Sony ZV-1

20MP 1" Stacked CMOS sensor | 24-70mm equiv. F1.8-2.8 lens | Directional microphones

What we like:

  • Good still and video image quality
  • Great audio quality from built-in mic
  • Unconventional ergonomics work well

What we don't:

  • Some users may find zoom range limited
  • No viewfinder option
  • No headphone jack
The ZV-1 is a compact camera designed with vloggers in mind. It combines a 20MP 1"-type sensor, fast 24-70mm equiv. lens, fully articulated touchscreen and three-part directional microphones.
The camera features a prominent record button to allow one-handed, arms-length video capture, it also has a simplified touchscreen interface for facing-the-camera operation. It might seem a little strange at first, but we find that the controls work quite well.
The ZV-1's autofocus looks very good, with fast, precise AF in stills and smooth, controllable and dependable AF in video. A special AF mode prioritizes nearby objects over faces, to make it easy to shoot video that highlights a product being held up to the camera.
The Sony ZV-1 makes clever use of its impressive autofocus to help maximize the number of usable clips and includes a better-than-usual microphone
Video performance is very good, thanks to a fast Stacked CMOS sensor. It can apply two levels of digital stabilization on top of its lens-based correction but these impose a crop on the video, which may make the focal length too long for some types of vlogging. A 5 minute 4K record limit can be side-stepped by turning off overheat warnings.
The ZV-1 shares a lot with Sony's later RX100 series cameras, which means it shares their excellent image quality. Their JPEGs have been attractive and great and representing fine detail.
The ZV-1 is an interesting attempt at a vlogging-centric compact camera. It makes clever use of its impressive autofocus to help maximize the number of usable takes and includes a better-than-usual microphone.

Richard Butler

Studio Test Scene

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