Cigar Aficionado

Qualia 016 Digital Camera

If James Bond's trusty gadget guru, Q, had wanted to invent a miniscule camera that could take high-quality shots on the sly and be worthy of slipping in and out of the stylish spy's breast pocket, he probably would have designed something similar to the new Qualia 016 digital still camera by Sony Electronics.

When Sony encouraged its designers to test the boundaries of their imaginations, its two chief engineers created the Qualia line of products to be cool, yet functional, while standing the test of time in an age of throw-away technology. And with its modern, compact design, the 016 is a gadget any would-be 007 would be eager to get his or her hands on. Sharing those qualities in the Qualia line are a film projector, headphones and a yet-to-be released minidisc playe.

At only 2 1/2 inches long and 5/8 of an inch wide, the 016 is one of the smallest digital cameras on the market today, yet doesn't suffer for it. While most digital cameras have numerous buttons for different functions, the 016, limited by space, uses a unique interface to command various tasks. The camera has only two buttons—one for power and one for taking shots—but a touchpad on the top controls the remaining 98 percent of the camera's functions and is fairly simple to use. By pressing both ends of the pad, you turn on the camera menu or playback menu. Sliding your finger left to right allows you to scroll through menu options. By pressing down on the center of the pad, you can adjust the image quality, its size and exposure, among other things.

The camera allows you to view and save or discard photos immediately. In addition, a video-out attachment lets the user attach the camera through the video input on a television and view the images on-screen. A timer remote control allows you to set up the camera on a tripod and put yourself in the photo.

The 016 comes equipped with a 6.2mm lens, which is the equivalent of a 41mm lens on a standard camera. A wide conversion lens, for wide-angle shots, and a tele-conversion lens, for close-ups, are also provided in the unique carrying case. Also included is a 64MB memory stick duo to store your photos, a flash attachment, a viewer that allows you to magnify the screen, and three lithium batteries for the camera, flash unit and video-out unit.

The Qualia 016 costs $3,900.

Visit or call 800-Qualia-3.