Organizer
Gadget news
Fujifilm X100VI review – cult status renewed
9:00 am | February 20, 2024

Author: admin | Category: Cameras Compact Cameras Computers Gadgets | Comments: Off

The Fujfilm X100V currently ranks as our best premium compact camera, but that model has just been well and truly superseded by its successor, the Fujifilm X100VI. The sixth-gen model has better features, and offers better performance and image quality, while retaining all that we love about the X100 series: classic styling, old-school exposure dials, a super-sharp fixed 23mm f/2 lens, and that lovely hybrid viewfinder. 

You could look at the X100VI as a Fujifilm X-T5 in a X100-series body. That means a higher-resolution than ever 40MP sensor, 6.2K video, and, for the first time in the series, in-body image stabilization. We also get Fujifilm's best-ever autofocus, with tracking and subject detection that includes humans, animals, birds and vehicles. 

So we effectively have two fantastic cameras combined into one, and the result is the best entry in this fixed-lens compact series yet. I love it, and in many ways it's a more compelling Leica Q3 alternative.

Person holding the Fujifilm X100VI camera up to their eye with a bustling Tokyo city background

(Image credit: Future)

There's also that's plenty familiar here. The retro design has changed, but only a little; this is a slightly heavier camera because it accommodates in-body image stabilization, and if you ask me the extra 10% weight is totally worth it for the additional versatility the IBIS brings. This is still very much a compact camera.

A few features carried over from the X100V now feel like quirks: a single UHS-I SD card slot limits the video and burst-shooting capability, weather-sealing is still only achieved with a lens adaptor attached, and perhaps even the lens focal length (a full-frame equivalent 35mm) is limiting for those that like to shoot wider, especially given that we could easily crop to 35mm thanks to the extra pixels. But the Fujifilm X100VI is a superb compact camera that's unlike any other.

Fujifilm X100VI in the hand with top plate in view

(Image credit: Future)

It's so capable in fact that it's hard to see where Fujifilm can go next, besides trying something altogether new, like a new lens with a different focal length, or even creating a similar camera in its GFX series of medium-format cameras.

The pricier Leica Q3 feels more luxurious, and boasts a 60MP full-frame sensor, while the cheaper Ricoh GR III series are simpler and smaller. But right now the Fujifilm X100VI feels like the best premium compact for most people.

Fujifilm X100VI: release date and price

  • $1,599 / £1,599 / AU$
  • 20% pricier than X100V at launch
  • Special edition available for $1,934 / £1,934

The Fujifilm X100VI will be available to buy from February 28, with a list price of $1,599 / £1,599 (that around AU$2,500 – pricing for Australia is TBC). To mark 90 years of Fujifilm there's a special-edition model of the X100VI that's limited to 1,934 units – 1934 being the year Fujifilm was founded – with each model having its unique number etched onto its top plate. This special edition comes with a strap and different etchings, but is functionally identical to the standard X100VI and costs $1,934 / £1,934. Sales of this camera begin on March 28, while in the UK sales are exclusively in-person at the London House of Photography from April 6 – expect queues.  

Fujifilm X100VI: design and handling

  • Retains the same style, lens and superb hybrid viewfinder
  • First X100-series camera with in-body image stabilization
  • Tilt-touchscreen flush in the body when stowed
  • Slightly improved battery life

If you love the X100V, you'll appreciate the Fujifilm X100VI even more. And if you've never shot with an X100-series camera the X100VI embodies everything that has defined and popularized the Fujifilm brand.

Retro styling abounds, in the brushed aluminum top and bottom plates, the old-school exposure control dials (the dual-purpose shutter speed / ISO dial is stunning), the faux-leather body, and a hybrid viewfinder that gives you both an optical and electronic display, which you can switch between with the push of a button – the X100VI successfully straddles the analog era and the 21st century camera experience.

We also get a tilt-touchscreen that sits flush in the body when folded away, although you can't flip it around and out of sight altogether like you can a vari-angle screen, which I'd prefer. Still, this is a camera that suits low-level shooting – which I did a lot of to capture reflections in a wet Chinatown in London, and in Tokyo during the Fujifilm X-Summit – and even more so for those who prefer a viewfinder. Prefer optical? You've got it. Want to make sure your exposure settings are okay? You simply have to briefly activate the 3.69m-dot electronic display.

Image 1 of 7

Front of the Fujifilm X100VI reflected in glass table

(Image credit: Future)
Image 2 of 7

Front of the Fujifilm X100VI reflected in glass table

(Image credit: Future)
Image 3 of 7

Memory card in place in the Fujifilm X100VI

(Image credit: Future)
Image 4 of 7

Closeup of the top plate controls of the Fujifilm X100VI

(Image credit: Future)
Image 5 of 7

Fujifilm X100VI side profile

(Image credit: Future)
Image 6 of 7

Fujifilm X100VI connection ports door open

(Image credit: Future)
Image 7 of 7

Underside of the Fujifilm X100VI

(Image credit: Future)

The controls are all logically placed and within easy reach, and once you've taken the time to dig through the menus and set up the camera how you wish you can keep the viewfinder up to your eye and make adjustments without having to look for the required button or dial. 

The lens is the same fixed 23mm f/2 lens as on the Fujifilm X100V, with an aperture control dial and a control ring that allows you to adjust your choice of any one of several settings, including the digital teleconverter with 50mm and 70mm lens-effect settings. This is a proper street photography camera.

Battery life has been improved from the X100V despite the new camera using the same battery – camera brands are finding ways to conserve power more effectively. That said, in-body image stabilization is power hungry, and the use of it mostly negates the battery life improvement  – you get around 450 shots from a full charge.

Image 1 of 2

Waterfall with moving water motion blur

I found in-body image stablization effective down to a shutter speed as slow as 1/4sec. Pushed to 1/2sec and most of my photos were blurry. (Image credit: Future)
Image 2 of 2

tokyo city at night, a couple waits by pedestrain crossing with light trails from moving vehicles

Another example of using slow shutter speed for creative effects, blurring light trails at night even when shooting handheld. (Image credit: Future)

The new sensor-based image stabilization has been custom designed for the X100VI, and this was probably number one on my upgrade wish list for an X100V successor. These are cameras that are designed to be used handheld, and in-body stabilization allows you to get sharper shots at slower shutter speeds. Fujifilm says image stabilization is effective up to 6-stops, but in my tests, I found IBIS 100% effective up to 3EV – that's a shutter speed of 1/4sec – and a big drop in my hit ratio of sharp shots using slower shutter speeds.

You can make use of the new in-body stabilization and the existing built-in 4-stop ND filter for creative slow shutter speed effects that weren't possible before, while a built-in ND is useful for video work. You can shoot using the X100VI's f/2 aperture in reasonably bright light with the kind of shutter speeds needed for video, around 1/60 sec.

The new image stabilization feature necessitates a slight increase in size and weight, and while the size difference is negligible, the X100VI is around 10% heavier than the X100V at 521g (incl battery and card). I still class it as a compact camera though, and the extra weight is completely worth it in return for the practical gain.

Given that the lens is exactly the same one as on previous models, the same lens accessories will work with the X100VI, including the lens hood and the wide and tele conversion lenses.

Fujifilm X100VI: features and performance

  • Same X-Processor 5 engine and autofocus system as the X-T5
  • Up to 11fps continuous burst shooting in full quality
  • Direct Frame.io cloud uploads

The Fujifilm X100VI utilizes the same X-Processor 5 engine as the X-T5, making this the most powerful X100-series camera to date. 

It's also packing Fujifilm’s most effective autofocus system yet, with tracking autofocus for both photo and video recording, as well as subject-detection autofocus with options for birds, animals, vehicles and planes.

Image 1 of 4

Street photo of ladies in traditional Japanese attire

The X100VI is a superb street photographer's camera. (Image credit: Future)
Image 2 of 4

Street photo in a crowded urban Tokyo city

(Image credit: Future)
Image 3 of 4

Street scene in Tokyo city with motion blur

(Image credit: Future)
Image 4 of 4

City portrait with motion blur surrounding the subject

(Image credit: Future)

Those who prefer to take control of focus can switch to manual using the switch on the left-hand side of the body, and set up the camera with a generous selection of manual focus aids that include magnification, peaking (setting red to the highlight edges works well), and even a split image or ‘digital microprism’ that works very much like the old rangefinder focusing system – you align the two image within your display to achieve sharp focus.

Other modern conveniences include comprehensive wireless connectivity for image capture and uploads, and also includes direct Frame.io upload to cloud for photos and videos, although you'll need a separate subscription for that service.

Fujifilm X100VI: image and video quality

  • 40MP APS-C sensor with usable crop modes
  • 6.2K video
  • 20 film simulations including the latest Reala Ace

With the Fujifilm X100VI being so new it's not yet possible to process the camera's raw files, but image quality is a known entity, because the 40MP APS-C sensor is the same as the one in the X-T5, and the lens is the same as the one on the X100V, which I'm assured is sharp enough to compliment the higher-resolution sensor. In short, images are bigger than those from the X100V, and detail is super sharp across the entire image area. 

There's also a digital teleconverter that replicates a 50mm lens (a 'medium' image size of 20MP) and a 70mm lens (a 'small' image size of 10MP). With the increased 40MP full size image, those two digital crops are entirely usable.

Image 1 of 3

Tokyo city from above using the 2x digital teleconverter of the Fujifilm X100VI

The Fujifilm X100VI's full image area (Image credit: Future)
Image 2 of 3

Tokyo city from above using Fujifilm X100VI full image size

The Fujifilm X100VI's 1.4x digital teleconverter with 50mm lens effect (Image credit: Future)
Image 3 of 3

Tokyo city from above using the 1.4x digital teleconverter of the Fujifilm X100VI

The Fujifilm X100VI's 2x digital teleconverter with 70mm lens effect (Image credit: Future)

Design-wise this is very much a stills photographer's camera, but in terms of features and image quality the X100VI is a decent video camera too, thanks to 6.2K resolution up to 10-bit and 200Mbps bit rate, in-body image stabilization with additional digital stabilization, and Fujifilm's capable autofocus with active subject tracking.

You also get Fujifilm log color profiles for video to maximize the sensor's dynamic range, plus the full suite of Fujifilm film simulation modes, which now number 20, six of which are black-and-white looks with different lens-filter effects to accentuate particular tones – red and orange make for punchy skies, while green brings out skin detail in portraits.

I liked to shoot using film simulation bracketing mode to get three looks at the same time, with some of my favorites including Provia (standard color), Reala Ace and Acros black and white. If you shoot in raw you can choose another film simulation afterwards using the in-camera raw conversion editor.

Image 1 of 3

Street photo in Tokyo of a green taxi

(Image credit: Future)
Image 2 of 3

Tokyo cityscape from elevated viewpoint

(Image credit: Future)
Image 3 of 3

Tokyo city in the day, elederly man cycles past

(Image credit: Future)

If like me you like to shoot in aperture priority and maintain some control of shutter speed suitable for the scene, you can define the minimum shutter speed in the auto ISO menu – that's another custom setting I create before shooting.

Let's not forget the impact in-body image stablization and better subject detection autofocus has on image quality too – countering motion blur at slower shutter speeds and reliably acquiring sharp focus.

Fujifilm X100VI: early verdict

Fujifilm X100VI in the hand

(Image credit: Future)

The wait was worth it. Finally the Fujifilm X100 series, which has for so long been popular for capturing every day street and reportage photography, has a model with in-body image stabilization, paired with a versatile 40MP APS-C sensor. There's a feeling that the X100VI could be the high-water mark for the retro-styled line with its unique hybrid viewfinder – how else can Fujifilm improve on its tried and tested fixed 23mm f/2 lens besides broadening the range with different fixed-focal-length lenses? Or perhaps by rolling out this fixed-lens concept to its medium-format GFX range? No, this sixth-gen model could be as good as the series gets and around for many years – we have a new premium compact camera champion on our hands.

Fujifilm X100VI: how I tested

Top plate of theFujifilm X100VI in the hand

(Image credit: Future)
  • Several days by my side
  • Plenty of street photography experience

I used the Fujifilm X100VI for an afternoon in London, prior to spending a week with it at and around the Fujifilm X-Summit in Tokyo, during which time it was by my side continuously with plenty of opportunities to test its everyday camera and street photography credentials. 

I’ve taken sample photos in raw and JPEG, although I've not been able to process the raw files as they're not yet compatible with photo editors yet; I will, however, be able to do that for my upcoming full review of the camera.

Naturally I’ve pushed the new features to their limits, shooting 40MP stills and testing the 11fps continuous burst shooting, in-body image stabilization and 6.2K video modes, as well as the new autofocus system. 

OM System Tough TG-7 review: a solid outdoor companion
4:30 pm | November 9, 2023

Author: admin | Category: Cameras Compact Cameras Computers Gadgets | Tags: , , | Comments: Off

OM System Tough TG-7: Two-minute review

Modern mirrorless cameras now come with more bells, whistles and buttons than ever. That’s why it’s been so refreshing to review the OM System Tough TG-7, a rugged all-in-one that you can take out shooting without the worry of damage from water, dust, dirt, sand, or clumsy drops.

The TG-7 is reminiscent of the compact cameras I grew up with on family vacations (and took to nightclubs as a late teenager). They’d easily slip into a pocket and come along to the beach, or on hiking and camping trips, and their built-in zoom and scene modes meant you’d be set to capture you adventures largely regardless of skill level.

The waterproof, shockproof TG-7 is equally versatile, equally designed for use in challenging conditions, and equally as good a fit for families as it is for construction workers and surveyors – not to mention hardcore adventurers who push their gear to the limits.

The TG-7 only offers modest improvements over its predecessor, however. The popular Olympus Tough TG-6 compact, released in 2019, had a spot in our best waterproof camera guide, but has been discontinued to make way for the new OM name with the TG-7. On the outside, the cameras look very similar (aside from the updated branding) and much of what's inside is familiar too.

Image 1 of 6

The OM System Tough TG-7 camera on a wooden log across a river

With a 4x zoom lens, the TG-7 offers a versatile focal range and macro focus (Image credit: Lauren Scott)
Image 2 of 6

The rear view and buttons on the OM System Tough TG-7 camera

The majority of the buttons are on the right hand side at the rear (Image credit: Lauren Scott)
Image 3 of 6

A guide light accessory on the OM System Tough TG-7 camera

The OM Tough TG-7 is compatible with a wide range of accessories such as flash modifiers and floating cases (Image credit: Lauren Scott)
Image 4 of 6

A top view of the OM System Tough TG-7 camera

The Log/Off switch at the top of the TG-7 is used to toggle GPS. It can also record information in the image metadata like temperature and elevation (Image credit: Lauren Scott)
Image 5 of 6

A fisheye converter on the OM System Tough TG-7 lens

A screw-on fisheye converter adds new creative effects and possibilities (Image credit: Lauren Scott)
Image 6 of 6

The menu on the OM System Tough TG-7 camera

Focus modes (Image credit: Lauren Scott)

The Tough-series build is IPX8-rated and can withstand 15m dips underwater (an extra underwater case lets you go deeper), drops from 2.1m, and temperatures down to 14F / -10C. Oh, and just in case you manage to stand on the camera, it’s crushproof to pressures of 220lbs / 100kg.

So the TG-7 is still tough, and it's lightweight at a very pocketable 8.8oz / 249g. But what about the camera specs themselves? The 12MP BSI CMOS 1/2.3-inch sensor (similar in size to those in typical smartphones) is unchanged from the TG-6, and video recording is limited to 4K at 25 or 30fps, or 1080p at 25 / 30 / 50 / 60fps. Those options are a bit dated, and I found that the stabilization struggled to keep up when I shot video while walking. The quality is fair if you just want to capture record footage, but don't expect sharp, cinematic footage.

The camera has an internal 25-100mm zoom lens with a variable aperture of f/2-f/4.9, plus 1cm close-macro focusing, which sets it apart from most action cameras. The ISO range runs from 100-12800, although during testing I found this was best kept below 1600.

Several new features bring the TG-7 up to date, but they’re arguably too niche to entice current TG-6 users into upgrading. There's a handy USB Type-C connector for charging, although the camera can’t be powered up while plugged in (and I couldn't shoot while attached to a power bank). A full battery should be good for around 340 shots – I was able to get about 250 images with GPS activated. 

What's great is that remote shooting is now possible using the O.I. Share app or the RM-WR1 wireless remote. You also get the option of vertical video recording – great for social-first content – a timelapse mode, and three Construction modes that further establish the TG-7 as a practical camera for builders, project managers and those with messy work to do. 

In the Construction modes, most of the work happens after you press the shutter, as computational processing steps are designed to reduce dust particles in the scene and enhance clarity. I didn’t get to test these modes out, but I’m sure they'll benefit workers needing photos on-site who don’t want to risk damaging their smartphones.

Image 1 of 3

Microscope scene mode on the OM System Tough TG-7 camera

(Image credit: Lauren Scott)
Image 2 of 3

The focus stacking mode on the screen of the OM System Tough TG-7 camera

(Image credit: Lauren Scott)
Image 3 of 3

The Nightscape scene mode on the OM System Tough TG-7 camera

(Image credit: Lauren Scott)

The Tough TG-7's controls and somewhat guided interface are great for beginner and intermediate photographers. Up top, there's the GPS Log toggle, power button, shutter, zoom rocker and a scrolling dial for changing settings depending on your mode. The zoom rocker is slightly slow to spring into action, but the raised buttons make it easy to change settings with wet hands, although it becomes more fiddly with gloves on.

The four-way nav pad with the familiar ‘OK’ button in the center lets you bring up and change settings outside of the main menu, and this is where I set raw and continuous shooting (you can max out at 20fps, but focus and exposure remains the same throughout). The mode dial illustrates each mode sensibly, with a fish for Underwater mode, for example. I suspect many users will just stick to auto mode, so it's a good job that this works well in daylight. In trickier lighting situations, users might want to try out the 22 Scene modes, which include Indoor, Candle, Children, Documents, and Panorama. Most of these adapted to the shooting environment admirably, although the focus did hunt noticeably for me during night scenes.

You get some more control over the exposure by switching to aperture priority, as you can choose f/2, f/2.8 and f/8 at 25mm, or f/4.9, f/6.3 and f/18 with the lens set to the full 100mm. As a nature lover, I made a lot of use of macro focusing with the Tough TG-7. With the Super Macro Mode allowing for a 1cm minimum focusing distance (the closest is 10cm without this) I was able to get some colorful, sharp shots when I had enough light between the camera and the subject. Using the Olympus Guide Light helped with extra illumination, while the in-built flash was a little too harsh for close-ups without a diffuser attached.

Image 1 of 4

Sample images from the OM System Tough TG-7

(Image credit: Lauren Scott)
Image 2 of 4

Sample images from the OM System Tough TG-7

(Image credit: Lauren Scott)
Image 3 of 4

Sample images from the OM System Tough TG-7

(Image credit: Lauren Scott)
Image 4 of 4

Sample images from the OM System Tough TG-7

(Image credit: Lauren Scott)

Ultimately, the Tough TG-7 isn't the best action camera for photo and video quality, and its sensor lagged behind my aging iPhone 12 in many situations. But it undeniably lets you shoot in situations where you couldn't otherwise, and is versatile thanks to the zoom lens and a wealth of additional accessories like lenses and lights. The array of buttons also makes it more tactile to handle than a phone or GoPro, even if the 3-inch screen isn't touch-sensitive.

The Tough TG-7 is likely to be the best travel camera to buy if you’re an off-the-beaten-track explorer who needs a light, reliable companion to document your tales – the highlights and the tough bits. The TG-7 will never compete with my mirrorless camera for sheer specs or quality, but I don’t need it to. It serves a different purpose altogether; to break down the barrier between you and nature, so that you can shoot more precariously and more freely.

Image 1 of 6

OM-System sample images

(Image credit: Lauren Scott)
Image 2 of 6

OM-System sample images

(Image credit: Lauren Scott)
Image 3 of 6

OM-System sample images

(Image credit: Lauren Scott)
Image 4 of 6

OM-System sample images

(Image credit: Lauren Scott)
Image 5 of 6

OM-System sample images

(Image credit: Lauren Scott)
Image 6 of 6

OM-System sample images

(Image credit: Lauren Scott)

OM System Tough TG-7: Price and release date

  • Available in the US, UK and Australia for $549.99 /£499.99 / AU$799
  • Available in red and black colorways

The OM System Tough TG-7 began shipping in October 2023, and is available now in black or red. In the US its list price is $549.99, but some retailers have been offering the camera at $499.99. In the UK the TG-7 is £499, while in Australia the price is AU$799.

In the unassuming cardboard box that the TG-7 comes packaged in, there's an LI-92B battery (the same as the battery in the TG-6), a USB-C charging cable, a wrist strap – also red if you have the red model – and a user manual.

Although the TG-7 doesn't ship with any additional accessories, there are plenty of extras you can buy to add to its functionality. All TG-6 accessories are compatible with the TG-7, and therefore some still have the Olympus branding. For example, the Olympus LG-1 LED Light Guide effectively illuminates macro subjects more evenly than flash, and it's around $50 / £40. The Fish Eye Converter will set you back $195 / £130, while a dedicated underwater housing is more than $300 / £300.

OM System Tough TG-7: Should I buy?

Buy it if...

Don't buy it if...

OM System Tough TG-7: also consider

If this OM System Tough TG-7 review has you interested in rugged cameras, here are a couple of alternatives to consider.

OM System Tough TG-7: How I tested

  • Shot in the rain and underwater, in daylight and at night
  • Used Olympus accessories such as the guide light and fisheye converter

I carried the OM System Tough TG-7 in my coat pocket for several weeks, taking it out on wet and rainy hikes, while dining with friends, and out at night in the city where I live. It was submerged in several rivers to test out the clarity and focus underwater, as well as the effectiveness of the anti-fog lens cover.

I used the camera's Auto, Aperture Priority, and Program modes, along with Microscope mode for close-ups and Nightscapes for photos in low light. I also experimented with Olympus' add-on accessories, including the guide light, flash diffuser and the fisheye converter which screws onto the front lens.

I shot raw and JPEG images, and tested out the video quality and stabilization by capturing handheld footage of children, my dog, and birds in my local park. Lastly, I used the O.I Share app to see how the remote shooting and image transfer worked.

  • First reviewed October 2023
Camp Snap camera review: child’s play
11:30 am | November 1, 2023

Author: admin | Category: Cameras Compact Cameras Computers Gadgets | Comments: Off

Two-minute review

I first came across the Camp Snap camera when it popped up on my Instagram feed, and it stopped my mindless scrolling. It wasn’t just the dulcet tones of the voice over, or the sunny slice of America filling the screen. This retro-style compact was different, and its biggest selling point is what it lacks… a screen. 

Here I was, caught in the screen time act, watching a video about a camera originally created for kids at summer camp with no permitted screen time, who could still use it to take a few snaps of their trip. It might well hope to be one of the best cameras for kids, and in a similar category to the fun Fujifilm Instax Pal, but I think the Camp Snap will attract a much wider audience than just kids.

The retro Camp Snap camera is a clever idea; it’s a low-cost, low-tech digital reimagining of the single-use disposable camera. We all need less screen time, plus I think we all need to practice a little patience. And the low-tech Camp Snap is just what we need, because it brings us back to a happier and simpler time. No screen, no instant review of your photos. 

Camp Snap Camera in the hand illuminated by high contrast window light

(Image credit: Future)

It might look like an attractive disposable camera, but instead of film the Camp Snap can store around 2,000 digital 8MP photos on an included TF memory card (that’s the same design as a microSD card). The first time you see your photos is when the Camp Snap camera is connected via its USB-C port to upload them to your computer. 

It’s a bit like the digital version of getting your developed roll of film back from the lab weeks after the event. For me, regularly using the best cameras available today, such delayed gratification feels like a distant memory. There’s no film cost, either, which is a godsend in a time where prices have skyrocketed.

In use, the Camp Snap is point-and-shoot, all-auto simplicity for all the family. It’s child’s play; my three rambunctious kids had no problems operating the camera, and I haven’t been protective over this rigid plastic camera at all – the makers label it "drop-proof". 

Underside of the Camp Snap camera with USB-C port

(Image credit: Future)

You get a viewfinder, which is pleasant enough though somewhat interfered with by the red glare of the LED photo counter. There's also a built-in LED flash that you can turn on or off and which could benefit from being more powerful (I’d use it for any condition except bright sunlight), a thumb groove on the camera’s rear that gives a little hold, plus the USB-C port doubles up to charge the battery. With no power-hungry features, the battery should last several days of moderate use. 

The camera is powered up by a long press of the shutter button, followed by an upbeat audible confirmation that you're in business. You also get a shutter noise every time you take a photo – these are fun little features for a kid-friendly camera.

Top of the Camp Snap camera, in the hand

(Image credit: Future)

I do need to manage your expectations of the Camp Snap. Image quality is on-par with a single-use disposable film camera from yesteryear; in other words, poor by 2023’s standards. The low-cost and tiny 2560 x 1920 pixel image sensor, paired with a moderate wide-angle fixed focus lens, doesn’t even come close to the image quality of a modern smartphone and works best in bright light.

With a focus range of around 1m to infinity, I found selfies at arm’s length are possible, but anything closer is blurry. 

If I were to suggest a couple of design changes, moving the LED photo counter to the side would counter glare when using the viewfinder, plus a loop to attach a wrist strap would be nice.

Rear of Camp Snap camera and it's LED photo counter

(Image credit: Future)

Camp Snap camera photo samples

Image 1 of 14

Anglican church in the sun, taken with the Camp Snap camera

(Image credit: Future)
Image 2 of 14

Old shoe repair shop, taken with the Camp Snap camera

(Image credit: Future)
Image 3 of 14

Selfie taken with the Camp Snap camera

(Image credit: Future)
Image 4 of 14

Sunset over field with wooden fence, taken with the Camp Snap camera

(Image credit: Future)
Image 5 of 14

A wet London at night, taken with the Camp Snap camera

(Image credit: Future)
Image 6 of 14

Boathouse and calm lake, taken with the Camp Snap camera

(Image credit: Future)
Image 7 of 14

Hilly open vista, taken with the Camp Snap camera

(Image credit: Future)
Image 8 of 14

Guineapigs, taken with the Camp Snap camera

(Image credit: Future)
Image 9 of 14

Quaint old shop on British high street, taken with the Camp Snap camera

(Image credit: Future)
Image 10 of 14

Old car with hilly backdrop, taken with the Camp Snap camera

(Image credit: Future)
Image 11 of 14

Flodded heathland on cloudy day, taken with the Camp Snap camera

(Image credit: Future)
Image 12 of 14

Selfie taken with the Camp Snap camera

(Image credit: Future)
Image 13 of 14

Waiting for the underground, taken with the Camp Snap camera

(Image credit: Future)
Image 14 of 14

A wet London at night, taken with the Camp Snap camera

(Image credit: Future)

Above image quality and features, the Camp Snap frees us up for real connection with what’s around us. That’s what I want from a camera experience – like the Fujifilm Instax Pal, I've really enjoyed having the Camp Snap around for moments with family and friends, and it's brought me back to a happier and simpler time.

Who knew that a camera’s best feature could be something that it doesn’t have? The Camp Snap has inspired me to make a habit of folding away the vari-angle screen of my professional mirrorless camera. Basic it may well be, the Camp Snap concept has somehow struck a chord. 

Camp Snap: Price and availability

Available in the US and Europe now, the Camp Snap costs $55 / £45 plus shipping costs from the Camp Snap website, and is available with a leather-effect trim in Brown, Aqua, Black, Forest Green, White or Pink. I had the all-black version. The makers of Camp Snap have plans to expand sales beyond Europe and North America, including Australia. 

I've also been informed that a second version of the Camp Snap camera is in the pipeline, that addresses a few snags including a loop for a wrist strap, plus there’s a ‘Pro’ version in the pipeline with more features that sounds less appealing to me.

Should I buy the Camp Snap camera?

Camp Snap Camera in the hand illuminated by window light

(Image credit: Future)

Buy it if...

Don't buy it if...

How I tested the Camp Snap camera

I had the Camp Snap in my pocket for several weeks, grabbing quick snaps around family life, across a varied range of scenarios and times of day. My children have had a similar amount of use from the camera and I have enjoyed seeing them give it a spin and using the viewfinder. 

First reviewed October 2023

Camp Snap camera review: child’s play
11:30 am |

Author: admin | Category: Cameras Compact Cameras Computers Gadgets | Comments: Off

Two-minute review

I first came across the Camp Snap camera when it popped up on my Instagram feed, and it stopped my mindless scrolling. It wasn’t just the dulcet tones of the voice over, or the sunny slice of America filling the screen. This retro-style compact was different, and its biggest selling point is what it lacks… a screen. 

Here I was, caught in the screen time act, watching a video about a camera originally created for kids at summer camp with no permitted screen time, who could still use it to take a few snaps of their trip. It might well hope to be one of the best cameras for kids, and in a similar category to the fun Fujifilm Instax Pal, but I think the Camp Snap will attract a much wider audience than just kids.

The retro Camp Snap camera is a clever idea; it’s a low-cost, low-tech digital reimagining of the single-use disposable camera. We all need less screen time, plus I think we all need to practice a little patience. And the low-tech Camp Snap is just what we need, because it brings us back to a happier and simpler time. No screen, no instant review of your photos. 

Camp Snap Camera in the hand illuminated by high contrast window light

(Image credit: Future)

It might look like an attractive disposable camera, but instead of film the Camp Snap can store around 2,000 digital 8MP photos on an included TF memory card (that’s the same design as a microSD card). The first time you see your photos is when the Camp Snap camera is connected via its USB-C port to upload them to your computer. 

It’s a bit like the digital version of getting your developed roll of film back from the lab weeks after the event. For me, regularly using the best cameras available today, such delayed gratification feels like a distant memory. There’s no film cost, either, which is a godsend in a time where prices have skyrocketed.

In use, the Camp Snap is point-and-shoot, all-auto simplicity for all the family. It’s child’s play; my three rambunctious kids had no problems operating the camera, and I haven’t been protective over this rigid plastic camera at all – the makers label it "drop-proof". 

Underside of the Camp Snap camera with USB-C port

(Image credit: Future)

You get a viewfinder, which is pleasant enough though somewhat interfered with by the red glare of the LED photo counter. There's also a built-in LED flash that you can turn on or off and which could benefit from being more powerful (I’d use it for any condition except bright sunlight), a thumb groove on the camera’s rear that gives a little hold, plus the USB-C port doubles up to charge the battery. With no power-hungry features, the battery should last several days of moderate use. 

The camera is powered up by a long press of the shutter button, followed by an upbeat audible confirmation that you're in business. You also get a shutter noise every time you take a photo – these are fun little features for a kid-friendly camera.

Top of the Camp Snap camera, in the hand

(Image credit: Future)

I do need to manage your expectations of the Camp Snap. Image quality is on-par with a single-use disposable film camera from yesteryear; in other words, poor by 2023’s standards. The low-cost and tiny 2560 x 1920 pixel image sensor, paired with a moderate wide-angle fixed focus lens, doesn’t even come close to the image quality of a modern smartphone and works best in bright light.

With a focus range of around 1m to infinity, I found selfies at arm’s length are possible, but anything closer is blurry. 

If I were to suggest a couple of design changes, moving the LED photo counter to the side would counter glare when using the viewfinder, plus a loop to attach a wrist strap would be nice.

Rear of Camp Snap camera and it's LED photo counter

(Image credit: Future)

Camp Snap camera photo samples

Image 1 of 14

Anglican church in the sun, taken with the Camp Snap camera

(Image credit: Future)
Image 2 of 14

Old shoe repair shop, taken with the Camp Snap camera

(Image credit: Future)
Image 3 of 14

Selfie taken with the Camp Snap camera

(Image credit: Future)
Image 4 of 14

Sunset over field with wooden fence, taken with the Camp Snap camera

(Image credit: Future)
Image 5 of 14

A wet London at night, taken with the Camp Snap camera

(Image credit: Future)
Image 6 of 14

Boathouse and calm lake, taken with the Camp Snap camera

(Image credit: Future)
Image 7 of 14

Hilly open vista, taken with the Camp Snap camera

(Image credit: Future)
Image 8 of 14

Guineapigs, taken with the Camp Snap camera

(Image credit: Future)
Image 9 of 14

Quaint old shop on British high street, taken with the Camp Snap camera

(Image credit: Future)
Image 10 of 14

Old car with hilly backdrop, taken with the Camp Snap camera

(Image credit: Future)
Image 11 of 14

Flodded heathland on cloudy day, taken with the Camp Snap camera

(Image credit: Future)
Image 12 of 14

Selfie taken with the Camp Snap camera

(Image credit: Future)
Image 13 of 14

Waiting for the underground, taken with the Camp Snap camera

(Image credit: Future)
Image 14 of 14

A wet London at night, taken with the Camp Snap camera

(Image credit: Future)

Above image quality and features, the Camp Snap frees us up for real connection with what’s around us. That’s what I want from a camera experience – like the Fujifilm Instax Pal, I've really enjoyed having the Camp Snap around for moments with family and friends, and it's brought me back to a happier and simpler time.

Who knew that a camera’s best feature could be something that it doesn’t have? The Camp Snap has inspired me to make a habit of folding away the vari-angle screen of my professional mirrorless camera. Basic it may well be, the Camp Snap concept has somehow struck a chord. 

Camp Snap: Price and availability

Available in the US and Europe now, the Camp Snap costs $55 / £45 plus shipping costs from the Camp Snap website, and is available with a leather-effect trim in Brown, Aqua, Black, Forest Green, White or Pink. I had the all-black version. The makers of Camp Snap have plans to expand sales beyond Europe and North America, including Australia. 

I've also been informed that a second version of the Camp Snap camera is in the pipeline, that addresses a few snags including a loop for a wrist strap, plus there’s a ‘Pro’ version in the pipeline with more features that sounds less appealing to me.

Should I buy the Camp Snap camera?

Camp Snap Camera in the hand illuminated by window light

(Image credit: Future)

Buy it if...

Don't buy it if...

How I tested the Camp Snap camera

I had the Camp Snap in my pocket for several weeks, grabbing quick snaps around family life, across a varied range of scenarios and times of day. My children have had a similar amount of use from the camera and I have enjoyed seeing them give it a spin and using the viewfinder. 

First reviewed October 2023

Sony ZV-1 review
5:00 pm | May 26, 2020

Author: admin | Category: Cameras Compact Cameras Computers Gadgets | Comments: Off

Editor's Note

• Original review date: May 2020
• Launch price: $749 / £699 / AU$1,299
• Official price now: $649.99 / £649 / AU$1,079

Update: March 2024. That the Sony ZV-1 is four years old but remains in a several TechRadar buying guides is testament to its filmmaking chops, especially for those starting out in filmmaking and on a limited budget. Its 4K video and excellent autofocus performance with clever subject detection modes make it one of the best vlogging cameras even in 2024. An updated Sony ZV-1 II was introduced more recently and is also an excellent video camera. However, we have kept the older ZV-1 in key buying guides because the second-gen model simply doesn't do enough to merit an upgrade or to spend the extra money on, and so for now the ZV-1 remains an excellent value video-focused compact camera.

Sony ZV-1: two-minute review

The Sony ZV-1 is the most powerful pocket vlogging camera you can buy right now. It takes the best video features of the Sony RX100 series, including its class-leading autofocus system, and combines them with design tweaks that make it ideal for shooting YouTube videos at home or on the move. 

Its main strength is the combination of a bright 24-70mm f/1.8-2.8 lens with Sony's Real-time tracking and Real-time Eye AF systems. Together with the ZV-1's 1-inch sensor, which is larger than those in today's smartphones, these make it easy to shoot high-quality vlogs with pleasing background blur and consistent focus.

The inclusion of a 3.5mm microphone port means it's relatively easy to add good-quality audio to match your videos, while a hotshoe lets you mount accessories like a shotgun mic or LED light without needing a bracket to support them.

This is particularly useful because, while the ZV-1's three-capsule internal microphone is an improvement over the built-in mics found in the RX100 series and other compact cameras, it still falls short of offering audio that matches the quality of its video. You do at least get a windshield bundled with the camera, which is essential for when you're shooting in breezy conditions.

Sony ZV-1

(Image credit: Future)

The ZV-1 isn't perfect, and you might want to consider other options, depending on your needs. Its SteadyShot stabilization is passable for walking videos, but falls short of the smoothness offered by the DJI Osmo Pocket, GoPro Hero 8 Black, or larger cameras like the Olympus E-M5 Mark III. Its strongest stabilization also adds a slight crop that can make the resulting focal length slightly tight for handheld shots, though we didn't find this to be a major issue.

Despite the inclusion of renamed shortcut buttons for beginners, the ZV-1 also isn't the most user-friendly camera for those upgrading from smartphones. Aside from letting you tap to focus, its touchscreen doesn't work with menus like the handy 'Fn' grid, and it settings remain labyrinthine; a beginner-friendly section for video newcomers would have been nice.

Sony ZV-1

(Image credit: Future)

The flipside to this complexity is that the ZV-1 is absolutely packed with features, including a built-in ND filter, autofocus sensitivity options, and profiles like S-Log2 for those who like to color-grade their videos; Sony is also promising live-streaming software for Windows users from July 2020. All this makes it incredibly powerful for a compact camera, and ensures that it'll grow with you as your skills improve.

The ZV-1's size means there are naturally other compromises, including the lack of a headphone jack and average battery life, while the absence of an electronic viewfinder means those looking for a stills camera should also look elsewhere. But the ZV-1 packs in more power and video features than any other compact camera, making it an ideal take-anywhere camera for shooting content for your YouTube or other social media channel - indeed we think it's one of the best YouTube cameras.

Sony ZV-1: price and release date

  • The Sony ZV-1 launched on May 26, 2020
  • It costs $749 / £699 / AU$1,299
  • You can also buy a Bluetooth Grip controller for $138 / £170 / AU$249

You can order the Sony ZV-1 right now, as pre-orders opened on its release date of May 26, 2020. Sony says shipping is expected to start "in early June" in the US and UK, and by "mid-June" in Australia.

The compact vlogging camera costs $749 / £699 / AU$1,299 which puts it roughly in between the Sony RX100 Mark IV and RX100 Mark V price-wise. 

Unlike all of Sony's RX100 series camera, the ZV-1 lacks an electronic viewfinder, which helps to keep its price down. It does, though, bring newer features that aren't available on the latter two cameras, including Real-time Eye AF autofocus. 

That price tag puts the Sony ZV-1 at a similar price point to its main rival, the Canon G7X Mark III. That camera launched in August 2019 for $750 / £700 / AU$1,100, although it can currently be found for slightly less than that.

You can also now buy a shooting grip with an integrated wireless remote for the Sony ZV-1, the Sony GP-VPT2BT. This is available now, and costs $138 / £170 / AU$240.

Image 1 of 3

Sony ZV-1

(Image credit: Future)
Image 2 of 3

Sony ZV-1

(Image credit: Future)
Image 3 of 3

Sony ZV-1

(Image credit: Future)

Sony ZV-1: design

  • New side-flipping LCD screen is ideal for video
  • Hotshoe and 3.5mm port make it easy to add external microphone
  • Lacks the RX100 series' viewfinder and lens control ring

The Sony ZV-1 is like a Sony RX100 Mark V that's been redesigned for YouTubers. The end result isn't perfect, but it does fix most of the criticisms we had of the Mark V when it came to video shooting. Along with the Canon G7X Mark III, it's one of the few compact cameras that's been designed primarily for video.

First, the good bits. The best new feature is a side-hinged articulating touchscreen. This kind of screen is better than a tilting one for shooting video, because it leaves the top and bottom of the camera free for attaching accessories. Crucially, it also flips around 180 degrees to face forwards, allowing those operating one-person YouTube channels to frame their shots without needing someone behind the camera.

Sadly, Sony's touchscreen functionality is still pretty limited. You can tap the screen to pull focus in video, for example, but not navigate menus or even zoom in on photos. That's a shame for a camera that's been designed primarily for people who are upgrading from smartphones; still, the benefit of that side-hinged screen is that there's room on top of the camera for a hotshoe.

Sony ZV-1

(Image credit: Future)

This hotshoe replaces the electronic viewfinder you'll find on Sony's RX100 series. Losing a built-in EVF would be a big deal for a stills-focused camera, and it's something to bear in mind if you need an all-rounder for both photos and video. But it makes sense for a vlogging camera like the ZV-1, because its target audience will mostly be using the screen as a viewfinder – and it also helps to reduce the ZV-1's price tag, if not by quite as much as we'd hoped.

The option to plug accessories like LED lights or external microphones into that hotshoe is a real bonus. If you purchased the Sony RX100 VII you had to buy an external bracket to mount them, but there are no such worries with the ZV-1, and this brings us to another of the ZV-1's vlogging bonuses: a 3.5mm mic input.

There isn't much point shooting great-looking video if you don't have the audio to match, so a 3.5mm port is essential for vlogging cameras. The Sony ZV-1 does actually have an improved built-in microphone on its top plate – this is a three-directional capsule mic with left, center and right channels. 

Sony also bundles a 'dead cat' windshield with the ZV-1, which plugs into the hotshoe to help counter wind noise when you're shooting outdoors. But as we'll see later, an external microphone is still significantly better than any built-in equivalent, making that 3.5mm port a crucial inclusion.

Sony ZV-1

(Image credit: Future)

Slightly less welcome is the inclusion of a microUSB port below the mic port. While it's far from a deal-breaker, we expect all new cameras to offer USB-C ports these days for speedy charging and all-round convenience. The Fujifilm X-T4, for example, comes with a USB-C headphone adaptor that lets you monitor the sound on your recordings, which is something you can't do on the ZV-1. You can at least charge the Sony ZV-1 while using the camera, though, so it's not completely stuck in the charging dark ages.

The Sony ZV-1 brings two other handy design tweaks that you won't find on the RX100 VII or any of its predecessors. One is a small hand grip. While this doesn't revolutionize the ZV-1's handling, it's another feature that many RX100-series owners have added to their cameras with third-party accessories. And finally, for the first time on a Sony camera, the video recording button is now as big as the stills shutter button. 

These might not sound important, but they're pretty significant. Unlike the RX100 series, they mark the ZV-1 out as a video-first camera that can also do stills. And, while you miss out on features like an EVF and lens control ring, the inclusion of a side-flipping screen, hotshoe and mic port make the ZV-1 the best pocketable tool around for vloggers and YouTubers.    

Sony ZV-1

(Image credit: Future)

Sony ZV-1: autofocus and lens

  • Real-time Eye AF produces class-leading vlogging autofocus
  • Bright 24-70mm f/1.8-2.8 lens creates pleasing background blur
  • Lacks Animal Eye AF, but includes Real-time Tracking for moving subjects

The Sony ZV-1 does what many vloggers have been crying out for – it combines the lens of the Sony RX100 Mark V (or at least a mildly tweaked version of it) with Sony's latest Bionz X processor and autofocus skills.

Why include the 24-70mm lens from the Mark V, rather than the 24-200mm lens seen on the last two Sony RX100 cameras? Because the former is simply more suited to vlogging, thanks to its brighter f/1.8-2.8 aperture. This combines nicely with the camera's 1-inch sensor to give your videos some pleasing background blur, while still photos also benefit from the knock-on effect of the ability to shoot at lower ISOs in equivalent scenes (albeit at the expense of that longer 200mm reach).

But the ZV-1's real ace is pairing this bright lens with some of Sony's latest Real-time autofocus tech. This is possible thanks to the combination of the Bionz X processor (also seen in the full-frame Sony Alpha A9 II) and that 1-inch, 20.1MP stacked CMOS sensor, which has 315 phase-detect autofocus points covering 65% of the frame.

What does all this mean in reality? For a start, the ZV-1's hybrid autofocus, so-called because it combines phase detect with contrast-detect AF systems, means it's faster and more confident for video than the contrast-only systems seen in rivals like the Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark III

On top of that, you get Sony's latest Real-time Tracking and Real-time Eye AF (for people), which are easily the best you'll find in a compact camera for capturing people and moving subjects. Keeping moving subjects in focus is invariably just a case of tapping them on the ZV-1's screen; if you have Face and Eye AF tracking enabled, it will also seamlessly switch to the latter when it detects a person's face.

This is particularly important for a vlogging camera with a bright lens, because it can be very easy to lose focus on a face when shooting at apertures like f/1.8. But aside from when we got too close to the lens, we found the ZV-1 did an excellent job at tracking our eyes across most of the frame.

Sony ZV-1: features

  • Includes two new shortcut buttons for vlogging beginners
  • Picture profiles offer editing flexibility for more advanced vloggers
  • Slow-motion modes are fun and useful 

So what other video-friendly treats does the Sony ZV-1 pack beyond excellent autofocus? A huge amount, which isn't always a good thing for usability.

Sony's camera menus are renowned for being about as user-friendly as a book of hieroglyphics, and it's done a couple of things in an effort to make the ZV-1 a bit more intuitive for beginners.

These include two new default settings for the camera's two custom buttons. The first of these, called the 'Bokeh switch', will instantly switch to a wide-open aperture to give your footage a defocused background. Unlike smartphone 'portrait' modes, there's no computational trickery going on here – it's purely a shortcut based on traditional optics.

Sony ZV-1

(Image credit: Future)

The second and perhaps more useful custom button is called 'Product showcase', which is designed specifically for YouTubers who specialize in reviews. 

Again, this doesn't do anything beyond what you can do in the settings, but pressing this instantly turns off both SteadyShot stabilization (making a tripod a must for this mode) and Face and Eye priority AF. This means that when you hold a product up to the camera, it'll lock focus onto that, rather than prioritizing your face. Because of the speed of the ZV-1's autofocus, this works pretty well.

Still, these feel like hastily bolted-on fixes, and the ZV-1 otherwise feels very much like an RX100 series compact camera, which is a shame, and when you compare the interface to slick touchscreen apps like Filmic Pro, it can feel like a relic from the past. Prepare to do a lot of flicking through ZV-1's menus and setting up custom menus.

Sony ZV-1

(Image credit: Future)

To be fair, this complication is partly because the ZV-1 is so stuffed with features, with many of them aimed at advanced video shooters. This in turn gives it an incredible amount of depth for a compact camera. 

For example, there's the welcome return of the built-in ND filter. This was jettisoned on the last two RX100 cameras, but is nigh-on essential for getting smooth movement in videos on bright days, as it allows you to shoot with slower shutter speeds without having to stop the lens down.

Dig a bit deeper into the menus and you'll find compositional aides like focus peaking and zebra patterns, plus all of Sony's picture profiles including S-Log2, S-Log3 and Hybrid Log Gamma (HLG), for those who like to color-grade their footage to extract the most amount of dynamic range.

Sony ZV-1

(Image credit: Future)

But what about more commonly tweaked settings, like resolution and frame-rate options? Like the RX100 Mark VII, the ZV-1 can shoot 4K at a maximum 30p. It's a shame it doesn't have a 4K/60p mode, but its 4K footage is at least achieved by oversampling rather than pixel binning; the former is a superior method of grabbing a 4K image from the 20.1MP sensor, helping to avoid pixelated, jagged edges.

Of course, there are faster frame rates available if you're okay with shooting in 1080p, along with Sony's impressive super slow-mo options, which go all the way up to an incredible 960fps. 

Naturally, there's significant quality loss here, which we'll go into along with the ZV-1's stabilization and battery life in the performance section.

Sony ZV-1: performance

  • Video stabilization is improved, but falls short of the best
  • Built-in microphone is decent, but external mics recommended
  • Short battery life means packing spares for long shoots

Alongside great autofocus, a forward-facing screen and good audio options, vlogging cameras also need impressive image stabilization to help keep handheld footage steady. Of those four features, this is the Sony ZV-1's weakest area.

Not that its SteadyShot system is bad, by any means. Its most powerful 'Active' stabilization mode combines optical and electronic stabilization, and is available in 4K shooting too. If you're doing any walkaround vlogging, this is an essential mode, as you can see in our test clips below.

The trouble with 'Active' stabilization is that it applies a slight crop to your footage in order to counteract the bounce in your walking movements. It's not too severe, but because the ZV-1's widest focal length is already a slightly tight 24mm, it does mean you end up with very little room around your face when holding the camera at arm's length. 

We still think this crop is fine for handheld vlogging, particularly as it highlights how good Sony's Eye AF focusing is – but it might be something to try out first if you're planning to mostly film walking shots while talking to the camera.

If stabilization is important to you, it might also be worth considering alternatives or accessories. As you can see in our comparison video above, both the GoPro Hero 8 Black and DJI Osmo Mobile 3 (with a smartphone) offer superior stabilization to the Sony ZV-1, at the expense of image quality. The best of all worlds could well be combining the Sony ZV-1 with a gimbal like the Zhiyan Crane M2 – we'll update this review when we've had a chance to try out that combination.

The ZV-1's built-in, three-capsule microphone captures decent audio for a compact camera. The included 'dead cat' windshield is also essential if you're venturing out into breezy conditions, as our demo video above shows.

But there is inevitably still a little noise interference from camera's focus motors, and if you want to capture audio that matches the quality of your videos then you'll want to pair the ZV-1 with an external microphone. 

Fortunately, that's possible thanks to the 3.5mm microphone port on the side, and there are plenty of mic options around, from Sony's own ECM-XYST1M Stereo Microphone to something more discrete like the Rode Wireless Go. If you're just starting out, then a cheap lavalier (or 'lav' lapel mic) is an affordable way to boost the ZV-1's audio too, particularly if you'll mainly be talking to camera.

On a slightly more fun note, the Sony ZV-1 does also offer the same slow-motion modes as the RX100 series. These include 250, 500 and 1000fps options, although the latter two bring a significant hit to resolution and quality. We'd mostly steer clear of those, but the 250fps mode is decent, and combines nicely with the ZV-1's shallow depth of field. The only shame is that you can only shoot four-second clips, and setting up the slow-mo modes is still a clunky process.

With so many processor-intensive recording modes, how does the Sony ZV-1's battery life hold up? As you'd expect, not brilliantly – it only has room for the same NP-BX1 battery as the RX100 VII, which means around 260 shots or 45 minutes of video.

Sony ZV-1

(Image credit: Future)

This means carrying a spare battery or two is advised, although it is possible to use the camera while it's plugged into a battery pack or wall charger. Another bonus is that it's now possible to bypass the default five-minute recording limit when shooting 4K video – set the 'auto power off temp' to 'high' and it'll keep going until either the battery runs out or your memory card fills up.

We managed to record a continuous 4K video clip for 44 minutes in this mode – and while the ZV-1 was certainly toasty by the end, it wasn't impossible to hold, and Sony says using this mode won't damage the camera in any way.

Sony ZV-1: video and image quality

  • Shoots crisp, detailed 4K/30p video
  • Default skin smoothing is a little overdone, but can be turned off
  • Strong stills performance, but lacks a viewfinder

Like the most recent Sony RX100 cameras, the ZV-1 oversamples its video footage before downsampling it to 4K. This process produces sharper results than alternative techniques like pixel binning, and you can see this in its 4K footage – it's very crisp and detailed, and has no crop unless you're shooting with 'Active' stabilization.

It's a slight shame the ZV-1 doesn't have a 4K/60p option, as this would let you slow down 4K clips without any loss in quality. But it's not a major miss, and the 4K/30p mode impresses with its lack of rolling shutter, which is a common side-effect of CMOS sensors that sometimes results in skewed lines during fast panning movements.

The built-in ND filter also helps to keep movement nice and smooth in bright conditions, although the ZV-1 naturally struggles a bit more in lower light due to its 1-inch sensor. If you're faced with a really high-contrast scene, then picture profiles like S-Log2 will help you to extract extra detail, although you'll need to be comfortable with color grading before attempting that.

One area of image quality that Sony has gone big on for the ZV-1 is the color and exposure of human faces. Based on feedback from around the world, Sony says it's created an "optimized color algorithm" that makes sure skin tones are natural, wherever you're from. The ZV-1 also apparently uses its face recognition tech to get exposure readings, to make sure the vlogger's face is bright and well exposed in all conditions.

This certainly worked pretty well in our experience, although we haven't yet been able to try it on a range of faces. One thing we did tweak, though, was the ZV-1's skin smoothing effect – this is pretty strong by default, so we'd err on the side of switching it to 'low', or off entirely. Despite Sony's attempts to make it more natural than many equivalent smartphone modes, the stronger skin smoothing variants still look a bit too artificial for our tastes.

Image 1 of 9

Sony ZV-1

The ZV-1's default JPEG settings produce pleasing, life-like colors. (Image credit: Future)
Image 2 of 9

Sony ZV-1

The 24-70mm lens has just about enough reach to frame subjects from across the road. (Image credit: Future)
Image 3 of 9

Sony ZV-1

Still-life shots have plenty of detail with little noise up to ISO 800. (Image credit: Future)
Image 4 of 9

Sony ZV-1

The ZV-1's continuous shooting drive mode can help you capture decisive moments. (Image credit: Future)
Image 5 of 9

Sony ZV-1

The lens can focus from around 5cm away from your subject while retaining plenty of detail. (Image credit: Future)
Image 6 of 9

Sony ZV-1

The lack of a viewfinder is annoying in sunny conditions, but the ZV-1 is a decent walkaround camera on overcast days. (Image credit: Future)
Image 7 of 9

Sony ZV-1

Like the RX100 series, the ZV-1's 1-in sensor produces shots with great detail. (Image credit: Future)
Image 8 of 9

Sony ZV-1

Detail is generally best at the center of the frame, although the edges are still fine even at 70mm. (Image credit: Future)
Image 9 of 9

Sony ZV-1

The wider 24mm focal length allows you to squeeze details into a scene, even if a wider focal length would be welcome. (Image credit: Future)

Of course, despite its vlogging focus, the ZV-1 is also a pretty capable stills camera. The lack of a viewfinder or lens control ring means it's no match for its more stills-focused RX100 stablemates here, but the quality is certainly still there if you want to shoot some Instagram-worthy stills to complement your YouTube videos.

There's bags of detail in images, and you can bring back even more from highlights and shadow areas if you shoot in raw. Noise is well controlled too up to ISO 800, with image quality only really going south from ISO 6400 and above. 

Of course, it's arguable that today's smartphones are at least a match for the ZV-1 when it comes to stills photography, thanks to their computational smarts. But the ZV-1's bright lens and high-speed shooting modes still make it a handy backup tool for shooting portraits and action scenes, even if you really should be looking elsewhere for a dedicated stills camera. 

Should I buy the Sony ZV-1?

Sony ZV-1

The Fujifilm X100V (left) is a better compact camera for stills than the video-focused Sony ZV-1 (right). (Image credit: Future)

Buy it if...

Don't buy it if...

First reviewed: May 2020