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.

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.

Product Review

The Black Shark gaming phone takes a big bite out of your free time, but the software sinks it

The world is being treated to an ever-increasing number of high-powered gaming phones. With so many great options already out, is there room for another? The Black Shark thinks so. But is it any good? We find out.
Mobile

The Galaxy S10 may be announced before MWC, sell for up to $1,750

While we still may be months away from an announcement, there's no doubt about it: Samsung is working hard on its successor to the Galaxy S9. Here's everything we know about the upcoming Samsung Galaxy S10.
Photography

These are the best action cameras money can buy

Action cameras are great tools for capturing videos of your everyday activities, whether it's a birthday party or the steepest slope you've ever descended on your snowboard. These are the best money can buy.
Product Review

Meet Z6, the breakout star in Nikon's new mirrorless lineup

The Nikon Z6 is the sibling to the new mirrorless Z7 -- but for some photographers, the cheaper Z6 may be the better option. Read where the $2,000 camera beats the $3,400 one (and where it doesn’t) in our Nikon Z6 review.
Social Media

#ThrowbackThursday is only the start: Instagram hashtags for every day of the week

Not getting your hashtag fill with #ThrowbackThursday or #ManCrushMonday? Here's a list of some of the more popular Instagram hashtags, so you can outfit your next post with the proper tag, regardless of what day it is.
Photography

From DSLRs to mirrorless, these are the best cameras you can buy right now

From entry-level models to full-frame flagships, many cameras take great photos and video. The best digital cameras, however, push the industry forward with innovative sensors and improved usability, among other things. Here are our…
Mobile

Leave the laptop at home, the iPad Pro is the travel buddy to take on vacay

The iPad Pro is a powerful tablet that's perfect for creatives and professionals. How does it fare when traveling with it as a laptop replacement? We took it on a two week trek in Japan to find out.
Photography

Photographers can now customize the layout of Lightroom Classic controls

Tired of scrolling past Lightroom tools that you don't use? Adobe Lightroom Classic now allows users to reorganize the Develop panel. The update comes along with new sharing options in Lightroom CC, and updates to the mobile Lightroom app.
Social Media

Instagram could be making a special type of account for influencers

Instagram influencers fall somewhere between a business profile and a typical Instagram, so the company is working on developing a type of account just for creators. The new account type would give creators more access to analytical data.
Cars

Best Products of 2018

Our reception desk has so many brown boxes stacked up, it looks like a loading dock. We’re on a first-name basis with the UPS guy. We get new dishwashers more frequently than most people get new shoes. What we’re trying to say is: We…
Photography

Canon holiday sale features the Rebel T6 2-lens kit for just $449

If you have a budding photographer in your life in need of a real camera, the Canon EOS Rebel T6 could make the perfect gift. Canon is currently offering the camera in a two-lens bundle for just $449 through December 29.
Emerging Tech

Light, speed: Lighting kit for DJI Mavic 2 lets you fly and film in the dark

Lume Cube, maker of small battery-powered LED lights for mobile photography, has announced a new lighting kit built specifically for the DJI Mavic 2 -- the first of its kind. Already our favorite drone, this makes the Mavic 2 even better.
Social Media

Instagram’s 2018 year in review shines a light on where our hearts are

What did Instagram users share the most in 2018? A lot of heart emojis, heart face filters, and heart GIFs. The platform recently shared the year's top trends, including hashtags like #fortnite and #metoo along with a few surprises.
Deals

Want a fun, affordable instant camera? The Fujifilm Instax Mini 7S is just $49

Instant cameras have had a surprising resurgence of late, and no brand is better recognized in the instant photo space today than Fujifilm Instax. Walmart is currently offering the Instax Mini 7S for just $49.