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The era of “smart cameras” might be dead before it fully arrives thanks to Sony’s new line of QX Smart Lenses, which the company announced today.

The QX Smart Lenses are essentially just a really nice camera lens that hijacks your smartphone (nearly any smartphone) to transform it into a “smart camera” that’s on par with point and shoots. Yes, there is the matter of you still having two different pieces (lens + smartphone) to keep up with, but if we’re just talking about photo quality, the QX might be worth it.

The QX lenses have pretty much everything you’d find in a mid-level camera, including (of course) zoom lens function, image sensors, battery,  microphone, and removable memory card slots. As for the smartphone, the QX lens uses the screen as its viewfinder (window or screen you look into/at when aiming to take a shot). The lens can connect to your smartphone via Wi-Fi, which also allow you to upload photos to the web and share them across social networks and such. Also, you don’t actually need to keep both the lens and the smartphone attached when taking a shot. That means you can detach the lens and get the exact angle you want… while matching up with your smartphone screen to make sure you’ve got a good shot.

Sony announced to different QX Smart Lens models. The first and higher-end model is the QX100, which features 20-megapixel, 1-inch sensor, and 3.6x zoom for $500. The second model, the QX10, is a bit less expensive at $250. It features 18.9 megapixel photos, a 1/2.3-inch sensor, and a much greater 10x zoom. Both lenses are compatible with smartphones running at least iOS 4.1 or Android 2.3.

The QX100 and QX10 should go on sale at the end of the month. For a close look at the lenses, check out the demo video and slideshow of images embedded below.

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