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!!
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.
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.
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 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
Ohhh i love a good photograph, photography runs in the blood and i never leave my house without at least 1 dslr in the boot and my HTC One in my pocket. Now i'm not one of those photographers who believe DSLR or nothing, i love being able to take great shots with my HTC or my DSLR and now this!
Now, what is this for. This is the answer to most mobile nagging problems, despite mobile phones getting stronger and stronger in the camera area, they still lack in certain aspects. Some companies like Samsung are addressing the zoom issues with the now wierd Samsung Galaxy phone with a big lens strapped to the back of it. Other companies are realy pushing the massive megapixel cameras like the Windows phone with a 41Megapixel camera.
This "camera" or "lens" is a way of adding an 18 megapixel lens with 10x zoom to your smartphone. Simple as. But the big difference is the Exmor R CMOS. Its taken from the WX200 compact camera, in fact its more or less the WX200, just squeezed into the lens like body and then your phone is the screen. Does this all work when its squeezed down and compressed? Yes and No.
First, the good bits. Its small, light and looks great. Its well built, sturdy and feels solid to use. Using it attached to your phone is a doddle and feels like your using a camera, using it "hand held" is fantastic and a great idea, taking photos to a whole new level! The image quality is very good, not outstanding by any means, but it will out perform your phone easily and compare to alot of similar price compacts out there. The video quality is decent nothing amazing and to be honest i havent really delved into it too much on the video side.
The bad bits. Spending the same cash on a compact camera, especially in the sales can get you a far better camera, a dedicated camera for taking pics. The software is poor and causes lag, especially when zoomed it increases the lag problem from lens to the phone displaying the image. It only works on Android and IOS so far, Windows mobile is a no go at the moment. The QX100 is far better but also comes with a bigger price tag.
So who is this for?
Well thats hard to say, if you love gadgets, mobile photography and having quirky tech in your pocket that most won't have even heard of, well this is for you! Its fun, easy to use and looks great when your taking pics, you will get good solid performance from it and it won't break the bank. It will out perform mobile cameras and provide a great sharing platform for you.
If your a hardcore photography nut or just general photographer who will use their phone every so often, well it isnt for you. It can be out done by compact cameras of the same price. It has lag issues and poor poor software. It doesn't work on Windows mobile or with popular apps such as Instagram (but that may change soon). It adds weight to your mobile when its attached.
From my point of view i love it, even though it has its draw backs, its a great idea that for the most works. It gives me an excuse to take more shots on my mobile, but please don't think this will replace your camera or DSLR.....
on 4 October 2013
When I first saw this mentioned in unofficial blogs many months ago, I thought my wishes had at long last come true!
As a die hard SLR photographer for over 40 years, unfortunately it isn't practical to carry around my heavy weight kit all the time. On the other hand I am not without my mobile, anywhere... and increasingly use it to capture moments in preference to a compact camera. Despite increasing megapixel claims by manufacturers we should all realise it's the size of the CCD sensor that is important in any imaging device and is normally the stumbling block in most mobile phones. I have an Xperia Z and am very happy with it and the photographic results are better than most compact cameras which are perhaps only 2 or 3 years old... but lack of a real "optical" zoom is sorely missed!
The concept of the QX10 solves that aspect for me and more. Not only has it an amazing 10x zoom (I like using the zoom toggle on the lens body as it feels more like a camera than using the touch screen!), the overall picture quality is easily better (without becoming too technical, the sharpness, clarity and colour naturalness) than most current sub £150 compacts around and at times even rivals "snaps" taken with my Olympus E30 DSLR! From a practical point of view, it actually does not feel big when used with my Z, in fact just right! On the negative side, in conjunction with my Z (using NFC) there is a definite image lag when composing a picture or whilst panning in video mode and it does become irritating at times. Oddly, in conjunction with last year's lesser Xperia P (another good mobile from Sony) there is NO lag whatsoever in either mode, so why on my Z (both running Android JB)? Saving of the picture does take a little time but I can live with that! When the lens and Z are not used for a while and "go to sleep" (to conserve power) it takes approx 10 seconds to start up again, so you have to adjust your "snapping" style to that... when it's going, it's fine, though often if you're taking pictures in rapid succession, it's pot luck what you capture, but I like that as you will invariably have got a good picture for keeps! My initial playing around with the lens gave me only 90 images, however, I have now managed to take over 150 pictures on one charge (via the PC USB) but may invest in a spare battery.
I like the fact that the lens body has a tripod mount, so it's now totally possible to do good time delay shots (with me included!). In theory I should be able to just place the lens on the tripod, take the phone with me and compose from a distance... but I would have to use the WiFi connection, which for pairing up purposes/ when starting is considerably slower than the 2 or so seconds NFC (preferred) connection, but the latter operates over a very short distance (less than a metre!) compared to WiFI... it's not possible to use both radio methods at the same time, oh well you can't have everything, but the tripod mount is very welcome indeed.
Will I keep the QX10? Yes, however, whilst I would have preferred to have had the higher quality Zeiss lens of the QX100, with reduced zoom, larger mass/ bulk and a twice as costly, I would not purchase the latter. If Sony create a QX10 version with Zeiss lens quality and a pop-up flash, I will be the first in the queue, but in the mean time the current QX10 comes around with me (often in the wife's handbag in definite preference to a compact camera!) most of the time and has added a new dimension to my photography!
** Updated 27 April 2014 **
Since purchasing it, the QX10 has had 2 important software updates and the current V3.00 (April 2014) is very welcome as the NFC connection is now very quick indeed, half-press shutter button to hold focus is great and lag is reduced noticeably when panning whilst taking HD video - this is how it should have been on launch, glad I have stuck with it and remains a useful addition to my kit and therefore have now upgraded to 5 stars!
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.
on 23 September 2013
This is not the DSLR replacement you are looking for !
It is, however, a fantastic upgrade for anyone bitterly disappointed with the poor quality of their smartphone camera. The concept of shrinking down a Cybershot camera into a lens-size body, then making it wirelessly controllable so that any Android or iPhone device can be use it is a touch of genius..
I took this for a test-drive around some historical sites in a certain border City, and found that the pictures were quite excellent, even by compact camera standards. The colours can be a bit contrasty at times, particularly reds and greens, but the detail is great, particularly macro shots.
As for the handling, it takes a while to get used to it. With the camera attached to the phone, you just use it as you would with the internal camera, which I always find a little awkward due to unwanted interactions with these touch-screen devices. With the lens detached, you enter a realm of photography where new and unusual angles can be explored, without the limitation of your body being on the other end of the lens. It can also be mounted on a tripod too. Great fun.
Onto the downside - the software. I really believe that Sony should leave the software for others to do, they rarely seem to get this right first time (I'm thinking of my first MP3 player as the perfect example - it was just horrible). The control software is from Sony's PlayMemories suite of products, and offers next to zero options other than focus, zoom and image size (for both on-camera storage and phone storage). I hope that this gets a radical remake soon, or a 3rd party releases something that will allow the use of the camera's shooting modes, aperture and exposure times. If the lens parameters are opened-up for control, then the QX100 might be worth spending the extra cash on.
I've read some posts asking if the clip-on connector fits the Galaxy Note 2 - it does - but only just! I had to get the staff at the Sony Center to prove this before I parted with my money.
on 2 May 2016
This lens is a novel idea, but in practicality, doesn't work well at all.
Firstly, largest flaw, YOU CAN'T DELETE ANYTHING FROM THE CAMERA WITHOUT COMPLETELY REFORMATTING IT. If you fill your SD card then you have to transfer EVERYTHING onto your phone then format the card. Huge shortcoming there, Sony - what were you thinking?
The lens itself is slightly larger than you'd expect, and not a very practical shape. For the same price (or less!) you can get compact digital cameras which take better quality photos and have way more features on than this QX10. Many models of digital cameras also have wifi control and can connect to your smartphone anyway, rendering the main selling point of the QX10 obsolete.
The software app you have to use with the camera (PlayMemories Mobile) is pretty slow to connect, even with NFC. The app also refused to save photos/videos from the camera directly onto the SD card, effectively limiting your memory to the size of your phones internal memory, (but maybe that's just my phone).
Bottom line is, if you want great quality pictures in 2016 from a small device, just stick with a compact digital camera.