Sony lens patent hints at bright future for upcoming RX-series camera

by Liam McCabe

posted Monday, April 21, 2014 at 1:26 PM EDT


The Sony Cyber-shot RX100 and RX100 II have enjoyed wide praise for excellent image quality in a versatile, pocketable package, and 28-100mm f/1.8-4.9 lens certainly played a part. But there's no rest for Sony, as it looks like they're working on an even better lens.

Egami dug up a pending patent on a new Sony lens design with a much faster telephoto setting. The focal range is the same, equivalent to 28-100mm (or 10-37mm on a 1-inch sensor), but the aperture is a generous f/2.8 at the telephoto end of the zoom range. It’ll help in low-light settings, but the most noticeable difference will probably be better-looking portraits thanks to the shallower depth-of-field at the narrow end. Other notable specs about this lens include optical stabilization and a built-in macro mode. It'll be built from 12 elements in 10 groups.

An example of the RX100 II's low-light capabilities. A brighter telephoto setting on a new RX-series camera would make it even easier to get clean, steady nighttime photos. Photo: Dan Havlik.

As with any patent, take the news with a grain of salt. These designs don’t always end up in wide production. And since the patent hasn't yet been approved, and the previous RX100 models were both announced in early summer, the lens may not be ready in time for the next version of the compact camera series. The design could be costly to manufacture, and might end up in a camera that's more expensive than many folks would expect from an RX100 replacement—that is, the $650 to $750 range, based on previous models' starting prices. 

But it's a feature that just about any photographer would like to have in a compact camera, so it seems like it's only a matter of time before it ends up somewhere in the Cyber-shot lineup. Feel free to speculate below, and dream up other features that the next pocket-friendly Cyber-shot should have.

(Via PetaPixel)