Folks snap an awful lot of pictures with their smartphones… but most phone cameras don’t have wide angle lenses, optical zoom, and other features that you’d get with a decent dedicated camera.

So last year Sony launched a line of lenses that you can clip onto a phone in order to take better pictures.

Now Sony is updating its lens lineup with two new models — including one that lets you use a wide range of Sony camera lenses with your phone.

sony qx30

The Sony QX30 is a zoom lens with optical image stabilization and a 21MP image sensor. It’s basically a standalone camera-in-a-lens, but it pairs with your phone so that you can use it as a viewfinder and use the touchscreen to navigate options.

The lens supports WiFi and NFC, features 30x optical zoom, and has a built-in stereo mic so you can record audio and video as well as shooting photos.

Sony’s QX1 isn’t really a lens. Instead it’s a device that lets you mount Sony’s E-Mount lenses to your phone. In other words, you get access to a wide range of interchangeable specialty lenses that you’d normally use with a DSLR or other high-quality camera. There’s also an adapter that lets you use A-Mount lenses.

sony qx1

The QX1 itself has a 20MP image sensor, WiFi, and NFC for connecting to your phone. You can use your phone or manual controls on the mount itself, and the QX1 also supports external flash bulbs.

Sony is taking pre-orders for the QX30 for $350, and the QX1 is going for $400.

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8 replies on “Upgrade your smartphone camera with Sony’s new Lens add-ons”

  1. Interesting, but considering that NEX and many other recent Sony cameras support the PlayMemories mobile remote app, it’s difficult to see the point of this.

    Optics will dictate the minimum size these devices can be, and thus so far the end products are not significantly more portable than their standalone camera counterparts. In its place it adds a huge restriction of only working in conjunction with a clunky smartphone app.

  2. Just wait they will drop in price.
    I’m glad they are continuing to develop this line of products as I just purchased a QX10!

  3. Hmm, QX1 looks interesting with its APS-C sensor, however not at that price, as already said, 400 will get your camera AND a lens too.

  4. At $400, I can get a standalone Sony NEX that I can use without tying up the phone… Have you ever used your phone to take video while you’re driving and then been unable to use it for anything else?

    I think I’ll stick an actual camera to the windshield and keep my phone for making calls and listening to music, rather than getting a stripped down NEX named QX1 that can’t do anything without my phone being involved in the process.

  5. Hmm, doesn’t seem to say anywhere on the Sony site, I wonder if they were smart enough to include a tripod mount… Which would be quite useful for setting the camera up and then controlling it remotely from the phone (for high-quality selfies, of course).

    1. The QX10 and QX100 models both have tripod mounts so these new ones should also.

  6. So they’re external cameras not lenses? That makes more sense, only so much you can get out of a bad sensor by adding optics.

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