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Sony ZV-1 Camera Review

Tested using Methodology v0.12.1
Review updated May 02, 2023 at 03:14 pm
Latest change: Writing modified Jan 29, 2024 at 09:10 am
Sony ZV-1 Picture
7.4
Travel Photography
7.1
Landscape Photography
7.3
Sport & Wildlife Photography
6.5
Raw Photo Performance
7.8
Vlogging
6.8
Studio Video
5.2
Action Video
This camera was replaced by the Sony ZV-1 II

The Sony ZV-1 is a compact vlogging camera for those who want to step up from shooting vlogs on their smartphone. It's similar to the premium Sony RX100 VII and borrows its 1-inch sensor from a previous iteration of the RX100 series, but it has a more vlogging-oriented design and features. That means you don't get a pop-up viewfinder or flash, but you do get a fully-articulated screen that's ideal for vlogging. The camera also has a directional microphone with a detachable windscreen to cut down on ambient noise and a hot shoe to attach a flash or aux mic. Its built-in 24-70mm f/1.8-2.8 Zeiss lens also gives you a bit of flexibility with framing.

Our Verdict

7.4 Travel Photography

The Sony ZV-1 is good for travel photography. It's very portable and easy to take on the go, and its fully articulated screen is great for selfies. Image quality is great for a compact camera. It also has a very reliable autofocus system with excellent tracking capabilities for faster subjects. On the flip side, its battery life is quite limited, so you might need to carry a spare or a portable battery pack while traveling. It also lacks a viewfinder, which can be a problem on sunny days when it's harder to see the screen.

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

The Sony ZV-1 isn't intended for landscape photography, but it's a decent option if you need something compact and lightweight. Images are reasonably sharp and detailed. However, it's less suited to low-light shooting because of its small sensor, and its RAW noise handling and dynamic range aren't the best, making it harder to capture very detailed, high-contrast landscapes. On the upside, the lens' built-in ND filter gives you some added flexibility for long exposure landscapes in bright environments.

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

The Sony ZV-1 is decent for sports and wildlife photography if you need something compact, though this isn't its main intended use. While it can shoot at a very fast 24 fps in its 'Hi' continuous shooting mode, it can only do so with its 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 if you fire off several long bursts. The max focal length of its built-in lens isn't very long either, so it isn't suitable for far-away subjects. 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.
Cons
  • Slow buffer clearing speed.
  • No viewfinder.
  • Limited focal length.
6.5 Raw Photo Performance

The Sony ZV-1 has okay RAW image quality for its class. It has adequate dynamic range, so it can capture a fair range of highlight and shadow detail, but you'll still lose detail in very high-contrast scenes. Is noise handling is mediocre, so it isn't ideal for low-light situations. It also doesn't have the highest-resolution sensor, but images still look fairly crisp and detailed.

Pros
  • Out-of-camera photos look sharp.
Cons
  • Limited dynamic range and noise handling.
7.8 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. Its fully articulated screen makes it easy to monitor yourself while vlogging. However, its lack of touch capability means you have to turn the camera around to adjust settings when the screen is facing you, which can be a bit of a hassle. The autofocus system can track faces without issue and features a specialized focus mode tailored toward product and beauty vloggers. Its stabilization feature also smooths out camera shake pretty effectively. That said, there's 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 isn't really intended for studio video, but it's okay for a point-and-shoot. The camera can record in Log format to preserve a wider range of detail, but given its smaller sensor and limited 8-bit 4:2:0 internal recording capability, you won't get as much out of Log footage as you would with more capable video cameras. Overall, video quality in 4k is good, particularly in well-lit environments, but FHD video can look somewhat soft and grainy. Thankfully, its autofocus system can easily track moving subjects. It has a mic input, meaning you can use an external microphone for higher-quality audio, but no headphone jack. Its user interface also isn't especially intuitive.

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.
5.2 Action Video

The Sony ZV-1 isn't designed for POV-style action video. While it's small and lightweight, it isn't meant to be attached to a helmet or chest rig. It isn't weather-sealed or impact-resistant, either. It doesn't have any high frame rate options in 4k, though it supports 1080p recording at up to 120 fps and includes a 'High Frame Rate' mode for super slow-motion video. However, its battery life is limited, and it overheats easily when recording in 4k.

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.
  • 7.4 Travel Photography
  • 7.1 Landscape Photography
  • 7.3 Sport & Wildlife Photography
  • 6.5 Raw Photo Performance
  • 7.8 Vlogging
  • 6.8 Studio Video
  • 5.2 Action Video
  1. Updated Jan 29, 2024: Added text to the 'Raw Photo Performance' verdict box.
  2. Updated Jan 29, 2024: Converted to Test Bench 0.12.1.
  3. Updated Jul 21, 2023: Added a link to the Sony ZV-1 II in the 'Built-in Lens' section.
  4. Updated May 02, 2023: Updated text for clarity.
  5. Updated Apr 19, 2023: We've updated the intro and side-by-side comparisons to clarify a previously stated claim that the Sony ZV-1 and Sony RX100 VII use the same sensor.
  6. Updated Dec 15, 2022: Converted to Test Bench 0.12.
  7. Updated Nov 30, 2022: Added text to 'Photo AF-C Tracking' and 'Photo AF-C Center Point' boxes, with minor touch-ups throughout the review for clarity.
  8. Updated Nov 21, 2022: Converted to Test Bench 0.11.
  9. Updated Sep 16, 2022: Converted to Test Bench 0.10.
  10. Updated Aug 08, 2022: As a result of Test Bench 0.9, we've updated the 'Photo RAW Dynamic Range' box and score.
  11. Updated Aug 05, 2022: Converted to Test Bench 0.9.
  12. Updated May 03, 2022: Added text to the whole review.
  13. Updated Apr 22, 2022: Converted to Test Bench 0.8.
  14. Updated May 07, 2021: Corrected input error in 'Sensor Type' field in 'Sensor' box.
  15. Updated May 06, 2021: Review published.
  16. Updated May 04, 2021: Early access published.
  17. Updated Apr 09, 2021: Our testers have started testing this product.
  18. Updated Apr 08, 2021: The product has arrived in our lab, and our testers will start evaluating it soon.

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 two variants 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 ZV1 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, like other compact cameras, 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 ZV-E10

The Sony ZV-E10 is essentially an interchangeable-lens version of the Sony ZV-1. If portability is your biggest priority and you like the convenience of a built-in lens, the ZV-1 is a great choice for vlogging. If you're looking for a little more versatility and are willing to spend extra money on lenses, the ZV-E10 will get you better image and video quality thanks to its larger sensor. It also has a longer battery life.

Sony ZV-1 II

The lens is the biggest difference between the Sony ZV-1 and the Sony ZV-1 II. The ZV-1 uses a 24-70mm equivalent lens with optical stabilization, while the ZV-1 II has a new 18-50mm equivalent lens. The wider focal length on the ZV-1 II is good for vlogging, but its lack of stabilization is disappointing. Otherwise, the cameras perform quite similarly overall. However, the ZV-1 II has some nice vlogging-oriented additions, like Cinematic Vlog mode and mic directionality settings. At the same time, the original ZV-1 is a bit more photographer-friendly, with a mechanical shutter, bulb mode, and the aforementioned optical stabilization.

Sony RX100 VII

The Sony RX100 VII and the Sony ZV-1 are very similar compact cameras. They share a similar 20MP 1-inch sensor, use the same battery, and both have fantastic autofocus systems, 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, specialized focus modes, and small hand bump that makes it easier to hold securely when the camera's facing you. 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.

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.

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.

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.

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Test Results

perceptual testing image
Design
9.0
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)

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 camera 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 and its articulation mechanism feel fairly sturdy as well. However, 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
Body Type
Point and Shoot
Water Resistance
No
Mirrorless
Yes
Rugged
No
Hot Shoe
Yes
Customizable Button
Yes
Command Dial
1
Tripod Mount
Yes
Lens Mount
No Lens Mount
Built-In Flash
No
Fastest Shutter Speed
1/2,000 s

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 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 large, dedicated video recording button, which is great for quickly starting recordings on the fly, even when you're in photo mode. That said, 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 it's 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 screen is fully articulated and quite large for a compact camera, which is great. The articulating mechanism feels solid, and the camera has a nice feature that powers the camera on/off by pulling out or closing the screen, which you can enable or disable in settings. It's useful for vloggers who want to power up and start shooting on the fly. Thankfully, the screen is quite bright, so it can overcome glare in sunny conditions. That said, it doesn't have the highest resolution. Touch capability is also limited, so you can use it to select focus points, toggle subject tracking, or as a touch shutter, but 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 ZV-1 uses Sony's older, more convoluted menu system. Even worse, you can only navigate it using the camera's click wheel, since the screen's touch functionality is limited. 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.

7.0
Design
Built-In Lens
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 the camera captures. 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.

If you're looking for a similar camera with an interchangeable lens design, look at the Sony ZV-E10. On the flip side, if you want a similarly compact camera with a wide-angle lens, try the Sony ZV-1 II.

Design
Sensor
Sensor Type
Stacked BSI CMOS
Advertised Effective Pixels
20.1 MP
Sensor Size
1-inch
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
Power Delivery While Recording
Yes
Advertised Battery Life In Photo
260 photos
Tested Battery Life In Video
51 min

The Sony ZV-1 has poor overall battery life. It uses the same Np-BX1 battery as the Sony RX100 VII and has a 260-shot CIPA rating. That number can vary drastically with real-world usage, but it still isn't great, so you'll probably need a spare battery or two for longer shooting days. If you don't want to carry extra batteries, you can also use a portable power bank, since the camera supports charging while in use via USB. For video, it'll last for about 50 minutes of continuous recording in 4k, which also isn't especially long.

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
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.

5.6
Photo General
Photo AF-C Tracking
Autofocus Tracking Shots
Perfect Focus Hit Rate
42%
Usable Focus Hit Rate
59%

The Sony ZV-1 has a solid autofocus system overall, but its tracking feature struggles with moving subjects compared to interchangeable-lens siblings like the Sony ZV-E10. The camera has several different area and tracking modes, and with Sony's 'Real-Time AF' tracking, the camera can seamlessly switch back and forth between general subject tracking and face/eye tracking when it detects a human subject in the frame. On top of human subject detection, it has an animal tracking mode, which is great for taking photos of your pets.

The tracking feature is generally okay at keeping up with moving subjects, but it tends to lose faster or more erratic subjects. That said, you can still get a fair amount of usable shots when shooting continuously.

10
Photo General
Photo AF-C Center Point
Autofocus Center Point Shots
Perfect Focus Hit Rate
100%
Usable Focus Hit Rate
100%

When using the center point, the camera has no issues staying with the target. Focusing is generally very quick and accurate, which is great for when you want to have more control over the focus point, whether you're shooting a still subject or a subject that's moving in a predictable way.

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 its lens has optical stabilization, which Sony calls 'SteadyShot'. Overall, it does an okay job of stabilizing 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
6.5
Photo Image Quality
Photo RAW Dynamic Range
Dynamic Range At Base ISO
8.6 f-stops
Dynamic Range At 1/500s Exposure Time
7.4 f-stops
Dynamic Range At 1/2000s Exposure Time
6.1 f-stops
Dynamic Range At 1/4000s Exposure Time
5.1 f-stops

The Sony ZV-1's RAW dynamic range is just okay. It struggles to preserve a very wide range of shadow and highlight detail in high-contrast scenes, although it's pretty on par for a camera with a 1-inch sensor. You can only push the camera's smaller sensor so far, as there's a lot of noticeable noise when you try to recover shadow detail in underexposed photos.

6.7
Photo Image Quality
Photo RAW Sharpness
Vertical Edge MTF50 At Base ISO
1,455 LW/PH
Horizontal Edge MTF50 At Base ISO
1,465 LW/PH

Photos taken on the Sony ZV-1 aren't the most detailed, because of its smaller sensor, but they still look fairly detailed. However, you don't have too much leeway to crop in without losing resolution and detail.

6.2
Photo Image Quality
Photo RAW Noise
SNR 18% At 1/8 Exposure Time (125 ms)
32.3dB
SNR 18% At 1/30 Exposure Time (33 ms)
28.1 dB
SNR 18% At 1/125 Exposure Time (8 ms)
22.7 dB
SNR 18% At 1/500 Exposure Time (2 ms)
18.1dB

The Sony ZV-1 has okay RAW noise handling. There's minimal digital noise at moderate ISO values, though the higher you have to raise it in dimmer lighting conditions, the noisier and less usable the image.

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 capture a wider dynamic range in video.

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

The Sony ZV1 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 have to stick 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 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, though that also means 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 autofocus system performs amazingly well when shooting 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.

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, with some noticeable noise and loss of detail.

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 visible with vertical lines like signposts or buildings looking skewed when panning quickly to the side. 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 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

Autofocus performance is fantastic 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.

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

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. It's unfortunately located on the bottom of the camera, meaning you can't switch out cards while the camera is mounted on a tripod or monopod.

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.