Sony ZV-1 4K Vlogging Camera with Front-Facing Screen Announced

The “all-in-one” vlogging camera is compatible with the Sony GP-VPT2BT Shooting Grip with Wireless Remote Commander

SONY ZV-1 vlogger camera
Image by Sony

It’s May 26th, and as already teased by Sony, the company just announced the Sony ZV-1 4K compact camera designed for vloggers. The much-awaited new pocket-sized vlog camera features a 1″ CMOS sensor, 4K video up to 30p, some excellent AF, a fixed zoom lens, and above all – a fully articulating screen.

Yes, finally Sony put a swivel screen on a camera!

Yes, Sony finally did it, and if they are really listening to their user-base, they should really do this on all their cameras. Including the a6000-series APS-C cameras, and our favourite the Sony alpha7 series.

Yes, and even the next generation Sony a9 should have it! Needless to say, the fully-articulating screen should be a mandatory addition to the upcoming Sony a7s III

Sony’s new ZV-1 was purpose-built to meet the needs and demands of today’s video creators,” said Yann Salmon Legagneur, Director of Product Marketing, Digital Imaging, Sony Europe. “This camera is the result of direct feedback from our extended community who do not want to compromise with hybrid products, so we have designed this new model for those who put content creation first.

It features an innovative design and introduces many new technologies, settings and modes that allow creators to make content in ways they have never been able to before. The ZV-1 aims to let the subject shine in any environment. Every single feature is optimised for any type of creator’s daily vlogging.

Sony ZV-1

Designed for Vloggers and Content Creators

The Sony ZV-1 is very similar in size and appearance to the RX100 lineup. And much like the RX100 cameras, it’s petite in stature, weighing just 294g and measuring at 105.5mm x 60.0mm x 43.5mm. In addition, the camera has a Multi-interface, or MI shoe for optional external mics without the need of an additional mounting bracket.

Sony has improved operability and ergonomics on the Sony ZV-1 by including a beefier grip and a large movie REC button located on the top of the camera for quick access to video recording. Also, users get a tally light on the front of the camera that indicates a recording is happening. 

Optical and Electronic Image Stabilization

According to Sony, the ZV-1 is making some big advances in image stabilization. Great image stabilization is a must feature for any vlogging camera since most users will be walking and moving while recording video. When recording in HD (Active mode), optical and electronic stabilization methods are combined to reduce shaking up to 11 times that of standard SteadyShot (what Sony calls their image stabilization).

When shooting 4K video using Optical SteadyShot (Active mode), there is improvement in stabilization effect of up to 8 times that of standard SteadyShot.

Compatible with Shooting Grips

The ZV-1 is also compatible with the GP-VPT2BT Shooting Grip with Wireless Remote Commander, offering additional stability and comfort combined with cable-free connectivity. Or alternatively, users can also use the shorter VCT-SGR1 wired grip

Sony ZV-1_VPT2BT shooting grip

Aperture Control for Background Bokeh

As a camera made to mostly film faces up-front, the Sony ZV-1 offers a simple solution to easily switch between two levels of background blur while recording. Using the new Bokeh Switch function, users can quickly adjust the optical aperture between more and less background blur with a shortcut button located on top. 

Product Showcase Setting for Tutorials or Product Reviews

Not just limited to traditional vlogging scenarios, the ZV-1 can also shoot some great product review videos and tutorial-type content. A new Product Showcase Setting, allows for quick and smooth focus transitions between the subject’s face and the object placed in front of the lens.

Advanced Autofocus and Real-time Eye AF

The advanced autofocus in the new Sony ZV-1 can easily lock on and track subjects with high accuracy and speed while recording. For maintaining focus on the intended subject or subjects in busy environments, Real-time Eye AF and Real-time Tracking for video allows the ZV-1 to stay locked on the subject’s eye/face or seamlessly switch focus between multiple subjects while controlling the AF speed and tracking sensitivity when needed.

The new Face Priority auto-exposure (AE) function, prioritizes Faces when subjects walk into uneven lighting situations. Furthermore, this function detects and prioritises the subject’s face and adjusts the exposure to ensure the face is depicted at an ideal brightness in any environment. 

Directional 3-Capsule Mic for Better Audio

With a built-in 3-capsule direction mic the ZV-1 appears to be able to deliver decent audio even without an external mic. Also, the camera comes with an included wind protector. The ZV-1’s onboard mic features Sony’s latest Directional 3-capsule Mic which was designed to priorities audio captured from the front. Thus, allowing for clear capture of the subject’s voice while minimising background noise, especially when operating in selfie mode.

Nevertheless, the Sony ZV-1 has a standard 3.5mm mic jack for external mics, and is also Multi Interface Shoe™ (MI shoe) compatible. 

Sony ZV-1 Product Introduction

Sony ZV-1 Features at a Glance

  • 20.1 Megapixels 1-inch EXMOR RS BSI CMOS Sensor
  • ZEISS 24-70mm (35mm FOV equivalent) f/1.8-2.8 Fixed Zoom Lens
  • Flip-out, Front Facing, Vari-Angle Touchscreen Display
  • Real-time Eye AF and Real-time Tracking for video
  • 4K UHD up to 30fps
    • with full pixel readout and no pixel binning
  • Full HD up to 120fps 
  • 8bit 4:2:0 XAVC S 100Mb/s codec
  • 3.5mm microphone input
  • Hybrid Log-Gamma/Slog2
    • and S-Gamut3.Cine/S-Log3, S-Gamut3/S-Log3
  • Interval Shooting for time-lapse videos
  • Background Bokeh Control Shortcut button
  • Product Showcase Function 
  • Compatible with GP-VPT2BT Shooting Grip with Wireless Remote
  • Price: $799 / £700 / €799
  • Pre-order: $748 at B&H ($50 off discount)
  • Shipping: June 2020

Using Sony ZV-1 as a Webcam for Direct LiveStreaming

Users will be able to transform their ZV-1 into a high-quality webcam by connecting it to a PC via USB in a future firmware update. Sony aims to release this firmware sometime in July 2020.

Pricing and Availability

The Sony ZV-1 compact camera for vlogging is scheduled to ship in June 2020, priced at around $799 USD and £700/€800 in Europe.


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