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Sony updates QX10/QX100 wireless camera lens with 'Half-Press' focus, high-res videos

post #1 of 24
Thread Starter 
Sony on Monday pushed out a firmware update for its iOS-compatible DSC-QX10/QX100 "lens-style" cameras, adding a half-press to focus function to the device's on-board shutter release, higher resolution MP4 video recording and other minor enhancements.

QX100


With the added functionality, Sony brings the QX series in line with most other consumer cameras on the market that can activate auto focus by depressing the hardware shutter release to a halfway point. Users can then snap a picture by pressing down fully.

To go along with the new camera firmware, Sony also rolled out a new PlayMemories Mobile iOS app with UI improvements. When the camera is connected to an iOS device, users can touch the screen to focus and release to take a picture.

As noted in AppleInsider's QX10 and QX100 reviews, the unit's focus control features left much to be desired, especially when controlling the device through the buggy PlayMemories Mobile app.

In addition to half-press focus, Sony has upped MP4 recording size from 1,440-by-1080 pixels to 1,920-by-1080 pixels. Both resolutions are recorded at 30p, or 30 full frames-per-second. The cameras also get a new "S-Mode" shutter priority mode and manual ISO sensitivity from 160 to 12,800.

Finally, while it doesn't apply to iOS devices, Sony has included faster "One-Touch" near-field communication pairing for smartphones and tablets supporting the NFC protocol.

The QX10 update is a 92.19MB download, while the QX100 firmware comes in at 91.42MB. Sony's PlayMemories Mobile app weighs in at 8.2MB and can be downloaded through the App Store.
post #2 of 24
Please. This is the last hurrah for the compact camera, before smartphones snuff them out once and for all. It'll be yesterday's news, like the QuickTake 100 or the Sony Floppy Disk-based Mavica.

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post #3 of 24
Until smartphone cameras can defy physics and drastically improve their optics, large camera lenses will continue to exist regardless of what they are attached to.
post #4 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Suddenly Newton View Post

Please. This is the last hurrah for the compact camera, before smartphones snuff them out once and for all. It'll be yesterday's news, like the QuickTake 100 or the Sony Floppy Disk-based Mavica.

I would never buy this product. I can't even imagine the target market.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Shawn Richards View Post

Until smartphone cameras can defy physics and drastically improve their optics, large camera lenses will continue to exist regardless of what they are attached to.

These are not really large glass. They are medium sized glass.

 

iPhone built-in camera is usually good enough for personal use. For prosumer or semi-professional use, people generally go with DSLR where you have tripod mounts, hot shoe, manual focus and controls, good camera ergonomics, etc. For real pro the market is Hasselblad and Phase One.  Again, I just don't see the target market for this, but perhaps that is just my lack of understanding, but I would never buy this.

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post #5 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shawn Richards View Post

Until smartphone cameras can defy physics and drastically improve their optics, large camera lenses will continue to exist regardless of what they are attached to.

Yeah, they aren't replacing the big DSLRs anytime soon, but I think compact cameras like the Canon ELPH and Nikon CoolPix are done for. And those cameras have small sensors and small lenses. And my (allegedly 10MP) Nikon CoolPix takes crappier photos than my iPhone 5. Terrible optics. I say: good riddance.

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post #6 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Suddenly Newton View Post
 
Yeah, they aren't replacing the big DSLRs anytime soon, but I think compact cameras like the Canon ELPH and Nikon CoolPix are done for. 

Interesting concept though is that as those low to mid-range compact cameras go away, the high end cameras are going to get a lot more expensive because the manufacturers need to shift their major profit generation from high volume low end cameras to niche high end cameras. Perhaps this is where Sony has the most to loose because they really don't make any high end still cameras, plus they are getting squeezed by Nikon and Canon DSLRs that also shoot 1080 HD, a market that Sony used to dominate.

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post #7 of 24

Does this update solve the wireless pairing of ios devices?  The original review panned it for its poor pairing and function.  Will appleinsider update its review?  I like the concept of this lens.  There is a market for cellphone shooters and who want better picks without buying another camera.  

post #8 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kung Fu Guy View Post
 

There is a market for cellphone shooters and who want better picks without buying another camera.  

Personally I wouldn't buy a camera these days that doesn't shoot RAW even if it is 20 MP.

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post #9 of 24
Put the QX10 on a carbon monopod for a Hail Mary shot with your iPhone as viewfinder in your palm and you might change your mind about the usefulness of this camera. It is very small and light, and the 18.2MP is sufficient for most candid shots. Sony makes some great cameras capable of RAW shooting at a rare price (which is the case with the Zeiss-lensed QX100 price) but this is a different animal. I like my QX10.
post #10 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shawn Richards View Post

Until smartphone cameras can defy physics and drastically improve their optics, large camera lenses will continue to exist regardless of what they are attached to.

Yeah it's just that you're more likely to attach them to something other than a smartphone. Phones still do not provide the same amount of flexibility.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by mstone View Post
 

I would never buy this product. I can't even imagine the target market.

 

These are not really large glass. They are medium sized glass.

 

iPhone built-in camera is usually good enough for personal use. For prosumer or semi-professional use, people generally go with DSLR where you have tripod mounts, hot shoe, manual focus and controls, good camera ergonomics, etc. For real pro the market is Hasselblad and Phase One.  Again, I just don't see the target market for this, but perhaps that is just my lack of understanding, but I would never buy this.

Some of the dslrs such as recent nikons are really quite impressive. There's a difference in fine details and difficult gradation, but they're quite workable. I don't know who would buy this. You lose the camera that fits easily in your pocket, yet still lack slr features.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by mstone View Post
 

Personally I wouldn't buy a camera these days that doesn't shoot RAW even if it is 20 MP.

 

I'm surprised we haven't seen more fully linear raw processors outside of Linux, especially with ICCv4 specs and highly compressible formats like EXR.

post #11 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by hmm View Post

I'm surprised we haven't seen more fully linear raw processors outside of Linux, especially with ICCv4 specs and highly compressible formats like EXR.

There's an easy to understand .pdf on EXR on their website:

http://www.openexr.com/TechnicalIntroduction.pdf
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post #12 of 24
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Originally Posted by PhilBoogie View Post


There's an easy to understand .pdf on EXR on their website:

http://www.openexr.com/TechnicalIntroduction.pdf

Yeah although the reason I suggested it was that it saves at 16 or 32 bpc without taking up a huge amount of space on disk. It's often much smaller than a typical tiff file and where properly supported much more malleable. 

post #13 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by hmm View Post

Yeah although the reason I suggested it was that it saves at 16 or 32 bpc without taking up a huge amount of space on disk. It's often much smaller than a typical tiff file and where properly supported much more malleable. 

Good point. Reading up on it now. The compression is quit the feature; good of them to bring it to the world through BSD license.
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post #14 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by PhilBoogie View Post


Good point. Reading up on it now. The compression is quit the feature; good of them to bring it to the world through BSD license.

 

PSDs offer some minor amount of compression, but there are too many issues that can cause them to fail to expand. Compatibility mode merely embeds a flat copy within the encoded stack. lzw is the most common type of tiff compression. I think it relies on collapsing to pointers much like jpeg. It's slow and not everything can open them. EXR is nice because where support is implemented, it's consistent in its behavior. With compression you sometimes end up at 30-50% the size of some of the aforementioned formats. The other thing I mentioned was linear raw editors that don't mess up the pipeline. If you have some kind of base profile that can be used to interpret the raw data in a scene rather than output referred manner, and the file is processed into an unclamped floating point format, you will in theory have a much greater latitude for adjustments. I plan to attempt to port one to OSX or iOS. I expect more support to show up later given that ICCv4 standardized the features that are needed for the workflow, even if most profiles are still v2. I think in a few years people will look back at raw workflow as archaic. Things like GPGPU processing could in fact drive smart real time demosaicing due to its parallel nature. It will be a while though, given that it's also hierarchical, especially the really good noise reduction and anti aliasing algorithms. Those rely a lot on resampling and weighted averages. That's part of the reason why they don't exist today. For example an method of noise reduction was to take an array of pixels like this one.

 

GR

BG  

 

and only build one pixel from the array then resample that back to 2 x 2.

post #15 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by hmm View Post

^ post

This topic is beyond my comprehension. Well, yet anyway. I've learned a lot on the topic of photography but I'm just a hobbyist. Combined with my interest in tech, math and basically expensive stuff I learn from the availability of hi end gear, and the tech that allows the things it can accomplish.

Still, thanks for your post. I get some of it, and will read some more before making a fool of myself.

Thanks.
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post #16 of 24
Sony has done a really good job in the design of this system, basically extracting quality sensors and optics from the digital camera and leaving the rest to your phone which already has better processing, controls and display than many cameras. I usually carry a digital camera as well as my iPhone, and the iPhone image quality has improved so much that I could almost use it as my only camera. My fear, however, is having the iPhone all set up on tripod with attached lenses and suddenly the phone rings. I could of course handle this if I had the right Bluetooth headset and settings, but what I have tried so far is not reliable. Even so, as an architect, I value really wide-angle, but not fish-eye, lenses with high sensitivity. If Sony produced such a QX lens I would buy it.

What I would REALLY like is this: if Sony produced a version of the QX without a lens, so it's basically just a sensor and the electronics, and a lens mounting system that could take Nikon, Canon and other system lenses. If Sony did, then we could use an iPad as the viewfinder and controller. The perfect photography system?
post #17 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tardis View Post

My fear, however, is having the iPhone all set up on tripod with attached lenses and suddenly the phone rings.

Put in on manual 'Do not disturb' mode, or whatever it's called. I do before taking my daily run, and disable that when continuing on my road bike.
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post #18 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by PhilBoogie View Post


This topic is beyond my comprehension. Well, yet anyway. I've learned a lot on the topic of photography but I'm just a hobbyist. Combined with my interest in tech, math and basically expensive stuff I learn from the availability of hi end gear, and the tech that allows the things it can accomplish.

Still, thanks for your post. I get some of it, and will read some more before making a fool of myself.

Thanks.


Well digital cameras (basically the only kind now) use bayer arrays that contain 2 green pixels per 1 red and 1 blue. The sensors themselves are monochromatic. They're filtered for a specific range of wavelengths and arranged in square shapes like that. Some processing electronics are in between these things. Basically there is a lot of interpolation involved in producing an image from that. In my little square shaped thing, R = red, G = green, B = blue. They're just arranged that way. ICC stands for international color consortium. ICC profiles are one form of describing the range of colors described by a given set of data. Version 4 added specifications for how data falling outside of normal boundaries should be handled. An example of out of bounds data would be if you notice something in a raw file is blown out and move the exposure slider to the left. If details appear, information was present. It was merely clipped due to being outside of the displayable range, which is a fixed number of stops, and much less than what some cameras can record. Most tools do a poor job of making full use of that data.

post #19 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by mstone View Post

Interesting concept though is that as those low to mid-range compact cameras go away, the high end cameras are going to get a lot more expensive because the manufacturers need to shift their major profit generation from high volume low end cameras to niche high end cameras. Perhaps this is where Sony has the most to lose because they really don't make any high end still cameras, plus they are getting squeezed by Nikon and Canon DSLRs that also shoot 1080 HD, a market that Sony used to dominate.

Sorry for being a grammar nazi. But I agree.
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post #20 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by hmm View Post

Well digital cameras (basically the only kind now) use bayer arrays that contain 2 green pixels per 1 red and 1 blue. The sensors themselves are monochromatic. They're filtered for a specific range of wavelengths and arranged in square shapes like that. Some processing electronics are in between these things. Basically there is a lot of interpolation involved in producing an image from that. In my little square shaped thing, R = red, G = green, B = blue. They're just arranged that way. ICC stands for international color consortium. ICC profiles are one form of describing the range of colors described by a given set of data. Version 4 added specifications for how data falling outside of normal boundaries should be handled. An example of out of bounds data would be if you notice something in a raw file is blown out and move the exposure slider to the left. If details appear, information was present. It was merely clipped due to being outside of the displayable range, which is a fixed number of stops, and much less than what some cameras can record. Most tools do a poor job of making full use of that data.

That reads a lot easier for me; thanks.

The ICC profiles I get, RGB I understand and I think I understand wavelengths. What I don't precisely understand is the information that falls outside of the displayable range. I know the sensor on my camera is larger than what it outputs, but isn't the output (on the SD card) all the info there is from which I can display the photo on my screen?

Do you always 'shoot' in RAW? I don't as I try to 'get the picture right' in one go. So straight from the camera to print, if you will. Sometimes I crop or need to put the horizon back, but I don't alter the WB or apply filters (much).
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post #21 of 24

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by PhilBoogie View Post


That reads a lot easier for me; thanks.

The ICC profiles I get, RGB I understand and I think I understand wavelengths. What I don't precisely understand is the information that falls outside of the displayable range. I know the sensor on my camera is larger than what it outputs, but isn't the output (on the SD card) all the info there is from which I can display the photo on my screen?

Do you always 'shoot' in RAW? I don't as I try to 'get the picture right' in one go. So straight from the camera to print, if you will. Sometimes I crop or need to put the horizon back, but I don't alter the WB or apply filters (much).

 

Yes on raw. ICC profiles tend to be matrix based. I think there might be a specification for the use of LUTs, but I would have to look. Allowing it to hold out of bounds values just means that it needs some way to quantify them, which as far as I know only seems to be the case when values are evenly distributed. ICC v2 profiles don't work that way. It's just v4 allows recognition of other things that make this possible. By convention color engines that use floating point values consider 0 to 1 to be "within range". If a portion of the addressable values are mapped outside of that, they are out of bounds or clamped. What I'm referring to is the ability to store those out of bounds values for later use if necessary. Anyway parts of what you see on your screen are clamped if they don't fit within the display profile. It's just a bit of matrix math

 

{display profile matrix } X   {conversion matrix for reference space} X {conversion matrix for destination space}

 

As long as the values don't overflow the range of the individual bits, it is preserved. If implemented properly it allows you to bring back blown out parts if information was retained due to being outside the intended brightness range in stops yet not outside the differentiable range of the hardware itself.

 

I need to work on how I explain this.

post #22 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by hmm View Post

I think there might be a specification for the use of LUTs, but I would have to look.

I believe each manufacturer has their own table. And OSX only supports 8 bit, unfortunately.
Quote:
Allowing it to hold out of bounds values just means that it needs some way to quantify them, which as far as I know only seems to be the case when values are evenly distributed. ICC v2 profiles don't work that way. It's just v4 allows recognition of other things that make this possible. By convention color engines that use floating point values consider 0 to 1 to be "within range". If a portion of the addressable values are mapped outside of that, they are out of bounds or clamped. What I'm referring to is the ability to store those out of bounds values for later use if necessary. Anyway parts of what you see on your screen are clamped if they don't fit within the display profile. It's just a bit of matrix math

{display profile matrix } X   {conversion matrix for reference space} X {conversion matrix for destination space}

As long as the values don't overflow the range of the individual bits, it is preserved. If implemented properly it allows you to bring back blown out parts if information was retained due to being outside the intended brightness range in stops yet not outside the differentiable range of the hardware itself.

I need to work on how I explain this.

I think you explained it to me very clearly! Thanks for your replies.

PS on my email notification from you I got another reply from you, which isn't displayed here on AI. Was there a specific reason? TIA
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post #23 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by PhilBoogie View Post


I believe each manufacturer has their own table. And OSX only supports 8 bit, unfortunately.
I think you explained it to me very clearly! Thanks for your replies.


Oh you mean in terms of display output. High bit depth would mainly help the shadows assuming really good hardware implementing it.    That isn't really related to raw processing though.

 

Quote:

PS on my email notification from you I got another reply from you, which isn't displayed here on AI. Was there a specific reason? TIA

 

I rewrote it and accidentally posted the old one with it. Sometimes my replies are too rambly, so I revise them

post #24 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by hmm View Post

Oh you mean in terms of display output. High bit depth would mainly help the shadows assuming really good hardware implementing it.    That isn't really related to raw processing though.

Thanks; I get the difference, though I don't think I notice, or concern myself with, these details. Just a hobbyist here, and I'm happy when the picture looks good to me. That could very well mean there are more pictures that I would love, if 'treated right'.

Thanks for the revise.
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