Sony wants to change smartphone photography with the launch of its new lens accessories for smartphones, the QX10 and QX100 lens-style cameras, announced at IFA 2013, following considerable leaks online.
The concept sees Sony stripping the camera body away, leaving just the lens and sensor elements, along with components necessary to make the device work as a standalone unit - wireless connections, a battery, microSD card slot and so on.
Controls on the lens-style cameras themselves are restricted to the very basic: you get zoom controls and a shutter button to allow the lenses to work independently, however, there's no display and no control over shooting settings, all of which have to be governed by the connected smartphone.
The good news is that Sony isn't just limiting this to its own Xperia smartphones, although candidly says that they will offer the best experience. Connection can be triggered by NFC if you have a suitably equipped Android smartphone, but a regular Wi-Fi connection can be established, meaning you'll be able to use the lens-style cameras with the Apple iPhone too.
There's a mount with adjustable jaws to connect the QX10 or QX100 to the back of your smartphone, after which you can use it as if it were a compact camera. There's a setting to govern whether images are stored on the lens memory, on your smartphone, or both.
The connection and control is enabled through the PlayMemories Mobile app, meaning that Android, iOS and Kindle will be supported.
The Sony QX100 is derived from the Sony Cyber-shot RS100 II, with Zeiss glass, and a 1-inch 20-megapixel sensor. It offers 3.6x optical zoom and there's manual control ring on the front of the lens, just as there is on the camera is comes from. It has a f/1.8 maximum aperture too, so should be great for low light work.
This is, obviously, the higher-quality of the two and as such, comes with a higher price: the Sony QX100 will launch at £399.
If you're looking for more zoom, then the QX10 will put you in the picture. This model offers 10x optical zoom as its headline feature, being basically derived from the Sony Cyber-shot WX200. It has optical image stabilisation and a 1/2.3 18-megapixel sensor.
The QX10 will be available in black or white colour options, has a Sony G lens on the front and is the more compact of the two devices. It will cost £179.