A few days ago, SonyAlphaRumors reported on sourced information that revealed Sony’s intentions to release a so-called “lens camera.” This product is essentially a lens that includes its own sensor, battery and memory. The only thing it’s missing is a body. That’s where smartphones come in. The lens camera will allegedly communicate with smartphones through NFC and Wi-Fi. The live view of what the lens sees will also be relayed on a smartphone’s screen. When I first heard about this, I thought it was a bit crazy. However, there’s a good chance something like this could work.
Earlier this year at CES, Polaroid revealed the iM1836, the company’s first Android-powered interchangeable lens camera. On the surface the iM1836 resembles other mirrorless cameras (the Nikon 1 J models especially), but it has one huge difference. Polaroid built the sensors into the lenses instead of the camera’s body. Polaroid said it did this because a lot of people don’t realize how crucial and sensitive a camera’s sensor is when the lens is detached. Polaroid also built sensors into the camera’s adapter rings so lenses from other companies can continue to function. When you consider Polaroid’s creation, it’s not so far-fetched to believe Sony would do something similar.
Unlike the iM1836, Sony’s lens camera can stand alone as long as it can wirelessly communicate with another device. Many cameras today provide the option of using a smartphone to view live feeds and take photos without ever touching the actual camera. It’s possible for Sony to cram all of that into a lens body and create a new sector of the photography market. The big question is how much such a thing will cost for early adopters?
SonyAlphaRumors also said Sony is using the same sensor and lens that is found in the Sony RX100M II. This camera has an Exmor R CMOS sensor that can reach ISO 12800. The lens is a Carl Zeiss 28mm to 100mm f/1.8 lens. This setup doesn’t come cheap because the RX100M II is going to cost $750 when it’s released.
Depending on the price, Sony could be on to something. As time goes on, these lens cameras will become cheaper much like mirrorless cameras. As companies like Nikon work to find a way to take back the point-and-shoot market that’s being dominated by smartphones, a lens camera may be a nice middle ground.