Sony updates its vlogging line with the new Sony ZV-1F and it’s $250 cheaper than the ZV-1
Well, we’d heard rumours that there was a new vlogging camera on the way, although the likely announcement date was the Sony event scheduled for October 26th before the Sony Creative Space event in New York on the 27th and 28th. Well, it may be a little earlier than anticipated but Sony has today announced the Sony ZV-1F vlogging camera, an update to the original Sony ZV-1.
The Sony ZV-1F is similar to the Sony ZV-1 in a number of respects, featuring the same 20.1-megapixel resolution and 921,600 dot flippy out touchscreen LCD, but with a fixed 20mm equivalent f/2 prime lens instead of a 24-70mm equivalent zoom and 4K UHD video upgraded from 30fps to 60fps.
Not everything on the ZV-1F is an upgrade over the ZV-1, though. The price of the ZV-1 has dropped from $750 down to $500 for the ZV-1F and that price drop does come with a couple of compromises. For a start, the mechanical shutter has disappeared completely. The electronic shutter that remains also has a maximum duration of 1/4 of a second instead of the 30 seconds of the mechanical shutter in the ZV-1.
It also sees a bit of a continuous shooting speed drop. The ZV-1 offers up to 24 frames per second in continuous shooting mode while the ZV-1F is cut back to 16fps when shooting jpegs. And while the 4K UHD video has been upgraded from 30fps to 60fps, it now features a 29-minute maximum duration before automatically stopping, whereas the ZV-1 has an unlimited record time.
Given the nature of the camera, the changes do make a lot of sense. For vlogging, with the camera pointed towards the person filming it, it’s rare that you really need to zoom in. Swapping out that zoom lens for a wider prime also means it’s lost about 15% of its weight, dropping from 294g to 256g. The lack of a mechanical shutter and 24fps continuous stills shooting also isn’t going to be a big loss to anybody who bought this camera for vlogging as they’re features that likely won’t impact the user’s needs anyway.
As with just about all Sony cameras these days, the ZV-1F features Eye AF for both humans and animals and sports a directional 3-capsule mic with a windscreen for capturing clear voice and reducing background noise and wind. ActiveMode stabilisation helps to shoot steadier, smoother footage, while Face Priority Auto Exposure helps to keep the subject sharp as the camera moves towards and away from it.
Sony says the ZV-1F was “designed for easy content creation” with a vari-angle touchscreen LCD to easily access settings, a background defocus function “to quickly blur the background, even while recording video”, a “Product Showcase” rack focus ability that allows you to “automatically and seamlessly shift focus between a face and products”, along with the usual self-timer, accessory shoe, Creative Look presets and live streaming abilities as a USB webcam.
All in all, it seems that Sony has actually done something pretty cool with the ZV-1F. They’ve taken the ZV-1, pared it down to the essentials and actually decreased the price to account for it. It makes a change from the usual MO of simply upgrading the old unit, bolting on a bunch of new features that only 1% of users will need and adding 50% to the price. From a purely vlogging perspective, the ZV-1F looks as though it could be ideal for many would-be YouTubers.
The Sony ZV-1F is available to pre-order now for $498 and is expected to start shipping in late October.
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.