I received a Sony ZV-E10 for review. It’s an interchangeable lens camera for content creators, featuring a nice APS-C sensor. Instead of looking just at the specs and the pros and cons of this camera, perhaps it’s better to look at it from another perspective.
The Sony ZV-E10 didn’t come unnoticed. It is the big brother of the Sony ZV-1, which houses a one-inch sensor and has a fixed lens. These are also the two main differences between these cameras. The APS-C size sensor promises less noise at high-ISO levels and a cleaner image. The ability to change lenses allows the owner to choose from a wide range of fixed focus and zoom lenses in the E-mount range.
The Sony ZV-E10 is a small camera that is easy to take with you. It works best with the special Bluetooth grip that can be used as a small tripod also. The camera can be operated from the grip, at least for the most important part. If you have a motorized zoom lens, the grip can also be used to zoom in or out.
The hot-shoe of the ZV-E10 allows you to slide a dead cat over the built-in microphone. The built-in microphone works reasonably well, but if you need better quality sound, a range of Sony microphones can be connected through the hot-shoe. This prevents the use of cables.
The Sony ZV-E10 From Above
The Sony ZV-E10 offers a few nice options. The camera has well-known face and eye-AF. The AF tracking works well. With a button, the autofocus can be changed to the so-called product mode. This way, it switches over from eye-AF to an object close by. Another option is the defocus button. The camera will open the aperture as wide as possible for a nice blurred background.
There are also some downsides to this camera. It has the old menu structure, which is strange since Sony introduced a drastically improved menu before its release. The ZV-E10 has a digital stabilization option that doesn't work that well. The active mode is much more efficient but introduces a huge crop. The product mode can only be activated when the camera is turned off. And the touchscreen is very limited: you can only tap onto the screen to set an AF point or to scroll or magnify when viewing the footage on the LCD screen.
The 1080p footage looks rather soft. Switching over to 2160p shows a significant improvement in sharpness, but it also introduces a very noticeable rolling shutter effect. You have to switch over to 1080p again to get rid of it. Although the Sony ZV-E10 allows you to record in S-log2, it is only 8-bit.
Don’t Judge It as if It’s a Professional Film Camera. It’s Not.
While testing the Sony ZV-E10, I was disappointed in a lot of ways. Most of the things I mentioned became noticeable when diving into the options and trying out different things. In a way, I was looking at this camera from the wrong perspective. This is not a camera for the best possible film quality. Sure, it has its downsides, but mainly from a professional point of view. It becomes much different when viewed from a content creator's point of view. That user has only one thing in mind: making content in a fast and easy way. That’s what this camera is all about.
When looking carefully at the Sony ZV-E10, I see a small camera with a nice LCD screen that is fully articulating, perfect for filming yourself. When you press the record button, a thick red rectangle appears around the screen. The mode button allows you to change the exposure settings from fully automated to one of the other three: manual, aperture priority, and shutter priority. Switching from one setting to another brings out a nice photo in the background of the LCD screen, showing the effect you can reach with that setting.
The defocus button is another strange one when you view the camera from a professional point of view. Someone who knows a bit about apertures and depth of field can get the same result just by using the correct setting. That same person will probably prefer manual settings for filming and a shutter time that corresponds to the used frame rate over the automatic settings.
Everything about this camera is pointing towards the user that isn’t interested in perfect results. It's about easy use, I think. Still, the camera has the ability to use all the settings that a professional user would like to have, but at that point, some of the downsides of this small camera become apparent.
Look at the Camera From the Right Perspective
It’s very tempting to look at the Sony ZV-E10 as if it has to compete with a professional camera. That’s when we become disappointed about not having a proper IBIS system, a fully functional touchscreen, a slow sensor readout, or the 8-bit when recording in S-log2. But that is different when we look at it from that other perspective.
If you need a camera that addresses the downsides of this camera, the Sony ZV-E10 isn’t the one for you. In that case, you need a more professionally orientated camera. And yes, you will pay more for those options. Don’t forget about the price of the Sony ZV-E10. It costs about $600, and although this can be a lot of money for a lot of people, it is not much compared to the cameras that address a lot of the issues of the ZV-E10.
Yes, you have a few downsides on the Sony ZV-E10. But to be honest, if you use the camera the way it is meant for, it will be a great one to have.
Would I Buy a Sony ZV-E10?
I used the Sony ZV-E10 almost exclusively in the automatic mode. Changing settings was too much of a hassle, and most of the time, it was good enough for the footage I shot. I just had to take it out of the bag, turn it on, and start filming. If you like to look at the video I made with this camera, you are welcome to do so. Just know it is spoken in my native Dutch language.
Nevertheless, I wouldn’t buy this camera myself. I don’t like the interface, the lack of touchscreen functionality, and the outdated menu structure. I prefer better 1080p footage, and the image stabilization isn’t up to par. I would prefer to invest in a camera that comes closer to my demands.
What do you think about this camera? Would you consider buying this camera if you're into content creation, or would you rather spend some more on a camera that addresses the issues I mentioned in my article?
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