It seems everyone wants to be a vlogger these days and Sony has just released a new camera specifically pitched at those who like to talk into a camera and see themselves.
The new pocket-sized vlog camera ZV-1 weighs less than 300grams, which is about 70 grams more than an iPhone 11 Pro max. Sony designed this from the ground up for content creators and vloggers, with a combination of easy-to-use features and imaging technology that Sony cameras are renowned for. Sony says the ZV-1 is the perfect tool for any content creator at all skill levels.
“Sony’s new ZV-1 was purpose-built to meet the needs and demands of today’s video creators,” said Yann Salmon Legagneur, Director of Product Marketing, Digital Imaging, Sony Europe.
“This camera is the result of direct feedback from our extended community who do not want to compromise with hybrid products, so we have designed this new model for those who put content creation first. It features an innovative design and introduces many new technologies, settings and modes that allow creators to make content in ways they have never been able to before. The ZV-1 aims to let the subject shine in any environment. Every single feature is optimised for any type of creator’s daily vlogging.”
Although the ZV-1 is only a little heavier than a smartphone, it has a much larger 1-inch stacked image sensor with DRAM chip and a 24-70mm (35mm equivalent) f/1.8-2.8 Zeiss Vario-Sonnar T* lens. The lens covers a wide focal range as well as having a bright enough aperture for professional looking bokeh (background blur), allowing the subject to stand out from the background. However, most vloggers would tell you that 24mm is a little tight and a lot of them would use 16-35mm as it includes more of the background in the shot.
Borrowed from their more professional mirrorless cameras the ZV-1 uses lock-on subject tracking with high accuracy and speed using Sony’s leading-edge autofocus system. The ZV-1 also includes the latest-generation BIONZ X image processor with front-end LSI delivering high resolution as well as low noise for superior image quality.
The really big news is that the ZV-1 is Sony’s first compact camera with a side-opening Vari-angle LCD touchscreen, making it easier to compose your shots in selfie mode while connecting external audio accessories. Until I get my hands on the camera for a full review I can’t say how good the menu system is or if you can interact with the UI via touch, something you can’t do with current Sony cameras.
The ZV-1 contains advanced video features including 4K movie recording and in-body image stabilisation. Also, there’s no record limit and a fully charged battery is good for 45 minutes of video recording. However, you can also record while charging via the micro-USB port with a battery bank or supplied USB power adapter. You don’t get a separate charger for the battery.
The ZV-1 is designed to be easy to use and has a pre-set custom button to switch between two levels of background blur (bokeh) while recording. The switch will open up or close down the optical aperture and even use the built-in ND filter to keep the shutter speed at a constant between more and less background defocusing blur without losing focus on the subject.
A unique feature that will make shooting products for review or showcase much easier. Sony says gone are the days of placing a hand behind an object to prompt the camera to bring it into focus thanks to a new Product Showcase Setting, which allows for quick and smooth focus transitions between the subject’s face and the object placed in front of the lens.
For maintaining focus on the intended subject or subjects in busy environments, Real-time Eye AF and Real-time Tracking for video allows the ZV-1 to stay locked on the subject’s eye / face or seamlessly switch focus between multiple subjects while controlling the AF speed and tracking sensitivity when needed.
The ZV-1 onboard mic features Sony’s latest Directional 3-capsule Mic which was designed for forward-directional audio capture, allowing for clear capture of the subject’s voice while minimising background noise, especially when operating in selfie mode. For added flexibility, the ZV-1 also features a standard 35mm mic jack (3.5mm) and Multi Interface Shoe (MI shoe) making it easy to connect a wide range of external microphones. The ZV-1 is also supplied with a wind screen accessory that fits on the MI shoe to minimise wind interference.
The ZV-1 also includes both electronic and optical image stabilisation. When recording in HD (Active mode), optical and electronic stabilisation methods are combined to reduce shaking up to 11 times that of standard SteadyShot. When shooting 4K video using Optical SteadyShot (Active mode), there is an improvement in the stabilisation effect of up to 8 times that of standard SteadyShot. The ZV-1 is also compatible with the GP-VPT2BT Shooting Grip with Wireless Remote Commander, offering additional stability and comfort combined with cable-free connectivity.
Despite the small form factor, there is a multitude of pro-level movie-making capabilities, including:
- 4K movie recording with full pixel readout and no pixel binning in high bit-rate XAVC S codec.
- Hybrid Log-Gamma (HDR) / S-Gamut3.Cine / S-Log3, S-Gamut3 / S-Log3.
- Interval Shooting for time-lapse videos.
- Super Slow-Motion recording at up to 1000fps.
- Compatibility with ‘Movie Edit add-on’ from the “Imaging Edge” mobile application for image stabilisation while editing Highlight ability to edit aspect ratios for IG etc.
- You can use the ZV-1 as a webcam by connecting it to a PC via USB. This new Sony PC software will be available in July 2020.
Pricing and Availability: The Vlog Camera ZV-1 will be available in Europe in June 2020, priced at approximately €800.