Well, would you look at that: Sony’s “lens camera” could be a real thing, after all. Last month, Sony Alpha Rumors reported that Sony is working on a high-end smartphone accessory that would add a camera-with-lens to the back of a mobile device. Although SAR claimed the information came from “two trusted sources,” the accompanying blurry image was a bit hard to believe. It raised many eyebrows, ours included – although we didn’t doubt such a product could exist, we had our reservations. However, the latest photos SAR has posted could put a lot of our doubts to rest.
Now, there’s a small chance that this could still be a big elaborate hoax, but judging from the quality of the photos this time around, it’s very likely this product could be Sony’s next big announcement. If real, it’s a big score for SAR. (One of the images even shows what could be the rumored Sony “Honami” smartphone, a high-end device with a 20-megapixel camera.)
The information about the camera hasn’t changed much from the original rumor, however SAR has added some new important details. According to SAR, the “lens camera” is not one but two products, called the DSC-QX10 and DSC-QX100 (launch products of a new category called the QX). The QX100 will share the 20.2-megapixel, 1-inch sensor and Carl Zeiss lens as the RX100 II. A second model won’t be as powerful with an 18-megapixel, 12.3-inch CMOS sensor and 10x, f/3.3-5.9 G zoom lens (same as the WX150), but will be more affordable and compact (from the image above, you’ll notice a zoom lever and what could be a shutter button). Both will have a Bionz processor and all the camera components inside the lens barrel, and will attach to a smartphone magnetically (we had wondered how this would be done). The cameras will work with Android and iOS, using the smartphone display as the LCD and “controller” (via Wi-Fi and NEF). However, the original rumor stated that both cameras are technically independent of the smartphone, and was reported that they could be used without a phone. No word if these cameras would have their own storage, or utilize the phone’s (which could affect capacity, considering high-resolution images take up a lot of room).
There’s no price or date announced, although SAR is guessing September 4 to coincide with the Honami i1. Although smartphones have become popular cameras for casual photography, they have always been hindered by tech in terms of photo quality. These Sony “lens cameras,” if real, could finally bring smartphones on par with traditional digital cameras. It’s also an example of how a traditional camera company could play a role in the smartphone conversation.
Besides the “lens camera,” SAR also reported that Sony is set to announce new action cameras and NEX mirrorless cameras and lenses, possibly a full-frame NEX (Sony NEX-5t, 16-70mm E-mount lens, and a third product called the ILC-3000 in late August; Sony’s first full-frame NEX camera and Zeiss full-frame lens in late September), and the aforementioned “Honami i1” smartphone on September 4. But, most likely, it’s these “lens cameras” that will steal the show.