Sony Cybershot DSC-QX10 review

Price when reviewed

The Cyber-Shot DSC-QX10 adds to what’s been an extraordinary year for smartphone photography. We’ve seen phones with 41-megapixel sensors, 10x optical zoom lenses, and now the QX10 – an external camera that clips to your smartphone. It forms a wireless connection with the phone over Wi-Fi, using the phone’s screen as a viewfinder.

Sony Cybershot DSC-QX10

Sony’s aim is to improve on the tiny sensor and sub-par optics found in most smartphones, without forcing the owner to upgrade to an expensive handset. In that regard, the QX10 certainly succeeds: its 18-megapixel images are well exposed and more detailed than those output by the vast majority of handsets (Nokia’s 41-megapixel Lumia 1020 excepted), and it excels in Macro mode.

The 10x optical zoom matches that of the Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom, without forcing you to carry a bulky handset round with you.

Yet, the QX10 has a long list of drawbacks. Clipping the camera to a smartphone is awkward and time-consuming – you can unmount the camera from its clip, but resulting phone/clip arrangement is awkward to slip into your pocket.

Sony Cybershot DSC-QX10

Battery life is limited, at only 220 shots. The viewfinder app showed considerable lag on both the iPhone 4S and Alcatel Android handset we tested it with, with the zoom lens reacting a half-second or more after we tapped the onscreen button.

Worse, the app routinely froze, and several times the phone was unable to establish a connection with the camera at the first attempt. The lack of manual controls is equally disappointing: you can tap the screen to adjust the focus point, alter the level of zoom and adjust exposure compensation, but that’s it.

Sony Cybershot DSC-QX10

The ability to save full-resolution photos to the phone’s photo library is a boon, making it easy to edit and share photos with the phone’s standard apps. Alas, that doesn’t apply to the crisp, 1,440 x 1,080 video captured by the device, which can only be extracted by removing the memory card from the camera or hooking it up via micro USB.

In short, we can think of no good reason to choose the QX10 over a regular compact camera. It’s only marginally more portable, offers only a fraction of the features, and doesn’t blow a compact away in terms of image quality.


Image quality4

Basic specifications

Camera megapixel rating18.2mp
Camera optical zoom range10x
Camera maximum resolution4864 x 3648

Weight and dimensions

Dimensions62 x 33 x 62mm (WDH)


Battery type includedLi-ion
Battery life (CIPA standard)220 shots
Charger included?yes

Other specifications

Built-in flash?no
Aperture rangef3.3 - f8
Camera minimum focus distance0.05m
Shortest focal length (35mm equivalent)25
Longest focal length (35mm equivalent)250
Minimum (fastest) shutter speed1/1,600
Maximum (slowest) shutter speed4s
Bulb exposure mode?no
RAW recording mode?no
Exposure compensation range+/- 2EV
ISO range100 - 12800
Selectable white balance settings?yes
Progam auto mode?no
Shutter priority mode?no
Aperture priority mode?no
Fully auto mode?yes
Burst frame rateN/A
Exposure bracketing?no
White-balance bracketing?no
Memory-card typemicroSD
Viewfinder coverageN/A
LCD resolutionN/A
Secondary LCD display?no
Video/TV output?no
Body constructionPlastic
Tripod mounting thread?yes
Data connector typeMicro-USB

Manual, software and accessories

Full printed manual?yes
Software suppliedPlayMemories Home

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