It's no secret that smartphones have been threatening camera sales, but Sony has decided to embrace it by designing a camera specifically for smartphone photography. Essentially, the QX100 is a complete digital camera--minus the screen. The sensor and lens combo attaches to a smartphone and communicates with it using wi-fi (or Near Field Communication if the phone also happens to be a Sony). The entire user interface (i.e. navigating the menu) is on your phone. But the perk to smartphone photography is always having your camera with you, and while the QX100 is small, it's probably not a good idea to keep it in your pocket. And since everything is controlled through a wi-fi connection, the camera isn't particularly fast and only shoots at 1 fps. The ultimate reason to look into the QX100, though, is that it features the same large sensor and fast lens as the popular RX100--for about $200 less. There are several features, like RAW, manual modes and built-in flash, offered on the RX100 that are not part of the QX100 however. And with the absence of those features, only one manual mode and no manual ISO adjustment, most users would be happier picking up a wi-fi-enabled advanced compact with more control. If we graded this camera just on innovation, the sensor and the lens, it'd have an A+, but the lack of manual controls and custom shooting options is a big downside.
Sony has been at the forefront of the market for consumer electronics for the past 30 years by offering innovative imaging products in response to changes in the market. Sony has made cameras that are ideal for casual users, hobbyists, and professional photographers through their dedication to implementing the most current technology with a sleek and minimal style, resulting in an end result of the highest quality.
Sony was the first to put a full-frame sensor inside of a mirrorless camera, the A7 and A7R, and a little later, the A7S. While the first-of-its-kind cameras aren't without flaws, Sony executed their ideas fairly well and made some pretty solid cameras to start the new line.
Speaking of first-of-its kind, Sony also designed a “camera-without-a-camera,” the QX10 and QX100. These cameras have a sensor and lens, but no operating system—instead, consumers use their smartphone via wi-fi or NFC to operate the camera. While the cameras certainly have flaws (mainly in the slow response due to operating through wi-fi), we still have to applaud Sony for the way they've responded to the rise in smartphone photography (plus the cameras have actually sold remarkably well).
Sony has also been highly successful with the RX compact camera line that began with the RX100, a compact camera with a 1” sensor, excellent image quality and full manual modes. The camera has since seen some solid updates, and remains a good option. Sony also added the RX10, a camera with a 1” sensor but instead of focusing on compact size, adds a much bigger zoom.
While their focus is on more advanced models, it’s usually a pretty safe bet to pick up a Sony compact, even a budget priced one, and still get a lot of bang for your buck. We're also big fans of Sony's designs, making their cameras easy to use and adjust, like the HX400 that has an automatic sensor on the electronic viewfinder as well as a control ring around the lens.
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