Multinational electronics conglomerate Sony has always had a knack for pushing the envelope, so to speak, when it comes to innovation and technology. It proved that in 2013 when it unveiled two lens-style cameras, which at the time, was a concept that was anything but conventional, in the QX10 and QX100. Now, Sony is back with its latest lens-style Cyber-Shot camera, the DSC-QX30.
Like the QX10 and the QX100, Sony’s newest lens-style offering is a Wi-Fi-controlled camera that can be mounted onto a mobile device. The camera’s zoom lens, image sensor, and other electronic components are packed into a portable cylindrical package that users can stow away in their pocket when not in use.
Perhaps the biggest improvement that Sony has made with the latest offering in its unique line of QX-series cameras is the QX30’s impressive 30x zoom. It features a 20.1 megapixel, 24-720mm equivalent telescopic lens that has an aperture range of f/3.5-6.3. It can focus down to five centimeters at its widest focal length, allowing it to take really sharp close-up shots.
The QX30 also features a 1/2.3” (6.17 x 4.55mm) BSI CMOS sensor that can pack a significant number of pixels in a considerably small space resulting in clear images taken in high resolution. The camera is also powered by the same Bionz X processor found in Sony’s high-end cameras, and boasts of shutter speeds that go up to 1/1600 of a second.
New Shooting Modes
Unlike the first QX-series cameras, the QX30 provides users with two new shooting modes; aperture priority and shutter priority. Both modes are ideal for advanced photographers who are looking for more flexibility out of their non-traditional lens-style camera.
Unlike the QX10, Sony’s latest QX-series digital camera can shoot videos and record them in MP4 format. The QX30 offers 1080/60p video recording in 1920×1080 resolution. It also has a built-in stereo microphone for recording audio. Live view and playback is possible through the screen on the connected mobile device.
Arguably, Wi-Fi and NFC connectivity is the most important feature of any QX-series camera, as most of the camera controls are found in the proprietary PlayMemories app installed on the mobile phone. The QX30 can be controlled remotely via Wi-Fi, or via NFC with any compatible smartphone.
Sony offers two additional grips for the QX30, both of which use the same bayonet mount as the included smartphone attachment. One is a basic hand grip that can be snapped onto the back of the camera, giving users a more secure handle to hold onto while taking remote shots. The other grip is a hinged mount that lets users tilt the QX30 away from the connected mobile device for more comfortable off-angle shots.
Because the QX30 relies on a Wi-Fi or NFC connection when taking photos, display lag and time in between shots can become a problem. Unlike a traditional camera, it can take the QX30 a few seconds to capture an image, send it via Wi-Fi or NFC to the connected mobile device, and be ready to take another shot. For this reason, the QX30 may not be ideal for taking action shots.
The QX30 also made a significant leap in terms of weight. The new QX-series camera comes in at 193 g, which is big step up from the QX10’s weight of 105 g.
While the lack of a manual mode or a flash can be a turn off for some people, not much can realistically be expected from a tiny high-end camera. All things considered though, the QX30 is still a handy little device that easily turns almost any smartphone into a 30x ultra zoom camera.