Sony ZV-1F evaluation: For the content material creators
(Pocket-lint) – Sony’s digital camera launches have develop into more and more extra focused and area of interest over the previous few years because it seeks to supply cameras to cater to all method of particular use circumstances and clients. Amongst these is the ZV vary, which is its smallest video-centric digital camera line.
Its newest mannequin in that vary is probably the most budget-friendly: the ZV-1F. Its goal is to bridge the hole between a smartphone and ‘correct’ digital camera, providing you with higher high quality and extra performance than your cellphone, however making it as simple as doable to make that transition. Has it labored although?
In the long run, the impression we get from the ZV-1F is that it is a digital camera for aspiring content material creators. If you wish to strive vlogging – both for TikTok or Youtube – or if you wish to strive your hand at live-streaming from a desktop gaming PC, or if you wish to strive all of it and never must spend money on a number of totally different cameras, the ZV-1F is sort of a gateway into that world.
Picture high quality – total – is best than what you will get out of your cellphone and the very fact it doubles as a easy, good-quality plug-and-play webcam offers in an edge which will simply persuade you it is price having alongside your cellphone in your cellular capturing package.
You get a compact, but highly effective and feature-rich digital camera that is simple to make use of and does not value some huge cash. Its enchantment is kind of restricted, like most devoted cameras, and we will not think about the overwhelming majority getting dramatically extra from it than they will get from their smartphone, however it’s price contemplating when you’re desirous to take stay streaming and vlogging a little bit extra severely.
- Small and light-weight
- Extensive subject of view
- Efficient auto-exposure and object monitoring
- Correct flip-out touchscreen
- Straightforward plug and play webcam
- Mounted lens
- Focus searching at occasions
- Not a lot to grip on to
- Battery life may very well be higher
- 105.5 x 60.0 x 46.4mm – 226g
- Flip-out touchscreen
- Devoted background blur button
One of many issues we respect most concerning the ZV-1F is the design. And once we say that, we do not simply imply the best way it appears to be like. It is about extra than simply aesthetics, as a result of there’s nothing particularly eye-catching concerning the Sony ZV-1F. This digital camera is designed to be sensible, user-friendly and unobtrusive.
An enormous a part of that’s the measurement and the load. At 226 grams, it is barely heavier than a smartphone. In truth, it is lighter than an iPhone 14 Professional Max and solely 20 grams heavier than an iPhone 14 Professional.
What’s extra, it is outfitted with all you have to get began. Initially, the prime lens on the entrance is fastened. So no having to fiddle with eradicating and reattaching lenses to the entrance. Plus, that lens is surrounded by a very sturdy-feeling steel ring that protrudes additional than the precise lens, to make sure it is as nicely protected as it may be towards knocks and drops.
For some, the shortage of interchangeable lenses will probably be a little bit of a draw back. Nevertheless, Sony does provide the ZV-E10 which is a bit more costly however options the Sony E-mount to help a variety of lenses. It additionally has a bigger APS-C sensor inside.
The ZV-1F is all about bringing a extra inexpensive, ready-to-go digital camera to market with out the necessity for further expense past shopping for a reminiscence card, which – lately – is not a lot of an expense in any respect. On that word, it helps SD playing cards and Sony Reminiscence Stick, with a slot that matches each close to the battery, and with the door on the underside of the digital camera.
Sony’s deal with making a really compact and light-weight digital camera has led to some compromises. As an example, there’s not a lot in the best way of a grip. The place a bigger digital camera may offer you a giant grippy protrusion on the entrance, the ZV-1F does not have a lot. There is a small, cylindrical space within the nook, but it surely’s so small, we’re uncertain whether or not it actually makes any distinction. Saying that our right-hand fingers instinctively curl round it whereas our thumb robotically discovered the small grip on the again, so it clearly serves some form of goal.
What’s spectacular, nevertheless, is how nicely Sony has used little or no area. As an example, the flip-out touchscreen that lives on the again takes up many of the area on the again of the digital camera. Plus, it flips out and rotates, so you may have it going through forwards, or rotate it to face up or down, or rotate it to face inwards to guard it whereas it is stowed away.
The consumer interface on this touchscreen has additionally been designed to make the digital camera simple to make use of. With its colour-coded menu system, it is simple sufficient to seek out and alter the settings you need – whether or not that is the video high quality or focus mode. Plus, proper from the primary view you may change and alter totally different handy settings like publicity management, zoom, and allow or disable the product showcase mode (extra on that later).
In any other case, there are many buttons to press too. All – because of constraints – are fairly small, however they’re nonetheless simple sufficient to seek out. The small shutter button on the highest has a zoom lever and sits on the highest, alongside the red-accented film button for recording video, the button for switching between video, photograph and sluggish/quick recording and – lastly – the background blur button.
This final one’s truly fairly cool, and allows you to shortly allow a bokeh for the background, providing you with a depth impact when you don’t need the background distracting from you. Or – if you do wish to present your background – change it off.
In contrast to bigger cameras, you aren’t getting devoted bodily dials for publicity, aperture or shutter pace. It’s totally a lot designed for point-and-shoot, or recording the whole lot in computerized modes, like a cellphone. However that does not imply you may’t change these settings, it is simply not fairly as handy to take action.
Different buttons are all positioned on the again and embrace the standard menu button, the rotating dial for navigating menus and the gallery, show and delete buttons.
- Plug and play webcam
- Simply hook up with your Mac/PC and it really works
In addition to being a helpful little vlogging digital camera with some great computerized instruments, the ZV-1F additionally doubles as an excellent webcam. And in contrast to another devoted cameras, you needn’t obtain any software program or drivers to ensure that it to work. There is no difficult set-up course of both.
The usual 1/4-inch screw mount on the underside means you may mount the digital camera – as regular – to any customary tripod, and you may get these sufficiently small to sit down in your desk for little or no cash. Then, simply plug within the USB-C cable into the digital camera and your desktop or laptop computer, and it is able to go.
Whereas it is plugged in it can use energy out of your pc to cost. So all you have to do after plugging it in is change it on, then guarantee no matter app you are utilizing to video convention or stay stream from has the Sony ZV-1F digital camera chosen because the video supply.
Whilst you’re utilizing it as a webcam, you will see it utilizing its capability to maintain your face as nicely uncovered as doable. It is aware of that must be the main target, and so adjusts to maintain your face lit. Or – a minimum of – that is the speculation.
In most cases, it really works rather well, however it could possibly wrestle generally. On our video calls, we’re usually sitting with a giant bay window to our left, so that may get fairly shiny. We discovered if we had been sitting a little bit too removed from the digital camera, it might not alter the publicity to our face correctly, as a substitute adjusting the publicity to make the window dimmer, dropping the publicity on our face and making it darker.
With that mentioned, it was nonetheless higher than most webcams in that scenario. We weren’t changed into a silhouette, and you may nonetheless see our facial options, it was simply darker than if we leant a little bit additional ahead in direction of the digital camera.
Regardless of its measurement, you continue to get sufficient bodily ports. There is a USB-C port for knowledge switch and charging, a micro HDMI for video output and a 3.5 port for microphone enter. There’s even a chilly shoe on the highest, proper on the left facet, for mounting further equipment you may want. Though, when you’re capturing open air, it is in all probability finest to make use of that for the included fluffy windshield when you’re counting on the digital camera’s built-in microphone for audio.
- 20.1MP – 1.0-type Exmor RS sensor
- 4K as much as 30fps – 1080p at 60fps
- 425 contrast-detection AF factors
- As much as 4x zoom
Sony’s vlogging cameras are, after all, all about video seize. And it is not nearly decision, body charges and bitrates. Sony has constructed plenty of smarts behind its cameras. With the ZV vary specifically meaning retaining your face nicely uncovered even when gentle circumstances round you alter.
For probably the most half – as with the webcam utilization – this works nicely when recording. We discovered that once we moved between shiny backlighting to being in shadow, the digital camera easily adjusted the publicity on our face to make sure you may see us clearly. All in real-time too, so we do not have to fiddle within the edit. The gyroscope-powered stabilisation additionally ensures the footage is good and clean.
There are different neat options too, just like the product showcase mode. When enabled, it could possibly shortly and robotically deal with a product that you just maintain as much as the centre of the digital camera. It really works usually fairly nicely, even when holding issues near the digital camera. On this mode, nevertheless, we did discover that once we’re within the body and not using a product it appeared to do plenty of focus searching, leading to that jarring movement the place you may inform the digital camera is on the lookout for one thing to deal with.
Nevertheless, with the tap-to-track characteristic – the place you may faucet on an object on the display and it stays locked onto it – the main target was very efficient. We shot some close-up video in common mode and slow-motion of some small berries being blown within the wind, and the digital camera was excellent at retaining that quick swaying object in focus.
What we like about Sony’s strategy to colors, distinction, element and lightweight is that it is all designed to look real looking, so you do not discover many exaggerated colors and saturation, and you will not see the distinction cranked up too excessive both. The top result’s one thing that is engaging, however nonetheless pure.
The large angle of the prime lens means it is primed (sorry) and prepared for large photographs, and that makes it preferrred for capturing your self at arm’s size. That’s greater than sufficient distance for this lens to seize the highest half of your torso and head, whereas additionally getting in quantity of background. Plus, with the fluffy windshield over the microphone, it affords first rate sufficient seize of voice and sound.
With that mentioned, there isn’t any denying you’d nonetheless get higher sound when you used a devoted microphone. The general tone is a little bit tinny and does not sound particularly pure or crisp however it’s clear and it does appear to do job of elevating the voice above background noise and elevating it. If you would like improved sound tt’s simple sufficient to repair a devoted system to the ZV-1F too, due to that chilly shoe and the three.5mm enter for microphones or wi-fi receivers.
With nonetheless pictures you get nice element from the 20.1-megapixel sensor, and a way of realism that is lacking from plenty of smartphone cameras. You additionally get a a lot nicer and extra natural-looking background blur from the Sony digital camera than you get from just about any cellphone. Plus, with the sensor crop-based zoom, you may get a pleasant 2x-4x zoom with out actually dropping any element or picture high quality.
Battery life is nearly okay, you may in all probability get away with simply over an hour’s price of capturing with the show switched on earlier than the battery will get low. The comfort of it charging through USB-C cannot be neglected, and the small battery can cost comparatively shortly. You may in all probability wish to carry round a battery pack for charging when you’re out and about, away from a wall outlet.
The ZV-1F is that may be a digital camera constructed for aspiring content material creators. Whether or not you’ve got your eye on TikTok or Youtube, otherwise you wish to strive your hand at live-streaming from a desktop gaming PC, the ZV-1F is a gateway into these worlds, without having to spend money on a number of totally different package.
Writing by Cam Bunton. Enhancing by Verity Burns.