Sony today launched a whole new type of smartphone accessory called “lens-style cameras,” which are powerful, yet compact lenses that attach to and detach from your iPhone. The idea is to use the iPhone simply as a viewfinder, with the core imaging part happening within the lens itself.
The idea springs from people’s desire to shoot great photos using their slim smartphones, which have constrained space and hence can’t fit in powerful lenses like these. Using one of Sony’s new attachable lenses, users can shoot high-quality photos without having to carry a dedicated camera.
The lens connects to your iPhone via Wi-Fi and requires a special “PlayMemories” app from the App Store that provides you the interface to control the lens. Android devices with NFC can pair the devices with just one tap. The lens has its own image sensor, processor, battery and memory so that it is as independent from the smartphone as possible.
Sony launched two different “lens-style cameras” — the QX100 and the QX10. The QX100 has a 20MP CMOS sensor with Carl Zeiss optics while the QX10 has a 19MP sensor with Sony G optics. Both the models have a clip that lets you attach the lens to your smartphone back, but it can also be operated in a detached state as long as there’s Wi-Fi. This way, you could shoot images or videos using your phone as a remote for the lens.
The QX10 will sell for $250 while the QX100, with its superior optics, will sell for $500. Both lenses will be available in late September.
Here’s a hands-on video with the two lenses:
Tell us what you think about Sony’s two new smartphone accessories in the comments below.[via AnandTech, DPReview]