Sony’s Making Lenses with Built-in Sensors for Smartphones?

Sony Lens Unit for Smartphones

Want to take better photos with your smartphone? How about getting a better camera?

If this allegedly leaked image of a Sony lens attaching to a Xperia smartphone is the real deal, then that’s what Sony has in mind. Take a lens with a built-in sensor, battery, memory, etc. (basically a full-on camera packed into a lens) and make it mountable to your smartphone. Then, you use your camera app on your phone to control the “lens” and wirelessly transfer images to your phone’s camera roll.

This setup will further reduce the steps required to get better photos on your smartphone. Several cameras now offer the ability to wirelessly transfer images to your phone; however, the ability to do it seamlessly hasn’t quite arrived just yet. By making the “lens” really a part of the phone and controlling the capture from the phone, it could simplify the process and make it a better capture experience for smartphone users.

Rumors have it that the first round from Sony will use the same sensor as found in the Sony RX100 II, along with the same lens unit.

I just don’t know if the market is there for a product like this though. It “seems like a good idea” but I don’t know how many people care enough about smartphone photography to carry around a bulky lens in their pocket. I’m glad Sony is willing to step out and test the waters with a product like this, but I’m not optimistic about its chances for success in the market.

[via SAR]



  1. tix3 says

    somebody remind me again…if I’m gonna carry a separate item around, why wouldn’t that separate item be a camera? this seems like as dumb an idea as the iphone zoom lens they came out with awhile back. or is someone seeing something here i’m not?

  2. Todd says

    I think the success of a product like this will depend a lot on marketing. For anyone who is looking for a separate camera for better quality this MIGHT work. Thinking in terms of where current technology is going ,interchangeable lens cameras getting smaller, smart phones doing more…. I can see where this could be a future conclusion. It still comes down to marketing… Can Sony sell the idea? Time will tell.

  3. says

    Sounds like a good idea to me, if you want a compact camera that’s better than your smartphone. Why carry the camera body and screen around when you already have it in the form of your phone? Then you just need the essential bit with you ie the lens and sensor. Sony needs to make it work with any phone though and not proprietary to their own phones; which they do have a tendency to do.