Vloggers are always looking for new solutions to use and Sony has just introduced its Vlog Camera ZV-1, a compact, lightweight camera that will be available in Europe next June, for approximately €800.
If you’re looking for a webcam, this Sony ZV-1 might be a good option… if you also need a video camera. In fact, the Sony ZV-1 an be transformed into a webcam by connecting it to a PC via USB, says the company. The announcement seems to be Sony’s reply to Canon’s recent release of an app that transforms many of Canon’s camera models in high-quality webcams. Competition is a good thing, apparently.
If you need a webcam right now, though… you are out of luck, because the software that will turn the camera into a webcam will only be available in July 2020. If you can wait, then you’ll have a chance to interact with your followers – or chat with the family – in real-time while also utilising the advanced imaging technology and unique features of the ZV-1.
The webcam option is a good thing to have, but the ZV-1 was not built with that purpose. Sony says that the model is a lightweight, compact “all-in-one” style solution, designed from the ground up for content creators and vloggers. The ZV-1, adds the company, “combines easy-to-use features with uncompromising imaging technology, making this the perfect tool for any content creator at all skill levels.”
LCD screen moves to the side… so you can use a microphone
“Sony’s new ZV-1 was purpose-built to meet the needs and demands of today’s video creators,” said Yann Salmon Legagneur, Director of Product Marketing, Digital Imaging, Sony Europe. “This camera is the result of direct feedback from our extended community who do not want to compromise with hybrid products, so we have designed this new model for those who put content creation first. It features an innovative design and introduces many new technologies, settings and modes that allow creators to make content in ways they have never been able to before. The ZV-1 aims to let the subject shine in any environment. Every single feature is optimised for any type of creator’s daily vlogging.”
Those familiar with Sony’s compact models can see similarities with the RX100 VII. The ZV-1 does have some of specifications and design, but it’s a completely different solution, aimed more at videographers than photographers. It may not have everything some would expect to find in a model for video, but cameras are always a compromise, and this vlogging camera is no different.
One interesting feature for this camera designed with content creators and vloggers in mind: it is the first Sony compact camera with a side-opening Vari-angle LCD Screen, allowing creators to simplify their setup by utilising the MI shoe for optional external mics without the need of an additional mounting bracket. Yes, if you remember well, the LCD screen on the RX100 VII moved in an ackward position if you wanted to use an external microphone…
Key features of the ZV-1 vlogging camera
The ZV-1 features a 1.0-type stacked Exmor RS CMOS image sensor with DRAM chip and 24-70mm F1.8-2.8 ZEISS Vario-Sonnar T* large-aperture lens creating beautiful background bokeh (background blur), allowing the subject to stand out from the background. The camera locks on and tracks subjects with high accuracy and speed using Sony’s leading-edge autofocus system. The ZV-1 also includes the latest-generation BIONZ X image processor with front-end LSI delivering high resolution as well as low noise for superior image quality. It also combines this exceptional imaging technology with high-quality and versatile audio options. To meet any video need, the ZV-1 contains advanced video features including 4K movie recording and in-body image stabilisation.
The specifications above are key to this compact, lightweight (approx. 294g / 105.5mm x 60.0mm x 43.5mm) camera that despite the small form factor features a multitude of pro-level movie making capabilities, including:
- 4K movie recording with full pixel readout and no pixel binning in high bit rate XAVC S codec.
- Industry standard 3.5mm microphone input
- Hybrid Log-Gamma (HDR) / S-Gamut3.Cine / S-Log3, S-Gamut3 / S-Log3
- Interval Shooting[ix] for stunning time-lapse videos
- Super Slow-Motion recording at up to 1000fps
- Compatibility with ‘Movie Edit add-on’ from the “Imaging Edge” mobile application for image stabilisation while editing Highlight ability to edit aspect ratios for IG etc.
Other technologies being used
Meeting the needs of today’s content creators, as Sony claims, the camera includes a series of other technologies that users now take for granted and want to have around. Here are some of them explained by Sony:
- Quickly Switch Between two modes of Background Bokeh
The ZV-1 offers a simple solution to easily switch between two levels of background blur (bokeh) while recording. Using the new Bokeh Switch function, rapidly adjust the optical aperture between more and less background defocusing blur without losing focus on the subject. Located on top of the camera, this Bokeh button is easily accessible and makes self shooting a breeze.
- Focus on the Subject You Want
The ZV-1 makes it easier than ever to shoot product reviews and similar video content. Gone are the days of placing a hand behind an object to prompt the camera to bring it into focus thanks to a new Product Showcase Setting, which allows for quick and smooth focus transitions between the subject’s face and the object placed in front of the lens.Building on the leading-edge technology developed for α (Alpha) and RX series cameras, this new compact camera includes advanced autofocus (AF) allowing it to lock on and track subjects with high accuracy and speed while recording. For maintaining focus on the intended subject or subjects in busy environments, Real-time Eye AF and Real-time Tracking for video allows the ZV-1 to stay locked on the subject’s eye / face or seamlessly switch focus between multiple subjects while controlling the AF speed and tracking sensitivity when needed.
- Prioritise Your Face
Extreme changes in lighting, like walking outside on a sunny day and suddenly moving from a bright location into shade, are no problem for the ZV-1 thanks to the new Face Priority autoexposure (AE) function. It detects and prioritises the subject’s face and adjusts the exposure to ensure the face is depicted at an ideal brightness in any environment. This AE technology also suppresses an abrupt change in exposure if the subject quickly turns away from the frame to eliminate unexpected blown-out or extremely dark shots.
- Natural Colour
The ZV-1 features advanced colour science re-engineered to optimise skin tones. To enhance emphasis on the subject’s face – especially when shooting in selfie mode – the ZV-1 creates a smooth and natural complexion, while also maintaining sharp images of the mouth and eyes in both videos and stills.
- Crystal Clear Audio
High quality content requires clear, excellent audio quality, and the ZV-1 is well-equipped to produce just that with reliable and versatile audio options. The ZV-1’s onboard mic features Sony’s latest Directional 3-capsule Mic which was designed for forward-directional audio capture, allowing for clear capture of the subject’s voice while minimising background noise, especially when operating in selfie mode. For added flexibility, the ZV-1 also features a standard 35mm mic jack (3.5mm) and Multi Interface Shoe (MI shoe) making it easy to connect a wide range of external microphones. The ZV-1 is also supplied with a wind screen accessory that fits on the MI shoe to minimise wind interference.
Stabilization up to 8 times in 4K
The ZV-1 is easy and comfortable to operate with one hand thanks to the easy-to-hold comfortable grip and a large movie REC button located on the top of the camera for quick access to video recording, as well as a recording lamp on the front of the camera that indicates if the camera is actively recording.
The camera also includes major advances in image stabilisation, ensuring steady video even when shooting hand-held while walking. When recording in HD (Active mode), optical and electronic stabilisation methods are combined to reduce shaking up to 11 times that of standard SteadyShot. When shooting 4K video using Optical SteadyShot (Active mode), there is improvement in stabilisation effect of up to 8 times that of standard SteadyShot. The ZV-1 is also compatible with the GP-VPT2BT Shooting Grip with Wireless Remote Commander, offering additional stability and comfort combined with cable-free connectivity.
The Vlog Camera ZV-1 will be available in Europe in June 2020, priced at approximately €800.