Sony has announced the highly anticipated ZV-1 compact camera, a well-priced and straightforward device optimized for vlogging. It has the same CMOS sensor, 4K HDR capabilities, and fancy autofocus features as the popular RX100 VII camera, but costs just $800 and sports some unique design changes for people who need to shoot high-quality video of themselves.
Using the ZV-1 should feel natural to content creators, thanks to its adjustable digital viewfinder, front-facing recording light, and large buttons. It also has a beefy grip to help keep selfie-style footage stable, a mount for typical tripods or the Sony Shooting Grip, and a MI Hotshoe for small, passive microphones (which don’t need to be charged or externally powered). The ZV-1 also has a built-in 3-microphone array and a 3.5 mm jack for conventional mics.
But the ZV-1 isn’t just a super-comfortable selfie camera. Unlike other cameras at this price, it has a wide f/1.8 aperture to help you stand out from the background, and a built-in neutral density filter to make shooting in bright light easier. It also has a unique Background Defocus mode, which automatically blurs your surroundings for a professional bokeh effect, and a Product Showcase mode that tells the camera to focus on whatever’s closest to the lens, rather than focusing on your face.
Like Sony’s RX100 cameras, the ZV-1 is also great for filming across lighting environments. You can start shooting in a dim room and walk outside without experiencing any bloom or over-exposure effects. Even if you’re a professional with a bulky $3,000 camera rig, the ZV-1’s compact size and amazing auto-exposure capabilities are hard to ignore.
But the ZV-1 has a few quirks that you might not expect at this price. Manual focus is done from a dial on the back of the camera, not from the lens. Also, there’s no built-in flash (you can attach one), and the camera charges via Micro USB, not USB-C.
The ZV-1 usually sells for $800, but Sony is running a special $750 offer until June 28th. According to Sony, orders for the camera will start shipping on June 11th.