Sony’s ZV-1 II Some Fixes with Lots of Compromises 

Sony ZV-1 II Announcement Hero Image

Today, Sony announced their new entry-level vlogging camera – the Sony ZV-1 II. Vlogging is all the rage – at least for camera manufacturers and Sony is not letting up on its dominance of the YouTube creator market. The new ZV-1 II is the follow-up to the ZV-1, a compact-style camera with features aimed at those interested in becoming content creators. The original ZV-1 was a strong entry into the category with a fast lens, decent sensor, and Sony’s (at the time) latest imaging processor but does the new ZV-1 II offer a compelling upgrade for those interested in a step-up camera?  

Tech Specs via Sony 

  • 20-megapixel 1-inch Exmor sensor 
  • 18-50mm f/1.8-4 zoom lens 
  • BIONZ X image processor 
  • 3 microphone capsule array – allows direction control for audio 
    • In Auto mode, the camera recognizes human faces or objects and automaticallyiv switches the direction of the built-in microphone ([Front] or [All Directions]). In Manual mode, you can select [Front] for selfies, [Rear] when shooting with narration or [All Directions]. 
  • S&Q shooting mode – allows for 5x slow or 60x quick video recording 
  • Hybrid AF system with Face and Eye detection/tracking 
  • Product Showcase Setting – which delivers convenient shooting of product review videos with smooth focus transitions from your face to the item you are highlighting. 
  • Active Electronic Image Stabilization – allows for walking shots with minimal shake 

One Step Forward, Two Steps Back? 

Let me be clear – the Sony ZV-1 II will most likely meet or exceed most people’s needs, especially if they’re just getting started. The ZV-1 II addressed several shortcomings from the original and has leveraged technology from the +$2100 Sony ZV-E1 (its full-frame sibling) like AI-optimized audio and the Cinematic Vlogging mode. One of the biggest gripes with the Mark I was the 24-70mm (equivalent) zoom lens – replaced by the wider 18-50mm. For handheld vlogging, the wider lens is a must, but it comes at the expense of a slower optic range, F/1.8-4 vs. F/1.8-2.8 in the Mark I. Additionally, the ZV-1 II replaced IBIS with its Active Electronic Image Stabilization – further cropping the available frame on the sensor – potentially negating the wider optic.  

Even with those caveats, the ZV-1 II does make the most of the year and a half between releases. Although you give up IBIS for electronic stabilization, you do get AI-optimized audio management. Vlogging is as much about quality sound as it is about quality video. Sony gets this and has really put a lot of thought behind this aspect of content creation. Sony also brings over a number of smart mode options like CineVlog and S&Q modes that allow more inexperienced videographers to focus on content instead of settings. 

Pricing and Availability 

Depending on what your needs are, the Sony ZV-1 II seems like a solid contender in a growing segment of vlogging-specific hardware. The new ZV-1 II will be available in June 2023 for an estimated retail price of $900 USD and $1,200 CAN. You can get more info and be notified when pre-orders open here.