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Articles: Digital Photography Review (dpreview.com)

All articles from Digital Photography Review
Articles: Digital Photography Review (dpreview.com)
  1. Shutterstock announces new earnings structure and contributors are anything but happy

    Stock photography company Shutterstock is taking heat after announcing in a post on its contributor forum that it’s putting a new earnings structure in place starting June 1, 2020.

    Under the new structure, photographers and videographers will get compensated via a percentage of the sales price based on the ‘level’ their photo and/or video are rated, with the level being determined by the number of times their content is licensed. Previously, there were lifetime earnings tiers, which took into account total sales made during the lifetime of the contributor, but Shutterstock will do away with that and instead reset all contributors to ‘level 1’ for both images and videos every year on January 1.

    Shutterstock breaks down what the various levels consist of in the two graphics below — one for photos and one for video, each of which are calculated independently of one another:

    This effectively means that no matter how many sales a contributor has made, on January 1 each year, said contributor will always be demoted back to ‘Tier 1’ wherein they only receive a 15% commission on sales.

    Shutterstock says it’s ‘making this adjustment in order to reflect changes in the market for creative content, help to create fair opportunities for all our contributors, and reward performance with greater earnings potential.’ But contributors aren’t convinced and are voicing their concerns and frustrations in the announcement forum post; especially members who have been long-time contributors with massive lifetime earnings numbers, as they will be most affected by this change.

    Shutterstock member Richard Whitcombe, who's been a member since 2010 and has posted more than 3,200 pieces of content, replied to the announcement post saying, ‘Just when you think Shutterstock couldn’t completely and utterly screw the contributors more you’ve gone and done it.’ He continues, ‘Effectively with a January reset everybody gets a cut of 20% or more of earnings to a new laughably tiny amount and it’ll take months to claw back the level they’ve been earning previously. So most people are going to go most of the year for half or less than they currently get.’

    Whitcombe shared in a later post that a Shutterstock team member sent him a private message suggesting they will be hiding his posts replying to the original announcement. What posts exactly the Shutterstock team member is referring to remains to be seen, but you can read all of Whitcombe’s public posts on his profile linked above.

    Other members have also chimed in on the changes, echoing Whitcombe’s concern and disbelief about the new earnings structure. As of publishing this article, there are 66 pages of replies to the original forum post, few of which are positive.

  2. Fujifilm releases Windows-only app for turning your X series, GFX System cameras into a webcam

    Following in the footsteps of Canon, Fujifilm has released a Windows-only program for turning your Fujifilm camera system into a webcam.

    Fujifilm X Webcam, as it’s being called, makes it possible to turn nine different Fujifilm X Series and GFX System digital cameras into webcams for use with video conferencing software such as Skype and Zoom. We previously shared how you can do this through more convoluted means, but this first-party program should make it easier and guarantee better integration with the supported Fujifilm systems, including the GFX100, GFX 50S, GFX 50R, X-H1, X-Pro2, X-Pro3, X-T2, X-T3 and X-T4.

    Much like Canon’s webcam software, Fujifilm’s is Windows-only for now, so macOS users will still have to use third-party means of accomplishing this. You can download Fujifilm X Webcam for free on Fujifilm’s website.

  3. Panasonic announces Lumix S 20-60mm F3.5-5.6 lens for L-mount

    Panasonic has announced its new Lumix S 20-60mm F3.5-5.6 lens for L-mount bodies. Its 20-60mm focal length is shorter but significantly wider than most variable aperture standard zooms, which are typically around the 28-80mm range.

    Of the 11 elements on this unstabilized lens, two are aspherical, three are extra-low dispersion and one is ultra-high refractive index. The lens has a minimum focus distance of 15cm (just under 6") with a maximum magnification of 0.43x.

    Panasonic says the lens has been designed to suppress focus breathing (the change of effective focal length at different focus distances) for video shooters, who are likely to appreciate its wide-angle capabilities.

    The lens weighs in at just 350 grams (12 ounces) and is dust and splash resistant, and functional down to –10°C (14°F). A fluorine coating on the front element repels water and oil.

    The Lumix S 20-60mm F3.5-5.6mm lens will ship in late July for $599.

    Press release

    Panasonic Launches a New L-Mount Interchangeable Lens for the LUMIX S Series Full-frame Digital Single Lens Mirrorless Camera

    LUMIX S 20-60mm F3.5-5.6 (S-R2060)

    Newark, NJ (May 27, 2020) – Panasonic is proud to introduce a new interchangeable standard zoom lens, the LUMIX S 20-60mm F3.5-5.6 (S-R2060) based on the L-Mount system for the LUMIX S Series Full-frame Digital Single Lens Mirrorless Camera. Designed for professional use, the LUMIX S Series pursues uncompromising photographic expression with its high-quality cameras and lenses.

    The new LUMIX S 20-60mm F3.5-5.6 is a compact, lightweight standard zoom lens that covers from ultra-wide 20mm to standard 60mm focal length for versatile use including landscape photography. The wide viewing angle makes it easier to shoot indoors where space is limited and stunning close-up capability of 5.9 inches / 0.15m (maximum magnification 0.43x) supports still life photography. The new LUMIX S 20-60mm F3.5-5.6 also ensures smooth, high quality video recording because of a mechanism that suppresses focus breathing, which can an issue in interchangeable lenses designed for still image photography.

    With 11 elements in 9 groups, the use of 2 aspherical lenses and 3 ED (Extra-low Dispersion) lenses effectively suppresses both axial chromatic aberration and chromatic aberration of magnification. Astigmatism is also corrected with these aspherical lenses, achieving high resolving performance. Furthermore, a UHR (Ultra-High Refractive Index) lens achieves uniform image quality from the center to edges of the image while contributing to downsizing of the lens unit.

    With its compact, approximately 12.3 oz / 350g of light weight, the LUMIX S 20-60mm F3.5-5.6 features stunning mobility. The rugged dust/splash-resistant* design withstands use under harsh conditions even at 14°F / -10°C for high mobility. In addition, a fluorine coating on the front element repels water and oil and prevents them from attaching. The filter diameter is 67 mm, with a 9-blade circular aperture diaphragm.

    Panasonic and L-Mount system alliance are committed to the development of L-Mount lenses for the further expansion of its lineup to fulfill the needs of end users .

    The LUMIX S 20-60mm lens will be available at the end of July for $599.99.

    *Dust and Splash Resistant does not guarantee that damage will not occur if this lens is subjected to direct contact with dust and water.
    •Design and specifications are subject to change without notice.

    Panasonic Lumix S 20-60mm F3.5-5.6 specifications

    Principal specifications
    Lens typeZoom lens
    Max Format size35mm FF
    Focal length20–60 mm
    Image stabilizationNo
    Lens mountLeica SL
    Aperture
    Maximum apertureF3.5–5.6
    Minimum apertureF22
    Aperture ringNo
    Number of diaphragm blades9
    Optics
    Elements11
    Groups9
    Special elements / coatings3 ED + 2 aspherical + 1 UHR element
    Focus
    Minimum focus0.15 m (5.91)
    Maximum magnification0.43×
    AutofocusYes
    Motor typeStepper motor
    Full time manualYes
    Focus methodInternal
    Distance scaleNo
    DoF scaleNo
    Physical
    Weight350 g (0.77 lb)
    Diameter77 mm (3.03)
    Length87 mm (3.43)
    SealingYes
    ColourBlack
    Zoom methodRotary (extending)
    Power zoomNo
    Zoom lockNo
    Filter thread67 mm
    Hood suppliedYes
  4. Interview: Dirk Dallas of 'From Where I Drone' shares what it takes to create excellent photos

    Interview: Dirk Dallas of From Where I Drone shares what it takes to create excellent photographs

    Anyone can curate photos, but not many have built a successful brand out of it. Dirk Dallas has dedicated thousands of hours to From Where I Drone (FWID), a website and online community that aggregates aerial images from all over the world. FWID has made such a profound impact, with its 266,000 active followers and counting, that Dallas was approached by an established publisher to create a book.

    He is also a professor, photographer and ambassador for top brands including PolarPro, an instructor for Adorama TV and a judge for competitions including the Paris Aerial Photography Awards. Dallas credits DPReview for guidance at the start of his journey, saying:

    'DPReview was of the sites I remember always checking when I was going to look up my first camera. I would read all the reviews, there were hi-res photos and I would zoom in to examine more details. You were one of the first sites to feature photos where I could do that and actually see the product clearly.'

    We got a chance to catch up and learn more about the steps he took to build a robust online community, his thoughts on what makes a photo stand out in a sea of millions and his new book Eyes Over the World: The Most Spectacular Drone Photography — featuring 20 of his images plus 170 more from 125 aerial photographers seen on FWID. Anyone looking to improve their skills, or simply be inspired, is encouraged to read on.

    All slideshow images appear in the book and are shared with permission from Dallas and the publisher.

    Tell us a bit more about your background. How did you get started in photography?

    Right before I went to college, I was really into video. I wasn't a great skateboarder but my buddies were. I remember my grandpa had a Hi8 camera and I asked him if I could borrow it to make skate videos. I was using Windows Movie Maker in the process and I loved it.

    I never thought of it as a career, though. My parents are all teachers so I thought 'I'm just going to be a teacher, it's a safe job. I'll never have to worry about getting fired, teachers will always be around.' At the time my girlfriend, who is now my wife, knew I wasn't really into what I was studying in school. She told me 'I'd rather have you do something that you love than have a super-safe job that you hate.'

    That was a big moment of freedom for me. I didn't know what my career was going to look like but I knew I was interested in video. I changed schools and started taking an editing class. They handed us cameras, I think I got a Canon XL and started in with that.

    Fast-forward to 2007, I got the iPhone when it came out. I remember thinking 'this thing's pretty impressive for a camera phone.' I decided to start taking a picture every day and practice my eye for composition. This was purely for video reasons, not for photography.

    A screenshot of the iPhone photography group Dallas was a part of on Flickr.

    Then I started getting into photography and I uploaded my work to Flickr. That is where I found a community for iPhone Photography which, at the time, was really weird to outsiders. I would share my iPhone shots to other groups and people would tell me 'that's not real photography. You're not using a real camera.' Our group was definitely niche and we felt like a band of rebels that were trying to push the camera as far as we could.

    What's interesting about that is now it's not weird at all to take a good photo with your phone. You even see Apple put 'Shot on iPhone' on their billboards. But I remember getting made fun of for that on Flickr at first. I got really into photography and that same iPhone Photography community introduced me to Instagram when it first came out. I was one of the first 5,000 users and the community there is what inspired me to keep pursuing photography.

    What inspired you to move into aerial photography, particularly drones?

    To be honest with you, in 2014 I was getting tired of my photography. I could go to the beach and take a picture of a pier which I'd already done a thousand times. I was getting burned out, losing the spark. The fun disappeared. I knew I needed to mix things up. I remember seeing someone fly a Phantom drone with a GoPro attached to it and was instantly intrigued.

    In the 2000s, I was into flying electric helicopters and airplanes. They're so hard to fly, I'd always crash and barely be able to get any flight time. I'd spend a bunch of time and money fixing them. The drone looked like it was pretty stable and it had a camera on it - two things I enjoy. So I got a Phantom and stuck a GoPro on it. I could now shoot all the spots that I go to and was tired of, like the pier, from a new perspective.

    It was a new challenge, especially since the early days of drone photography were so hard. I would set the GoPro on timelapse mode and then guess. I would fly over something and count in my head, because the intervals were 5 seconds and then think 'all right, I got the shot.' But I wouldn't know until I got home and watched the footage from the memory card.

    The challenge of something new, combining my two loves, is how I got into aerial photography.

    What’s the craziest thing that’s ever happened to you while flying?

    In Chicago, I was flying at a park and I remember drones weren't really common yet. You didn't really them often. Someone approached me while I was flying and started asking me questions. I'm answering them and in the meantime, they also have a dog that's running circles around us. I completely lost track of the time and realized that while I'm talking to this guy, my drone's in the air and about to land any minute.

    I start looking for it because it drifted away during the flight. I located it as it's losing power and going straight into these trees. It gets stuck in one about 30 feet up. I could see it but couldn't climb the tree to get it. What made the situation even more difficult is that my flight to California was leaving in 4 hours. I'm was quickly running out of time.

    I found these guys playing football. I approached them and said 'guys, I will give you $100 if you can help me get my drone down. Maybe we could throw the football at it and knock it out of the tree.' They looked at me as though I was crazy and one of the guys threw his football at it and misses. They tried for 30 minutes and finally knocked it down. It smashed to the ground but everything ended up still working.

    Why did you launch FWID?

    In 2014, I started to share my work on Instagram and people were asking how I got these unique (at the time) angles. I would tell them it was from a drone and then they'd ask how they could get one, and so on. I would be helping everyone through messaging and emails. I realized, early on, that the same questions were being asked so maybe I should just start a website. I could send everyone seeking answers to the same questions there.

    I couldn't find anything else like it. No one was really helping people. There were some super-techie questions in there but I'm more creative. Still, I shared tips, and what I was learning along the way with the goal to help people. Then I started sharing stuff from the community.

    Before FWID was a website, it was a hashtag – and it was a joke.

    Before FWID was a website, it was a hashtag – and it was a joke. There's that popular hashtag '#fromwhereistand,' and I thought of that except I was taking a photo with a drone. So I tagged it and people immediately got the joke. One day I clicked on it and there were a bunch of photos from people with drones. I realized back then that more people had a drone than I was aware of.

    None of my immediate friends were flying drones so it was great for me to see all these people using them and capturing places in ways I'd never seen before. I started an Instagram account for it, just to share photos. That's where I got all the messages at first and then started the website to point people to for answers.

    You’ve created a substantial online presence. Do you have any tips for community building?

    Community building is really important to me, in general. I'm also a professor teaching photography, motion design, and graphic design. I spend a lot of time during my semesters building those communities because I've seen the value of how it pushes us, functions as a support system, and keeps us accountable.

    In some ways that's translated online. Everybody matters, in my opinion. In the early days, it was so easy to give comments to people, check out feeds, message people, and reply. It would take forever but it mattered to me because there was someone out there reaching out and I would reach back. I think those small gestures went a long way.

    One of the things going for FWID is consistency (Dirk took a brief hiatus from posting late last year). I showed up everyday for 2 posts, or a minimum of 1 post, at least, for 4 years. Everybody's striving for perfection, but it's not obtainable. I would encourage people to strive for consistency. How are you improving every day?

    The fact that FWID showed up almost every single day with something new in the feed made it top-of-mind for a steadily growing audience. Once you know you'll see it, you come to expect it. People ask me why I post at 9:00 PM every night (PST). I would get my kids to bed, finish our routine. The night was done so then I could post. That's my habit, that's my routine.

    I spend a lot of time finding photos. My book hadn't come out yet as I'm telling you this but someone, when they discovered all the photos in there weren't mine, emailed me and said 'these aren't all your photos? Anyone can curate a photo book.' I had to laugh because I spend so much time seeking out an epic image, something inspiring or unique, something you've never seen before. The point is, I put a lot of work into it and don't post anything random.

    There needs to be something of value or people are going to stop showing up. For people reading this, ask yourself 'what is the value I'm giving people?' For me, for FWID, the value is inspiration. As soon as that's lost, FWID will go down. There's a lot of pressure with that realization.

    For example, with Nike, when we think of that logo, it's actually kind of lame. What makes it so cool is you associate it with Michael Jordan. You associate it with Kobe Bryant. Because those people do amazing things, that's what makes the brand recognizable. Because the people in the FWID community are incredible, I'm able to share their work and grow.

    I'm great at promoting other people's stuff, by not my own if I'm being honest. It's not natural to me. Sometimes I feel late to the game or that I should be doing some stuff sooner. This is because I want to help others, that's my goal. Not everyone's going to make it onto the feed. And I feel bad because I don't want to leave anyone out. This is what's great about Stories. If you tag me with something that's great, I'll feature you there and you'll get tons of views on your work that way.

    You have well over 1 million photos to choose from in the FWID community. What is it about a photo that stands out to you enough to make worth featuring?

    One of the things I try to do is look for a clear subject. There's got to be a point, what am I looking at?

    Pops of color are always a winner. Contrast is always something I look for too. If I click on the #fromwhereidrone hashtag, images that have a color scheme that isn't blues or greens, something really typical, tend to stand out. Now I want to check it out and see if the image is sharp and crisp. If so, I'll bookmark it.

    I never really see warm, orange-hued photos. These are rare. Everything I see is typically blue, green, and brown. One thing a lot of drone pilots forget about is the photography principles. They get so caught up in taking the drone up high that those are an afterthought. The people who get featured and do well, in general, take everything we know about photography on the ground and apply it in the air.

    Those are the strongest images to me. A great edit. Light is important for creating atmosphere. The people who will wait for hours until the lighting is just right, who make that extra effort, are striving for excellence.

    The top photographers will make more of an effort, most people don't. It's your commitment to striving for excellence that separates you from the rest.

    You have a new coffee table book out. Tell us more about it.

    I'll start by saying that being able to connect digitally is awesome. I now have friends through FWID from around the world that I wouldn't have otherwise known. That said, we've lost this sense of touch and tangibility. What I set out to do is put together some of the best photos at the time of when this book started, back in Summer of 2018, put it in your hands, and inspire you.

    I've seen these photos on the feeds, I've looked at them on my computer, in InDesign, and in drafts and proofs. Once I actually touched and held the book, it was magical. What this book does, I believe, is inspire. Right now we're in lockdown so it feels like a little vacation, a little trip around the world. It's a bucket list that makes you think 'I want to go there when this pandemic is done. I want to shoot that place.'

    Once I actually touched and held the book, it was magical. What this book does, I believe, is inspire.

    The beautiful thing about FWID is the community. I would have never met or known about all these amazing photographers if it wasn't for an app (Instagram).

    The beautiful thing about FWID is the community. I would have never met or known about all these amazing photographers if it wasn't for an app (Instagram). What this book represents is a community, people with a shared vision. Now the FWID community has something tangible and lasting. I could delete a photo, close the account, go dark, but the book is out. It will live on, it's an artifact that will be in the world forever.

    When I'm on Instagram or anywhere else online, I may like a photo, but I'll take it in for half a second. As an author and a curator, I've had to pause with these photos and really take them in, ponder in that moment. Those are some feelings I didn't expect, to be honest.

    There have already been quite a few drone and aerial photography books released — What makes yours stand out?

    For me, it represents the community. I looked at thousands and thousands of photos that I curated over the years and painstakingly whittled it down to what I thought were the best, most unique images. There are some books that put an image in simply because it's a drone shot. With this book, I considered the question of 'why does this shot deserve to be included?'

    The book is broken down into 5 categories (Water, Arid, Lush, Urban, and Ice). At the beginning of each category, I wrote photography tips – it's called 'Photography Insights.' For Arid, for example, 'with extreme temperatures, blowing sand, and broad expanses of land and sky, these landscapes provide challenges to photographers. The drone pilot should be prepared to protect their gear from the elements while being persistently observant. These environments are often devoid of life. It's crucial to scan the area for compelling subjects to tell a story and give context to a location.'

    I give some examples of what you should look for, how to think of capturing lines and curves. I also give some insights on shooting in different climates but I want to make it clear that this is not the focus of the book. Another thing, and I think this makes the book unique, but I'm not entirely sure, is that all 7 continents are represented – including Antarctica.

    Were you approached by a publisher or did you pitch this book?

    I had been asked 2 times in the past to do a book but I either didn't know the publisher or it seemed like they were trying to make a buck. Then I got approached by Rizzoli and it just so happened that 3 weeks after I got an email from them, I was going to be in New York where they have an office. I asked if I could meet with them.

    My whole motivation for FWID is not to get rich but if I'm going to do something, it has to be done well. I really want it to be something that I can be proud of and can put my name on. COVID has caused some delays. I got my first copy of the book a few weeks ago, even though it was completed in February. That's not normal. I should have gotten it back then, when it was printed.

    I couldn't start promoting a book until I saw it and held it. It needs to be good. If it's not, I won't promote it. I looked at Rizzoli's work, they produce beautiful books and my editor was really awesome. The collaboration started through an email from them and we decided to collaborate from there.

    What photography and drone gear to you use the most?

    Drone-wise, I'm shooting a ton with my (DJI) Mavic 2 Pro. I love how small it is, how quick it boots up. That's a huge thing, it boots up so fast. I also love how quiet it is, that's a bonus. My next drone that I use is my Phantom 4, but that's only when I don't have my phone charged. I hate that I have to use my phone. I know DJI has a Smart Controller but it's $800. I don't know how I can justify purchasing one.

    I use my phone and I hate it on the Mavic so if the phone's not juiced, I bring my Phantom 4 with a tablet. Also, if I'm shooting during the day, a larger screen is better. For regular photography, I shoot with a Canon 5D Mark IV.

    Who are the artists that inspire you the most?

    I'm blown away by the work of Costas Spathis. He finds the most unique places, and I ask myself 'where does this even exist on Earth and how does he find it?' Another is George Steinmetz. I remember seeing his camel photos for the first time, and I was blown away. The subject wasn't the camels, it was their shadows and that's what made me realize what was possible with aerial photography.

    Chris Burkard, who did the forward for this book, inspired me years ago when I saw his photos of surfers in the snow. I had never seen anything like that in my life. He challenged me to go for those unexpected moments like people surfing in frigid temperatures around Iceland.

    Those are the photographers who have shown me to look at the world in a different way, and to think differently. On a non-photography level, I'm really inspired by Van Gogh. As I continue to learn about his use of symbolism, it becomes clear that for him it's more than just a painting. Everything had meaning, and you can tell he put so much thought into every decision he made when creating. It makes me want to do things with purpose and excellence.

    What tips do you have for people starting out in photography or are looking to improve their skills?

    My biggest recommendation is consistency and discipline. So many people think FWID just happened or a print that wins an award or gets featured somewhere big just automatically happens instead of being the result of a lot of work, time, and effort. It takes a lot of failures before you get to a certain level.

    One of the things I miss about being a newbie is not caring. I would create something and put it out there. I wouldn't care because I didn't know any better. Now that's disappeared a little bit. I'm cautious, and I ask myself if something is worth sharing or not. It's good in some ways, bad in others.

    If people want to get better, but you don't have a plan, how are you going to accomplish that? You're going to be like all those people who make New Year's resolutions and then a week later, nothing comes out of it.

    The point is, when I started taking pictures with my phone, I didn't care if it was a good photo. I was practicing. I was showing up every day in a discipline, I was in a habit. I made the thing I wanted to get good at a habit. If people want to get better, but you don't have a plan, how are you going to accomplish that? You're going to be like all those people who make New Year's resolutions and then a week later, nothing comes out of it.

    You have to be disciplined. You have to have habits. For me, consistency is the biggest factor. Show up, even on the days when you don't want to, even when you're tired. Figure out a discipline. For me, that was a photo every day. I don't know what that means for someone else. The point is, I had a plan and I saw it through.

  5. Z-CAM's new E2-M4 is an affordable 4K Raw-shooting cinema camera with livestreaming

    Chinese cinema camera manufacturer Z-Cam has revealed it's releasing a lower-cost version of its E2 camera that seems to lack only multi-cam synchronization from the previous model but which will allow live-streaming without a computer and will cost about $500 less.

    The Z-Cam E2-M4 has much of the same spec as the Z-Cam E2, including the ability to record Raw footage to an external recorder, a claimed 13-stops of dynamic range and 4K video (3840x1620 pixels) at 160fps with 10-bit color.

    The Z-Cam E2-M4 product page says that, with the latest firmware, the camera will be able to output a stream that the Atomos Ninja V can encode as ProRes RAW. Internal recording in Z-Raw is also listed on the Z-Cam website. B&H also says a future update will allow the camera to support RTMP, RTPS and SRT live-streaming directly from the camera without requiring a computer. live-streaming is also supported via the camera’s Gigabit Ethernet port, which can be used to control the camera remotely.

    The Z-Cam E2-M4 uses the same Four Thirds sensor format as the E2, and of course takes a range of compatible Micro Four Thirds lenses — though not all. The Z-Cam E2-M4 costs $1499 and is currently available to pre-order from B&H. For more information see the Z-Cam website.

  6. Sony ZV-1 'content creator camera' focuses on making vlogging easy

    Sony has announced the ZV-1, which it calls a content creator camera. It's built around a 1"-type 20MP stacked CMOS sensor and a 25.5-70mm equiv. F1.8-2.8 lens similar to the on in the RX100 III, IV, V and VA, but it uses a fully articulating touchscreen and reworked ergonomics to allow for selfie-style operation. In essence, the ZV-1 gives you the hardware of an RX100 VA redesigned to make vlogging and facing-the-camera shooting easier.

    The ZV-1 includes a number of features and modes intended to make vlogging easier. These build on Sony's very dependable Eye AF capabilities, to give confidence that your footage will be in focus while you concentrate on talking to your audience. There's also a directional three-capsule mic setup built into the top of the camera to help isolate what's being said from ambient noise.

    There's a 'background defocus' mode that automatically opens up the aperture to its maximum setting, accessed from a button on the top of the camera, and an AF mode that will prioritize nearby objects if that you hold up in front of the camera, rather than continuing to focus on your face. And there's also a front-mounted tally light, to indicate when the camera is recording.

    The specs are broadly consistent with recent RX100-series models, including 4K UHD video at up to 30p, 1080 capture at up to 120p and high-speed upscaled video at up to 960p. There's no built-in viewfinder or headphone socket, but the ZV-1 does have a 'multi-accessory' hot shoe on which to mount an external mic.

    The ZV-1 will be available from early June with a list price of $799 (CAD$999). In the US there will be a promotion that drops the price to $749 if you buy before June 28th. Sony is also discounting its VCT-SGR1 Bluetooth shooting grip if you buy it with the ZV-1, until June 28th in the US and June 25th in Canada. Pricing in the UK and Europe is set at £700 and €800.

    Go hands-on with the Sony XV-1Press release

    Sony Electronics Introduces the Digital Camera ZV-1, A Newly Designed Camera for Video Content Creators

    New Video-Forward Design and Compact Body Packed with Advanced Imaging Technology and Easy-to-Use Functionality

    SAN DIEGO – May 26, 2020 –Sony Electronics Inc. today has announced the new pocket-sized digital camera ZV-1 (hereafter referred as “ZV-1”) – a lightweight, compact “all-in-one” style solution. Designed from the ground up for content creators and vloggers, the ZV-1 combines easy-to-use features with uncompromising imaging technology, making this the perfect tool for any content creator at all skill levels.

    “Sony’s new ZV-1 was purpose-built to meet the needs and demands of today’s video creators,” said Neal Manowitz, deputy president of Imaging Product and Solutions Americas at Sony Electronics. “We are always listening to our customers, and this camera is the result of direct feedback from our extended community. Featuring an innovative design plus many new technologies, settings and modes, it will allow creators to make content in ways they have never been able to before.”

    The ZV-1 features a 1.0-type stacked Exmor RS® CMOS image sensor with DRAM chip and 24-70mm[i] F1.8-2.8 ZEISS® Vario-Sonnar T* large-aperture lens creating beautiful background bokeh (background blur), allowing the subject to stand out from the background. The camera locks on to and tracks subjects with high accuracy and speed using Sony’s leading-edge autofocus system. The ZV-1 also includes the latest-generation BIONZ X™ image processor with front-end LSI delivering high resolution as well as low noise for superior image quality. It also combines this exceptional imaging technology with high-quality and versatile audio options. The ZV-1 is Sony’s first compact camera with a side-opening Vari-angle LCD screen, making it easier to compose your shots in selfie mode while connecting external audio accessories. To meet any video need, the ZV-1 contains advanced video features including 4K movie recording[ii] and in-body image stabilization.

    Meeting the Needs of Today’s Content Creators

    Quickly Switch Between two modes of Background Bokeh
    The ZV-1 offers a simple solution to easily switch between two levels of background bokeh while recording. Using the new Background Defocus function, users can rapidly adjust the optical aperture between more and less background defocusing blur without losing focus on the subject. Located on top of the camera, this Bokeh button is easily accessible and makes selfie shooting operation a breeze.

    Focus on the Subject You Want

    The ZV-1 makes it easier than ever to shoot product reviews and similar video content. Gone are the days of placing a hand behind an object to prompt the camera to bring it into focus thanks to a new Product Showcase Setting, which allows for quick and smooth focus transitions between the subject’s face and the object placed in front of the lens.

    Building on the leading-edge technology developed for α™ (Alpha brand) and RX series cameras, this new compact camera includes advanced autofocus (AF) allowing it to lock on and track subjects with high accuracy and speed while recording. For maintaining focus on the intended subject or subjects in busy environments, Real-time Eye AF[iii] and Real-time Tracking AF for video allows the ZV-1 to seamlessly switch focus between multiple subjects while controlling the AF speed and tracking sensitivity.

    Prioritize Your Face

    Extreme changes in lighting, like walking outside on a sunny day and suddenly moving from a bright location into shade, are no problem for the ZV-1 thanks to the new Face Priority autoexposure (AE) function. It detects and prioritizes the subject’s face and adjusts the exposure to ensure the face is depicted at an ideal brightness in any environment. This AE technology also suppresses an abrupt change in exposure if the subject quickly turns away from the frame to eliminate unexpected blown-out or extremely dark shots. In addition, the camera features a new advanced color science that has been re-engineered to optimize skin tones for any subject in both still and video modes.

    Crystal Clear Audio

    High quality content requires clear, excellent audio quality, and the ZV-1 is well-equipped to produce just that with reliable and versatile audio options. The ZV-1’s onboard mic features Sony’s latest Directional 3-capsule Mic which was designed for forward-directional audio capture, allowing for clear capture of the subject’s voice while minimizing background noise, especially when operating in selfie mode. For added flexibility, the ZV-1 also features an industry standard mic jack (3.5mm) and Multi Interface Shoe™ (MI shoe) making it easy to connect a wide range of external microphones. The ZV-1 is also supplied with a wind screen[iv] accessory that fits on the MI shoe to minimize wind interference.

    Design and Functionality Optimized for Vlogging

    The ZV-1 was designed with content creators and vloggers in mind. This compact, lightweight (approx. 294g / 105.5mm x 60.0mm x 43.5mm) camera is the first Sony compact camera with a flip-out, tiltable LCD Screen, allowing creators to simplify their setup by utilizing the MI shoe for optional external mics without the need of an additional mounting bracket.

    Comfortably operate the ZV-1 with one hand thanks to the easy-to-hold comfortable grip and a large movie REC button located on the top of the camera for quick access to video recording, as well as a recording lamp on the front of the camera that indicates if the camera is actively recording.

    The ZV-1 also includes advances in image stabilization, ensuring steady video even when shooting hand-held while walking. When recording in HD (Active mode), optical and electronic stabilization methods are combined to reduce shaking up to 11 times[v] that of standard SteadyShot™ image stabilization. When shooting 4K video using Optical SteadyShot (Active mode), there is improvement in stabilization effect of up to 8 times[vi] that of standard SteadyShot. The ZV-1 is also compatible with the GP-VPT2BT Shooting Grip with Wireless Remote Commander, offering additional stability and comfort combined with cable-free Bluetooth® connectivity.

    Class-Leading AV Features

    Despite the small form factor there are a multitude of pro-level movie making capabilities, including:

    4K movie recording with full pixel readout and no pixel binning in high bit rate XAVC S™ codec. [vii]

    • Industry standard 3.5mm microphone input
    • Hybrid Log-Gamma (HDR) [viii] / S-Gamut3.Cine / S-Log3, S-Gamut3 / S-Log3
    • Interval Shooting[ix] for stunning time-lapse videos[x]
    • Super Slow Motion[xi] recording at up to 960fps[xii]
    • Compatibility with ‘Movie Edit add-on[xiii]’ from the “Imaging Edge™” mobile application for image stabilization while editing[xiv] Highlight ability to edit aspect ratios for IG etc.

    Live Streaming with the ZV-1

    Transform the ZV-1 into a webcam by connecting it to a PC[xv] via USB, which allows content creators to interact with their followers in real-time while also utilizing the advanced imaging technology and unique features of the ZV-1. Sony’s new PC software will be available in July 2020.

    New Vlogger Accessories Kit

    Sony will also be introducing a Vlogger Kit (ACCVC1), which includes a GP-VPT2BT Shooting Grip with Wireless Remote Commander and 64GB Ultra High Speed Media Card. The grip is compatible with a variety of Sony cameras[xvi].

    Pair this kit with an external microphone (sold separately), such as Sony’s Stereo Microphone (ECM-XYST1M), for a convenient and simple vlogging setup.

    Pricing and Availability

    The Digital Camera ZV-1 will be available in June 2020 for a special introductory price of approximately $749 USD through June 28, 2020. After that, the price will increase to approximately $799 USD. The ZV-1 will be available in Canada for approximately $999 CAD.

    The ACCVC1 Vlogger Kit will be available in June 2020 with a special introductory offer of $50 off when purchased together with ZV-1 (at participating retailers) through June 28, 2020 in U.S. and June 25, 2020 in Canada, and can be purchased separately for approximately $149 USD and $199 CAD.

    [i]Angle of view (35mm format equivalent)

    [ii] 4K (QFHD: 3840×2160) Extended continuous video recording is available when setting Auto Power OFF Temp. function to High

    [iii] Real-time Eye AF for animals is not available movie shooting

    [iv] Audio input itself is via the camera’s internal mic but attaching the wind screen to the mic suppresses wind noise

    [v] Image stabilization angle at the wide-angle end of the zoom range. When active mode is on. Relative to angle of view with optical image stabilization on standard mode.

    [vi] Image stabilization angle at the wide-angle end of the zoom range. When active mode is on. Relative to angle of view with optical image stabilization on standard mode.

    [vii] A Class 10 or higher SDHC/SDXC memory card is required to record movies in the XAVC S format. UHS-I (U3) SDHC/SDXC card is required for 100Mbps

    [viii] Connect this product to an HDR (HLG) compatible Sony TV via a USB cable to display HDR (HLG) movies

    [ix] Wi-Fi is not operational during interval shooting

    [x] Time-lapse movie creation is possible on a PC

    [xi] Audio recording is not available. A Class 10 or higher SDHC/SDXC memory card is required

    [xii] In NTSC mode. Menu allows switching between NTSC and PAL modes

    [xiii] Please use the latest version

    [xiv] Availability of video transfer and playback varies depending on smartphone in use. Membership to Imaging Edge account and app on smartphone required with connection to Wi-Fi. See Imaging Edge terms and conditions/privacy policy for details.

    [xv] Windows® 10

    [xvi] Compatible with RX100 VII, Alpha 6100, Alpha 6400, Alpha 6600, Alpha 7 III, Alpha 7R III, Alpha 7R IV, Alpha 9, Alpha 9 II. Firmware must be updated on camera to ensure compatibility.

    Sony ZV-1 specifications

    Price
    MSRP$800/£700/€800
    Body type
    Body typeCompact
    Body materialAluminum/composite
    Sensor
    Max resolution5472 x 3648
    Image ratio w:h1:1, 4:3, 3:2, 16:9
    Effective pixels20 megapixels
    Sensor photo detectors21 megapixels
    Sensor size1″ (13.2 x 8.8 mm)
    Sensor typeBSI-CMOS
    ProcessorBionz X
    Color spacesRGB, AdobeRGB
    Color filter arrayPrimary color filter
    Image
    ISOAuto, 125-12800
    Boosted ISO (minimum)80
    Boosted ISO (maximum)25600
    White balance presets9
    Custom white balanceYes
    Image stabilizationOptical
    Uncompressed formatRAW
    JPEG quality levelsExtra fine, fine, standard
    File format
    • JPEG (Exif v2.3, DCF v2.0)
    • Raw (Sony ARW v2.3)
    Optics & Focus
    Focal length (equiv.)24–70 mm
    Optical zoom2.9×
    Maximum apertureF1.8–2.8
    Autofocus
    • Contrast Detect (sensor)
    • Phase Detect
    • Multi-area
    • Center
    • Selective single-point
    • Tracking
    • Single
    • Continuous
    • Touch
    • Face Detection
    • Live View
    Autofocus assist lampYes
    Digital zoomYes (3.8x)
    Manual focusYes
    Normal focus range5 cm (1.97)
    Macro focus range5 cm (1.97)
    Number of focus points315
    Screen / viewfinder
    Articulated LCDFully articulated
    Screen size3
    Screen dots921,600
    Touch screenYes
    Screen typeTFT LCD
    Live viewYes
    Viewfinder typeNone
    Photography features
    Minimum shutter speed30 sec
    Maximum shutter speed1/2000 sec
    Maximum shutter speed (electronic)1/32000 sec
    Exposure modes
    • Auto
    • Program Auto
    • Aperture Priority
    • Shutter Priority
    • Manual Exposure
    Scene modes
    • Portrait
    • Sports Action
    • Macro
    • Landscape
    • Sunset
    • Night Scene
    • Handheld Twilight
    • Night Portrait
    • Anti Motion Blur
    • Pet Mode
    • Gourmet
    • Fireworks
    • High Sensitivity
    Built-in flashNo
    External flashNo
    Flash modesAuto, Flash On, Slow Synchro, Rear Sync, Flash Off
    Continuous drive24.0 fps
    Self-timerYes
    Metering modes
    • Multi
    • Center-weighted
    • Highlight-weighted
    • Average
    • Spot
    Exposure compensation±3 (at 1/3 EV steps)
    AE Bracketing±3 (3 frames at 1/3 EV steps)
    WB BracketingYes
    Videography features
    FormatMPEG-4, AVCHD, XAVC S
    Modes
    • 3840 x 2160 @ 30p / 100 Mbps, XAVC S, MP4, H.264, Linear PCM
    • 3840 x 2160 @ 30p / 60 Mbps, XAVC S, MP4, H.264, Linear PCM
    • 3840 x 2160 @ 25p / 100 Mbps, XAVC S, MP4, H.264, Linear PCM
    • 3840 x 2160 @ 25p / 60 Mbps, XAVC S, MP4, H.264, Linear PCM
    • 3840 x 2160 @ 24p / 100 Mbps, XAVC S, MP4, H.264, Linear PCM
    • 3840 x 2160 @ 24p / 60 Mbps, XAVC S, MP4, H.264, Linear PCM
    • 1920 x 1080 @ 120p / 100 Mbps, XAVC S, MP4, H.264, Linear PCM
    • 1920 x 1080 @ 120p / 60 Mbps, XAVC S, MP4, H.264, Linear PCM
    • 1920 x 1080 @ 100p / 100 Mbps, XAVC S, MP4, H.264, Linear PCM
    • 1920 x 1080 @ 100p / 60 Mbps, XAVC S, MP4, H.264, Linear PCM
    • 1920 x 1080 @ 60p / 50 Mbps, XAVC S, MP4, H.264, Linear PCM
    • 1920 x 1080 @ 60p / 28 Mbps, MP4, H.264, AAC
    • 1920 x 1080 @ 60p / 28 Mbps, AVCHD, MTS, H.264, Dolby Digital
    • 1920 x 1080 @ 60i / 24 Mbps, AVCHD, MTS, H.264, Dolby Digital
    • 1920 x 1080 @ 60i / 17 Mbps, AVCHD, MTS, H.264, Dolby Digital
    • 1920 x 1080 @ 50p / 50 Mbps, XAVC S, MP4, H.264, Linear PCM
    • 1920 x 1080 @ 50p / 28 Mbps, MP4, H.264, AAC
    • 1920 x 1080 @ 30p / 50 Mbps, XAVC S, MP4, H.264, Linear PCM
    • 1920 x 1080 @ 30p / 16 Mbps, MP4, H.264, AAC
    • 1920 x 1080 @ 25p / 50 Mbps, XAVC S, MP4, H.264, Linear PCM
    • 1920 x 1080 @ 25p / 16 Mbps, MP4, H.264, AAC
    • 1920 x 1080 @ 24p / 50 Mbps, XAVC S, MP4, H.264, Linear PCM
    • 1920 x 1080 @ 24p / 24 Mbps, AVCHD, MTS, H.264, Dolby Digital
    • 1920 x 1080 @ 24p / 17 Mbps, AVCHD, MTS, H.264, Dolby Digital
    • 1280 x 720 @ 30p / 6 Mbps, MP4, H.264, AAC
    • 1280 x 720 @ 25p / 6 Mbps, MP4, H.264, AAC
    MicrophoneStereo
    SpeakerMono
    Storage
    Storage typesSD/ SDHC/SDXC, Memory Stick Pro Duo/ Pro-HG Duo
    Connectivity
    USB USB 2.0 (480 Mbit/sec)
    USB chargingYes
    HDMIYes (micro-HDMI)
    Microphone portYes
    Headphone portNo
    WirelessBuilt-In
    Wireless notes802.11ac + Bluetooth
    Remote controlYes (wired or smartphone)
    Physical
    Environmentally sealedNo
    BatteryBattery Pack
    Battery descriptionNP-BX1 lithium-ion battery & USB charger
    Battery Life (CIPA)260
    Weight (inc. batteries)294 g (0.65 lb / 10.37 oz)
    Dimensions105 x 60 x 44 mm (4.13 x 2.36 x 1.73)
    Other features
    Orientation sensorYes
    Timelapse recordingYes
    GPSNone
  7. DPReview TV: A quick hands-on look at the Sony ZV-1 vlogging camera

    Sony just announced the ZV-1, a modified version of the RX100 series aimed specifically at vloggers. We take a look at six important features you may have missed from the announcement.

    Subscribe to our YouTube channel to get new episodes of DPReview TV every week.

  8. Hands-on with the Sony ZV-1

    A creative concept?

    The Sony ZV-1 is a new compact camera explicitly designed with vloggers and 'content creators' in mind.

    From a hardware perspective it's essentially an updated riff on the RX100 V(A), but with both ergonomic and feature changes to make it easier to operate from the 'wrong' side of the lens. As the distinct naming indicates; it's not part of, nor intended as a replacement for, the RX100 series.

    If you think of yourself as primarily a photographer, the ZV-1 is probably not designed for you. Instead it's a camera purpose-designed for generating to-camera video for platforms such as YouTube. But that doesn't mean it's just a frivolous novelty.

    Compared to RX100 V(A)

    At its heart, the hardware of of the ZV-1 overlaps a lot with the RX100 series. It takes a 25.5-70mm equivalent F1.8-2.8 zoom and 1"-type 20MP stacked CMOS sensor similar to the one from the RX100 V but mates it with the autofocus improvements of the Mark VII.

    However, the controls and handling are quite different, with no control ring around the lens and a very different button arrangement, designed for a very different way of working.

    It's worth noting that, unlike the RX100 series, Sony isn't using its 'Cyber-shot' branding on this camera, and that the official model name is DCZV-1, rather than 'DSC,' denoting digital stills camera.

    It continues to use the same NP-BX1 battery as the RX100 cameras.

    Video capabilities

    The ZV-1's video capabilities are very similar to those of the RX100 VII: it can shoot 1080p footage at up to 120p or UHD 4K footage at up to 30p. There are also high-speed modes shot at lower resolution and upscaled, allowing capture at up to 960 fps (1000 fps in PAL mode).

    Like other recent Sony consumer cameras, all this footage is 8-bit. Log and 'HLG' modes are available, but will offer less flexibility than 10-bit footage would. Sony tells us it can also record video for longer (which we'll get to later).

    The other improvement that comes from using the RX100 VII's processor is that the ZV-1 can apply digital image stabilization to its 4K footage, on top of the IS provided by the lens. The camera can also write shake information into the metadata, so that the Imaging Edge software can apply digital correction after the footage has been shot.

    Back-to-front ergonomics

    The first thing you're likely to notice about the ZV-1 are its unconventional ergonomics. There's a large dedicated [REC] button that sits immediately behind the shutter button. The significance of its size and position isn't necessarily obvious until position the camera facing towards you, held at arms-length with your left hand.

    It's designed to be operated with the index finger of your left hand, while the zoom rocker is controlled with your left thumb.

    Face the audience

    Its focus on creator-to-camera content means the ZV-1 has no built-in viewfinder: after all, there's no point including an expensive component if you can't see it.

    Instead it has a fully articulated touchscreen LCD, to make it easy to operate when it's pointing towards you. As you'd expect, this display shows a mirror image of what the sensor is capturing, when faced toward you.

    The touchscreen lets the user tap-to-track but like many recent Sony cameras, has very little other function.

    Ports

    All the ports are arranged on the right-hand side of the camera (left-hand side as it faces you), meaning that they're on the opposite side from the articulating screen.

    These include a mic socket, HDMI out and USB connector, over which the camera can be powered, while recording. Crucially, these can all be used without clashing with the flip-out screen.

    Upgraded microphones

    The lack of viewfinder frees up space for a comparatively complex three-capsule microphone, set into the top of the camera. Sony says this setup is designed to be directional to pick up the sound of someone in front of the camera,

    The camera comes with a wind screen (often referred to as a deadcat, though this one looks more like a deadmouse) that can be attached to the top of the microphone recess, to reduce the risk of wind boom from air blowing directly onto the mic. The deadcat attaches via the hotshoe, which means it can't be used with anything like an external LED light.

    The deadcat covers the power button, which doubles as the charging indicator, which makes it hard to see.

    The ZV-1 also has an offset hotshoe on one side of the camera, allowing a shotgun mic to be fitted. It's got all the pins of Sony's Multi-Interface shoe, meaning it can be used with a host of accessories, including microphones or, theoretically, Sony's XLR adapter.

    Face focused AF

    Critically, the ZV-1 features the latest version of Sony's AF system. This will focus on whatever you tap to focus on, and will use its face and eye detection system if that thing happens to be a face. The AF system will continue to track the subject, even if they look away from the camera and their eyes and face can't be recognized.

    That persistence is especially important for this kind of product, where you can't afford for the camera to lose track of your face, and you're usually going to be too busy to monitor or correct any errors.

    Face Priority AE

    The ZV-1 has a series of designed-for-vlogging features, to make it easy to get the desired result, with minimal interaction with the camera or its settings.

    The most basic of these is Face Priority Auto Exposure. This does exactly what you might expect: it ties the camera's metering to the face detection system, and prioritizes the exposure of the presenter's face over the metering of the scene as a whole. It's designed to respond rapidly to changes in exposure so that faces remain correctly exposed even if the light changes.

    Sony also says its adjusted the camera's color response in the 'Standard' Creative Style with a particular focus on making (a variety of) skin tones look more attractive.

    Background defocus mode

    Sony is keen to stress that Background Defocus mode is not a filter or a shallow depth-of-field simulation. Instead it's a mode that automatically opens the aperture up to its widest setting, to give as shallow a depth-of-field as possible.

    It's a one-click option that means vloggers don't have to learn to think in terms of aperture values. And, because the camera knows its target is the widest aperture setting, it's able to respond almost instantly: adjusting the ISO and ND filter to compensate for the change in aperture, rather than slowly progressing through all the steps in between.

    By default, Background Defocus mode is assigned to the 'C1' button on the camera's front right corner, making it easily accessible if you're shooting with the camera held at arm's length with your left hand.

    Product showcase mode

    Perhaps the feature that makes this camera's intent most clear is the 'Product Showcase' mode. This is designed for creating the kind of video in which you talk to camera and hold up the item you're describing, to show some detail of it.

    Product Showcase mode is designed to prioritize things that appear near the camera and override the face detection when they do. This means you don't have to hide your face or wait for the camera to refocus on the object you're trying to show your followers. Again, it's designed as a mode so that you don't have to manually tune the autofocus response.

    What's missing/odd?

    The ZV-1 is primarily a video camera, designed to be operated selfie style, which makes it easy to understand why photographer-friendly features from the RX100, such as the EVF, flash and control ring haven't been included.

    But video shooters are likely to note the lack of a headphone socket. While it's true that most to-camera video isn't shot with headphones on, it seems like an odd omission to provide no way of listening to the audio levels before you press that big red button, or properly review a clip after it's been recorded (the internal speaker is pretty quiet).

    Similarly, the inclusion of Log and 'HLG' video modes feel a bit half-baked, given the camera's output is all 8-bit. We're not expecting much of the ZV-1's footage to go through extensive color grading, but more experienced video shooters should be aware of this limitation.

    You might think it's cool

    The ZV-1 is a little bit thicker than the RX100 V and Sony says the use of more composite materials in its construction improve heat dissipation. You can see this composite panel when the screen is flipped out. Despite this, the camera will only record footage for five minutes at a go in its default state. You need to disable the overheat shutdown function in order to record for longer periods.

    With this done, we're told the camera will keep recording almost indefinitely (or, at least, to the capacity of your memory card). But it'll be interesting to find out just how hot the camera gets, and how long you can comfortably hold the camera before needing to consider the optional VPT2BT bluetooth selfie grip thing.

    We've not yet been given a battery life figure but, as we say, the ZV-1 can be powered over its USB connector if necessary.

    Overall

    As the branding hints, the Sony ZV-1 isn't particularly intended for stills photographers. But for the many, many people creating (and, in some cases, making a living from) facing-the-camera content for social media, the ZV-1 looks like a powerful tool.

    We'll have to spend more time with the ZV-1 to find out how well it behaves as a stills camera, beyond its core role, but (as evidenced by the vlogging functions added to Canon's G7 X III) there is a niche for such a product. Unlike the Canon, the Sony can't directly stream its video to YouTube, though the latest version of Sony's smartphone app lets you transfer videos (including 4K) once you've captured them.

    If you're not able to take advantage of the initial discounts being offered in some markets, $799 might seem quite expensive. But it's worth noting that the removal of the EVF helps bring the list price down by $200 compared to the original MSRP of the RX100 VA and within $50 of the Canon's launch price.