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2020.05.26

Earlier today Sony launched a completely unique digital camera designed for vlogging. Parallel to the concept of selfie relative to photography, a vlog is its equivalent for videography. Camera manufacturers produced a number of selfie-optimized digital cameras and now Sony is first to create one for vloggers.

Sony ZV-1

Although sporting a vaguely similar appearance to their Premium Compact Digital Cameras, the new Sony ZV-1 is built around a 20 megapixels 1″ EXMOR RS CMOS sensor with an on-sensor 315-Point Phase-Detect AF system.  This sensor features a stacked design that provides it ultra-high-speed capabilities, which are detailed below. The sensor is paired with an ultra-bright 24-70mm F/1.8-2.8 lens that packs optical image-stabilization and sliding graduated neutral density filter that cuts-off up to 3-stops of light.

Photographers can enjoy 24 FPS continuous shooting of unspecified duration, while videographers will rejoice at up to 1000 FPS at Full HD resolution, plus standard 4K Ultra-HD video at 30 FPS. The new design favors heat-dissipation, allowing the ZV-1 to record video without limit until the SDXC memory-card is full. Oddly though, the ZV-1 does not record in industry-standard MPEG-4 format but instead uses XAVC S for Ultra-HD and AVCHD for Full HD capture.

One of the headline and completely unique feature of the Sony ZV-1 is a 3-capsule microphone that records directionally in front of the camera to hear someone filming with the camera pointed towards them. A physical noise-filter, often called a cat due to its resemblance to that animal, is includes with this camera and attaches to the Multi-Interface Hot-Shoe exclusive to Sony. This hot-shoe has additional electronic contacts allow it to support digital audio. The ZV-1 is also compatible with traditional microphones via a standard mini-jack.

Sony ZV-1

Sony thought through the entire design of this digital camera, making many small changes for vloggers. This starts with a rotating 3″ Touchscreen LCD that is equally pleasing to the selfie-crowd. For this usage, there is no need for a viewfinder and so the ZV-1 does not have one. It also does not have a builtin flash since videos must be lit using continuous lighting, saving space and power for other components. The final ergonomic change is a large Video-Record button with Zoom-Rocker that can be thumb-operated while the index finger lands on the recording button. What is missing a control-dial that can be operated from the front since there is only one mounted vertically on the back of the camera.

Processing inside the Sony ZV-1 was highly optimized for vloggers but those work equally well for selfies. Headlining the feature-set is a new continuous autofocus system that closely tracks eyes and faces appearing centrally within the frame. A new metering system works in conjunction to render faces brighter. The white-balance system was equally tuned to improve rendering of skin tones regardless of complexion.

Narrowly missing to include all Premium Compact features due to its lack of viewfinder and having a single control-dial, this compact digital camera is quite capable. It offers full-manual controls, including Manual Focus and choice of 5 metering-patterns! A hybrid shutter inside spans shutter-speeds of 1/32000s to 30s, plus Bulb exposures of unspecified limit. ISO can be set anywhere from 100 to 12800, plus expands down with ISO 64 and 80 sensitivities. Several bracketing modes plus an Interval-Timer round off the ZV-1 capture feature-set. This camera also includes builtin WiFi and Bluetooth 4.1 connectivity.

The new Sony ZV-1 is scheduled to be available in June. Orders from the USA until June 28 will get a rare introductory discount of $50 from the suggested retail price of $800 USD. The suggested price of Canada is $1000 CAD. Both B&H Photo and Adorama are already accepting pre-orders with the discounted launch price.

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