Sony's ZV-E1 Interchangeable Lens Camera Has Content Creators In Its Sights

Whether you're a content creator needing a powerfully lightweight (483 grams) recording solution or a camera buff always excited about the newest optical innovations, the newly announced Sony ZV-E1 should brighten your day. Sony essentially packs the extreme lowlight capabilities of the video-centric A7SIII into a compact, ZV-E10-like body, complete with interchangeable lenses and the latest color science afforded by 4:2:2 10-bit recording modes. It has up to 15 stops of dynamic range, according to Sony, and ISO can range anywhere from 80 to 409,600.

You can shoot full-frame 4K video at up to 120 frames per second with no crop, which not even the Sony A7IV can boast. Sadly, you do have a hard 30-minute cap when recording at the highest fidelities, but it's a necessary concession given the ZV-E1's compactness working against the thermal capacity required to support such heat-generating activity. Early previews suggest it keeps up lockstep with the A7SIII's lowlight performance, which isn't surprising considering it's likely using the same 12-megapixel backside-illuminated sensor. It also has 5-axis in-body image stabilization with a Dynamic Active mode that Sony says can deliver gimbal-like steadiness.

Shipping in April, you'll pay handsomely for this wonderfully tiny setup at $2,199, a huge jump from the $700 ZV-E10, and even more than the $1,799 cinema-oriented Sony FX30. The sticker shock will surely turn away entry-level shoppers deciding between more affordable options like the ZV-1, ZV-1F, and ZV-E10, which all still have their rightful places despite this impressive new option.

Everything else new with Sony's ZV-E1

Beautifully, the ZV-E1 implements many of the innovations Sony baked into its most recent high-end cameras like the A7R5, including focus breathing compensation, multiple subject recognition, AI-powered subject detection, and sticky Eye AF tracking that predicts your eye's exact location whenever it reappears in the frame. It also has unique self-vlogging tricks like an AI auto-framing feature that can crop and zoom to keep you perfectly centered while recording, focus mapping for quickly checking you're in focus, and a product showcase mode that quickly focuses on objects entering the scene.

There are some downsides to the ZV-E1's tight build, including the lack of an electronic viewfinder. This will make it tough to check your image quality in bright conditions. It's also light on buttons and dials, meaning you'll often be at the mercy of the fully articulating touch screen to make routine adjustments. 

Thankfully, Sony managed to find room for essentials like the multi-interface hot shoe. You can use it to attach accessories like the cable-free ECM-B10 and ECM-B1M vlogging microphones to keep your setup nimble (though the built-in 3-capsule microphone should adequately satisfy your audio recording needs in more controlled environments). You'll also get a mini-HDMI port, a single SD UHS-II card slot, 3.5mm headphone input, USB-C with webcam functionality, and a slightly bigger grip that's been widened to support Sony's NP-FZ100 batteries, which offer the best battery life currently available in Sony mirrorless cameras (up to 90 minutes of 4K/60P recording).