Sony QX30 review

30x optical zoom for your phone... well, sort of

Sony Cyber-shot QX30
The QX30 attaches to a clip which you adjust to fit your smartphone.

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The QX cameras continue to be an intriguing prospect that produce excellent images, but do come with their own set of problems.

First of all it's not exactly a camera for quick snapshots, as you need to connect it to your smartphone or tablet every time you want to use it (well unless you don't mind not being able to see what you're shooting). Sometimes, in my testing at least, it just wouldn't connect, or would be slow to form the connection - which is frustrating.

It's also a bit of a bulky item to attach to your smartphone, and the lack of a grip on the smartphone makes it a little unwieldy to use. You also need to bear in mind that although the QX30 has its own battery, it's also dependent on your smartphone battery for picture playback and camera control, so your smartphone battery life could be an issue.

On the plus side, image quality is very good, and it's nice to have the opportunity to use an extensive zoom range with your smartphone.

We liked

The 30x optical zoom range is very flexible, making it perhaps a useful addition for your holiday bag meaning you don't have to carry around a dedicated camera. The bulky size of it may mean that you'd be better off carrying a slim compact camera anyway for your jeans pocket.

We disliked

This is not a camera for spur-of-the-moment shots, and that can make it very frustrating to use. Simply trying to connect the camera to take a shot can be a difficult waiting game that doesn't always work.

Final verdict

Ultimately, the success of this camera relies on the device that you're using it with. We used it with both an Android phone with NFC and an iPhone with Wi-Fi, and neither was a seamless, particularly quick experience. It's an interesting concept that needs some work to make it better – but good if you really don't want an entirely separate camera device with a 30x optical zoom. It's also worth a look if you like to shoot a lot of photographs on a tripod, self-portraits or group shots.

Amy Davies

Amy has been writing about cameras, photography and associated tech since 2009. Amy was once part of the photography testing team for Future Publishing working across TechRadar, Digital Camera, PhotoPlus, N Photo and Photography Week. For her photography, she has won awards and has been exhibited. She often partakes in unusual projects - including one intense year where she used a different camera every single day. Amy is currently the Features Editor at Amateur Photographer magazine, and in her increasingly little spare time works across a number of high-profile publications including Wired, Stuff, Digital Camera World, Expert Reviews, and just a little off-tangent, PetsRadar.