Sony ZV-1: Thoughts

sony zv-1

Sony ZV-1 is an upcoming point-at-shoot camera, aimed at vloggers. It will be announced next week, but we already know what it looks like. We also know some of the specs. I was thinking about writing a bit about the camera, its core target and what Sony could improve with the Sony ZV-2.

So what is the Sony ZV-1? It’s a pocket camera for vloggers who cherish portability above everything else. It has a flip-out display, mic input, an improved onboard microphone, a Zeiss 24-70mm f/1.8-2.8 lens, and a bigger record button.

More important than what it has is what it needs to have: a purpose. Sony can’t just say it’s for vloggers, strap a 1″ sensor and a mic jack and call it a day. It has to do better than that. This small camera is obviously aimed at vloggers that are currently using a smartphone to record their daily life.

Some smartphones can record 4K60p and take more than decent photos. They also are capable of editing media. They’re the whole package. Sony aims to impress by using a bigger sensor, its top-notch autofocus system and better handling. The problem is Sony missed the mark on other features.

For instance, the ZV-1 is still rocking a micro-USB port. In a world where everybody is going the USB-C path, Sony is stuck in the past. The benefits of USB-C are obvious: faster transfer speeds, audio out, and the possibility of using the camera as a webcam without installing all sorts of apps. Sony decided otherwise.

Sony ZV-1 is probably using 2.4GHz WiFi, so going wireless for transfers isn’t great if you need to transfer videos or RAWs. Mobile vloggers are not a patient bunch. Using old tech won’t convince them to switch.

Then there’s the issue of price: we don’t know it yet. However, 1″ Sony point-and-shoots are not cheap. New models cost at least $1000. There are a couple of problems here: vloggers who believe $1000 for a smartphone is too expensive won’t jump on the Sony ZV-1. The second issue: there’s always the problem of buying a better camera for the money, lens included.

Sony could sell the ZV-1 for less, but they most likely won’t turn a profit. With a camera market that’s nearly collapsed, Sony doesn’t need to lose more money. So what should they do?

I think the ZV-1 will find its niche and Sony could vastly improve the second generation. Getting USB-C on board is the first thing.

The second one is a bit courageous for cameras: ditch the SD card slot and swap it for internal flash storage. The price per GB is less than 10 cents on Amazon. Sony could get it for much less, but for the sake of the argument, let’s just say adding 128 GB of flash storage would cost just $12.8. And it would make the whole user experience more reliable. And transfers would be faster. Recording 4K at 100Mb/s should be good for 160 minutes. They could add a 256GB model and sell it for $100 more.

Last but not least – give the Sony ZV-2 5GHz WiFi. People don’t carry cables with them all the time. The smartphone will continue to be king when it comes to mobile editing. That’s why I don’t think the Zeiss ZX1 is the way to go, but that’s another article.

Final thought: I can’t wait to see this new camera from Sony. It may have some flaws, but it shows Sony is willing to release something new once in a while.

Photos via Nokishita

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