Sony Cyber-shot QX10 evaluate: a WiFi ‘lens digital camera’ that mounts immediately in your smartphone

Sony Cyber-shot QX10 review: a WiFi 'lens camera' that mounts directly on your smartphone

Earlier this month at IFA, Sony launched a completely new sort of level-and-shoot digital camera. The QX10 and its massive brother, the QX100, are lacking a constructed-in LCD. As an alternative, framing, picture evaluate, configuration and even storage are all dealt with on one other system: your smartphone. These “lens cameras,” as they’ve turn into unofficially recognized, mount immediately on a handset you already personal, pairing with Sony’s PlayMemories Cellular app by way of WiFi. The advantages are appreciable. The absence of a show permits for a extra compact physique, improved energy effectivity and a lower cost tag. The QX100, for instance, consists of the identical optics as Sony’s flagship RX100 Mark II, however retails for $500, in comparison with $750 for its absolutely outfitted counterpart. The QX10 is the extra mainstream of the 2, with a smaller footprint and an reasonably priced $250 price ticket. We give attention to this mannequin slightly below.

Gallery | 29 Photographs
Sony Cyber-shot QX10 evaluation


Cyber-shot QX10


  • Seamless smartphone integration
  • Good picture high quality
  • Fairly priced


  • Noticeable preview lag
  • Restricted guide management
  • Mediocre battery life



Aesthetically, each lens cameras are fairly comparable, although the QX100 is bigger than the QX10 regardless of its extra restricted focal size. The rationale for the discrepancy is a beneficiant 1-inch 20-megapixel sensor, and a better-high quality f/1.eight-four.9, three.6x Carl Zeiss lens to match. The QX10, nevertheless, sports activities a half.three-inch 18.9-megapixel sensor — that is comparable in bodily measurement to what you’d discover in a mid-vary level-and-shoot. Nonetheless, it is considerably bigger than the embedded smartphone sensor it is more likely to substitute, and the f/three.three-5.9, 10x G lens is unmatched by all however the Galaxy S4 Zoom. In truth, you may say that is Sony’s reply to Samsung’s misstep, and if you think about value, compatibility and picture high quality, Sony comes out far forward.

Within the field, you will discover an instruction guide, the lens digital camera, a removable smartphone mount with an extending arm, a wrist strap, an NP-BN battery pack rated for 200 photographs and a micro-USB cable for charging and wired picture transfers. There is not one accent you will not want, nor are there any essential elements lacking, aside from a microSD card. The lens measures 1.5 inches excessive with the smartphone attachment and hundred twenty five inches with out. You join the 2 with an embedded bayonet mount. There’s additionally a sliding arm that’ll accommodate nearly any present telephone mannequin, together with the Galaxy Word II, and rubber pads positioned the place the accent meets your handset to get rid of any danger of injury if you connect and detach the lens.

Sony Cyber-shot QX10 review: a WiFi 'lens camera' that mounts directly on your smartphone

We examined the QX10 with each a Galaxy Notice II and a Moto X, and it match on each, although the X’s shorter design meant the digital camera mount typically edged too near the telephone’s quantity rocker — the Observe provided extra actual property. We additionally tried attaching the digital camera to an iPhone four, which was a fair tighter squeeze than the Moto X. It did match, although we might advocate sticking to a bigger gadget if attainable. You can too use the lens by itself, although there aren’t many bodily controls, and with no viewfinder to talk of, it’s kind of of a crapshoot. There are however three buttons: an influence management on the highest, then a shutter launch and a zoom toggle on the left aspect of the lens. Any settings changes — and there aren’t many to select from — are dealt with instantly in Sony’s PlayMemories Cellular app, which we’ll discover extra within the part under.

Software program

Sony Cyber-shot QX10 review: a WiFi 'lens camera' that mounts directly on your smartphone

You will spend almost all of your time working the QX10 from PlayMemories Cellular on an Android or iOS handset, so app usability right here is paramount. We did run into some velocity limitations, which we’ll discover within the efficiency part, however general, the app labored properly. The primary time you pair with a smartphone, you will want to hook up with your digital camera’s advert-hoc WiFi community simply as you’d another community. There’s an SSID and password underneath the battery door. You possibly can obtain the app from the App Retailer or Google Play, and in case your telephone is NFC-enabled, you’ll be able to merely faucet it to the lens to provoke the obtain. As soon as it is put in, launch the app, choose the digital camera and also you’re good to go.

Whenever you’re related, you will see a reside preview via the lens in your smartphone display. There’s a regular, albeit naked, viewfinder format, together with present mode, decision and remaining shot readouts, together with a zoom toggle and shutter launch (that are duplicated on the digital camera itself). There isn’t any choice to view the remaining battery life, sadly, although there’s a small indicator on the aspect of the lens. As for capturing, there are three main modes to pick from. Clever Auto is your run-of-the-mill automated mode; Superior Auto allows some superior capturing instruments, comparable to macro or Handheld Twilight; and Program enables you to set publicity compensation and white stability. Different settings embrace turning the digital camera beep on or off, and choosing the facet ratio and determination. The QX10 could be very a lot some extent-and-shoot, so, for higher or worse, anticipate the digital camera do all the work.

Sony Cyber-shot QX10 review: a WiFi 'lens camera' that mounts directly on your smartphone

When you’re paired with the digital camera and utilizing the app, each picture you shoot shall be saved in your smartphone by default, along with the microSD card within the digital camera, assuming one is put in. From there, you possibly can add pics to the cloud, together with sharing websites like Fb, Instagram and Twitter. You’ll be able to’t seize instantly from a 3rd-celebration app — but — however after you shoot, it is easy sufficient to pick your required picture from the gallery and transfer it to a different app from there. Sony launched an API (at present in beta), so it is solely a matter of time earlier than you’ll management the QX instantly from quite a lot of third-celebration purposes.

Efficiency and battery life

In case you take a second to think about the feat Sony’s completed right here, the efficiency considerations are simpler to miss. However there are points nonetheless. Most vital, in fact, is the beginning-up time. As you will typically rely in your smartphone for management, you must think about a couple of additional seconds to energy up the digital camera, hook up with WiFi and launch the app. Anticipate that course of to eat about 5 seconds, maybe extra, although in the event you’re hoping to seize a shifting topic, any delay is unacceptable. To keep away from this, you’ll be able to maintain the digital camera and your smartphone powered on in anticipation of an upcoming shot, however you will put on by way of the batteries on each units pretty shortly.

When you’re linked up, the delays are negligible, nevertheless. The digital camera zooms and captures inside moments of urgent the software program buttons, and immediately if you use the hardware controls. There’s solely a second of lag when utilizing the telephone’s show to border a shot — it is not a problem when on the shortest focal size, however when you’re zoomed all the best way in, the lag could make monitoring a shifting topic troublesome. With some follow and endurance, it is easy sufficient to anticipate the digital camera’s response, subsequently minimizing the impression. In fact, we would not advocate both QX digital camera for sports activities images, nevertheless casual, however on a regular basis capturing ought to work out simply high-quality.

As for the battery life, we have been capable of seize one hundred forty photographs and a bit over three minutes of 720p video on the identical full cost. Battery life is hard to trace, as there’s solely a small indicator on the aspect of the lens (and none obtainable within the bundled app), so for those who’re planning a full-day shoot, you may need to convey a spare alongside. Alternatively, because the QX10 fees utilizing a regular USB cable, you’ll be able to plug it into a transportable energy pack to prime off. Your smartphone’s battery will take a big hit as nicely, since you will be utilizing the show fairly a bit. In case your telephone cannot make it by means of a full day as it’s, anticipate even quicker drain should you’re capturing quite a bit with the lens digital camera.

Sony Cyber-shot QX10 review: a WiFi 'lens camera' that mounts directly on your smartphone

Picture high quality

Lots of our photographs have been barely underexposed, and usually we might recommend bumping up the publicity compensation to make up for it, however EV is simply out there in Program mode with the QX10. If you wish to reap the benefits of the superior (digital camera-managed) options out there in Superior Auto, you will have to forgo publicity compensation, sadly, and depart aperture and shutter velocity totally as much as the digital camera. Colours, then again, whereas correct, have been oversaturated at occasions, leading to some barely exaggerated blues and reds. White stability was sometimes correct, although the digital camera struggled a bit with some very dim scenes at a restaurant.

Gallery | seventy four Pictures
Sony Cyber-shot QX10 samples

One nifty advantage of the QX10’s design is which you can shoot with out the lens hooked up to your smartphone. Meaning you’ll be able to maintain the digital camera overhead, out within the distance or at low angles with out shifting the viewfinder, leading to some fairly distinctive pictures. And, with the digital camera all the time set to show routinely, you do not even want to guage the sunshine from obscure angles, letting you snap fascinating photographs with ease. Moreover, the digital camera has a flat backside floor, so you’ll be able to simply relaxation it on a desk or ledge for lengthy exposures or video shoots. This enabled us to seize the clip embedded under whereas monitoring the preview comfortably. There’s additionally a tripod socket on the underside, which ought to come in useful for group photographs and the like.

The competitors

Sony has a singular place on this area, being that the QX10 and QX100 are the one cameras of their variety at present available on the market. That may doubtless change inside a number of months, assuming these Cyber-photographs take off, however for now, the QX10’s main competitor is Sony’s pricier QX100. We’ve not had a chance to take that latter mannequin for an prolonged spin, however contemplating the included optics, we’re prepared to guess the expertise is superior to that of the QX10.

In fact, you possibly can all the time go for a full-fledged level-and-shoot, and there are a number of on this worth vary, however you’ve got possible landed on the QX10 due to its distinctive potential to mount in your smartphone and share photographs immediately to the online. Should you’re in search of an alternate and also you’re out there for a smartphone, too, you may contemplate Samsung’s Galaxy S4 Zoom. We weren’t tremendously impressed with this hybrid smartphone and digital camera, however when you do not want a ton of processing energy and like the pliability of a zoom lens that is all the time round, it is value a glance, as is the Nokia Lumia 1020.


Sony Cyber-shot QX10 review: a WiFi 'lens camera' that mounts directly on your smartphone

We have been admittedly hesitant once we first heard about Sony’s new lens cameras, and we weren’t even satisfied after an prolonged arms-on earlier this month. However after spending a full week with the QX10, together with shoots in Berlin and Alaska, it is onerous to not enjoy Sony’s accomplishment. Constructed-in LCD or not, the Cyber-shot QX10 is actually a incredible digital camera. It enhances nearly any smartphone, and at $250, it is inside attain of many shoppers. The picture high quality is nearly nearly as good because it will get for a sub-$500 level-and-shoot, and whereas the lag and begin-up delays have been irritating at occasions, the general image is well worth the plunge.

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