Sony's rumored "lens camera" and why it could be the real deal

By on July 19, 2013, 10:36 AM

Sony is reportedly close to releasing an accessory designed to significantly boost the quality of photos taken with a smartphone. The accessory, referred to as a “lens camera,” could mount on the back of your device and would transmit images via NFC or Wi-Fi to your smartphone or tablet.

Interestingly enough, the lens is said to have a built-in image sensor, battery and its own memory according to two “trusted” sources as reported by Sony Alpha Rumors. The publication describes it as a completely new kind of photography and likely the smallest camera ever made on a large sensor.

The first lens to launch will supposedly use the same 1-Inch 20.2-megapixel Exmor R sensor and f/1.8 Carl Zeiss lens as the Sony RX100M II. This unit will be followed by a second model with a smaller sensor and larger zoom, we’re told.

When mounted on a smartphone, the lens camera will essentially do all of the photography – the phone is simply used as a screen for the camera to see what you are shooting. The lens camera can also be used as a standalone camera – pretty cool.

As a photography enthusiast, this certainly sounds like a neat idea. But as a tech enthusiast, I’ll admit I was a bit skeptical when I first started reading about the lens camera despite the publication rating this as an SR5 (almost certainly correct) rumor coming from two top sources. That is, until I stumbled across the video embedded above.

This video shows a wireless viewfinder interchangeable lens camera system from a company called WVIL. It’s essentially exactly what Sony is allegedly working on. A quick visit to WVIL’s website notes the camera isn’t a real product, but is instead just a concept (which did appear at CES 2011 as a working camera / phone). Could Sony have purchased the rights to WVIL’s assets or simply copied the idea completely?




User Comments: 6

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1 person liked this | MilwaukeeMike said:

So here's the $10,000 question... would a product like this be a great bridge between a dedicated DSLR and your current smartphone camera? Or would it have too many trade-offs and not quite be good enough to justify carrying it around instead of a real camera?

Either way, I think it's a cool idea.

JC713 JC713 said:

This will be the final nail in the coffin for consumer cameras I bet.

insect said:

"This will be the final nail in the coffin for consumer cameras I bet."

Perhaps, but what is the difference between this and a consumer camera? As the article says, it can take stand-alone pictures and is merely using your smartphone as an extra-large LCD screen. Nothing new here... just another gimmick to part people with their money, especially if this debuts at a higher price than a stand-alone camera because ... wait for it ... it can be used with a smartphone!

Seems pointless to me. They already have wireless stand-alone cameras.

slh28 slh28, TechSpot Paladin, said:

What's the difference between this and one of those compact cameras with interchangeable lenses? They're pretty much the same to carry around but the dedicated camera will be much quicker to take a picture.

tipstir tipstir, TS Ambassador, said:

New tech! They want you to get it! Price right I might. Just got a new SONY last month to take pictures does a great job doing that.

cuerdc said:

Make good security cameras

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