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Christmas Gift Guide

You supply the screen

Cyber-Shot QX100

Clip it on

Controls

NFC for easy pairing

Small, light, but not exactly pocketable

The clip

Getting inside

Battery

Storage

Cyber-shot QX10

Long, but small

Shoot with or without a phone

Micro-USB

Battery/memory card compartment

Battery and storage

Pricing

If you didn't know anything about Sony's Cyber-shot QX100 and QX10 cameras, you'd probably think they were just lenses and not full cameras. Basically, Sony fit entire cameras into relatively small cylindrical bodies.

The cameras directly connect via Wi-Fi to iOS and Android devices (there are no plans for Windows Phone support), which gives you a screen for framing your shots and controlling the camera. However, if you just want to take a quick photo, you can shoot blindly using the camera's basic built-in controls.

Caption by / Photo by Lori Grunin/CNET
The QX100 has the key ingredients of the $750 Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 II. Targeted at enthusiasts, the QX100 features a large-ish 1-inch-type 20.2MP Exmor R CMOS sensor paired with a Bionz image processor. A Carl Zeiss-branded 3.6x f1.8-4.9 28-100mm zoom lens is out in front.
Caption by / Photo by Lori Grunin/CNET

There is no physical connection between the camera and your smartphone. The camera "attaches" to your device with a tension clip on the back of the camera. The fit is reasonably tight, but probably not secure enough to only hold your smartphone when it's clipped on.

It doesn't need to be clipped onto a device at all, though, so you can hold the camera in one hand (or mount it on a tripod) and shoot wirelessly.

Caption by / Photo by Lori Grunin/CNET

Though you won't be able to see what you're shooting without a smart device, you can still take pictures and use the zoom lens with the camera's built-in controls.

Most of the time, you'll be using a smartphone to control the camera, though. Shooting modes include Sony's Intelligent Auto, Superior Auto (that's Intelligent Auto plus some multishot options for low-light and backlit shooting), Program Auto, Aperture Priority, and Movie. You can adjust white balance, exposure compensation, and ISO. Autofocus is multipoint and light metering is multipattern. There is manual focus, though.

The QX100 captures JPEG stills only (no raw) and record movies at 1,440x1,080-pixel resolution at 30fps in MP4 format.

Caption by / Photo by Lori Grunin/CNET
If you have an NFC-enabled device, you simply bump your device against the little NFC logo on the camera and it will automatically launch the Sony PlayMemories Mobile app and establish the Wi-Fi connection between the camera and device.
Caption by / Photo by Lori Grunin/CNET
The QX100 weighs 6.3 ounces and measures 2.5 inches wide by 2.5 inches high by 2.3 inches deep when closed. By comparison, the RX100 II is a little more than 3 ounces heavier and measures 4 inches wide by 2.3 inches high by 1.5 inches deep. Worth noting, too, is that by shedding the traditional camera body, there's no flash built into the QX100.
Caption by / Photo by Lori Grunin/CNET
When not in use, the spring clip on back simply folds down. The clip can hold a phone approximately 2.1-2.9 inches wide (54-75mm) and up to 0.5 inch thick (13mm).
Caption by / Photo by Lori Grunin/CNET
The clip rotates off the back of the camera giving you access to the camera's battery compartment.
Caption by / Photo by Lori Grunin/CNET

It uses a Sony lithium ion rechargeable battery that's pretty easy to come by. Sony claims a battery life of up to 220 shots and a movie recording time of 25 minutes.

Shooting performance sounds pretty good once it's up and running. Startup takes 6.9 seconds with a shot lag of 0.21 second and a shot-to-shot time of 1 second. This is under ideal conditions, though, so shooting in low light or wireless interference will likely slow it down.

Caption by / Photo by Lori Grunin/CNET

There is a microSD card slot that can be used with cards up to 64GB. The slot will also take Memory Stick Micro cards up to 16GB. When connected to a smartphone, the camera will store full-resolution photos to the card and 5-megapixel shots to your device for easier editing and sharing.

There is also a Micro-USB port for charging the battery as well as transferring photos and movies.

Caption by / Photo by Lori Grunin/CNET
The QX10 is for those who love their smartphone's camera, but miss the zoom lens. It features the 10x, f3.3-5.9, 25-250mm lens and 18-megapixel, 1/2.3-inch backside-illuminated CMOS sensor of Sony's ultracompact WX150 from last year.
Caption by / Photo by Lori Grunin/CNET
The use of a smaller sensor allows you to use a smaller lens. Despite the QX10's 10x zoom, the whole unit weighs only 3.7 ounces and measures 2.5 inches wide by 2.5 inches high by 1.3 inches deep. Not as easy to pocket as the camera it's based on, but not as bulky as the QX100.
Caption by / Photo by Lori Grunin/CNET
Physical controls are available for power, zoom control, and shutter release. Everything else requires connecting to a smart device. It has the same shooting modes as the QX100 sans Aperture Priority.
Caption by / Photo by Lori Grunin/CNET
A Micro-USB port on the outside allows for quick charging and image transfers.
Caption by / Photo by Lori Grunin/CNET
Just twist off the smartphone clip on back and you can access the camera's battery and memory card slot.
Caption by / Photo by Lori Grunin/CNET
The QX10 has approximately the same battery life as the QX100: up to 220 photos or 25 minutes of video. Shooting performance is about the same, too.
Caption by / Photo by Lori Grunin/CNET
The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-QX100 is priced at about $500, while the DSC-QX10 is around $250.
Caption by / Photo by Lori Grunin/CNET
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