With so much video content being put out, a camera dedicated to vloggers makes eminent sense. Companies have long realised this and have been catering to that market. The many users who just want to be YouTube stars and need a quality camera that’s easy to use and one that produces good results will be interested in the Sony ZV-1.
The ZV-1 is a compact and well built camera with some great features. And don’t assume it only does video: in fact it is a very nice travel camera for both stills and videos and would work for a large audience of casual shooters.
Despite its small size the camera is very well ergonomically balanced. The controls for shooting stills and video are easily accessible and interestingly it is comfortable to hold either facing you in selfie mode or facing away from you. The controls for zoom and some of the custom buttons are also easily accessible and well placed.
For a true blogger, Sony also sells an additional Vlogging stick (Sony GP-VPT2BT Bluetooth shooting grip) which has all the controls on it and can also be used as a table-top tripod.
The camera does have a fully articulating display which is also touch enabled, though the only touch function is for focus. The lens is a Carl Zeiss 24-70mm equivalent f/1.8-f/2.8. For some users this might not be wide enough, specially in selfie mode, when stretched out in the hand. Using the Vlogging stick or mounted on a tripod does give a much better frame.
The microphone on the ZV-1 is a directional 3 capsule microphone. It works better when the camera is facing you and captures very clear sound. While facing away it does tend to fade a bit. There are ports for an external microphone as well, though no option for headphones to monitor the recording levels. For wind protection a fuzzy little windscreen has been included in the kit, popularly known as the dead cat. It does a very good job of blocking the wind, but it also covers the on/off button.
For stills the camera shoots 20 megapixel in both JPG and RAW formats. As with other Sony cameras, there are several shooting modes including all the standard Program, Shutter, Aperture and Manual. Apart from this it does have various scenes and does a good job of capturing images in the scene modes including Intelligent Auto.
On the video front, it is capable of shooting 4K/30p 1080p/120p and high-speeds up to 960fps though at a lower resolution. Shooting video while walking is very smooth and the image stabilisation “SteadyShot” does a good job of keeping things quite steady.
The auto-focus on the ZV-1 is what one would expect of a modern day camera. It does a great job of face and eye-detection and subject tracking as well. Add to that the options for background defocus and product showcase and the camera is certainly one that will be very easy to use and master for non-photographers. For an influencer shooting videos and suddenly showing a product the ZV-1 instantly defocusses the person and focuses sharply on the product in the frame. Very impressive indeed.
Apart from the larger buttons on the camera, the small buttons are a bit of a pain to use. The menu system has a whopping 32 pages of options making it very cumbersome to traverse through all of them. The good thing is shooting in auto-modes the camera does a very good job and most would be satisfied with the results. Good details in both still images and videos.
In all the ZV-1 is great for vloggers and casual shooters. It makes a great travel camera and with it’s auto-focus and tracking it would be ideal for family shoots. It’s compact and easy to use and very easy to get great results both stills and video.
Pros: Compact, great features, image and video quality
Cons: Costly, confusing menus, lack of zoom