Sony’s ZV-1 compact camera zooms in on vloggers

Sony has taken aim at the suddenly enormous market of people who want to self-produce high-quality video with a minimum of setup. Its ZV-1 mutates the versatile RX100 series into a selfie video machine, and it could be the all-in-one solution many a vlogger has been searching for.

The new camera is very much based on the highly successful and acclaimed RX100, which over the years has grown in both price and capabilities but remains something the user is behind, rather than in front of. The ZV-1 rethinks the camera for people who need to work the other way round.

The 1″, 20-megapixel sensor and 24-70mm equivalent, F/1.8-2.8 lens are borrowed from the RX100, meaning image quality should be excellent (though vloggers may want a wider-angle lens). But the camera has been customized with an eye to selfie-style operation.

That means the electronic viewfinder is gone, but there’s now a fully articulating touchscreen display. A powerful new microphone array takes up a large portion of the camera’s top plate, and the ZV-1 comes with a wind baffle or deadcat that attaches to the top hot shoe, giving the camera a flamboyant look.

Sony’s ZV-1 compact camera zooms in on vloggers 1

Image Credits: Sony

A huge new dedicated record button is placed for perfect operation by a left hand holding the camera from the front, and the zoom dial should be thumbable from there, as well. A new “background defocus mode” uses the widest possible aperture, naturally narrowing the depth of field with no need for all the AI rigmarole found on smartphones — and it’s smart enough to switch focus to the product a vlogger is being paid to promote when they hold it up close.

All told, this could be a convincing works-out-of-the-box solution for people who may be juggling a panoply of hardware from multiple generations to get the same thing done. The proven RX100 image quality and reliability, combined with ergonomic tweaks to make it more selfie-friendly, might entice people thinking of putting together more complex setups.

At $800, or $750 if you order in the next month, it’s certainly more expensive than an entry-level setup, but probably cheaper (and definitely easier) than getting a mirrorless, lens, mic and other accessories you might need to match it.

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