Sony ZV-1 Overview
Vloggers and influencers rejoice, the Sony ZV-1 is a purpose-built compact camera blending the proven imaging capabilities of the RX100-series platform with an updated physical design for more efficient content creation.
Featuring a side flip-out 3.0″ touchscreen and a directional 3-capsule microphone that are perfect for front-facing recording, the ZV-1 also caters to this crowd with the Product Showcase Setting, Background Defocus function, Soft Skin Effect, and Face Priority Auto-Exposure.
Despite its sleek and lightweight design, the ZV-1 is also characterized by its large right-hand grip that is ideal for one-handed recording in conjunction with a front tally lamp, larger REC button on the top plate, and a Multi Interface Shoe for attaching accessories. An impressive ZEISS 24-70mm-equivalent standard zoom lens, with a bright f/1.8-2.8 maximum aperture range, is also featured and, suiting recording while walking, Active SteadyShot image stabilization helps to steady footage and reduce the appearance of camera shake for smoother takes.
Inside, the ZV-1 has some familiar imaging attributes in the form of a 20.1MP 1″-type Exmor RS stacked CMOS sensor and BIONZ X image processor, with front-end LSI, which contributes to impressively fast performance along with wide-ranging sensitivity to suit working in a variety of conditions. The processing capabilities avail Real-Time Eye AF and Real-Time Tracking for quick and precise focusing and subject tracking. In terms of video specs, UHD 4K recording at 30p is supported for extended takes and a micro-HDMI port can be used to conjunction with an external recorder or monitor if desired. Footage is also benefitted by Sony’s S-Log2 and HLG picture profiles that match up with their professional cine cameras for refined color, dynamic range, and detail when recording.
Content Creator and Vlogging Features
- Rear 3.0″ 921.6k-dot LCD touchscreen features a side flip-out design that is ideal for filming yourself or taking selfies in a natural and intuitive manner.
- Since the screen flips out to the side, the top plate has been redesigned to incorporate a directional 3-capsule microphone that is specifically designed for forward-directional audio recording. Also, a dedicated wind screen for the built-in mic is included to help achieve cleaner audio when working outdoors.
- Both a 3.5mm microphone port and a Multi Interface Shoe are also featured for greater accessory compatibility.
- Compact and lightweight body design is complemented by an easy-to-hold right-hand grip that makes one-handed operation more comfortable and efficient. There is also a large REC button for quick recognition.
- Front tally lamp serves as a visual indicator for when recording is occurring.
- Product Showcase setting is ideal for vlogging and product showcases and allows for quick and smooth focus transitions between a subject’s face and an object placed in front of the lens.
- Background Defocus lets you immediately switch to the maximum aperture setting (f/1.8-2.8), using a custom button function, for isolating your subject using shallow depth of field and bokeh. A built-in ND filter benefits using this mode in bright lighting conditions by controlling overexposure.
- Face-Priority AE detects the subject’s face and adjusts the exposure to ensure the face is depicted in an ideal brightness, even if walking from a bright place into shade. The AE technology also suppresses abrupt changes in exposure if the subject quickly turns away from the frame to eliminate unexpected blown-out or extremely dark shots.
- Refined color science helps to optimize skin tones for any subject, in both still and video modes, in order to achieve a healthy and natural look that is inclusive of different ages, genders, and ethnicity.
- Soft Skin Effect can be used to soften and smooth wrinkles or blemishes on a subject’s face to create a natural, smooth complexion. The default setting is Mid and can be adjusted to Off, Low, or Hi.
- For longer takes, extended continuous video recording is available when setting the Auto Power OFF Temp. function to High.
- Active SteadyShot is an advanced image stabilization mode that ensures steady video while moving, even when handheld shooting while walking. This mode combines optical and electronic stabilization methods for more effective results—when recording HD video with Active mode, camera shake is reduced by up to 11 times more than with standard SteadyShot; when recording 4K video with Active mode, camera shake is reduced by up to 8 times more than with standard SteadyShot.
20.1MP 1″ Exmor RS CMOS Sensor & BIONZ X Image Processor
Utilizing an advanced stacked structure with an integrated DRAM chip, the 20.1MP 1″ Exmor RS CMOS sensor is able to deliver outstanding image quality from ISO 100-12800 with incredibly fast performance. This sensor stacks the pixel area, a high-speed signal processing circuit, and memory in order to increase data throughput and deliver features such as Single Burst Shooting, an Anti-Distortion shutter, UHD 4K video, and more. This 1″ sensor also has 315 phase-detection AF points and 425 contrast detection areas for faster, more precise focusing.
This sensor is paired with a revised BIONZ X image processor and front-end LSI, which dramatically improve the speed and throughput of the entire imaging system, enabling blackout-free continuous shooting at up to 24 fps with continuous AF/AE calculations being performed at 60 times per second. The front-end LSI and enhanced sensor performance also improve overall image quality, especially at higher sensitivities, by reducing noise and offering higher perceived resolution and color definition.
ZEISS Vario-Sonnar T* 24-70mm Lens
Spanning a useful 24-70mm equivalent range, the integrated ZEISS Vario-Sonnar T* lens suits working in a wide range of situations. Despite its compact, retractable form factor, the lens still retains a bright f/1.8-2.8 maximum aperture range that benefits working in low-light conditions as well as isolating subject matter using shallow depth of field techniques. The optical design incorporates a series of specialized elements to reduce aberrations and distortions, in order to achieve high sharpness and accurate rendering, and a ZEISS T* anti-reflective coating has also been applied to suppress reflections and glare for improved contrast and color fidelity.
The flexible reach is complemented by Optical SteadyShot image stabilization, which minimizes the appearance of camera shake to suit handheld shooting in low-light conditions.
UHD 4K Video Recording
Able to record UHD 4K video at 30/24 fps, the ZV-1, is capable of producing movies with exceptional clarity. By using a full pixel readout without binning, the camera collects about 1.7x the information needed for 4K output. This oversampling helps to increase clarity while reducing the impact of moiré and jaggies. Benefitting sharper recording, an Active SteadyShot mode can be used for recording that prioritizes smoothness when reducing the appearance of camera shake. Fast Hybrid AF is available during movie shooting for ensuring accurate, fast tracking using phase-detection AF points. The camera also offers Sony’s advanced XAVC S format for recording a high bit rates up to 100 Mb/s. In addition to high-resolution internal recording, uncompressed HDMI output also enables the use of an optional external recorder for clean 4K recording with 4:2:2 sampling.
Affording extensive customizable color and gamma controls, the ZV-1 allows users to adjust the gamma, black level, knee, color level, and more. Also, users can use the same S-Log2 Gamma Curve that is found on high-end Sony Cinema cameras that squeezes up to 1300% more dynamic range into the video signal then traditional REC709, for increased post-production flexibility. HLG (Hybrid Log-Gamma) support is also available, along with the BT.2020 color space, for recording within a wide color gamut and, in addition to S-Log2, S-Log3 is also available for producing an effective 14-stop dynamic range with increased grading control in the shadow to mid-tone regions of the image.
Speed is also a huge advantage of the ZV-1, and, in video, users will benefit from advanced High Frame Rate shooting and super slow motion. In Full HD, shooters will have access to a standard 120 fps setting that will enable outstanding slow motion when placed in editing software. In addition to this, the camera also offers a dedicated HFR mode that boosts the camera’s frame rate to up to 960 fps.
A Photo Capture function is built directly into the camera, allowing shooters to quickly save an 8.29MP still from their UHD 4K movies. Full HD can also benefit from this feature, where users will be able to pull a 2MP still. Additionally, the camera is NTSC/PAL switchable, making it usable around the world, vertical videos can be recorded with embedded metadata to correct for the vertical orientation during playback.
Fast Hybrid AF System with 315 Phase-Detection Points
Other Camera Features
- Interval shooting mode is ideal for creating time-lapse movies with the aid of Imaging Edge software. Intervals can be selected between 1-60 seconds for recording up to 9999 sequential free. Also, in-camera battery charging is possible via the USB port using a portable battery to benefit long interval shooting sessions.
- Anti-Distortion electronic shutter can enable completely silent shooting as well as the ability to work at shutter speeds as fast as 1/32000 second. This shutter also keeps rolling shutter effects to an absolute minimum and enables photographers to work in bright light with wider apertures.
- The Fn menu can be accessed and edited immediately after continuous shooting, while data writing is still in progress.
- File name setting allows users to change the first three characters of the file name from DSC to three characters of their choice. Additionally, images shot in continuous mode can also be displayed, reviewed, and deleted in the groups they were shot for faster operation.
- Step Zoom lets you quickly change between five common focal lengths (24, 28, 35, 50, or 70mm) by rotating the control ring.
- Users can set a minimum shutter speed when using ISO AUTO to help minimize shutter blur.
- Creative Style settings: Standard, Vivid, Neutral, Clear, Deep, Light, Portrait, Landscape, Sunset, Night Scene, Autumn Leaves, Black & White, Sepia, and Style Box.
- Picture Effect modes: Toy Camera, Pop Color, Posterization, Retro Photo, Soft High-Key, Partial Color, High Contrast Mono, Soft Focus, HDR Painting, Richtone Monochrome, Miniature, Watercolor, and Illustration.
- Picture Profile parameters: Black Level, Gamma (Movie, Still, Cine1-2, ITU709, ITU709 [800%], S-Log2, S-Log3, HLG, HLG1, HLG2, HLG3), Black Gamma, Knee, Color Mode, Saturation, Color Depth, Color Phase, Detail, Copy and Reset.