Just Announced: New Sony Lens-Style Digital Cameras

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The unique line of Sony QX Lens-Style Cameras has received a major boost, now incorporating the mirrorless format and E-mount lenses into their design. In addition, the company has added a third fixed-lens camera, which provides long zoom capability.

Last year, we weren’t sure what to make of the QX series; we called them “Camera Modules,” as they were not quite cameras but much more than just lenses. They were designed to clip onto a smartphone and, with built-in Wi-Fi, use the phone as monitor, menu, and “body” while the module’s lens and sensor brought improved focal range, image quality, and performance speed to your camera phone. Eventually deemed “Lens-Style Cameras,” they were so successful that Sony has announced the expansion of the QX lineup to include the  ILCE-QX1 Mirrorless Lens-Style Digital Camera and the Cyber-shot DSC-QX30 Lens-Style Digital Camera.

ILCE-QX1 Mirrorless Lens-Style Digital Camera

The ILCE-QX1 is most noteworthy because it incorporates the E-mount mirrorless format into this style of camera and encourages us to recognize the unique abstraction in its concept. The QX1 supplies the sensor, processor, Wi-Fi, lens mount, and built-in flash; your smartphone brings the body, viewfinder, and touch controls; the lens is the wildcard item that you add, based on your needs. Together, the QX1 provides the versatility of a mirrorless or DSLR camera but also requires three items to make a “complete” camera. The convenience factor is that your phone is always with you and is the eventual repository for your images anyway, so adding an ultra compact camera “tube” and the lens of your choosing is a small tradeoff for the quality of stills and video you can now have on your phone or tablet. And of course, the QX1 can also be used on its own, whether handheld or mounted on a tripod.

The APS-C format 20.1MP APS HD CMOS sensor and BIONZ X image processor match that of the Sony a5000 and provide the QX1 with high-resolution image capture, ISO sensitivity from 100 to 16000, RAW format capture, 3.5 fps continuous shooting, and full HD 1080p video capture at 30 fps. Built-in Wi-Fi and NFC, in conjunction with the free PlayMemories Mobile App v. 5.0, enable instant image transfer to your smart device, as well as remote touch control with a new, simplified user interface. The large LCD of your smartphone or tablet is clearly a benefit when composing and focusing, and images are captured to both your smartphone’s memory and to the camera’s microSD, microSDHC, microSDXC, or Memory Stick Micro media.

In addition to the large sensor and speed of the QX1, its lens mount is directly compatible with all E-mount lenses, bringing an expansion to your shooting potential that no smartphone can match. Furthermore, with an A-mount to E-mount adapter, all Sony A-mount lenses can work with the QX1.

Cyber-shot DSC-QX30 Lens-Style Digital Camera

The DSC-QX30 provides what the two previous QX fixed-lens models did not: a long zoom lens. In this case, a Sony G 25-750mm equivalent lens will markedly extend the zoom capability of your smartphone. It also offers Optical SteadyShot image stabilization to control the blur often created by camera shake when shooting at telephoto lengths. The QX30 features a 1/2.3" Exmor R CMOS sensor with 20.4MP effective resolution. This is the same size sensor as the QX10 with a slightly higher pixel count.

The QX30 also upgrades to the BIONZ X image processor for better low-light capture, including ISO sensitivity to 12800, and overall improved performance speed. A contrast-detect AF system provides fast focus with Lock-on autofocus for subject tracking, and its continuous shooting speed is 10 fps. Video is supported in full HD 1080p at 60 and 30 fps with a built-in stereo microphone, and images are recorded to microSD, micro SDHC, microSDXC, or Memory Stick Micro cards. A Hi-Speed USB 2.0 terminal is supported, and Wi-Fi and NFC enable quick connection to iOS and Android devices.

As mentioned, the lens on this camera is a 30x optical zoom lens that reaches the 35mm focal length equivalent of 750mm in its native 3:2 ratio. In the 1:1 stills format its equivalent focal length reaches 855mm and, in the 16:9 movie mode, it reaches a 1,080mm equivalent. The minimum focus distance at the wide-angle end is an impressive 2.0" and, with 5 aspherical elements in its optical construction, aberrations are reduced, resulting in sharp imaging throughout its zoom range.

Image composition and playback are enhanced by the large LCD of your phone; most of the camera’s settings are controlled via your smartphone’s touch interface but this compact camera is self-sufficient. While you cannot visually compose without a smartphone, zoom and shutter are controlled from the camera body and given that it is just 2.7" long and 2.6" in diameter, it’s easy to see how this camera is great to carry everyday whether you plan to use it attached to your phone or as an always-ready point-and-shoot. The camera can be used by itself, held in one hand while using your smartphone in the other or mounted on a tripod to shoot remotely with your phone or tablet.

Adding to its functionality without a smartphone is the ADP-FSK1 Grip for QX-Series Lens-Style Camera. It attaches to the back of the camera and provides an ergonomically designed grip with which to hold any of the QX series cameras.

The brown Camera Jacket for QX-Series Lens-Style Cameras is a handsome 5 x 4" accessory for carrying any of the QX cameras. It offers a carabiner to attach to a belt or bag and a long, removable shoulder strap for a comfortable alternative.

  Cyber-shot DSC-QX30 Lens-Style Digital Camera Cyber-shot DSC-QX10 Lens-Style Digital Camera
Image Sensor 1/2.3" Exmor R CMOS with R, G, B primary color mosaic filters 1/2.3"  Exmor R CMOS with R, G, B primary color mosaic filters
Effective Pixels 20.4 MP 18.2 MP
Total Pixels 21.1 MP 18.9 MP
Maximum Resolution 20 MP: 5184 x 3888 18 MP: 4896 x 3672
Aspect Ratio 3:2, 4:3, 16:9, 1:1 4:3, 16:9
Still Image File Format JPEG (DCF ver. 2.0, Exif ver. 2.3) JPEG (DCF, Exif)
Image Processor BIONZ X BIONZ
Storage Media Memory Stick (MS) Micro, Memory Stick Micro Mark 2, microSD/SDHC/SDXC Memory Stick (MS) Micro, Memory Stick Micro Mark 2, microSD/SDHC
Card Slot MS Micro, microSD MS Micro, microSD
Lens Type Sony G Sony G
Focal Length (35mm Equivalent) 4.3-129 mm
35mm Equivalent
25-750 mm at 3:2
24-720 mm at 4:3
26-780 mm at 16:9
28.5-855 mm at 1:1 for stills
26.5-1080 mm at 16:9 for movies
4.45-44.5 mm
35mm Equivalent
27.5-275 mm at 16:9
25-250 mm at 4:3 for stills
27.5-275 mm at 16:9 in SteadyShot Standard mode
27.5-385 mm at 16:9 in SteadyShot Active mode
33.5-335 mm at 4:3 in SteadyShot Standard mode
33.5-469 mm at 4:3 in SteadyShot Active mode for movies
Optical Zoom 30x 10x
Aperture Range Maximum: f/3.5 - 6.3
Minimum: f/8.0 in Aperture Priority mode
Maximum: f/3.3 - 5.9
Minimum: f/8.0
Lens Construction 11 elements in 10 groups (including 5 aspheric elements)
5-blade iris diaphragm
9 elements in 7 groups (including 4 aspheric elements)
Minimum Focusing Distance iAuto
AF Wide: Approx. 2.0" / 5.0 cm 
AF Tele: Approx. 6.6' / 2.0 m
Program Auto
AF Wide: Approx. 2.0" / 5.0 cm
AF Tele: Approx. 6.6' / 2.0 m 
Wide: Approx. 2.0" / 5.0 cm
Tele: 4.9' / 1.5 m 
Digital Zoom Still Image
20 MP: Approx. 60x
15 MP (16:9): Approx. 60x
10 MP: Approx. 85x
5.0 MP: Approx. 120x
2.0 MP (16:9):  Approx. 162x
0.3 MP: Approx. 486x
Movie
Approx. 60x
 
10x
Image Stabilization Optical SteadyShot
OSS Active Mode for movies (optical with electronic compensation)
Optical SteadyShot
OSS Active Mode for movies (optical with electronic compensation)
Viewfinder Type N/A N/A
Shutter Type Not specified by manufacturer Not specified by manufacturer
Shutter Speed iAuto: 1/1600 - 4 sec
Programmed Auto: 1/1600 - 1 sec
Aperture Priority: 1/1600 - 8 sec
Shutter Priority: 1/1600 - 30 sec
Program: 1/1600 - 1 sec
Auto: 1/1600 - 4 sec
Top Continuous Shooting Rate Approx. 10 fps for up to 10 shots at full resolution Not specified by manufacturer
Self-Timer 10 sec, 2 sec 10 sec, 2 sec 
Metering Method Multi-Pattern Multi-Pattern
Exposure Modes Superior Auto (44 scene modes)
Intelligent Auto (33 scene modes)
Programmed Auto
Aperture Priority
Shutter Speed Priority
Superior Auto (44 scene modes)
Intelligent Auto (33 scene modes)
Programmed Auto
Exposure Compensation From - 2.0 to +2.0 EV in 1/3 EV steps From -2.0 to +2.0 EV in 1/3 EV steps
ISO Sensitivity Still Image: Auto, 80-3200
Movie: Auto, 80-1000
Still Image: Auto, 160-3200 (Extendable to 12800)
Movie: Auto, 100-1000
Autofocus System Contrast-detection AF Contrast-detection AF
Focus Modes Single-shot AF, Touch AF, Multi Point AF, Face Detection (up to 8 faces), Linear Focus, Auto Macro, AF Lock Multi Point AF, Touch AF, Face Detection (up to 8 faces)
Built-In Flash N/A N/A
External Flash Interface N/A N/A
White Balance Modes Auto, Daylight, Cloudy, Fluorescent Cool White, Fluorescent Day White, Fluorescent Daylight,  Incandescent Auto, Cloudy, Daylight, Fluorescent Cool White, Fluorescent Day White, Fluorescent Warm White, Incandescent, Shade
Movie Recording Full HD 1920 x 1080 at 60 fps, 28 Mbps PS
Full HD 1920 x 1080 at 30 fps, 16 Mbps HQ
1440 x 1080 at 30 fps, 12 Mbps
File Format MP4 MP4
Audio Recording Yes, via built-in stereo microphone Yes, via built-in stereo microphone
Audio File Format MPEG-4 AAC-LC 2 ch Not specified by manufacturer
External Microphone Input N/A N/A
Headphone Jack N/A N/A
Maximum Recording Time 15-29 min continuous or 4.0 GB Up to 15 min continuous or 2.0 GB
Monitor N/A N/A
Interface Multi/Micro-USB Terminal, USB 2.0 Multi/Micro-USB Terminal, USB 2.0
Wi-Fi Yes
Control with smartphone and send images to smartphone via PlayMemories Mobile App
Yes
Control with smartphone and send images to smartphone via PlayMemories Mobile App
NFC Yes, with Android smartphones (NFC Forum Type 3 Tag compatible)
One-touch remote capability
Yes, with Android smartphones (NFC Forum Type 3 Tag compatible)
Compatibility iOS and Android smartphones with PlayMemories Mobile App installed iOS and Android smartphones with PlayMemories Mobile App installed
GPS N/A N/A
Power Source Supplied NP-BN Lithium-Ion Battery Pack (3.6 VDC) 
Optional NP-BN1 Battery
Optional AC-UD10 AC Adapter (5.0 VDC)  
Supplied NP-BN Lithium-Ion Battery Pack (3.6 VDC)
Optional AC-UD10 AC Adapter (5.0 VDC)
Operating Environment 32 to 104°F / 0 to 40°C    32 to 104°F / 0 to 40°C
Dimensions 2.7 x 2.6 x 2.3" / 68.4 x 65.1 x 57.6 mm 2.5 x 2.4 x 1.2" / 62.4 x 61.8 x 30.0 mm
Weight Approx. 6.8 oz / 193 g (with battery and Memory Stick Micro)
Approx. 6.3 oz / 178 g (body only)
Approx. 3.7 oz / 105 g (with battery and Memory Stick Micro)
Approx. 3.17 oz / 90 g (body only)