Sony ZV-1 is Sony’s latest compact camera designed specifically as a best camera for video vlogger, Youtubers, and content creators. Are you looking for a compact camera to record video? In this analysis we show you all its details and give you our opinion.
Sony tried this with the RX100 and tried their luck with the Alpha 6000 series again. The company has long offered alternatives for video creators. Now he seems to have found the perfect formula to meet the needs of youtubers, vloggers and other video content creators : it is the new ZV-1, available for 799 euros.
Due to its compact and light size, the Sony ZV-1 leans towards the segment of its advanced compact cameras RX100, but the Japanese brand has vitaminized its interior with the efficiency in focus that has made the most professional cameras of the brand famous.
The result is a very compact camera that has little to envy, in terms of focus and video performance, to Sony’s most advanced cameras. Do not lose detail of this analysis in which we discover if it is worth investing the 799 euros that the Sony ZV-1 costs.
The Sony RX100 Become Hotcake for Youtubers
Sony has opened the ban in a very specific sector of best camera for video vlogger and video creation , and it does so with a very compact and lightweight camera that perfectly meets the needs of a pocket camera for travel , aimed at recording content from video mainly.
As soon as the catalog of Sony cameras is known , when seeing this small Sony ZV-1 it is inevitable that comparisons with the RX100 range will emerge since Sony itself has been seeking the approach of this range of cameras to the niche that now wants to cover ZV-1.
Regarding design, we find a camera that follows the usual lines in the RX100 – and even in its compact HX90 – showing very compact dimensions with only 105.4 x 60 x 43.5 mm and 290 grams of weight.
In order to maintain the weight, Sony has chosen to do without the magnesium alloy found in the body of the RX100 and has approached the HX90 betting on a polycarbonate body that, although appreciated in good quality, does not transmit that touch premium of the compact 1-inch sensor from Sony.
This makes it a perfect camera for making “handheld ” video recordings while traveling or covering events. A segment in which the Sony ZV-1 is positioned as the most interesting option of the moment.
Ergonomics plays a very important role in the design of the Sony ZV-1 which, although it may seem a bit monolithic, integrates a small rubber grip on the front and adds a rubber support in the upper corner of the rear to accommodate thumb and improve grip.
From this position of the hand, Sony ZV-1 distributes all its elements and buttons to facilitate access to the buttons and facilitate the installation of accessories. This means that both lenses and other elements appear displaced to the left, instead of occupying the central space that they usually occupy in compact cameras of the Japanese brand.
At the top, near the grip, most of the camera buttons are grouped. They highlight the shutter release button with the integrated zoom ring that protrudes slightly from the case itself, so it can be easily found even without looking.
One of the novelties of the Sony ZV-1 that we are analyzing is the integration of a button dedicated to video recording with a size equivalent to that of the fire button and highlighted with a red ring that sets it apart from the rest.
With a smaller size we find a pair of buttons that correspond to turning the camera on and off and to activating the camera’s shooting modes. There is also a customizable shortcut button – what ZV-1 calls C buttons – which originally has the Background Blur function assigned , which we will detail in its corresponding section below.
- In a position slightly displaced from the center and occupying the space where the flash would normally be located, we find the integrated microphone of the Sony ZV-1 , protected by a micro-perforated cover that protects it while allowing the capture of sound.
- This change from the flash to an integrated microphone reinforces the orientation that the Sony ZV-1 has towards the recording of videos over the photographic features.
- Next to the microphone, the active shoe is located, displaced to the left side, which allows the connection of flashes, spotlights, or external cannon microphones, exchanging information with the camera.
- The back is not without news either. The most outstanding is undoubtedly the integration of a flip-up and rotatable 3-inch screen with 921,600 pixels of resolution that unfolds and rotates up to 270° to use it as a viewfinder – since it lacks its own electronic viewfinder – or to monitor focus when the user records himself.
By simply unfolding the screen, the camera turns on to start working, a detail that fits perfectly with the philosophy of this camera, perfect to take it out of your pocket and start recording directly .
By incorporating a rotating screen, the Sony ZV-1 (best camera for video vlogger) allows the screen to be placed towards the body, so that when stored, the screen glass is much more protected against scratches or impacts when the camera is loose in a bag or backpack.
To the right of the screen and perfectly accessible by the thumb, we find the usual buttons that work so well on the Sony RX100 . These are four buttons arranged around a wheel with a central button.
These buttons access the camera’s configuration menus, or different screens from which to modify the quick shooting settings or review the photos and videos you have taken. The small size of these buttons can be a problem if you have large hands since their small size makes them difficult to use.
The wheel, in addition to turning to navigate and select functions, integrates four additional functions that are activated by pressing on its sides or on the top and bottom as a crosshead.
As in the upper part, in the back we also find a customizable C2 button that originally has the Product Presentation function assigned , which we will discuss in more detail in the focus section.
If we continue on the right side, here we find the covers that hide the minijack connector for external microphones , microUSB 2.0 connector for accessories and battery charging , and a microHDMI to connect the camera to an external monitor or directly to a computer and turn it into a webcam to stream content.
At the base of the camera we find a small hatch in which a small battery and the memory card are housed. Right next to it we find the anchor thread for the tripod.
The fact that this anchor is literally glued to the battery cover forces you to remove the camera from the tripod every time you need to change the battery or memory card, something that, as we will detail later, will often happen during recording.
In short, the Sony ZV-1 (best camera for video vlogger) is a compact and lightweight camera that inherits everything learned by Sony during years of development of its RX100, and focuses it on video creation by offering direct access buttons to important functions in this area.
The folding and rotating side screen responds to years of requests from users, since Sony insisted on betting on the folding screens that were not comfortable when it came to taking selfies or recording themselves. In a vlogging camera concept like this Sony ZV-1, this flip-out, flip-out screen is almost a must.
A Simple Camera Until You Hit the Menus
The Sony ZV-1 (best camera for video vlogger) is a camera very focused on uncomplicated video recording , to the point that very high quality results can be achieved with all modes in automatic and just by opening the screen to start recording.
However, all that simplicity of use is lost when entering the labyrinthine menus of Sony cameras. That is one of the historical weak points of Sony since the user will have to face a huge menu of options that they will have to navigate every time they want to change any of their settings.
It is common for a user unaccustomed to these menus to go one by one through the 12 screens that Sony dedicates only to quality and shooting settings, or the 9 screens dedicated to adjusting video modes to find the setting that needs to change .
Despite being a camera in which, lacking an electronic viewfinder, the screen takes on a special role, Sony has not increased the touch functions of its screen, which remain limited to indicating the point of focus. Betting on a screen with more smartphone-style touch functions would have been a success on the Sony ZV-1 (best camera for video vlogger).
This makes it difficult to navigate the configuration menus when the screen is unfolded and facing the front, forcing the user to blindly operate buttons located on the back.
The description of each function is also not the simplest and most explanatory for users less expert in the advanced handling of a camera, which is precisely who this Sony ZV-1 (best camera for video vlogger) that we are analyzing is aimed at.
Sony seems to be aware of this and, at least, has enabled a brief description of each option by selecting it and pressing the “Delete” button to give the user some hint on the use of each function.
This leaves us with a camera with many contradictions in this regard, since it can be a maze for inexperienced users, while the most expert will find all the options to configure even the smallest detail of the camera’s operation , including advanced functions such as the use of zebras for exposure, focus peaks, or logarithmic profiles for color.
The connectivity of the Sony ZV-1 is very complete since it has Bluetooth 4.1 and WiFi b / g / n with support for 2.4 GHz networks. However, it does not have NFC which would be very useful to facilitate the configuration of the connection with other devices.
The usefulness of this connectivity in a camera is to allow it to be easily connected with the Imaging Edge Mobile application installed on a smartphone, tablet or computer and to control the camera remotely, as well as link it with other accessories as we will detail later.
The Approach of An Alpha 9 II in Pocket Format
One of the keys to the success of sales of the latest Sony cameras is, without a doubt, the effectiveness of its focusing system, to the point of being one of the preferred brands for youtubers, video vloggers and content creators.
The focus system to the eye included in the Sony ZV-1 (best camera for video vlogger) , for example, offers a level of precision so high that these types of users trust something as important as the focus of their videos to an automatic system.
So it makes perfect sense that this Sony ZV-1 for youtubers and content creators also integrates all those focus systems that have brought so much joy to Sony camera sales.
We start from a base that Sony knows very well since it has been integrating it for years in its RX100 cameras. It is none other than the combination of a 1-inch Exmor RS CMOS sensor with 20.1 megapixels of resolution, working together with a BIONZ X image processor.
Sony also included this combination in the RX100 VII which has served as a laboratory to fine-tune the focus system for this Sony ZV-1 (best camera for video vlogger) and bring important innovations for a product as focused on vlogging as this is.
We are not only talking about functions such as focus to the eye or focus to the face that keeps the subject on screen at all times, but to specific functions such as what Sony has called Product Presentation .
Analyzes and reviews are one of the most common content on YouTube and other video platforms, so it is common to have to show the viewer some detail of the product being analyzed.
The most instinctive way to do this is simply by bringing the subject closer to the camera, a key moment as the focus system must release the presenter’s focus and fix it on the product being displayed. This is one of the key points, since it tests the focusing system and only a few cameras manage to pass this tough exam in a more or less worthy way.
On the other hand, activating this function Product Presentation on the Sony ZV-1 the focus system acquires a devilish ability to activate its 315 focus points and manages to detect objects in just 0.03 seconds to focus accurately . When removed, the focus returns with the same speed and precision to the presenter thanks to the eye focus system.
The results obtained in our tests have been spectacular, coming to focus on small objects such as a pencil or a coin without problems , at a distance of less than 10 cm and with a precision and speed that far exceeds those shown by the Sony Alpha 7 III full-format, so popular with content creators.
Although the Sony ZV-1 (best camera for video vlogger) that we are analyzing is very oriented to the video section, we must not forget that it is still a photo camera, so it also provides impressive burst shooting functions that reach up to 24 photos per second while maintaining focus by tracking, with a buffer of up to 172 photos.
This makes the Sony ZV-1 not only positions itself as one of the best options on the market for self-recording, but also makes it a very capable pocket camera .
As we have already mentioned, the focus system of the Sony ZV-1 is managed by touching on the screen, so all you have to do is touch what you want to focus on to set the focus point.
On the other hand, the Sony ZV-1 that we are analyzing maintains the same detection variants that we usually find in Sony cameras, being able to leave the function in automatic mode, assign zones to focus or fix a focus point manually.
Compared to the RX100, the Sony ZV-1 dispenses with the focus ring that allowed adjusting manual focus by rotating the ring on the lens as is usually done on a lens, so now the rear wheel is in charge of this function that it is neither very comfortable nor natural for handling.
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Stabilized Image, But not The Brightest Feature
Having a good stabilization is a very important feature in a camera that is so focused on creating content for YouTube or video vlogs, since many of them are content on the move.
The Sony ZV-1 has a SteadyShot stabilization system similar to that found in the Alpha 6500 p Alpha 6600, at least in terms of efficiency, being tremendously useful to take a few steps to the shutter getting well-focused photos even when shooting. walks the limits of long exposure, especially when paired with the integrated ND filter .
However, for a vlogging camera with a 1-inch sensor, it seems to us that Sony could achieve a few more stabilization steps.
This is, along with the screen and the menus, one of the pending subjects that Sony always has in the pipeline and in our opinion this would have been a golden opportunity for Sony to gain muscle in this section achieving a more solid stabilization .
This does not mean that stabilization is not present, that it is and it is noticeable when it is activated, but it does not finish eliminating the natural vibration that occurs when walking while recording camera in hand. Something travel and event vloggers constantly do while showing the places they visit.
In fact, the stabilization menu of the Sony ZV-1 allows three levels of stabilization: Off, Standard and Active.
The Standard option activates the optical stabilizer which, although it is true that it considerably reduces image shake, does not manage to eliminate it, leaving an unprofessional image. It can be more than enough for panning or static scenes even without a tripod, since the optical stabilizer manages to minimize this slight movement by holding the camera in hand.
At this point it is precisely where it seems to us that Sony should have implemented a more robust stabilization system on the sensor, something achieved by its main rivals in this segment such as Olympus and Panasonic in their micro-thirds cameras with a slightly larger sensor.
Active stabilization mode combines optical and digital stabilization, so a cut is applied to the sensor sampling, playing against the already adjusted focal length offered by the lenses of this Sony ZV-1 that we are analyzing .
This Active stabilization system does manage to create a more fluid movement, but instead it introduces vibrations and distortions in the image, reducing the final image quality.
In addition, since the Active stabilization mode must process all the information collected by the sensor to correct it, it does not activate when using resolutions with a high data rate, such as setting in 1080p quality at 100 fps and 100 Mbps or 60 Mbps.
Good Focal Range, 4K Video at 25 fps and Built-in ND Filter
We come to one of the most weighty sections in this analysis and opinion of the Sony ZV-1 : what image quality does the lens that mounts the camera for Sony vlogging offer?
Sony has not risked too much in this regard, and the image quality obtained is practically the same as we would obtain with the RX100. From this link you can download the original photos that you can download to assess for yourself its image quality.
Specifically, the new Sony camera mounts the 24-70mm (35mm equivalent) lens with f / 1.8 to f / 2.8 aperture signed by Zeiss who was already mounting the RX100 V. This group of lenses, together with the same processor and 1-inch sensor that also mounts the Sony ZV-1 (best camera for video vlogger).
There is some controversy about the perfect focal point to create vlogging content , and many consider the 24mm to be too long a focal point to place the camera about 50cm from the presenter, leaving a somewhat closed frame.
However, this focal point is at the limit of wide-angle lenses, and when mounting a shorter lens, there is a risk of beginning to notice deformations in the image and the so-called barrel effect that we find in angular camera lenses. mobile selfie.
It is true that Sony could have adjusted a little more with a 20mm lens – which would already give more air to the frame – but we believe that less of that would already be a risky choice.
Both at the photographic and video levels, the color treatment of the images we have obtained is of very good quality, maintaining a good balance in its level of detail and without falling into excess color saturation, but maintaining good contrast .
The Sony vlogging camera manages the noise level up to 4,000 ISO well, obtaining a good white balance even in really difficult night scenes in which low light is added with two different light temperatures.
The dynamic range in colors is good for a sensor with these characteristics. Sometimes you have serious trouble setting the correct exposure level, and you tend to raise it too high, causing whitish skies and somewhat overlapping images in scenes where different light intensities exist.
The most expert will appreciate that the Sony ZV-1 (best camera for video vlogger) includes recording support in logarithmic profiles with which a greater dynamic range is achieved since the camera stores all the light information of the image to later facilitate color adjustments in post-production.
This is accentuated by activating the Face Priority function , in which it sets the autofocus on the identified faces to expose the scene from that light. This prevents the subject’s face from being dark, but there is a risk that the entire background will be overexposed and the skies burned.
This function is especially interesting when recording in full sun. In these cases, using an ND filter allows you to record with an adequate shutter speed while maintaining a certain blur of the background.
In general, the Sony ZV-1 (best camera for video vlogger) gets a good color treatment , with an improvement in skin tones that have now decreased in intensity to look more natural and a beauty mode like the one found in smartphones has been added, but applied in real time on video.
It goes without saying that this function reduces all fidelity and definition to the leather, leaving it smooth and with a completely unreal porcelain texture.
As we have already seen, the Sony compact for video brings some innovations in image processing with very striking improvements. One of the most outstanding is the Background Blur mode – which has a C1 shortcut button on the top – with which a very natural Bokeh effect is achieved in the background, making the subject stand out .
Many may think that at this point that effect no longer surprises anyone since most smartphones already do it with portrait mode.
The difference is that the Sony ZV-1 achieves this optically, and not through artificial intelligence or any other method of computational photography, obtaining a much more natural result.
The trick to achieve it? Well, it is none other than a shortcut that activates the aperture priority to the minimum possible in the focal point in which it is located, immediately adjusting the rest of the ISO and shutter values to obtain the same exposure, but with a depth of field less. Integrating this background blur function into a direct trigger button simplifies this setting for the most inexperienced users who do not have video skills.
The processor allows video recording in 4K at 25 fps with a data rate of 100 and 60 Mbps and in 1080p up to 120 fps with a rate of 100 Mbps.
One of the best news for content creators will be knowing that Sony’s vlogging camera has no time limit on video recording , and is capable of recording clips beyond the 30-minute limit many cameras have.
It should be noted that when recording at 4K for a certain time the camera gets hot , but at no time has it been turned off due to the temperature. Something common in other cameras. It is also true that deploying the screen improves heat dissipation .
In short, the Sony ZV-1 offers a very good image quality as a base, which the brand has Japanese brand has vitaminized with some automated options to, with the push of a button, apply advanced image adjustments with which to improve the appearance of The videos.
Limited Usage Time Imposed by a Small Battery
The autonomy of the battery is one of the most common limitations in this type of compact cameras. It’s easy to explain: a small battery offers little capacity to store energy .
Taking into account that the Sony camera has dispensed with the electronic viewfinder, it is obliged to make intensive use of the screen, which does not help at all to save the battery.
If we add to this the efficiency of the focusing system, which is always on the alert to change the focus, and the motorized lens system that mounts the Sony ZV-1 at hand, the result can be none other than a range of short use.
According to Sony, this autonomy can be up to 75 minutes , but in practice, it barely reaches 45 minutes of continuous use , which is quite limiting for the user since it requires him to always carry several batteries, since remove the camera from the tripod or stand to replace it.
Fortunately, Sony has implemented external charging support , so it is possible to connect a powerbank or external battery of greater capacity and either recharge the battery on the move, or work by taking the power directly from the portable battery.
In this sense, Sony could have chosen to incorporate a fast charging system to compensate for the low battery life of the ZV-1 , a very common strategy in smartphones that reduces charging times to return to work again. in the shortest possible time.
A Highly Solvent Integrated Microphone and Options for External Mic
The sound is an important part of the content destined to YouTube or other platforms, so you have a quality microphone helps videos have a more careful look and professional .
In this sense, Sony has played its cards very well and has removed a triple capsule integrated microphone that manages to perfectly capture the sound from the front of the camera. Which makes it the perfect option for self-recording without complications.
In addition, this microphone uses noise reduction technology to eliminate part of the ambient sound, something that it does not always achieve effectively with highly changing elements such as traffic or the conversations of those who pass by you while you walk, but it does contribute to improve overall quality.
Although the upper part of the microphone cover is microperforated to avoid the creation of wind noise as much as possible , it is inevitable that some of the wind noise will get in, something that Sony ends up solving by adding a windbreak filter.
This filter is installed on the camera shoe and covers the microphone encapsulation, surprisingly effectively neutralizing the incidence of wind on the microphone, while giving the camera a very curious and fun look with that kind of tousled bangs.
Therefore, a priori, you don’t need to invest in anything else to self-record and get good sound quality. Of course, it is more than recommended to always have the wind filter installed as it makes a big difference, especially outdoors where an unexpected gust of wind can ruin quality audio.
However, if you want to install an external microphone for distance or to achieve a higher quality, you can make use of the integrated external microphone jack connector on the side of the Sony ZV-1 , thus canceling the pick-up of the integrated microphone. Both options offer very good quality, but it is good that Sony has not limited itself to the internal microphone and allows you to choose the sound source.
Extra Content: Bluetooth Tripod with Recording Control Sony GP-VPT2BT
It is always better to record in a team, so this vlogging camera does not come alone, but Sony has released an almost essential accessory for this camera that is sold separately.
It is the Sony GP-VPT2BT mini tripod that costs about 159 euros and fulfills several useful functions for vloggers and youtubers.
The most obvious is that of a compact tripod that keeps the camera stable and perfectly oriented to the presenter thanks to two buttons at the base of the ball joint that allow you to tilt and rotate the camera.
The second function of this compact Sony GP-VPT2BT tripod is to serve as a compact selfie stick. Thus, the grip is made more comfortable and the stability when holding the camera when self-recording is improved . In addition, by adding a few more inches of distance between the camera and the subject, the frame opens a little more, leaving a plane with more air around it.
The third utility of this add-on for the Sony ZV-1 is that of remote control for camera functions.
This connects to the Sony vlogging camera via Bluetooth and, thanks to its buttons integrated in the handle, they allow activating video recording, the photo shutter for selfies, controlling the zoom of the camera or activating the C1 button that Default is set for the Background Blur feature .
It also includes a lock button that prevents these buttons from being accidentally operated when holding it, something that has happened to us with the zoom when changing the handheld camera since this control stands out from the rest.
The grip tripod has a folded 173mm length for use as a grip and allows the camera to be raised 133mm when its three legs are deployed. All this with only 215 grams of weight .
Without a doubt this tripod is the perfect companion for the Sony ZV-1 (best camera for video vlogger) since it maintains its compact philosophy and allows you to leave the camera on any flat surface to create static planes or provide a more comfortable grip for moving planes, always keeping the main camera controls.
Sony Has Hit the Nail on The Head with A Compact Camera for Creating Video
Video content has grown at a frenetic pace in recent years, and an ever-growing mass of users has been creating a demand for a compact and lightweight camera that enables quality video recording without too much hassle.
Having a channel on YouTube or any other video content platform does not make you an expert in technology and not everyone was willing to carry a heavy and sophisticated interchangeable lens camera all day to create videos or vlogs.
It is there that Sony has hit the nail on the head by offering a camera with all the functions at the level of image quality and precision in the focus that these users already found in APS-C cameras, full format and even in its advanced compact, but with a much more focused philosophy on video creation.
The truth is that Sony already had a large part of the raw material that it needed in its RX100, but it has given a return to its design providing added value with the articulated folding screen and additional video functions.
Special mention for the devilish speed and precision in the approach of the Product Presentation mode , a function that will undoubtedly be crucial in the purchase decision for many vloggers and youtubers looking for a second light camera to create content with the same quality as with their equipment. usual when traveling or attending events.
Not everything is lights in this camera. The stabilization system, while functional, is not entirely solid for a camera designed for light travel.
The tendency to overexpose scenes with different light intensities has left us with certain doubts , although in downloading it must be recognized that the priority of exposure to the face adjusts it well, and ensures that the faces always appear well exposed even at the expense of burn the funds.
The choice of materials can also be debatable , since it involves a great change in qualities when going from the RX100 with its metallic touch, to this ZV-1 (best camera for video vlogger) built in polycarbonate. It is true that this change is reflected in the final price of the camera.
Precisely its price can be puzzling at first, since paying 799 euros for a “compact camera” may seem excessive entry.
However, when you consider that the latest RX100s with which it shares 95% of the functions are above the 1,000 euro band, and that the Sony ZV-1 (best camera for video vlogger) includes everything you need to start recording Content from the first minute without the need to buy an external microphone, the price no longer seems so farfetched.
In the market there are several models that can be considered as compact cameras for vlogging but, either they are with interchangeable lenses, such as the Olympus OM-D E-M10 III for about 525 euros , or they lose that compact and light format like the Panasonic G90 that they shoot their price above 1,050 euros .
In short, if you are looking for a camera with which to start your journey as a vlogger or youtuber without making a large investment, or you want to complement your equipment with a secondary camera that allows you to travel light and create videos of very good quality, the best option as a camera vlogging in 2020 already has its own name and is called Sony ZV-1.