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Sony launches ZV-1 'casual videography' compact camera with pro-level RX100 features (Updated)

By Zachary Chan - on 22 Oct 2020, 12:15pm

Sony ZV-1

Note: This article was first published on 26 May 2020 and is now updated with pricing, new colour option and our review video.

Sony has just launched a brand new compact camera simply called Digital Camera ZV-1. Sony also classifies it for ‘casual video shooting’, clearly aiming the ZV-1 as a step-up camera for smartphone users. However, there’s nothing casual about its specifications at all. The ZV-1 is an RX100 in disguise, with multiple modifications and tweaks to make it a video-centric camera, which technically, makes it even more powerful than an RX100, not just for casual videography, but serious vloggers as well. 

The ZV-1 is powered with a 20.1-megapixel, 1-inch stacked Exmor R CMOS sensor and BIONZ X image processor just like the RX100s. It features a 24-70mm f1.8-f2.8 Zeiss Vario-Sonnar T* zoom lens and phase-detect autofocus with 315 AF points - like the RX100 VA (also known as the Mark 5A). It also boasts real-time eye AF tracking and a microphone jack - like the RX100 VII.

It inherits the video performance of the RX100s as well:

  • Improved 1080p Active Steady Shot and 4K Active SteadyShot (up to 11x and 8x better than standard SteadyShot respectively)
  • 4K video recording with full pixel readout and no pixel binning in XAVC S codec.
  • Hybrid Log-Gamma HDR / S-Gamut3.Cine / S-Log3, S-Gamut3 / S-Log3 support
  • 960fps Super Slow Motion recording

Now, here’s what Sony added to the ZV-1:

  • A built-in 3-capsule high-quality stereo mic
  • A Sony Multi Interface accessory shoe (in place of the EVF in the RX100)
  • A side-articulating LCD screen (touch focus only, like the RX100 VII, not full touchscreen)
  • Front hand-grip
  • A dedicated video record button on the top plate
  • A dedicated background bokeh button (works in real time while recording video)
  • A dedicated Product Showcase button for quicker foreground/background focus switching when vlogging
  • Face Priority Auto Exposure, improved Natural Skin Tone on video, and a Soft Skin Effect setting (basically a beauty mode, like in smartphones)

The ZV-1 is a tad larger than the RX100 VII (105.5 x 60 x 43.5mm vs 101.6 x 58.1 x 43mm), but surprisingly lighter (294g vs 302g).

The Sony ZV-1 is available for S$999 at selected Sony Stores, Sony Centres, Sony’s flagship store on Lazada and selected authorised dealers from June 2020. The ZV-1 will also be available in white from early November 2020, so look out for that version if it better suits your taste.