Sony Vlog Camera – ZV-1 Review

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Sony built its market reputation as a brand that addresses the digital camera needs of every segment. For Vloggers, it came up with a very speedy, reliable camera with multiple top-notch features – Sony ZV-1.

Vlogging is becoming very popular in the past few years, and it doesn’t seem like there will be any decline in its popularity for the next few years. Releasing a brand-new line dedicated to vlogging is a big yet very welcoming step by Sony.

ZV-1 is built to vlog!

It comes with numerous features to make shooting, especially video recording, facile and fun, making it almost perfect for people who want a good video camera. Being a vlog-dedicated camera, all the features of a perfect digital camera that come with ZV1 are a bonus for its owners.

Sony Vlog Camera ZV1

Sony ZV1 offers 20.1 effective megapixels as a still camera, whereas, as a video camera, it offers true 4k UHD resolution. Optical and digital stabilization, modern CMOS sensor, 44x combined zoom, unlimited recording time, webcam functionality, triple microphone system, touchscreen, responsive system, background options, built-in settings, and modes to reduce post-production work much as possible makes ZV1 an appealing choice for its target market.

Sony ZV-1 Review

ZV1 is a super-compact, reliable, and durable camera that weighs only 294 grams, including the battery and SD card. Overall, it is very pocket-friendly and easy to carry around.

Instead of releasing an updated version of the RX100 series in 2020, Sony came up with ZV1, which is the reason behind some noticeable similarities between these two designs.

Overview

ZV1 features a 3 inches vari-angle screen. It can be flipped on the right side or can be rotated upside down. The screen offers a very vibrant and clear view of everything. There is also a dedicated set of ‘Sunny Weather View’ for using cameras under bright sunlight. It automatically increases the brightness to keep everything visible on the screen under bright sunlight.

Sony ZV1

The specifications of ZV1 say that it is a camera with a touchscreen. Well, it is true, but to an extent. It is a shame that ‘Menu’ cannot be navigated using touch. For the price of the camera, such a flaw in touch is a kind of a turn-off. For vides, the rear screen is 3:2 instead of 16:9

At the back of the screen and the top of the camera, there are many buttons to start/stop recording, navigate the menu, and dedicated buttons for settings.

The electric viewfinder is not included in ZV1 compared to other Sony cameras. The viewfinder is not included because of the hot-shoe and a 3-capsule microphone on the top plate. The additional windshield also comes with the package, which comes in handy on many shooting occasions.

One drawback in design is that grip is on the left side, making it a more left-handers friendly design than for right-handers. Around 90% of the world’s world is right-handed, making this design troublesome for most users.

Lens

ZV1 features ZEISS Vario-Sonnar T* 9.4-25.7mm f/1.8-2.8 lens. This range of focal length is perfect for all sorts of vlog shooting, either outdoors or indoors. This lens is similar to the one used in the RX100 series. ZV1 is relatively cheaper, which makes it very welcoming.

Sony ZV1 lens

20.1 megapixel one-inch Exmor RS CMOS sensor is also featured just like the one in RX100. ISO125-12800 expands to ISO 80/100.

Video Performance

The ZV1 offers full 4k UHD resolution with 1.7x pixels resampling for improved details. It offers an unlimited recording limit. Slo-mo video recording and time-lapse video recording are also supported.

As this camera is specifically designed for vloggers, ZV1 is up to the mark in terms of video performance. In ample light, the video footages are nearly perfect. Whereas, in low-light situations, f/1.8-f/2.8 maximum aperture also helps get the best possible results.

Still images

Just like all other Sony cameras, no aspect of ZV1 in terms of still photography is disappointing. You can capture 20.1 MP high-resolution and vibrant images in both RAW and JPEG format. Just like videos, there are multiple built-in filters and modes dedicated to still photography.

Battery and Battery Life

1240 mAh rechargeable lithium-ion battery powers the ZV1. In ideal conditions, it offers approx. 260 shots for still images or around an hour video recording in 4k mode.

Sony Vlog Camera ZV1 battery

Features to aid in Vlogging:

Selfie Mode

Because of the flipping screen, it is straightforward to take HD self-portraits and do self-shooting.

Background Defocus

To add a shallow depth-of-field or bokeh effect, you no more have to change the settings manually. There is a custom button dedicated to Background defocus, which instantly switches to the maximum aperture setting (f/1.8-2.8).

Exposure Adjustment

In background defocus mode, a built-in ND filter automatically adjusts the amount of light reaching the sensor every time there is over-exposure. Another feature of Face Priority AE adjusts the exposure of the face to ensure that the face is always in ideal exposure. It also ensures no abrupt changes of exposure on the face, even when shooting circumstances change.

Sony ZV1 exposure

Color Science and Soft Skin Effect

The ZV1 is by default set on a mid-setting of Soft Skin Effect. It creates a smooth complexion on the subject by removing unwanted blemishes and giving a soft natural touch. Photographers can also manually adjust this setting on high or low.

Refined Color Science automatically refines the color tone of the subject giving a healthier and natural skin look. Combined with the soft skin effect, forget about how you are looking while shooting.

Active SteadyShot

This mode is to add additional stabilization in videos, especially when moving and walking. This is beside the optical and digital image stabilization offered by Sony ZV1. It is capable of reducing shakes 8 times compared to other cameras in this category.

Sony ZV1 stabilization

Hybrid Auto Focus System

ZV1 has an on-sensor phase-detection AF system with 315 detection points capable of covering 65% of the frame in both videos and still shooting. It provides very fast focusing even if the subject moves to ensure HD results in all shooting circumstances.

Interval Shooting Mode

Intervals ranging from 1 to 60 seconds are ideal for creating time-lapse.

Connectivity Features

To enable the quick transfer of footage, ZV1 comes with the features of Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity. You can also view the live footage on connected devices.

Sony Vlog Camera ZV1 ports

You can also use it with the Movie Edit add-on from the Imaging Edge mobile app using Wi-Fi for post-production work. Bluetooth connectivity also enables connecting to the optional GP-VPT2BT Wireless Shooting Grip for camera control.

Sony ZV-1 Specifications:

  • Dimensions (W x H x D): 4.15 x 2.36 x 1.71″
  • Weight: 10.37 oz. / 294 g
  • Battery: 1 x NP-BX1 Rechargeable Lithium-Ion, 1240 mAh
  • Battery output: Approx. 260 Shots
  • Sensor Resolution: Effective: 20.1 Megapixel (5472 x 3648)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1:1, 3:2, 4:3, 16:9
  • Sensor Type: CMOS (1 inch)
  • Image File Format: JPEG, Raw
  • Image Stabilization: Digital, Optical
  • Focal Length: 9.4 to 25.7mm (35mm Equivalent Focal Length: 24 to 70mm)
  • Optical Zoom: 2.7x
  • Digital Zoom: 16.3x Maximum (44x Combined Zoom)
  • Maximum Aperture: f/1.8 to 2.8
  • Minimum Aperture: f/11
  • Focus Range: 1.97″ to Infinity / 5 cm to Infinity (Wide), 11.81″ – Infinity / 30 cm – Infinity (Telephoto)
  • Optical Design: 10 Elements in 9 Groups
  • ISO Sensitivity: Auto, 100 to 12800 (Extended: 64 to 25600)
  • Shutter Speed: Mechanical Shutter 1/2000 to 30 Second, 1/32000 to 4 Second in Auto Mode
  • Metering Method: Average, Center-Weighted Average, Multi, Spot
  • Exposure Modes: Aperture Priority, Manual, Program, Shutter Priority
  • Exposure Compensation: -3 to +3 EV (1/3 EV Steps)
  • White Balance: Auto, Cloudy, Color Temperature, Custom, Daylight, Flash, Fluorescent (Cool White), Fluorescent (Day White), Fluorescent (Daylight), Fluorescent (Warm White), Incandescent, Shade, Underwater
  • Continuous Shooting: Up to 24 fps at 20.1 MP
  • Self-Timer: 2/5/10-Second Delay
  • Special Options: Panorama
  • Video Recording Modes: MP4/XAVC S: UHD 4K (3840 x 2160) at 23.976p/25p/29.97p [60 to 100 Mb/s], Full HD (1920 x 1080) at 23.976p/25p/29.97p/50p/59.94p/100p/119.88p [16 to 100 Mb/s]. AVCHD/MP4: Full HD (1920 x 1080) at 50i/59.94i [17 to 24 Mb/s]
  • Recording Limit: Unlimited
  • Audio Recording: Built-In Microphone (Stereo)
  • Live Streaming: Yes
  • Webcam Functionality: Yes
  • Screen: 3.0″ with 921,600 Dot resolution
  • Display Type: Articulating Touchscreen LCD
  • Flash Modes: Auto, Flash On, Off, Rear Sync, Slow Sync (No built-in Flash)
  • External Flash Connection: Hot Shoe
  • Connectivity: 3.5mm Microphone, HDMI D (Micro), USB Micro-B (USB 2.0)
  • Wireless: Bluetooth, Wi-Fi (No GPS)

Pros:

  • Ultra High definition videos
  • Fulfills all vlogging needs
  • Compact, reliable, and lightweight
  • Very responsive
  • Video Friendly specs

Cons:

  • Highly-priced
  • Lack of a built-in viewfinder
  • Stabilization quality doesn’t mean such justice with the price of the gadget

Verdict

If you are a serious vlogger, ZV1 can not only make your work easy but also step up your videos. All the features are optimized to give the vloggers the best experience with ease of use.

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