Sony Announces the ZV-E10

Okay, what’s Sony up to now?

bythom sony zv10 kit

Another new camera, but probably not the one you were expecting. 

While Sony loyalists have long been expecting something new in the A6### form, Sony instead produced an APS-C body much like the ZV-1: a small camera designed primarily for vlogging and video streaming. 

Other specs that you might want to know are that the new ZV-E10 camera has a fully articulating display, no EVF, the usual 24mp APS-C sensor, and a ZV-1/A7C type design overall. Video maxes out at 4K 30P or 1080 120P, and uses the XAVC-S compression. We get S-Log2, S-Log3, and HLG. To make it more blogger-friendly, there’s a product focus mode, a bokeh button (maximum aperture), a button to swap between Photo/Video (and S&Q) modes, and headphone output. The camera can stream directly via USB-C to a computer. The kit lens is the not-so-great-but-small 16-50mm f/3.5-5.6.

I have no problem with targeting the vlogging market with multiple models (Sony now has the ZV-1, ZV-E10, and A7C). The problem I have is whether or not the differences are meaningful in enough ways to justify more new models. So let me state my issue with the ZV-E10 right up front.

The ZV-1 has a 1” sensor with a solid f/1.8 lens. The ZV-E10 has an APS-C sensor, so 1.7 stops better in theory, but the kit lens with the ZV-E10 gives that all back. In essence, the biggest thing we’ve really gained is interchangeable lenses at the price of some body size gain. Moreover, the Sony 16-50mm f/3.5-5.6 is about my least favorite APS-C kit lens at the moment (only the Canon M kit lens is worse; the Fujifilm 15-45mm and the Nikon 16-50mm are far better in my testing). Disclaimer: I own a ZV-1. I’m not seeing any reason to own a ZV-E10, particularly given the high rolling shutter on the ZV-E10. And if I were making a decision right now as to which one to buy, I’d probably buy the ZV-1. The only thing about the ZV-E10 that really tempts me is the headphone jack.

It feels to me like Sony is now searching for unit volume via micro-diversity of product. We’ve been down that path before (with both Canon and Nikon), and it ultimately fails and creates a product line mess. Particularly when the approach wasn’t fully rationalized in the first place. Moreover, can Sony really micromanage the chip and parts shortage with more bodies? I’m not sure about that, though at least for many of the key parts, they’re totally in Sony’s control. 

So let’s start again: should there be a lineup of vlogging cameras? Sure, I’ll agree to that. At the low end you have things like the DJI Osmo, at the high end you’ve got people using full frame mirrorless bodies on a gimbal. The ZV-1, ZV-E10, and A7C seem to all be aimed at trying to fit in between those end points. So what’s the model progression that makes sense? Technically, the ZV-E10 should be reasonably equidistant from the other two models. It doesn’t feel to me like it is, particularly given the kit lens.  

Which brings me to another point: if I’m vlogging with a camera, I’m in front of it. Why are all the controls on the back of the camera? Thus, if Sony is making a full line of vlogging cameras now, are they learning from their earlier cameras? Doesn’t really seem like it to me.

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