Review: Sony QX100 vs. QX1 vs. Moment Lenses

I received the new Sony QX1 just in time for a hike near Salzburg. I've been using the Sony QX100 and QX10 so far and was curious, how the QX1 would perform compared to the other QX models and compared to the Moment Wide and Tele Lens.

What's the difference between the Sony QX1 and the other Qx models?

The most notable difference is, that you'll need to buy extra (and expensive) lenses for the QX1. While other Sony QX models like the QX10 and QX100 are more like iPhone controlled point and shoot cameras, the QX1 is more like a mirrorless camera that you can attach to and control with your iPhone

To be honest, I don't see a target group for the Sony QX1. If you have a DSLR or mirror-less camera, you may want to use just that. If you prefer a smaller camera, similar to a point and shoot, you'd just stick with the iPhone and maybe use the QX100 or QX10.

Nevertheless, I'm curious by design and so I gave it a try.

The QX1 vs. QX100

So I went for a walk along a small creek and tested the QX1 with a Sony SEL18 and a Sony SEL70300 lens. You can mount any lens with an e-mount connector from Sony to the QX1. That basically includes the entire range of lenses that work e.g. with Sony NEX mirror-less cameras.

Also, the Sony QX1 comes with a built in flash light. But that flashlight only works with very short lenses and will produce a notable shadow in the photo if the lenses are longer. Third, it can shoot RAW.

Like the other Sony QX models, you control the QX1 entirely with your smartphone using the PlayMemories app. Despite the better image processor and image quality compared to the QX100, and the option of shooting RAW, I won't keep the QX1, mainly for two reasons:

  • The QX1 is too heavy
  • The QX1 is too big

The QX100 weighs roughly 500 grams, whereas the QX1 weighs 900 grams. Together with a Sony SEL 1650 the QX1 would weigh 1.1kg, with a SEL1018 the weight is 1.4kg and with a Sony 70-300mm it weighs almost 1.8kg. Try to hold that steady when it's attached to a smartphone.

As for the size: I turned to the iPhone as my only camera because I want to travel light. If I'd want to use those external lenses, I'd stick with a DSLR or a mirrorless camera. However, your mileage may vary.

I will stick with the Sony QX100 for the time being for those rare cases where I need more than 8 megapixel and an optical zoom.

Late 2015 Update: I finally made the switch and now use only the iPhone to photograph during my trips. While the Sony attachable lens-style cameras are a great idea, they add some additional bulk to my luggage. So I‘m now iPhone only.

Furthermore, I can mount the QX100 to a very thin handheld monopod and can get all kinds of interesting perspectives that way. Watch the faces of people when you photograph above their heads with a Sony QX100 on a stick and control it from your smartphone. You'll hear a lot of "whoa, I want that too".

Update: With the iPhone now offering 12 megapixels and the availability of the Moment Lenses, I also ditched the Sony QX lens style camera and I now use only my iPhone to shoot, edit and share my travel photos on the go.

Sony QX vs Moment lenses.

You may wonder if the Moment Lenses a replacement for the QX lens-style cameras? Well, if the quality of the iPhone camera is good enough for you (like it is for me), then the Moment lenses are a great add-on whenever you want to shoot a wide landscape or get closer to something with a tele.

Conclusion

If you want pixel perfect 20 megapixel photos, then the QX1 oder QX100 is probably a good choice for you and you can get both from Amazon: The Sony QX1 and the Sony QX100

However, if you really want to travel light, then I‘d look at the iPhone together with the Moment Lenses as an alternative.

You might want to checkout the neat little trick I wrote about on how to shoot 16 megapixel wide angle photos with the native iOS camera. It works particularly well with landscapes.