Sony has announced the ZV-E1, a new full-frame interchangeable lens mirrorless camera which uses the same 12MP sensor as the Sony Alpha A7S III. It’s designed to bridge the gap between cameras such as the Sony ZV-E10, (and the compact Sony ZV-1 and ZV-1F) and more advanced models such as the Sony A7S III, FX30 and FX3, and is aimed at content creators.
According to Sony, the ZV-E1 is the world’s smallest full-frame interchangeable lens camera with IBIS – in-body image stabilisation.
Although the Sony ZV-E1 can capture stills, its primary purpose is video creation and it has a number of features to make content creation easier. As it uses the same 12MP full-frame sensor as the A7S III, it should produce results on a par with the popular filmmaker’s camera, with similar low light capability, 15+ EV dynamic range and an ISO setting range of 80-102,400. It also shares a lot of the AI-powered capability of the Sony Alpha A7R V.
The Sony ZV-E1 is capable of shooting 4K or Full HD video with 10-bit 4:2:2 colour in All-intra. At launch, the camera can shoot 4K video at up to 60p, but in June a free firmware update will boost this to 4K at 120p and take Full HD up to 240P in S&Q mode.
The ZV-E1 introduces a new Cinematic Vlog mode in which the camera’s aspect ratio is set to 2.35:1 and the frame rate is fixed at 24p (23.98p). There are also 5 ‘Looks’ available; S-Cinetone, Clean, Chic, Fresh and Mono. These can be combined with 4 ‘Moods’, Auto, Gold (warm), Ocean (cool) and Forest (green), to give footage a range of appearances.
Experienced users can also use the S-Log profile with assignable LUTs to get the look they want for their footage, however, it’s not possible to record raw video.
Like Sony’s other recent cameras, the ZV-E1 features Focus Breathing Compensation, Focus Map, Focus Assist, AF Transition speed adjustment and AF Subject Shift Sensitivity control to help ensure the correct subject is sharp and changes in focus are smooth.
Like the A7R V, the ZV-E1 has a dedicated AI processing unit to help with subject detection and focusing. It can be set to detect humans, animals, birds, insects and cars/trains, aeroplanes, and Sony’s Human Pose Estimation technology is on hand to help the camera recognise and track humans in the frame when shooting stills or video.
The ZV-E1 also introduces a new feature called ‘Framing Stabiliser’ in which I crops the image from 4K to keep the subject in the same position in the output frame. This can be set to use a small, medium or larger crop. Sony’s spokesperson was unable to comment on the resolution of the output but said that he did not expect it to be lower than Full HD.
It’s also possible to simultaneously output the uncropped footage to an external recording device connected via the miniHDMI port. The cropped version is stored on the SD card in the camera.
There’s also Sony’s Active digital stabilisation and Dynamic Active Stabilisation, with the latter boosting the stabilisation capability for following moving subjects.
Sony’s Bokeh Switch and Product Showcase modes are also available to help content creators keep the focus on the desired subject. Meanwhile, Multiple Face Recognition enables the camera to adjust the aperture (bokeh) setting and focus automatically when a second person enters the frame so that they are also sharp.
Additional video features
Sony has given the ZV-E1 a dedicated video menu screen which shows all the key features that you’re likely to want to be able to adjust including frame rate, aperture, ISO, white balance and shutter speed, all of which can be selected by a tap on the screen ready for adjustment.
Sony has also upgraded the microphone on the ZV-E1. It has a 3-capsule mic that can be set to record from the in front of the camera, behind the camera or from all directions.
Other video features include a 3.5mm microphone jack as well as a headphone port and a tally lamp plus a red frame display to make it clear from in front and behind the camera when it is recording.
The ZV-1 can also stream live at up to 4K 30p or FHD 60p and it’s compatible with Sony’s Creators’ smartphone app which enables remote control over the camera as well as file uploading and management.
Sony ZV-E1 price and availability
The Sony ZV-E1 price is $2199.99 / £2,350 / €2,700 body only and £2,600 / €3,000 with the 28-60mm kit lens. It goes on sale in April.
Camera type: Full-frame mirrorless
Lens mount: Sony E
Announced: 29th March 2023
Sensor: Full-frame 12.1Mp BSI CMOS
Processing engine: Advanced BIONZ XR
Sensitivity: ISO 80-102,400 expandable ISO 40-409,600
Autofocus system: Hybrid with up to 759 phase detection points for stills and 627 for video
Subject detection: Humans, Animals, Birds, Vehicles and Trains, Aeroplanes, Insects
Video resolution: At launch: 4K at up 60fps and 1080p at 120fps, June firmware: 4K at 120p and 1080p at 240p
4K Video details: 10-bit and 4:2:2 colour
Video compression: XAVC S: MPEG-4 AVC/H.264, XAVC HS: MPEG-H HEVC/H.265
Screen: 3-inch 1,036,800-dot vari-angle TFT touchscreen
Stabilisation: 5-axis with up to 5EV shutter speed compensation, Modes: Still images: On / Off, Movie: Dynamic active / Active / Standard / Off
Storage: Single SD/SDHC/SDXC (UHS-II)
Dimensions (W x H x D): 121 x 71.9 x 54.3mm
Weight: 399g / 14.1oz