In today’s world, taking pictures has become easier than ever: The days of lugging around a camera or extraneous equipment are gone, and smartphones have taken their place. Smartphones and their high-quality cameras are the future, and digital camera manufacturers such as Sony are starting to take notice.
Sony recently released a new line of digital-imaging products: the Cyber-Shot QX10 and QX100, two digital cameras that have redefined the word “camera.” But while these two models are technically digital cameras, they are missing some very crucial components such as a flash, a viewfinder and advanced image controls are all absent.
So how do these new models function without these parts? By embracing the smartphone — literally. Sony’s newest inventions physically attach to most iPhone and Android smartphone devices and are linked to each other through the lens-camera’s included a Wi-Fi hot spot. After users download a Sony application called PlayMemories Mobile, the smartphone becomes the viewing screen and any pictures taken will be downloaded directly to the phone’s camera roll, bringing photography and smartphone technology together in a new way. The whole setup process is easy and seamless, almost as easy as simply pressing the camera button on your phone.
The QX10 has a 10x optical zoom and an 18-megapixel image sensor, costing buyers $250 — or around as much as it would normally cost to buy a digital camera with those specifications. The more expensive QX100 costs $500 and has a 3.6x optical zoom and a larger, 20-megapixel sensor. Both devices shoot full high-definition video and can be transported and traveled with much more easily than a full-sized camera.
Some might argue that there is no need for such attachable cameras and that smartphones take pictures just fine on their own — which for the most part, they do. Smartphone cameras have been impressively advanced to take remarkable quality pictures; but many times, it is painfully obvious that certain pictures have been taken with a smartphone. Smartphone cameras lack a certain richness of color and depth and a higher megapixel count that can only be achieved with a digital camera. With Sony’s inventions, these higher-quality photos can be achieved with the same degree of mobility.
These types of attachable digital cameras acknowledge society’s dependency on mobility and smartphones, but makes better use of it. People don’t want to be bogged down with heavy camera equipment and enjoy their lightweight smartphone contraptions, regardless of the slightly lesser quality of the photos. Sony’s new models suggest the beginning of the experimentation of an entirely new form of photography — a kind of “smart photography” that utilizes today’s smartphone technology and the basic function of digital cameras.
So the next time you’re at a concert, take a look around you. Count how many people are taking pictures, and then compare that number with how many people are using the more traditional, non-smartphone digital cameras. Just as photographers have adapted, so must digital cameras.
Cecilia Callas is a junior majoring in print and digital journalism. Her column “Tech Talk” runs Wednesdays.
Follow Cecilia on Twitter @ceciliacallas