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Sony’s pocket-sized ZV-1 vlogging camera is a lightweight, compact digital camera designed for content creators and vloggers. It is no issue slipping into your jeans or winter coat pocket to accompany you to a family member’s birthday party, a product launch event, or holiday trip, as it measures in at 105.5 x 60.0 x 43.5 mm and weighs around 294g with the battery and memory card inserted. The one downside about the pocketable size is a resultant compact battery that will run out of juice before you want it to. Sony’s official claimes state around 260 stills or 45 minutes of video recording, but we found both of those to be rather optimistic.

The ZV-1 boasts a 1.0-type stacked Exmor RS CMOS image sensor with DRAM chip and 24-70m F1.8-2.8 ZEISS Vario-Sonnar T large-aperture lens, meaning it is capable of creating beautiful background bokeh (background blur). For this purpose, the bokeh button is located on top of the camera, making it easily accessible especially when taking selfies.

Another handy feature is the ZV-1’s Product Showcase Setting that allows for quick and smooth focus transitions between the subject’s face and the object in front of the lens, while a new Face Priority auto-exposure (AE) function ensures the subject’s face is depicted at an ideal brightness in any environment. According to Sony, the camera features advanced colour science re-engineered to optimise skin tones and we can attest to the fact that it definitely helps you take enhanced selfies. Video recording on the other hand is bolstered by the fact that this little pocket-rocket is capable of 4K movie recording and sports a Vari-angle LCD screen that facilitates both selfies and vlogging since you can flip it around to face forward.

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The ZV-1 also works with a wonderful wireless control grip since the ZV-1 is compatible with Bluetooth. The Sony Bluetooth wireless shooting grip consequently offers cable-free control of zoom, recording and still captures, and in addition, it expands into a mini-tripod for stable hands-free shots which is ideal for product review type video shooting.

Gamers and especially gaming streamers who utilise services like Twitch and YouTube Gaming will also love the fact that the ZV-1 can be employed to do this via a single cable. To use the ZV-1 as an external camera, you simply connect it to a PC using a USB Type-C cable connection. This allows you to use the ZV-1 for a high-quality live-streaming, and by taking advantage of its 1-inch sensor, you will get clearer footage even in a dimly lit environment. Also, you can use the Directional Three-Capsule Mic for clear voice recording even while streaming (helping with this is the dead cat that our review unit came with which is really useful for outdoor shooting and within windy settings).

Final word

All of this comes at a cost though, as the ZV-1 tips the recommended retail pricing scales at a hefty R 16 999. It is well worth it if you are a YouTuber, vlogger, content creator extraordinaire (even one in the making) and need the best in class camera that will make shooting excellent, high-quality videos and stills easy.