We’ve heard that the Xperia Z1–code named Honami–smartphone from Sony will usher in new interchangeable “camera lenses” that connect to the phone via NFC and WiFi, but how do they work? Early leaks show the lens mounted to the Xperia Z1 smartphone where the lenses themselves are self-contained cameras complete with image sensor, processor, memory card slot for storage, and WiFi for wireless and the Xperia Z1’s Triluminos display is actually the camera’s viewfinder, similar to how a DSLR body works, so that the user could see what the lens sees.
Now, a new series of leaked press images for the lens system, which is said be branded with the QX model number, show various different uses for the lens. For one, users can mount the lenses on their Xperia Z1, a compatible Android phone of different make and model, or Apple’s popular iPhone. Additionally, it appears that users can continue to use the lenses without requiring them to be mounted.
This could lead to easier self-picture captures, or selfies. Traditionally, selfies are done with an outstretched arm, the use of a lower resolution front-facing camera that tops out at 2 megapixels today, and looking into the phone’s display for framing.
Now, as the leaked press image show, users can look at the display and hold out the lens in another arm and capture a high resolution image. The resulting image would have potentially a megapixel resolution that’s similar to or on par with the Honami’s built-in rear camera, which is rumored to be a 20-megapixel sensor itself.
The lenses–there will be two at launch–will bear the model numbers QX10 and QX100. The more expensive model has been rumored to be similar to the Sony RX100 MK II system, which has a 20-megapixel sensor, large 1-inch sensor size, and zoom with Zeiss optics. If true, this would boost the quality of selfies captured!
Another use would be for odd angles. Rather than bending down to take low-angle shots, like with today’s cameras and phones, or reaching up for high-level shots pointing the camera downwards and not being able to see the viewfinder, a second image shows another potential use. Now, you can just angle the lens and still have full view of the display for composing your pictures. A photographer is shown kneeling next to a lotus flower and holding and pointing the lens with one hand and looking at the phone with another in a more comfortable pose. With a phone like the iPhone, to capture a similar image, you’d need to bend down to get the low level shot and that’s more uncomfortable.
Similarly, at a crowded event or a concert, if you want to shoot from a higher angle by holding your camera up and angling the lens downwards, you wouldn’t be able to see the display with a Galaxy S4 Zoom, Galaxy camera, or the Lumia 1020. Thanks to the detachable QX lens camera system, you can do that by angling the lens while holding the phone in the other end and viewing the display, which gives you a live view of what the lens is seeing.
This flexibility would open up mobile photography to more creative shots that may not have been possible in the post, unless one has a mirrorless camera system or DSLR with an articulating screen that can pivot so u can angle the lens in one direction and have the screen be viewable to your eyes still.
And lastly, according to Sony Alpha Rumors, there will be two mounting mechanisms for the QX lenses so that the lens can attach to the body of your phone.
One lens system uses arms as hooks to grip the sides of your phone.
Another lens system mount is based on a case design. The case, presumably a hard plastic case, would wrap around the phone and offer the device a degree of protection. A magnetic mount on the case would make it easy to snap on the lens.
And unlike cheap lens attachments in the past that are meant to bring zoom to an existing smartphone, the QX lens system, when mounted, doesn’t need to be aligned with the camera opening on the phone itself. That’s because each QX lens itself comes with its own image sensor and optics system.
The QX lenses are expected to be announced on September 4th a private event in Germany alongside Sony’s Xperia Z1 and Xperia Z1 Mini.