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By now, we’re all very much used to how new camera announcements and releases go online. For every new camera comes a ton of new YouTube uploads from all our favorite creators and filmmakers — to the point where you might even start to get a bit numb to it all and no longer click. It feels like there’s a new camera every day and the market is incredibly saturated.
That’s what makes the announcement of the Sony ZV-E1 so interesting. Amongst all this noise and in a market where we’ve maybe stopped caring as much, it’s managed to stand out and create a genuine stir among the creator community. What is it about the Sony ZV-E1 that’s so impressive? Why does it warrant all the hype we’ve been seeing online in recent weeks? Let’s take a closer look.
What makes a good vlogging camera?
First of all, before we dive into the Sony ZV-E1, it’s handy to refresh our minds over what really makes a great vlogging camera. Each and every camera is different, but there are some key features that you’ll find in any popular model used for vlogging.
If you’re vlogging, you’ll need to film in at least full 1080p HD for YouTube, as this is the standard minimum. If you’re after an even crisper, higher quality video, and more longevity, aim for 4K as this is quickly becoming the new standard.
Chances are you’ll be on the move a lot while filming your vlogs for YouTube. Carrying around a huge, heavy camera is probably not ideal. Therefore, most great vlogging cameras are small, compact, and lightweight. They need to be something that you can bring anywhere with ease.
As a result of size, sacrifices are often made. Usually, the sensor is smaller which will impact your camera’s low-light performance. If you’re filming a lot indoors or at night, you should always keep this in mind. Fortunately, as the technology and cameras develop, we’re seeing more and more progress in this area.
It’s essential that your vlogging camera has clean, crisp audio. If possible, it should have a mic input option. While built-in microphones are improving each year, we’d still always opt to mount an external mic. The difference it makes is huge.
When it comes to picking the best vlogging camera, the fully-articulating flip screen (we like “flippy screen”) is absolutely essential. When you’re filming yourself, you want to be able to check your framing, focus and audio simply by glancing to the right of the lens. A fully-articulating flip screen allows you to pull the screen out and turn it around in whichever way you like.
Alongside the “flippy screen”, a powerful, reliable, and easy-to-use facial recognition is going to be really important when filming yourself. You want your camera to be able to track and stay focused on your face so that you can spend less time worrying about what’s in focus or whether you need to tweak any settings — and more time focused on what you’re saying.
When you’re vlogging, chances are that you’ll be filming a lot, all day long. Any vlogging camera that’s worth it will have great, reliable battery life. You don’t want to be spending your day worrying over how much battery you have left (impacting your creativity), or worse yet, ending up with a load of dead batteries and no way of finishing your video.
When you’re shooting handheld with minimal equipment, there are going to be some shakes and quirks in the footage. If your vlogging camera has in-built stabilization of some sort, you can minimize that impact as much as possible.
Remember that when you pick a certain brand, you’re not just picking a camera body, but also a specific group of lenses. You’ll want to ensure you have access to wide angles with low f-stops for more light. If these lenses also have in-built stabilization, then that’s a huge plus!
While you want to ensure you capture beautiful, high-quality footage, you don’t want to take out a mortgage to do it, right? Ideally, a vlogging camera doesn’t cost that much in comparison to a cinematic beast like the RED’s or Arri’s of the world.
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Why the Sony ZV-E1 may just be perfect…
With all of those requirements in mind, let’s turn our attention to the Sony ZV-E1. How does it stack up? What’s all the fuss about here?
First of all, when it comes to resolution, the Sony ZV-E1 delivers in spades. It has a 12MP full-frame CMOS sensor with no mechanical shutter, able to shoot UHD 4K video at up to 60p without the need to crop in. In simpler terms, the video quality is beautiful — it’s the same sensor borrowed from its bigger cousins such as the Sony FX3 or Sony A7SIII. Big tick. This also means that it can handle low-light situations with ease — something Sony cameras have become renowned for in recent years.
When it comes to stabilization, the Sony ZV-E1 excels. The camera comes with in-built, buttery-smooth, 5-axis image stabilization along with a slew of different stabilization modes. Alongside “standard mode” you’ve got “active mode” that crops in to use both sensor-shift and digital stabilization. Then there’s the “dynamic active” mode that crops in further, allowing the digital stabilization more range to correct even bigger shakes and movements (giving the effect of filming on a gimbal). Another mode, “auto-framing”, basically enables the camera to track and follow you around the screen, making it look as if you’re being filmed by someone else.
Other things we’ve been really impressed by include the audio quality. Sony is rather proud of their “intelligent 3 capsule microphone” and it’s not hard to see why. Depending on which way the camera is facing, what it’s capturing, and where the audio is coming from, the in-built microphone can capture audio more directly from the front or rear of the camera — something that’s super useful considering how much you’re turning the camera around when vlogging. On top of this, there’s also an external mic port and hotshoe.
In terms of size, the Sony ZV-E1 also gets a tick. It only weighs 483g (just over 1lb) and is perfect for carrying around with you at all times. Without the lens attached, it feels very much like a point-and-shoot. And yes, it has a fully-articulating flippy screen. Of course it does.
Battery life is solid (it uses the Sony NP-FZ100 which should give 95 minutes of recording) and because it’s full frame, you have access to some of Sony’s greatest lenses. Granted, these can be expensive and sometimes vastly outweigh and outsize the actual camera body, but they’re beautifully crisp — some of the best on the market.
Lastly…price. The Sony ZV-E1 price is really, really competitive. The body on its own is selling for $2200 and with a 28-80mm F4-5.6 included for $2500. Considering everything you get in this little package, it’s a great deal.
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Other camera options
Of course, it’s always good to have options and in the world of the mirrorless camera (or, just cameras in general), there are plenty. When researching for the perfect vlogging camera, there are a few other options you’ll want to consider alongside the Sony ZV-E1.
We’ve just directly compared this with the ZV-E1 and it’s an exceptional vlogging camera in its own right. Sony created this with vlogging in mind and it shows. If you can’t quite afford the price tag of the brand-new ZV-E1, the ZV-E10 is a really good bet.
This compact and powerful camera is perfect for a lot of vlogging needs. Despite its tiny size (great for travel), it has a hot shoe, mic port, flippy screen, and a great 24-70mm built-in lens. As expected with Sony, its face detection and autofocus are class-leading.
Panasonic Lumix GH6
This is a bit of a premium option but with a larger price tag comes many, many features. The GH6 is a real workhorse. Not only could you vlog with this, but it’ll cover a lot of professional needs too. It has a huge arsenal of formats, frame rates, and resolutions, all packed into a rugged, weatherproof body that’s light and compact.
GoPro Hero 11 Black
GoPro likes to market their Hero series as “the world’s most versatile camera” and they may have a point. While it’s not perfect for every situation and certainly has its limits, the new Hero 11 Black packs a real punch and can be relied on for vlogging, even when you’re underwater. With a much smaller price tag, it can be a great alternative for those adventurous, active, and outdoors-loving vloggers among us.
So, that’s all you need to know about the Sony ZV-E1 and why it may indeed just be the perfect vlogging camera right now. Having read this article, you can understand why it’s caused a stir amongst creators and why so many are considering it as the next purchase, especially considering the Sony ZV-E1 price is so competitive.. We suspect rivals and competitors are sweating double-time over this. How do you keep up? How can you do better? No doubt, there’ll be plenty more interesting camera releases as the year goes on…
Whichever vlogging camera you decide to pick up, why not enhance your production with Artlist’s royalty-free music and footage? Our library has thousands of great music tracks to suit all films and genres, as well as plenty of stock footage to compliment your new Sony ZV-E1 clips! There are also tons of motion graphic templates and sound effects to add that extra layer of polish and detail that takes your film to the next level.