We quite liked Sony’s unusual QX series of lenses¬†which launched last year. The odd add-ons are a self-contained camera inside an SLR-style lens that pairs with a smartphone (and sticks on the back) over Bluetooth turning your handset into the brains of a decent compact camera.

It’s a neat idea, with one drawback: most smartphones already have good cameras, is a bulky extra like the QX really worthwhile?

Rival Olympus certainly thinks so – it’s just unveiled the Olympus Air, a very similar lens which works in almost exactly the same way. It’ll hookup to any smartphone, pair with a dedicated app and take high quality photos. (We say high quality because apparently it’s compatible with the Micro Four Thirds system of lenses inside Oly’s pro- and enthusiast interchangeable lens cameras.)

The Olympus Air will be available in Japan next month, and boasts a 16-megapixel Live MOS sensor and can purportedly take up to 320 shots on a single charge. Aside from being able to connect with your smartphone wirelessly, Olympus is also claiming that the Air is capable of producing “SLR-quality” images.

There is no word on pricing yet and it looks like this may be only be available in Japan for the time being, but it’s one we’d certainly like to try out soon.

[Via – Engadget]