Although pretty much everything was revealed through leaks already, Sony has now officially announced their new Sony ZV-1 compact camera. Essentially, it’s a Sony RX100 V, but with design changes and features that make it particularly suited to vloggers and YouTubers – a not-insignificant chunk of customers for cameras like the Sony’s RX100 series and its competitors.
Hoping to draw some of those customers away from the likes of Canon’s G7X Mark III, the 20-megapixel Sony ZV-1 has a flippy out LCD (not flippy up or down), minimised button layout and improved internal microphone, but with a hotshoe on top and a 3.5mm socket to plug in an external microphone.
From the front, the Sony ZV-1 looks much like the RX100 series cameras, aside from that gap on the right where the hotshoe lives. From above, however, it looks quite different, lacking any dials, and a very simple button layout, along with that massive microphone grille.
While the ZV-1 does contain a 20.1-megapixel sensor, this probably isn’t the camera to go for if your primary purpose is shooting stills, although it will do them at up to 5472×3648 resolution in JPG or RAW formats. There’s no mode dial on the top for a start, which means that switching to different modes is likely going to be done through a complex series of button pushes or using the touchscreen interface. It’s not really the best workflow. But if you’re a video shooter, well…
|Sensor||20.1-megapixel 1" Exmor RS BSI CMOS|
|Focal length||9.4-25.7mm (24-70mm FF equivalent)|
|Digital zoom||16.3x Max (44x combined)|
|Stabilisation||Optical and digital|
|Focus||315 point phase detection, 425-area contrast, Real-time AI tracking and Real-time Eye AF|
|LCD||3" 921.6K-dot articulating touchscreen LCD|
|Video resolution||3840x2160 @ up to 30fps / 1920x1080 @ up to 120fps|
|Dimensions||105.5 x 60 x 43.5 mm|
|Weight||294 g (Body with Battery and Memory)|
The camera features a lens with a full-frame equivalent field of view to a 24-70mm lens, and it has a nice bright f/1.8-f/2.8 aperture to go along with it. Sure, you’re not going to get the same shallow depth of field you can with a full-frame sensor, but you can still open it up to get decent images in lower light conditions. And it features both optical and digital image stabilisation to help record while on the go – a big deal for those who regularly talk to a handheld camera.
It’s an interesting camera, not just because it’s useful for vloggers because lots of cameras have been useful for vloggers, but because it’s designed specifically for and squarely aimed at vloggers. It’s probably the first camera on the market from any manufacturer of note that is, really. On the surface, it seems to tick all of the boxes.
- Flippy out LCD
- Decent autofocus (with Eye AF)
- Optical image stabilisation
- Supposedly decent internal microphone (I haven’t heard it yet)
- Somewhere to mount an external microphone
- Somewhere to plug that external microphone in
- A lens that goes wide enough for handholding and pointing at yourself
- A lens that goes long enough that you can point the camera at what you’re talking about and actually see it
- Somewhere to screw in a small handheld tripod like the Manfrotto PIXI
Well, all but one box. There doesn’t appear to be a way to attach a neutral density filter if you want to film outside in bright conditions and there’s no internal neutral density filter, either – perhaps that’s something Sony can think about for a future version of the product line. For now, you’ll just have to settle for stopping down your aperture.
With a pre-order price of around $800 (although B&H is offering a $50 launch discount), it’s not priced too terribly high, although it will still be out of the reach of some, who may prefer to go for the slightly less expensive Canon G7X Mark III or the older model Sony RX100 V which offers virtually identical spec (although perhaps a more awkward shooting workflow and no microphone socket) for around $250 less.
Personally, I think if you’ve been looking at a camera like the Sony RX100 V or Canon G7X Mark III, it’s probably worth paying the extra for the ZV-1 to minimise the hassles and to ease the shooting workflow when vlogging.
The camera is expected to ship on June 11th, and I look forward to seeing the reviews and content people make with this when it hits the streets.