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Sony brings a 30x zoom to your smartphone (sort of) with QX30 lens camera

At IFA 2014, Sony announced a second round of its lens-style QX-series cameras that use your smartphone's screen for their viewfinder and controls.

Joshua Goldman Managing Editor / Advice
Managing Editor Josh Goldman is a laptop expert and has been writing about and reviewing them since built-in Wi-Fi was an optional feature. He also covers almost anything connected to a PC, including keyboards, mice, USB-C docks and PC gaming accessories. In addition, he writes about cameras, including action cams and drones. And while he doesn't consider himself a gamer, he spends entirely too much time playing them.
Expertise Laptops, desktops and computer and PC gaming accessories including keyboards, mice and controllers, cameras, action cameras and drones Credentials
  • More than two decades experience writing about PCs and accessories, and 15 years writing about cameras of all kinds.
Joshua Goldman
2 min read

Sony made a big splash at IFA 2013 with its 10x zoom QX10 lens camera . At IFA 2014, it's back to wade through those waters again with the 30x zoom Cyber-shot DSC-QX30.

Like the QX10, the QX30 is an entire camera -- minus a screen -- packed in a cylindrical body. The camera wirelessly connects to your Android or iOS device via Wi-Fi so you can use its screen to see a live view from the camera to frame and review your shots as well as control the camera and its settings.

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Though you can clip the camera onto your phone to make it feel more like you're shooting with a regular camera, it does not use your phone's camera in any way. Again, it is an entire camera all on its own and can be used without connecting to any mobile device (though without a screen you'll be shooting blindly). That means the picture quality is completely dependent on what's inside the QX30.

Lori Grunin/CNET

It appears Sony grabbed the 30x, f3.5-6.3, 24-720mm lens and the 1/2.3-inch 20-megapixel Exmor R sensor from its Cyber-shot HX50V . That's a good thing for the most part, as that camera is capable of turning out some very nice photos and video.

Shooting options include Sony's Superior and Intelligent Auto as well as Program Auto, and shutter-speed- and aperture-priority modes, and the QX30 can record MP4 clips at 1,920x1,080 resolution at 60fps -- something that wasn't originally available on the QX10 when it was first released.

The camera stores directly to microSD cards up to 64GB or Memory Stick Micro cards up to 16GB (neither is supplied). Sony says its removable, rechargeable battery is good for up to 200 shots or 25 minutes of movie capture.

Sony's definitely improved the features with the QX30 compared to the QX10, but it's still all about the design. For me, if I'm going to be carrying around a second device anyway, I'd rather it be a complete camera.

The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-QX30 reaches stores this month for about $350, which converts to £210/$AU375.