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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.
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
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
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.
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.
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.
|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.
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Sony Cyber-shot QX10 Sample Photos
Portrait | 1/50 sec | f/4.0 | 7.9 mm | ISO 500
Sunset | 1/1250 sec | f/5.9 | 44.5 mm | ISO 100
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
Wide | 1/1250 sec | f/3.3 | 4.5 mm | ISO 100
Zoom | 1/500 sec | f/5.9 | 44.5 mm | ISO 100
Red Leaves | 1/250 sec | f/5.9 | 44.5 mm | ISO 125
Macro With Some Zoom | 1/20 sec | f/4.0 | 6.8 mm | ISO 800
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
1/80 sec | f/5.0 | 14.2 mm | ISO 400
1/60 sec | f/5.0 | 14.2 mm | ISO 800
1 sec | f/5.0 | 14.2 mm | ISO 1600
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
AWB Tungsten | 1/40 sec | f/3.5 | 6.0 mm | ISO 320
WB Tungsten | 1/40 sec | f/3.5 | 6.0 mm | ISO 320
AWB Fluorescent | 1/30 sec | f/3.5 | 6.0 mm | ISO 800
WB Fluorescent 1 | 1/30 sec | f/3.5 | 6.0 mm | ISO 800
WB Fluorescent 2 | 1/30 sec | f/3.5 | 6.0 mm | ISO 800
WB Fluorescent 3 | 1/30 sec | f/3.5 | 6.0 mm | ISO 800
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 MoneyThe 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.
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 Pros18 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
Sony Cyber-shot QX10 ConsLacks 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
|VALUE FOR MONEY|
Sony Cyber-shot QX10 Specifications
|Max Aperture||f/3.3 - f/5.9|
|35mm equivalent||25mm - 250mm|
|CCD pixels||18.2Mp (Megapixels)|
|Sensor Type||Back-lit CMOS (B.S.I.)|
|Sensor Size (width)||No Data|
|Sensor Size (height)||No Data|
|Shutter speeds shortest||1/1600sec|
|Shutter speeds longest||4sec|
|ISO sensitivity||100 - 12800|
|Continuous shooting||No Data|
|Optical Zoom with Video||Yes|
|Battery Type||N Series Lithium-Ion|
|Box Contents||Rechargeable Battery Pack (NP-BN), Micro USB cable, Wrist Strap, Smartphone attachment, Instruction Manual|