Photography enthusiasts may have conflicted opinions about the up and coming trend in smartphone accessorizing: the smart lens. While subscribers to SLR school of thought still have dibs in the categories of durability, quality, and versatility, the smart lens phenomenon just might be the long awaited love child between convenience and quality for the rest of us low(er) budget art lovers.
Within the last week, Sony officially announced the new QX Smart Lens series. This new family of gadgets is essentially a compaction of camera lens hardware commonly found in your classic digital camera that effortlessly clips onto your smartphone for a higher quality photography experience.
The smart lens pairs with your smartphone via NFC (near field communication), which is generally used for secure transactions. Most android platforms come equipped with NFC, although unfortunately Apple, even with the advent of the iPhone 5, has opted out of its inclusion. NFC chips can be purchased separately.) NFC allows for the smart lens to transfer data over wi-fi in order to utilize your smartphone’s camera capabilities as a viewfinder.
For starters, each piece in the series boasts a zoom lens, from 3.6x to 10x magnification (depending on the model). This boldly stands in stark contrast to the zoom capability on your standard smartphone camera, which essentially just adds more grain than magnification. The Sony smart lens gadgets also include image sensor and processing chips, which are standard pieces in the run-of-the-mill digital cameras, which help with focusing and correcting shakiness, among other things.
Other features in the new smart lens include a built-in battery, stereo microphones for video recording, and a memory card slot, which accepts microSD and Memory Stick storage cards, a useful function for saving precious space on your smartphone (for all of those selfies.) The avid smartphone photographer can also purchase a tripod mount if they want to up the ante on their mobile photography experience.
Many familiar with smartphone accessories, especially in the world of photography, may be reminded of the Photojojo Set of attachable lens which add a variety of lens’ including the warping fisheye, the wide angle lens, and the Macro lens among others. These devices definitely cater to convenience, allowing amateur photographers to ditch their heavy lens bags for a much lighter pocketful of clip-ons. As one might imagine, the quality of these accessories lean towards the ‘just for entertainment’ side of the spectrum. The Sony OX Smart Lens series are a new generation of smartphone camera accessories and worth a peek.
With the storming of Instagram to the mobile app playground, the trend in recent years has been in favor of photography for the masses. Dozens of other applications offering easy editing software, such as Aviary, flooded the stage, allowing anyone with access to a smartphone to turn photos of their culinary adventures into works of Internet art. Now, with the advent of the new and improved smart lens’, cell phone photography has officially entered into the big leagues.
Both smart lens’ in the Sony OX Smart Lens series are compatible with Android and Apple platforms. The bulkier Sony QX100 is currently on the market for $499, while its smaller counterpart, the Sony QX10 sells for $250 to appease the more frugal of consumers.