Sony ZV-1 Review

July 6, 2020 | Richard Sibley |


A camera for vloggers may seem like a niche market, but with 300 hours of video uploaded to YouTube every minute, not to mention Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, video content creation is going through a boom period in much the same way digital photography did in the early 2000s.

At £700 / $800 the price of the Sony ZV-1 should be affordable to people who want it, and given many of the features of the camera are the same as found in recent A7 series cameras, there is a lot of technology crammed in to a very portable body.

It has taken a few years, but Sony has finally answered the calls of videographers who have wanted to shoot with an RX100 style camera, and there is very little more to request. A slightly wider lens, USB-C socket to allow faster charging and headphone use, and possibly a larger battery would be the icing on the cake.

For photographers it has the same sensor as the recent RX100 cameras so should prove very popular. The controls aren’t quite as easy to use for photography as the RX100 cameras, but given that this is primarily a travel camera that will be used as a significant upgrade to a smartphone, there shouldn’t be the need to constantly be changing settings like there would with a DSLR or mirrorless.

With much of the technology and features the same, or at least operating in the same way, as recent A7 series cameras, Sony has created a small vlogging camera in the ZV-1 that is almost perfect with the technology currently available.

Sony ZV-1 vs Canon PowerShot G7X Mark III

The Sony ZV-1 will go head to head with the Canon G7 X Mark III which was quietly released at the end of 2019. The G7 X III also features a 1-inch 20.1-million-pixel sensor that can shoot 4K video, and for vloggers and selfie lovers it has a front facing flip-up screen. The lens has a slightly longer focal length at 24-100, f/1.8-2.8, which may prove more useful for travel photographers. There is also a mic input, but sadly no hotshot to mount a microphone. The camera is in a similar price range to the ZV-1, costing around £675.

Sony ZV-1 vs Panasonic Lumix G100

Just announced at the time of writing and soon to be reviewed by us, the G100 is Panasonic’s answer to the need for a Micro Four Thirds vlogging camera. It has a 20.3-million-pixel Four Thirds sensor, and comes in at £679 with the 12-32mm f/3.5-5.6 mm lens, which roughly matches the field of view as the ZV-1. As part of the MFT system you can obviously mount different lenses which offers flexibility, plus it has an impressive 3.89M equivalent dot EVF, which means photographers should enjoy using the camera. However, the most unique selling point is the in-camera microphones. By using a series of three directional microphones the camera can combine the audio with face detection technology to use the microphone best placed to record the person pictures, whilst using the other microphones to do some noise-cancelling tricks to reduce background noise. There is of course 4K video capture, as well 120FPS for Full HD, V-Log for those that want to colour grade their footage, and an external mic socket.

Sony ZV-1 vs DJI Osmo Pocket

This tiny camera has 3-axis stabilisation thanks to its gimbal design, as well as a tiny display. However, it can connect to your smartphone to offer a huge display and a wealth of extra features. You can shoot in 4K and create motion timelapses by utilising the motors in the gimbal. Whilst its smartphone size image sensor may not produce the best quality in terms of dynamic range, its size and other features, including the ability to use an external mic via a USB-C adapter, means it has a lot that will appeal to vloggers.

4.5 stars

Ratings (out of 5)
Design 4.5
Features 5
Ease-of-use 4.5
Image quality 5
Value for money 5