Sony QX30 Brief Review


REVIEW SUMMARY

Specifications

  • 21.1 megapixel 1/2.3” CMOS sensor
  • Operates with a smartphone via Wi-Fi and NFC
  • 30x optical zoom
  • Optical image stabilization
  • 10 fps burst mode (up to 10 shots)
  • Maximum shutter speed 1/1600
  • Maximum aperture f3.5-6.3
  • Auto modes plus aperture priority and shutter priority modes
  • Maximum ISO 12800
  • 1080p HD video at 30 fps in MP4 format
  • Li-ion battery rated at 200 shots
  • Weighs 6.3 ounces
  • Release Date: 2014-09-02
  • Final Grade: 81 4.05 Star Rating: Recommended

4.05 Star Rating: Recommended
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Sony expands smartphone-attatchable cameras with the 30x zoom QX30
Give any smartphone a 30x optical zoom with the Sony QX30.
By Hillary Grigonis, Last updated on: 10/10/2014

Sony's QX line is interesting to say the least--they're essentially cameras without screens, instead, they operate with a smartphone and wi-fi or NFC. Last year's QX10 offered a solid 10x zoom--but the 2014 QX30 triples that, offering a 30x zoom you can use right from your smartphone.

QX cameras have their own sensors--essentially, they have everything except the screen and operating system, the phone does that. The Sony QX30 has a 1/2.3" CMOS sensor--it's a typical size for basic point-and-shoots, but larger than what's inside a smartphone, so you'll see a better resolution than typical phone shots have. One of the biggest perks is that nice 30x zoom, again, something a smartphone can't achieve.

But perhaps an even better upgrade from the QX10 is the 10 fps burst speed. When we reviewed the QX10 last year, our biggest issue was the speed--everything is communicating wirelessly, so it takes quite a bit longer than working with a typical camera. The QX30 still communicates by wi-fi, so we still expect that delay from when you use the touchscreen until the camera actually snaps the image. There's a shutter button directly on the camera if the shutter lag bothers you, and now the QX30 can take a group of burst shots at 10 fps, an excellent speed. If you use the smartphone instead of the shutter button to take those shots, you'll still get that initial delay, but the sequential images should be quick.

The QX30 allows you to do everything you would with smartphone images--you can import them into editing apps, or share them pretty much just as quickly as the ones you take directly from your phone. The downside is, again, the screen is communicating with the camera wirelessly, which is going to be slower than if you were using a camera with a built-in screen. If you don't want that delay, go for something like the Sony WX350, with a 20x zoom and the same fast burst speed, plus wi-fi so you can still share those images. The WX350 will take longer to share images on Facebook, but will be quicker snapping those photos in the first place. If fast online uploads are more important to you and you just love smartphone photography, then you're likely to enjoy the Sony QX30.

The Sony QX30 will be available beginning Oct. 5, 2014, with a list price of $349.

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Sony Reviews

Sony has been at the forefront of the market for consumer electronics for the past 30 years by offering innovative imaging products in response to changes in the market. Sony has made cameras that are ideal for casual users, hobbyists, and professional photographers through their dedication to implementing the most current technology with a sleek and minimal style, resulting in an end result of the highest quality.

Sony was the first to put a full-frame sensor inside of a mirrorless camera, the A7 and A7R, and a little later, the A7S. While the first-of-its-kind cameras aren't without flaws, Sony executed their ideas fairly well and made some pretty solid cameras to start the new line.

Speaking of first-of-its kind, Sony also designed a “camera-without-a-camera,” the QX10 and QX100. These cameras have a sensor and lens, but no operating system—instead, consumers use their smartphone via wi-fi or NFC to operate the camera. While the cameras certainly have flaws (mainly in the slow response due to operating through wi-fi), we still have to applaud Sony for the way they've responded to the rise in smartphone photography (plus the cameras have actually sold remarkably well).

Sony has also been highly successful with the RX compact camera line that began with the RX100, a compact camera with a 1” sensor, excellent image quality and full manual modes. The camera has since seen some solid updates, and remains a good option. Sony also added the RX10, a camera with a 1” sensor but instead of focusing on compact size, adds a much bigger zoom.

While their focus is on more advanced models, it’s usually a pretty safe bet to pick up a Sony compact, even a budget priced one, and still get a lot of bang for your buck. We're also big fans of Sony's designs, making their cameras easy to use and adjust, like the HX400 that has an automatic sensor on the electronic viewfinder as well as a control ring around the lens.

We here at Digital Camera HQ offer unbiased, informative reviews and recommendations to guide you to the right camera. We're not an actual store; we're just here to help you find the perfect camera at the best price possible by using our camera grades. Let us know if you have any problems or questions, we're happy to help.