Sony QX10 and QX100 Hands-On

Sony QX100

Sony continues to push the imaging industry with new concepts in a number of different directions. The new Sony QX10 and QX100 camera/lens modules for smartphones is one of those wildly different ideas.

And I love the idea of how Sony is pushing the boundaries with the QX10 and QX100.

After having an opportunity to use the QX10 and QX100 a bit at PhotoPlus 2013, I feel like the execution in this first generation, however, leaves something to be desired.

The attachment is clunky and you are still dealing with a cobbled-together smartphone interface that doesn’t quite feel native to the rest of the “camera.”

Sony QX100-5

I’m sure the image quality is top notch – compared to what we have in today’s smartphones (particularly with the QX100 as the RX100 clone that it is). Unfortunately, the whole package just loses the wow factor once you put hands on it and try to use it.

Sony QX100-4

It needs to be intuitive and natural to smartphone users. It isn’t.

I’m also not convinced that the form factor is ideal for the intended use. Attaching and detaching the unit from a smartphone is a bit of a clunky operation. I needs to fit like a glove.

And let’s be honest, it needs to fit the iPhone like a glove to be truly relevant in the mass market.

Make it work in a way that iPhone users will love it, then you can deal with the challenges of delivering it to the eclectic Android (hardware and software) market.

Sony QX100-2

I’m not sure how to fix these issues; however, Sony needs to make the experience so much better if it wants this product category to go anywhere. I want to believe there is potential here but I feel much less confident in that after handling this first generation effort.

Sony QX100-3

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  1. says

    This system is more than just a lens. The QX10 and QX100 also pack an image sensor, thus allowing for much higher quality photographs. They simply clip onto a smartphone and communicate wirelessly.
    Here, in this small, lightweight cylinder, is not just a 10x zoom lens, but an entire camera. It has its own sensor and processor and battery and memory card slot. All it’s really missing is a screen — which you supply with an Android or iOS smartphone or tablet — and some controls, which you don’t need since most things are handled with your device’s touch screen
    The Cyber-shot DSC-QX10 and its higher-end linemate, the QX100, are essentially compact cameras redesigned for people who’ve forsaken standalone cameras for their smartphone’s

  2. Jeff Kindrick says

    With regard to the “… it needs to fit the iPhone like a glove to be truly relevant in the mass market.” statement, for myself at least, iPhone is no longer relevant. I’ve used a 4s for 18 months and was really getting to feel at home with it, until the latest os upgrade which has rendered it obsolete. I’m a form-follows-function guy, and the 4s hardware design epitomizes that philosophy. I’m also an amateur graphic designer and my work reflects the same philosophy, i.e., the design needs to capture attention, but if it then impairs communicating the desired message or impeding the desired function it is valueless. The new ios has sacrificed it’s former functionality for slow, artsy display fade ins. It’s reduced the number of icons displayed on a group icon so multiple pages are necessary which negates the value of the group icon for my usage. The method of closing active apps was radically changed and my battery was nearly dying every day until my engineer daughter showed me the trick in the new design. The calendar is my most frequently used function, even over phone and texting, and the new design fades the date/time display above and below the current setting, making the setting of new event dates, alert times and repeat schedules an exercise in frustration. Every family member and friend I’ve spoken with that uses an iPhone for serious purposes such as business and education has expressed frustration with ios7. As a serious amateur photographer, I’m intrigued by the Sony QX 10 and 100 concept and I’ve already begun researching android phones to find the one that may host one of the new cameras or its descendant.