The camera that clips on a phone
ony’s QX100 and QX10 digital cameras look like lenses that you would fit onto a camera body, but these cylindershaped bodies actually have built-in image sensors. They’re designed to attach to your smartphone and communicate with it wirelessly, with the phone acting as the camera’s screen to compose your image.
While a camera that needs another device for its viewfinder might seem like a strange concept, apparently it has proved reasonably popular, as Sony has now taken it further to produce the QX1. Here we have an APS-C sized sensor and, in place of the QX100 and QX10’s built-in lenses, a mount which means you can change the lenses on the unit. The mount uses Sony’s E standard, with a wide choice of optics. Sony’s kit lens for the QX1 is a 16-50mm zoom.
That sensor is a 20.1-million-pixel back-illuminated CMOS device, the same that’s found in Sony’s range of compact system cameras. There’s also a Bionz X processor - the company’s most advanced, used in top-of-the-line cameras such as the Alpha 7R. Unlike previous QX cameras, the QX1 can shoot in raw format as well as JPEG.
To communicate with your phone, the QX1 has Wi-Fi connectivity and an NFC chip. Images may be transferred to the phone or stored on a Micro SD card. Camera control is achieved via the Sony PlayMemories app, a free download available for iOS and Android.
Build and Handling
You’d be forgiven for mistaking the QX1 for a standard lens - and this perhaps makes it more appealing than a traditional camera if you’re trying to save on space. The problem is that once a lens of pretty much any size is attached, using the unit attached to a smartphone makes it fairly unwieldy.
As you don’t control settings via the QX1, buttons on the camera are few and far between. There’s simply an on/off switch, a button to activate the built-in flash and a shutter release button to deal with.
Using the QX1 with an NFC-enabled phone or tablet is more satisfying than using Wi-Fi. You simply tap the two devices together at the relevant point to connect them. If you don’t have the PlayMemories app already, the installation will be started