Engineering marvels - especially consumer products - have a long history of being so practical and convenient that they are completely useless. Add-on lenses to smart phones are fast approaching this category. It is common knowledge that the best camera is the one you have with you, and unless you go on a specific photo shoot, this will be more many the smart phone in their pocket. Ready to be used anytime with virtually no set-up the smartphone creates reasonably good memories, serves as a creative tool when you study a bit its capabilities and possibly add some apps. There are a wide range of more or less convenient little add-on lenses http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DzKiQpj9Lbo#t=10with this one slightly more practical than others that require you to glue on parts onto your phone. These lenses are optical add-ons and while most of them suffer from incompatibility with an even more important piece of creative expression - the phone cover - they make use of the imaging technology at hand. Taking the concept of photography with your smartphone a stap further leads to the recent announcement by Sony to provide a fully contained high-end point-and shoot camera that uses your smart phone as a viewfinder and control panel.
Sony announced two fully connected cameras containing a Zeiss lens, a large sensor, a battery and electronics. It clips onto your smartphone, making it useless as a phone, a texting device and as a reading unit and hard to handle as a camera. It sounds like a great idea to finally have an optical 10x zoom with the QX10 and the large sensor QX100. Here's a professional review.
The photo enthusiast blog DPR Connect asks "Has Sony redefined mobile photography?" and there are definitely new options to use a highly connected camera. Maybe it's a new category. It's no longer the best camera to have with you - especially when you actually want to use the phone. Every time the $400+ camera piece hits the cobble stones of the street you're walking when answering a quick call makes you reconsider. When carrying a big clunker in your pocket, you may a s well carry a complete camera - or not.
Media and communication devices are getting old very fast, which makes us smile when we see feeble attempts to build the ultimate contraption.
UPDATE: More on Rotobooth (dead link)
More on the sharing the world with everyone except yourself in the next blog entry.
UPDATE: 10 minutes after I posted the blog entry, this came up on FB: attach your iPhone to a classic Hasselblad C500