Vlogging-Optimized Mirrorless with the Sony ZV-E10 Camera07/27/2021
Last year, Sony tried something new with the launch of the ZV-1. This year, the company is taking the same philosophy and moving it up to mirrorless with the ZV-E10. With a feature-set perfect for vloggers, the ZV-E10 is a camera that looks familiar in the E-mount lineup but has more specialized capabilities, borrowed from the ZV-1, and aimed squarely at content creators.
The ZV-1 took Sony’s well-regarded RX100-esque form factor and image quality and tweaked it a bit to appeal to vloggers. Sony improved audio recording, modified the body and screen design for easier front-facing recording, and added a variety of specialized shooting modes. The company is applying this same formula to mirrorless with the ZV-E10, which certainly looks like other APS-C-format E-mount cameras, but then adds the same specialized shooting capabilities and handling enhancements first seen in the ZV-1.
The ZV-E10 separates itself from its smaller ZV-1 sibling by focusing primarily on image quality and the versatility of it being a mirrorless camera with a broad range of lens options. In terms of imaging specs, the proven 24.2MP Exmor CMOS sensor is featured here, along with a BIONZ X image processor that achieves a useful balance of image quality and speed. This APS-C-format sensor is approximately 3x larger than the 1" sensor in the ZV-1, and about 10x larger than common smartphone sensor sizes. This increased size greatly benefits sensitivity, reduces noise, improves depth of field control, and helps to produce imagery with smoother color gradations and a wider dynamic range.
Coupled with the BIONZ X processor, the sensor offers a top native sensitivity of ISO 32000 that is suitable for low-light use, and it’s also a fast-working system with a top continuous shooting speed of 11 fps. In terms of video, the ZV-E10 offers UHD 4K recording at up to 30p with full pixel readout and 6K oversampling. Full HD recording at 120p is supported, too, and the S-Log3 gamma setting is available for improving your dynamic range and benefiting color-grading control during post-production. Also, video recording is benefited by active SteadyShot electronic image stabilization, which helps to smooth camera shake, specifically when moving while recording.
Beyond image quality and speed, the advanced sensor design also affords a sophisticated Fast Hybrid autofocus system that uses a 425-point array for quick and accurate AF performance. This focusing system also enables Real-time Eye AF and Real-time Subject Tracking and supports specialized shooting modes, like Face Priority AE and Soft Skin Effect.
Additionally, the other key benefit of the mirrorless platform is the ability to work with any of the dozens of E-mount lenses; and the Vario-Tessar T* E 16-70mm f/4 ZA OSS and Sonnar T* E 24mm f/1.8 ZA are particularly good choices for vlogging, representing a good balance between speed, versatility, and portability.
Moving on to the other key features of the ZV-E10, one standout feature inherited from the ZV-1 is the attention given to the audio recording. Recognizing that sound quality is just as important as picture quality, Sony has given the camera a directional three-capsule mic for higher quality, more realistic audio with a bias toward recording sound from in front of the camera. This upgraded built-in mic also comes with an auxiliary wind screen for clearer sound in windy conditions. For more control over audio, the top Multi-Interface Shoe also supports a digital audio interface and is compatible with dedicated mics from Sony, such as the ECM-W2BT. There are both 3.5mm headphone and external microphone ports, if needed.
It’s true the ZV-E10 resembles some of the Alpha cameras, but its physical specs have also been tuned for vlogging with the inclusion of a vari-angle touchscreen LCD that flips out to the side, so as not to interfere with top-mounted mics or be obscured by any mounts. Among other tactile details are dedicated buttons for a few shooting modes: S&Q mode, which lets you instantly change to slow- or quick-motion recording, and Background Defocus mode, which helps to achieve a desirable shallow depth of field look quickly.
Other vlogging-specific shooting features include the Product Showcase setting, which will quickly recognize a close-up object and smoothly shift focus to suit making product-review videos. There is also a front-facing tally lamp, and the LCD can display a red border to help make it easier to know when recording is taking place. Finally, the ZV-E10 is also a good choice for use as a webcam, with support for UVC and UAC standards, and can connect directly to a computer or a mobile device such as the XPERIA 1, for simple livestreaming use.
With vlogging now a hugely popular genre for content creation, the ZV-E10 is an ideal choice to handle the unique video and photo needs of this niche. At its core, this camera is a compact, portable hybrid camera that blends the key imaging capabilities of an E-mount mirrorless body with a specific series of attributes catering to vloggers. For more information on how this camera stacks up to other options in the vlogging world, check out our companion article that compares the ZV-E10 with the ZV-1, a6400, and some additional popular choices from other manufacturers.
Also join us for a live B&H & Sony Tech Talk scheduled for Wednesday, July 28 from 11 a.m. to noon:
What are your thoughts on such a specialized camera? Do you have any experience with other vlogging-type cameras? What are the standout features of the ZV-E10 you like most? Let us know your thoughts in the Comments section, below.