Sony ZV-1: This little video camera is almost perfect

Looking for the best camera for making YouTube videos, without breaking the bank? This could be it.

Lexy Savvides Principal Video Producer
Lexy is an on-air presenter and award-winning producer who covers consumer tech, including the latest smartphones, wearables and emerging trends like assistive robotics. She's won two Gold Telly Awards for her video series Beta Test. Prior to her career at CNET, she was a magazine editor, radio announcer and DJ. Lexy is based in San Francisco.
Expertise Wearables | Smartwatches | Mobile phones | Photography | Health tech | Assistive robotics Credentials
  • Webby Award honoree, 2x Gold Telly Award winner
Lexy Savvides

When Sony first revealed the ZV-1, YouTube was flooded with reviews saying it was the "perfect" or "ultimate" camera for vlogging. So, as a content creator who's found herself working from home because of the coronavirus pandemic, I had to put it to the test.

After having used this $750 (£699, AU$1,299) camera for a number of my videos, I have to say it really does live up to the hype. But there are some caveats. Watch my review, along with plenty of samples from the ZV-1, in the video above.

Some of the features that content creators will love:

  • Background defocus button: just a fancy way of saying stopping down the aperture to achieve a blurred background effect.
  • Product showcase mode: hold up an object in front of the camera and it'll snap focus quickly and effectively.
  • Eye-tracking AF: accurate and effective for ensuring you're in focus when you're in the frame.
  • Slow motion effects: normally reserved for more expensive Sony cameras , and the results at all the frame rates, but especially 960fps, are really cool.

But it's not all smooth sailing:

  • Battery life: it just doesn't last long enough if you shoot 4K.
  • Stabilization: while very good, it's not quite at the level of smoothness from a high-end smartphone like the iPhone 11 Pro.