One of the problems with using the QX10 is how long it takes to start up. You will need to start up the camera, connect to Wi-Fi and launch Sony’s PlayMemories app. You can avoid this by leaving the camera and your phone powered on, but this will be a strain on the QX10’s battery life. You can use the QX10 to take photos without connecting it to the smartphone, by using the shutter release on the camera, but that means you won't be able to look at what you're shooting at.
Zooming in and out with the software buttons found within the app is no issue as the camera responds swiftly. However, there is lag when framing a shot, with the phone’s display trying to catch up when you are trying to track a moving subject or panning the camera, which means you might miss the shot if you're trying to capture moving subjects.
Since you will be using your phone as the camera’s display, you can just tap on the subject on the screen to focus. The QX10’s autofocus seems a bit finicky; we encountered a few instances where the camera could not focus even after tapping on some areas in the frame. Similar to a conventional camera, you can half-press the shutter button on the camera itself to focus, though the focus point won’t show up on your phone’s display.
Shots from the QX10 are generally pleasing, though the camera does seem to prefer underexposing. Colors are pretty good out of the camera, though some may not like the QX10’s slight over-saturation. Resolution-wise, since there’s no way to set the ISO sensitivities, shooting at Auto produced results of 2000LPH (vertical) and 1800LPH (horizontal) at ISO640.
*The following images in this section are sample photographs shot with the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-QX10. The photos have not been post-processed and are copyright to SPH Magazines. They are provided for your reference only and we ask that you do not reproduce them elsewhere. Click for full-resolution images.
There are two ways to look at the QX10 – it’s an overpriced compact which needs a phone to work, or a perfect companion to a smartphone which allows people to take better quality photos.
If sharing photos quickly is a major factor, and your smartphone camera isn’t cutting it, then the Cyber-shot QX10 will appeal to you. The fact that it’s small means that you will have no problems carrying it around with you, making it a handy companion for your smartphone. Its size and design makes it easy to handle, and the fact that you can remotely control it opens up new opportunities for framing the shot.
But while image performance is better than a smartphone's, the QX10 is still lacking in features. This is more apparent when you realize the QX10 is going for US$249.99 (the Singapore retail price hasn’t been revealed yet), which costs more than some entry-level point-and-shoots. Just to get the camera up and running takes longer and is more complicated than powering up a standard compact, and in the end the size isn't really that far removed from a standard compact camera these days...and some of them come with Wi-Fi.
While we applaud Sony for trying something new, we feel the Cyber-shot DSC-QX10 is still a first-generation product which needs further refinement in order to compete with the standard point-and-shoot.