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Sony ZV-1 Comparison Review

The Sony Cyber-shot ZV-1 is a fixed lens compact camera that was revealed to the public in May 2020 and is equipped with an one-inch sensor. It offers a resolution of 20 megapixel.

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Is the Sony ZV-1 a good camera? The ZV-1 has a Camera Elo of 2592. This rating puts the ZV-1 among the top 20 percent of all travel zoom compact cameras. In terms of its sensor size category (one inch cameras), the ZV-1 also ranks among the top 20 percent. Based on its within category standings, the camera earns a 4.5-star performance rating.

Headline Specifications
Sony ZV-1
Fixed lens compact camera
24-70mm f/1.8-2.8
20 MP, 1" Sensor
4K/30p Video
ISO 125 - 12 800 (80 - 25 600)
no viewfinder, LCD framing
3.0 LCD, 922k dots
Swivel touchscreen
24 shutter flaps per second
260 shots per battery charge
105 x 60 x 44 mm, 294 g


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Read on to find out more about the camera's size, sensor, features, reception by expert reviewers, and how it compares to other digital cameras.

Body comparison with a credit card

The side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size of the Sony ZV-1 vis-à-vis a credit card. Three successive views from the front, the top, and the rear are shown. All width, height and depth dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

Sony ZV-1 vs credit card front
ZV-1 versus credit card top view
ZV-1 and credit card rear side

The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the Sony ZV-1 alongside a set of comparators. If you want to review a camera pair side-by-side, just select a right-side comparator from among the camera models in the table. Alternatively, you can also move across to the CAM-parator tool and choose from the broad selection of possible comparisons there.

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Body Specifications
  Camera
Model
Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life 1
Weather
Sealing
Camera
Launch 2
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
 
Sony ZV-1 4.1 in 2.4 in 1.7 in 10.4 oz 260 n May 2020 799 i
 
Canon G5 X Mark II 4.4 in 2.4 in 1.8 in 12.0 oz 230 n Jul 2019 899 i
 
Canon G7 X Mark III 4.1 in 2.4 in 1.6 in 10.7 oz 235 n Jul 2019 749 i
 
Canon G7 X Mark II 4.2 in 2.4 in 1.7 in 11.3 oz 265 n Feb 2016 699i
 
Canon G5 X 4.4 in 3.0 in 1.7 in 12.5 oz 210 n Oct 2015 799i
 
Canon G7 X 4.1 in 2.4 in 1.6 in 10.7 oz 210 n Sep 2014 699i
 
Sony RX100 VII 4.0 in 2.3 in 1.7 in 10.7 oz 260 n Jul 2019 1,199 i
 
Sony RX100 V 4.0 in 2.3 in 1.6 in 10.5 oz 220 n Oct 2016 999 i
 
Sony RX100 IV 4.0 in 2.3 in 1.6 in 10.5 oz 280 n Jun 2015 999i
 
Sony RX100 III 4.0 in 2.3 in 1.6 in 10.2 oz 320 n May 2014 799i
 
Sony RX100 II 4.0 in 2.3 in 1.5 in 9.9 oz 350 n Jun 2013 749i
Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.
(1) Number of images that can be taken on a full battery charge according to the CIPA-standard; (2) Official announcement.

The listed prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The Sony ZV-1 was launched in the US market at a price of $799. Usually, retail prices stay at first close to the launch price, but after several months, discounts become available. Later in the product cycle and, in particular, when the replacement model is about to appear, further discounting and stock clearance sales often push the camera price considerably down. Then, after the new model is out, very good deals can frequently be found on the pre-owned market.

Sony ZV-1:
Check Amazon price

Sensor comparison with a 35mm slide

The imaging sensor is at the core of digital cameras and its size is one of the main determining factors of image quality. A large sensor will generally have larger individual pixels that offer better low-light sensitivity, provide wider dynamic range, and have richer color-depth than smaller pixels in a sensor of the same technological generation. Furthermore, a large sensor camera will give the photographer more possibilities to use shallow depth-of-field in order to isolate a subject from the background. On the downside, larger sensors are more costly to manufacture and tent to lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.

The Sony ZV-1 features an one-inch sensor and has a format factor (sometimes also referred to as "crop factor") of 2.7. Within the spectrum of camera sensors, this places the Sony ZV-1 among the medium-sized sensor cameras that aim to strike a balance between image quality and portability.

Sony ZV-1 sensor measures

For most cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. This service assesses and scores the color depth ("DXO Portrait"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports") of camera sensors, and also publishes an overall camera score. The table below summarizes the physical sensor characteristics and sensor quality findings and compares them across a set of similar cameras.

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Sensor Characteristics
  Camera
Model
Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
 
Sony ZV-1 1-inch 20.0 5472 36484K/30p........
 
Canon G5 X Mark II 1-inch 20.0 5472 36484K/30p........
 
Canon G7 X Mark III 1-inch 20.0 5472 36484K/30p........
 
Canon G7 X Mark II 1-inch 20.0 5472 36481080/60p........
 
Canon G5 X 1-inch 20.0 5472 36481080/60p........
 
Canon G7 X 1-inch 20.0 5472 36481080/60p23.012.755671
 
Sony RX100 VII 1-inch 20.0 5472 36484K/30p21.812.441863
 
Sony RX100 V 1-inch 20.0 5472 36484K/30p22.812.458670
 
Sony RX100 IV 1-inch 20.0 5472 36484K/30p22.812.659170
 
Sony RX100 III 1-inch 20.0 5472 36481080/60p22.412.349567
 
Sony RX100 II 1-inch 20.0 5472 36481080/60p22.512.448367

Many modern cameras cannot only take still pictures, but also record videos. The ZV-1 indeed provides movie recording capabilities. The highest resolution format that the ZV-1 can use is 4K/30p.

Feature comparison

Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The adjacent tables list some of the other core features of the Sony ZV-1 along with similar information for a selection of comparators.

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Core Features
  Camera
Model
Viewfinder
(Type or
000 dots)
Control
Panel
(yes/no)
LCD
Size
(inch)
LCD
Resolution
(000 dots)
LCD
Attach-
ment
Touch
Screen
(yes/no)
Mech
Shutter
Speed
Shutter
Flaps
(1/sec)
Built-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Built-in
Image
Stab
 
Sony ZV-1none n 3.0 922 swivel Y 1/2000s 24.0 n Y
 
Canon G5 X Mark II2360 n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 1/2000s 30 Y Y
 
Canon G7 X Mark IIInone n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 1/2000s 30 Y Y
 
Canon G7 X Mark IInone n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 1/2000s 8.0 Y Y
 
Canon G5 X2360 n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 1/2000s 5.9 Y Y
 
Canon G7 Xnone n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 1/2000s 6.5 Y Y
 
Sony RX100 VII2359 n 3.0 921 tilting Y 1/2000s 90.0 Y Y
 
Sony RX100 V2359 n 3.0 1229 tilting n 1/2000s 24.0 Y Y
 
Sony RX100 IV2359 n 3.0 1228 tilting n 1/2000s 16.0 Y Y
 
Sony RX100 III1440 n 3.0 1229 tilting n 1/2000s 10.0 Y Y
 
Sony RX100 IIoptional n 3.0 1229 tilting n 1/2000s 10.0 Y Y

It is worthwhile pointing out that the ZV-1 has a touchscreen. Touch control can be particularly helpful, for example, when trying to adjust the focus point.

Connection comparison

For some imaging applications, the extent to which a camera can communicate with its environment can be an important aspect in the camera decision process. The table below provides an overview of the connectivity of the Sony Cyber-shot ZV-1 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.

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Input-Output Connections
  Camera
Model
Hotshoe
Port
Internal
Microphone
Internal
Speaker
Microphone
Port
Headphone
Port
HDMI
Port
USB
Port
WiFi
Support
NFC
Support
Bluetooth
Support
 
Sony ZV-1YstereomonoY-micro2.0YYY
 
Canon G5 X Mark II-stereomono--micro3.1Y-Y
 
Canon G7 X Mark III-stereomonoY-micro3.1Y-Y
 
Canon G7 X Mark II-stereomono--micro2.0YY-
 
Canon G5 XYstereomono--mini2.0YY-
 
Canon G7 X-stereomono--micro2.0YY-
 
Sony RX100 VII-stereomonoY-micro2.0YYY
 
Sony RX100 V-stereomono--micro2.0YY-
 
Sony RX100 IV-stereomono--micro2.0YY-
 
Sony RX100 III-stereomono--micro2.0YY-
 
Sony RX100 IIYstereomono--micro2.0YY-

It is notable that the ZV-1 has a microphone port. Such an external microphone input can help to substantially improve the quality of audio recordings when a good external microphone is used.

The ZV-1 has a zoom lens built in (8.8-25.7mm f/1.8-2.8), which, in full frame equivalent terms, provides a focal length range from 24 to 70mm. The camera is, hence, ready to shoot, while remaining more compact in size than an interchangeable lens camera with an optic that offers similar focal length and aperture specifications.

Expert reviews

While the specs-based evaluation of cameras is instructive in revealing their potential as photographic tools, it remains partial and cannot reveal, for example, the handling experience and imaging performance when actually working with the ZV-1. User reviews, such as those found at amazon, can sometimes inform about these issues, but such feedback is often incomplete, inconsistent, and biased. This is where reviews by experts come in. The table below summarizes the assessments of some of the best known camera review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, photographyblog).

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Review Scores
  Camera
Model
camera
  labs  
dp
review  
ephoto
  zine  
imaging
resource
photography
  blog  
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
 
Sony ZV-1..85/1004/5..4.5/5 May 2020 799 i
 
Canon G5 X Mark II+82/100....4/5 Jul 2019 899 i
 
Canon G7 X Mark III+ +81/1004/5.... Jul 2019 749 i
 
Canon G7 X Mark II+ +81/1004.5/54/54.5/5 Feb 2016 699i
 
Canon G5 X+ +78/1004.5/54/54.5/5 Oct 2015 799i
 
Canon G7 X+ +77/1004.5/53.5/54.5/5 Sep 2014 699i
 
Sony RX100 VII....4/5..5/5 Jul 2019 1,199 i
 
Sony RX100 V+ +83/1004/55/54.5/5 Oct 2016 999 i
 
Sony RX100 IV+ +85/1004/54.5/54.5/5 Jun 2015 999i
 
Sony RX100 III+ +82/1004.5/54.5/55/5 May 2014 799i
 
Sony RX100 II+ +79/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Jun 2013 749i
Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.

The above review scores should be interpreted with care, though. The ratings were established in reference to similarly priced cameras that were available in the market at the time of the review. Thus, a score needs to be put into the context of the launch date and the launch price of the camera, and comparing ratings of very distinct cameras or ones that are far apart in terms of their release date have little meaning. Also, kindly note that some of the listed sites have over time developped their review approaches and their reporting style.

Sony ZV-1 FAQ

Below are some additional questions and answers concerning some particular features of the ZV-1.

What technology is the imaging sensor in the ZV-1 based on?

The camera features a BSI-CMOS (Backside Illuminated Complementary Metal–Oxide–Semiconductor) sensor.

Which image processing chip is used to convert the raw signal into an image file and perform noise reduction and image sharpening?

Sony equipped the ZV-1 with the BIONZ X image processor.

What is the ISO sensitivity range of the ZV-1?

The camera has a native sensitivity range from ISO 125 to ISO 12800, which can be extended to ISO 80-25600.

Does the camera have a selfie-friendly screen?

Yes, the LCD-screen of the ZV-1 is flexible and can be turned to be front-facing for capturing selfies.

Is completely silent shooting possible with the Sony ZV-1?

The camera has an electronic shutter option, so that it is indeed feasible to capture images without any shutter noise.

Do I need to purchase an external camera trigger to shoot time-lapse sequences?

No, the Sony Cyber-shot ZV-1 has an intervalometer built-in, so that low frequency shooting (for example, flower blooming, sunset, moon rise) can be undertaken without the need to purchase a separate external intervalometer and related software.

Is it difficult to use manual focus lenses with the Sony ZV-1?

The ZV-1 offers focus peaking as a manual focus aid. This feature works by placing a colored highlight on in-focus zones within the image.

Does the Sony ZV-1 feature an autofocus assist light?

Yes, the camera has a lamp built-in that can illuminate the subject and improve autofocus in low-light settings.

Does the Sony ZV-1 support the Ultra High Speed (UHS) bus interface for SD cards?

Yes, the camera can indeed use UHS-I cards (data transfer speed of up to 104 MB/s).

Which battery does the ZV-1 use?

The camera gets its power from the NP-BX1 (here at amazon), which is a rechargeable Lithium-Ion power pack.

Camera to camera comparisons

In case you are interested in seeing how this camera compares to another one, just make a corresponding selection in the search boxes below. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting.

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    Specifications Summary
    Camera Model Sony ZV-1
    Camera Type Fixed lens compact camera
    Camera Lens 24-70mm f/1.8-2.8
    Launch Date May 2020
    Launch Price USD 799
    Sensor Specs
    Sensor Technology BSI-CMOS
    Sensor Format 1" Sensor
    Sensor Size 13.2 x 8.8 mm
    Sensor Area 116 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 15.9 mm
    Crop Factor 2.7x
    Sensor Resolution 20 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 5 472 x 3 648 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 2.41 μm
    Pixel Density 17.18 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability 4K/30p Video
    ISO Setting 125 - 12 800 ISO
    ISO Boost 80 - 25 600 ISO
    Image Processor BIONZ X
    Screen Specs
    Viewfinder Type No viewfinder
    LCD Framing Live View
    LCD Size 922k dots
    LCD Attachment Swivel screen
    Touch Input Touchscreen
    Shooting Specs
    Focus System Contrast-detect AF
    Manual Focusing AidFocus Peaking
    Maximum Shutter Speed 1/2000s
    Continuous Shooting 24 shutter flaps/s
    Silent ShootingElectronic Shutter
    Time Lapse PhotographyIntervalometer Built-in
    Fill Flash no On-Board Flash
    Storage Medium MS or SDXC cards
    Second Storage Option Single card slot
    UHS card support UHS-I
    Connectivity Specs
    External Flash Hotshoe
    USB Connector USB 2.0
    HDMI Port micro HDMI
    Microphone Port External MIC port
    Wifi Support Wifi built-in
    Near-Field Communication NFC built-in
    Bluetooth Support Bluetooth built-in
    Body Specs
    Battery Type NP-BX1 power pack
    Battery Life (CIPA)260 shots per charge
    In-Camera Charging USB charging
    Body Dimensions 105 x 60 x 44 mm
    (4.1 x 2.4 x 1.7 in)
    Camera Weight 294 g (10.4 oz)

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