Less than two weeks from Photokina, Sony has unveiled two lens-style cameras for smart devices, introduced its smallest Action Cam Mini and announced an update to its PlayMemories Mobile smart-phone app.


 The new lens-style camera options for smart devices. (Source: Sony.)

The latest lens-style cameras  connect the camera to a smart-phone via Wi-Fi or NFC, offering faster hook-up times with Xperia phones. They are controlled with Sony’s free PlayMemories Mobile app, which features a new user interface that is simpler to use and makes one-handed operation easier. On-screen gridlines have been added to aid shot framing, while GPS data can be imported into images from the phone. Users can trigger the camera’s shutter from the touch-screen; and automatically transfer shots to sharing websites.

The ILCE-QX1 model has a large, 20.1-megapixel APS-C size Exmor sensor, BIONZ X processor and advanced camera features. It works with both E-mount and A-mount interchangeable lenses. Shooting options include a Superior Auto mode with scene recognition and raw file capture. The camera also includes a pop-up flash and ships with free angle shooting kit for selfies and low/high angle shooting. An optional LCS-QXA Case and Strap Kit is available in a brown leather-look finish.

The compact DSC-QX30  comes with a 30x optical zoom lens (24-720mm equivalent), aided by Optical SteadyShot image stabilisation. It has an effective resolution of 20.4 megapixels and BIONZ X processor. Other features include Lock-on AF and continuous shooting at up to 10fps plus the ability to record Full HD video at a 60p frame rate.

The current QX10 gains two new colour variations to coordinate with today’s smart-phones. As well as black and white, it’s now also available in pink and copper finishes.

Sony’s smallest ever Action Cam, the HDR-AZ1VR, weighs only 63 grams with battery included and is 2/3 the size of the HDR-AS100V Action Cam. Featuring a 6.17 x 4.55 mm back-illuminated Exmor R CMOS sensor with 11.9 megapixels (effective) and BIONZ X processor it comes with a high-quality Zeiss Tessar f/2.8 lens with 170-degree wide-angle coverage and SteadyShot stabilisation.   It can record Full HD movies with stereo sound and supports high bit-rate recording at 50mbps in XAVC S format.

Bundled with the camera is a new RM-LVR2V Live-View Remote, which can be wrist-mounted or attached to bicycle handlebars and has a screen that can be used to control up to five cameras. The remote also logs GPS data and transfers it to images. It can also be used to stream live video to sharing sites like USTREAM and enables users to send a message via SNS when starting the live streaming.

Sony’s updated PlayMemories Mobile app version 5.0 supports faster connections between a phone and lens-style camera and features a new interface that improves one-handed operation plus a new touch shutter function for QX lens-style cameras. On-screen focus frames confirm autofocusing and include face recognition and grid lines are available to assist with framing shots. Group selfies are made easier with a new Mirror mode that aids framing when the camera is held at arm’s length. There’s also support for GPS, automatically tagging photos with location data captured using the new QX1 lens-style camera.

The new hardware is scheduled for release from October. PlayMemories Mobile Version 5.0 for iOS and Android is available now for free download from Sony’s websites worldwide.