x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Give your smartphone camera more firepower with Sony’s new lens

Sony's QX100 smart lens might be fiddly to handle and cost Dh1,699, but it can attach to both an Android smartphone or iPhone.

The Cyber-shot QX100 lens with Xperia-Z1 phone. Courtesy Sony
The Cyber-shot QX100 lens with Xperia-Z1 phone. Courtesy Sony

For the amateur smartphone snapper looking for a bit more firepower for that extra-special shot, Sony has introduced the QX100 smart lens.

The idea is that instead of shelling out on a swanky, complicated, DSLR camera that will be of use for your holidays but sit in a drawer for the rest of the year, you just buy a lens that attaches to your perfectly functional Android smartphone or iPhone (no BlackBerry or Windows Phone version yet, apparently) to give it a bit of extra oomph when the occasion requires.

The initial set-up is a bit fiddly; after physically attaching the lens to your phone with the built-in clips, the two devices are then connected via Wi-Fi. The user then launches a Sony app on their phone that offers a full screen viewfinder.

It’s a bit complicated at first and even after a bit of practice it takes time to set up, meaning that grazing oryx might be bored and have wandered off by the time you are ready to shoot.

However, the QX100 sports a Carl Zeiss lens with a 20.2 megapixel 1-inch sensor, together with a 3.6x optical zoom, instantly enhancing even the better camera phones on the market. Unsurprisingly, the pictures it had taken looked fantastic, offering far more detail than even the best camera phones offer.

Image quality aside, the QX100 is not going to appeal to everyone. Operating the strapped-together phone and lens never felt entirely comfortable for me. Others in the office seemed more at peace with the experience, but it’s best to try before you buy just in case.

A more significant deterrent is the QX100’s price tag of Dh1,699, which makes it more expensive than a high-end compact camera, and only marginally cheaper than an entry level DSLR.

If you’re willing to spend such an amount on taking better pictures, it might be worth considering a standalone camera instead. If you really don’t want a whole new camera, then the QX100 is one to consider.

jeverington@thenational.ae