First Impressions: Sony QX30

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Sony more or less started the whole phone-to-real-camera thing, and even now the concept still fascinates us in tis embrace of the mobile photography world. Today, Sony has announced their update to last year’s cameras. One is the QX-1 with interchangeable lens capabilities and the other is the QX-30. Basically, Sony wanted to create a superzoom of sorts. In fact, this one goes from 24mm to 720mm. That means that you’ll have a much easier time at the baseball game.

To be honest, even though the QX-30 isn’t smaller than the RX 100 Mk III (the company’s most pocketable point and shoot that matters), it sure is quite capable.

Tech Specs

– 1/2.3 inch Exmor R CMOS sensor

– 24-720mm f3.5-6.3 lens

– AF-S, touch to focus lock on AF

– Auto ISO 80-12,800

– JPEG only

– 60P and 30p video recording

Ergonomics

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The QX30 is another addition to the QX series of cameras that more or less looks like a giant lens for their E mount cameras. But believe it or not the unit integrates a sensor, buttons, a zoom lens, and connectivity electronics. And believe it or not, this is more or less the future.

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The camera more or less looks like a point and shoot without the grip, LCD screen, or the typical body that you normally see. Instead, you’re just staring at the collapsed lens here.

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When you’re ready to mount the camera to a phone, you can utilize the flippy clip thing at the back of the body. It extends and collapses and more or less locks into place securely around your device.

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The main thing that we think that folks will be playing with is the zoom switch. In fact, cameras of this type are really designed just for that. However, this camera has a P/S/A mode which means that you basically can do quite a bit with it except have full manual control over your exposure..

Build Quality

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Sony’s QX30 feels more or less like a lens that they’d release for their E mount system. This is because of its particular round and cylindrical design. Indeed though there is much more to is than this. It is covered in control buttons for zooming and many other functions. Plus, it has a collapsible latch that will help with mounting to any phone you can pretty much think of on the market.

Again, we repeat: phones. Not tablets.

Autofocusing

We played with a pre-production model of the QX-30, but it seemed to focus quickly enough. Granted, the camera has a very small sensor so mostly everything will be in focus to begin with. As it is, Sony’s autofocusing is really quite good and folks using these cameras may not have very much to complain about sans tracking a moving subject.

Ease of Use

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We didn’t get a lot of time to play with the QX-30 with many other journalists in the room: in fact we had maybe 5 minutes with the camera. However the functionality is very much like the previous versions in that your phone can connect to the camera, see what it sees and enable you to shoot images with the unit.

It’s a very, very weird experience.

Image Quality

Because we handled a pre-production unit, the image quality wasn’t final and so we couldn’t take back final images from the camera. Given that it has a really small sensor though, our hopes aren’t super high–and we don’t think that yours should be either.

First Impressions

The QX30 more than any other QX unit seems to be the most basic amongst the series. It sports a small sensor and a really big zoom. Sure, mobile customers would like a nice zoom but what they want even more is a bigger sensor for bokeh and portraits and images that look like a pro could have shot them.

We’re not quite sure how the QX30 will do, but that will also rely on our full review.