Sony will bring a new camera to market in the ZV-E1, a full-frame mirrorless camera that would allow vloggers to take their content up a notch. That “notch” is in the full-frame element involved, where Sony is integrating a feature set typically seen in its high-end Alpha series cameras.
That’s made clear by the fact this camera has the same image sensor found in the A7S III. The specs list it at 12-megapixels, but that’s only because it’s actually a 48-megapixel sensor that uses pixel binning to merge every four pixels into one larger one. Doing that makes the camera more efficient at capturing light, which can be important when shooting video in varying conditions.
What the ZV-E1 can do
The ZV-E1 is the first camera Sony built that melds together the vlogger-style body with a full-frame sensor. Reasonably light at 483 grams, it sticks with the Z-series cameras with its reduced overall footprint and physical buttons to make it easier to carry and hold while on the move. Not to mention the articulating LCD screen in the rear for easier selfie videos.
The larger image sensor is the biggest reason why the ZV-E1 can shoot in 4K at 120fps without a crop factor. You can also shoot video without any binning at all, meaning you get to use the full breadth of the sensor for better bokeh in the background as well. The focusing system relies more on the touchscreen than on a joystick or dial as in other Sony cameras, so you would have to tap on the screen to focus on your subject.. Since there’s no viewfinder, either, it’s also the only way to line up and frame an image too.
It also works with the same battery as the A7S III, despite the smaller body. That should be enough for up to 570 still photos or 95 minutes of 4K video. Bear in mind 4K video limits still apply to keep the camera from overheating. It will automatically stop recording at 30 minutes to avoid that.
Interestingly, Sony claims the in-body image stabilization is robust enough to handle handheld shooting while walking. This comes courtesy of “Active” or “Dynamic Active” modes, which can reduce shaky footage by introducing additional cropping to smooth things out. It remains to be seen whether or not the camera effectively mimics a gimbal while walking handheld.
Unlike Sony’s Alpha cameras, the ZV-E1 is equipped with automated modes that help do some of the heavy lifting along the way. In the most automated mode, the camera will not only recognize the subject, but also adjust the aperture to change depth of field, along with exposure compensation, if necessary. Product Showcase mode tells the camera to focus on an object presented in front of a person on camera, shifting back to face detection once the object is out of the shot. The Auto Framing feature can stay locked on to a subject who is moving around a frame, something that could work really well when mounting the camera on a tripod or gimbal.
If you want to try your hand at filmmaking, the CineVlog mode shoots at 24fps at 2:35:1 widescreen, and “moods” allow you to emulate a Hollywood look by applying colour toning on the fly. No matter which mode you choose, the idea is to keep things as accessible and simple as possible.
For example, Sony renamed certain functions to simplify operation for those who may not be familiar with all camera jargon. That’s why it calls white balance “colour” and refers to exposure as “brightness” in the interface.
The Sony ZV-E1 is an intriguing camera with a slew of features for content creators and vloggers to utilize. It uses the same E-mount lenses the Alpha series does, so you have some real latitude in what kind of images you’d be looking to create or produce
You can pre-order the Sony ZV-E1 now, body-only in black or white, or bundled with a 28-60mm kit lens.