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| p.3 #19 · Sony announces QX10 and QX100 cameras for smartphones |
The QX10/100 maybe a typical "release 1.0" product, but I guess most of the critique these camera-lenses (or should I say lens-cameras?) are getting today, comes from people who don't understand this product. That by itself is a possible reason for marketing failure, but I am convinced we are seeing products here that indicate where we are heading with photography and video the next few years. Sensor / registration modules, Viewfinders, energy and storage, operations control will become separate functions. In the end for an important part of the photo/video market they will even become separate products. With Google Glass coming, smart watches being introduced, these QX's are just elements of our photographic future in the pipeline.
A great part of the photographers community FM approaches these QX's as camera's with some (major) flaws, a "would-be-RX100" that failed. The DPreview editors misunderstand the product in the same way in my opinion. It's not how I see these products and I am convinced millions of smartphone users don't see them like that. These mini camera's should be seen as high end gadgets to enhance your smartphone. And as such they succeed in adding quite a few qualities and wonderful creative possibilities that smartphone users so far criticized even on the best cameraphones. Let's just see what a QX10/100 adds to your phone:
- better image quality, even if it just approached RX100 image quality this is already a big step forward
- low light photography and high ISO performance
- resolution: 20Mp is a great next level compared to the current breed of phonecams (it's only surpassed by Nokias 41mp sensor)
- independent viewfinder / lens combo, this gives great creative possibilities an RX100 doesn't provide
- image stabilization, a feature very welcome in smartphone photography/videography
- zoom, maybe the one I should have put in the first place, because it's probably the number one feature most casual smartphone photographer miss in their current phonecam
With the omnipresence of smartphones and the way people use them it is logical to extend the capabilities of the smartphone. The smartphone has developed itself to the personal information hub the PC once was. With portabilty, GPS, built in cameras, and other features it has become more personal than the PC ever was, and we are going to surround it with all kinds of personal devices that add value. Glasses, watches, earphones, sport devices, etc. Sony did understand that and has become from almost dead two years ago, again very succesful. Please believe me if I say I'm not a Sony fan, actually I dislike the company for its disgusting customer service here in the Netherlands (and I am speaking from the perspective of a retailer who knows what he is talking about), but I have to admit that I admire the company for it's vision and the speed of implementation of that vision. In less than two years Sony has become the largest producer of photographic sensors and integration modules and integration software. Sensors and camera modules in most in China produced smartphones these days are from Sony, and this is also true for Korean smartphones produced for different global brands. The photo experts here know well enough in which photo/video camera brands you'll find Sony sensors and other camera related logics. Sony seems to have chosen for being the provider of cameras in everything and for anybody, and they seem to have moved in the fast lane to surpass Canon and Nikon.
Personally I look forward to the moment being able to test and use the QX100, but more than that I am interested and looking forward to the response from other manufacturers like Canon and Nikon. Their vulnerability is conservatism and old school photo thinking. Their management responded too little too late frequently the past few years. Short term business wise that was not a bad decision, they are still big in the camera market and from a financial perspective especially Canon did better than Sony. But with these QX's, Google glass, and so many new companies entering the market with devices built around high end sensors and glass from the competition they should realize there is an elephant in the room. The paradigm shifts and Sony realized it and makes a wonderful offering that fits the bill of the audience of smartphone users (and aren't we almost all?). The QX is not gonna be a hit, it already is a hit. Those who don't see that are blind. Not a good habit for a photographer .
Anyway, welcome Sony QX! I am sure we are gonna see pictures from you in the alt board soon.