on 7 January 2014
I have been using my QX10 for a few weeks now. I have seen some negative things said about this lens camera - especially on other sites than this - and would like to address those. Some say it's too slow for the quick shot. I can't imagine how anyone would think it was ever intended for such a shot. If you had your DSLR and wanted to take a quick shot of that fleeting moment would you mess about in your bag to change the lens or a load of filters? Of course not. You would use the camera as is, wouldn't you? For that quick unexpected shot I use my phone as is. My phone is an HTC One which is NFC enabled. As soon as I touch both pieces together they start to communicate and by the time I've got the camera on my phone the connection is complete and we're ready to go. I don't think that that is slow at all. OK, if you don't have NFC and are limited to wifi then maybe it takes a bit longer. But the QX10 was designed to connect initially by NFC so it seems spurious to me to blame the camera for the shortcomings of the phone.
Yes, but the App is no good they say. There's no control over shutter speed and everything else! Thank goodness for that, say I. I have owned all-singing, all-dancing cameras in the past and always seem to end up with it set on full auto. I understand the relationship between ISO, exposure and shutter speed but I don't want to spend time sorting all that out. I want to think about the shot - composition and framing, and leave the camera to sort all the other stuff out. And believe me the QX10 does a superb job of it. But unlike a stand-alone camera of any sort, when once purchased then that's it - we QX10 owners can look forward to all manner of new apps. Who knows what wonderful things we'll be able to do as the months pass? I expect that I will try out any new apps but I have to say that what I've got suits me fine.
I have seen more than one review complaining that with the camera attached, the phone becomes unbalanced. Well, if you continued to hold it in the same way, of course it is. I cup the camera underneath in my right hand with a finger on the zoom button and use a finger on my left to tap to focus and take the shot. I can tell you that it is a joy to use in this way.
And then there are those who say that as you are carting a second piece of kit around with you, you might as well get a proper compact or DSLR. These people REALLY miss the point. That the camera can be operated remotely from the phone is fantastic. I have photos of the grandchildren at play that would have been impossible with Grandad sticking a camera in their faces. I am planning wildlife shots of the squirrels in our garden when the weather improves a tad. Indeed the creativity that this lens camera facilitates is mind-blowing. At least on our holidays and trips out the photos might show me on them from time to time as I don't have to be on the "wrong" side all the time.
So if you are a professional of some sort and need a camera to do a hard days work, then this was never intended for you. But if you like to take photos and have an eye for a shot but you're not a complete photographic nerd - if ever you've longed for your phone to have a better lens or a proper optical zoom, then this is the thing for you. My HTC ONE was the best bit of kit I ever invested in, but now I have two. The QX10 is a remarkable piece and I would give it the highest recommendation. Don't think about it any longer - buy it!!
Sony seemed to have upped their game considerably recently with a slew of high quality innovative products of which we have another here. Sony have clearly identified a bit of a missing link that they intend filling. Namely, mobile phones are the default camera for most people but lack a quality lens.
Adding an off camera lens makes a bit of sense because you can use the mobile for a screen and for software use, thus cutting down on the cost and size of the offboard camera/lens. It does work - mostly.
There are a couple of downsides. Firstly as another reviewer noted, you are not going to get a quick snap if you are not already connected. It also works quickest with NFC (near field connection) where you touch the camera to the mobile NFC point and it connects automatically. If you don't have that then you use the Sony app - which to be fair is quick and easy, not something that Sony could be accused of a few years ago.
So when you are connected you in essence have a decent quality compact camera with a proper zoom lens making it far better than a standard mobile. The quality of pictures is top class and on a par with a £300 compact. You can zoom in or out and take the shot with either the camera or the mobile making it very flexible. For most shots, chances are you are best leaving it clipped to the phone unless you like looking like a person doing the teapot song.
The camera is supplied with a spring loaded clip that you can use to fit to any normal sized phone. If you have a Sony Experia Z or Z1 you can buy the Sony case which allows you to dispense with the camera clip making it pretty tiny and easily pocket-able. When you want to, you can then twist lock it onto the back of the Experia Z. I bought the Experia and this phone because of this possibility and it works very well. You will also need a micro SD card for this camera if you intend storing it on board. It also saves to your phone as well.
The killer bit for me, however is the ability to use this off the phone. I'm a marine engineer and often you are trying to see details in places where you simply cannot get your head. Generally you use a camera and reach around or under, take a picture and hope you get the view you want. With this I can see directly on a screen what I'm trying to get as I furtle in the bowels of an engineroom desperately trying to see what the rusty, ancient machinery serial numbers are.
In low light condition the camera if set to iAuto mode will shoot off a number of exposures and combine them into one picture to give an overall well exposed shot. Essentially a built in HDR that reduces the need for a flash to near zero unless in pitch dark.
Overall I great, interesting little product.
If you are the person who always carries a modern smart phone everywhere and wants something better than the inbuilt cell phone camera (such as a cool 25-250mm or x10 optical zoom with good image quality, less shaky burry shots on nights out, ability to shoot decent video when watching bands, etc) but still wants the same ease of use and connectivity as a cell phone camera, and certainly doesn't want to control things like ISO and aperture, then you might consider the QX10.
If you are beyond pressing buttons on a DSLR (because 'that is so 1999' or 'old-man-with-big-Camera'), and actually want to tackle photography via code in a full-on 2013 Web 2.0 fashion, then this is a camera to consider. Sony have exposed the API for developers to build their own apps, and the API looks pretty easy to get into. If you don't know what API means, then forget this paragraph (and if you are an old man with a 5D, sorry: it was just a figure of speech). If you have a geek in your life in need of a cool toy, then this is a pretty good leftfield gift choice, not least because it comes in a box that is a cylinder, so when wrapped it will keep them guessing!
If you are passionate about photography or do it for a living, typically upload your photos in RAW format to Photoshop/Lightroom/Aperture and shoot in A/S/M modes, then this is not the camera for you. You probably need an advanced compact such as the Olympus XZ, Panasonic LX7, Fuji X series, Canon G1, Sony RX100 or Nikon Coolpix A. The QX10 is not in that group. It is a direct replacement for the inbuilt cell phone camera rather than a DSLR replacement. Just like a cell phone camera, the QX10 flies on full automatic most of the time, has slowish glass (f3.5-f6), and only outputs JPEGs. The QX100 would probably be an even stranger choice, because looking at the specs (as I have only the QX10) it has faster optics and better sensor, yet still has the same functionality: it's a more expensive cell phone camera replacement.
Ok, so if you are one of the types of people that the QX10 may appeal to, read on...
First, you need to buy a SD card for the camera, as it uses its own memory as well as sending the photos to the cell phone. You also need a computer to charge the included battery (it uses a USB cable).
Physically, the QX10 is a small circular plastic lens (a centimetre less wide than a stack of 5 chocolate biscuits, but just as high), and comes without a camera body to attach it to. Your cell phone acts as the `camera body', and you fix the QX 10 on with the supplied clip. Once, on, the two are secure, although don't drop either (the wrist strap is probably a must!). You can also just hold the camera and phone near to each other (that's actually my preferred option, as without the clip, the camera becomes 4 chocolate biscuits thick and then becomes pocketable). The QX10 has a battery indicator, and focus/shoot button and zoom in/out controls. At a touch, you can shoot without a phone attached (as long as you don't mind not seeing a live view).
You need to install Playmemories Mobile (free from your usual app store) onto your phone. The controls and camera view appear on the phone itself, so you can either use the controls on the phone or use the controls on the QX10, and use the camera just as a live view (I use the latter).
Depending on whether your camera has only WiFi or NFC (near field communications), the app is currently either very good or slow and sluggish.
On my WiFi only HTC, the QX10 takes about 10 seconds to connect and when it does the view on the phone is laggy. If I try to do the same close to my WiFi router, the app seems to get confused between the two signals, and often simply disconnects... so the QX10 may disconnect in any place with strong WiFi. On my Ainol Spark (cheap Retina 10 inch tablet), the connection keeps dropping out and is totally unusable. On any Apple phone (where NFC is not supported) I'm guessing you will currently get the same hit-and-miss laggy situation (although as I am android only, I haven't directly tested the camera on an iPhone, but suspect iOS will give you the same app performance as my HTC).
On my Nexus phone, it seems to pick up NFC and its all very nippy and fast: totally usable with no issues whatsoever. In fact, on a Nexus the QX10 changes from a good idea badly implemented to a very good idea, creatively implemented, as long as you are the target audience (i.e. someone who just wants a super good cell phone camera replacement).
On whichever device I use, when it does work the Q10 has image quality that is a mile away from the built in cell phone camera: better optics, better sensor, steadyshot feature and quick focusing (so fewer blurry shots), better low light performance, and nicer video (not full HD but good enough for mobile screens and TVs, and pretty good for PC screens).
So, to conclude, a very novel camera, but currently really only usable for NFC enabled phones. One for uber geeks and `tech-toy must have' collectors. Everyone else will shrug and buy the cybershot WX200 instead, because that's the same camera in a more traditional package (and comes with free screen, so no need for the cell phone).
However, the WX200 has no chance of getting any better with time, which may happen with the playmemories app (or the system may get better via third party apps created by geekdom). You also don't get the images directly uploaded to your phone so you can quickly send them to social media, Instagram and the like as if they were actually taken on the phone's own camera.
5 stars for trying something new in an otherwise staid photography market, two stars off for first-adopter niggles, plus one star back for coolness factor, giving 4 stars. Someone far more cynical might end up giving 3 stars because the Cybershot WX200 is exactly the same camera in a standard format, and more usable out of the box purely for taking snaps (similarly for the QX100 and RX100), but to my mind, if you are taking that extra star off, you are probably not the target audience, and should actually be going with a traditional point-and-shoot or advanced compact.
For what its worth, I actually am that old man with a big camera, I shoot RAW, and edit in Photoshop/Lightroom, and edit my video in Premiere and After Effects... but I also dabble with android app programming, so I intend to use my Lumix LX7 for when I don't have my DSLR (the LX7 shoots RAW, has full manual, fast glass with ND filter, and was designed by Leica with traditional photographers in mind), and will be using the QX10 as a programming geek toy and perhaps replacement camera for my Nexus.
Oh, and finally to end on a chuckle, you can attach the QX10 to one lens of a pair of sunglasses and give yourself a fully working Borg eye. Scared the life out of the cat when the lens extended!
*** Update 31 Jan 2014 ***
Latest firmware now allows full HD video: 1920x1080, so the video output has moved from 'alright' to 'good' for the typical point-and-shoot user (i.e someone who will be uploading videos straight to facebook and youtube/vimeo and not using something like Premiere/AfterEffects for post production). Bit blocky compared to an advanced DSLR's video output, but fine for web/social media.
on 30 December 2013
It's a great concept and the quality of the photos are good.
The quality is way better than any camera phone I've owned.
But I had one issue with it. It took at least 10 seconds to connect my phone to the lens. This takes just a little bit too much time for practical usage. I take photos to primarily 'capture a moment'. So I found that my phone was sufficient for my needs.
This device is great if you're taking photos of nature or scenes. Like if you're going through a walk through a forest etc.
I like it. But it just wasn't for me.
on 28 April 2015
Ok.. Bought this as a treat to myself a few weeks back.. I Have a Sony DSLR with all the kit. I am not a professional photographer but enjoy thinking about my photographs.
I took both this and my DSLR away for a few days with my wife. What I found was that I gradually left the DSLR in the bag on more and more occasions. The battery life may not last for a professional photo shoot but for days out it is more than adequate. You can always buy a second battery to carry with you.
I love the fact that it stores a small image on my iPhone for easy sharing with friends and family. The images were very good.. But I will take some more time to get used to the QX10 before making a comparison to the DSLR ( similar sensor size)
What I really found was fun. Was setting the QX10 on a wall or a stone and framing the shot on my phone while I was in shot.. This meant that for the first time, my wife and I could actually show photographic proof that we were on holiday together. I got some great posed shots that will take pride of place in the holiday album
Another feature that sells this unit to me is the 10 times optical zoom... It is simply awesome. It was fantastic for taking pictures of the cruisers out on Loch Ness
As for WiFi connection. If my phone was already connected to a WiFi signal then I had to disconnest that before connecting the QX10. But if there was no other wifi connection then it was a simple case of switching on the QX10 and by the time I started the app then it was almost ready to go.
The downside.. As pointed out by others, there can be a lag when moving the camera about. There is no flash capability either, I wouldn't be looking to use it at a sporting event as I think the lag would make it a very frustrating day..
I have added two photos taken of the same loch Cruiser within a few seconds of each other.. This displays the capabilities of the optical zoom to its full capability. The shots were hand held with the QX10 attached to my phone
on 13 January 2014
As an amateur photographer I wanted something light weight to carry, often I am out and see a photo opportunity but only having my phone with me often it is not good enough as the zoom on a iPhone is poor.
This camera works well, is light weight and takes great photos and after testing it out over the holidays I decided to write this review.
Once connected to the cameras wifi, you run the app and take photos or video. To take videos you need a micro SD card inside the camera.
Quality of the photos in low light is good. I use this camera often for my blog. I can understand why people are not keen on the app for iOS and android, but for a technology fanatic like myself this ticks all the boxes.
What are you waiting for, buy one, you won't regret it.
Sony seem to be pushing the envelope more than most when it comes to moving out of the commoditised compact camera market. One of the more unusual concepts is this - essentially a small, relatively high quality sensor and lens in a very small package but having no screen. The idea being that you use your smartphone as a screen, and communicate with the lens via Wifi. Once you take a shot, it gets transferred to the phone via Wifi and you can instantly review, edit and share it.
The lens unit is really quite compact, and certainly pocketable in all but the smallest of trouser pockets. It's also reasonably robust, and the front of the lens is stainless steel, which should make it resistant to getting scratched by coming into contact with other things in your pockets. The casing is high quality ABS type plastic, which feels like it will stand up to the odd knock.
Image quality is actually very good, although the sensor isn't any larger than the one in the iPhone 4 and 5 (1/3.2") - so what you're really getting here is a better lens which has physical zoom capabilities - not necessarily a hugely improved sensor - although it does have 18MP rather than the 5MP and 8MP of the iPhone 4 and 5 respectively. You have to question whether you really need such a high resolution on such a small chip however. You're not really going to realise all that resolution in anything but the best lighting conditions.
I have to say that low light capabilities are very good, and in an artificially lit domestic room, usable images can quite easily be taken of static subjects without too much blur, but noise is very apparent when you zoom in, as you would expect from such a small sensor.
The zoom function works very well when using the slide control on the lens itself. The control in the iOS app is rather laggy and unresponsive, and the buttons are too small. This could certainly use some improvement.
Visual feedback is somewhat choppy due to the delay in sending images over the Wifi connection, so you're going to get some lag when framing. A little irritating, but nothing that's going to make you miss a shot.
The phone attachment arms work quite well, and they give a reasonably firm grasp to any standard sized phone which isn't too thick. Anything roughly the dimensions of an iPhone should work OK.
However, the real killer issue I see is the necessity to load the app and get it to connect to Wifi on each occasion. If you're out and about, and not in range of a known Wifi hub, you should be able to connect quite quickly, but it'll still take you 15 seconds or so to launch the app and connect - assuming the lens is fully booted up beforehand. Not really useful for shooting anything fleeting.
However, in a domestic environment or anywhere you're with in range of a Wifi hub, you have every chance of your phone connecting to it in preference to your Sony lens, and then you need to manually go into settings, change the phone to connect to the lens Wifi, wait a few seconds for it to lock on, then launch the app and wait several seconds for it to connect to the lens. It's all just too painful. Why don't Sony don't have an option where you can get the lens to automatically connect to the Wifi hub, so you can talk to it *through* the hub. That way you can be online and connected to the lens at the same time.
Ultimately, my preference would be to buy a fully featured camera which you can stick in your pocket, and which is Wifi enabled so you can transfer images to your phone. That way you get the best of both worlds. You even get a flash into the bargain (which the Sony does not have).
It just seems like Sony are trying to be a little too clever for their own good here.
There's definitely potential for a v2.0 of this device (or firmware update) having much faster and more intelligent connectivity options, and with better client software. That would be a more attractive proposition, but for me at least, this is not a 'must-have' gadget in its current release. Kudos to Sony for pushing the envelope, but for now, I'm going to be sticking to a dedicated device.
on 14 February 2014
I'd read several reviews of this lens, some saying it was great and others with not so much praise but all the same I was really interested in it.
My phone upgrade came through and I picked up a Sony Xperia Z1, so it seemed like the right time to pick up the QX10 and have a play around.
First impressions were impressive, once the Play Memories app was installed all you need do is simply hold the lens to back of the Z1 and the devices will sync together (note that this method will only work if your phone is NFC enabled, you can also connect to it using WiFi)
My favourite thing about this lens is that it doesn't need to be clipped to your phone to operate. If there is a hard to reach spot but you can get to it with your hand, you can hold the lens in your hand to get the shot and use your phone as the viewer. (For anybody that's interested, the 'Selfie-Shot' can now be done to near perfection)
The QX10 can hold it's own memory card as well which I recommend you adhere to (micro SD)
I'm a few weeks in now with this lens and I have just come back from a short break in the Lake District where I put the lens through its paces and it performed very well. At full zoom, it picks up an incredible amount of detail which did surprise me! Whilst walking around the Lakeside Aquarium, the lens showed off its ability to handle different lighting conditions. One of the staff saw that I had the lens in my hand whilst shooting and came over to see how I was doing it, I think he was impressed.
Speed is something you don't need to worry abut with this. If you are planning on going some place with it then in mere seconds it can be connected and clipped on, otherwise just use the camera on your phone for that unexpected moment.
This lens was designed for people who want to have a little fun, who could be walking along and see something they believe would make an excellent picture and wish to shoot it, without the constraints of becoming a photography anorak, like me if you've been somewhere like Las Vegas and realised how picturesque the place is but the camera on your phone just won't cut it, then this lens is for you.
I'd recommend this to anybody. It's a lot of fun to use and I can only wonder what future apps may appear for the QX10.
on 29 December 2013
Received this lens today. Once again, great delivery service from Amazon. The lens itself was easy to set up on IPad, via wifi and Sony Xperia via NFC. The only drawback so far, and it is A big one, is that it will not pair with my Iphone4. I can pair with an IPhone 5, with no problems. Looks like Sony will need to update the app to get this working. iPhone4 is my phone, so this is a major drawback at present.
Wifi worked well. I set the lens up in the garden and was able to control it from indoors using an iPad. Much better indoor pictures than the iPad itself and the zoom works well, when controlled from the iPad. Sometimes, get a bit of lag, but can cope with that, considering the technology. Still to really test this to its limits. Hopefully Sony will sort out the app so I can use it with my iPhone4. Only 3 stars for now. If Sony manage to sort out the connection to Iphone4 I will change my rating.
Revised review. I can now connect to my Iphone 4, no thanks to Sony support. Turns out, that if I put my phone in airplane mode and switch the WIFI on, it connects. When I contacted Sony support, they sent me back advice about an E-reader! Then when they did reply about the lens, all they said, was that they do not claim it will connect to all phones (so not helpfull at all).
So, now I can connect to MY phone, I am happy. I have amended my rating to a 4. Can not give it a 5, due to the lag, that I sometimes get. But I am sure Sony will manage to sort this, at some point in the future.
on 23 March 2015
Good image quality but you have to tolerate the laggy connection between the camera and the phone. The latency is even obvious if you try to move the camera to chase the target and you will find the phone freezes the transferred screenplay. No matter you use wireless or NFC connection the latency is just keeping catching your eyes. And for the image I found that when zooming in the image looks like an oil painting, reminding me of bad image rendering of LG G3. I have to say even the camera on Xperia Z3 is better than QX10 in terms of image quality. So overall this camera is just for 10x zooming if you already have an Xperia phone. Perhaps QX10 is better if you have other brands phones.