Sony refreshes its compact vlogging camera with the ZV-1 II

May 23, 2023

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

Sony refreshes its compact vlogging camera with the ZV-1 II

May 23, 2023

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

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Sony has announced its new Sony ZV-1 II (buy here) vlogging camera, the successor to the popular Sony ZV-1 (buy here), released in 2020. At release, the ZV-1 seemed to essentially be an RX100 V in a new vlogger-oriented form factor. And true to RX100 fashion, the ZV-1 series seems to be following suit. The ZV-1 II is largely quite similar to the original, with some slight – but significant – changes.

The Sony ZV-1 II and ZV-1 both feature the same 20-megapixel 1.0 type sensor, but the lens has been switched out. Gone is the 24-70mm equivalent f/1.8-2.8 lens of the original ZV-1, replaced by a smaller range 18-50mm equivalent lens with a slower f/1.8-4 variable aperture. I said the changes were significant. I didn’t say they were necessarily better. Some will find it better, with the wider angle on the short end providing more environmental context. However, the slower aperture at the long end is not so great.

YouTube video

Cinematic Vlog Mode

Other than the lens change, the Sony ZV-1 II exterior appears largely identical to its predecessor. One nice change is that the 1/4-20″ tripod mounting threaded socket has been moved away from the battery door, allowing you to swap it out as needed without having to remove a tripod plate, Gorillapod or whatever else you happen to have connected under there.

It features the cinematic vlog mode first seen in the Sony ZV-E1 (buy here), and boasts all of the usual autofocus modes, including Eye AF, Animal Eye AF, etc. It also sports an intelligent 3-capsule microphone which switches direction based on faces or objects it sees in the frame and tunes in on them automatically. There’s also a Face Priority AE mode and a Soft Skin Effect to make your vlogs look as good as possible straight out of the camera. It also contains a built-in ND filter for when you want to shoot wide aperture in brighter conditions.

Sony ZV-1 II Specs

Sensor20.1-megapixel 1″ Exmor RS BSI CMOS
Focal length6.9-17.6mm (18-50mm FF equivalent)
Max aperturef/1.8-4
Optical Zoom2.7x
Digital zoomUnknown
StabilisationActive Mode electronic image stabilization
Focus315 point phase detection, Real-time AI tracking and Real-time Eye AF
ISO100-12800
LCD3″ 921.6K-dot articulating touchscreen LCD
Built-in flashNo
Video resolution3840×2160 @ up to 30fps / 1920×1080 @ up to 120fps
Dimensions105.5 x 60 x 43.5 mm
Weight294 g (Body with Battery and Memory)

Is it worth upgrading?

For most people who already own the Sony ZV-1, it’s probably not worth upgrading unless you often find yourself hitting the limits of the shorter end of the focal length range. Very little has changed in other respects. It uses the same sensor and shares most of the same specs. Sure, you’ve got the addition of cinematic vlog mode, but that’s easy enough to duplicate in the edit in DaVinci Resolve or Premiere Pro.

But if you need the wider field of view provided by the 18mm equivalent focal length vs the 24mm wide end of the original ZV-1, then sure, why not? Even if you’re a new user, the price reduction we’ll probably see on the original ZV-1 over the newly announced ZV-1 II will likely make it the better overall buy.

Price and Availability

The Sony ZV-1 II is available to pre-order from tomorrow for $899 and begins shipping in June.

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John Aldred

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

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