Last year, Sony Mobile released two devices - the QX100 and QX10. Those names might not mean much to you but they were essentially self contained cameras which synced with a mobile handset to gift the user with the kind of photos they could never dream of on a phone.
10x optical zoom was a masterstroke but the real star was the QX100, which brought an aperture of 1.8 and a top quality sensor to the party. Images were dof-y, great in low light and the video options produced incredible results. And you could leave it anywhere to record with ease.
Despite little customer take up of the idea, Sony has decided to continue the QX brand with a new model, at least according to leaks ahead of their IFA 2014 presser. The QX1 will again feature a 20.1 megapixel sensor and according to a leak from the Sony Store could run you $399. Pictures from SonyAlphaRumours suggest this version will come with a pop up flash, which would be very welcome. And it could even shoot RAW!
But its a different device to the previous entries in the brand, because the QX1 is just the sensor part of the camera, giving you the chance to attach your own lenses to the front. That's a pretty amazing thing when you think about it, essentailly turning your phone instantly into a DSLR and letting you attach all manner of zoomy, wide angled or super dof-y glass to it.
The possibilities are endless. Kind of. Unsurprisingly users will be limited to using E-mount lenses, those which can also be used with Sony's mirrorless NEX range. There's still plenty to choose from, with around 20 official pieces of glass ranging from a 35mm F1.8 prime to a 55-210 mm zoom. It may lack the sheer variety of the Canon or Nikon systems but the variety is decent, and some third party manufacturers also support the E-mount.
The idea of being able to strap a sensor onto a prime lens to shoot gorgeous HD video on the fly is pretty marvellous, as well as being able to instantly edit and share your shots on a large smartphone screen. There might also be the possibility of using adaptors and older manual lenses to get some really interesting effects.
It all adds up to giving budding photographers a huge amount of latitude to create and play, and access to a range of lenses opens that up even more. The price of $399 seems genuine but doesn't include a lens, something which could be very disappointing once you took it home. Rumours suggest it will be availalbe on the 9th of October and could come bundled with a 16-50mm lens - for a total price of $450 onits own.
Expect more from the IFA during the Sony mobile conference later today.