Sony’s New ZV-1 Mark II Vlogging Cam Brings in a Wider 18-50mm Lens

ZV-1 Mark II

Sony has announced the ZV-1 Mark II, a revamped version of its compact ZV-1 vlogging camera that was announced in 2020.

Sony ZV-1 Mark II Design

Like its predecessor, the Sony ZV-1 II features an RX100-like design tweaked with video content creators in mind. The ZV-1 II weighs 292 grams (10.3 ounces) with its battery and a memory card inserted. The camera’s dimensions (width x height x depth) are 105.5 x 60 x 46.7 millimeters (4.2 x 2.4 x 1.8 inches).

Unlike the photography-focused RX100 Mark VII, the Sony ZV-1 II lacks a pop-up electronic viewfinder, and users must instead rely upon the vlogging camera’s large 3.0-type TFT touch panel vari-angle LCD screen. The display sports 921.6K dots and flips around to act as a self-facing screen, ideal for selfie video creation.

Compact Sensor for a Compact Camera

The ZV-1 II uses a Type 1 Exmor RS image sensor. The 20.1-megapixel stacked image sensor promises fast readout and good image quality performance. While not as large as the APS-C image sensor found in the Sony ZV-E10 vlogging camera, or the massive full-frame sensor in the new Sony ZV-E1, the Type 1 sensor in the ZV-1 II is still larger than typical smartphone image sensors and the camera promises to deliver better bokeh and background defocusing than smartphones without relying on artificial blurring that often looks unnatural.

Video Modes Highlighted by 4K/30p

The stacked sensor allows for 4K/30p video and Full HD video at up to 120p frame rates. The camera also includes Sony’s Slow & Quick video mode, which allows for slow and fast-motion video.

Concerning video recording modes, the ZV-1 II includes S-Log3 gamma curves and S-Gamut3.Cine color for post-production editing. For users that don’t want to perform post-production and prefer achieving their desired look in camera, the ZV-1 II includes My Image Style, Creative Look, and a Cinematic Vlog setting to deliver fine-tuned, custom results without post-production on a computer.

The camera’s Cinematic Vlog setting activates specific settings to achieve a cinematic look, including a 2.35:1 cinema scope aspect ratio and 24p (23.98p) frame rate. These settings are fixed, while users can adjust “Look” and “Mood,” which changes contrast, saturation, and color tone. Users can also shift the autofocus transition speed between high, mid, and low speeds.

ZV-1 Mark II

Creative Look works for stills and movies and offers users 10 “Creative Look” options with eight selectable parameters each. My Image Style applies a user’s visual preferences to stills and videos.

In a similar spirit, Sony has given the ZV-1 II special features to make capturing high-quality videos easier for users of all skills. The camera includes a Bokeh switch and Product Showcase Setting that automatically adjusts various camera settings for specific use cases. Users can take manual control if they want, but for users who want a no-fuss experience, the camera includes buttons and controls to dial in ideal settings automatically.

Autofocus and Stabilization

Part of quickly capturing good videos is reliable autofocus. The ZV-1 II promises fast, precise phase-detection autofocus with Multiple Face Recognition, Real-time Tracking AF, and Real-time Eye AF for human and non-human animals. The camera also includes Face Priority Auto Exposure, which sets exposure to ensure that a tracked face looks good.

ZV-1 Mark II

The ZV-1 II includes electronic image stabilization to help footage stay smooth when shooting handheld, even while walking. Active Mode Image Stabilization promises the best performance, and relevant movement metadata works alongside Sony’s Catalyst Prepare/Browse/Plugin to help with image stabilization added during post-production.

ZV-1 II’s New Lens is the Widest of its Kind

The Sony ZV-1 II features a new 18-50mm f/1.8-4 equivalent lens. The 18mm focal length is the widest of any compact camera with a Type 1 image sensor.

ZV-1 Mark II

The new lens is a significant differentiator between the ZV-1 Mark II and its predecessor, which used a 24-70mm f/1.8-2.8 equivalent lens. The ZV-1 II trades reach for a wider focal length and also gives up a bit of speed at its long end.

It remains to be seen if this is a worthwhile change. Sony argues that the wider field of view is essential for video content creation, especially for users filming at arm’s length or trying to get themselves and their friends in the scene, especially when shooting in an intimate indoor setting.

Additional Video-Centric Features

The Sony ZV-1 Mark II includes a high-quality, intelligent three-directional mic with a supplied windscreen. The camera has a built-in three-stop neutral density (ND) filter to help achieve desired shutter speeds at fast apertures in bright conditions, such as when shooting outside.

ZV-1 Mark II

The camera also promises an improved user interface that borrows from smartphone UI design, mic input and headphone output, SuperSpeed 5Ghz USB-C, video self-timer functionality, UVC/UAC streaming support, and a wide range of accessibility features such as a screen reader, focus magnifier, peaking display, touch focus/tracking/shutter/AE, and customizable functions and controls.

Pricing and Availability

The Sony ZV-1 II will be available in mid-June for $899.99, about a $100 price increase over the ZV-1’s launch price in June 2020 and now about $150 more than you can find the ZV-1 for today.

Image credits: Sony