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QX100 Photos, Interface, and Menus

I have been using the Sony QX100 Smartphone Attachable Lens-style Camera‬ for one week. Last week, after I posted my first two posts about the QX100 (if you are curious here they are: About the QX100 and QX10  and Sony QX100 Photos of the New York City skyline), I received a ton of messages and mail asking questions about the interface and menu. I figured it was a good time to post more photos and also make a post that shows the interface, shooting modes, and various menu options.

Unlike the first batch of New York City photos I took with the QX100 (link above) which were not altered in any way, the photos posted with this post have all been edited in Lightroom.

If you want to see the full set including some fun photos I took where I set the QX100 on the ground in Soho to catch the light on a glass sidewalk while controlling the QX100 with my iPhone while standing up (rad!): exhibit 1, exhibit 2, feel free to view them in their set on Flickr here:

Sony QX100 Photos

I use an iPhone 4S for mobile photography. However, getting started using the QX100 and QX10 is the same whether you are using an Android or iOS device (both the QX100 and QX10 work with tablets too!).

The first step is to make sure that you download the PlayMemories Mobile App via iTunes or Google Play.

The first time you use your QX100 or QX10, you will want to enter the unique WiFi access point name located inside the battery flap of your device into your iOS or Android device’s WiFi settings. You will only have to do this the first time you use your QX camera.

If you are using an iOS device, you will want to power the QX100 or QX10 on and then check your WiFi settings. Once you see the unique WiFi access code name pop up in your WiFi settings, tap it. This is a unique access point that is created by your QX camera so that it can use your device as a viewfinder and share photos with your device. You don’t need to be connected to the internet to use the device.

The next step is to tap on the PlayMemories app icon on your device. This will open up the interface and viewfinder on your device.

This is what the interface for the QX100 looks like:

QX100 Interface for iPhone

The QX100 has 4 different shooting modes which you can access by tapping on the upper-left part of the camera screen. Here they are:

QX100 Shooting Modes

The four shooting modes are Intelligent Auto, Superior Auto, Program Auto, and Aperture Priority Shooting.

Intelligent Auto is the general auto mode.

Superior Auto mode is a mode where a series of up to 8 shots are taken at once and they are averaged together to create one great shot.

Program Auto is a hybrid auto mode where you can adjust the exposure (amount of light) but everything else is done automatically.

Aperture Priority mode is a mode that exists only the QX100. It’s the closest the QX100 comes to having manual mode. You can adjust everything but shutter speed in this mode. The shutter speed is adjusted according to the exposure value and aperture setting. This is the mode I shoot in most of the time since I am a die-hard manual mode user with my other cameras and like to control as much as I possibly can.

Here is what Aperture Priority Mode looks like:

QX100 Aperture Priority Mode Options

Tapping on the aperture value (the range is between f/1.8 and f/11 on the QX100) will open up the sliding menu that you can see in the screenshot above. Tapping on the exposure value will open up a slider for exposure value as well. It’s interesting to watch the shutter speed adjust accordingly.

You can also shoot video with the QX100 and QX10. If you tap on Mode on the bottom-left part of the camera screen, this simple option menu will appear:

QX100 Mode Option Screen

If you select Movie, this is what the Movie mode looks like. It’s pretty basic with a giant red button that starts recording once you tap it:

QX100 Movie Mode Screen

Tapping on the tools icon will bring up a Settings screen which is different depending on what shooting mode you are in and/or if you are in camera or movie mode. Here is what the Settings screen looks like while in Aperture Priority Mode:

QX100 Settings Screen

These are the Settings options:

White Balance: Includes AWB, Sunny, Cloudy, Shade, Incandescent, Fluorescent: Warm White, Fluorescent: Cool White, Fluorescent: Day White, Fluorescent: Daylight, Color Temp (which has a temperature slider)

Self-Timer: Off, 2 seconds, 10 seconds

Focus Mode: Manual Focus or Auto-Focus on the QX100. The Manual Focus mode allows you to focus with the lens manually

Still Image Size: These sizes will vary between the QX10 and QX100 but here are the QX100’s image size options (there are a ton):

QX100 Image Size Options

Review Image: On, 2 seconds, Off

Save Options: allows you to choose to save an image directly to your smartphone/tablet after shooting if you don’t have a memory card installed

Size of Review Image: 2M or Original

Beep of Connected device: Shutter, On, Off

The QX10 and QX100 both have zoom functionality. This is what the zoom slider looks like:

QX100 Zoom Slider

Sliding the Zoom Slider towards the W on the left gives you a wide-angle view. Sliding the Zoom Slider towards the T on the right will zoom the lens in on your subject allowing you to take macro and close-up photos.

You can also choose to shoot with a minimal display by tapping on the little arrow above the tools icon. It will clear up the viewfinder so that all you see is the shutter button and your view (here I am in 1:1 or square crop mode):

QX100 Camera Screen

With playback on, this is what it looks like after a photo has been taken with the QX100:

QX100 Share Option screen

Tapping on Share will open up a screen displaying whatever apps you have on your device that you typically edit and/or share photos to (examples: photography apps like Camera+, Instagram; ), social networks (examples: Twitter, Facebook), and options like: Save to Camera Roll, Print, Copy, Mail

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I have been enjoying using the QX100. I am blown away by the image quality. If you shoot with your phone primarily, it will take some getting used to remembering that you have this new camera that works with your phone.

I think these devices (particularly the QX10) will appeal to anyone who primarily uses their phone to take photos and loves the ability to share their photos instantly to their favorite social networks or to friends and family.

When I was on the top of the Empire State Building last week taking the first batch of QX100 photos, I noticed that the majority of people up there were taking photos with their phones and tablets. I couldn’t help but think about how much happier many of those people would have been using the QX10 or QX100 after the sunset when the light was getting low and they were straining to get non-blurry photos of the skyline.

For street photography, I found that I had to prep for and anticipate moments more than usual since I wasn’t just grabbing my phone and shooting people in candid situations on the fly. But it can be done. Just differently.

The battery life is pretty good. I was out shooting with the QX100 powered on last week for 2 hours before the battery life went down to one bar. I think the specs say that the battery will last for around 220 photos.

To cover another question that people keep asking, the QX10 and the QX100 do not shoot in RAW format. In my earlier post about the cameras, I speculated that this is probably because the QX cameras are made to work with smartphones and tablets primarily and both smartphones and tablets cannot deal with RAW format for the most part.

However, you can seamlessly edit your photos taken with the QX cameras with your favorite mobile photography apps (or if you really want, you can edit them on your computer or laptop using Photoshop, Lightroom, or any other editing software).

Sony also recently released their API to developers. This means that you could essentially control the QX10 and QX100 right from inside your favorite photography apps in the near future. It will be interesting to see how all of this will shape the future of these devices (and mobile photography).

Here are some things that I think would enhance the shooting experience:

1) While the QX100 comes with a wrist-strap, I wish there was a way to have it attached to a dedicated strap that would either go around the neck like a traditional camera strap or would fit across the body. There have been many times where I want to keep the QX100 attached to my phone to not missing shooting opportunities but I am stuck holding everything in my hand (not sure I want to dangle a Zeiss lens off of a wrist-strap with my phone attached).

I could see a potential market opening up eventually which would include device cases with camera straps made specifically for these cameras. Imagine putting a case on your iPhone or Android phone that would securely hold the QX10 or QX100 while freeing up your hands in-between shooting allowing you not to worry about keeping the QX cameras attached to your smartphone.

2) It would be great if the ability to toggle between manual focus and auto focus was accessible directly via the camera screen itself. Currently, you need to: tap the tools icon to access settings, tap on Focus Mode, and then tap on Manual Focus or Auto Focus. That’s three taps. I tend to love to switch between Manual Focus and Auto Focus quite a bit. This can get a bit tiring after a while. Having direct access on the camera screen itself would solve this issue.

3) The PlayMemories Mobile App needs some work (referring to the iOS version). From a usability standpoint, there are some glaring issues with intuitive descriptions and design. There is also an issue with lag that is prevalent with the iOS verison of the app. I don’t experience lag when I am shooting in even light or low light. The lag seems to start occurring in very, very bright light especially if the zoom function is engaged in any way.

I have read and heard that the lag is less prevalent when using the QX10 and QX100 with Android devices.

A note about this issue: I think this is where other developers can step in and possibly make the user experience better since as I mentioned above, Sony opened up the API to the public. I will be curious to see how other developers develop for these devices and approach this issue.

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That was a lot of information! If you have any questions about anything, feel free to comment here under this post. I hope that the screenshots and explanations cleared up some of the mystery surrounding these awesome devices!

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