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Sony lenses turn smartphones into professional cameras

Posting in Technology

Sony is turning point-and-shoot smartphones into higher end cameras with add-on lenses

Sony, once the world's largest maker of digital cameras, is a strong number two - unless you're also counting smartphones. But that's exactly where it is now starting to focus its efforts in the non-professional consumer market.

Smartphones have overtaken the point-and-shoot camera, leaving narrow profit margins for manufacturers like Sony. That has compelled most camera makers to reinvent the professional camera for the high-end market. Sony may also have a solution for the casual consumer: snap on lenses for Android and iPhone handsets.

The BBC confirmed yesterday that it would soon begin selling accessories that connect to smartphones via Wi-Fi. Sony's QX10 lenses make it possible to take professional quality images with handsets and will cost around US$156.00. Sony is positioning its QX10 and QX100 lenses as an upgrade to smartphone cameras that costs less than the standalone DSLR (digital single lens reflex) cameras that many professionals use.

That means lugging around the lenses, but one would likewise have to carry a DSLR in addition to whichever smartphone they owned. Smartphones are also receiving much more powerful cameras. You've probably seen commercials for the Nokia Lumia 1020 and other high megapixel cameras (but that doesn't always mean quality).

Sony has a very niche product idea, but I'd give it a try. A good DSLR runs around $800 and the lenses would run a few hundred more. I don't really need the best of the best and neither do most other consumers.

Would you try upgrading your smartphone camera for better pictures?

(Credit: Lori Grunin/CNET)

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— By on September 4, 2013, 2:47 PM PST

David Worthington

Contributing Editor

David Worthington has written for BetaNews, eWeek, PC World, Technologizer and ZDNet. Formerly, he was a senior editor at SD Times. He holds a business degree from Temple University. He is based in New York. Follow him on Twitter. Disclosure