Sony ZV-1M II: A Compact Camera for Content Creators | Sony ZV-1M II Features

Avatar publsher | May 25, 2023

Sony ZV-1M II camera for content creators

The Sony ZV-1M II: Tailored for Content Creators and Fits Effortlessly in Your Pocket

A novel category of camera has recently emerged, meticulously crafted to cater to the needs of content creators. Enter the pocket-sized masterpiece from Sony, which has undergone a substantial upgrade in the form of the Sony ZV-1M II.

The original Sony ZV-1M triumphed in the realm of content creation, but, as with any device, there remained room for refinement. Sony attentively heeded the feedback of users for its preceding ZV-1M model, striving to bestow upon them an all-encompassing camera experience. Among the primary requests was the integration of a broader lens suitable for handheld vlogging. Thus, with the advent of the new Sony ZV-1M II, Sony opted for an innovative and enhanced 18-50mm f/1.8-f/4 lens, seamlessly addressing this need. As a fixed lens camera, I perceive this focal range as an admirable compromise, granting users the versatility of a wide-angle lens for vlogging while still retaining the capacity to capture videos and photos with a more focused perspective—all while maintaining its diminutive form. While I would have cherished a constant f/1.8 aperture or a less dramatic variation in aperture, I comprehend that such limitations likely arise from the imperative to prioritize compactness and lightweight construction.

Moving forward, the camera boasts a 1-inch stacked CMOS sensor, akin to the sensor design found in the esteemed Sony a9 and Sony a1 models. Consequently, this camera attains incredibly swift readout speeds, which not only facilitate rapid and precise autofocus but also enable capturing still images devoid of any rolling shutter artifacts. This becomes crucial considering the absence of a mechanical shutter, as without the expeditious readout speeds, the camera’s performance in capturing stills of subjects in motion would fall short of optimal. Fortunately, Sony incorporated one of the most commendable sensor designs available, with both still and video capture in mind.

Regrettably, this latest release omits the inclusion of built-in image stabilization, which many avid Sony photographers will lament. Presumably, this compromise was necessitated by the pursuit of maintaining the camera’s compact dimensions and affordable price tag. Nevertheless, Sony’s recent unveiling of the ZV-E1 creator camera offers a viable alternative by incorporating excellent digital stabilization. Consequently, while the ZV-E1 skillfully combines digital stabilization with mechanical and optical stabilization to deliver flawlessly smooth footage, the Sony ZV-1M II exclusively relies on its digital counterpart. During usage, this digital stabilization proves quite effective, albeit with a noticeable crop required to achieve the desired outcome. Although not flawless, it surpasses the absence of stabilization altogether, providing a useful and convenient solution without the need to carry a handheld gimbal.

Regarding output capabilities, this camera can capture stills in the expected raw or JPEG formats, while for video recording, it can achieve 4K at 30 frames per second (fps) and up to 120 fps in Full HD. Moreover, the camera features a dedicated button atop its body, allowing for quick toggling between standard movie recording settings, S&Q (Slow & Quick) settings, and photo mode. However, I must confess that this button’s placement, positioned directly between the power button and the record button, renders it somewhat prone to accidental activation. Consequently, on more than one occasion, I inadvertently recorded at 1080p and 60 fps instead of the desired 4K at 30 fps. Unfortunately, this pre-release model lacks the ability to reprogram or disable this button.

Additional noteworthy features encompass a background bokeh switch and a product showcase switch. The former enables swift configuration of the camera into a shallow depth-of-field recording mode, imparting a more cinematic ambiance to your content. Furthermore, the camera is equipped with a built-in 3-stop ND (Neutral Density) filter, simplifying the task of preserving a shallow depth of field even in brighter lighting conditions. Conversely, the product feature mode empowers you to swiftly disable face and eye-detection autofocus, allowing for focused presentation of a product during filming. In the past, one would typically need to record and transition to a separate clip or employ the showcased product itself to obstruct facial features. While both methods achieved the desired outcome, they occasionally yielded slightly awkward results. Thus, having a dedicated button to expedite these essential settings adjustments undoubtedly enhances the camera’s efficiency and fluidity.

Additionally, this camera sports a microphone design reminiscent of the one found in the recent ZV-E1 model. Although I cannot ascertain whether it is identical or merely similar in construction, this microphone bestows the capacity to capture high-quality audio directly from the camera. The dual-mic setup further permits focusing the microphone’s reception toward the front or rear of the camera or employing a combination of both. Alternatively, an automatic mode allows the camera to make the determination on your behalf. As my brief exploration of the Sony ZV-E1 demonstrated, this microphone, in conjunction with Adobe Podcast Audio, yields more than satisfactory results.

Yet another small but delightful feature I found immensely pleasing is the camera’s automatic power management when the screen is flipped towards the camera and closed. In this scenario, the camera gracefully powers down. Conversely, when the screen is opened and flipped outwards, the camera instinctively springs to life. Although seemingly minor, this feature tremendously expedites the camera’s operation, imbuing it with a heightened sense of intuitiveness. Personally, I wished for the option to reprogram the on/off button since, with the advent of the screen flip function, the traditional on/off button became redundant. Given the opportunity, I would have delighted in assigning it a more practical function.

What I Appreciated:

The exceptional focal length range tailored for content creation

The camera’s swiftness, compactness, lightness, and user-friendly nature

What I Found Lacking:

The photo/video/S&Q button is susceptible to accidental activation

Insufficient programmability of certain buttons

Weighing in at a mere 292 grams and boasting a set price of $899.99, the Sony ZV-1M II emerges as an exceptional camera choice for content creation. While it may not reach the heights of Sony’s more high-end offerings, it nevertheless presents a more economical and compact alternative. I had the pleasure of utilizing it across multiple photo sessions by simply keeping it in my pocket and retrieving it as needed. I was thoroughly satisfied with both its quality and ease of use. Moreover, it proves to be an excellent option for other creators seeking to transition from their smartphones without the need or desire to delve into the complexities of an interchangeable lens camera system.

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