Today, Sony announced their new entry-level vlogging camera – the Sony ZV-1 II. Vlogging is all the rage – at least for camera manufacturers and Sony is not letting up on its dominance of the YouTube creator market. The new ZV-1 II is the follow-up to the ZV-1, a compact-style camera with features aimed at those interested in becoming content creators. The original ZV-1 was a strong entry into the category with a fast lens, decent sensor, and Sony’s (at the time) latest imaging processor but does the new ZV-1 II offer a compelling upgrade for those interested in a step-up camera?
Tech Specs via Sony
- 20-megapixel 1-inch Exmor sensor
- 18-50mm f/1.8-4 zoom lens
- BIONZ X image processor
- 3 microphone capsule array – allows direction control for audio
- In Auto mode, the camera recognizes human faces or objects and automatically switches the direction of the built-in microphone ([Front] or [All Directions]). In Manual mode, you can select [Front] for selfies, [Rear] when shooting with narration, or [All Directions].
- S&Q shooting mode – allows for 5x slow or 60x quick video recording
- Hybrid AF system with Face and Eye detection/tracking
- Product Showcase Setting – which delivers convenient shooting of product review videos with smooth focus transitions from your face to the item you are highlighting.
- Active Electronic Image Stabilization – allows for walking shots with minimal shake
One Step Forward, Two Steps Back?
Let me be clear – the Sony ZV-1 II will most likely meet or exceed most people’s needs, especially if they’re just getting started. The ZV-1 II addressed several shortcomings from the original and has leveraged technology from the +$2100 Sony ZV-E1 (its full-frame sibling) like AI-optimized audio and the Cinematic Vlogging mode. One of the biggest gripes with the Mark I was the 24-70mm (equivalent) zoom lens – replaced by the wider 18-50mm. For handheld vlogging, the wider lens is a must, but it comes at the expense of a slower optic range, F/1.8-4 vs. F/1.8-2.8 in the Mark I. Additionally, the ZV-1 II replaced IBIS with its Active Electronic Image Stabilization – further cropping the available frame on the sensor – potentially negating the wider optic.
Even with those caveats, the ZV-1 II does make the most of the year and a half between releases. Although you give up IBIS for electronic stabilization, you do get AI-optimized audio management. Vlogging is as much about quality sound as it is about quality video. Sony gets this and has really put a lot of thought behind this aspect of content creation. Sony also brings over a number of smart mode options like CineVlog and S&Q modes that allow more inexperienced videographers to focus on content instead of settings.
Pricing and Availability
Depending on what your needs are, the Sony ZV-1 II seems like a solid contender in a growing segment of vlogging-specific hardware. The new ZV-1 II will be available in June 2023 for an estimated retail price of $900 USD and $1,200 CAN. You can get more info and be notified when pre-orders open here.
All images courtesy of Sony.