Sony just announced the ZV-E10, a mirrorless camera aimed directly at vloggers. The Sony ZV-E10 seems to be a natural progression (or upgrade) from their ultra-compact vlogging camera that was released about a year ago, the Sony ZV-1.
In fact, it is so aimed at vloggers that it might just be made for vloggers only. There are quite a few advantages, from unique features to practical ergonomic design, which indicate that it could be an excellent vlogging camera. However, it also lacks a few key features that you can find on any or all of the other Sony APS-C E-mount cameras, and these drawbacks make the camera decidedly…inferior? I hate to use such a strong word, but there really is no positive way to describe (spoiler alert!) the omission of an electronic viewfinder.
Sony ZV-E10 Specifications
- 24-megapixel APS-C sensor, Sony E-mount
- Compact, lightweight, A6100-similar portability & ergonomics (343 g / 0.76 lb)
- Fully articulated LCD screen
- No electronic viewfinder (EVF)
- No in-body stabilization (IBIS)
- 4K/30p video (oversampled from 6K, H.264, 100 Mbps max quality)
- Multi-directional, 3-capsule microphone (with deadcat included)
- Available in black or white color
- $699 camera only, $799 w/ 16-50mm lens
NOTE: This is not just a press release! This is also, most definitely, NOT a camera review. This is my own personal initial reaction to the specifications of the Sony ZV-E10. I’m sharing them because it sounds like this will be a “hot” camera, for better or for worse.
Yes, we will get our hands on this camera as soon as possible for a review! In the meantime, please read my thoughts with a grain of salt, and feel free to leave a comment if you disagree, or have any questions or suggestions for when I am able to actually review the camera.
Is The Sony ZV-E10 The Best Vlogging Camera? (Advantages)
A lot of cameras are decently good for vlogging, however, not very many cameras are actually designed specifically for the exact technique used for vlogging and/or taking selfies.
The Sony ZV-E10 is definitely one of the foremost cameras in the latter category. Its external design is absolutely optimized for holding the camera pointed “backwards” at yourself. For those of you who are mainly interested in vlogging, I will outline the advantages (at least, on paper) of the ZV-E10 for vlogging, both inside and out.
Sony ZV-E10 Articulated LCD
Although it is becoming quite common on other cameras from almost all brands, I need to start by mentioning that this is the first modern-generation Sony APS-C mirrorles camera body that has a fully articulating LCD screen.
Thus, compared to the Sony A6100, A6400, and A6600, (the current generation, with the awesome Sony Real-Time Tracking autofocus) …the Sony ZV-E10 automatically takes the lead as the best vlogging camera in the company’s lineup.
However, again, note that there are quite a few other cameras on the market now, both APS-C and even full-frame, with fully articulating LCDs, if that is the only feature you really need. (Maybe, you don’t just make vlogs, but also do a lot of still photography and/or other video work from behind the camera.)
For this reason, next we need to mention all the other features that make the ZV-E10 particularly excellent for vlogging.
Sony ZV-E10 Vlogging Features
Ergonomically, it isn’t just the articulated LCD that makes the Sony ZV-E10 great for vlogging. The camera is specifically designed to be operated while you’re in front of the camera.
What is usually the power switch on Sony mirrorless cameras is now a zoom lever. (Although, honestly, I barely ever need to zoom in when the camera is pointed at me!)
The REC (record video) button is no longer impossible to find on the back or corner of the camera, it is a big fat button right there on the top of the camera, adjacent to the shutter release button. (Also, I suspect that you’ll probably be able to program the shutter button to record video, too, when the camera is specifically in video mode.)
As I learned when I reviewed the Sony ZV-1, the large microphone on top of the camera, especially combined with the included deadcat, is a great way to get awesome audio without having to deal with external microphone cables, batteries, etc. This mic will undoubtedly mean solid audio quality on this new camera body, too!
There are also a few other subtle physical or visual design aspects that make the ZV-E10 better for vlogging, too, but I’ll have to wait until I get the camera in hand before I elaborate on how they really feel. One thing I know is very handy is, when recording video you can have a big red box around the image on the LCD, so there is virtually zero chance of mistakenly not recording your best take!
Aside from the ergonomics, there are a bunch of internal features that are perfect for vlogging. One feature that we already know works very well, (thanks to our reviewing of the Sony ZV-1) is the “product showcase mode”, which allows vloggers who review products to have the camera seamlessly (and almost instantly, it’s really good!) focus on a subject that you hold up in front of the camera, and then of course back to focus on your face when you move the item back out of frame.
Sony ZV-E10 Autofocus
Speaking of the autofocus, it’s just the best, period. Sony’s eye and face-detection performance is incredible, and virtually never disappoints. No matter if you’re in harsh light, or when you’re wearing a hat or even sunglasses, Sony’s AF system just sticks to you like glue.
All other brands are improving rapidly, of course, so this Sony advantage isn’t as massive as it was a couple of years ago. Still, if virtually everything you do involves focusing on a face, whether close-up or farther away, you’ll probably get the most consistent results from a Sony.
Sony ZV-E10 Lenses
One of the biggest advantages of joining the Sony E-mount is, of course, the lenses. Yes, Sony makes some great options, however, the big difference, and the real advantage comes when you begin considering all of the third-party E-mount lenses, too.
Especially for vlogging, two relatively new lenses immediately come to mind: The Tamron 11-20mm f/2.8, and the Rokinon/Samyang 12mm f/2. Unfortunately, neither of these lenses is stabilized, and that could be a problem for you if you plan to avoid using the electronic stabilization feature, but honestly, both lenses are more than wide enough that the crop factor (more on that in a minute) is not really an issue.
Alternately, Tamron makes the 17-70mm f/2.8 VC, which is as far as I know the only constant f/2.8 APS-C E-mount lens with optical stabilization; you’ll get a 25.5mm focal length equivalent, which is pretty decent even for hand-held vlogging. (Sony’s 16-55mm f/2.8 G is truly incredible, indeed it deserves a “GM” designation, however, it is un-stabilized.)
Or, of course, if you’re hoping for the most lightweight, compact vlogging kit, Sony’s kit lens, the 16-60mm f/3.5-5.6, has OSS, and although it is f/5.6 on the long end, leaving it basically “worse off” than the Sony ZV-1 and its f/2.8 aperture on the telephoto end of the zoom range. This lens does have power zoom capabilities, however, in my experience, there can be an “optic jiggle” when starting or stopping zooming in or out, so I would personally rather have any of the other lenses I mentioned, especially the Tamron 17-70mm f/2.8 VC, if your arms are up to the challenge of lugging around a heavier setup, and if you can afford the $799 price tag which is substantially more than the ZV-E10 body itself.
All in all, with Sony in general you have the most options of any system, and if your vlogs involve not just hand-held selfie-style video but also other video clips at all sorts of focal lengths, you’ll find the E-mount to be your best bet.
Sony ZV-E10 Price
This camera is a mere $699 if you only need the camera body, (maybe you bought an A6100 or other A6x00 with a kit lens and/or a few other E-mount lenses?) …and just $799 with the “average” kit lens, the Sony 16-50mm f/3.5-5.6.
Simply put, even though the camera lacks IBIS and an EVF, the price is so good that it’s still in a league of its own, almost. There are a few options which might be tempting, from Panasonic/Olympus and maybe Fuji, but of course, we’ll have to wait until we can do a more in-depth comparison during our official review.
Is The Sony ZV-E10 The Right Choice For General Photography? (Disadvantages)
With all of these vlogging-oriented advantages in mind, there’s a good chance that this is the camera you’ve been waiting for. However, it’s definitely going to feel like a bit of a compromise if you do a wide variety of photography and/or videography, so unless you literally do nothing besides vlogging, you’ll want to take note of these things:
Sony ZV-E10 Viewfinder (Missing)
Just as I gave the fully articulated LCD its own heading as an advantage for vloggers, I have to spotlight the key, possibly deal-breaking omission that makes the ZV-E10 significantly less attractive to anyone who doesn’t just vlog but also does any other type of photography or videography: this affordable little camera has no viewfinder.
If you do any photography or videography from behind the camera out in bright, harsh sunlight, then you’ll want an EVF. You might think that you can “make do” without one, but in most cases, you would still find yourself facing a bit of frustration quite often.
Personally? I need an EVF. I have taken both the Sony ZV-1 and the Sony RX100 VII on separate outings, vacations, and mountain adventures, and when I used the ZV-1, (basically the non-ILC version of this camera) …I really, really missed the pop-up EVF on the RX100-series. I know without a doubt that, for what I do, this one disadvantage alone would make me opt for a Sony A6100 instead of this, even though it costs $200 more.
Sony ZV-E10 Video Specs
For most vloggers, the video specs don’t necessarily need to be a high-end flagship cinema level. If your videos are going almost directly to Youtube or Instagram with barely any editing, then you might not pay much attention to numbers like “10-bit 4:2.2”. Heck, if you’re just starting out as a vlogger and you’re doing tons of takes to get a good one, you’ll probably be perfectly happy with the 4K/30p / 100 Mbps video quality, and absolutely thrilled with the S-log option if you want to dip your toes into color grading.
On the other hand, unfortunately, anyone who has ever captured a selfie will know that a crop factor can be very frustrating. With this in mind, it is important to note that if you’d like to capture 4K 30p video, you get a 1.2x crop, (turning the 24mm equivalent lens into a 28mm) and if you want to activate electronic stabilization, you get bumped down to a 1.44x crop, making the widest angle a 35mm equivalent, which is very difficult to vlog with. The only way to capture 4K video without any crop (aside from the native sensor’s 1.5x) is to bump down to a 24p framerate.
Simply put, if you’re serious about vlogging, your best lens option may not actually be the kit 16-50mm lens, but one of the other lenses I recommended earlier.
Other than that crop factor, the video spec sheet is about average for a camera that vloggers might consider. It could be argued that 4K/60p is getting a bit more common, but it’s certainly not ubiquitous just yet.
Sony ZV-E10 Battery Life
Battery life isn’t excellent on very many APS-C and other compact vlogging cameras, but Sony’s old FW-class of battery is truly outdated. All I can say is, I think that the vast majority of potential buyers of this camera would have probably preferred if it had an FZ-class battery, even if it added a tiny bit to the price and weight of the camera.
Sony ZV-E10 Conclusion (Review Coming Soon!)
Of course, all of this is theoretical. It would be not just foolish and misleading of me, but downright bad for my career as a camera gear reviewer, if I were to say anything definitive beyond my initial reaction to the clearest specifications, such as the undoubtedly amazing autofocus, or the obvious lack of an EVF and IBIS.
So, I’ll be reviewing the Sony ZV-E10 as soon as possible! I absolutely expect it to be by far the best vlogging camera I’ve ever used, with its undoubtedly amazing image quality and that champion face-detection AF system.
Having said that, is there anything specific that you would like to know more about, have me investigate more in-depth, or of course, is there anything you think I am already misjudging about the camera? Please let me know in a comment below!