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Product photos: Richard Butler

The Sony ZV-E10 II is the company’s second-generation APS-C vlogging ILC. It brings a new sensor and larger battery, along with improved video specs.

Key features:

  • 26MP APS-C BSI CMOS sensor
  • Full-width 4K at up to 30p
  • 4K/60p from a 1.1x crop (5.6K capture)
  • 10-bit video capture
  • S-Cinetone color mode and ‘Creative Look’ options
  • Imports LUTs for previewing, embedding or applying to S-Log3 footage
  • Three-capsule mic with automatic directional focus option
  • No mechanical shutter

The Sony ZV-E10 II will be available from early August at a recommended price of $999 body-only or $1099 with an updated 16-50mm F3.5-5.6 OSS II retracting power zoom. The ZV-E10 II will be available in black or white. The white version will come with a silver version of the 16-50mm PZ that won’t be sold separately.

Index:


What’s new

New sensor

The ZV-E10 II uses the same 26MP BSI CMOS sensor we’ve seen the a6700 (and the pro-video FX-30). It’s a much faster sensor than the one in the previous version of the camera, and is able to deliver 4K video at up to 60 frames a second, where the previous version had to crop-in to shoot at 30fps, meaning it showed significant rolling shutter in its 4K modes.

10-bit video

The ZV-E10 II also gains a newer processor, allowing the camera to capture 10-bit video. This allows it to record Log footage with plenty of precision, which allows greater flexibility when grading color and tone. It also means the camera can capture true HDR footage for playback on HDR phones and TVs.

All the camera’s 4K modes are taken from a 1.1x cropped region of the sensor and derived from 5.6K capture. There’s no in-body stabilization in the camera, so digital stabilization applies a further 1.33x crop, meaning the 16-50mm kit lens ends up giving a 35mm equiv field of view, at its widest, if you want to use more than just the lenses’ optical shake correction.

Updated features

The ZV-E10 II has the newer Bionz XR processor, rather than the ‘X’ of its predecessor. As part of this update it gains a UHS-II compatible SD card slot.

The ZV-E10 II doesn’t include Sony’s ‘AI processing unit’ but includes some of the latest subject-recognition algorithms, we’re told. It also gains the focus breathing compensation function that, with recognized Sony lenses, crops in to the narrowest effective field of view then progressively adjusts the crop and scaling to maintain consistent framing as the focus distance changes.

The ZV-E10 II also has the CineVlog mode from the ZV-1 Mark II, which gives a widescreen 2.35:1 look with black bars top and bottom and shoots at 24p. Onto this various ‘Looks’ and ‘Moods’ can be applied, to give a stylized appearance to your footage.

There’s no sign of Sony’s Auto Framing modes, though, so you can’t set the camera on a tripod and let it crop-in and follow your subject around the scene, nor set a subject’s position in the frame and have it crop to maintain that positioning, as you’re filming yourself at arm’s length.

Larger battery

The ZV-E10 II now uses Sony’s larger NP-FZ100 battery, allowing it to record for much longer. Sony did not disclose battery figures prior to launch, but the FZ100 has always made cameras much more usable than the smaller FZ50 used by the original ZV-E10.

Updated kit zoom

The ZV-E10 II typically comes bundled with the Sony E PZ 16-50mm F3.5-5.6 OSS II, a refreshed version of its compact, retractable power zoom. The version II gains the ability to focus while zooming, helping to keep your subject in focus if you change the focal length while recording, and also communicates information to help the camera’s stabilization efforts.

In principle, the lens can focus fast enough to work with 120fps shooting, in the unlikely event anyone ever attaches it to an a9 III. However, Sony has not made any changes to the optical design of the lens, which we’ve never been particularly impressed by.


How it compares

We’ve chosen to compare the ZV-E10 II to its predecessor, Nikon’s Z30 that aims to offer something very similar, and to the a6700, to see what differences exist between Sony’s vlogging model and its enthusiast stills/video option. The other obvious competitor in this space is Panasonic’s DC-G100, which again offers a clever mic setup and front-facing screen for vlogging. However, its substantial crop in 4K mode makes it less well suited to high-res vlogging than the other cameras listed here, so that’s the one we’ve omitted for reasons of space in the comparison table.

Sony ZV-E10 IINikon Z30Sony ZV-E10Sony a6700
MSRP$1099 w/ 16-50mm OSS II$849 w/ 16-50mm VR$799 w/ 16-50mm OSS$1499 w/ 16-50mm OSS
Resolution26MP21MP24MP26MP
Mech shutterNoYesYesYes
Image stabilizationDigital onlyDigital onlyDigital onlyIBIS rated to 5.0 EV
4K video rates
(crop factor)

UHD/60 (1.1x)
UHD/30 (1.1x)
UHD/24 (1.1x)

UHD/30
UHD/24
UHD/30
UHD/24
UHD/120 (1.58x)
UHD/60 full-width
UHD/30 full-width
Video bit-depth10-bit8-bit8-bit10-bit
Rear screen1.04M dots fully articulated1.04M dots fully articulated0.92M dots fully articulated1.04M dots fully articulated
ViewfinderNoneNoneNone2.36M dot
0.7x mag
Number of dials1 main, 1 rear2 main1 main, 1 rear2 main, 1 rear
Mic / Headphone socketsYes / YesYes / NoYes / YesYes / Yes
USB3.2 Gen 1 (5Gbps)3.2 Gen 1 (5Gbps)3.2 Gen 1 (5Gbps)3.2 Gen 2 (10Gbps)
SD slots1x UHS II (side)1x UHS-I (base)1x UHS-I (side)1x UHS-II (side)
Video battery life, CIPA, min
Cont. / Actual
/85 /125 / 80185 / 100
Dimensions121 x 68 x 54mm128 x 74 x 60mm115 x 64 x 45mm122 x 69 x 75mm
Weight377g405g343g493g

Perhaps the biggest benefit of the ZV-E10 II over the original is the faster readout of its sensor. The mark 1 exhibited a lot of rolling shutter in 4K/24 mode and had to crop in to deliver 4K/30; by contrast, the new camera can shoot at 4K/60 using the full sensor width, meaning it’s over twice as quick as its predecessor.

It’s worth noting the differences, compared with the more expensive a6700, too. The a6700 has a viewfinder, in-body stabilization, twin control dials on its top plate and a mechanical shutter, and is able to shoot 4K/120 if you can live with a substantial 1.Xx crop. These are all omitted from the less expensive, more influencer-focused ZV-E10 II.


Body and handling

The ZV-E10 II’s body is impressively small: it looks like an early Sony NEX model and is recognizably more compact than the a6700.

The downside of this is that the controls and operation also feel more like an NEX model, rather than one of Sony’s latest cameras, if you attempt to shoot stills with it. Unlike the twin dial a6700, there’s only a single top-plate dial on the ZV-E10 II and an awkward, fiddly rear-face dial that we’ve been trying to avoid having to use on Sony cameras for more than a decade, now.

The interface is primarily touchscreen-based, allowing direct operation while you’re holding the camera to face. There are also dedicated buttons both for Bokeh mode (which opens the aperture up to a value that can be adjusted in the menu) and Product Showcase mode that tells the camera to prioritize nearby objects over face detection. Both buttons can be customized to perform other functions, if you prefer.

The ZV-E10 II is the first Sony to rotate its interface display when you rotate the camera, to make vertical video capture easier.

The ZV-E10 II has both headphone and mic sockets, along with a 5Gbps USB-C port that can be used to steam up to 4K/30 video when acting as a webcam. There’s also a micro HDMI slot.

We didn’t find the ZV-E10 II the easiest camera to hold, if we were facing towards it, to vlog, so we suspect the optional vlogging handle/table tripod with its Bluetooth-connected controls, will be really valuable. Trying to hold the camera at arm’s length without it just meant constantly nudging the zoom rocker on the lens and not being able to reverse the effect without stopping recording and bringing the camera back into two hands to push the zoom back out to wide-angle.


Initial impressions vlog

Rather than write my impressions of the ZV-E10 II, I used it as intended: vlogging my thoughts to camera. All sound was captured using the camera’s internal mics.