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First Impressions: Sony QX-10 and QX-100

by Chris Gampat on 09/04/2013

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Sony QX10 QX100 for mobile phones (6 of 15)ISO 12501-40 sec at f - 4.0

Yes, the rumors have been circulating for a very long time now and we have to admit: they’ve been true. The Sony QX10 and QX100 lenses with sensors built in are indeed real–and they totally connect to your mobile device. The QX10 and QX100 have a very specific naming for really good reasons. For the most part, the QX10 is a small sensor unit with a long zoom range while the QX100 is a larger sensor unit that is akin to the company’s RX100 camera. So just imagine it: the excellent photo shooting capabilities of the RX100 and your phone–connected together in true harmony via Wifi or NFC. Your Instagram is about to get a heck of a lot better.

Tech Specs


Model Code DSC-QX100 DSC-QX10
Sensor Type 1.0″ (13.2 x 8.8mm) Exmor R(R) CMOS sensor 1/2.3″ (7.76mm) Exmor R(R) CMOS sensor
Number of gross pixels Approx. 20.9 Megapixels Approx. 18.9 Megapixels
Number of effective pixels Approx. 20.2 Megapixels Approx. 18.2 Megapixels
Lens Type Carl Zeiss “Vario-Sonnar T*”,  7 elements in 6 groups (4 aspheric elements including AA lens) Sony G 9 elements in 7 groups(including  4 aspheric elements)
F-number (Maximum Aperture) F1.8(W)-4.9(T) F3.3(W)-5.9(T)
Iris Diaphragm 7 blades -
Focal Length (f = ) f=10.4-37.1mm f=4.45-44.5mm
35mm format equivalent (Still Image3:2) f=28-100mm
35mm format equivalent (Still Image4:3) f=30-108mm f=25-250mm
35mm format equivalent (Still Image16:9) f=29-105mm f=27.5-275mm
35mm format equivalent (Still Image1:1) f=36-127mm
35mm format equivalent (Movie16:9) f=29-105mm(SteadyShot Standard), f=33-120mm(SteadyShot Active) f=27.5-275mm(SteadyShot Standard), f=27.5-385mm(SteadyShot Active)
35mm format equivalent (Movie4:3) f=36-128mm(SteadyShot Standard), f=41-146mm(SteadyShot Active) f=33.5-335mm(SteadyShot Standard), f=33.5-469mm(SteadyShot Active)
Focus  Range (from the front  of the lens) iAuto:AF(W:Approx.5cm(0.16′) to infinity, T:Approx.55cm(1.80′) to infinity) / Program Auto:AF(W:Approx,5cm(0.16′) to infinity, T:Approx.55cm(1.80′) to infinity) iAuto:AF(W:Approx.5cm(0.16′) to Infinity, T:Approx.150cm(4.92′) to Infinity) / Program Auto:AF(W:Approx.5cm(0.16′) to Infinity, T:Approx.150cm(4.92′) to Infinity)
Still Image, Movie 3.6x(Optical Zoom during movie recording) 10x(Optical Zoom during movie recording)
Screen Type Segment LCD Segment LCD
Imaging Processor”BIONZ” Yes Yes
SteadyShot Optical Optical
Optical SteadyShot Active Mode (for Movie) Yes (Active Mode, Optical type with electronic compensation) Yes (Active Mode, Optical type with electronic compensation)
Focus Mode Single-shot AF Single-shot AF
Focus Mode Manual Focus Touch AF
Focus Mode Touch AF
Focus Area Multi Point AF Multi Point AF
Light Metering Mode Multi Pattern Multi Pattern
Exposure Compensation +/- 3.0 EV, 1/3 EV step +/- 2.0 EV, 1/3 EV step
ISO Sensitivity (Still Image)*1 ISO160-6400(iAuto), ISO160-25600(Superior Auto), ISO160-3200(Program Auto), ISO160-3200(Aperture Priority) ISO100-3200(iAuto), ISO100-12800(Superior Auto), ISO100-1600(Program Auto)
ISO Sensitivity (Movie) Auto: (ISO160-3200 level) Auto: (ISO100-1000 level)
Minimum Illumination(Movie) Auto: 3.2lux (Shutter Speed 1/60) Auto: 20lux (Shutter Speed 1/30)
White Balance Mode Auto Auto
White Balance Mode Daylight Daylight
White Balance Mode Shade Shade
White Balance Mode Cloudy Cloudy
White Balance Mode Fluor.: Warm White Flourescent White Balance 0
White Balance Mode Fluor.: Cool White Flourescent White Balance 1
White Balance Mode Fluor.: Day White Flourescent White Balance 2
White Balance Mode Fluor.: Daylight Incandescent
White Balance Mode C.Temp.
White Balance Mode Incandescent
Shutter Speed*2 iAuto (4 – 1/2000) / Program Auto (1 – 1/2000) / Aperture Priority (8 – 1/2000) iAuto (4 – 1/1600) / Program Auto (1 – 1/1600)
Aperture iAuto (F1.8/F11) / Program Auto (F1.8/F11) / Aperture Priority (F1.8/F11) iAuto (F3.3/F8.0 (W)) / Program Auto (F3.3/F8.0 (W))
Self-Timer 10sec. / 2sec. 10sec. / 2sec.
Shooting Mode Superior Auto Superior Auto
Shooting Mode Intelligent Auto Intelligent Auto
Shooting Mode Program Auto Program Auto
Shooting Mode Aperture Priority Movie Mode
Shooting Mode Movie Mode
Creative Style -
Still Image 33 Superior Auto 44
Intelligent Auto 33
Movie 44 33
Compatible Recording Media*3 Memory Stick Micro Memory Stick Micro
Compatible Recording Media*3 Memory Stick Micro (Mark2) Memory Stick Micro (Mark2)
Compatible Recording Media*3 microSD Memory Card microSD Memory Card
Compatible Recording Media*3 microSDHC Memory Card microSDHC Memory Card
Compatible Recording Media*3 microSDXC Memory Card microSDXC Memory Card
Recording Format Still Image: JPEG, Movie: MP4 Still Image: JPEG, Movie: MP4
Color Space (Still) sRGB sRGB
DCF/DPOF DCF DCF
Still Image Number of recorded pixels (Image Size) 3:2 mode: 20M (5,472 x 3,648) / 5M (2,736 x 1,824) / 4:3 mode:18M(4,864 x 3,648) / 5M(2,592 x 1,944) / 16:9 mode: 17M (5,472 x 3,080) / 4.2M (2,720 x 1,528) / 1:1 mode: 13M (3,648 x 3,648) / 3.7M(1,920 x 1,920) 4:3 mode: 18M (4,896 x 3,672) / 5M (2,592 x 1,944) / 16:9 mode: 13M (4,896 x 2,752) / 2M (1,920 x 1,080)
Movie Recording Mode MP4: 12M(1,440×1080/30fps) MP4: 12M (1,440×1080/30fps)
Exif Print Yes Yes
PRINT Image Matching (PIM3) Yes Yes
Input and Output Terminal Multi/Micro USB Terminal*4 , Hi-Speed USB (USB2.0) Multi/Micro USB Terminal*4 , Hi-Speed USB (USB2.0)
TransferJet - -
NFC Yes (NFC forum Type 3 Tag compatible) Yes (NFC forum Type 3 Tag compatible)
Wi-Fi Yes Yes
Eye-Fi - -
Power Source DC3.6V (supplied battely) / DC5.0V (not supplied AC Adoptor) DC3.6V (supplied battely) / DC5.0V (not supplied AC Adoptor)
Battery System NP-BN (supplied) / NP-BN1 (not supplied) NP-BN (supplied) / NP-BN1 (not supplied)
Power Consumption (Camera mode) Approx. 1.1W Approx. 1.1W
USB Charge/USB Power Supply Yes (Shooting*5 , Playback) Yes (Shooting*5 , Playback)
Still Images*6 Approx. 220 / Approx. 110min Approx. 220 / Approx. 110min
Movies (actual shooting)*7 *8 Approx. 25min. Approx. 25min
Movies (continuous shooting)*7 *9 Approx. 55min. (In [MP4 12M] mode, max. continuous shooting time is approx. 25 min. and max. file size is 2GB. ) Approx. 65min. (In [MP4 12M] mode, max. continuous shooting time is approx. 25 min. and max. file size is 2GB. )
Other Shooting Functions Face Detection Face Detection
TRILUMINOS Color*10 Yes Yes
Operating Speed*11 Start-up Time (Approx. 6.9 sec.) / Shooting Time Lag (Approx. 0.21 sec.) / Shooting Interval (Approx. 1.0 sec.) Start-up Time (Approx. 6.9 sec.) / Shooting Time Lag (Approx. 1.2 sec.)
Dimensions (WxHxD) (CIPA compliant) Approx: 2 1/2 in. x 2 1/2 in. x 2 1/4 in. (62.5mm x 62.5mm x 55.5mm) Approx:2 1/2 in. x 2 1/2 in. x 1 5/16 in (62.4mm x 61.8mm x 33.3mm)
Weight (CIPA compliant) Approx. 179.0g (0lb 6.3oz.) (Battery and Memory Stick_micro are included) / Approx. 165g (0lb 5.8oz.) (Body Only) Approx. 105.0g (0lb 3.7oz.) (Battery and Memory Stick_micro are included) / Approx. 90g (0lb 3.2oz.) (Body Only)
Supplied Accessory Rechargeable Battery Pack NP-BN*12 Rechargeable Battery Pack NP-BN*12
Supplied Accessory Micro USB cable Micro USB cable
Supplied Accessory Wrist Strap Wrist Strap
Supplied Accessory Smartphone attachment Smartphone attachment
Supplied Accessory Instruction Manual Instruction Manual
Linear Focus Yes Yes
Scan System Progressive scan Progressive scan
Color Filter R,G,B primary color mosaic filters R,G,B primary color mosaic filters
Active Mode Optical and Electronic Optical and Electronic
Auto Macro Yes Yes
Focusing Type Contrast detection AF
AF Illuminator -
Auto Controll Range ISO160-6400(iAuto), ISO160-25600(Superior Auto), ISO160-3200(Program Auto), ISO160-3200(Aperture Priority) ISO100-3200(iAuto), ISO100-12800(Superior Auto), ISO100-1600(Program Auto)
Mode Auto
Maximum number of detectable faces 8 faces 8 faces
Auto Orientation On only On only
Recording Format Still Images: JPEG (DCF, Exif) compliant Still Images: JPEG (DCF, Exif) compliant
Memory Stick Micro 16GB 16GB
microSD Memory Card 64GB 64GB
Built-in Microphone Stereo Stereo
Speaker Mono Mono
PlayMemories Home Yes
Beep Yes
One-touch remote Yes Yes
Ctrl with Smartphone Yes Yes
Send to Smartphone Yes (Select on Smartphone) Yes (Select on Smartphone)
Power Saving 2 min 2 min
Clock Function,Setting Yes (Auto Clock ADJ) Yes (Auto Clock ADJ)
Mass Storage Yes Yes
LUN Settings (Multi/Single) Multi Multi
Tripod Receptacle Yes Yes
Maximum Voltage 4.2V 4.2V
Nominal Voltage 3.6V 3.6V
Capacity for Shooting typical: 2.3Wh (630mAh), minimum: 2.2Wh (600mAh)
Body Material Plastic Plastic
Operating Temperature 0 degrees C. – +40 degrees C. / 32 degrees F. – 104  degrees F. 0 degrees C. – +40 degrees C. / 32 degrees F. – 104  degrees F.
Storage Temperature -20 degrees C. – +60 degrees C. / -4 degrees F. – +140 degrees F. -20 degrees C. – +60 degrees C. / -4 degrees F. – +140 degrees F.
Shutter Release Time Lag Approx. 0.035 sec. Approx. 0.037 sec.

Ergonomics

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Sony QX10 QX100 for mobile phones (1 of 15)ISO 12501-40 sec at f - 4.0

For ease of convenience, know that both the QX10 and QX100 really look almost identical. The units themselves are very cylindrical in design and ergonomically, they’re also quite interesting. In these units is encased a lens, sensor, and communication electronics along with a couple of buttons and controls.

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Sony QX10 QX100 for mobile phones (4 of 15)ISO 5001-40 sec at f - 4.0

On one side of the units, you’ve got the zooming slider and shutter release. Just like a point and shoot, the wide angle side is clearly marked with the W while the telephoto end has a T. The body’s design is also rather smooth–and in hands that are sweaty from the NYC heat I’m afraid that they might be a bit too smooth. The very curvaceous design could be a bit too much to handle for some–as ergonomically speaking they could possibly slip out of your hand.

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Sony QX10 QX100 for mobile phones (2 of 15)ISO 2001-50 sec at f - 4.0

In general, the units are also pretty darned compact but can have an attachment on the back to connect it to a phone as well–which obviously makes the package larger. But in our brief time with the units, we found the QX10 and QX100 able to fit into skinny jeans. In real life though, you probably may not want to do this: it’s a bit tight.

On this side you’ll also find a USB port outlet to connect it to a computer or anything else.

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Sony QX10 QX100 for mobile phones (5 of 15)ISO 16001-40 sec at f - 4.0

When ready to shoot, the lens extends outward–making the package even larger. But in all seriousness, it may only be deployed like this for a couple of minutes and will never be stuffed into your bag or pocket like this.

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Sony QX10 QX100 for mobile phones (3 of 15)ISO 8001-40 sec at f - 4.0

The really nice thing about these accessories is that when they are shut off, your lens is also protected. That means that you won’t need a lens cap at all.

Ease of Use

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Sony QX10 QX100 for mobile phones (7 of 15)ISO 8001-40 sec at f - 4.0

There are a couple of ways to use the units. For starters, many folks might like using the lens accessories with a clip that will attach onto your phone to simulate a semi-point and shoot experience. However, others might opt to keep the lens off the camera phone and instead just place it where ever they want. Either way is acceptable, but the latter is what will really earn you some cooler photos.

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Sony QX10 QX100 for mobile phones (11 of 15)ISO 32001-4000 sec at f - 2.8

When connected to the phone wirelessly, Sony recommends the use of an app that will help to you to get a better control experience and then recommends that you port the images over to your favorite sharing service afterward. Unfortunately, there is no manual control over the settings and you’ll only have very basic shooting modes such as sports, landscape, etc. However, there is a P mode–not for professional, but for program.

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Sony QX10 QX100 for mobile phones (15 of 15)ISO 2001-150 sec at f - 4.5

However, using the app you will have some control over certain aspects, such as settings for a self-timer, image size, etc. It gives you a lot more power than what was previously capable.

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Sony QX10 QX100 for mobile phones (12 of 15)ISO 2001-200 sec at f - 4.5

Connecting the unit to your phone requires the use of a little backpack and the clip. Ergonomically, I wouldn’t want to put the lens in the middle of the camera but instead a little bit off to the side.

Autofocus

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Sony QX10 QX100 for mobile phones (10 of 15)ISO 32001-800 sec at f - 2.8

To focus, you can use the touchscreen interface of your phone and app, or you can use the button on the lens. We’re not quite used to the idea of focusing and shooting by pressing a button on a lens though. And with that said, we feel that most users will opt for the touch screen.

Focusing on the pre-production models that we handled were quite speedy–but they’re also point and shoots; and so we know that Sony has improved the focusing of these cameras quite a bit more than was previously available.

Build Quality

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Sony QX10 QX100 for mobile phones (14 of 15)ISO 2001-220 sec at f - 4.5

Holding one of these units in your hand feels like you’re holding one of the company’s little NEX series lenses. With that said, they’re small, compact and pretty darn smooth to the touch. And like any lens, if it takes a tumble, you can surely say goodbye to it.

Image Quality

Given the fact that one of these cameras is basically an RX100, we’re positive that we’re going to be floored by the image quality. However, the units that we tested were pre-production models and we weren’t able to snag any photos off the phones we tested them with.

Also note that they will only shoot JPEGs.

First Impressions

We think that Sony needs to be given a lot of credit. Years ago, they told us flat out that they took a major hit in the digital imaging division because of smartphones–but most of that was centered around point and shoots. To adapt, they started to focus more on their interchangeable lens and larger sensor cameras. To adapt even further, they decided to embrace the smartphone market rather than fight it. And with their new QX10 and QX100 units, they surely will be able to. Users will be able to give their phone a real optical zoom and get some glorious bokeh and significantly better high ISO imagery with the units if used correctly.

Though we haven’t been loaned official review units yet, Sony needs to be commended for adapting and surely taking a risk. If the first generation of these products isn’t successful, the second one might be.

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