Sony Lens Attachments Turns Smartphone Into Serious Camera

Sony's releasing two accessories that bring premium point-and-shoot camera hardware to your iOS or Android device.

The Cyber-shot QX10 and QX100 are lens attachments that connect to your device via Wi-Fi and contain all new photo and video hardware, including its own battery. The external camera hardware interacts with the Sony PlayMemories Mobile app, which not only displays a live viewfinder, but also offers controls to release the shutter, start/stop movie recordings, and adjust common photographic settings like shooting mode, zoom, Auto Focus area and more.

MORE: Best Free Photo Management Tools

“With the new QX100 and QX10 cameras, we are making it easier for the ever-growing population of ‘mobile photographers’ to capture far superior, higher-quality content without sacrificing the convenience and accessibility of their existing mobile network or the familiar ‘phone-style’ shooting experience that they’ve grown accustomed to,” said Patrick Huang, director of the Cyber-shot business at Sony. “We feel that these new products represent not only an evolution for the digital camera business, but a revolution in terms of redefining how cameras and smartphones can cooperatively flourish in today’s market.”

The QX100 and QX10 have attachment clips that allow them to latch on to the back of smartphones for a more traditional camera setup, but they operate just as well detached – as long as they stay within the devices Wi-Fi range. This will allow users greater freedom for extreme camera angles without the awkwardness of being attached to the viewfinder.

The Sony cameras will also operate without being paired with a smart device, but the user won't have access to a viewfinder or camera settings.

The QX100 is the premium offering at $500 and packs the high-quality 1.0-inch, 20.2 MP Exmor R CMOS sensor found in the acclaimed Cyber-shot RX100 II camera. The QX10 is half the price at $250, and packs a more humble 18.2 effective megapixel Exmor R CMOS sensor. Look for both later in September.

Follow Marcus Yam @MarcusYam. Follow us @tomsguide, on Facebook and on Google+.