Last year’s Sony Alpha ZV-1 was a great little camera that is designed for content creators who loves to do vlogs and take some shots on the side. Sony has now launched another video-centric ZV series based on the Alpha APS-C mirrorless camera.
The ZV-E10 has several advantages over the ZV-1. The ability to change lenses for different shooting scenarios is the most significant. If the camera is used for an interview, a 50mm lens with a f1.8 aperture setting will throw the background out of focus and make the subject stand out. I can easily switch out to a wide 12mm lens to shoot some landscapes too.
The image quality coming out from the ZV-E10 is good as expected from Sony. The 16-50mm f3.5-5.6 kit lens is a handy option for most folks not shooting pictures for a living.
The 24.2-megapixel APS-C sensor and BIONZ X image processing engine certainly meet my expectation with images that are vibrant. Thanks to the excellent autofocus system, the camera can keep track of faces and even eyes to ensure the photo and videos focus on the subject correctly.
Shot under LED panel lighting. The colours turned out to be great! PHOTO: Wilson Wong Interior shot with existing artificial lighting using ISO 2000. The wall exhibits slight ISO noise but is very acceptable. PHOTO: Wilson Wong Toy shot using two LED panels on a table top. PHOTO: Wilson Wong
If vlogging is your thing, the ZV-E10 screen can swivel to the front so you can check yourself on screen when recording a video clip.
While the audio pickup by the camera is clear enough through the top facing microphone array, I can still plug in a powered microphone for better audio pickup. There is also a 3.5mm headphone jack to monitor the audio when recording.
The camera has various ports important for video taking – microphone, earphone and micro-HDMI for live video sessions. PHOTO: Handout The buttons and scroll wheel are big and easy to use but the ‘Deadcat’ gets in the way sometimes. PHOTO: Wilson Wong
On the ZV-E10, 4K videos are recorded with full pixel readout without the need for further processing, which promises better video quality. Content creators can record videos in Hybrid Log Gamma (HDR) or S-Log3 RAW video files for more flexibility during post production too.
The handling of the ZV-E10 is much better than the ZV-1 thanks to the handgrip. The dials and buttons on the camera are spaced out and within easy reach with my thumb and right index finger. The buttons are also larger, especially with a video record button that makes it convenient to press and start recording.
There is also electronic ‘SteadyShot’ image stabilisation within the camera that controls unwanted movements while you walk and shoot. The downside is that the frame is cropped in when the camera is on ‘Active’ stabilisation.
Another gripe I have with the camera is that switching between photo shooting modes on the ZV-1 requires some button meshing.
If I want to switch from Manual to Aperture priority, I have to activate the photo mode, hit the Fn button and scroll through the different photo modes to get to Aperture mode. For the fastest way to capture candid moments, just leave the camera in Program Mode or ‘Intelligent Auto’.
You may also want to consider buying the S$165.00 Sony GP-VPT2BT Wireless Shooting Grip that acts as a selfie stick, a tripod and a remote controller for selfie videos, This is because the kit lens 16-50mm f3.5-5.6 is still not wide enough to shoot a flattering image of myself.
The wireless shooting grip is useful but is a tad too short to be comfortable shooting a selfie vlog. PHOTO: Handout
Even then, the shooting grip is still a tad too short to be comfortable and I wish Sony could make it telescopic like a real selfie stick. If bringing along a selfie stick is a hassle, then considering buying a wide-angle zoom lens such as the Sony 10-18mm f4 lens or the Samyang 12mm f2 lens.
The S$999 ZV-E10 with the kit lens is perfect as a beginner or learner camera for the Sony mirrorless system, if a more costly full-frame sensor camera such as the Sony Alpha 7c is not high on your list.
You can get the ZV-E10 even cheaper at $$799 with just the camera body alone if you have existing E-Mount APS-C lenses to go with it.
On the whole, the ZV-E10 is a good mirrorless system camera for consumers who want to shoot both photos and videos well and enjoy the flexibility to change lenses for different scenarios. Avid travellers who loathe carrying accessories and lenses may look at the ZV-1 instead.