Sony Unveils the Creator-Centered ZV-E1 Mirrorless Camera


Sony has taken the compact form factor content creators desire and combined it with the full-frame imaging pipeline that cinematographers love. The result is the impressive ZV-E1 Mirrorless Camera. A creator-focused vlogging machine, the ZV-E1 features the same 12MP full-frame Exmor R CMOS sensor found in the a7S III and FX3 for exceptional image quality up to UHD 4K at 120 fps (via a future firmware update). It also provides a wide dynamic range of 15+ stops along with S-Log3 and S-Cionetone color modes. That isn’t all. Since it's a ZV-series camera, it packs plenty of extra tools—now assisted by AI—to make the creation process even easier, including a new framing assist mode and in-camera time lapse.

ZV-E1 Mirrorless Camera
ZV-E1 Mirrorless Camera

Dedicated AI Processing Unit

Built into the ZV-E1 is a dedicated AI processing unit for next-generation subject recognition and tracking via human pose estimation. With this unit comes three new AI-based modes that improve your camera’s stabilization, autofocus, and auto-framing capabilities. Dynamic Active Mode engages internal 5-axis optical stabilization and provides 30% more effective stabilization for faster, unexpected movements while shooting casual day-in-the-life scenes. Framing Stabilizer combines AI recognition and stabilization to allow you to dictate where your tracked subject should be positioned in the frame while maintaining smooth movements.

AI-based Auto Framing automatically crops the frame so your subject remains the predominant focus even when the camera is mounted on a tripod. Adjust the framing tracking speed to follow your subject slowly or quickly, depending on your preference. You can even dictate whether the framing begins immediately or with delay. The ZV-E1’s autofocus can also be equally customized to compensate for focus breathing, perform rack focus transitions, or be sensitive to subject shifting.

Create Distinctive Cinematic Looks

Import LUT files to your ZV-E1 and record in S-Log3 to achieve custom color-grading for a cohesive look while reducing time spent in post-production. This type of customization doesn’t need to be reserved for short films or photography, and with the Cinematic Vlog Setting, it doesn’t have to be. By turning Cinematic Vlogs on, you can adjust cine-oriented settings from one intuitive menu to achieve a specific look in your vlogging content. Select between five “looks” of varying contrast and saturation, as well as four “moods” of varying color tone. 

Other New Modes and Features

Besides aesthetic control, the ZV-E1 offers additional modes and features for recording customization. If you’re looking to bridge the gap between auto and manual control, look no further than the “My Image Style” setting. You can customize specific style parameters from background defocus, brightness, color, and creative look presets, while the remaining settings remain automatically operated. Multiple Face Recognition automatically adjusts your bokeh and focus when another subject enters the frame. For smaller adjustments, the bokeh switch near the Record button widens or reduces your aperture by a single stop.

Filming an unboxing segment or haul and don’t want to worry about your focus settings? The "Product Showcase" setting is for you. Just press a single button and have the autofocus tracking automatically shift from your face to a featured object. For creative, dynamic cutaways for your vlogs, the ZV-E1 has in-camera Time-Lapse capabilities with adjustable frame rate and internal times from one second to one minute.

Creator-Focused Design Components and Connectivity

The ZV-E1 comes equipped with an internal 3-capsule microphone. You can change the direction of its audio pickup from the front, rear, or all around your camera. This directionality becomes automatically selected when tracking statuses like subject recognition are engaged. An included windscreen attaches to the multi-interface camera shoe to reduce wind-noise distortion. If you’d like to add your own audio interfaces, no problem―the ZV-E1 has a 3.5mm input jack to do just that. The previously mentioned multi-interface shoe can transfer compatible digital audio directly without the need for cables.  

A side-opening, vari-angle LCD screen can be easily adjusted for selfie shooting or framing high- and low-angle shots. Intuitive touch operation makes control, playback, and menu navigation a breeze.

UVC/UAC protocols via USB connection can turn the ZV-E1 into a webcam for livestreaming up to UHD 4K video using your personal computer or even your smartphone with a compatible cable. The ZV-E1 can connect to the Creator’s Cloud via mobile app, streamlining your shooting-to-editing workflow. Manage and edit your video from the cloud while connecting with other creators globally.

If you’re looking for a mirrorless camera with dedicated, cinema-grade video, the ZV-E1 has got you covered. What do you think of this Sony release? Let us know in the Comments section, below. For more information on the camera’s specifications, visit its product page on



All you need for 4K. More res would have been good for the AI framing thing, though.

Hi Eric!

Yes, the ZV-E1 has 12.9 Effective Megapixels.

Exactly what I am looking for. Light small gear for run and gun

Cameras that are truly designed for video have better audio input options and better video capture format options. 

True, but a compact camera(A7c, ZV-E1) is ment to fit in your pocket or small bag and carry everywhere you go.    There are trade-offs with every camera.

   A large camera has all the inputs and video capture, BUT it can't fit in your pocket.     The ZV-E1 is nice because you can slide it out of your jacket pocket and know that you can get usable video for 99.5% of projects. 

         The .5% of "perfectionists" will use larger cameras

No more Sony cameras for us without ProRes, recording to external USB-C storage, and XLR balanced audio or Dante audio input. 

The all-i and hevc are virtually indistinguishable from ProRes. Would be cool to have usb-c storage though. But then you couldn't use it for power...

Hi Patrick!

There is a single SD card slot on the camera.

WHat longer lenses are available for this new camera??

Hi Mark!

The camera features an E-mount, so any E-mount lenses suited for Full-Frame camera or Sony FE series lenses are compatible with the ZV-E1.

very good, only the value passed up to the FX30. I could prune just a little bit more and deliver a good camera to intermediate videomakers, and consequently to content producers.

What is the advantage of a large full-frame (35 mm size?) sensor in a camera that only takes 12 mp photos or videos?  My 8 year old  crop sensor Canon G15 takes 12mp photos and videos. Most Full frame DSLR's now rake 18-20 mp photos. Am I missing something here?

1/ Full frame sensors with lower pixel counts are generally more sensitive than the same pixel cout on a S-35 or APS-C sensor. This is clearly the case here. (native 12800 ISO in S-Log!)

2/ for the same frame/field of view/focus distance/aperture combination, the depth of field will be more shallow with a full frame sensor. That makes a big difference.

You're missing that this is a camera designed for videos and not photos. High megapixel counts don’t really matter for videos when your output is going to be 4k or even 1080 video. At most, you may want 6k or 8k if you plan to crop and reframe, but those are usually reserved for more expensive professional cinema cameras. It’s generally more desirable to have fewer, larger pixels on the sensor so each pixel captures more light and the sensor produces better images in low light.

The reason for this is because with video you have less leeway with shutter speed. Most video is shot at 1/50s or 1/60s shutter due to the 180-degree rule (essentially the denominator is double the frame rate, so 1/50 for  24fps or 1/60 for 30fps). With photos you can just use a tripod and do a long exposure in low light. With video using a slower shutter means an unnatural feeling blur. So to keep the right shutter speed you either need to spend a lot of time and money on lighting or get a camera with a big sensor and big pixels that give you higher native iso.

The sensor found in the Sony ZV-E1 Mirrorless Camera is the same as the sensor found in the Sony a7S III Mirrorless Camera and the Sony FX3 Full-Frame Cinema Cameras.  While the cameras may have lower resolution compared to cameras with higher resolution or cameras with smaller sensors, as this camera has both a larger sensor and lower resolution, each individual pixel on the 12-megapixel sensor is much larger and much better at gathering light compared to higher resolution sensors with smaller individual pixels.  As such, the sensor in this camera has much better low-light performance and has much lower digital noise compared to cameras with higher resolution.  That is one of the things that have been highly praised regarding the Sony ZV-E1 and Sony FX-3 as they have the best low-light performance of all Sony mirrorless digital cameras.  Also, the cameras listed above have great dynamic range.  These cameras also have dedicated features designed for excellent video performance (though the Sony ZV-E1 has slightly less than the a7 III and FX3 cameras).  As 4K video resoultion is usually 3,840 x 2,160, this would equal a total of 8,294,400 pixels, or 8 megapixels.  As such, since you only need ~8.3 megapixels for a 4K video camera, higher megapixels over this amount will mainly benefit you by allowing you to down-sample video from a higher resolution, or will be beneficial for still photography.  The closer you can get to the 8 megapixel number, the larger each individual pixel will be, and the better low-light performance each pixel will have as they are more efficient at collecting light.  While the Sony ZV-E1 can be used for still photography, it is designed for use by vloggers and content creators who are using the camera for video-centric usage needs, where the dedicated video features will have great performance, and high image resolution is not a necessity.  These would be reasons the Sony ZV-E1 would be a better option compared to a camera with higher image resolution or with a smaller sensor.

Definitely looks like an interesting buy. I just bought an FX-30 so that’ll have to do for now. Very similar though. I like how Sony is focused on weight for content creators.

Thanks for your comment, Gregory. Enjoy the FX-30!