There are Android powered dSLRs, point n shoots, and few smartphones that can matchup point and shoot. But what’s truly missing is an Android smartphone with dSLR capabilities. Meet the note worthy Sony QX1 camera that takes the first step to unify dSLR and smartphones, sort of.
QX1 carries a APS-C sensor from Mirrorless cameras (dSLR equivalents). This sensor is exactly like what you find in low-end to midrange dSLRs like NEX 5s, Nikon D5100, Canon 50D, etc. Same size sensor with good Megapixel count and decent ISO performance.
This portable camera can be paired with Sony’s E-mount lenses, found on Sony’s mirrorless range: NEX series. Hence, this E-mount adapter can be paired with almost any NEX lenses (10+ professional lenses to choose from). Furthermore, E to A adapter can be used to adapt to ANY Sony Alpha-mount lenses which takes the lens availability to 50+. Since it’s an interchangeable camera, you can snap on pretty much any Wide angle (10-20mm), tele zoom (100-200 mm), macro, anything. Virtually, every lens ever designed for Sony Alpha dSLRs can be used with QX1.
QX1 operation is simple, intuitive and fun. QX1 pairs with your smartphone (over NFC or manually) and uses Wifi P2P for Live View, taking pictures, videos. Your phone screen becomes the Wireless Viewfinder that you can use to click in the way you want.
How’s the wireless experience? Its mostly seamless with few connectivity quirks. The viewfinder runs easily at 30fps (read smooth) as long as QX1 and smartphone are decently placed (~10ft). All the photos are streamed and stored on your phone. You’ve lots of shooting modes to choose from and camera isn’t shy of shooting RAW photos either.
ILCE-QX1 is pretty impressive on specs. It can operate healthily in ISO 100 – 16,000 range giving you enough low light capturing abilities. Pair this to any fast wide aperture lens like F1.4 or F1.8 and you can shoot like any other dSLR. The APS-C sensor is capable of streaming 20.1 Megapixels. The video mode does 1080p @30FPS with support for AVCHD. QX1 also has a popup flash.
The sensor doesn’t do any image stabilization, and lens will have to take ownership. But that’s nothing new for Sony alpha photographers. All NEX alpha series cameras have Image stabilization built-into the lens. Why? Sony believes its more effective, and downside is of course raise in price of each lens.
Yes it looks weird when one snaps on a humongous 70-200 F2.8 G lens on this small sensor camera body tethered to a smartphone – a total imbalance of weight ratios, but it works without any hiccups. Is it a good idea? We believe yes, its a good idea and the step in the right direction.
QX1 will cost you $399 and is available at Sony’s official store.