smith

    The first truly innovative smartphone accessory I have seen in a long time. Call me intrigued.

  • hunkyleepickle

    If its small and unobtrusive, and I can leave it on say my iPhone all the time, I would be into this. At this stage it looks a little bulky, and if I have to pull it out of my bag and strap it on everytime I want it, it kind of defeats the point, for me anyway. Good to see Sony spitballing anyway!

    • Alpine

      this is definitely not targeting you…this is probably for the ones who are willing to get down and dirty just take a picture of an ant taking a piss..

  • selonmoi

    That’s awesome, but I’d expect it’ll only be compatible with Sony’s phones.

    • Martin Chan

      Rumours state that it’ll be compatible with any other phone as long as they choose to support it.

    • Ripam Paul

      I also hope it only be compatible with Xperias

  • spammenotdisqus

    This won’t sell well.

    • Fawoo

      I can see why it won’t sell well but the idea and execution is quite amazing.

      I mean, instead of buying a phone and a DSLR, you just buy a phone and whatever lenses, bringing down your spending budget a whole lot. So the product for that reason alone is fantastic.

      Will it work for stereotypical photographers or the general consumer? Probably not. I can see this working for content creators such as those who make youtube videos, but otherwise there isn’t a huge market for the product.

      It’s great that a company isn’t afraid to venture out into new territory. Sales really don’t matter if the product is really pushing the limits of our current technology.

    • thas ★

      I don’t think this is meant to replace DSLRs and if we’re being realistic, it can’t. It could probably replace a compact point & shoot, but less and less top YouTubers are using those these days. I’ll give Sony credit for an interesting idea, but I can’t see it catching on.

    • d a

      2 reasons why it won’t sell if it doesn’t. Doesn’t work well and the number one reason, overpriced. If they’re going to charge me around the same as what a small camera would cost me anyway then I’ll carry a small camera.
      We shall see however. Price it right, make it work, I’m in.

    • som

      Plus it doesn’t have an apple on it.

    • d a

      Heterosexuals won’t care.

  • Rich

    Of course this happens after I invest in a DSLR.

    • ConsciousConsumer

      Invest?

      You don’t get you money back from a DSLR. Even if you are a professional, buying new equipment is a capital expenditure.

    • Sébastien

      Accounting detail , perhaps

    • ConsciousConsumer

      Not only “accounting detail”, COMMON SENSE.

  • MXH070

    Great idea if it works with any phone if so the camera race is over for cell phones. Sorry nokia :(

    • Mythos88

      Who is going to want to carry that thing around with them all the time. I would take a Lumia 1020 over this any day. And with the 1020’s camera grip accessory it would be far lighter and easier to hold, has extra battery power and a tripod mount and the best digital camera software on the planet.

    • Alpine

      but thats one ugly a*s looking cellphone..

    • Mythos88

      You mean the Lumia 1020 or the Sony kludge? Regardless to each their own. I think the 1020 is beautiful. I waited for months to get the 920 in yellow. My 1020 may or may not be the same colour but it definitely won’t be black.

    • Alpine

      the lumia 1020… dont get me wrong i think Nokia nailed it with the lumia 800 (in terms of design) but this one is just fugly IMO

  • Thomas C. Riddell

    This is smart Idea by Sony

  • Ernie Evil-Grafix Moore

    It oviously doesn’t need to be actually attached, so now you have a 20mp spy/pin hole camera that operates off wifi or bt!

    • Supa_Fly

      Nothing is obvious yet. Yet imagine smarywatch2, Xperia & this accessory remote 2/3 pictures from various angles or a tru 3D panorama!

  • Supa_Fly

    This will sell – it’s for a specific targeted market: Xperia owners, and for specific market segment: Europe.

    Many users are disenchanted with the lower performance of Sony smartphone cameras, especially since the competitors use their sensors.

    Sony are innovators : they created the smart watch segment entirely their own over 5yrs ago and spawned demand and a new product class. This still sells and they keep improving upon it for a specific target market.

  • sicsicpuppy

    I expect a $399+ price range

    • d a

      LOL, well at that price it will be dead before they make their first sale. At half that price I think it wouldn’t sell either. If you’re going to try and convince me to carry another device then you better not make it expensive along with a hassle to carry it.

  • Sally

    That man in the picture looks like he’s holding the Honami?

    • Lucas

      Ya i think it is. I’m pretty sure the xperia logo isn’t that low on the Z

  • TP

    1. what about reading/writing speed? It would be brutally slow to store a picture over NFC/Bluetooth.
    2. Battery life? One of the reasons I carry DSLR when travelling is because DSLRs have much much superior battery life.

    Other than these concerns, if price and quality are good, I am in!

  • DJ-Sanj

    Seems good…..