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Sony ZV-1 Camera Review

Tested using Methodology v0.8
Updated May 03, 2022 at 09:56 am
Sony ZV-1 Picture
7.7
Travel Photography
7.8
Landscape Photography
7.6
Sport & Wildlife Photography
8.2
Vlogging
6.8
Studio Video
5.9
Action Video
Body Type
Point and Shoot
Mirrorless
Yes
Sensor Size
1-inch
Tested Lens
Built-In Lens

The Sony ZV-1 is a compact vlogging camera for those who want to step up from shooting vlogs on their smartphone. It borrows its 1-inch sensor and top-notch autofocus system from the premium Sony RX100 VII and adds vlogging-friendly features like a fully-articulated screen, a directional microphone with detachable windscreen, and a hot shoe to attach a flash or aux mic. It's fitted with a built-in 24-70mm f/1.8-2.8 Zeiss lens, which gives you a bit of flexibility in framing and background blur.

Our Verdict

7.7 Travel Photography

The Sony ZV-1 is good for travel photography. It offers excellent image quality out-of-the-box, with very little noise or softness even at higher ISO levels, which is good if you're shooting in darker environments. It also features a face metering priority mode, which adjusts exposure metering to compensate for different lighting conditions and focuses metering on the subject's face. You can use its lens' built-in ND filter if you want to shoot in brighter environments at a slower shutter speed or wider aperture. It's also lightweight and very compact, making it easy to carry wherever you go. Unfortunately, its battery life is quite limited, so you might need to carry a spare or a portable battery pack while traveling.

Pros
  • Compact, lightweight design.
  • Sharp, bright, fully articulated screen.
  • Built-in ND filter.
  • Out-of-camera photos look sharp and color-accurate.
Cons
  • Poor battery life.
  • No viewfinder.
  • RAW noise handling is just decent.
7.8 Landscape Photography

The Sony ZV-1 is good for landscape photography. The camera offers a wide dynamic range, and images are reasonably sharp and low in noise straight out of the camera. However, it's less suited to low-light shooting because of its small sensor, and its RAW noise handling is just decent. The lens' built-in ND filter gives you a bit of added flexibility with your choice of aperture or shutter speed in brightly lit environments. While its plastic construction feels decently sturdy overall, some of its controls can be a little sluggish to respond to inputs. Thankfully, its lightweight design makes it easy to carry to remote shooting locations.

Pros
  • Compact, lightweight design.
  • Sharp, bright, fully articulated screen.
  • Built-in ND filter.
  • Out-of-camera photos look sharp and color-accurate.
Cons
  • Poor battery life.
  • RAW noise handling is just decent.
  • Some controls feel a bit sluggish.
7.6 Sport & Wildlife Photography

The Sony ZV-1 is good for sports and wildlife photography. Image quality is excellent overall. While it can shoot at a very fast 24 fps in its 'Hi' continuous shooting mode, it can only do so when using the electronic shutter, which can cause distortion with very fast-moving subjects like birds. That said, it can still shoot at a respectable 10 fps with its mechanical shutter. Unfortunately, it takes a long time for it to clear its buffer, leading to prolonged interruptions in shooting if you fire off several long bursts. The max focal length of its built-in lens isn't very long either, so it's not well-suited to capturing far-away subjects, like players in a soccer stadium. Some of its controls can also be a little slow to respond to inputs, which can be frustrating when shooting sports or wildlife, where timing is critical. On top of that, there's no viewfinder, which can be an issue when it's too sunny to clearly see the screen.

Pros
  • Sharp, bright, fully articulated screen.
  • Fast continuous shooting speed.
  • Out-of-camera photos look sharp and color-accurate.
Cons
  • Slow buffer clearing speed.
  • No viewfinder.
  • Limited focal length.
8.2 Vlogging

The Sony ZV-1 is great for vlogging. The camera's compact, lightweight design makes it easy to carry around handheld for long periods, and it feels comfortable to shoot with when held in a selfie position. The lack of touch capability for menu navigation means you have to turn the camera around to adjust settings while vlogging. The screen can fully articulate to face you as you record, and the camera effectively smooths out camera shake. The autofocus system can track faces without issue and features a couple of dedicated modes for product and animal vloggers. It also has a dedicated 'Background Defocus' button to quickly give you a shallow depth of field. Unfortunately, there's a very noticeable rolling shutter effect in 4k, which can distort subjects when panning rapidly. Its battery life is also disappointingly short, and it can overheat during long recording sessions.

Pros
  • Compact, lightweight design.
  • Excellent overall video stabilization performance.
  • Sharp, bright, fully articulated screen.
  • Amazing autofocus performance.
Cons
  • Poor battery life.
  • Overheating issues in 4k.
  • No touch navigation.
6.8 Studio Video

The Sony ZV-1 is okay for studio video. Video quality in 4k is good, particularly in well-lit environments, but FHD video can look somewhat soft and grainy. Thankfully, its autofocus system delivers exceptional tracking performance even as subjects move around the frame. The camera can also record in Log format to conserve a wider range of detail and supports clean HDMI output, allowing you to use an external recorder without any overlays. There's also a mic input, meaning you can use an external microphone for higher-quality audio. That said, it doesn't have a headphone jack. Its menu system isn't especially intuitive, and it's limited to 8-bit 4:2:0 recording, so there's less color information to work with when grading your footage.

Pros
  • Compact, lightweight design.
  • Amazing autofocus performance.
  • Supports Log recording.
Cons
  • Unintuitive menu system.
  • Overheating issues in 4k.
  • Limited to 8-bit 4:2:0 color.
5.9 Action Video

The Sony ZV-1 isn't for action video. While it's small and lightweight, it isn't meant to be attached to a helmet or chest rig and isn't weather-sealed or impact-resistant. It's also incapable of recording at more than 30 fps in 4k, so you can't record smooth action video or generate slow-motion footage in this resolution. However, it does an excellent job of smoothing out camera shake, and it can record at up to 120 fps in 1080p, which should allow for smooth action footage or slow-motion video. There's also a 'High Frame Rate' mode in 1080p for super slow-mo video.

Pros
  • Compact, lightweight design.
  • Excellent overall video stabilization performance.
Cons
  • Limited selection of frame rates in 4k.
  • Not weather-sealed or impact-resistant.
  • Overheating issues in 4k.
  • 7.7 Travel Photography
  • 7.8 Landscape Photography
  • 7.6 Sport & Wildlife Photography
  • 8.2 Vlogging
  • 6.8 Studio Video
  • 5.9 Action Video
  1. Updated Apr 22, 2022: Converted to Test Bench 0.8.
  2. Updated May 07, 2021: Corrected input error in 'Sensor Type' field in 'Sensor' box.
  3. Updated May 06, 2021: Review published.
  4. Updated May 04, 2021: Early access published.

Test Results

perceptual testing image
Design
9.2
Design
Portability
Height
2.4" (6.0 cm)
Width
4.2" (10.6 cm)
Depth
1.7" (4.4 cm)
Volume
17.1 in³ (279.8 cm³)
Weight
0.64 lbs (0.29 kg)
Weight With Lens
0.64 lbs (0.29 kg)

The Sony ZV-1 is very portable. It's incredibly lightweight and doesn't take up too much space in a bag. You can even fit it into a coat or hoodie pocket if you need.

7.0
Design
Build Quality

The Sony ZV-1 feels decently well-built. It's made of solid-feeling plastic, and it has a slight bump on the front designed to make the camera more comfortable to hold in a vlogging/selfie position. There's also a back thumb grip to help maintain a secure hold. The screen feels fairly sturdy as well. Some of the buttons are really small and can be a little sluggish to respond. The microphone grate on top also attracts dust and needs frequent cleaning.

Design
Body
Water Resistance
No
Rugged
No
Hot Shoe
Yes
Customizable Button
Yes
Command Dial
1
Tripod Mount
Yes
Lens Mount
No Lens Mount
Built-In Flash
No

There's only a single control wheel on the back of the camera that controls ISO, shutter speed, or aperture, depending on the mode you're using. If you're more accustomed to having multiple dials and buttons to change your settings, the single control wheel on the back of the camera can take some getting used to, especially given its placement. Having just one dial also makes it harder to adjust settings when shooting in manual mode.

There are two custom buttons (C1 and C2). By default, the C1 button controls the camera's 'Background Defocus' function, which quickly switches from a deep to shallow depth of field, while the C2 button toggles the 'Product Showcase' feature, which automatically switches focus to objects held up in the frame. You can set custom functions for the 'Fn' button, as well as the center, left, and right buttons on the control wheel.

Design
In The Box

  • Sony ZV-1 camera
  • Windscreen for microphone
  • 1x Sony Np-BX1 battery
  • USB-A to Micro USB cable
  • User manual

7.5
Design
Ergonomics & Comfort
Hand Grip: Small Hand
Yes
Hand Grip: Medium Hand
Yes
Hand Grip: Large Hand
No
Hand Grip: Extra-Large Hand
No

The Sony ZV-1 has good ergonomics. The buttons are all easily accessible, and there's a Fn button to access the quick menu to adjust your commonly used settings. It has a dedicated video recording button, which is great for quickly starting recording. It's big and easy to press. Because of the camera's compact size, it isn't the most comfortable to use if you have bigger hands. Its screen also has limited touch capability, which is really inconvenient when vlogging or taking selfies since you have to turn the camera back around to adjust settings. The detachable windscreen also gets in the way of the hot shoe and power button when attached.

Design
Viewfinder
Viewfinder Type
No Viewfinder
Advertised Coverage
N/A
Advertised Resolution
N/A
Advertised Magnification
N/A
8.6
Design
Screen
Screen Articulation Type
Fully-Articulated
Screen Max Brightness
740 cd/m²
Advertised Resolution
0.92 million dots
Size
3.0" (7.5 cm)
Touchscreen
Limited

The Sony ZV-1 has an excellent screen with a good size. The screen mechanism feels solid, and the camera has a nice feature that you can enable/disable in settings that powers the camera on/off by pulling out or closing the screen. It's useful for vloggers who want to power up and go on the fly just by pulling out and turning the screen around to face them. Thankfully, the screen is quite bright, so it can overcome glare in sunny conditions, although it doesn't have the sharpest resolution. Unfortunately, touch capability is limited to selecting focus points, toggling subject tracking, and touch shutter; you can't use it to navigate the menu or change settings.

6.5
Design
Menu System
Guide Mode
Yes
App Name
Imaging Edge Mobile

Unfortunately, the Sony ZV-1 has Sony's convoluted menu system that you can only navigate using the camera's click wheel. More advanced settings are buried within poorly organized submenus, making them hard to find. That said, the camera has a lot of customization options, and once you configure the camera to your liking, you won't need to go deep into the menu too often.

Design
Assistance Functions
Level Display
Dual-Axis, Photo & Video
Grid Lines
Photo & Video
Histogram
Photo & Video
Zebra Pattern
Photo & Video
Focus Peaking
Photo & Video
Waveform
No

In addition to most of the usual assistance functions for exposure and focus, the Sony ZV-1 also has a manual focus assistant that can magnify the image to let you check if things are properly focused. There's also a graphic display that allows you to preview depth of field before you take a photo. All of the assistance functions are available in both photo and video mode.

7.0
Design
Lens
Lens Type
Built-in
Maximum Aperture
1.8 - 2.8
Max Aperture (Full-Frame Equivalent)
f/4.9
Minimum Focal Length
9 mm
Maximum Focal Length
26 mm
Max Focal Length (Full-Frame Equivalent)
70 mm
Optical Image Stabilization
Yes
Luminance
78.7%
Light Falloff
62.4%

The Sony ZV-1 has a built-in neutral density (ND) filter for its lens that effectively reduces the amount of light captured by the camera. This helps shoot at a large aperture or slow shutter speed in a brightly lit environment without over-exposing your image. The ND filter can be engaged and disengaged through the Fn menu.

Design
Sensor
Sensor Type
Stacked BSI CMOS
Advertised Effective Pixels
20.1 MP
Processor
BIONZ X
Extended ISO Minimum
80
Native ISO Minimum (Base ISO)
125
Native ISO Maximum
12,800
Tested Firmware
Ver. 2.0.1
5.6
Design
Battery
Battery Type
Sony Np-BX1
USB Charging
Yes
Use When Charging
Yes
Advertised Battery Life In Photo
260 photos
Tested Battery Life In Video
51 min

The Sony ZV-1 has poor overall battery life. Because of its compact size, the battery is necessarily small. It uses the Np-BX1 battery as the Sony RX100 VII, and it's rated for around 260 shots on a full charge, which isn't great, so you'll probably need a spare battery or two for longer shooting days. Otherwise, you can use a portable battery pack since it supports USB charging. For video, it'll last for about 50 minutes of continuous recording in 4k.

Note: There's an 'Auto Power OFF Temp' setting that determines at which temperature the camera automatically powers off during use. When set to 'High,' you can keep shooting even when the camera gets hotter than usual.

Photo General
Photo General
Photo Features
JPEG File Format
Yes
Raw File Format
ARW
Shutter
Electronic and Mechanical
Slowest Shutter Speed
30 s
Fastest Shutter Speed
1/2,000 s
Silent Shooting
Yes
HDR
Yes
Time Lapse
Yes

This camera also has a few extra features aimed at vloggers and social media enthusiasts. These include a 'Beauty Effect' feature that retouches aspects of your photo, like smoothing out the skin, making the teeth look whiter, and enlarging the eyes. There's also a more basic 'Soft Skin Effect' that smooths out faces and adjusts skin tones.

7.7
Photo General
Photo Shooting Speed
Low Speed Continuous
4 fps
High Speed Continuous
24 fps
Silent Shooting Continuous
24 fps
Raw Buffer Size
80 Photos
JPEG Buffer Size
174 Photos
Buffer Empty Time
58 s

The Sony ZV-1 has three different continuous shooting modes: 'Lo,' 'Mid,' and 'Hi.' The 'Hi' continuous shooting mode is only available when using the electronic shutter, and it can shoot up to a max of 24 fps. Note, however, that when using shutter speeds slower than 1/200s, the burst rate caps out at about 20 fps. The 'Mid' and 'Lo' speeds can be used with either the mechanical or electronic shutter; 'Mid' shoots at 10 fps, while 'Lo' maxes out at 4 fps.

Unfortunately, the buffer fills up quickly with burst shooting, and once full it takes about a minute for the ZV-1 to empty, which can slow you down when time is critical, like when shooting wildlife or sports.

9.3
Photo General
Photo Autofocus
Object Tracking Success Rate
98%
Face Tracking Success Rate
73%
Face Detection Distance
191" (485 cm)
Eye Detection
Yes
Advertised Coverage
65%
Advertised Focus Points
315

The Sony ZV-1 has a fantastic autofocus system. It has several different area and tracking modes, and with Sony's 'Real-Time AF' tracking, the camera can seamlessly switch back and forth between object tracking and face/eye tracking when it detects a human subject in the frame. You can also set the 'Subject Detection' to prioritize either humans or animals, like cats and dogs. That said, the AF points don't cover the entire frame, so it can't track subjects to the very edges of the frame.

6.6
Photo General
Photo Image Stabilization
Minimum Shutter Speed Achieved
1/30 s
In-Body Image Stabilization
No

The Sony ZV-1 doesn't have built-in sensor-shift stabilization, but it has an optical stabilization feature called 'SteadyShot'. Overall, it does an okay job of stabilizing the image for photos, though you'll need to use a tripod if you want to capture clear shots at shutter speeds slower than 1/30s.

Photo Image Quality
8.2
Photo Image Quality
Photo RAW Dynamic Range
SNR 18% After Exposure Recovery
27.32 dB
Dynamic Range At Base ISO
11.3 f-stops
Dynamic Range At ISO 800
10.0 f-stops
Dynamic Range At ISO 3200
9.0 f-stops

The Sony ZV-1 has great RAW dynamic range. At its base ISO, it captures a broad range of detail in shadows and highlights, and, though it drops off a bit, it's still good even as you raise the ISO. You can only push the camera's smaller sensor so far, and there's noticeable noise when you try to recover shadow detail in a photo that's underexposed by a couple of stops.

7.6
Photo Image Quality
Photo Sharpness
JPEG Sharpness At Base ISO
1.454 pixels
JPEG Sharpness At ISO 800
1.5869 pixels
JPEG Sharpness At ISO 3200
1.789 pixels
RAW Sharpness At Base ISO
3.993 pixels
RAW Sharpness At ISO 800
4.030 pixels
RAW Sharpness At ISO 3200
4.140 pixels

Photos taken on the Sony ZV-1 aren't the sharpest but still look good as far as sharpness goes. You're unlikely to notice a steep decline in sharpness as you raise the ISO.

8.5
Photo Image Quality
Photo JPEG Color Accuracy
Color Difference (dE2000) At Base ISO
8.64
Color Difference (dE2000) At ISO 800
8.31
Color Difference (dE2000) At ISO 3200
8.29

JPEG color accuracy on the Sony ZV-1 is excellent. Most colors are true to life straight out of the camera, although it struggles a bit with reds and deep blues. Sony cameras also tend to render skin tones more coolly than competitors like Canon. Thankfully, the colors stay roughly the same as you raise the ISO.

8.5
Photo Image Quality
Photo JPEG Noise
SNR 18% At Base ISO
39.27 dB
SNR 18% At ISO 800
38.44 dB
SNR 18% At ISO 3200
33.77 dB

The Sony has excellent noise handling when shooting in JPEG. Though noise becomes noticeable at higher ISO settings, the camera still does a good job of processing JPEG photos to keep noise to a minimum, allowing you to shoot in more dim conditions without compromising the quality too much.

7.3
Photo Image Quality
Photo RAW Noise
RAW SNR 18% At Base ISO
40.45 dB
RAW SNR 18% At ISO 200
39.09 dB
RAW SNR 18% At ISO 400
36.99 dB
RAW SNR 18% At ISO 800
34.27 dB
RAW SNR 18% At ISO 1600
31.4 dB
RAW SNR 18% At ISO 3200
28.29 dB
RAW SNR 18% At ISO 6400
27.05 dB
RAW SNR 18% At ISO 12800
23.52 dB
RAW SNR 18% At ISO 25600
N/A
RAW SNR 18% At ISO 51200
N/A

The Sony ZV-1 has decent noise handling when shooting in RAW. There's minimal digital noise at moderate ISO values, though the higher you raise it, the noisier and less usable the image.

Photo Image Quality
Test Scene Pictures Download
JPEG Picture At Base ISO Download
JPEG Picture At ISO 400 Download
JPEG Picture At ISO 800 Download
JPEG Picture At ISO 1600 Download
JPEG Picture At ISO 3200 Download
JPEG Picture At ISO 6400 Download
JPEG Picture At ISO 12800 Download
JPEG Picture At ISO 25600 N/A
JPEG Picture At ISO 51200 N/A
RAW Picture At Base ISO Download
RAW Picture At ISO 400 Download
RAW Picture At ISO 800 Download
RAW Picture At ISO 1600 Download
RAW Picture At ISO 3200 Download
RAW Picture At ISO 6400 Download
RAW Picture At ISO 12800 Download
RAW Picture At ISO 25600 N/A
RAW Picture At ISO 51200 N/A
Pictures Sample Gallery
Pictures Sample Gallery
The Skate Park Picture
JPEG Skate Park Picture Download
RAW Skate Park Picture Download
Pictures Sample Gallery
The Polish Church Picture
JPEG Polish Church Picture Download
RAW Polish Church Picture Download
Pictures Sample Gallery
The Studio Picture
JPEG Studio Picture Download
RAW Studio Picture Download
Pictures Sample Gallery
The Stairway Picture
JPEG Stairway Picture Download
RAW Stairway Picture Download
Video General
Video General
Video Features
Full HD Video
Yes
4k Video
Yes
6k Video
No
Clean HDMI Output
Yes
Advertised Max Chroma Sampling Over HDMI
Not Advertised
Advertised Max Bit Depth Over HDMI
N/A
Log Picture Profile
Yes
Recording Light
Yes

The Sony ZV-1 can shoot Full HD (1080p) and 4k video. It also has several Log profiles, including S-Log 2 and S-Log 3, as well as HLG, HLG1, HLG2, and HLG3, to take advantage of the camera's full dynamic range.

Video General
Audio
Audio Test Sample
Audio Recording
Stereo
Microphone Level Display
Yes

The Sony ZV-1 also comes with a detachable windscreen meant to reduce wind noise when shooting outside. Although it can't completely get rid of ambient background noise, it's still helpful if you don't have an auxiliary mic and are stuck with the camera's built-in microphone.

Video General
Video File Format And Compression
MP4 H.264 / MPEG-4 AVC
No
MP4 H.265 / HEVC
No
MOV H.264 / MPEG-4 AVC
No
MOV H.265 / HEVC
No
AVCHD H.264 / MPEG-4 AVC
Yes
All-I Compression
No
4k Video
6.0
4k Video
4k Video Frame Rate
240 fps In 4k
No
120 fps In 4k
No
60 fps In 4k
No
30 fps In 4k
Yes, with a Crop
24 fps In 4k
Yes, with a Crop
4k Crop At Max Available fps
1.12 x

Although it lacks higher frame rates suitable for slow-mo capture, the Sony ZV-1 can record 4k video at up to 30 fps. Unfortunately, it can only shoot 4k video with a slight 1.12x crop.

4.9
4k Video
4k Video Internal Recording
Bitrate Maximum In 4k
96 Mbps
Bitrate Minimum In 4k
56 Mbps
Chroma Sampling In 4k
4:2:0
Bit Depth In 4k
8 Bit
Record Time Limit In 4k
5 min
Overheat Recording Interruptions in 4k
7

The Sony ZV-1 has poor internal recording specs in 4k. It's limited to 4:2:0 subsampling and 8-bit color depth, meaning the camera can only capture a limited amount of color information, giving you less to work with when processing videos. It can also only output video files under 100 Mbps, resulting in lower-quality video, though smaller files will also reduce your transfer speeds.

Unfortunately, you can only record for a maximum of five minutes in 4k, and the camera frequently overheats and shuts down if you record a lot of 4k videos continuously. By default, 'Auto Power OFF Temp' is set to 'Standard', which is how the camera was tested for overheating. However, if you set 'Auto Power OFF Temp' to 'High', the camera lets you record for longer than five minutes and doesn't shut down until the camera reaches a higher temperature. When set to 'High', the camera overheats about the same amount of times, but it takes longer to cool down in between interruptions.

9.0
4k Video
4k Video Autofocus Performance
Object Tracking In 4k
9.7
Face Tracking In 4k
7.9
Face Detection In 4k
Yes
Eye Detection In 4k
Yes

The Sony ZV-1 has a superb autofocus system for 4k video. It reliably keeps moving subjects in focus, even when they're moving around the frame or popping in and out. Thanks to its 'Real-Time AF Tracking', it can automatically detect a human face and switch seamlessly to object tracking if the subject turns around. You can set 'Subject Detection' to either 'Human' or 'Animal,' which works best on pets or larger animals. There are also options to fine-tune how the autofocus performs, including the speed at which it racks focus and how sensitive the focus is.

This camera also features several specialized autofocus modes and features that can be useful to vloggers. These include 'Product Showcase', which is great for beauty or product vloggers because it automatically shifts focus to objects held up in the frame without having to block your face. There's also a 'Background Defocus' function, controlled by the C1 button by default, which toggles between an f/1.8 aperture and f/5.6 to instantly adjust the depth of field and get a bokeh effect.

8.5
4k Video
4k Video Stabilization
Walking Test In 4k
8.05 pixels/frame
Running Test In 4k
18.26 pixels/frame
In-Body Video Image Stabilization In 4k
No
4k Video Stabilization Crop
1.15 x

The Sony ZV-1 has excellent stabilization when shooting 4k video. In video mode, unlike in photo mode, the camera uses electronic compensation in conjunction with optical stabilization, which you can configure in the 'SteadyShot' setting in the menu. There are two different levels of stabilization for video: 'Standard' and 'Active'. The camera is particularly effective at reducing camera shake when moving more quickly but also does a great job when simply walking. Enabling stabilization incurs an additional 1.15x crop on the already cropped 4k footage.

7.3
4k Video
4k Video Quality
Low Light Capability In 4k
7.0
Test Scene Extract In 4k
7.5

The Sony ZV-1 produces good-quality 4k video in more controlled lighting conditions, but it's only decent in low light.

Note: The auto white balance on this camera tends to be inconsistent, especially when shooting video. The color temperature can shift drastically, becoming very cold and blue when a subject approaches the camera before shifting back to a warmer tone as they move away again. This can be distracting, but you can set a fixed white balance value when shooting video to avoid it.

5.9
4k Video
4k Video Rolling Shutter Effect
4k Rolling Shutter
6.7°

Unfortunately, there's a lot of noticeable rolling shutter effect in 4k. It's most noticeable with vertical lines like signposts or buildings looking skewed when panning quickly from one side to another. However, it can also be distracting during vlogs by distorting things in the background and making videos appear more wobbly if you turn quickly or suddenly.

Full HD Video
9.5
Full HD Video
FHD Video Frame Rate
240 fps In FHD
No
120 fps In FHD
Yes
60 fps In FHD
Yes
30 fps In FHD
Yes
24 fps In FHD
Yes
FHD Crop At Max Available fps
1 x

The Sony ZV-1 can record FHD video at up 120 fps. It also has a High Frame Rate (HFR) mode that can record super slow-motion footage at 240fps, 480fps, or 960fps. You can set the video output to 24p, 30p, or 60p to get varying levels of slow-mo.

8.3
Full HD Video
FHD Video Internal Recording
Bitrate Maximum In FHD
93 Mbps
Bitrate Minimum In FHD
14 Mbps
Chroma Sampling In FHD
4:2:0
Bit Depth In FHD
8 Bit
Record Time Limit in FHD
780 min

The Sony ZV-1 has great 1080p internal recording capability, especially considering it's a compact camera. Though Sony says it has a 13-hour time limit, you're limited by the battery, so you can only achieve recordings of that length if you plug the camera into an external power source while shooting. Also, when recording at 120 fps, the time limit decreases to five minutes. However, it's still limited to 8-bit 4:2:0 recording, giving you less latitude when processing and color grading your footage.

9.8
Full HD Video
FHD Video Autofocus Performance
Object Tracking In FHD
10
Face Tracking In FHD
9.5
Face Detection In FHD
Yes
Eye Detection In FHD
Yes

The Sony ZV-1 has fantastic autofocus performance in 1080p. It consistently keeps moving subjects in focus, even when moving around the frame or popping in and out. You can set 'Subject Detection' to either 'Human' or 'Animal,' which is good for tracking your pets or larger animals.

The camera also has additional autofocus modes useful for vlogging, including 'Product Showcase', which quickly switches focus to any objects held up in the frame without covering your face. Also, by default, the C1 button activates the 'Background Defocus' function, which instantly adjusts the lens aperture from f/1.8 to f/5.6 or vice versa, which is good if you want to quickly shift between having a deep or shallow depth of field.

9.0
Full HD Video
FHD Video Stabilization
Walking Test In FHD
3.18 pixels/frame
Running Test In FHD
8.78 pixels/frame
In-Body Video Image Stabilization In FHD
No
FHD Video Stabilization Crop
1.16 x

Same as 4k, the Sony ZV-1 uses joint optical and electronic stabilization for videos. It does a superb job of reducing camera shake when shooting handheld in 1080p resolution.

6.6
Full HD Video
FHD Video Quality
Low Light Capability In FHD
6.0
Test Scene Extract In FHD
7.1

The video quality is okay in 1080p. It looks decent in brighter lighting conditions, but it doesn't perform very well in low light, with some noticeable grain and loss of shadow detail.

6.2
Full HD Video
FHD Video Rolling Shutter Effect
FHD Rolling Shutter
6.0°

There's less rolling shutter distortion in 1080p, although there's still some noticeable skewing with vertical lines, especially when panning more quickly.

Storage And Connectivity
Storage And Connectivity
Storage
Card 1 Slot
SD Card UHS-I
Card 2 Slot
No 2nd Card Slot

The Sony ZV-1 has just a single SD card slot that's rated for UHS-I cards. You can still use a UHS-II card, but the UHS-I rating means there's minimal speed advantage in doing so.

7.8
Storage And Connectivity
Inputs / Outputs
USB
Micro USB
HDMI
Micro (Type D)
Headphones
No
Microphone
Stereo
Wi-Fi
Yes
Bluetooth
Yes

The Sony ZV-1 has a good amount of inputs and outputs. Thankfully for vloggers, it includes a microphone input, meaning you can connect an auxiliary mic, but unfortunately, there's no headphone jack.

Differences Between Sizes And Variants

The Sony ZV-1 is available in two color variants: 'Black' and 'White'. We tested the 'Black' variant, and you can see its label here. We expect the other color variant to perform similarly.

If you come across another variant of this camera, let us know in the discussions, and we'll update our review.

Compared To Other Cameras

The Sony ZV-1 is a compact vlogging camera. Its main advantage when compared to an interchangeable lens camera is its portability, which gives it ease and simplicity for newcomers. Compared to other small-sensor compacts, it's a video beast, with good 4k video quality, a fantastic autofocus system, and solid internal recording specs, as well as features designed specifically for vlogging. However, it suffers from poor battery life and overheating issues.

For more options, check out our recommendations for the best cameras for YouTube, the best vlogging cameras, and the best compact cameras.

Sony RX100 VII

The Sony RX100 VII and the Sony ZV-1 are very similar compact cameras. They share the same 1-inch sensor, use the same battery, and both use Sony's fantastic autofocus, as well as being similar in size and weight. That said, the ZV-1 is geared more specifically to vloggers, with a fully articulated screen, small hand bump that makes it easier to hold securely when the camera's facing you, and a dedicated video recording button. The RX100 VII, on the other hand, has a small pop-up viewfinder, tilting screen, and a built-in flash. Its built-in lens also has a longer focal length range, giving it a bit more versatility. Otherwise, the two cameras perform very similarly.

Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark III

The Sony ZV-1 and the Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark III perform similarly. They're both compact cameras with 1-inch sensors that are similar in size and build quality. Though the Canon doesn't have a fully articulated screen like the Sony, you can still flip its screen up to face you for vlogs, and it has a more intuitive menu system with touch navigation. The Canon's built-in lens also has a slightly longer max focal length, giving you a bit more reach. That said, while the Canon can shoot uncropped 4k video, the Sony offers more frame rate options in 1080p and has a more effective autofocus system.

Canon EOS M50 Mark II

The Sony ZV-1 and the Canon EOS M50 Mark II are different camera types. The Sony is a compact small-sensor camera, while the Canon is an interchangeable lens mirrorless camera with a larger APS-C sensor. The Canon is more versatile for photography since you can use different lenses. It also has an electronic viewfinder and a more intuitive menu and control scheme. That said, it can only shoot 4k video with a severe 1.5x crop and has fewer high-speed frame rate options than the Sony, though it has a slightly better battery life and doesn't suffer from overheating issues.

Sony α6000

The Sony α6000 and the Sony ZV-1 are different camera types suited to different uses. The α6000 is better suited to photography thanks to its APS-C sensor, viewfinder, and interchangeable lens design. Despite being an older model, it can take high-quality images and has a decent autofocus system. The ZV-1, on the other hand, has a fixed lens and is designed specifically for vlogging. Unlike the α6000, it doesn't have a viewfinder, but its screen can flip around to face you. It can also shoot 4k video at a range of frame rates and has a newer and more effective AF system.

Fujifilm X-S10

The Sony ZV-1 and the Fujifilm X-S10 are both well-suited to vlogging, but they're also different camera types. The Fujifilm is an interchangeable lens camera with an APS-C sensor, so it's more versatile and delivers better overall image and video quality. It also has better internal video recording capability, meaning it can output higher quality video files for more advanced video work. That said, the Sony camera's compact form factor and convenience make it a good alternative if you just want something portable for walk-and-talk vlogging.

Sony α6600

The Sony α6600 and the Sony ZV-1 are different cameras suited to different uses. The α6600 is an interchangeable lens mirrorless camera with a larger APS-C sensor. It's more versatile for photography and more advanced video work, feels better built, and has a viewfinder. It also has in-body image stabilization and a weather-sealed body. The ZV-1, on the other hand, is a compact vlogging camera. Depending on your preferences, you might find its smaller size, built-in lens, and fully articulated screen more convenient for on-the-go vlogging. However, it has significantly shorter battery life.

Nikon D5600

The Sony ZV-1 and the Nikon D5600 are different cameras aimed at different types of shooters. The Nikon is an entry-level DSLR with an APS-C sensor, while the Sony is a compact vlogging camera with a smaller sensor. The Sony is significantly more portable than the Nikon and is much more suited to shooting video, with 4k video capability and more frame rate options. It also has a more effective autofocus system. That said, its battery life pales in comparison to the Nikon's. The Nikon also feels more comfortable to shoot with, thanks to its optical viewfinder and large handgrip, and it's more versatile for photography because you can switch out different lenses.

Canon EOS M200

The Canon EOS M200 and the Sony ZV-1 are two different types of cameras. The Canon is an interchangeable lens mirrorless camera with an APS-C sensor, making it a little more versatile for photography than the Sony, which has a fixed lens and smaller 1-inch sensor. Though the Canon has a very portable body, it's less portable when factoring in the size of your lens. It's also not as well-suited to video since it can only shoot severely cropped 4k video, has fewer frame rate options, and worse stabilization than the Sony.

Sony α7C

The Sony ZV-1 and the Sony α7C are different camera types geared toward different uses, but that said, the α7C is more versatile since you can switch out lenses. The α7C uses a full-frame sensor, feels better built, is weather-sealed, and has an electronic viewfinder as well as in-body image stabilization. It delivers better image and video quality, especially in low light, and has a much longer battery life, as well. The only real advantages of the ZV-1 are its portability and simplicity, which make it a solid beginner vlogging or travel camera.

Canon EOS RP

The Sony ZV-1 and the Canon EOS RP are different camera types. The Sony is a compact small-sensor camera aimed at vloggers, while the Canon is an affordable full-frame mirrorless camera with an interchangeable lens. The Canon delivers better overall image quality and low-light performance because of its sensor. It's also more comfortable to shoot with and has an electronic viewfinder. However, the Sony camera is significantly more portable and has a more reliable autofocus system. The Sony is better suited to vlogging, with more frame rate options and more effective stabilization.

Canon EOS 5D Mark IV

The Canon EOS 5D Mark IV and the Sony ZV-1 are two very different cameras. The Canon is a pro-grade full-frame DSLR with interchangeable lenses, while the Sony is a compact small-sensor vlogging camera. The Canon is incredibly sturdy, weather-sealed, and better suited to photography. However, it's also much bulkier and heavier than the Sony, which is a solid choice if you're just looking for a more simple and portable camera to make vlogs with.

Canon EOS R

The Canon EOS R is better overall than the Sony ZV-1, but they're different cameras designed for different uses. The Sony is a compact vlogging camera with a small sensor, while the Canon is a full-frame interchangeable lens mirrorless camera. The Canon has better ergonomics, an EVF, and is more versatile for photography. That said, it can only shoot 4k video with a severe 1.75x crop, has fewer high-speed frame rate options in 1080p, and worse stabilization performance, making the Sony a better option for on-the-go vlogging.

Panasonic LUMIX G100

The Panasonic LUMIX G100 and the Sony ZV-1 are both vlogging-oriented cameras. However, the Panasonic is an interchangeable lens camera with a Micro Four Thirds sensor, and the Sony is a compact point-and-shoot with a smaller 1-inch sensor. The Panasonic is a bit more versatile because you can switch out lenses, and it has an electronic viewfinder. That said, though, the Sony is more portable, has a more reliable autofocus system, and has significantly better stabilization. There's also less of a crop when shooting in 4k, so all in all, it's the better vlogging option if you don't mind the fixed lens.

Canon EOS R6

The Canon EOS R6 is better than the Sony ZV-1, but they're also different types of cameras. The Canon is a full-frame interchangeable lens mirrorless camera, so it's more versatile, delivers better image and video quality, includes an electronic viewfinder, and feels better-built and more comfortable to shoot with. The Sony, meanwhile, is a compact camera with a small sensor and fixed lens, so it's easier to carry around, but it also has a poor battery life and overheats frequently when recording continuously in 4k.

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