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Review: Sony's high-end Cyber-shot QX100 wireless camera lens for iPhone

post #1 of 35
Thread Starter 
The Cyber-shot DSC-QX100 is the high-end version of Sony's newly released iPhone-compatible wireless camera accessories, packing in a Carl Zeiss lens at an attractive price point. Like the low-end QX10, it's a forward thinking device with a great deal of potential that remains held back by shaky software.

QX100


Sony's QX-series Cyber-shot cameras are Wi-Fi Direct devices that wirelessly connect to a smartphone, such as Apple's iPhone, which acts as the viewfinder. The lenses can be clipped onto the iPhone for a traditional shooting experience, or the lens can be controlled remotely from a short distance for more interesting shots.

Hardware



Each QX camera uses a MicroSD card to store shots remotely from the iPhone, though pictures can be transferred manually or automatically if a user chooses. For the purposes of this review, Sony provided AppleInsider with a DSC-QX100 lens, as well as an 8-gigabyte Sony-branded MicroSD card and standard SD adapter.

The QX100 features a 1-inch Exmor CMOS sensor capable of capturing 20.9-megapixel images with a Carl Zeiss lens. It's identical to the sensor found in the Cyber-shot RX100II camera, which retails for around $750, or about $250 more than the QX100's $500 price tag.

QX100


It's also a big improvement over the 18-megapixel Exmor RCMOS 1/2.3-inch sensor and Sony G lens found in the QX10. But that improved image quality comes at a cost of size.

The QX100 is not quite twice as long as the more portable QX10. While we could squeeze the QX10 into a pocket if need be, the QX100 is big enough that it would definitely require a bag.

The hardware of the QX100 has a few welcome changes. Most notably is a focus ring on the device for manual adjustments. In addition, when autofocus is enabled through the Sony PlayMemories Mobile iPhone app that controls the lens, this manual ring reverts to a more precise zoom control.

QX100


The QX100 also moves the MicroSD card slot to the side of the lens, making it easy to swap out a card without disassembling the device. This is an improvement from the QX10, which houses the MicroSD slot inside near the battery compartment, requiring some work on the part of the user to replace.

Like the QX10, the QX100 also has a dedicated zoom control rocker on the left side of the device, as well as a hard shutter button. Both of these functions can also be controlled through the PlayMemories app.

QX100


One area where the QX10 bests the higher-end QX100 is zoom: While the QX10 has a great 10x optical zoom, the QX100 offers a much shorter range with 3.6x zoom. While the optical zoom on the QX100 is considerably less than the QX10, it's also far more than the iPhone's built-in camera offers --?zero.

Software



As we noted in our QX10 review in September, the Achilles' heel of Sony's QX-series cameras is the company's proprietary PlayMemories Mobile application for iOS, which offers substandard performance in controlling the lens. Sony explained that those issues were due to the fact that the software was not updated for iOS 7.

Since then, the application has thankfully been upgraded with iOS 7 support and various bug fixes. The changes are in fact a marked improvement, but PlayMemories Mobile still has a long way to go, unfortunately.

QX100 Screens


Before, it would take 10 or more seconds for the PlayMemories application to establish a connection with a QX camera and begin shooting. Now, that connection time is closer to 5 seconds. While this is a big improvement, we don't feel it's enough, though Sony may be hampered by the limitations of Wi-Fi Direct.

Also improved are the amount of crashes and random disconnects we previously experienced with the PlayMemories app. The latest version provides a more reliable connection, though it's still not perfect.

QX100


On a number of occasions we would be presented with a spinning wheel in the middle of the screen and were unable to snap a picture by using the app's shutter button. Using the shutter button on the QX100 still worked fine, but we were shooting blind without an idea if our subject was in focus, or in the picture at all.

What makes the issues all the more frustrating is that when the PlayMemories app works, it works great. The live viewfinder is sharp enough to give an idea of what the captured picture will look like, and it's responsive with minimal lag.

Sony has said that third-party applications like Camera360 and Camera+ will be adding support for controlling the QX lenses in the future. Those functions are not currently available in either app.

QX100


No updates to PlayMemories, or any third-party apps, are going to change the fact that connecting to the QX100 (and QX10) can be a hassle. If you're using your iPhone at home, where you presumably already have a Wi-Fi connection, you'll have to open the Settings app and manually choose to connect over Wi-Fi Direct to the lens. After that connection is established, you'll then have to launch the PlayMemories app to control it.

If the best camera is the one that's available to you, then the setup process of the QX series pushes these lenses down the rankings. And those issues are further compounded by occasional hangups with the PlayMemories app itself.

We commend Sony for improving its app, and accordingly adjusted our score on the QX10 camera from 2.5 stars to 3 stars. However, there's still a great deal of room for improvement, and we hope that further updates from Sony, or a potential third-party application to control the QX cameras, will further improve performance.

New settings are also unlocked in the app when using the QX100, such as an Aperture Priority Shooting mode that give advanced photographers more functionality and flexibility.

On the next page, comparison shots between the QX100, QX10 and iPhone 5s



Comparison shots: QX100, QX10 and iPhone 5s



QX100
QX100 (click for full-size).


QX100
QX10 (click for full-size).


iPhone 5s
iPhone 5s (click for full-size).


QX100
QX100 (click for full-size).


QX10
QX10 (click for full-size).


iPhone 5s
iPhone 5s (click for full-size).


QX100
QX100 (click for full-size).


QX10
QX10 (click for full-size).


iPhone 5s
iPhone 5s (click for full-size).


QX100
QX100 max optical zoom (click for full-size).


QX10
QX10 max optical zoom (click for full-size).


iPhone 5s
iPhone 5s max digital zoom (click for full-size).


QX100
QX100 (click for full-size).


QX10
QX10 (click for full-size).


iPhone 5s
iPhone 5s (click for full-size).


QX100
QX100 (click for full-size).


QX10
QX10 (click for full-size).


iPhone 5s
iPhone 5s (click for full-size).


QX100
QX100 max optical zoom (click for full-size).


QX10
QX10 max optical zoom (click for full-size).


iPhone 5s
iPhone 5s max digital zoom (click for full-size).


In picture samples, the QX100 is unsurprisingly the clear winner. Details in shots are crisp, colors are vibrance, and light balance is natural. All QX100 and QX10 sample shots above were done with auto-adjustment features via the Sony PlayMemories Mobile app, while the iPhone 5s pictures were taken using Apple's official Camera app for iOS 7.

The QX100 also dealt the best by far with shadows, pulling out colors from darkened objects while lesser, smaller cameras were unable to capture as much light.

The QX10, as we noted in our review of that device, edges the iPhone 5s as well, but its real selling point is the device's built-in 10x optical zoom. That's something the iPhone 5s can't compete with.

In more difficult shots, like the Flatiron building above, the results were varied. The QX100 was again the best picture, though the iPhone 5s was a good performer with the auto-focus. The QX10 showed good detail on the building, but the bright background sky was blown out. This could probably be fixed with manual adjustments, but the purpose of our tests were for quick-take photographs.

Wrap-up



In our QX10 review, we praised Sony for creating an ambitious, unique device that's the only of its kind on the market. That stands for the QX100 as well.

It's hard not to get excited about the potential of a wireless lens controlled by your smartphone, allowing for higher quality pictures than any iPhone can provide, while also maintaining the connectivity and apps offered by modern handsets.

The QX100 is harder to recommend than the QX10, however. While the picture quality on the QX100 is superior, it's far less portable and definitely not pocketable like its smaller, cheaper counterpart.

QX100


If you're going to need a bag to carry your QX100, you might as well spend the extra $250 and get a full-fledged RX100II camera, which features the same lens but does not rely on Sony's PlayMemories app for control.

For most iPhone owners, the QX10 seems like it would be the better fit. It takes better pictures than even the iPhone 5s, it has a great 10x optical zoom that really lets you get up close with far-away subjects, and it's far more pocketable than the bulky QX100.

For more serious camera enthusiasts eyeing the QX100, it's is an interesting concept and something you might consider purchasing if its unique advantages, such as wireless remote control capabilities, were something you could take great advantage of. But for a "prosumer" looking for an easy way to snap pictures on the go, opting for a more traditional camera is a better bet for now.

We're hopeful that future updates to the PlayMemories software, or third-party apps, will further improve the experience with the QX100. But we're even more hopeful that future versions of Sony's wireless camera concept are forthcoming to fulfill the current potential.

Score: 2.5 out of 5

2.5 Stars


Pros:


  • Great picture quality and zoom
  • Wireless connectivity offers new possibilities
  • The concept remains strong


Cons


  • Sony's iPhone app has been improved, but still needs work
  • Setup time could cost users a great shot
  • Not as pocketable as the QX10


Pricing and availability



The QX100 is available direct from Sony for $499.99, as well as from both Amazon and B&H Photo for $498. It comes in color options of black and white.
post #2 of 35
Agreed, it's a great concept. But is a concept still.

I find mself asking this question: do I really need an awkward/unwieldy/clunky accessory which is difficult to mount and use when the right moment presents itself suddenly? It's about how many seconds away that moment is vis-a-vis device readiness capability.

I wish I could have some optical zoom built-in with iPhone. I am not a pro and don't want to go into the realm of high-end camera only devices. I just want to take decent enough vacation pics and digital zoom sucks.

I wonder, is there a practical need for such accessories? Either go for pro or be amateur. Is there a tri-state really?
post #3 of 35

I applaud Sony for it's fwd thinking. However, the "shaky" software would stop me from considering it.

 

Like most tech, whether it be hardware or software, I just can't be bothered with crappy products. I don't have a DSLR for this reason. I would rather take hundreds of photos with my iPhone (mainly outdoors on sunny days) to get 10 or 12 good photos than have to learn a clunky interface, never mind carry a big brick around.

 

Don't hammer me on this, but I only buy Apple SW (and third party Apps, of course) and hardware. If Apple doesn't make it, I don't buy it.

 

I've been let down by Apple a bit in the past, MobileMe comes to mind ($100/yr.), the first iteration of the iPhone's Podcast App, no copy & paste on the original iPhone.

 

But even with MobileMe's shortcomings, as an example, the ease of integration across the Apple ecosystem can not be overstated. 

 

The integration aspect and strong ecosystem made up for a lot. I would much prefer to put up with the first iteration of Pages, Numbers, iCloud, Maps simply because one, I know Apple will make improvements and two, it just works.

 

One only has to think of the crappy interfaces that cable companies and TV manufacturer's employ. 

 

Most App developers have learned to raise their standards to Apple quality on the software side. Now it's time for the Sony's of this world to produce not only great hardware but stellar software. to boot! :)

 

Edit: Having said the above, my daughter has a medium priced DSLR (<$1,000) and I am impressed with the quality of photos she takes. She said Cannon has the most Apple-like interface but it is still clunky.


Edited by christopher126 - 11/2/13 at 8:53am
post #4 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by abhitalks View Post

Agreed, it's a great concept. But is a concept still.

I find mself asking this question: do I really need an awkward/unwieldy/clunky accessory which is difficult to mount and use when the right moment presents itself suddenly? It's about how many seconds away that moment is vis-a-vis device readiness capability.

I wish I could have some optical zoom built-in with iPhone. I am not a pro and don't want to go into the realm of high-end camera only devices. I just want to take decent enough vacation pics and digital zoom sucks.

I wonder, is there a practical need for such accessories? Either go for pro or be amateur. Is there a tri-state really?

All good points. My father used to say back in the day, most people are just taking "snapshots" with their insta-matic Kodak cameras.

 

He had a lot of high end cameras, tons of lens and a few bags to hold it all, but he never took it with him because it was to cumbersome.

 

He had a early 60's Leica camera with one lens and that's all he would ever take. It took great photos. 

post #5 of 35

This is a joke. For $50 it might fly. For $500 . . .  go home, Sony, you're drunk.

 

You can take some ridiculously impressive shots with the stock iPhone Camera (and you won't even blow out your highlights), using at least the built-in HDR feature plus some quality editing apps. 

 

Just check out, for example, what Kevin Russ is doing with just an iPhone and some apps. No big-ass lens stuck in front, either. 

post #6 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by Quadra 610 View Post

This is a joke. For $50 it might fly. For $500 . . .  go home, Sony, you're drunk.


You can take some ridiculously impressive shots with the stock iPhone Camera (and you won't even blow out your highlights), using at least the built-in HDR feature plus some quality editing apps. 


Just check out, for example, what Kevin Russ is doing with just an iPhone and some apps. No big-ass lens stuck in front, either. 

Links for Kevin Russ @ tumblr -> http://kevinruss.tumblr.com
@ Flikr -> http://www.flickr.com/photos/pattersonminx/
@ Society6 -> http://www.flickr.com/photos/pattersonminx/
Edited by Chris_CA - 11/2/13 at 8:30pm
post #7 of 35
As someone with a long commercial background in professional photography, I'm at odds about this. So I do have a fair amount of expensive photo equipment. But I don't carry it around nearly as much as I used to.

What would be perfect from Apple? 12 high quality MPs. An optical 3x zoom. All in the same phone package we have now. Impossible? Not really. We're just not there yet.

But while this looks to be a good idea from Sony, it's just too bulky. The extra quality is very nice, but the camera itself is really thick. If I wanted this, I would want it to be easily pocketable itself. It's not.

Quite frankly, one would be better off, if picture quality is the main interest, to buy a compact camera for the same, or lower price, and keep that in a pocket. Some have wiFi. Some let you post to Facebook, or other sites.

Not nearly as versatile as this combo is, but not as ergonomically, well, lousy.
post #8 of 35
Um, the mega pixels on those lenses are going to waste. The Apple sensor is 5-8 mega pixels. So what makes you think that a 20 mega pixel external lens will translate into a 20 mega pixel image when the sensor on the IPhone is less than 20 mega pixels?
A sucker is born every minute!
post #9 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by maccherry View Post

Um, the mega pixels on those lenses are going to waste. The Apple sensor is 5-8 mega pixels. So what makes you think that a 20 mega pixel external lens will translate into a 20 mega pixel image when the sensor on the IPhone is less than 20 mega pixels?
A sucker is born every minute!

There are more idiots and illiterates than suckers.

post #10 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by maccherry View Post

Um, the mega pixels on those lenses are going to waste. The Apple sensor is 5-8 mega pixels. So what makes you think that a 20 mega pixel external lens will translate into a 20 mega pixel image when the sensor on the IPhone is less than 20 mega pixels?
A sucker is born every minute!

 

What is this "um" stuff? A "thought impediment"?

 

You have a mistaken concept of what the QX lenses are. They're NOT "external lenses". They're external CAMERAS to the smart phone. They're actually cameras in themselves with internal image sensors and image storage memory on an SD card. What these "cameras" are missing is a viewfinder. That's the job delegated to the smartphone, along with remote control functions of the "camera." The QX100 takes 20 megapixel images and saves them on its SD card. This is totally independent of whatever camera the smartphone has. They can optionally stay on the card for later import to computers for editing, and/or they can be transferred either full rez or smaller rez copies for viewing/sharing via the smart phone.

 

Your needlessly critical knee-jerk assessment throws the baby out with the bath water.

Daniel Swanson

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Daniel Swanson

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post #11 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by maccherry View Post

Um, the mega pixels on those lenses are going to waste. The Apple sensor is 5-8 mega pixels. So what makes you think that a 20 mega pixel external lens will translate into a 20 mega pixel image when the sensor on the IPhone is less than 20 mega pixels?
A sucker is born every minute!

You may just be that sucker. Both of these "lenses" are not simply big attachable lenses. The Sony QX100 has it's own image sensor and does not make use of Apple's integrated sensor at all. As quoted from the article it has a "1-inch Exmor CMOS sensor capable of capturing 20.9-megapixel images". The lens has nothing to do with how many megapixels an image sensor will capture. The Carl Zeiss lens does however provide some benefits such as an optical zoom.

This is basically a camera without the control logic. It has it's own sensor, storage, and lens. The iPhone and Sony's software simply control the device and provide a method to transfer images from the devices MicroSD card to the iPhone. You should really read an article before posting silly comments about people being suckers.
post #12 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by melgross View Post

As someone with a long commercial background in professional photography, I'm at odds about this. So I do have a fair amount of expensive photo equipment. But I don't carry it around nearly as much as I used to.

What would be perfect from Apple? 12 high quality MPs. An optical 3x zoom. All in the same phone package we have now. Impossible? Not really. We're just not there yet.

But while this looks to be a good idea from Sony, it's just too bulky. The extra quality is very nice, but the camera itself is really thick. If I wanted this, I would want it to be easily pocketable itself. It's not.

Quite frankly, one would be better off, if picture quality is the main interest, to buy a compact camera for the same, or lower price, and keep that in a pocket. Some have wiFi. Some let you post to Facebook, or other sites.

Not nearly as versatile as this combo is, but not as ergonomically, well, lousy.


Casio put folded zooms that bend the light path by 90 degrees into thin devices a long time ago, so while still a formidable engineering task, it's beyond academic that an optical zoom could be fit into a device close to the size of the iPhone.

Obviously battery space would also be an issue - the iPhone is already packed.  I've long thought an "iPhone C" (this was before the "5c") - an iPhone specifically emphasizing photography ala the Lumia 1020 - could be profitably marketed, if not in the volumes where Apple likes to place new products.

Maybe the chassis of the widely anticipated larger 2014 new model (the iPhone X?), would have the room required?  And be another differentiator for marketing it.

There are other software and sensor developments that could replace much of what people usually want out of optical zoom, and again the 1020 shows one way to move in this direction - but that would still leave photogs without some of the reasons for having multiple focal lengths, the most basic being the perspective shift and apparent depth of field interactions which occur when zooming.

That being said, as Apple has done with car manufacturers, they might also team up with camera makers to make their cameras capable of slaving to any iDevice and allow the other real advantage the QX series offers - and the one not mentioned in the article - the ability to place a lens remotely from where you are as you control it and take pictures.

The simplest example is having yourself in a group picture you can compose while standing in the group, but there are myriad others that make taking photos you otherwise couldn't take - or take only with considerably more futzing around - completely feasible.

And this could all be done with an agreement, some engineering by the camera makers (not Apple) and an app.

An iPhone, a Leatherman and thou...  ...life is complete.

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An iPhone, a Leatherman and thou...  ...life is complete.

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post #13 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris_CA View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Quadra 610 View Post
 

This is a joke. For $50 it might fly. For $500 . . .  go home, Sony, you're drunk.

 

 

 

You can take some ridiculously impressive shots with the stock iPhone Camera (and you won't even blow out your highlights), using at least the built-in HDR feature plus some quality editing apps. 

 

 

 

Just check out, for example, what Kevin Russ is doing with just an iPhone and some apps. No big-ass lens stuck in front, either. 

 


Links for Kevin Russ @ tumblr -> http://kevinruss.tumblr.com
@ Flikr -> http://www.flickr.com/photos/pattersonminx/
@ Society6 -> http://www.flickr.com/photos/pattersonminx/

 

Thanks, Chris!

post #14 of 35
I hope Sony will continue to work on this concept. Having a bodyless, all-lens camera with a remote viewfinder can grab images from places never thought of before.

One thing they might be thinking of is an application for stereo 3D acquisition: two lenses can be brought closer together and spread further apart according to varying distances in 3D shots, and viewed real time in stereo with a stereoscope viewer on two iPhones placed side by side. They also might be able to get perfect sync between the "shutters" of the two camera-lenses with software. I truly hope it occurs to them to work on this, because up to now, we have had no such capability for shooting in 3D without getting into very expensive and bulky equipment.
post #15 of 35

I'm at odds at how the longer lens has less zoom. 

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by christopher126 View Post
 

I applaud Sony for it's fwd thinking. However, the "shaky" software would stop me from considering it.

 

Like most tech, whether it be hardware or software, I just can't be bothered with crappy products. I don't have a DSLR for this reason. I would rather take hundreds of photos with my iPhone (mainly outdoors on sunny days) to get 10 or 12 good photos than have to learn a clunky interface, never mind carry a big brick around.

 

Don't hammer me on this, but I only buy Apple SW (and third party Apps, of course) and hardware. If Apple doesn't make it, I don't buy it.

 

Edit: Having said the above, my daughter has a medium priced DSLR (<$1,000) and I am impressed with the quality of photos she takes. She said Cannon has the most Apple-like interface but it is still clunky.

 

As a Canon Fanboy, I agree with your daughter. For everyday shots you need to learn about 5 things and you can quickly get some amazing exposures. Glass is always more important than the body. Yes, still clunky when you are not looking to capture moments. I with Canon would come out with such a lens. 

 
Quote:
Originally Posted by melgross View Post

As someone with a long commercial background in professional photography, I'm at odds about this. So I do have a fair amount of expensive photo equipment. But I don't carry it around nearly as much as I used to.

Not nearly as versatile as this combo is, but not as ergonomically, well, lousy.

 

Quote:
 What would be perfect from Apple? 12 high quality MPs. An optical 3x zoom. All in the same phone package we have now. Impossible? Not really. We're just not there yet.

 

I would add IS to that list, and with the M7 chip, we'll probably see this in the iPhone 6. 8MP is enough for a phone. 

 

Quote:
 But while this looks to be a good idea from Sony, it's just too bulky. The extra quality is very nice, but the camera itself is really thick. If I wanted this, I would want it to be easily pocketable itself. It's not.
 
Quite frankly, one would be better off, if picture quality is the main interest, to buy a compact camera for the same, or lower price, and keep that in a pocket. Some have wiFi. Some let you post to Facebook, or other sites.

 

Good first try by Sony. They need to promote the possibilities of this lens by way of difficult shots you can't get with anywhere else. Such as this lens on an monopod, or sitting high above the crowd at a party, or in a helium balloon capturing scenic or large group shots. 

 

The QX100 needs the better optical zoom. I will have to look at its details to find out why the longer lens does not have a further reach. The quality does not outperform the iPhone 5s greatly enough to purchase as a phone extension. If you are going to use for unique positioning of the lens, then it has merit. 

 

My iPhone 6 wish list: 

  • Maintain 8mp but larger sensor, larger pixels.  Allows more light to be captured and less noise. With the 5s increasing sensor and pixel size, the 6 unfortunately probably won't. Good read
  • Faster shutter speeds. If you have more light coming in, you can increase the shutter speed and therefore lower blur. This is important for objects moving and not just you moving. Capturing that flower in the wind. 
  • Zoned Exposure. Just like your auto-focus is zoned, so should exposure. This will allow the iPhone to adjustment of exposure levels across the image. HDR is today's answer, but I think a better job can be done. (again, without having my 5s to test)
  • Image Stabilizing (IS): Yes, the 5s has some IS, and if mine ever arrives I'll be able to test this out. Apple uses Image-blending stabilization but with the M7 we could see optical image stabilizing. The current 5s approach + optical IS might be a great combination. 
  • Wide Area Flash (WAF): The 5s flash concept sounds appealing with the new amber light. What I would like to see changed is each of these two lights parsed into 4 with each having their angle slightly adjusted away from center. This will allow the light to spread wider across the exposure and give less of that 'deer in the headlight' look. This with the zoned exposure would be huge. 
  • Move flash further from the lens to reduce redeye. 
  • Glass to be actual glass. I will always maintain that the quality of glass far outweighs the quality of the camera body itself. The amount of light and the quality of light good glass can bring into the sensor is priceless. The iPhone has plastic glass. I want to see this moved to real glass (might be the sapphire?). I can't imagine plastic allowing as much light, or as pure light to pass through as actual glass does. With my experience with photography and the huge difference of quality glass can make, this may be the single biggest advancement Apple could make in the 6. 

 

I am excited to test the 5s!  My dream is for Apple to team up with Canon : ) 

post #16 of 35
post #17 of 35

This product exists because smartphones have taken a chunk out of the once-thriving compact (casual) camera market. This needs to be a three-way comparison between 1) iPhone, 2) Sony QX, and 3) compact cameras.

 

The lightweight review left me with a bunch of unanswered questions:

1) how does it do in low light scenes? How sensitive are the image chips? What does the noise look like at the limit?

2) how do skin tones look? A lot of casual pictures are of people, not buildings.

3) how well does the QX imagine stabilization work? The iPhones have killer imagine stabilizers.

4) how sharp is the image at the edges? At both ends of the optical zoom range? Any color aberrations?

5) how much detail is lost by the JPEG conversion? Can we see a 100% crop without any digital zoom applied?

6) how does the camera's auto white-balance do in warm tungsten light? hard greenish fluorescent light?

"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

John C. Dvorak, 2007
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"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

John C. Dvorak, 2007
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post #18 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by melgross View Post

What would be perfect from Apple? 12 high quality MPs. An optical 3x zoom. All in the same phone package we have now. Impossible? Not really. We're just not there yet.

But while this looks to be a good idea from Sony, it's just too bulky. The extra quality is very nice, but the camera itself is really thick. If I wanted this, I would want it to be easily pocketable itself. It's not.
 

 

I hear ya.

Why not get a telephoto lens like the Olloclip or the Photojojo?

 

cell-phone-lenses-c320.gif
(Pictured: Phone Lens Series from Photojojo)

 

There's not much to carry around, and the phone and lenses are easily pocketable without needing another electronic device that requires batteries, chargers, memory cards, etc.

"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

John C. Dvorak, 2007
Reply

"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

John C. Dvorak, 2007
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post #19 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by Suddenly Newton View Post
 

 

I hear ya.

Why not get a telephoto lens like the Olloclip or the Photojojo?

 


(Pictured: Phone Lens Series from Photojojo)

 

There's not much to carry around, and the phone and lenses are easily pocketable without needing another electronic device that requires batteries, chargers, memory cards, etc.

I often considered this...$70 is not too bad. I like the low fisheye lens for interior shots of homes (Real Estate), although interior shots with an iPhone are somewhat problematic. Some photos are good and fine for websites, MLS's brochures, etc., but most aren't! :)

 

FYI: Be careful. Sometimes the add-on lens covers the flash! :)

 

Edit: Thanks for the links, Newt! :)


Edited by christopher126 - 11/2/13 at 3:23pm
post #20 of 35
I don't see the point of this product. The reason people are taking more photos with their iPhones is because it he quality is "good enough" and the camera is always with us.

Products like this improve on the quality but require you to carry an additional, bulky and inconvenient to use accessory. If I'm going to be bothered to carry something else it may as well be a fully featured compact camera with far superior ergonomics.
post #21 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by Suddenly Newton View Post
 

 

I hear ya.

Why not get a telephoto lens like the Olloclip or the Photojojo?

 

That's kinda like saying why buy a car when you can buy a hubcap. The Olloclip is neat but it's not even close to being the same thing in any way. These Sony products are extremely high-end full cameras just without a viewfinder.

post #22 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by Takeo View Post

That's kinda like saying why buy a car when you can buy a hubcap. The Olloclip is neat but it's not even close to being the same thing in any way. These Sony products are extremely high-end full cameras just without a viewfinder.

Your definition of "extremely high-end camera" is what photographers would call a compact consumer camera. It's precisely the type of camera the iPhone is replacing.

If all you want is an iPhone with an optical zoom, the Olloclip is an inexpensive solution.

"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

John C. Dvorak, 2007
Reply

"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

John C. Dvorak, 2007
Reply
post #23 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by Takeo View Post
 

 

That's kinda like saying why buy a car when you can buy a hubcap. The Olloclip is neat but it's not even close to being the same thing in any way. These Sony products are extremely high-end full cameras just without a viewfinder.

 

Sony and extremely high-end full camera does not belong in the same sentence. I don't know of one professional photographer using Sony. Canon and Nikon for those wanting high-end. 

post #24 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard Getz View Post

My iPhone 6 wish list: 
  • Maintain 8mp but larger sensor, larger pixels.  Allows more light to be captured and less noise. With the 5s increasing sensor and pixel size, the 6 
    unfortunately probably won't. Good read
  • Faster shutter speeds. If you have more light coming in, you can increase the shutter speed and therefore lower blur. This is important for objects moving and not just you moving. Capturing that flower in the wind. 
  • Zoned Exposure. Just like your auto-focus is zoned, so should exposure. This will allow the iPhone to adjustment of exposure levels across the image. HDR is today's answer, but I think a better job can be done. (again, without having my 5s to test)
  • Image Stabilizing (IS): Yes, the 5s has some IS, and if mine ever arrives I'll be able to test this out. Apple uses Image-blending stabilization but with the M7 we could see optical image stabilizing. The current 5s approach + optical IS might be a great combination. 
  • Wide Area Flash (WAF): The 5s flash concept sounds appealing with the new amber light. What I would like to see changed is each of these two lights parsed into 4 with each having their angle slightly adjusted away from center. This will allow the light to spread wider across the exposure and give less of that 'deer in the headlight' look. This with the zoned exposure would be huge. 
  • Move flash further from the lens to reduce redeye. 
  • Glass to be actual glass. I will always maintain that the quality of glass far outweighs the quality of the camera body itself. The amount of light and the quality of light good glass can bring into the sensor is priceless. The iPhone has plastic glass. I want to see this moved to real glass (might be the sapphire?). I can't imagine plastic allowing as much light, or as pure light to pass through as actual glass does. With my experience with photography and the huge difference of quality glass can make, this may be the single biggest advancement Apple could make in the 6. 

If I'm not mistaken the iPhone has used actual glass lens elements since the iPhone 4 and with the iPhone 5 the cover was switched to sapphire crystal. Secondly I'm unclear on why you think the M7 would impact having an optical image stabilization. If anything it would improve the image processing capabilities; however even that the M7 doesn't introduce any new sensor technology. The M7 is meant to provide a lower power processor that can capture and process sensor data without having to constantly wake up the A7.
post #25 of 35
These comparisons are silly. What kind of metering was used?

A slight change in the framing can change the exposure. Every frame was different.
post #26 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by studentx View Post

These comparisons are silly. What kind of metering was used?

A slight change in the framing can change the exposure. Every frame was different.

I noticed it too, and it appears no attempt was made to manually set the exposure. I can only assume either: (1) Neil isn't a photographer, (2) the camera doesn't tell you and gives no options, or (3) it doesn't matter to most casual Facebook / Instagram / Flickr users who will just point and shoot.

However, know its not (2) with the iPhone because you can use the touchscreen to point to your subject and the iPhone switches to spot metering.

What I don't get is why HDR wasn't turned on. The iPhone 5s has a terrific ability to prevent overexposing the sky then photographing backlit subjects like the building, when using HDR. Why not use that?

"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

John C. Dvorak, 2007
Reply

"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

John C. Dvorak, 2007
Reply
post #27 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by PopinFRESH View Post


If I'm not mistaken the iPhone has used actual glass lens elements since the iPhone 4 and with the iPhone 5 the cover was switched to sapphire crystal. Secondly I'm unclear on why you think the M7 would impact having an optical image stabilization. If anything it would improve the image processing capabilities; however even that the M7 doesn't introduce any new sensor technology. The M7 is meant to provide a lower power processor that can capture and process sensor data without having to constantly wake up the A7.

 

 

Yes, the outside lens is Sapphire, but the inside elements are still plastic: 

 

http://www.anandtech.com/show/7329/some-thoughts-about-the-iphone-5s-camera-improvements 

 

The M7 can probably more quickly detect movement from the gyroscope and return that data to the optical image stabilizer (if Apple uses one) than older Ax systems where the Ax could be burdened with other tasks. The iPhone is probably too thin for an OIS, but one can hope. 
post #28 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard Getz View Post
 

 

Sony and extremely high-end full camera does not belong in the same sentence. I don't know of one professional photographer using Sony. Canon and Nikon for those wanting high-end. 

High end is a bit of hyperbole for these cameras, the Q10 is based on a Sony bridge camera, small sensor larger zoom range, the Q100 is based on the RX100 series which is a high end compact camera. It has a much bigger sensor than typical P&S and a price to match. The new cameras have some limited uses but I do not see them getting real popular. Just to slow to set up and too big for the use envisioned. Sony's Cyber-Shot division has come out with some good camera lately, so the occasional miss is not a big deal. The RX100 and RX1, both proved to be very desirable cameras. 

 

As far as pro cameras go, certainly most use Canon and Nikon bodies but there are pro's using Sony FF and APS-C cameras as well as other brands. If it was not for companies like Pentax, Sony, Fuji and Olympus the DSLR market would be even more boring than it is now. 

post #29 of 35
This product is destined to fail - period. Having worked as Product Manager for a major CE company, I feel I am in the position to make such statement. The whole concept is just a big non-sense, as many readers have pointed out: if you want to take quality pictures anywhere, possibly with the convenience of a good optical zoom, why not just carry a pocket camera that can cost way less, fires up in split seconds and without all the hassles of all these physical connections (wifi/body attachment). And that's what I do - I carry a very small Sony cam with an excellent 20X zoom with me most of the time, and have taken great, interesting pictures. I really think Sony Mobile and Apple should explore those folding zoom lens that are found in many credit card thin cameras (especially Sony's) as they are really compact with excellent image quality that make them suitable for use in mobile phones - hope they take note !
post #30 of 35
To me this defeats the beauty of using a mobile phone as a camera, its always with me and taking up very little room in my pocket.

When I need more than 8 megapixels and different focal lengths I'd rather use a proper camera, far more responsive.
post #31 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by wally626 View Post
 

High end is a bit of hyperbole for these cameras, the Q10 is based on a Sony bridge camera, small sensor larger zoom range, the Q100 is based on the RX100 series which is a high end compact camera. It has a much bigger sensor than typical P&S and a price to match. The new cameras have some limited uses but I do not see them getting real popular. Just to slow to set up and too big for the use envisioned. Sony's Cyber-Shot division has come out with some good camera lately, so the occasional miss is not a big deal. The RX100 and RX1, both proved to be very desirable cameras. 

 

As far as pro cameras go, certainly most use Canon and Nikon bodies but there are pro's using Sony FF and APS-C cameras as well as other brands. If it was not for companies like Pentax, Sony, Fuji and Olympus the DSLR market would be even more boring than it is now. 

 

I was not commenting on the quality of these lenses within their category, but the high-end comment was out of place. Yes, if stated high-end compact cameras, I would not even be able to comment as I have no knowledge in that space. 

 

I'm sure there are professionals somewhere using non Canon or Nikon gear, I just don't know of any or have heard of any. I strongly disagree with your last sentence. 

post #32 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by realpaulfreeman View Post

To me this defeats the beauty of using a mobile phone as a camera, its always with me and taking up very little room in my pocket.

When I need more than 8 megapixels and different focal lengths I'd rather use a proper camera, far more responsive.

 

Not sure about opinions here, but when the NYT publishes your photos, you probably did something right:

 

http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2011/10/23/magazine/mag-23Look.html?_r=0

 

Yeah. iPhone + Hipstamatic. 

 

Details:

 

http://connect.dpreview.com/post/6401294793/

 

His site:

 

http://www.benlowy.com

post #33 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by Quadra 610 View Post
 

 

Not sure about opinions here, but when the NYT publishes your photos, you probably did something right:

 

http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2011/10/23/magazine/mag-23Look.html?_r=0

 

Yeah. iPhone + Hipstamatic. 

 

Details:

 

http://connect.dpreview.com/post/6401294793/

 

His site:

 

http://www.benlowy.com

 

I don't think they published based on the quality of the photographs. 

 

Also, the colors are way off; these most have had post processing. 

post #34 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard Getz View Post
 

 

I don't think they published based on the quality of the photographs. 

 

Also, the colors are way off; these most have had post processing. 

 

 

It's increasing the legitimacy of iPhone (mobile) photography.

 

Yes, these have had post-processing, but given that they were done with Hipstamatic, that's expected, and it's part of their charm. And they look great, too. 

 

I'm not even going to get into what VSCO (VSCO Cam) has done for iPhone photography. I've been very impressed with the product and the results (as have many others.) No big-ass lens needed. 

post #35 of 35
This device is pointless. What is Sony thinking? If you have to go through the trouble and expense of using a camera that will far exceed your cell phone, then why not just invest in DSLR camera at a similar price point but has infinite more capability?
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