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Sony ZV-1: Hands On & First Impressions

The new Sony ZV-1 was designed from the ground up for content creators and vloggers. Several video creators had the opportunity to test out the ZV-1 in advance of its announcement and are sharing their first impressions of the camera online. Here are some of the first reactions across the web for Sony’s newest tool for content creation. 

See a roundup of first impressions for the Sony ZV-1, a newly-designed camera for video content creators.

Tech Radar – Mark Wilson

“The Sony ZV-1 is the best compact vlogging camera you can buy. Its mix of a bright lens, superb autofocus and design tweaks like the side-flipping screen make it a powerful pocket video option with few peers. Those seeking super-smooth walking footage might find its image stabilization a slight let-down, and it has a few familiar usability quirks, but the ZV-1 remains the best video all-rounder in its weight class.” 

Read the full review here.

iJustine – Justine Ezarik

“I’ve been keeping a checklist of things I have been looking for in a vlogging camera, and this camera right here checks almost every single one of those boxes. I could not be more excited to show this to you guys today. Normally these little point-and-shoot cameras are geared toward photographers, but this is one of the first Sony cameras that I feel like they were really thinking about video first and photo second.” 

“I am in love with this camera. It is really, really amazing and I cannot wait to take it out more.”

Watch the full review:

FunForLouis – Louis Cole

"I just want to thank Sony for listening to their consumers, listening to us, and building the perfect vlogging camera. All of the things we inquired about and asked about and wanted changed, they did. And they created this. I think it's a really good move for Sony because obviously they want to get more people into filming. More and more people are starting YouTube channels, wanting to get into vlogging...and this is the perfect product."

Watch the full review:

DPReview – Chris Niccolls

“This camera gives you Sony’s awesome real-time tracking autofocus, something the RX100 VA does not have. And so, even though you might not have the same creative control, you’re probably going to have a much higher success rate getting shots in focus. For the casual user, that might be exactly what you’re looking for.”

Watch the full review:

Jason Vong

“I’m so glad that Sony’s giving a whole bunch of different options here. Not just audio but the camera as a whole as we’ve seen. Catering to different needs for different creators at different levels. This camera right here, the ZV-1, it exists because of you guys, the creators. Sony has always been listening to what their users want.”

“I truly do believe this is going to be the best pocket point-and-shoot vlogging camera of 2020.”

Watch the full review:

Digital Camera World – Rod Lawton

“Some might dismiss the ZV-1 as yet another Sony RX100 variant, but it’s much more than that. The sensor and lens might be familiar, but the body, the controls, the audio and the rear screen are all new and different and optimised brilliantly for vlogging.”

Read the full review here.

Sara Dietschy

“Now that we have the ZV-1, you can connect a mic. It has better audio, it has better skin tones, it has all of these special features. One that I even forgot to mention is the Face Priority Auto Exposure, where it will prioritize exposing for your face, not the overall exposure of your image. So if you’re walking under a bridge it will continue to expose for your face and not your surroundings, it will keep that consistent.”

“One other little thing that I forgot to mention is that every time you open up the LCD display, your camera turns on. And then when you fold it back into your camera, your camera turns off. Actually super handy that you don’t have to press the on and off button. It just turns on when you need it to.”

Watch the full review:

Adorama – Sal D’Alia

“You can get quick and smooth focus transition between the video face and an object placed in front of the lens. It has a great auto-exposure function that detects and prioritizes the subject’s face, adjusting to the exposure. In my opinion one of the best features on this camera is the autofocus system. You can now lock and track subjects with accuracy and speed while recording.”

Watch the full review:

iPhonedo – Faruk Korkmaz

“The wind screen that comes with the camera is fantastic and it makes a huge difference. Right out of the box this camera is ready for great content creation. The grip is placed very nicely and it helps the camera stay in your hands very easily.”

“It has fantastic eye auto focus, face priority and multi-metering, making sure the brightness of your face is proper. If you want beauty effects, BOOM! Turn them on with one button.”

Watch the full review:

Jenna Ezarik

“I have to say, without question, this is my favorite camera. For the pros, I love the Product Showcase feature. The Face Priority Auto Exposure is also really impressive. It also has advanced color science so now we can have the soft skin effect."

"The multi-interface shoe is huge for me, it’s probably number one on the list. There is still the audio input but this alleviates it because I can just use my stereo microphone like I am using right now to record this. It’s nice because you also still have the ability if you want to use any external mics, you can still plug it into the audio jack. But THIS is simple and compact and I love having the multi-interface shoe. And the windscreen was surprisingly something I didn’t realize I needed. I always avoided it because I didn’t want to tape it or glue it on, so the fact that this custom windscreen fits so perfectly...chances are I’m going to be using that the majority of the time because that makes it even more thin and compact.”

Watch the full review:

B&H Photo Video – Jake Estes

It’s really fun to use. It’s super easy to use. And the variety of things you can get – 4K, the high frame rate, all the way up to 960 fps. It’s super lightweight, I’ve been carrying this thing around all day long just vlogging. Having that flip out screen is just a game changer – I mean just knowing exactly where you are. Having a record light so I know I’m recording. The Sony ZV-1, this is content creation made simple.”

Watch the full review:

The Art Of Photography – Ted Forbes

“I think this is a total home run.”

“Another thing that’s worth mentioning that I'm really impressed with here is the speed of autofocus. It snaps into place extremely quickly.”

“...it’s a really useful tool for anybody who creates content. I’ll definitely be getting one of these because I can see a huge use for this in my life and the stuff that I do. I think it’s pretty awesome.”

Watch the full review:

Imaging Resource – William Brawley

“It's an impressive-looking camera that appears to address many of the pain points that content creators face, such as focusing issues, image stabilization, audio quality problems and more. Plus, it also appears to rectify many of the usability issues typically experienced when using a compact camera like the existing RX100 models for shooting video.”

Read the full review here.

Kai W

“They’ve kind of prioritized the purpose of this camera. I mean look, where the flash once was is a built-in mic, and where the EVF once was, there’s a hot shoe.”

“Real-time tracking, real-time Eye AF, and that’s the good stuff. It really is a good autofocusing system. Quick, reliable, accurate.”

Watch the full review:

Tony & Chelsea Northrup

“This is the Sony ZV-1, and it’s the first camera that we’ve seen made specifically for creators. That means, if you’re filming yourself all the time, this is the camera that’s made for you. They finally made a flip screen that flips out to the side and does not block your mic or your tripod. That’s crucial. Another thing is, you have a recording light on the front right here so you can make sure you’re recording. You have a large recording button that’s easily accessible on the top.”

“I was pleased with it, and I like that they’re starting to think more about the user’s experience than just bulking up the specs. I’m getting pretty tired of camera companies doing that. And I’m so happy about them changing the flippy screen – thank you!”

Watch the full review:

cinema5D – Johnnie Behiri

“The Sony ZV-1 is a lightweight, compact, well-built camera. If you’re a vlogger, it might be a tool that can enhance your workflow. If you are a documentary filmmaker, maybe this is a camera you want to throw in the bag as a B,C,D camera. It can help you in places where you cannot really shoot with bigger cameras. It’s a legit device to explore.”

Watch the full review:

Manny Ortiz

“When I’m talking to a smaller camera like the ZV-1, it’s easier for me to approach. It’s less intimidating. And it’s just easier to walk around with in public, create some content or just use and talk to. It’s less intimidating, it’s almost like talking to your cell phone. So that’s one thing I do like about this camera.”

Watch the full review:

Matti Haapoja

“Another really interesting feature, even if you’re not a filmmaker, you still know about the shallow depth of field - you want that background to be out of focus. And they did that with one button. With just one button you can enable a background de-focus function, and if you want to show what’s in the background you can enable a clear function.”

“...It’s really incredible how smoothly the de-focus function goes on. It doesn’t change the exposure much, it stays like the exact same. Very impressive.”

Watch the full review:

Potato Jet – Gene Nagata

“Overall killer camera. I didn’t think I would be this excited about a point-and-shoot again, but this is the one. This is the one guys.”

Watch the full review:

Three Blind Men and An Elephant Productions – Hugh Brownstone

“...A one-inch mirrorless body with integrated zoom for mobile, energetic YouTubers that is smaller, faster, lighter, simpler, better. Better auto focus, better video, better frame rates….and keeps the flippy screen.”

Watch the full review:

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