Cameras

Sony zv-1 Review

The Sony ZV-1 is currently the most potent pocket vlogging camera available on the market. It combines the most significant video capabilities of the Sony RX100 series, including as its industry-leading autofocus technology, with design modifications that make it perfect for recording YouTube videos at home or while traveling.

The incorporation of Sony’s Real-time tracking and Real-time Eye AF technology, in addition to its brilliant 24-70mm f/1.8-2.8 lens, is its primary point of differentiation in the market. These features, in conjunction with the ZV-1’s 1-inch sensor, which is bigger than the sensors used in today’s smartphones, make it simple to record high-quality vlogs with a background blur that is attractive to the eye and stable focus throughout.

Sony zv-1 Design

YouTubers. The final product is not flawless, but it addresses the vast majority of the concerns we had with Mark V’s video recording capabilities. It is one of the few tiny cameras, along with the Canon G7X Mark III, that has been created mainly for the purpose of recording video.

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First, let’s get to the excellent parts. The side-hinged and articulated touchscreen is the most impressive new feature. When shooting video, a screen like this, which does not tilt, is preferable to a tilting screen since it does not obstruct the ability to attach accessories to the top or bottom of the camera.

It also rotates 180 degrees to face forward, an essential feature that enables users who operate one-person YouTube channels to frame their photos without the assistance of a person standing behind the camera.

Sony zv-1 Autofocus

The Sony ZV-1 combines the lens of the Sony RX100 Mark V (or at least a modestly altered version of it) with Sony’s most recent Bionz X processor and focusing capabilities. This is something that many vloggers have been begging Sony to achieve for a long time.

Why not add the 24-200mm lens shown on the two most recent Sony RX100 cameras instead of the 24-70mm lens that comes with the Mark V? This is because the former has a brighter aperture range of f/1.8-2.8, making it more suited for video blogging.

This, in conjunction with the camera’s 1-inch sensor, creates a beautiful background blur for your films. Your still photographs also benefit from the knock-on effect of being able to shoot at lower ISOs in comparable circumstances (albeit at the expense of that longer 200mm reach).

Sony zv-1 Features

What additional features, besides its great focus, does the Sony ZV-1 offer that make it suitable for video use? A vast lot, which, from an accessibility standpoint, isn’t necessarily a good thing.

Even though Sony camera menus are notorious for being about as user-friendly as a book of hieroglyphics, the company has made a few changes to the ZV-1 to make it a little bit more understandable for people who are just starting.

Among them are two new default configurations for the camera’s two user-programmable buttons. The first, referred to as the “Bokeh switch,” will instantaneously switch to a wide-open aperture to provide your video with a blurry backdrop effect. There is no computational magic involved in this process, as in the ‘portrait’ settings of smartphones; instead, it is only a shortcut based on conventional optics.

Sony zv-1 Performance

In addition to having excellent focusing, a screen facing forward, and good audio choices, vlogging cameras need exceptional image stabilization to keep handheld footage stable. This is the least impressive of the four functions offered by the Sony ZV-1.

It’s not that the SteadyShot technology is lacking in quality. Its ‘Active’ stabilization mode, considered its most potent, combines optical and electrical stabilization and is also available for filming in 4K.

Sony zv-1 Image & Video Quality

The ZV-1, much like the most current Sony RX100 cameras, captures video at a higher resolution than necessary before downsampling it to 4K. This procedure delivers finer results than alternative techniques like pixel binning. You can see this in its 4K footage — it is highly crisp and clear and does not have a crop unless you shoot with ‘Active’ stabilization.

It is a bit of a shame that the ZV-1 does not come with a 4K/60p option since this would allow you to slow down 4K footage without sacrificing the quality of the video. The lack of a rolling shutter, a frequent side effect of CMOS sensors that may occasionally result in distorted lines during quick panning motions, is absent in the 4K/30p mode, which is another reason the way is impressive.

Although the ZV-1 inherently suffers a bit more in lower light due to its 1-inch sensor, the built-in ND filter helps to maintain movement nicely and smoothly in bright environments. This is especially helpful in situations when there is a lot of light. If you are confronted with a scenario with exceptionally high contrast, using image profiles such as S-Log2 will assist you in eliciting additional detail; however, you will need to be proficient in color grading before attempting so.

The color and exposure of human faces is one area of image quality that Sony has focused a lot of attention on improving with the ZV-1. Sony claims that it has developed an “optimized color algorithm” based on comments from people worldwide. This algorithm ensures that skin tones are rendered accurately regardless of where a person is from.

The ZV-1 utilizes its facial recognition technology to collect exposure readings. This is done to guarantee that the vlogger’s face is well-exposed and bright in lighting.

Sony zv-1 Specs

Sensor ResolutionEffective: 20.1 Megapixel (5472 x 3648)
Sensor Type1″-Type CMOS
Image StabilizationDigital
Optical in Integrated Lens

Lens

Focal Length9.4 to 25.7mm (35mm Equivalent Focal Length: 24 to 70mm)
Optical Zoom2.7x
Digital Zoom16.3x Maximum (44x Combined Zoom)
Maximum Aperturef/1.8 to 2.8
Minimum Aperturef/11
Focus Range1.97″ to Infinity / 5 cm to Infinity (Wide)
11.81″ to Infinity / 72 cm to Infinity (Telephoto)
Optical Design10 Elements in 9 Groups

Exposure Control

Shutter SpeedMechanical Shutter
1/2000 to 30 Seconds
1/2000 to 30 Seconds in Bulb Mode
1/2000 to 4 Seconds in Auto Mode
Electronic Shutter
1/32000 to 30 Seconds
1/32000 to 4 Seconds in Auto Mode
Bulb/Time ModeBulb Mode
ISO Sensitivity100 to 12,800 in Auto Mode (Extended: 64 to 25,600)
Metering MethodAverage, Center-Weighted Average, Multi, Spot
Exposure ModesAperture Priority, Manual, Program, Shutter Priority
Exposure Compensation-3 to +3 EV (1/3 EV Steps)
White BalancePresets: Auto, Cloudy, Color Temperature, Custom, Daylight, Flash, Fluorescent (Cool White), Fluorescent (Day White), Fluorescent (Daylight), Fluorescent (Warm White), Incandescent, Shade, Underwater
Continuous ShootingUp to 24 fps at 20.1 MP
Interval RecordingYes
Self-Timer2/5/10-Second Delay
Special OptionsPanorama

Still Image Capture

Aspect Ratio1:1, 3:2, 4:3, 16:9
Image File FormatJPEG, Raw

Video Capture

Internal Recording ModesMP4/XAVC S
UHD 4K (3840 x 2160) at 23.98/25/29.97 fps [60 to 100 Mb/s]1920 x 1080p at 23.98/25/29.97/50/59.94/100/119.88 fps [16 to 100 Mb/s]AVCHD/MP4
1920 x 1080i at 50/59.94 fps [17 to 24 Mb/s]
Recording LimitNone
Broadcast OutputNTSC/PAL
IP StreamingMJPEG
1280 x 720 at 25p, 29.97p
Built-In Microphone TypeStereo
Audio RecordingAC-3 Audio
2-Channel LPCM Audio

Interface

Media/Memory Card SlotSingle Slot: SD/SDHC/SDXC/Memory Stick Duo Hybrid
Video I/O1 x Micro-HDMI Output
Audio I/O1 x 1/8″ / 3.5 mm TRS Stereo Input
Power I/O1 x Micro-USB Input
Other I/O1 x Micro-USB (USB 2.0) Data Output (Shared with Power Input)
WirelessBluetooth, Wi-Fi
Global Positioning (GPS, GLONASS, etc.)None

Monitor

Size3.0″
Resolution921,600 Dot
Display TypeArticulating Touchscreen LCD

Flash

Built-In FlashNo
Flash ModesAuto, Flash On, Off, Rear Sync, Slow Sync
External Flash ConnectionHot Shoe

Environmental

Operating Temperature32 to 104°F / 0 to 40°C

General

Battery Type1 x NP-BX1 Rechargeable Lithium-Ion, 3.6 VDC, 1240 mAh (Approx. 260 Shots)
Dimensions (W x H x D)4.15 x 2.36 x 1.71″ / 10.54 x 5.99 x 4.34 cm
Weight10.37 oz / 294 g (With Battery, Recording Media)

Packaging Info

Package Weight0.94 lb
Box Dimensions (LxWxH)6.2 x 4.7 x 2.9″

Sony zv-1 Verdict

The Sony ZV-1 is currently the market’s most capable small video camera. The combination of a sharp lens, excellent focusing, and design modifications like the side-flipping screen make it a potent pocket video choice with few competitors. Its image stabilization could be a bit of a letdown for those looking for super-smooth walking footage, and it has a few common usage defects, but the ZV-1 is still the most excellent video all-rounder in its weight class.

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