The Sony ZV-1 Camera Review - Worth It In 2024?

A bite-sized camera made for the lifestyle YouTube connoisseurs.

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7.5MomentScore

Content creators rejoice — the Sony ZV-1 is a purposely built compact camera perfectly molding the proven image capabilities of the RX100-series line with an updated body for even more efficient YouTube juice. It's a great everyday capture tool for daily memories, but is it truly worth the price tag over my iPhone?

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ZV-1 Digital Camera - Black

Sony

A pocket-sized camera with uncompromising imaging technology and unique features for content creators and vloggers that lets the subject shine in any scene. Featuring Sony’s advanced Realtime Eye-AF 3...

Add for $749.99

To Know:

A pocket-sized camera with uncompromising imaging technology. Truly the smallest gadet packed with unique features for content creators and vloggers that's better than an iPhone. Featuring Sony’s advanced Realtime Eye-AF 3 and Real-time AF tracking with a simplified Background Defocus function, Face Priority AE (auto exposure), and Product Showcase setting explicitly made with content creators in mind.

What We Love:

Auto Focus You’ve Never Seen

Focus will switch quickly between your face and anything in the foreground even while shooting in selfie mode and a new product showcase.

Fully Rotating Flip-Out Screen

Excellent for vlogging at an arm’s length away.

Perfect Size

It takes the stress of a big camera away, making it fun to shoot because of its compact size.

The Details:

Brand: Sony

Product Type: Mirrorless

Best For: YouTube connoisseurs looking for a quick vlogging camera to capture lifestyle content and fun clips.

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An image without an alt, whoops
An image without an alt, whoops
An image without an alt, whoops
An image without an alt, whoops
An image without an alt, whoops

Perfect For Content Creators

The Sony ZV-1 is a small, consolidated camera meticulously crafted with content creators in mind. From a hardware perspective, it’s essentially an updated version of the RX100 VII, only featuring ergonomic changes to allow creatives to operate on the opposite side of the camera. Don’t be confused — it’s not a part of the RX100 line, as its name insinuates. The ZV-1 removes the pop-up viewfinder for a directional microphone much better for vlogging.

One of the most significant features we love and find appealing is how spot-on its autofocus is without its new Product Showcase focus mode. Great for content creators and vloggers, this camera allows you to quickly and effortlessly hold something up to the camera without missing focus. Its video capabilities are similar to what you might find in the RX100 line — shoot 1080p footage up to 120p or UHD 4K footage up to 30p. And while the camera can shoot at higher frame rates, like 960fps — the quality doesn't look as good as something like the 1080p 120fps mode it has. Like other recent Sony cameras, all this footage is 8-bit. Log and 'HLG' modes are available but will offer less flexibility than 10-bit footage would.

Additionally, it supports HLG and S-Log2/3 for simple color grading during post-production. And while it includes a socket for a mic, the headphone jack is missing (shocker!). Unlike most cameras in the RX100 lines, this camera has a vlogger-friendly, fully articulating touchscreen display. Easier than ever to look at yourself in the mirror and record away.

As a professional filmmaker, I’m stoked to see how Sony’s continued tradition by adding professional features even to their more moderately priced camera bodies. S-log 2, S-log 3, HLG picture profiles next to zebra, and manual audio and focus controls are all still there. It’s the perfect option for creators who want a simple setup without carrying around a large rig.

To note — we chose PP6 for the image profile; much more crisp and clean compared to others, such as the standard. The standard image profile almost became crunchy and unstable, which wasn’t the look I wanted.

One important observation to note, as well, is how close up 4k footage with stabilization is to the face when you’re shooting from an arm’s length away. The 1080P 24FPS was my preferred look. I also prefer to expose my shots with the exposure compensation set to -1.0; a slightly darker image is much better than a nasty blown-out image.

Overall, if you’re a photographer looking for a Sony alternative, this isn’t the camera for you. Designed specifically for the vlogging types in mind, this compact piece of equipment was made for funny clips and lifestyle jumps — not intended for photographing astonishing landscapes or portraits. That being said, it’s also pretty cinematic, Something to keep in mind for your next purchase. We have plenty of other Sony cameras made available for photographers here.

  • Side-articulating LCD screen for easier-to-compose selfie shots
  • Face-priority AE keeps faces bright in backlit or dim condition
  • Clear Voice w/ 3-Capsule directional mic
  • Standard 3.5mm mic jack
  • High bitrate 4K movie 2 w/ full pixel readout and no pixel binning
  • Super slow-motion movie HFR 7 (High frame rate) up to 960 fps
  • Wi-Fi for easy file transfer and remote camera control
  • Built-in ND to control exposure in bright light conditions
Sample image taken on the ZV-1
Sample image taken on the ZV-1
Sample image taken on the ZV-1
Sample image taken on the ZV-1
Sample image taken on the ZV-1
Sample image taken on the ZV-1

In Detail

People love the specs, and it wouldn't be a feature without a boring paragraph of specs, right?

Featuring a 20.1MP stacked back-illuminated 1" Exmor RS CMOS sensor with DRAM and a large aperture 24-70mm1 F1.8-2.8 ZEISS Vario-Sonnar T lens. As said before, it includes a fast Hybrid AF, Real-Time Eye-AF3, and Real-time AF tracking. You can also quickly switch between two modes of defocused background bokeh, which is an attractive feature for those pixel peepers. Product Showcase setting transitions focus from face to object, while Face Priority AE keeps faces bright in backlit or dim conditions.

If you shop with us, it comes with a rechargeable Battery Pack (NP-BX1), a micro USB cable, a windscreen adaptor, and a strap.

What It Has:

  • Pixels: Effective: 20.1 Megapixel
  • Maximum Resolution: 5472 x 3648
  • Aspect Ratio: 1:1, 3:2, 4:3, 16:9
  • Image Stabilization: Digital, Optical
  • Recording Limit: Unlimited
  • Audio Recording: Built-In Microphone (Stereo), External Microphone Input (Stereo)

What It Does:

  • Clear Voice w/ 3-Capsule directional mic
  • Standard 3.5mm mic jack
  • High bitrate 4K movie 2 w/ full pixel readout and no pixel binning
  • Super slow-motion movie HFR 7 (High frame rate) up to 960 fps
  • Wi-Fi for easy file transfer and remote camera control
  • Built-in ND to control exposure in bright light conditions
  • Easy-to-push REC button with front-facing record tally light

Specs:

  • Sensor Type: CMOS
  • Sensor Size: 1"
  • Dimensions: 105.5mm x 60mm x 43.5mm
  • Weight: 294g
  • 20.1MP 1" Exmor RS BSI CMOS Sensor
  • ZEISS 24-70mm-Equiv. f/1.8-2.8 Lens
  • UHD 4K30p Video with HLG & S-Log3 Gammas
  • 3.0" Side Flip-Out Touchscreen LCD

💌 There's More!

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