The Sony ZV-1 Camera Review

Is this your dream Vlogging camera?

The Sony ZV-1 is one the first camera specifically made for creators to come out of 2020 and on many levels it delivers. Fun, easy to use, more digitally advanced and versatile; the Sony ZV-1 could be the best vlogging camera of the year if not all time. Let’s give you a run-down of the pros and cons for each of the camera’s main features.

  1. Easy to Use Interface

Sony has gained criticism in the past for its camera’s lack of user friendliness, but it seems Sony listened and made the ZV-1 much simpler to understand within the different settings in the built-in menu screen which you can scroll through to give you an example of the mode as well as the button options on the body, which are limited and aren’t overwhelming to early or first time camera enthusiasts. There’s even a record light on the front of the camera to tell you your filming and a large, accessible record button on the top. The light weight design and clean simple looking body holds an automatic lens cap, large record button and power zoom switch that you can use easily press from front or back of camera, steady hand grip and ports at the side for external microphones, HDMI and USB.


  1. Flip Screen Display

The Sony flip screen display is simple yet innovative in that it makes filming yourself and others that much easier. The flip screen flips out to the side of the camera and can be rotated to face the front or back, making it easy to film yourself, compose your shot and make sure you have the right settings and focus for the job. It’s also handy that the screen flips out to the side of the camera, so that it doesn’t get in the way of your tripod or microphone; a simple design difference yet very practical for filming situations. The screen allows you to touch to focus the image but you cannot change your camera settings e.g. aperture, shutter speed & ISO compared to Canons touch flip screens. This makes for a difficult experience when you’re filming from the front as you have to reach around the back and use the dial and buttons blindly, hoping you find the right settings. 


  1. Bluetooth Grip Controller

The Sony GP-VPT2BT Handgrip simplifies a creators vlogging experience by making your equipment setup that much easier, you can attach the grip to the camera and it becomes a steady hand held grip for on the go filming or converts into a tripod for at home shooting. Additionally, there’s a record button at the front of the controller for videos with a zoom function that’s easy reach, as well as an instant photo button and lock. The starting price is $139.99 and it’s ideal for location and home recording with its inbuilt Bluetooth connecting to your camera and wireless functions that means no more messy wires getting in the way of your setup.


  1. Product Focus and Face Tracking

One of the annoying things about taking video selfies is when the camera doesn’t focus properly on your face or multiple faces in the scene and the same thing can be said when you’re holding an object you want to advertise and it will only focus on the person on the screen. The Sony ZV-1 has a ‘Product Focus’ option in its menu which means no matter who’s in the frame, the camera will only focus on the object in the forefront, a god send for any product placements you need to show. Face tracking isn’t an issue as the ZV-1 can focus on multiple faces and optional beauty filters can be overlaid to smoothen skin and hide any unwanted blemishes. The Sony’s new standard colour profile is also great for tweaking skins tones to give a more natural look.


  1. Auto Face Exposure Setting

Lighting it so important when it comes to photography and when the weather isn’t playing ball or you’re moving from a sunny spot to somewhere more shaded, the automatic exposure settings sometimes can’t keep up with the changing atmosphere and your face gets lost in the light or hidden in the darkness of the scene as it tries to auto expose incorrectly. Thankfully, there is an ‘auto face exposure’ setting that will adapt to low light conditions and brighter displays and your face will be correctly exposed every time.


  1. Sound Quality & Microphone

The Sony ZV-1 boasts a larger than usual microphone and an attachable dead cat that fits into the cameras horseshoe; meaning that you can record your voice more professionally and clearly and be heard even in noisy places with external sounds.


  1. Time Lapse and Slow-Motion FPS

The Interval Shooting Mode or Timelapse function allows you to take multiple shots per second to create a The ZV-1 camera has amazing slow-motion capabilities and can shoot continuously at 1080/120 frames per second and the quality is excellent. You can even record short bursts of slow motion at 240 to 480 FPS and up to 960 FP maximum.


  1. Camera Quality

The 1.8 to 2.8 lens is a decent lens for photography but has it’s setbacks for not achieving that nice wide angle look a lot of vloggers might want, however the 1.8 to 2.8 aperture coupled with the cameras one inch sensor creates a nice soft background to your subjects, that is hard to achieve for most videos smartphones. Overall, the ZV-1 has a good quality 20.1 mega pixel camera which allows you to take RAW or JPEG photos as well as video and produces sharp looking images. You can shoot in manual mode, aperture priority, shutter priority or program auto, giving you many options to choose from and the camera also handles its rolling shutter well, which is important when you’re moving around whilst videoing.

The Price

The only major downside is the price, with the Sony ZV-1 starting price for the camera alone at $798 it doesn’t come cheap. But with it being newly released this May 2020 and comparing it to other newly released vlogging cameras like the Olympus OM-D E-M5, whose body costs $999 alone, it’s a cheaper alternative with a fantastic range of features that won’t break the bank.


If you are an active vlogger in the world wide community and want to upgrade your videos with better quality with an ultimately easier, fun experience this is the camera for you. If you are new to the vlogger world and want to start a personal or professional vlog then this is the camera for you. Many Youtubers have already given it rave reviews and promoted the ZV-1 for its flip-screen; “finally, a flip screen which you can flip out to the side which doesn’t interfere with your mic or tripod”. With social media an integral part of many people’s lives as a hobby or as your livelihood, having the best equipment is essential in promoting the best image of yourself in this fast-evolving world. Are there better cameras out there? Sure, there are always going to be advancements in technology and improvements to cameras ever year; that’s not rocket science. But at this moment in time I believe if you are a creator whether that’s social media based, an independent film maker, creative student or someone who just loves making videos and photos of their life and travels then even the Sony ZV-1 is the newest affordable camera for you.

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