Last month, Sony announced the ZV-1, a camera that’s primarily designed for creatives who are on the go and constantly capturing footage or recording product reviews. The camera is small, compact, but is packed with plenty of features that should make a vlogger’s life easier.
Preorders began immediately for the introductory price of $749.99 camera, which began shipping on June 11. On June 28, the price will go up to $799.99.
We ordered the ZV-1 with the Vlogger Kit for $846 from B&H Photo. The kit includes Sony’s GP-VPT2BT Wireless Shooting Grip that acts as a tripod and Bluetooth camera controller, along with a 64GB SD Card.
First thoughts: Picture quality is good, maybe even great.
We’ve only had the ZV-1 for maybe two hours, so we haven’t been able to get out, stretch our legs, and really put it through its paces quite yet. We’ve captured a couple of photos in auto mode, letting the camera dictate aperture, shutter speed, ISO and other camera settings.
These sample shots are a little underexposed for our liking, but the ease of tapping on the display to set the focal point near or far, as well as the speed of the shutter, was a welcome experience.
There’s so much more to dig into on the ZV-1, with various shooting modes and manual controls.
Product Showcase is crazy fast
One of the headlining features of the ZV-1 is a new Product Showcase Setting recording mode. When enabled, this mode will quickly switch focus from the person, reviewing a product, for example, to an item they hold up closer to the camera’s lens. Like this:
See how fast that switches from the face to the windscreen and back? Yea. Impressive and totally something we will be using a lot of.
There’s also a Defocus video mode that will add a bokeh — or background blur — while you record video, but we need more time to figure out when and where that shooting mode makes the most sense. A couple of sample videos we captured in our office didn’t show a huge difference. It was noticeable, it just didn’t have as much of an impact as we saw in promotional videos.
There’s a steep learning curve
For the past five years, maybe longer, we’ve used Fuji cameras and have grown accustomed to their respective menus, settings and applications. And right now, we’re fumbling through Sony’s menus and the ZV-1’s features. It’s a similar feature of switching from PC to Mac, or iOS to Android. You know that the device can do tasks you’re familiar with, but you just don’t know how to get it done.
For instance, we’re having a hard time figuring out how to enable its wireless features for doing things like transferring images from the camera to an iMac over a Wi-Fi connecting instead of using a wired connection.
The same goes for trying to control and adjust everyday photography and video settings. Hopefully, after sitting down with a cold beverage and the user manual we’ll be in better shape.
After a couple of hours of use, the ZV-1 has a ton of potential. The Product Showcase Setting is downright fun to play with, and will surely come in handy during future reviews.
As is the case with new products, ultimately we need more time capturing photos, shooting videos and even using it as a webcam replacement thanks to this piece of kit from IOGear before we can pass final judgments. But what we’ve seen so far has left us impressed.
If you’re on the fence about the ZV-1, make sure to take advantage of the launch promotion that saves you $50.
Note: The prices above reflect the retailer’s listed price at the time of publication.