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Sony Cyber-shot DSC-QX10 Review

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-QX10 Review - We review this smart lens from Sony, the Sony Cyber-shot QX10, designed to be the camera for your phone.

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Category : Compact Cameras
Product : Sony Cyber-shot QX10
Price : £169
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Features
Handling
Performance
Verdict
Specification

Cyber-shot QX10
The QX10 is based on the Sony Cyber-shot WX200, this small Smart Lens unit features an 18.2 megapixel backlit CMOS sensor, 10x optical zoom lens with image stabilisation. With built in Wi-Fi and NFC the lens camera unit can connect to any compatible android or iOS smartphone or tablet for remote operation and photo viewing.

Sony research has suggested the top 3 issues smartphone photographers face includes poor optical zoom, image stabilization, and low light performance, with 77% of smartphone users saying their primary use is photography. In order to provide a solution to the problems inherent with smartphone photography, Sony has developed the new "Smart Lens" system that can be used with any smartphone.

Sony Cyber-shot QX10 Features

Sony Cyber Shot QX10 Black (5)

The Smart Lens is Android and iOS compatible, as well as compatible with the Kindle and other tablets. Using the camera with another device as the remote control, you are able to use touch AF, with Wi-Fi working up to around 10m, or more. The Smart Lens has built in one touch connection using NFC. The Smart Lens will also work with devices that don’t have NFC built in, you can just connect over Wi-Fi networking.

Sony Cyber-shot QX10 Key Features

  • 18.2mp, 1/2.3" type, BSI CMOS Exmor R sensor
  • 10x zoom, 25-250mm equivalent
  • Full HD Video (MP4)
  • NFC, Wi-Fi
  • Stereo mic
  • Micro SD / M2 memory card slot
  • Provided with smartphone mount
  • Available in white or black
Sony Cyber Shot Qx10 Black (8)

Transferring images - Full resolution images are stored on the memory card, and smartphone images are transferred at 2 megapixels by default, although this can be changed to full size depending on how you setup the camera link. You don't have to transfer images to the smartphone if you don’t want to, and it will also work without a memory card so you can just store images directly on the smartphone which would save you buying a memory card, for example if your smartphone already has a lot of memory.

The Smart Lens doesn't have to be physically connected to the phone and can be used as a separate camera – with the screen of the smartphone for remote operation over Wi-Fi. You would most likely want to use it this way with the smartphone so that you can see what you are taking photos of, even though it can also be used without first being connected to the smartphone.

Sony Cyber-shot QX10 Handling
Sony Cyber Shot Qx10 Black (6)

The QX10 feels well built and with the camera attached to your smartphone gives a better grip for your smartphone when taking photos. The side shutter release button is on the left which means you have the choice of using either your left or right hand to shoot with it, either wrapping your hand around it, or even using your thumb to release the shutter. The round shape of the camera naturally lends itself to experimentation and with an orientation sensor built in it doesn't matter which way up you shoot with it.

Sony Playmemories Mobile App gives the following options: iA, Superior Auto, Program, Copy from connected device, white balance, self-timer, focus mode, image size, preview setting, review image size, beep setting, format, movie, photo, exposure compensation (+/-3). The app lets you change settings using the touch-screen, as well as set the focus point.

Sony Cyber Shot Qx10 Black (13)

The QX10 features a tripod socket, and a small LCD display for battery life and any other error messages such as not having a memory card. The shutter release and zoom control is on the side. An adjustable attachment provided can hold the lens to the smartphone, so it will work with any smartphone. The lens locks into place on the attachment, with a small button used to unlock it so it can be detached.

Sony Cyber Shot Qx10 Black (7)

Battery life for the camera is rated at 110 minutes or 220 photos, with the camera using an N series battery from standard Sony Cyber-shots. The battery can be charged in the camera over USB, and is also removable so you can charge it in the optional charger.

Speed - We took a number of shots to test the camera's responsiveness, from switch on to first photo, shot to shot, focusing speed etc. We take a number of shots and then use the average to ensure accurate and consistent tests, making it easy to compare with other cameras.

Shutter Response <0.05
Wide - Focus / Shutter Response 0.15
Full zoom - Focus / Shutter Response 0.15
Switch on Time to Taking a Photo (not connected) 2.6
Shot to Shot without Flash 0.9
Shot to Shot with Flash N/A
Continuous Shooting - JPEG N/A
Continuous Shooting - Flash N/A

Focus, shutter response and shot to shot times are very good, although it's a shame you can't access continuous shooting, as we suspect it would be quick.

Sony Cyber-shot QX10 Performance

Additional sample photos and product shots are available in the Equipment Database, where you can add your own review, photos and product ratings.

Sony Cyber-shot QX10 Sample Photos


Sample Photos - The QX10 lets you focus on subjects as close as 5cm away from the front of the lens, and this provides decent macro performance, most likely better than most smartphones. The camera produces a pleasing portrait shot, although the lack of flash means you are reliant on good light. 

Sony Cyber-shot QX10 Lens test images


Lens Performance - The lens performs well at both ends of the lens, with a little softening at the telephoto end. Detail is reasonably good, although fine detail can be difficult to see. Exposure is good and colour is pleasing with bright saturated colours. There was very little purple fringing or chromatic aberrations, with just a slight hint of vignetting when shooting wide-angle shots.

Sony Cyber-shot QX10 ISO test images


ISO Noise Performance - The camera lacks ISO settings so we have altered the light levels to get the automatic ISO to set the ISO speed. In low light and when on iAuto or Superior Auto the camera will take a number of shots at a high ISO setting and combine the images to produce a photo with lower noise than if it had just taken one shot.

Sony Cyber-shot QX10 White-balance test images


White Balance Performance - Auto White Balance (AWB) performs well under tungsten lighting, with the tungsten preset giving a slightly warmer result. AWB performs very well under fluorescent lighting, and for most shots the fluorescent presets are best avoided due to a strong colour cast. 

Due to the very basic shooting options available, with a choice of Program, Auto, or Superior Auto there is no panoramic mode or digital effects, or filters available. HDR shooting is possible however you need to use the superior auto mode and let the camera decide to shoot a number of shots and combine them, this isn't always possible depending on framing and lighting.

Video - The camera records full HD videos with stereo sound and optical zoom is available. Quality is good, although videos aren't transfered over to the smartphone after recording, instead you will need to get them from the memory card.


Value For Money

The Sony Cyber-shot QX10 is available for around £179, which is just a little bit more than the Sony Cyber-shot WX200 with Wi-Fi and built in screen, available for around £170. Other options include the Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom smartphone with built in 10x optical zoom lens camera, the Nokia Lumia 1020 with 41 megapixel sensor and "lossless" zoom (when shooting at a lower resolution), or you could get a separate camera to take with you, such as the Panasonic Lumix SZ9 with 10x zoom and Wi-Fi available for around £150, or the Canon IXUS 135 with 8x zoom and Wi-Fi for around £120. 

You'll also need to buy a memory card and a case or bag to keep your camera safe and protected - have a look at our complete guide to camera bags.

Sony Cyber-shot QX10 Verdict

The Sony Cyber-shot QX10 is a compact, but not ultra-compact digital camera, with Wi-Fi for a direct connection to your smartphone, running Android or iOS. Without the connection you can still take photos but will be left to guesswork regarding whether you are getting the photo you want. 

The camera does not have a flash, and can not use the LED from your smartphone, therefore in darkness, you may actually be better off using your smartphone with LED flash, than the QX10. Another aspect of pairing this with your smartphone, is that both the camera and your smartphone needs to be charged. Whereas if you had a compact camera that works independantly you can still keep shooting, if your smartphone battery dies.

It adds some of the benefits of a digital camera, such as a 10x optical zoom lens, however, doesn't add some of the more useful features, such as a real xenon flash, focus assist light or control over ISO settings. For the same price you can buy the camera the QX10 is based on, the Sony Cyber-shot WX200, which has a slimmer body and built in screen, flash, and more. I can imagine that the QX10 may seem like a good idea to some, however, if you don't want to carry two devices with you, then you'll likely just take your smartphone with you anyway, and if you are happy to carry two devices, then you may as well carry a dedicated, compact camera. A neat idea, however it could have been much better with a real flash, more control, and a more compact body. 

Sony Cyber-shot QX10 Pros

18 megapixel sensor
Wi-Fi and NFC 
FullHD video with stereo sound
10x optical zoom lens
Zoom can be used in videos
Can shoot left or right handed
Better macro performance than most smartphones
Tripod socket

Sony Cyber-shot QX10 Cons

Lacks flash
Lacks focus assist lamp
Limited options and controls (such as ISO)
Lacks panoramic or effect shooting
Lacks continuous shooting mode
Lacks dedicated video button
Shooting without the connection is like shooting blind

FEATURES  
HANDLING  
PERFORMANCE  
VALUE FOR MONEY  
VERDICT  

Sony Cyber-shot QX10 Specifications

ManufacturerSony
Lens
Max Aperturef/3.3 - f/5.9
35mm equivalent25mm - 250mm
Optical Zoom10x
Image Sensor
CCD pixels18.2Mp (Megapixels)
Pixels (W)4608
Pixels (H)3456
Sensor TypeBack-lit CMOS (B.S.I.)
Sensor Size1/2.3inch
Sensor Size (width)No Data
Sensor Size (height)No Data
Aspect Ratio
  • 4:3
  • 16:9
LCD Monitor
LCD Monitor0in
Screen resolution0
Touch ScreenNo
Focusing
Min Focus5cm
Focusing modes
  • Autofocus
  • Touch AF
Exposure Control
Shutter speeds shortest1/1600sec
Shutter speeds longest4sec
Exp modes
  • Program
  • Scene modes
Metering
  • Multi Pattern
ISO sensitivity100 - 12800
White balance
  • Auto
  • Outdoors/Daylight
  • Cloudy
  • Incandescent
  • Fluorescent
  • Shade
Exposure Comp+/-2
Shooting Options
Continuous shootingNo Data
Video
Movie modeNo
Video Resolution
  • 1920x1080
Video FPS30
Stereo SoundYes
Optical Zoom with VideoYes
Other Features
Image StabilisationYes
Interface
HDMINo
USBUSB 2
Wi-FiYes
Storage
Card Type
  • Micro SD
  • Micro SDHC
  • M2
File Type
  • JPG
Power Source
Battery TypeN Series Lithium-Ion
CIPA Rating220
Box Contents
Box ContentsRechargeable Battery Pack (NP-BN), Micro USB cable, Wrist Strap, Smartphone attachment, Instruction Manual
Dimensions
Weight105g
Width62.4mm
Height61.8mm
Depth33.3mm

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Photographs taken using the Sony Cyber-shot QX10

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Comments


AlexandraSD 2 435 United Kingdom
10 Oct 2013 6:23PM
Recently saw these on digitalrev, wasn't impressed then, not impressed now, the battery life is terrible, just 220 images? Thats like 15 minutes of realtime photography...

Smartphone photography infuriates me somewhat, if one must insist on taking photos then buy a bloody camera, stop twatting about pointing iphones at dull as dishwater objects (what, you have a frappacino from starbucks? whoopydoo....)! An iphone photographer could take millions of photos on his iphone and still not know the first thing about the basics, but that doesn't matter cos they have apps which gives them hip filters.

So now we will have iphone smartphone togs pratting about with remote lenses, oh brilliant, why not give them a fecking trumpet as well...

meh!

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23 Dec 2013 10:52PM
I am the opposite to Alex I am afraid. I can see the fun and creative aspect of such a camera. I have my DSLR for very serious stuff, and a powerful compact for mainstream stuff. But..... Having a little camera that is controlled by your phone and is separate from said phone, at angles your would not dream of with a bulky DSLR "off the cuff" so to speak, the creative side is almost limitless.

So, in the end I have just bought one, and I am looking forward to using it.Grin

Fun? Yep, the concept is fun and I can imagine already what I can use it for (nothing kinky I might add!)Tongue

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