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Sony ZV-1 vlog camera review: Versatile, ideal for self shooters


Given the kind of year we have been having, I have done some really funny things, especially on videos. In a bid to get back in front of the camera, but with myself as the camera person, I have tried everything from balancing the smartphone on a book to reviving an old tripod from the loft to getting my nine-year-old to shoot. All because I never invested in a camera that would let me shoot myself with ease. And I would not be alone. Sony knows this and that is why it chose the pandemic year to launch the Sony ZV-1 for vloggers, or those like me who have had to become one because there was no other option.

Sony ZV-1 price in India: Rs 67,990

Sony ZV-1 specs: Large 1.0-type Exmor RS CMOS 20.1 MP image sensor | BIONZ XTM image processing engine | 4K movie recording | Directional three-capsule mic with wind screen | 3-inch vari-angle LCD screen, body grip and recording lamp | 24-70 mm lens with 11x digital zoom | ISO 25600

The Sony ZV-1 looks like a regular point and shoot camera. And it is so for most parts. But it has added some features that will endear it to videographers too, like the ability to connect to the GP-VPT2BT grip with gimbal-like features, remote commanders, tripods with remote and a microphone windscreen that can negate ambient noise outdoors. The 3-inch vari-angle LCD along with the shooting lamp in front helps you figure out a frame and shoot without help from others.

Sony ZV-1 vlog camera in the frame (Express photo/Nandagopal Rajan)

The ZV-1 is a good, but basic, point and shoot camera. I say this because it has limitations in terms of the lens and you are stuck in the 24-70 mm range as this is not an interchangeable lens camera. However, the camera does shoot some great photos and videos with the 20MP sensor and BIONZ X engine.

So if you are using this primarily to shoot yourself and subjects within a case range line such as gadget or food shoots, this camera is near perfect. However, if you are in the travel space or looking to create videos around wildlife you will need to look at other options.

I tried the camera with different types of still and video shoots and the results were quite good. You can select the mode you want and even enable custom settings. Even in low light conditions, the camera does a good job and turns in really sharp images. I was also impressed by how natural skin tones were on this camera.

Low-light shot (Express photo/Nandagopal Rajan)

And a lot of the capabilities of the camera are because of its superbly fast and accurate auto-focus. For instance, while shooting my own video, the camera kept track of me all the time, even as I moved around the frame. This is great, for you have to be very still if recording the same video on a phone or DSLR. Also, the audio quality was good even without a lapel and the windscreen did a good job of keeping the December winds out of the video.

Check out this video showing the camera’s auto-focus in action

Also, the camera is quite intelligent and recognises when you are moving around or when there is wind noise in the background. These icons keep popping up on the screen so that you can take immediate corrective action.

I used the camera mostly with the GP-VPT2BT grip commander. Once you pair the grip and the camera you can control zoom and initiate recording with the grip itself. I loved that the pairing, though a bit hard to do initially, stays after that even when not powered on for long durations. The grip uses a battery of its own and connects via Bluetooth to the camera. But it is not as capable as DJI Osmo for instance.

Sony ZV-1 vlog camera in the frame (Express photo/Nandagopal Rajan)

The grip also opens up into a stable tripod adding to the utility. With this, the camera also comes in handy for shooting unboxing and how-to videos as you can get the lens to point down on a table or a stove.

The ZV-1 connects seamlessly to Sony’s Imaging Edge Mobile app with a single QR code scan after which you can share files to a smartphone for quick edits and sharing. This is another feature that is ideal for vlog creators who can avoid the computer altogether if needed.

At Rs 77,990, the Sony ZV-1 is just what a lot of content creators have been waiting for. Even as it competes with some action cameras in certain aspects, this is a unique offering at the moment. Yes, the entire rig with the grip (Rs 9,990) can be a bit costly, but would be really worth it for the good vlogger.





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