Sony ZV-E10 Mirrorless Camera & 16-50mm f/3.5-5.6/PZ OSS Lens Review

John Riley has been putting the pocketable and powerful Sony ZV-E10 mirrorless camera through its paces to find out how good it is at capturing images and if it's a camera vloggers should be paying attention to.


|  Sony ZV-E10 in Mirrorless Cameras
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Sony ZV-E10
 

Quick Verdict

The ZV-E10 is a very small and light interchangeable lens mirrorless camera with an excellent 24MP Exmor CMOS sensor. This truly fits into a jacket pocket, provided a similarly compact lens is attached. The 16-50mm is such a lens and the two together make an extremely portable kit. It is billed as a vlogging camera and could be ideal for this, with plenty of connectivity options, as well as being a constant travel companion to record the world around us as we go. There was a time when compact cameras were bigger than this, so there has been real progress made. The package also delivers on quality, being intuitive to handle and a pleasure all-round.

+ Pros

  • Light and compact
  • Capable of high-quality results
  • Excellent connectivity
  • Keenly priced
  • Easy vlogging solution
  • Wide potential in lens range available

- Cons

  • Some controls fiddly
  • No weather resistance
  • Zoom action not smooth
  • OSS in lenses only
 

 

Vlogging is the thing of the moment, and it looks as though it will continue to be so way into the future. The ZV-E10 offers an easy one-stop path into vlogging, with an affordable, compact bit of kit that can be used for streaming, as a webcam or even for stills. It is a capable camera in all of these areas, albeit it was a bit fiddly in terms of some controls. We team the camera up with the compact 16-50mm kit lens and take it out into the world to put it through its paces. Will it be fazed by the current flurry of bad weather and a trip to Fountains Abbey at night? Let's find out.

 

Sony ZV-E10 Mirrorless Camera Features

Sony ZV-E10
 

The first impression is of a very light (343g) and compact camera that could easily be mistaken at first glance for a compact camera. However, it is actually a fully interchangeable lens body with a high degree of specification to offer both stills and video photographers.

Starting our camera tour on the top plate, there is a hotshoe for external flash units and other accessories, likely to be filled with the rather cute windshield for the three-way directional microphone. It gives the camera an instant Beatles haircut and all the kids want to reach out to see how soft it is. Quite a few adults as well...The on/off switch is also on the top plate, perhaps not quite so convenient as the usual Sony position around the shutter release button. The reason for this change of placement is that around the shutter release is a zoom lever. There is a slider to choose still, movie or S&Q, the last one standing for Slow and Quick and referring to slow-motion video shooting. A red button is for starting and stopping video recording. The C1 button selects a defocus mode which switches in a defocused background for instant bokeh effects. The Product Showcase setting switches to a product being lifted into view for a smooth vlogging presentation.

The back of the camera is standard Sony, so for existing Sony users, all the adjustments are in the right place. There is the usual Fn menu, bringing together a selection of frequently used settings. The rotary dial is nice and firm so that it cannot be changed accidentally. The four-way rocker switch that contains the dial controls drive settings, display, ISO and exposure compensation. There is an excellent 3” vari-angle touch screen with 920,000 dots.

Sony ZV-E10
On the left of the camera, as we look down on it from the shooting position, a small door reveals a USB-C connection that is also used for charging, an HDMI connection and a headphone jack. There is a second smaller door that reveals a microphone jack and a power connection, should we need to operate the camera for extended periods on mains power. On the camera base is the usual battery compartment, housing a Sony NP-FW50 battery that is rated, according to CIPA standards, at 440 shots or 80 minutes of video. This compartment also houses the single SD card slot.

The tripod socket is metal and placed at the centre axis of the lens mount. This leaves the battery door free to be opened and closed whilst the camera is on a tripod. This is much more convenient than having to dismount a camera to replace a battery mid-shoot. A handgrip is available that should improve stability whilst vlogging and there are also external microphones available for improved audio.

Sony ZV-E10
 

There is no SteadyShot built into the camera, but it relies instead upon lenses having OSS being used. This need not mean hugely expensive lenses, as the kit 16-50mm does indeed have OSS and at a very reasonable price. There is no weather resistance either, and this is always a pity. However, the camera does seem very well put together, so the quality of the manufacture is not in doubt.

Focusing is fast using a Hybrid system that combines phase detection with contrast detection. In practice, it works, and when using the camera for vlogging it also keeps up thanks to Real-Time EyeAF, keeping the vlogger firmly at the focus point of the shoot. The EyeAF is impressively tenacious, keeping the subject's eyes locked into the focus point at all times.

Key Features

  • 24.2MP CMOS APS-C format Exmor sensor
  • Shutter speeds 30s to 1/4000s
  • ISO range 50 – 51200 plus Auto
  • Metering range EV -2 to EV 20
  • Vari-angle 3” vai-angle monitor with 921,600 dots
  • 4K and UHD Video
  • Streaming/webcam capability
  • Bluetooth Ver 4.1, 2.4GHz
  • Hybrid AF - 425 phase-detection/425 contrast-detection AF points
  • AF range EV -3 to EV 20
  • NP-FW50 battery 440 shots or 80 minutes video
  • Media: Memory Stick PRO Duo, Memory Stick PRO-HG Duo, Memory Stick Micro (M2), SD memory card, SDHC memory card (UHS-I compliant), SDXC memory card (UHS-I compliant), microSD memory card, microSDHC memory card, microSDXC memory card
  • 11 fps
  • Shutter speeds 30s – 1/4000s
  • Picture Effects: Toy Camera (Normal / Cool / Warm / Green / Magenta), Pop Color, Posterization (Color, B/W), Retro Photo, Soft High-key, Partial Color (R/G/B/Y), High Contrast Monochrome, Rich-tone Monochrome, Soft Focus, HDR Painting, Miniature, Watercolor, Illustration
  • Creative styles: Standard, Vivid, Portrait, Landscape, Sunset, Black & White, Sepia

 

Sony ZV-E10 Mirrorless Camera Handling

 

Sony ZV-E10
 

Cameras have an ethos, a design style, and this is pure Sony, despite the small size. It means that Sony users will be very comfortable with this right from the start. Non-Sony users should get the hang of things very quickly as it is all very logical.

The camera has a wide set of possible settings that can be applied, to customise as the photographer wishes. The settings only apply to one type of capture, so having set up for, say, stills it will be necessary to start again to customise for video. This is no bad thing as the requirements for each may not be identical.

Like all new kit, it takes time to assimilate all the details and with a full range of options for both stills and video, this one takes quite a bit of time. Reading the instructions always helps (unthinkable...) and there is often the wish that we were supplied with a proper printed book, rather than having to go looking on the web and downloading it.

There are not many glitches in the smooth operation of the camera, the main one being the inconveniently jerky one-speed zooming during handheld video shooting. When mounted on a tripod it is much easier, although the single-speed zoom may remain a slight issue.  

 


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Sony Alpha ZV-E10 | APS-C Mirrorless Interchangeable-Lens Vlog Camera Body Only (Vari-Angle Screen for vlogging, 4K Video, Real-time Eye Autofocus)
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