One of the more interesting announcements at IFA 2013 this week has been Sony's unveiling of its QX10 and QX100 “lens cameras”, a pair of clip-on devices capable of transforming an everyday smartphone into a high-quality digital camera.
They feature the kind of zoomable optics and sensors your average smartphone simply has no room for, and communicate with your phone using either Wi-Fi or NFC.
The more basic of the two, the QX10, comes with a 1/2.3in 18MP sensor and f/3.3-5.9 lens, while the QX100 ups the stakes to a full 1in Exmor R sensor offering 20.2MP of shooting power and a f/1.8-4.9 Zeiss zoom lens.
They are compatible with Android and iOS, with a companion app controlling Sony's hardware and taking the phone's existing camera completely out of the picture. They don't have to be clipped on, either – they can also be used as remote wireless cameras, with pics stored either on microSD card or Memory Stick (it still exists?).
Sony's pair of lens cameras have been priced at £180 (QX10) and £400 (QX100) respectively, and should be available from the end of the month.
The question is, who will buy them? As clever as the concept is, it smacks of a homebrew solution made official, and while the quality of the components and execution is no doubt hard to fault, you're still spending £180 (or £400) just to upgrade your phone's camera.
No matter how amazing they are, that's a luxury not too many are going to be able to afford.