Sony says 73% of vloggers are still using smartphones. Upgrading to a mirrorless camera is a big step, however, so the Sony ZV-1 is designed to be a much simpler and more effective alternative that is also designed specifically for vloggers.
If you want to know more, including what we actually think of it, we've already posted our Sony ZV-1 review (opens in new tab).
For a while now, Sony RX100 cameras have been steadily growing in both sophistication and prices, so that the flagship Sony RX100 VII (opens in new tab) is now around $1,300. In this context, the ZV-1 is a very welcome and much more practical alternative.
Features include a fully vari-angle screen, not just a tilting screen, so you can shoot video from a wider range of angles, and in the vertical format too – an important feature for vlogs designed to be viewed on a smartphone.
Sony has also tuned the autofocus specifically for vlogging, using its advanced 315-point on-sensor phase AF autofocus and contrast AF system, together with its leading edge Real-Time Eye AF and Real-Time Tracking AF to deliver highly responsive autofocus that will pick out and track your face as you talk to the camera.
It has a new Product Showcase option which will immediate shift the focus to any object you hold up in front of the camera and then back to your face when you move it away and want to carry on talking. We’ve tried it; it works brilliantly.
Product Showcase AF in action
Amateur video alert! Here's a quick (perhaps not quick enough) demonstration of The Sony ZV-1's Product Showcase autofocus in action!
Sony ZV-1 audio
Sony has also paid special attention to the audio quality. There is a mic input socket on this camera, but you may not need it because the built in mic has been optimised for isolating voices and there’s a detachable wind shield that clips into the accessory shoe to deaden any wind noise – a perpetual issue for outdoor vloggers.
Inside, there’s a 1-inch 20MP sensor of a type that Sony has used many times before in its RX100 series cameras. The 24-70mm equivalent f/1.8-2.8 lens will also look familiar to RX100 users. However, the Sony ZV-1 is not simply a reskinned RX100, but a new camera design using some of the same technology.
Interestingly, Sony says the ZV-1 can be used as a live webcam via USB, which could be especially useful in the current lockdown crisis – however this requires Windows 10 and Sony software which isn't actually due to arrive until July 2020.(opens in new tab)
Sony ZV-1 pro appeal
The ZV-1 is pitched at vlogging newcomers, but it has plenty of appeal for more advanced users too, maybe photographers who need a simple vlogging solution and not all the bells and whistles and complexity of a mirrorless system.
Its 4K video is oversampled from full width capture, it supports HLG and Sony’s S-Log modes (S-Gamut3.Cine / S-Log3, S-Gamut3 / S-Log3) and even offers proxy recording for quick sharing or faster video editing later.
The Sony ZV-1 also offers unlimited recording time limited only by the SD card capacity or battery charge. For serious shooters, there is the option to record to an external device via HDMI with the screen still active, and there is super slow motion recording at up to 1,000fps (at reduced resolution).(opens in new tab)
Sony ZV-1 price and availability
The Sony ZV-1 will go on sale in June 2020 for £699/$798/AU$1,299.
• Pre-order the Sony ZV-1 at B&H Photo (opens in new tab)
• Pre-order the Sony ZV-1 at Wex Photo Video (opens in new tab)
The best Sony cameras in 2020 (opens in new tab)
The best vlogging cameras in 2020 (opens in new tab)