The Sony ZV1 is a brand new camera from Sony not necessarily designed for photographers, but you can surely use it.
While the Sony ZV1 isn’t such a well-kept secret, it also seems odd. When I look at this camera, I’m sort of reminded of the Sony Bloggie–a camera that they came out with to target pretty much the same demographic years ago. This is a camera that’s very capable of shooting still photos, but there’s a more significant emphasis on shooting video. In fact, it’s more or less a Sony RX100 VII, but with a few modifications and a lower price tag. More specifically, the internals are the Sony RX100 VII, and the externals are newer. The new exterior is designed for vlogging and content creation around video. As such, there’s been a new autofocus algorithm developed for this, or at least the existing one is modified.
The Sony ZV1: What You Need to Know
The internals of this camera are more or less the Sony RX100 VII. So that means that you’re using the
24-200mm f2.8-f4.5 lens. In some ways, I really miss their older lenses that started at f1.8. Behind that lens is the 20.1MP BSI CMOS sensor. The 20fps shooting mode and all are still there, but it seems like most of the AI library has been removed. There’s also 4K movie recording, of course. The back is mostly dominated by the LCD screen. This screen flips out to the side instead of up and down. Gone are the EVF, the pop-up flash, and the control ring around the lens. So, if anything, a photographer could use this as a camera to document themself as they go about shooting. Otherwise, they could use it as a small, complementary product to their existing camera system.
Correction: this camera uses a 24-70mm f1.8-f2.8 lens.
Personally speaking, I think it’s an excellent idea, but I’m also still married to the idea of shooting with my iPhone on a DJI Osmo Mobile. I can hook up a lav mic to my phone and shoot. Plus, I always have my phone on me. Where Sony is tempting me is with the autofocus. We saw it demonstrated with a makeup blogger. The camera focused on her face, and then she held up a product. Then it focused on the product. When she removed it, it focused back on her face. To that end, it doesn’t have animal AF, so if you’re all about documenting your dog or cat for those Instagram views, you’re out of luck here. However, keep in mind that it has EyeAF in Video, so that’s a nice plus!
There’s No Webcam Feature, Yet
Now here’s the biggest thing: Sony, the world’s most innovative company in the camera space, is launching a camera in 2020 without a webcam feature built into it. They say that the feature is coming at a later point. But I’m a tad perplexed that Canon was able to do it with pretty much every camera they have on the market with a little bit of code, and that Sigma was able to put it right into their camera. We used the Sigma FP the other day on Pro Camera Reviews, and though the autofocus was clearly not great, it was still able to do it. So I’m not sure why Sony only seems to be playing catch up here.
On the flip side, I’m told that this camera should be able to do vertical video: a big step up for content creators using their phones. I think that being able to make the Sony ZV1 stream to a phone via Bluetooth and then to be able to use that for YouTube, Facebook, TikTok, Instagram, etc, would be incredibly clutch. When it comes to webcam streaming though, the Sony ZV1 uses only a Micro USB port instead of the brand new USB-C. So that means that it’s going to be a pain to charge the battery because you need to have another cable with you.
I’m a bit torn on this one. But, at a price point of $799.99 and being launched with a $749.99 intro price, it could be a nice product to pick up.