San Diego, CA—The Sony Alpha ZV-E1 is a new interchangeable-lens camera (ILC) with a 35mm full-frame sensor. It is squarely aimed at content and video creators. Added to Sony’s Alpha ZV vlog camera lineup, the ILC boasts a 12MP full-frame sensor, the latest Bionz XR processing engine and a dedicated AI (artificial intelligence) processing unit.
Moreover, the camera works with 70+ Sony E-mount lenses, including G Master lenses. In addition, the company is positioning the ZV-E1 as “the world’s most compact, lightweight, full-frame interchangeable-lens camera (as of March 2023), with an emphasis on mobility for video creators.”
“The ZV-E1 has been designed to deliver a premium content creation tool for video creators who want to elevate their content,” said Yang Cheng, vice president, Imaging Solutions, Sony Electronics Inc.
“We are constantly listening to feedback from our customers, pushing to innovate to meet their demands. We have taken all the information into mind with our development of this new camera. With more sophisticated video features, a streamlined user experience and an extremely compact design, the ZV-E1 offers a whole new way for today’s creators to create top level video content.”
Sony engineered the ZV-E1’s 35mm full-frame, back-illuminated, 12.1-megapixel Exmor R CMOS sensor to deliver high sensitivity, low noise as well as smooth bokeh. Further, its Bionz XR processor boasts eight times more processing power than the previous Bionz X. Consequently, it boosts the camera’s high-sensitivity performance, gradation rendering, color reproduction and low-noise performance.
What’s more, data generated by the image sensor is processed in real time, even when shooting 4K (3,840×2,160) footage at 120p. The processor also contributes to improved AF speed and precision.
Sony ZV-E1 Video Features
For video creation, the ZV-E1 records in 4K with full pixel readout at 10-bit 4:2:2, without pixel binning and with high speed to minimize rolling shutter. Users can upgrade from 4K 60p to 4K 120p video through Sony’s Creators’ Cloud, to achieve 5x slow-motion imagery.
The ILC also records 10-bit 4:2:2 video internally using Long GOP or All Intra compression. Plus, it supports internal intra-frame (All-I) recording and the XAVC HS format using the MPEG-H HEVC/H.265 codec for doubled efficiency.
Furthermore, 15+ stop latitude via Sony-Log3 captures natural-looking images even in low light without losing highlight or shadow detail. The standard ISO 80–102,400 range for stills and movies expands from 40 to 409,600 for stills and ISO 80–409,600 for movies.
Notably, cinematic vlog settings are an intuitive way to capture scenes with the cinematic look of feature movies. By choosing a look, mood and AF transition speed, even newbies can create cinematic footage. Moreover, the cinematic feel is enhanced by a 24-fps rate and the widescreen Cinemascope aspect ratio (2.35:1).
Additionally, the ZV-E1 features S-Cinetone, which creates a cinematic look in-camera without post-processing. Based on Sony’s Cinema Line technology, it delivers natural mid-tones essential to realistic skin colors.
Furthermore, new creative looks make is easier to create interesting appearances for stills/video in-camera. Videographers can use 10 creative looks presets as is or customize them. Also, the my image style feature now makes it possible to shoot in intelligent auto or scene selection modes. For intuitive operation, icons on the touchscreen let users adjust background bokeh, brightness and color tone, as well as select a creative look.
Picture profiles with assignable LUTs are also available so users can create specific looks when shooting in modes other than one of the preset Log modes.
The ZV-E1 also features an AI (artificial intelligence) processing unit to overcome the challenges of self-taken footage. By using AI human recognition, new multiple face recognition, auto framing, framing stabilizer and auto microphone directivity are possible.
Real-time recognition AF also incorporates an AI processing unit that uses subject form data to recognize movement. Human pose estimation technology uses learned human forms and postures to recognize not just eyes but body and head position. As a result, the camera can lock onto and track a subject facing away from it.
The AI processing unit even differentiates between multiple subjects having different postures and recognition of individual faces. Consequently, the ILC can track in challenging situations, such as when a subject’s face is tilted, in shadow or backlit. In addition to human and animals, including horses and cows, the AI processing unit now recognizes birds, insects, cars/trains and airplane subjects.
Another function is multiple face recognition, which automatically adjusts bokeh and focus on multiple recognized faces when shooting group selfies or portraits. This helps prevent problems like only the faces in the front being in focus while others further back are not.
Other AI-based features are AI-based real-time tracking, which users activate by specifying the subject and half-pressing the shutter button. The camera then automatically tracks the subject.
And AI-based auto framing for video is a tool for recording interviews, music performances, cooking, etc. It automatically crops the frame to a desired level, keeping the subject in a prominent position when shooting video. Even when the camera is mounted on a tripod, for example, the framing is continually adjusted so the footage looks like the subject is being followed by an experienced camera operator.
The new camera also has a hybrid autofocus system for fast acquisition and tracking as well detailed AF settings for more control. It’s complemented by a compact, 5-axis image stabilization unit that achieves 5.0-step stabilization. Further, dynamic active mode stabilization is 30% more effective than active mode. As a result, it’s easier to shoot smooth, stable footage while moving around.
Moreover, breathing compensation suppresses image shifts when focusing to maintain a consistent angle of view and achieve smooth focusing effects.
Plus, the camera has a handy bokeh switch for one-touch background bokeh enhancement. The ZV-E1 also adopts the product showcase setting of the Sony ZV line. For product review videos, it enables users to switch focus from the presenter’s face to a product and back.
The ZV-E1 integrates a three-capsule microphone with variable directivity. Front, all directions as well as rear directivity settings are available. Plus, for the first time, it automatically switches to a direction in line with face recognition. A new auto setting allows the camera to automatically select [front] or [all directions] directivity according to the subject recognition and tracking status.
The camera includes a multi-interface shoe with a digital audio interface as well as mic and headphone jacks. Sony also supplies a windscreen with the ILC.
The ZV-E1 sports a side-opening, vari-angle, 3-inch, 1.07M-dot touchscreen LCD as well as a control layout and grip optimized for content creation.
The camera also features uninterrupted power for extended recording with Sony’s Z battery and USB PD (Power Delivery) for fast charging. And, it livestreams when connected to a PC or smartphone via USB. As such, the ZV-E1 functions as a 4K webcam for online meetings, live events or conversations with family and friends.
In addition, creators can share content with Sony’s newly announced Creator’s Cloud platform and a smartphone connection. They can also use the Creator’s app to control the ZV-E1 from the smartphone and transfer stills/videos shot on the camera. The Creator’s app also provides a way to update camera software, view camera battery and media status, as well as edit date and camera names.
Moreover, in line with Sony’s commitment to a sustainable future with global initiatives like Road to Zero and the 2030 renewable energy goal, the ZV-E1 was developed with sustainability in mind.
For instance, the camera’s newly developed windscreen uses fibers made from recycled PET bottles, and its outer packaging is recyclable with no plastic. It also employs Sony’s “Original Blend Material” of bamboo, sugar cane and recycled paper.
The dust- and moisture-resistant Sony ZV-E1 will reach retail in May 2023 in both black and white versions. It will have a suggested retail price of $2,199.99. Additionally, a kit bundling the compact, full-frame 28–60mm f/4.5–5.6 zoom lens will have an SRP of $2,499.99.