The ZV-1 is a new Sony’s camera, made of recycled materials and a confident idea. The camera has got a lot of details, such as the 1-inch image sensor, in common with RX100 series cameras. They are both pocket cameras, to shoot accurate photos on the go without preparation, but the ZV-1 may become a leader of controversial discussions among enthusiasts.

Vloggers should notice these changes

In its marketing material, Sony states that the ZV-1 is a vlogger oriented device. This means the camera has a core aim to shoot vlogging material and not professional-level photos. The ZV-1 screen has got a foldable hinge which means you can flip it to the camera lens direction and see your positioning on the screen. To make it easier to start and finish a video, there’s and enlarged video record button located near the photo shutter button, so you won’t misclick it. Sony tossed out the traditional software feature to focus on the person’s face, replacing it with a primitive on first sight option, focusing on the closest object to the lens.

Professional photographers will say that it’s a tradition killer and step back for Sony, but we say that it’s a trend-adaptation. 

Ben Sin explains for Forbes that the ZV-1 features are painkillers for vloggers, because they provide video creators with a front video view of a scene, and it’s more intuitive for fingers to find buttons.

The focus feature is more advanced and needs a proper explanation. Camera makers had a simple idea to offer people without photo shooting skills a face catching focus so that it’d be easier for them to make good quality portraits. Besides brainstorming the script for the commercial video, highlighting some products, vloggers have got entertainment to think about; how to lock the camera focus on a particular object that’s not their face. The Sony ZV-1 offers to not move a face out of frame as it focuses on the closest thing to the lens. Sometimes regress is still progress. Remember that you can always switch off this function in your settings and turn on the usual face catching focus.

The ZV-1 should make vlogging easier but we say the opposite

Sony treats the ZV-1 as a vlogger-friendly camera, which is logical according to the features discussed above, but it’s stunning for me how a camera could be so good and controversial whilst wearing the same jacket. 

You can fit the ZV-1 in the palm of your hand and won’t sense a weighted pressure (294g in 4x2x2 inches) which gives an advantage for people who would travel with it. But there’s a gap created under the effect of this hardware feature.

You see, the thing is, the size of the camera creates a limit for hardware stuff; that’s why the ZV-1 has got a 20-megapixel Zeiss sensor with a 24-70mm lens. What does that mean? It means the widest the lens can get is 24mm on paper, when noticing EIS (electronic image stabilization) we will see that it crops an image providing you with a 30mm lens, in fact. It’s an acute pain for travel vloggers because the frame is to tight to place your face and background landscapes in it. Of course, those who use a tripod are not familiar with this trouble, but people who shoot on the go will prefer to buy a camera with an 18mm lens.

Perhaps it’s Sony’s marketing trick to sell extra grip that sticks to the bottom of the camera which vaguely creates a sense of a wider picture. But the ratio between the price of the grip ($100) and the result is still poor. 

The other option is to buy the cheapest selfie stick from Aliexpress to make your arm longer, but there will be some questions about how to shoot in places with a large concentration of people. This decision could be better than buying the ZV-1.

Eye-catching functions will not cover the elephant in the room. Due to the physical peculiarities, Sony couldn’t insert a wider lens because of the 1-inch sensor. A choice which was made to drop the price of the camera.  The Sony ZV-1 sells for $750, which is relatively cheap.

What do you get in the end?

From the technical point of view, the ZV-1 has got f/1.8 aperture and gives an accurate shallow depth of field opening a magically gorgeous bokeh effect. You could probably be acquainted with this effect thanks to the smartphone soft, but the ZV-1 is opposite to a common smartphone, creating the bokeh effect through opening the aperture to its largest.

The ZV-1 can handle a video recording with 4K/30fps, 1080p/120fps, and slow-motion up to 960fps. Video doesn’t distort the color, keeping balance on the video. Sony has increased the audio recording potential of the camera, making it more suitable for vloggers. There’s also a microphone port for people who wish to boost the audio quality.

But, Ben Sin points out the other minus of the camera, which is the electronic image stabilization – SteadyShot. When you pull stabilization to the limits it will provide you with a modern-day smartphone stabilization. 

It’s more of a beta version, not the ready-made product 

I appreciate the way Sony thinks; perhaps it was difficult to achieve the agreement to dumb down face tracking. The ZV-1 is a trend-oriented camera that will find a lot of followers among YouTubers as well as other social media bloggers. This camera is worth every penny if the cropped forehead doesn’t bother you.