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Sony’s ‘lens-style’ cameras for smartphones are real, weird, and … awesome?

sony debuts qx100 qx10 lens style cameras phil molyneux
Sony Electronics President and COO Phil Molyneux unveils the Cyber-shot QX10 during a launch event on September 4 in New York City.

Check out our review of the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-QX100 lens-style camera.

Believe it or not, the rumors were true: Sony today officially announced plans to release two “lens-style” cameras, which add high-end camera features to your smartphone.

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The new Cyber-shot DSC-QX100 and DSC-QX10 cameras clip onto any iPhone or Android smartphone (v. 3.1 or newer), and serve as a replacement for the smartphone’s built-in camera. Once the Sony lens-camera is clipped on, users simply fire up the PlayMemories Mobile app, which turns the smartphone’s screen into the Sony camera’s viewfinder and control panel. Photos snapped with the camera are saved on both the smartphone, via Wi-Fi, as well as to a Micro SD or Memory Stick micro card in the camera itself.

Sony Cyber-shot QX100 attached to a Sony Xperia smartphone.
Sony Cyber-shot QX100 attached to a Sony Xperia smartphone.

The QX100 features a 1-inch, 20.2 megapixel Exmor RCMOS sensor, a “fast f/1.8, wide-angle” Carl Zeiss Vario-Sonnar T lens, 3.6x optical zoom, and Sony’s BIONZ image processor. In addition, the QX100 includes a focus and zoom ring for manual adjustments, and a range of shooting modes for different lighting and scene conditions.

The lower-end QX10 packs an 18.2 megapixel Exmor RCMOS sensors, and a Sony G Lens with 10x optical zoom. The QX10 also includes built-in Optical SteadyShot image stabilization; Program Auto, Intelligent Auto and Superior Auto modes; and will come in both black and white.

The QX100 will cost you $500, while the QX10 clocks in at $250.

Sony Cyber-shot QX10
Sony Cyber-shot QX10 in white.

Sony’s release of the QX100 and QX10 comes as as the point-and-shoot market succumbs to the popularity of smartphones as customers’ every-day cameras. Patrick Huang, the director of Sony’s Cyber-shot division, indicates that the new “lens-style” cameras represent the company’s “if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em” philosophy.

“With the new QX series cameras, we are making it easier for the ever-growing population of ‘mobile photographers’ to capture far superior, higher-quality content without sacrificing the convenience and accessibility of their existing mobile network or the familiar ‘phone-style’ shooting experience that they’ve grown accustomed to,” said Huang in a statement. “We feel that these new products represent not only an evolution for the digital camera business, but a revolution in terms of redefining how cameras and smartphones can cooperatively flourish in today’s market.”

What do you think about Sony’s lens-style cameras? Crazy, lame, awesome, smart? Check out our hands-on with the QX100, and let us know down below.

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