Turn your smartphone into a DSLR with Sony's QX1 interchangeable lens camera

The Sony QX1 Interchangeable-lens camera. (Sony)

The Sony QX1 Interchangeable-lens camera. (Sony)

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, Last Updated: 2:58 PM ET

Sony's new self-contained camera, the QX1, can turn your smartphone into a full professional DSLR.

Unveiled at a special event on Wednesday, the QX1 is focused on mobile photography enthusiasts and can be paired wirelessly with a smartphone or can clip straight onto it, turning the handset's screen into the viewfinder and shutter release.

But what makes it special is that it accepts interchangeable lenses. So you can swap from wide angle to zoom or even fisheye in order to get the perfect shot but no matter which lens you reach for, the image will be processed by a 20-megapixel sensor rather than the sensor inside your smartphone. With the accompanying app loaded up, the result really is like using one of Sony's proper DSLR cameras, right down to being able to adjust shutter speed and aperture. There's even an integrated pop-up flash. 

Bigger images take up a lot of valuable storage space so although pictures and videos can be saved directly to a smartphone handset, they can also be saved to the camera's own SD card. 

Not everyone who likes shooting photos with a smartphone needs to be able to attach an array of pro lenses to their device in order to capture something and post it to Instagram, but as smartphone makers concentrate more and more on improving the imaging capabilities of their latest models, it's the camera on existing smartphones that is the first feature to start feeling out of date.

The QX1 is a rather elegant solution to not only breathing new life into an older handset, it also puts it at the cutting edge in terms of photography.

When it goes on sale in November for US$400 it will do so alongside another new Sony lens camera, the QX30, which doesn't offer interchangeable lenses but does have a built-in 30x optical zoom lens, stability control and the ability to shoot at 10 frames per second, for $350.


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