Sony has designed an all-new camera from the ground up to be the last word in the world of enthusiast/professional vlogging cameras. It’s called the ZV-1 and it’s compact, lightweight, but features a tonne of features vloggers and video makers will find really useful.
The design of the camera is all focused around making it easy to hold and easy to film yourself. The small grip on the front has enough of a gap between itself and the lens, that you can place your thumb there in order to hold it while pointing it at your face. It also has a bright red LED on the front that flashes while recording.
Unlike some of Sony’s other camera offerings, the movie/video recording button is prominently placed on the top, right near the camera shutter button.
For those who have complained in the past about Sony’s lack of a proper flip-out screen, it even has one of those.
The display can be flipped out to the side so you can see yourself on screen when filming, but likewise, it rotates, and can be held at various angles when viewed from the back or up top. You can even flip it over to have the screen facing the camera’s body when shut, to protect it.
The top of the camera features a three-capsule mic setup which Sony says can give you clear, good quality audio whether you want to set it for wider ambient capture, or a focus on your voice. It even comes with a custom-made deadcat to kill wind noise that fixes into the shoe mount.
Of course, some vloggers and video makers will want to use their own dedicated microphones, and so there’s also a 3.5mm mic input, but also the capability to plug in an XLR mic via a hot shoe adapter if you need that.
It’s arguably the video processing that makes this ideal for vloggers, combined with the auto focussing and tracking capabilities that Sony is renowned for.
Like a lot of its recent high end cameras it has real-time eye and face tracking, as well as fast autofocus based on phase and contrast detection. However, it’s programmed to base its frame exposure on the person’s face that’s in the shot.
What that means is that you can be talking to camera, walking under bridges, into darker or brighter settings and it’ll continuously adjust the exposure to ensure your face stays looking well exposed and natural. And that’s not dependent on ethnicity either, it can detect and adjust for different skin colours and shades.
If you’re a vlogger that needs to bring products to the frame – like makeup tutorials or consumer electronics hands-on videos – you can switch the camera to Product Showcase mode, and it’ll automatically pick up the product in the shot and focus quickly on that, and then focus back on your face when you remove it from the frame.
For TikTok and Instagram Stories users, the camera automatically detects when it’s shooting video vertically, and will transfer that video in portrait mode to your phone, without auto-rotating to landscape.
It shoots 4K video at 30 frames per second, or 1080p up 60fps, but also features a super slow motion capability and can shoot at 240, 480 and 960 frames per second. You can even shoot in different Log settings, for those who want to colour grade later on in the edit, and it supports proxies.
Inside, Sony’s equipped the camera with a 1-inch 20-megapixel 4:3 CMOS sensor. 4K videos oversample a 16:9 14MP frame down to 8-megapixel, without cropping it and it’s equipped with EIS and OIS for stability during shooting too.
It has 315 autofocus points, and can shoot still bursts up to 24fps, and then displays those bursts in clusters within the gallery on the camera.
The battery is good for 45 minutes of video recording time, or 260 still photo captures, and can be charged by plugging the camera into a microUSB cable. That – of course means – if you’re going out for an extended period, you can take a battery pack with you and plug it in to keep it topped up between shooting.
The Sony ZV-1 will be available to buy in June 2020 for £700 in the UK.