- 20.1MP 1.0″ Stacked CMOS Sensor
- 2.7X Optical Zoom: 18-50mm F1.8-4.0
- Product Showcase Setting
- 3″ 921.6K dots Vari-angle Touch LCD
- Directional mic with wind screen
- 4K/30P & 1080/120P Video
- Built-in Wi-Fi, Bluetooth
QUICKFACT SHEETSony’s vlog camera gets better with the new Sony ZV-1 II. While photographers criticized the previous ZV-1 vlog camera with its 24-70mm (equiv.) lens as not being wide enough to include the vlogger and surrounding, non-photographers vloggers around the world couldn’t care less and made the ZV-1 one of the best selling vlog camera ever. The ZV-1 is compact, a no-brainer to use and gives great videos. Now, with the Sony ZV-1 II which has a wider 18-50mm (equiv.) lens that easily includes the vlogger and surrounding, even photographers can stop griping and get on board.
The ZV-1 II is everything the ZV-1 is, plus a wider zoom lens (plus a better touchscreen interface). Like the ZV-1, it features 20.1MP resolution on a 1-inch stacked CMOS sensor. Note that the ZV-1 II is not a mirrorless camera (since the lens is not interchangeable), but a compact camera with a fixed zoom lens. The lens has a 2.7x optical zoom with a 18-50mm (equiv.) wide-angle to portrait range, and a F1.8-4.0 aperture. At the back, the 3-inch 921K-dot Touchscreen LCD is Vari-angle (i.e. fully-articulating) and can, of course, face forward for selfies.
When you’re vlogging, you want your face (and especially eyes) to be in sharp focus even as you walk around. The ZV-1 II features Sony’s famous Eye AF tracking. Though other camera brands also tout their Eye AF, none can claim Sony’s level of precision and persistent “glue factor.” The ZV-1 II Eye AF tracking means you do not have to ever worry about blurred faces again.
But what happens when you want to show your audience something, say a product? Since you are probably using Face/Eye AF already on your smartphone or other camera, you’ll then need to hide your face so the camera focuses on the product. With the Sony ZV-1 II, the camera smoothly and automatically switches focus from your eye to that product as soon as you put that product before the camera’s lens. The ZV-1 II’s “Product Showcase Setting” prioritizes nearby object and will perform a fast and precise focus transition from you to your featured product (without you having to hide your face), and then back again to focusing on your face/eye when you remove the product from before the camera. This one feature alone should convince many of you who showcase products in your videos to use the ZV-1 II.
Not everyone can have a clean background in their home studio or when you are walking in the street. Some software will electronically blur the background so it does not distract from you. But, that usually comes at a cost and if you move too fast, weird artifacts display. The ZV-1 II has a “Background Defocus” button right on top of the camera. Press it and the camera will open the aperture to its maximum setting (from F1.8 to F4.0, depending on the focal length you are filming with) — no filter or digital effect here, but real optical defocusing. Since opening up the aperture in bright light might cause over-exposure, the ZV-1 II is smart enough to automatically adjust the ISO down and even kick in the built-in 3 steps ND (neutral-density) filter to obtain correct exposure.
Video is recorded in 4K/30p, and slow-mo effects can be done in 1080/120p. The ZV-1 II inexplicably loses the optical image stabilization that was in the ZV-1. The video can be digitally image stabilized, but an additional crop factor (23mm equiv.) is applied, which kinds of defeat the whole purpose of having the wider lens to start with.
The ergonomics of the ZV-1 II has been tooled specifically for holding with your left hand outstretched before you, allowing you to easily start filming with a press of a large video button with the index finger and control the zooming with your thumb. If you are a walk-about vlogger, you will probably also want to purchase the optional Bluetooth wireless shooting grip GV-VPT2BT. Get a discount if you purchase it as a kit.
That fuzzy thing on top of the camera is not a microphone, but a “deadcat” windscreen placed on top of the directional three-capsule mic (by attaching onto the MI shoe) to cut out noise caused by windy conditions when shooting outdoors. If you need more professional (and directed) sound recording, you can also attach an external shotgun microphone (e.g., the ECM-G1, US $149.99) onto the MI shoe.
If you are looking for a turnkey vlog camera for either webstreaming or walk-about vlogging, I would highly recommend the Sony ZV-1 II. (If you are looking for a mirrorless camera for still photography, look elsewhere.) The ZV-1 II is compact and portable, records great image and sound without requiring you to know any complex setup. You can now easily take group selfies at arms length. The built-in Intelligent 3-Capsule Mic can automatically switch the direction of the mic toward a human face, and the windscreen cuts out on the wind noise outdoors. You’ll be ready to go as soon as you unpack the ZV-1 II from its box. The ZV-1 II can also be used as a high-quality web camera just by connecting a compatible device via USB. And, if you review products, the Product Showcase Setting in itself is worth the price. Plus, with Sony’s industry-leading tenacious Face/Eye AF, you won’t have to worry about out-of-focus images anymore. I would recommend the Sony ZV-1 II kit (i.e. Sony ZV-1 II camera plus Bluetooth wireless shooting grip GV-VPT2BT) because it is currently the best one-stop option.
|SONY ZV-1 II SPECS AT A GLANCE (MAY 23, 2023)
|COMPACT VLOG, 1-INCH
|1-INCH STACKED CMOS
|18-50MM (EQUIV.) F1.8-4.0
|315 POINTS; HUMAN, ANIMAL
|3″ 921.6K DOTS, VARI-ANGLE TOUCH
|STILL: N/A; MOVIE: DIGITAL
|ELECTRONIC ONLY: 1/32000 SEC. – 1/4 SEC.
|10 FPS / 24 FPS
|SD (ONE UHS-II SLOT)
|3.5MM DIAMETER STEREO MINI JACK
|WI-FI, BLUETOOTH, USB TYPE-C, HDMI MICRO CONNECTOR (TYPE-D)
|INTERVAL SHOOT, BUILT-IN ND FILTER
|105.5 X 60.0 X 46.7 MM (4-1/4 X 2-3/8 X 1-7/8 IN)
|292 G (10.3 OZ)
|US $899.99 / CAD $1,200
|SONY ZV-1 II
Pre-order/Buy the Sony ZV-1 II Vlog camera and accessories from our Trusted Sponsor B&H Photo-Video, the Professional’s Source, satisfying millions of customers for over 35 years (prices are in USD):
- Sony ZV-1 II Press Release
- Sony ZV-1 II Technical Specs
- Sony ZV-1 II Instruction Manual
- Sony ZV-1 II Software & App Download
- Sony ZV-1 II Firmware Updates
|SONY ZV-1 II (US)
|SONY ZV-1 II (CAN)