The Sony ZV-E1 is a full-frame camera designed for vloggers and content creators

This dedicated vlog camera is an all-around impressive piece of kit.

by Jeremy Cheong

These days, while the cameras on our smartphones are good enough for vlogs and content creation, individuals who are serious about making a living or side income through creating captivating videos might need a dedicated device that provides more refined controls and versatility. 

In that sense, you cannot go wrong with a camera, especially if it is a camera designed for vlogging such as Sony’s latest ZV-E1, an interchangeable-lens vlog camera equipped with the 35mm full-frame back-illuminated CMOS Exmor R image sensor, powerful BIONZ XR image processing engine and Sony’s proprietary E-mount system

While it is positioned as a vlog camera, the ZV-E1 is an impressive piece of kit that should be more than adequate for any type of user. With all three technologies working together, the ZV-E1 can capture stills and videos with high sensitivity, low noise and gorgeous bokeh. For videos specifically, this camera can shoot in high-quality 4K (QFHD) with a full-frame readout at 10-bit 4:2:2, without the need for pixel binning. On top of that, it can also shoot in 4k 60p and upgrade up to 4K 120p through the Creators’ Cloud.

When it comes to shooting in low-light conditions, the ZV-E1 has a 15+ stop latitude and a standard ISO range from 80 to 102,400 for both stills and videos. The expanded range for stills ranges from 40 to 409,600, while the expanded range for videos goes from 80 to 409,600.

To give it extra ‘smarts’, the ZV-E1 features real-time Recognition Autofocus that uses an innovative AI processing unit which uses subject form data to accurately recognise movement. With human pose estimation technology, the camera can recognise not just eyes, but also body and head positions, making it possible to lock onto and track a subject that is facing away from the camera. The AI processing unit can even differentiate between multiple subjects having different postures and recognition of individual faces has also been improved so that tracking reliability is achieved in challenging situations such as when a subject’s face is tilted, shadowed, or backlit.

Besides humans and animals, the AI processing unit can also now recognise birds, insects, cars, trains and aeroplanes, providing even greater flexibility and reliability when shooting.

With AI-based Real-time Tracking, which is activated by specifying a subject or by half-pressing the shutter button, the camera will automatically track a subject, allowing you to concentrate on framing and composition. The ZV-E1 also has a fast Hybrid AF for fast acquisition and tenacious tracking as well as detailed AF settings that provide you with even more precision and control.

For those who are always recording interviews, music performances, cooking or activities that require subjects to be front and centre, the AI-based Auto Framing for video will be a real treat as it automatically crops the frame to keep your subjects in a prominent position. Even without moving the camera, the framing is continually adjusted to follow the subject smoothly.

Another feature that has been given an AI boost and works wonderfully in tandem with the feature above is the Framing Stabiliser. This feature keeps the subject’s position in the frame constant enabling you to create smooth video expressions, such as when taking follow-up shots or shooting around the subject.

Other notable features of the ZV-E1 include Breathing Compensation that suppresses image shifts; Multiple Face Recognition which automatically adjusts bokeh and focuses on multiple recognised faces when shooting group selfies or group portraits; Bokeh Switch for one-touch background bokeh enhancement and a soft skin effect when shooting video and Product Showcase Setting that is specifically for product review videos so that the camera smoothly switches focus from your face to a product held in front of the lens and back again.

To reduce motion blur from camera shake, the ZV-E1 has a compact precision stabilisation unit and gyro sensors with optimised algorithms that can achieve up to 5.0-step stabilisation. Camera shake is detected and effectively corrected in 5 axes and the in-body image stabilisation of the camera can provide effective stabilisation when it is paired with a wide range of lenses, including E-mount lenses that do not have stabilisation of their own.

On the audio front, the ZV-E1 features a high-performance three capsule microphone with variable directivity that can pick up clear audio in outdoor situations where wind and environmental noise can be a problem. The supplied windscreen will also come in handy as it can reduce wind noise significantly. It also has expanded audio capabilities thanks to the Multi Interface (MI) shoe that comes with a digital audio interface and mic and headphone jacks.

Design-wise, the ZV-E1 features a compact and lightweight build that is also dust- and moisture-resistant. For ease of use, the camera features a side-opening vari-angle LCD screen for easy monitoring and a touch control layout that is optimised for recording and vlogging. Last but certainly not least, this vlog camera features uninterrupted power for extended recording with Sony’s high-capacity Z battery and USB Power Delivery (PD) that supports fast charging. For even better power efficiency, the image processing engine, image sensor, and related circuitry have been designed to optimise power economy in all shooting conditions.

If the Sony ZV-E1 sounds like the next upgrade you need to take your vlogging and content creation game to the next level, it will be available at selected retail shops and online stores starting in May 2023. As of this time of writing, the official pricing of the ZV-E1 has yet to be announced.

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