Sony ZV-1 Review

The Sony ZV-1 is currently the most potent pocket vlogging camera that is available to purchase on the market. It combines the most significant video capabilities of the Sony RX100 series, including its industry-leading autofocus technology, with design modifications that make it perfect for recording YouTube videos at home or while traveling.

The incorporation of Sony’s Real-time tracking and Real-time Eye AF technology, in addition to its brilliant 24-70mm f/1.8-2.8 lens, is its primary point of differentiation in the market. These features, in conjunction with the ZV-1’s 1-inch sensor, which is bigger than the sensors used in today’s smartphones, make it simple to record high-quality vlogs with a background blur that is attractive to the eye and stable focus throughout.

Sony ZV-1 Design

The Sony ZV-1 may be considered a Sony RX100 Mark V that YouTube creators have explicitly adopted. The completed project is not flawless, but it does address the vast majority of our concerns about Mark V’s video recording capabilities. It is one of the few tiny cameras, along with the Canon G7X Mark III, created mainly for recording video.

First, let’s get to the excellent parts. The side-hinged and articulated touchscreen is the most impressive new feature. When shooting video, a screen like this, which does not tilt, is preferable to a tilting screen since it does not obstruct the ability to attach accessories to the top or bottom of the camera.

It also rotates 180 degrees to face forward, an essential feature that enables users who operate one-person YouTube channels to frame their photos without the assistance of a person standing behind the camera.

The functionality of Sony’s touchscreens is, sadly, not nearly as advanced as it might be. You can tap the screen to do some things, like pull the focus in a movie, but you can’t use it to browse menus or even zoom in on photographs.

That’s a bummer for a camera mainly intended for people who are upgrading from smartphones, but the upside of having a screen that hinges to the side is that there’s room on top of the camera for a hot shoe.

Sony ZV-1 Autofocus

The Sony ZV-1 combines the lens of the Sony RX100 Mark V (or at least a modestly altered version of it) with Sony’s most recent Bionz X processor and focusing capabilities. This is something that many vloggers have been begging Sony to achieve for a long time.

Why not add the 24-200mm lens shown on the two most recent Sony RX100 cameras instead of the 24-70mm lens with the Mark V? The former has a brighter aperture range of f/1.8-2.8, making it more suited for video blogging.

This, in conjunction with the camera’s 1-inch sensor, creates a beautiful background blur for your films. Your still photographs also benefit from the knock-on effect of being able to shoot at lower ISOs in comparable circumstances (albeit at the expense of that longer 200mm reach).

Sony ZV-1 Features

What additional features, besides its great focus, does the Sony ZV-1 offer that make it suitable for video use? A vast lot, which, from an accessibility standpoint, isn’t necessarily a good thing.

Even though Sony camera menus are notorious for being about as user-friendly as a book of hieroglyphics, the company has made a few changes to the ZV-1 to make it a little bit more understandable for people just starting.

Among them are two new default configurations for the camera’s two user-programmable buttons. The first, called the “Bokeh switch,” will instantaneously switch to a wide-open aperture to give your video a blurry backdrop effect. But, again, reputational magic is involved in this process, as in the smartphone’s ‘portrait’ settings; instead, it is only a shortcut based on conventional optics.

Sony ZV-1 Performance

In addition to having excellent focusing, a screen facing forward, and good audio choices, vlogging cameras need exceptional image stabilization so that handheld footage can be kept stable. Unfortunately, this is the least impressive of the four functions offered by the Sony ZV-1.

It’s not that the SteadyShot technology is lacking in quality. Its ‘Active’ stabilization mode, considered it’s most potent, combines optical and electrical stabilization and is also available for filming in 4K. As you can see in the test films that follow, this mode is necessary if you plan on conducting any walkaround vlogging.

The problem with “Active” stabilization is that it crops your film ever-so-slightly to eliminate bouncing due to your walking movements. Again, it’s not too bad, but because the ZV-1’s widest focal length is already a little constrained by 24mm, it does mean that you end up with a tiny area around your face when you hold the camera at arm’s length. But, again, it’s not a deal breaker, but it is something to be aware of.

This aspect ratio is appropriate for handheld vlogging, in particular, because it demonstrates how accurate Sony’s Eye AF focusing can be. However, if you intend to film walking shots while conversing with the camera primarily, you might want to try it before committing to it.

Sony ZV-1 Image & Video Quality

The ZV-1, much like the most current Sony RX100 cameras, captures video at a higher resolution than necessary before downsampling it to 4K. This process produces sharper results than alternative techniques like pixel binning. You can see this in its 4K footage – it is very crisp and detailed and does not have a crop unless you are shooting with ‘Active’ stabilization.

Unfortunately, the ZV-1 does not come with a 4K/60p option since this would allow you to slow down 4K footage without sacrificing any of their quality. On the other hand, the lack of a rolling shutter, a common side effect of CMOS sensors that can sometimes result in skewed lines during fast panning movements, is absent in the 4K/30p mode, which is another reason the way is impressive.

Sony ZV-1 Specs

Sensor ResolutionEffective: 20.1 Megapixel (5472 x 3648)
Aspect Ratio1:1, 3:2, 4:3, 16:9
Sensor Type1″-Type CMOS
Image File FormatJPEG, Raw
Image StabilizationDigital, Optical


Focal Length9.4 to 25.7mm (35mm Equivalent Focal Length: 24 to 70mm)
Optical Zoom2.7x
Digital Zoom16.3x Maximum (44x Combined Zoom)
Maximum Aperturef/1.8 to 2.8
Minimum Aperturef/11
Focus Range1.97″ to Infinity / 5 cm to Infinity (Wide)
11.81″ to Infinity / 30 cm to Infinity (Telephoto)
Optical Design10 Elements in 9 Groups

Exposure Control

ISO SensitivityAuto, 100 to 12800 (Extended: 64 to 25600)
Shutter SpeedMechanical Shutter
1/2000 to 30 Seconds
1/2000 to 30 Seconds in Bulb Mode
1/2000 to 4 Seconds in Auto Mode
Electronic Shutter
1/32000 to 30 Seconds
1/32000 to 4 Seconds in Auto Mode
Metering MethodAverage, Center-Weighted Average, Multi, Spot
Exposure ModesAperture Priority, Manual, Program, Shutter Priority
Exposure Compensation-3 to +3 EV (1/3 EV Steps)
White BalanceAuto, Cloudy, Color Temperature, Custom, Daylight, Flash, Fluorescent (Cool White), Fluorescent (Day White), Fluorescent (Daylight), Fluorescent (Warm White), Incandescent, Shade, Underwater
Continuous ShootingUp to 24 fps at 20.1 MP
Interval RecordingYes
Self-Timer2/5/10-Second Delay
Special OptionsPanorama
Internal Recording ModesMP4/XAVC S
UHD 4K (3840 x 2160) at 23.98/25/29.97 fps [60 to 100 Mb/s]
1920 x 1080p at 23.98/25/29.97/50/59.94/100/119.88 fps [16 to 100 Mb/s]
1920 x 1080i at 50/59.94 fps [17 to 24 Mb/s]
Recording LimitNone
Broadcast OutputNTSC/PAL
Audio RecordingBuilt-In Microphone (Stereo)
External Microphone Input (Stereo)
Audio File FormatAC3, Linear PCM (Stereo)
Live StreamingYes
Webcam FunctionalityYes


Resolution921,600 Dot
Display TypeArticulating Touchscreen LCD


Built-In FlashNo
Flash ModesAuto, Flash On, Off, Rear Sync, Slow Sync
External Flash ConnectionHot Shoe


Media/Memory Card SlotSingle Slot: SD/SDHC/SDXC/Memory Stick Duo Hybrid
Connectivity1/8″ / 3.5 mm Microphone, HDMI D (Micro), Micro-USB (USB 2.0)


Operating Temperature32 to 104°F / 0 to 40°C


Battery Type1 x NP-BX1 Rechargeable Lithium-Ion, 3.6 VDC, 1240 mAh (Approx. 260 Shots)
Dimensions (W x H x D)4.15 x 2.36 x 1.71″ / 10.54 x 5.99 x 4.34 cm
Weight10.37 oz / 294 g (With Battery, Recording Media)

Packaging Info

Package Weight0.94 lb
Box Dimensions (LxWxH)6.2 x 4.7 x 2.9″

Sony ZV-1 Final Verdict

The Sony ZV-1 is currently the most capable small video camera. The combination of a sharp lens, excellent focusing, and design modifications like the side-flipping screen make it a potent pocket video choice with few competitors. Its image stabilization might be a bit of a letdown for those looking for super-smooth walking footage, and it has a few familiar usability quirks. However, the ZV-1 is still the best video all-rounder in its weight class.

Sony ZV-1 FAQs

Is the ZV-1 worth it?

Vloggers and other content producers looking for a compact camera with outstanding video features and high-quality images should consider purchasing the ZV-1.

Is Sony ZV-1 suitable for still photography?

Because of its 20.1-megapixel camera and lightning-fast autofocus technology, the ZV-1 is well-suited for use in still photography.

Is ZV-1 waterproof?

The ZV-1 does not have a waterproof design. Therefore, when using the camera in damp or humid environments, it is strongly advised that a protective cover or housing be utilized.

Is ZV-1 Mirrorless or DSLR?

The ZV-1 is not a DSLR but rather a mirrorless type of camera.

Is ZV-1 a full frame?

The ZV-1 is not a full-frame camera; that is a common misconception. Instead, it has a sensor that is 1 inch in size.

Is Sony ZV-1 suitable for low light?

Because of its fast aperture and outstanding low-light performance, the ZV-1 is an excellent choice for use in environments with low levels of available light.

How long does ZV-1 battery last?

Continuous recording is possible with the ZV-1 for up to 45 minutes in 4K mode and up to 60 minutes in 1080p way, depending on how long the battery lasts.

Can you use ZV-1 as a webcam?

When attached to a computer through its USB port, the ZV-1 can, in fact, function as a camera.

Does Sony ZV-1 have WiFi?

The ZV-1 does come equipped with WiFi and Bluetooth connectivity, allowing for remote operation and the transmission of files.

Does Sony ZV-1 have a touch screen?

The ZV-1 indeed has a touch screen that can be flipped out and used to change the settings and composition of the photos.

Does Sony ZV-1 have a headphone jack?

The ZV-1 does not have a port for headphones, unfortunately. However, a microphone is already integrated into the device, and users can also plug in an external microphone.

Does Sony ZV-1 have skin smoothing?

Yes, the ZV-1 has a face-softening function that can be customized or disabled entirely.

Does Sony ZV-1 have a slow motion?

Yes, the ZV-1 can shoot slow motion at a rate of up to 120 frames per second (fps) in resolutions up to Full HD.

Can I use Sony ZV-1 while charging?

Yes, you can use the ZV-1 while charging when you connect it to a power source and a USB connection.

Do you need a microphone for Sony ZV-1?

Even though the ZV-1 has a microphone that is built in, the audio clarity of a professional recording may be improved by using an additional microphone.

How do I connect my ZV-1 to my phone?

By installing the Imaging Edge Mobile software on your phone and following the on-screen instructions, you can connect your ZV-1 to your phone using either Bluetooth or WiFi.

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