There's an arms race going on between phone manufacturers. Every few months we see Nokia, Samsung or Sony announce a new phone with a camera of an even more mind-boggling number of megapixels. But which camera phone is right for you? Here's a rundown of some of the current top contenders.
I was born in 1987, which perhaps makes me one of the last people born to not have a complete archive of photos of my entire life. At least in the developed world (no pun intended, honest). Kids born since the invention of camera phones are growing up in a world of ubiquitous photography - their parents will have an endless supply of photos. One of my friends who is a new parent, takes a photo of his daughter every single day.
By comparison, whilst my parents obviously have stashed somewhere a number of pictures of me growing up, these are inevitably centered mostly around holidays and birthdays and the like. This is a whole gigantic magnitude of difference from how thanks to Instagram, a meal is barely a meal without a photo opportunity as the starter.
And this has got me thinking about how we approach these photographic memories - and how we can make sure that they are permanent.
The photos of my childhood at my parents' house are, presumably, sat in a photo album or a box at the back of a cupboard. The photos I have taken since going digital maybe ten years ago are scattered between hard disks, computers, and Facebook. Which are more permanent? And crucially - which are easier to find?
The trouble is, computers feel transient. We expect that the computers we use today will become obsolete, or will break down tomorrow. It's why we still refer sometimes to printing something out as a "hard copy" - something that will theoretically last for much longer (even if it's lost in a pile of unsorted papers).
Similarly - I know the photos my parents have that were taken on an old analogue camera could disappear in an instant if a fire breaks out - but there's still something that feels permanent - compared to the photos I've posted on Twitter and Facebook. Will I ever find that specific photo again, in amongst all of my thousands of other tweets? Worse still - what if the photo was taken by a friend and I was tagged? What if they delete the photos from Facebook - is that photo lost to me forever?
And what of Facebook itself - how do we know it's going to be around forever? And will it always accept photo uploads? Considering how often it's interface changes, it's hard to feel reassured. Anyone who has ever used Posterous can surely tell a warning tale about how online services don't last forever.
My current strategy for backing up my photographic memories is to use Google Drive. For something like £4 a month, you can boost your Drive up to 100GB, and sync files from a desktop like you can with Dropbox. In addition to saving all of my existing photos to there, I've also setup an Ifttt trigger to automatically copy across to Drive any tagged photos of me on Facebook.
Perhaps inexplicably, this feels more lasting than Facebook. I'm not sure why given both are cloud services that could, at least in theory, be switched off at any time. I guess it's because I'm assuming that Google aren't going to go anywhere quickly - and if they do decide to get rid of Drive, then they're at least likely to give customers a fair warning, rather than just go pop.
I picked Google over Dropbox too because of their size - thinking that Dropbox is more likely to disappear. But then somewhere in the deep recesses of my mind I know I'm a fool - look at what they did to Google Reader. And look at what happened to Woolworths, and perhaps more relevantly, Kodak.
Perhaps there's a more fundamental problem. The photos are jpegs - are jpegs still going to be supported by the technology in future decades? At least with a printed photo it will always remain printed and visible when looked at - but if in 10, 20, or even 50 years time we're using a different format on a different medium, will I be able to retrieve the pictures? What would you do if someone handed you a floppy disc containing something important, saved as a picture for the Amiga 500? Even if you could somehow plug the disc into your modern computer, opening the file wouldn't be easy.
So are my pictures really safe now? Is there a way I can make sure these memories will last? Is the aspiration of permanence a pointless task given that eventually we'll all be dead and the universe will experience heat death, when there will be no more entropy? Is there such thing a digital permanence? And will I even want to look back at this stuff anyway?
Vodafone's 4G offering recently launched here in the UK and the network have just announced the addition of three new phones to the 4G ready line-up that will be particularly enticing if you're into photography.
The Sony Xperia Z1 is a powerful beast - sporting a 2.2ghz Snapdragon process. It has a 20 megapixel camera with a 27mm wide angle lens - and get this, unlike the new iPhone 5S - it is actually waterproof, up to a depth of 1m. And you can get one for free on contract for the, er, bargain basement price of £47/month for two years.
It's joined by the Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom (click the link to read Chris's review!), a phone with a massive camera lens bolted on that'll be attractive to any photographers with it's 10x optical zoom.
Completing the set is the Nokia Lumia 1020, which instead runs on Windows Mobile. Available in either yellow or black, this has an astonishing 41 megapixel camera on board with a fancy Carl Zeiss lens and all that. (Stay tuned for our full review of the phone on TechDigest soon!)
The Lumia will also set you back £47/month, but Vodafone are sweetening the deal by extending a free Spotify subscription or free Sky Sports to 4G customers with these phones.
So if you're a photographer looking for a new phone, it might be best to focus on these handsets. I'm so sorry.
The world's first interchangeable lens camera with both water and shock proofing, the Nikon AW1 is looking quite the capable bit of kit for adventurous photographers.
Waterproof to 49 feet deep, freezeproof to temperatures as low as -10c and good to withstand drops from heights of 2m, the 14.2MP shooter uses a 1-inch CMOS sensor, backed by the EXPEED 3A processor.
15fps continuous autofocussing and Full HD video capture join interesting features such as the inclusion of an electronic compass, GPS and GLONASS, a dual altimeter/depth gauge and a virtual horizon. Built-in Wi-Fi is also included.
Modes specifically designed for shooting while scuba diving are also included, as is one for capturing close-ups in the deepest depths. However, though the camera technically works with all Nikon 1 series lens, prospective buyers are warned that any NIKKOR 1 lens that is not all-weather should not be used under water. In other words, AW1 owners need to set aside some cash for the two new NIKKOR all weather (AW) lenses, the 1 NIKKOR AW 11-27.5mm f/3.5 - 5.6 and a 1 NIKKOR AW 10mm f/2.8 lens, if they're looking to find Nemo.
Available in black, white and silver shades, the AW1 will cost £750 with its kit lens, while the waterproof lenses start at £300. All hit stores from October 10.
"It's much more efficient to teach iPhone to take great photos than it is to teach millions of people to be expert photographers," reads the Apple iPhone 5S press blurb, conjuring an image of a terrifying future in which a sentient iPhone insists on taking the perfect selfie of you against your will.
While we haven't quite reached that photographic dystopia just yet, Apple is certainly waxing lyrical on the quality of the snaps that can be taken with the new iPhone 5S. And even if the rest of the iPhone 5S refresh underwhelms, there's no denying that the iSight camera improvements sound worthy.
While sticking with an 8MP sensor, Apple has instead chosen to boost the size of the sensor itself rather than up the megapixel count. Each sensor node now measures 1.5 microns, allowing for enhanced detail in colour depth and range.
Using a new f/2.2 lens rather than the iPhone 5's f/2.4 lens, images will be able to retain more detail and contrast in bright lighting conditions too, while a dual flash with both a warm amber light and cool white light will allow for balanced snaps when images require a more graded light range. If you're shooting action-packed photos, a new auto image stabilisation system (taking multiple shots at once and combining them to deliver the sharpest, most vivid final shot) should ensure subjects moving at high speed still look their best.
But let the photos speak for themselves. Scroll down for a handful more images from the iPhone 5S camera. They're straight from Apple, so may be touched up a tad, but they give a good impression of what to expect.
The convenience of smartphones has all but killed the need for a compact camera. However, aside from a handful of noble decent efforts, few can match the performance of dedicated camera tech. Sony think they have the solution: rather than squeezing a hybrid phone/camera device into your pocket, they're hoping you'll be tempted by their new attachable DSC-QX10 and QX100 lenses, each housing a BIONZ image processor and compact-comparable sensor.
It's a totally new concept for cameras. Communicating with a smartphone through Wi-Fi or NFC, each lens can be clipped onto a smartphone with a mounting bracket and controlled via an app, or carried around and used altogether independently, thanks to built in storage and a physical shutter button. You need then only pop them out when you're about to take a snap, without compromising the svelte frame of the mobile in your trouser pocket. With the QX100 measuring just 62.5 x 62.5 x 55.5 mm and the QX10 62.4 x 61.8 x 33.3 mm (and weighing 179g and 105g respectively), you'll hardly notice them when sat in your rucksack or jacket pocket.
The Sony PlayMemories Mobile app is used to control each lens, with versions available for Android, iOS and Kindle devices, adding tablet functionality into the mix alongside smartphones, and hopefully discouraging those misguided slate owners from using their large-screened tech as their primary camera devices. The physical controls onboard each lens (which also include a zoom toggle) allow each unit to be used without a smartphone or tablet too, though you of course lose the ability to preview your snaps on a screen in the process.
The two models have a few notable spec differences. The QX10 has an 18.9-megapixel 1/2.3″ (7.76mm) Exmor R CMOS sensor and 10x optical zoom, while the high-end QX100 has a 20.9-megapixel 1-inch (13.2×8.8mm) Exmor R CMOS and 3.6x optical zoom. As well as onboard storage, each unit has its own battery power.
For many then, the optical zoom functionality will be the biggest draw here, given the shocking effect digital zoom has on smartphone image quality. But it'll come at a price - Sony's adventurous concept sees the QX10 priced at £179 and the QX100 priced at £399. That's a hell of a lot of money, and would-be buyers may feel a little shortchanged, given the impression they are paying top dollar for essentially half a camera. But it's exactly this out-of-the-box thinking that makes Sony's lenses so interesting in the first place. We'll try to get some more hands-on time with the lenses soon, and deliver a final verdict then.
Nikon has announced two new cameras at IFA 2013 in Berlin, the high quality COOLPIX P7800 and ultra-compact COOLPIX S02 cameras.
Billed as a professional performer in a compact body, the COOLPIX P7800 is billed as a multi-talented camera. Due to go on sale for £499.99 on September 26, it has 28-200mm f/2.0-4.0 zoom NIKKOR lens, built-in electronic viewfinder and large back illuminated CMOS sensor with 12 megapixels.
Designed for enthusiasts determined to get the best from their camera as well as professionals like architects or those working in real estate, the powerful P7800 features a bright, high resolution 7.1x zoom NIKKOR lens with 2 ED glass and 7 blade iris aperture for better background blur and super crisp focusing
The ultimate on-the-go camera, claims with rapid performance, quick start-up time and pin sharp autofocus with second generation Vibration Reduction, the P7800 is capable of continuous shooting up to 8fps and ideal for decisive photographers who might not have their DSLR to hand. RAW compatibility (NRW) means you'll always get the best out of the sensor, no matter what your image requirements.
When switching to video, the P7800's 3inch vari-angle monitor allows users to document a scene from the tightest of angles, or hold the camera at arm's length and capture a video diary, or self-portrait. Full HD 1080p (25 or 30fps) video resolution with built-in stereo microphone (and external microphone output) place adaptability at the heart of this powerful COOLPIX companion.
James Loader, Senior Product Manager for Consumer Products at Nikon UK, comments: "With its lightning quick responsiveness and bright, high resolution NIKKOR lens, the COOLPIX P7800 is a great choice for photographers seeking control and convenience without sacrificing on image quality"
He adds: "This class leading COOLPIX camera has been designed with the photographer in mind; with features such as the practical vari-angle screen and built-in electronic viewfinder to get the absolute best results in your videography and well as point-and-shoot photography. The manual controls incorporating three user modes, two function buttons and two command dials (rear and front) make it a truly special blend of performance and versatility."
Costing £119.99 and available from September 19, the COOLPIX S02 features a 13 megapixel CMOS sensor, 7.3GB of internal memory and a 3x optical zoom give the charming camera the functions of a larger model while the touch screen and intuitive interface lend the jewellery-like device a seductive build quality.
In addition, the camera's built-in Xenon flash, more powerful and better balanced than an LED light, will illuminate even the darkest of restaurants, bars and nightclubs, leaving your subjects stunned by the images, instead of the flashbulb. If the occasion suits a movie, the S02 records in Full HD so you'll never miss a trick. Night landscape mode even lets you shoot sharp images at low ISO combining four shots taken at a very fast rate.
The COOLPIX S02 will be available in white, pink, blue and mirror.
Samsung have lifted the covers off the Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom LTE, their second stab at a compact camera/phone hybrid, with this latest version supporting LTE 4G mobile data connections.
Offering multi-band 4G, it works across six different band sets, meaning the new superfast networks from O2 and Vodafone (as well as the veteran 4G service from EE) should work without issue.
Other than that, it's business as usual for the Galaxy S4 Zoom, sporting a 4.3-inch Super AMOLED 960 x 540 screen and 1.5GHz dual-core processor backed by 1.5GB of RAM. Running Android 4.2 Jelly Bean, what truly sets the device apart from other Galaxy devices from Samsung is that, as well as offering the usual array of Android smartphone features, the Galaxy S4 Zoom also has a full 10x optical zoom lens built in. It's basically a compact camera, with all the social-networking and photo sharing mod cons of a smartphone.
"The introduction of LTE capabilities to the Galaxy S4 Zoom demonstrates our commitment to providing customers with the best possible product on the market," said Simon Stanford, vice president of the IT and mobile division at Samsung UK.
"Today's consumers place great importance on being connected with their world, a need that is catered for with the LTE technology. It's powerful, stylish and is perfect for those who want to take outstanding pictures from a device that's always with them and then share them immediately and easily."
We recently reviewed the standard 3G edition of the Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom. Click here to check it out - aside from the download speeds, we expect its performance to be nigh-on identical.
Type: Android smartphone (Jellybean 4.2.2) with 10 x optical zoom lens
Specifications: Click here for full specs
Price as reviewed: £399 (without contract)
A jack of all trades smart phone with a built in compact camera complete with optical zoom lens, the Samsung S4 Zoom is unique alright. But can it be possibly be the master of two very different disciplines. Read on to find out...
Is it a camera, is it a phone? I still don't know
Having been a loyal iPhone fan for many years, I must admit it has been difficult to consider being unfaithful. After all she was so beautiful when I first met her and all my friends seemed to love her. But just recently she seems to have let herself go a bit and then all these attractive new models keep turning my head.
And although I haven't been tempted by the big Phablet beasts I must admit having secretly lusted after this design for a few weeks - lured by newspaper ads and the thought of having a decent enough smart phone with a camera that is, on paper at least, better than anything else on the market.
That was until I held the Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom in my hand for the first time and began to wonder what the hell I'd done. Don't get me wrong, it's a brave concept and for that it must be applauded. It's just I'm still not sure I made the right choice to leave the iPhone. Here's the deal; on one side the S4 Zoom is really just a Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini, while flip it over and basically it's a compact camera with a decent-ish 10x optical zoom.
Get it out in a meeting lens side up as I did the other day and people will automatically assume you are taking their picture and start grinning. Put it in your pocket and people really will think you are pleased to see them, especially with the zoom lens out! Even with the zoom lens in it's a pretty bulky beast. Samsung claims it is just 125mm thick, but that doesn't include the metal housing for the lens or the grip handle which adds another 100mm or so. Nor is it light either. Tipping the scales at 208g, it's even heavier than the Nokia Lumia 920. Certainly I found it quite heavy in the hand when out running with it using the Nike Running app.
Thanks for the memory - not
Yet despite its bulkiness I am enjoying using the Galaxy S4 Zoom. Screen resolution isn't the highest at 256 pixels per inch (compared to the iPhone's 326ppi and the HTC 1's 469ppi) but I certainly haven't had any issues reading text or even looking at pictures. Perhaps the screen has a little more contrast than I am used to, but this is a problem I find with all Samsung devices which seem a little 'zingy' to me.
One thing's for sure, Android is very different to the Apple iOS and this has taken a lot of getting used to. Whereas Apple tends to offer limited functionality and keep you locked into their eco-system, with Android (this is running Jellybean 4.2.2) there are options for just about everything which means endlessly sifting through menus to get things how you want.
One big criticism I would have though is the lack of storage on the device. The Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom has just 8GB on board which is a bit crazy, given this is a phone aimed at photo and video enthusiasts. By the time I'd added my music, image and small video library I'd filled up the memory entirely. This was before adding any apps from the Google Play store. This meant a trip out to Maplin to invest in a 64Gb Micro SD storage card (an extra £60 on top of what's already a £400 phone). Processing speed isn't the fastest either meaning internet pages don't always load up quickly even on a decent speed wi-fi connection (to be honest that's true of the iPhone too). Rather than a quad core processor favoured by many of the latest smartphones, the Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom comes with a dual core processor running at 1.5GHz. So it does feel a little slower than I was expecting.
Curiously for a device that's supposed to be half phone, half camera, actually switching the camera on is quite difficult. Unlike a compact camera where you just have to press a button to take a picture, with the Galaxy Zoom you either have to boot up the phone or - if it's already on - press the camera icon or hold the shutter button down for several seconds. Whichever way you do it, it takes well over five seconds to even get the lens open and ready to take the picture (not great for photographers taking spontaneous shots). That said, the camera isn't half bad at all once it's ready. Obviously this is the only camera phone on the market with optical zoom lens so it's difficult to make direct comparisons. Perhaps the nearest model on the market is the 41 Megapixel Nokia Lumia 1020 and although the Nokia offers much higher resolution on paper, the reality is that it's still better to have a proper zoom lens than having to artificially crop from a larger image.
In the couple of weeks since getting the phone I've spent a lot of time taking pictures with it and have been happy with the results. One criticism I would have is that it does feel a little slippy in the hands, not helped by the glossy white finish. Taking pictures of The Thames I was terrified that I was going to drop the device in the River - hence I've already ordered a silicone case to give me a bit more grip.
Various photographic modes are provided including Night mode (good for taking pictures in low light conditions where flash isn't appropriate - ie. gigs), Macro (for close ups, see flowers below) and even a Beauty Mode where you can enlarge people's eyes and make them look a bit thinner - a bit gimmicky that one I thought.
For budding professionals there are also several manual modes, including aperture control (to control the amount of light coming to the lens) and shutter speed to give more control especially when shooting fast moving objects.
In addition to the 16MP CMOS Sensor there's also a 1.9MP front facing camera. Focal length starts at a very wide angle 24mm and goes up to an impressive 240mm. Either you can zoom using the plus and minus buttons on the touch screen or you can use the sturdy zoom ring on the front to zoom in up to 10x. The Zoom ring can also be used to show detail in images you have taken on the 4.3inch display and is handy for getting close ups when shooting video too. All in all the camera works quite well once you have managed to switch it on!
The globe theatre taken from the North bank of The Thames - click on picture for full sized image.
A flower bed outside City of London School for Boys, taken using the camera phone's Macro mode. Click on picture for full sized image.
A view of St Paul's taken from close to the Millennium Bridge. Click on picture for full sized image.
You know what they say about Jack of all Trades. Well never has this been more true of a device than than the Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom. You have to applaud the manufacturer for continuing to innovate. If nothing else it gives journalists something to get their teeth stuck into. It's just this particular model doesn't quite work. As a camera phone it's not bad, but there are better. As a camera it's much better in terms of quality than any other smart phone I've ever used. But there are limitations - most notably that it adds considerable bulk/weight to the phone and the camera takes much longer to switch on than a standard compact camera
Samsung Electronics has announced customers in the UK are now able to buy the Galaxy NX, the world's first 4G interchangeable lens Connected Compact System Camera (CSC), from Jessops and Currys with selected online and high street retailers to follow.
Featuring 3G/4G LTE technology, the Galaxy NX allows photographers to share professional quality images and enjoy a range of features including Photo Suggest which offers location-based recommendations of popular photography spots, and Story Album which allows you to view a timeline of shots and create digital photo books.
Kitted out with various interchangeable lenses, the 20.3MP APS-C Sensor will, Samsung claims, produce bright and detailed images, even in lowest lit conditions, while the DRIMe IV Image Signal Processer delivers speed and accuracy.
Running on an Android 4.2 Jelly Bean OS, the Galaxy NX can be personalised with a huge range of Android apps to help capture amazing photographs and video, edit images or add special effects.
More than 30 Smart Mode options mean the optimum settings can be selected for the environment photographers are shooting in, whilst Multi Exposure merges two different shots together to produce one image and Animated Photo connects continuous shots of up to five seconds, creating a moving GIF file.
Nikon's L series high-zoom camera family gets a new member today with the launch of the Coolpix L620. An entry-level high zoom, it offers up an 18MP BSI sensor and 14x optical zoom.
Its lens is a wide-angle 25mm equivalent through to 350mm equivalent, letting you snap distant subjects easily, while optical image stabilisation keeps even zoomed shots steady.
1080p video capture is also onboard, as is an easy panorama mode.
Priced at £200, its an affordable snapper, but shows its entry-level heart through its use of AA batteries.
"With a 14x high zoom and range of scene modes, the Coolpix L620 is ideal for getting close to the action and capturing memorable images with ease," said James Loader, Senior Product Manager for Consumer Products at Nikon UK.
"Holidaymakers will particularly appreciate the AA battery port straight into the grip, making it easy to recharge and keep shooting. And, for added creativity, the camera features fun creative effects and Full HD movie."
Due to hit stores in September, it'll be available in black and red shades.
Another new compact camera on the way from Nikon today in the shape of the Coolpix S6600.
Improving upon the design of its predeccssor, the S6500 released back in February, this latest model adds in an adjustable LCD screen, helping you snap a better shot, no matter what the angle.
There's also now gesture controls added to the camera, allowing you to shoot stills and video and control zoom levels with a swipe of the hand when using self portrait mode.
Those additions aside however, the core specs remain familiar. There's a 16MP backlit CMOS sensor onboard, as well as built-in Wi-Fi and 12x optical zoom. 1080p video can be captured, alongside stereo audio.
Filters and effects can be added to pictures after they're shot from within the camera too using Nikon's Quick Effect mode. 30 different styles can be applied, alongside 18 scene shooting modes, an Easy Panorama function and blur and vibration reduction.
Launching in September and available in white, black, red and purple colours, expect to pay £199.99 when it hits UK stores.
Following this week's earlier leak, Panasonic have finally officially lifted the covers off their Lumix GX7 camera, landing as the replacement for their Lumix GX1 snapper.
Making use of a new 16MP sensor "far beyond anything [Panasonic] have launched before", the company claims it can compee with APS-C or DSLR format large sensors in terms of low-light shooting performance.
Featuring a retro aesthetic, he GX7 also makes use of the new Venus processing engine, again useful for toning down noise in low-light conditions.
The camera will also feature built-in Wi-Fi and NFC tech, using a 1040k-dot adjustable LCD screen for previewing snaps on. There's also a 2760k-dot viewfinder, which can sit almost flush with the camera's body.
Other features include 22 Instagram-style filters that can be applied to your snaps, a 1/8000 second max shutter speed, pinpoint AF and stop-motion video capture.
In terms of pricing, you'relooking at a body-only price of £819, £899 with the standard 14-42mm lens included or £999 for a kit which includes a 20mm f/1.7 lens.
Lookng to court the interest of regular YouTube video uploaders and video bloggers, Canon's Legria Mini camcorder comes with a twist.
Capturing full HD video with its ultra wide-angle fisheye lens, it also houses a 2.7-inch touchscreen that can swivel to face whoever is in front of the lens. With its, YouTube bloggers or anyone capturing a self-starring video can see exactly what they look like in the captured clip, just as it will appear if uploaded.
The Legria Mini can also capture 12.8MP still photos, as well as outputting any images or videos captures to a microSD card, making it a capable stand-alone device.
Wi-Fi connectivity also features, allowing the camera to hook up to an iOS or Android app and upload videos straight to YouTube or Facebook without the need for a computer, as well as sharing media over DLNA.
Set to land in the UK in mid-September, it's set to retail at £269. Whether or not that'll be cheap enough to grab the attention of YouTube's how-to cooks and make-up artists, guitar heroes and ranters, remains to be seen.
Panasonic's latest Lumix snapper, the Lumix GX7, has leaked online at Japanese photography blog Digicame, revealing not only the camera's looks, but some of its key specificaitons too.
Showing off the camera from front, rear and top-down angles, the images were acquired by Digicame from a source "who can be trusted", giving the leak some credence given the site's own respectability.
Taking its cues from the the Four Thirds L1 camera, the chassis looks slim (aside from a protruding grip area on the left hand side), housing a 3-inch view finder with 1.04 million dots and the ability to tilt up to 80 degrees on the rear. There's also an electronic view finder, which itself can be tilted 90 degrees with a viewing resolution of 2.76 million dots.
Equipped with a 16-megapixel Digital Live MOS Sensor according to the source, 1920 x 1080p / 60fps HD video can be captured, with a shutter speed as fast as 1/8000 and ISO up to 25,600.
On-sensor stabilization also features, alongside NFC and Wi-Fi, while 22 fun filters can be applied to images.
No word yet on pricing or availability, but we'll keep you posted once the camera is officially revealed.
Here's a photography gadget coming out of left field from Sony - SonyAlphaRumors are reporting that the company are developing a "lens-camera" unit that could be mounted on a smartphone and dramatically improve the quality of the images it could take.
A detachable accessory according to the leaked image above (sorry for the pixelation, it's the only image in circulation), it's said to come with its own imaging sensor, with both Wi-Fi and NFC connectivity allowing the images captured to be beamed to the smartphone, likely pairing with an app to make use of the touchscreen controls afforded by the handset's display.
The lens would also come with its own built in memory, apparently allowing it to be used as a standalone unit.
Despite the wacky premise, SonyAlphaRumors state that the leak has come from one of their most trusted sources, and have given the news the highest rating that their five-point rumour scale allows for, showing that they believe in its validity.
It's an interesting angle from which to approach the renewed interest in cameraphone technology - it's certainly unique, even when stood next to the smartphone/camera hybrids that include the Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom and Nokia Lumia 1020. If Sony's kit's compatibility extends beyond its own Xperia range, it could be a very intriguing device indeed, though we're still unsure how it would comfortable connect to a range of phones.
Lytro, the unusual boxy camera that can re-focus its snaps after the shutter button has been pressed, is now due in UK stores this month.
Starting at £399 for the 8GB model, a 16GB version will cost you £469.
Knocking around in prototype form since 2011, the camera uses a constant f/2.0 lens that stays fixed wide open through its 8x optical zoom. It results in a shallow depth of field equivalent to a 38-300mm zoom.
Using an 11-megaray sensor rather than a megapixel sensor, images are captures in a maximum of 1080 x 1080 resolution squares in the Lytro LFP format. These can be shared with an iOS app using the camera's built in Wi-Fi connection, and shared in squares on social media sites as embeddable HTML 5 frames, where the viewer can click a portion of the picture to pick that as its new focus point.
"With light field technology there is a huge opportunity for creativity in photography that hasn't been possible in the past," said Jason Rosenthal, CEO of Lytro.
"We've seen amazing, creative and interactive pictures from camera owners in other countries, and we're looking forward to seeing living pictures from our UK customers."
Hitting stores this July, the Lytro camera will be available from Harrods, Dixons Travel, and John Lewis Online.
The successor to the EOS 60D, it features a new Dual Pixel CMOS focus that can autofocus as much as five times faster than the previous generation of EOS snappers, as well as packing in a 20.2-megapixel APS-C sensor, an improvement on the previous 18-megapixel sensor in the EOS 60D.
Elsewhere, the camera is housing Canon's latest DIGIC 5+ image processing engine, a 19-point AF system and a top ISO level of 12800, alongside built in Wi-Fi for remote control of the camera and instant sharing of snaps.
An impressive burst shooting mode captures 7 frames a second to a maximum of 65 jpeg or 16 raw images per use, while full HD 1080p video can be captured at 25, 30 or 24fps. 720p video capture supports 60 and 50fps.
Featuring a 3-inch adjustable angle touchscreen LCD screen, the camera ships with either the EF-S 18-55 IS STM or the EF-S 18-135 IS STM lens.
Hitting stores in August, it'll set you back £1,079.99 for the body only, and from £1,199.99 for the various kit lens packs.
Sony have just revealed a new full-frame compact camera in the RX1 family, the Sony Cyber-shot RX1R. Keeping many of the same features found in the RX1, it does however drop the low-pass filter (OLPF) found in its predeccossor, without adjusting its high price to match.
However, rather than being the removal of an essential or premium feature, the use of an OLPF really is more of a stylistic choice - taking it out should result in sharper images, as light entering the lens will not be scattered as widely. Its removal can however lead to problems when shooting patterns, capturing false colours. It's a win some/ lose some situation.
Other than that, the RX1R is pretty much identical to the RX1 - there's the exact same 24.3 megapixel sensor and Carl Zeiss Sonnar T* F2 lens (35mm f/2.0).
And like the RX1, its priced formidably highly at £2599. Find it in shops from August.
Continuing in the footsteps of last year's Samsung Galaxy Camera, Samsung have now lifted the covers off the Samsung Galaxy NX, the world's first 4G-enabled interchangeable lens compact camera system.
Running Android 4.2 Jelly Bean and making use of a 20.3 ASP-C CMOS sensor, it will let you share your quality snaps in an instant, straight from the camera, wherever you may be in the world.
Tech Digest went hands-on with the Galaxy NX at a Samsung launch event in London last night. Check out our first impressions in the video above!
You can see images of the Galaxy NX camera in the gallery below