As vlogging continues its meteoric rise in popularity, more and more manufacturers are producing cameras specifically targeting vloggers. Of those manufacturers, none have produced more than Sony, whose extensive fleet of vlogging cameras continues to dominate the scene—led, of course, by fan-favorite and arguably greatest vlogging camera ever made, the Sony ZV-1.
In this article, we’re going to take a closer look at the ZV-1, along with several other Sony vlogging cameras, to see what makes them so popular among vloggers and other creatives.
First, let’s discuss the fan-favorite ZV-1. This camera kicked off Sony’s vlogging camera series in 2020 and set the standard for what we have come to expect from other vlogging cameras. It is compact, lightweight, and beginner-friendly, offering an exhaustive list of effects and presets to make it enticing for content creation, everyday use, and streaming.
Featuring a 24-70mm-equivalent standard zoom lens, this camera is designed to be held comfortably at arm’s length. At its widest end, the ZV-1 manages to get a decent amount of content in the frame if you are walking and filming yourself, although you might want your shots to be a little wider. We recommend vlogging with a tripod or a shooting grip to create more space between you and the camera.
With that in mind, there are many features that make this camera great. The flip-out 3.0" touchscreen makes recording in front of or behind the camera easy, with basic tap controls to enable settings such as Real-Time Tracking, to ensure you are always in focus. Other effects, such as Product Showcase and Background Defocus, are programmed to adjust the focus for you automatically.
The ZV-1 also has practical features that might be enticing for the more ambitious creator. Strong UHD 4K recording at 30p, S-Log3/2 and HLG picture-profiles support, and the ability to attach an external recorder for clean 4K recording, are just a few of many features of which users can take advantage.
All these features come together to create a camera that is powerful and useful for a variety of applications, whether you are a vlogger or an average Joe. After all, who doesn’t love a flattering camera that is easy to use?
Following the popularity of the ZV-1, Sony released the ZV-1 II, which maintains many of the ZV-1’s popular features, while correcting its few flaws.
The ZV-1 II’s biggest change is its 18-50mm equivalent focal length lens, which fits much more in the frame than the ZV-1’s 24-70mm focal length. The three-capsule microphone has also received a big change, utilizing changeable directivity to recognize and prioritize audio capture from the direction of a subject. The ZV-1 was plagued with poor audio quality when users tried to talk behind the camera, so this change serves as the remedy.
The ZV-1 II also sports improved touch controls, which include smartphone-like swiping gestures to access the shooting menu and other basic settings. Also noteworthy is the addition of the Cinematic Vlog setting, which is a compilation of presets for creatives looking to output cinematic content without getting too technical.
Sony has also done away with the Micro USB on the ZV-1 in favor of a USB-C input for greater convenience and ease of use. This makes the ZV-1 II more viable as a streaming camera to work alongside the more common USB-C peripherals.
Many of the favored features in the ZV-1 have remained for the ZV-1 II, so you can look forward to more upgrades than downgrades if you are considering this new camera. Like the ZV-1, it makes for a fantastic everyday camera to slip into your pocket and is probably the better option for vlogging over the ZV-1.
Released in 2022, the Sony ZV-1F is the last of the 1.0-type sensor cameras before we move on to the heavier hitters. Sony designed the ZV-1F to be “your first content creation camera,” with the simplest operation if your only prior experience is your smartphone camera.
This camera is the smallest, lightest, and most affordable of the entire vlogging fleet. With a 20mm equivalent fixed prime wide-angle lens, this camera cannot optically zoom like the other cameras in Sony’s vlogging fleet. Rather, it has a digital zoom that works much like the zoom on a smartphone camera. This quality also contributes to the camera’s lower price point.
At 20mm, users can enjoy a wide field of view that lends itself to recording comfortably at arm’s length. The camera lens can get a lot of footage in the frame, making it an all-around great choice for vlogging.
The ZV-1F also features many of the presets and effects found in Sony's previous cameras. Product showcasing, in-camera editing controls, and simple connectivity between the camera and your smartphone are just a few of the many features this camera has to offer.
The ZV-1F does have its limitations. Lacking more sophisticated features such as S-Log3/2 and HLG picture profiles support, it can only take you so far outside of the vlogging realm. But if you are just looking for a powerful basic vlogging camera, this is a solid bet.
Released in 2021, the ZV-E10 was the first Alpha series camera of the vlogging fleet. This camera enters mirrorless territory, with an interchangeable lens mount and a large APS-C sensor for improved image quality and greater control over your work.
If you have never worked with a mirrorless camera before, don’t let its operation deter you. In fact, the ZV-E10 is a great introduction to mirrorless cameras, because it still incorporates many of the same design choices, presets, and shooting modes that make Sony's previous vlogging cameras so easy to use.
This is a big selling point for the ZV-E10. The other big feature is its flexibility. The ability to swap lenses is useful for creators who want more variegated content. New vloggers can opt for the simple but flexible 16-50mm lens kit and be ready to go, while more seasoned creators might carry an additional one or two lenses, depending on the project.
This feature also has its drawbacks. Lenses can be expensive, and they take up a lot of space. You will likely need to purchase one or two e-mount lenses of your own, as well as a carrying bag for your gear. However, the ZV-E10 with the added essentials will still be less expensive than many mirrorless cameras on the market. And it’s a good camera.
Outfitted with an APS-C sensor that is 3x larger than the 1" sensors we have seen so far, the ZV-E10 offers superb image quality, exceptional low-light performance, and a beautiful blur effect without needing to rely on the defocus button. It also supports UHD 4K video recording up to 30p and has extensive customizable color and gamma controls. It is, of course, still decked out with all the features and presets for vlogging we have seen in our previous cameras.
Offering untold potential, the ZV-E10 is a great camera if you are looking for a flexible option to grow with as a creator. Our only tip is to consider its practicality between the additional cost of lenses and needing to carry around a camera bag.
Last, but certainly not least, is the ZV-E1. Released in March of 2023, this camera is the first in Sony’s vlogging lineup to be full frame, pulling impressive specs straight from top-of-the-line professional cameras.
It completely departs from the entry-level sphere with the cinema-style inner-workings of Sony’s A7S III. Featuring a full-frame 12MP Exmor R CMOS sensor and a BIONZ XR image processor, the ZV-E1 yields beautiful cinematic quality. It is also one of the smallest cameras available with an interchangeable lens mount. The impressive hardware and size don’t come cheap—the ZV-E1 is the most expensive camera in Sony’s vlogging fleet.
Prospective buyers might be drawn to this camera for its power and customizability, while retaining familiar vlogging features. With UHD 4K recording at up to 120p, the ZV-E1 uses a full 1:1 pixel readout without binning. Its improved heat-dissipating construction allows for long recording times without overheating. Users can also enjoy advanced color control, with S-Cinetone, customizable color and gamma controls, as well as the option to apply your own LUTs.
The ZV-E1 also benefits from an even more powerful AI processing unit. It enhances the quality of the vlogging functions like Product Showcase and Background Defocus, as well as features like auto cropping, framing, and stabilization. This camera also features presets like the Cinematic Vlog setting that we have seen in the ZV-1 II.
If you are a new creator looking for the best of the best, the ZV-E1 is a good choice. Between the simplified menu and various presets, you can easily access insane cinematic video quality without knowing too much about cameras. However, this camera also has immense professional value for someone with know-how to shoot while enjoying the convenience of automated effects.
Overall, it is evident that Sony has gone to great lengths to build a diverse and user-friendly product line. Offering something for everyone, it might be hard to decide which camera you like the best. Of course, we have only scratched the surface as far as features, specs, and notable attributes are concerned. If you found a camera interesting, we encourage you to click through for a more extensive overview.
Do you own a camera from Sony’s vlogging series? If you don’t have a vlogging camera, do you see yourself getting one in the future? Let us know your thoughts in the Comments section, below.