It’s been a while since the Guardian’s Dan Chung shot the 2012 London Olympics (very successfully) with two iPhones and a pair of binoculars. This little marvel from Sony would have been invaluable to him. The DSC-QX10 smartphone lens is basically a compact camera that connects to a smartphone via Wi-Fi and is controlled from the phone. I’ve been using it with my iPhone 5.
The DSC-QX10 can be clamped on to the phone using a couple of built-in sprung arms or used remotely. The controlling Sony software is downloaded to the phone as an app and once the Wi-Fi signal from the camera is located, you’re away. You now have a fully functioning camera with built-in storage via a micro memory card and complete connectivity via the phone, so you can upload your photographs straight away.
It is streets ahead of the basic iPhone camera, of course. As you would expect from a Sony product, it’s got a sharp 10x optical zoom lens that will take good images across its range, including macro shots. It is small, beautifully engineered and fits into your pocket. It’s easy to set up and the iPhone controls it efficiently â as long as your fingers aren’t too pudgy!
There are a few problems, though: I found it annoying to have to fiddle about with the lens Wi-Fi connection. And of course the iPhone locks its keyboard in a trice which is a wind-up at the best of times, but if you have just framed your next award-winning photograph it’s a real killjoy. At a guide price of Â£179 it’s also quite an expensive option.
But if you use your smartphone for all your photography these days and you like to share your images online, this elegant gizmo could be the answer to your phone’s photographic shortcomings: keep it in your pocket, handbag or manbag and pop it on your smartphone when you want to do some serious snapping. If you are a keen photographer and like using a “proper” camera, it probably is a bit too tricky in comparison, especially if you don’t need immediate connectivity.
And besides, this cute kit could simply be another short chapter in the continuing story of the rise of smartphone photography: as built-in cameras on phones continue to get better and better, the need for this kind of accessory will probably just drop away.