Are you a photography enthusiast looking to invest in a new camera but feel overwhelmed by the multitude of options available? Look no further, as we dive into the comparison between the Sony ZV-E1, a7C II, and a7CR to help you make an informed decision. Sony’s ZV-E1 is a compact and versatile camera perfect for vlogging, offering exceptional video capabilities. On the other hand, the a7C II boasts a full-frame sensor, delivering stunning image quality and versatility for both photography and videography. Lastly, the a7CR stands out with its remarkable low-light performance and enhanced dynamic range, making it ideal for professional photographers. Join us as we explore the strengths and weaknesses of each camera to determine which one suits your needs best.
Sony ZV-E1 VS a7C II VS a7CR | Which Should You Buy?
With the launch of the A7 C2 and the a7c, I thought it would be fun to revisit a comparison I did a few months ago against my dream camera, the Sony ZV-E1. All three are considered compact full-frame cameras with beast specs, but they each come with an enormous price tag. So, which one should you buy?
If you’re more interested in photography with some video work, either of the new a7c cameras are going to be fantastic. The a7c Mark II has a 33 MEAP sensor, and the a7c has a 61 megapixel sensor, whereas the ZV-E1 only has 12 megapixels. More megapixels mean more flexibility, more wiggle room if you frequently crop your photos, and more pixels to sample off of when you do heavy photo editing or photoshopping.
Both a7c cameras have mechanical and electronic shutters, whereas the ZV-E1 has just electronic. If you photograph somewhere with lots of LED lights, like concerts, you’ll run into issues with banding in your images when you shoot with an electronic shutter. However, you won’t have that issue with the mechanical shutter.
Both cameras have some kind of crop when filming in 4K 60p, and some folks may not be too happy about that. But if you’re not even going to bother with 4K 60p, then the a7c cameras are going to be the ultimate hybrid camera for you.
On the other spectrum, if you’re more interested in video with minimal to no photo work at all, then the ZV-E1 is the way to go. The ZV-E1 can shoot 4K 60p with no crop, and it’s the only camera out of the three that can shoot in 4K 120p and 1080p 240 frames per second for the ultimate slow motion experience on a compact full-frame camera. Despite being a 12-megapixel sensor, low-light performance is actually way better on the ZV-E1 because the size of the pixels are larger. Therefore, you’ll see less noise and grain in your photos and videos.
Now, it’s hard to deny that the new a7c cameras are overall better hybrid options for others. However, I still think the ZV-E1 is worth checking out as it does have some dealbreaker features that you might value more. So, let’s start breaking down all the similarities and minute differences to help you make your decision.
Ease of Use
Now, this is a category that the ZV-E1 has won before, but now it only has a slight edge. All three of these cameras now support the new my image thou shooting function, where when you’re auto, it allows you to control the focus, brightness, and colors using the on-screen sliders, much like shooting photos and videos on a smartphone. You can achieve the look that you want without needing to know all the technical jargon, which I think is really nice if you’re a beginner or someone who’s super casual.
But there are two areas that the ZV-E1 has a slight edge in for beginners who want to shoot videos. The first is the dedicated background defocus and product showcase buttons. Think of these as exclusive shortcuts. With background defocus, you can easily blur or make the background clear with a simple push of a button. And product showcase turns off face and eye autofocus when you want to do product showcases.
Just to be clear, though, the a7c cameras are not lacking these features, they just don’t have a dedicated shortcut for them. Secondly, it’s the “Cine Vlog” mode, which is exclusive to the ZV series. This mode gives you cinematic results quicker by adding black bars over your footage and switching you to the 24p movie frame rate. There are dedicated color profiles in the Cine Vlog mode that will give you more of a movie color grade, and this is a fun feature to try out if you’re super casual.
Both the a7c cameras are 526g, and the ZV-E1 is 494g. A very nominal difference in terms of weight. However, the grip size is much bigger on the a7c cameras, with a middle finger indent for a more secure hold. Some people are going to find more comfort in the bigger grip size, but I personally don’t mind the smaller grip of the ZV-E1.
There is an extension grip that comes with the a7c, and it’s really nice. It does help make the grip feel more comfortable, especially for those with big hands or when you’re simply using bigger lenses. I do wish it worked with the ZV-E1, but unfortunately, the body shape is a bit different. And yes, the extension grip is compatible with the a7c Mark I, but you will have to make a separate purchase for it.
All three cameras have a mode toggle here that switches between photo, video, and snq mode. And all three have up to 10 reprogrammable buttons. Since they all have the new touch UI on the shooting screen, we are freed up to change a lot of the physical buttons here to add even more shortcuts if we so desire. And a touch UI makes life a lot easier.
For example, you’ll notice that the ZV-E1 does not have a mode dial. So when you need to switch between, let’s say, manual to shutter priority, it’s not going to be a big deal as it’s easily accessible on a touch menu here. Moving on, the a7c cameras have more dials, four as opposed to two on the ZV-E1. But again, thanks to the touchscreen UI, we can change shutter speed, aperture, and ISO just by touching the screen itself.
Battery and Inputs/Outputs
All three cameras have a mic and headphone jack. All use the bigger FZ100 batteries. And all have USB-C, so they all support power delivery charging and webcam streaming up to 4K 30p.
The memory slot here only supports SD cards, not CF Express Type A cards. And it’s only one card slot, not two. These cameras are designed to be small, so no two card slots are needed in my opinion. But if you need two, each camera has a bigger brother that you can buy.
If you don’t like Micro HDMI, then I’ve got bad news for you. Again, small cameras, not a big deal. However, I do want to point out that only the a7c is capable of 16-bit raw output for video through its Micro HDMI. Kind of strange that a camera designed for more high-resolution photos gets the fancier video capabilities.
Mic and Hot Shoe
The ZV-E1, again, here has a slight edge, but only very slight. You can actually control the internal mic direction. You can have it focus more on the front, the back, or even all around. But it’s not a decision-swing feature. As I’ve always suggested, it’s best to get a dedicated mic instead, as you’ll always get better audio that way.
All three of these cameras support all of Sony’s multi-interface hot shoe accessories, so you get to use all the cool, fancy digital wireless shotgun mics. My personal favorite being the ECM-B10.
All three have a flip-out, fully articulating screen with 1,368,800 dots in resolution. Not an impressive number, but it isn’t as bad as the internet makes it out to be. It’s perfectly fine to check focus and gauge color accuracy even when shooting 4K with sunny weather brightness.
Now, had the a7c Mark II and the a7c r not had these weird cropping quirks when shooting in 4K 60p, I would have sold my ZV-E1 and got one of these cameras instead. It doesn’t even matter if the ZV-E1 has 4K 120p and the a7c cameras don’t. 4K 60p is all I need for slow motion.
Overall, each camera has its strengths and weaknesses, and it really comes down to your specific needs and preferences. I hope this comparison helps you make an informed decision on which camera to buy.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. What are the key differences between Sony ZV-E1, a7C II, and a7CR?
Sony ZV-E1 is a compact vlogging camera with a fixed lens, whereas a7C II and a7CR are full-frame mirrorless cameras that offer interchangeable lenses. The a7C II and a7CR have higher resolution sensors and more advanced features compared to the ZV-E1.
2. Which camera is more suitable for vlogging?
If vlogging is a priority, the Sony ZV-E1 is a great option due to its dedicated vlogging features such as vari-angle touchscreen, built-in microphone, and real-time tracking for your face and eyes. The small form factor and lightweight design also make it easy to carry and record on the go.
3. Which camera provides better image quality?
Both a7C II and a7CR feature full-frame sensors that deliver exceptional image quality with higher resolution and better low-light performance compared to the ZV-E1. If you desire professional-grade image quality and have specific photography requirements, the a7C II or a7CR would be better suited for your needs.
4. What about video recording capabilities?
All three cameras support high-quality video recording, but the ZV-E1 is specifically designed for vlogging and offers features like 4K video recording, real-time Eye AF, and background bokeh control. The a7C II and a7CR also provide excellent video capabilities, including 4K recording and advanced image stabilization, making them suitable for professional videography.
5. Which camera is more budget-friendly?
The Sony ZV-E1 is generally more budget-friendly compared to the a7C II and a7CR due to its compact size and fixed lens. The a7C II and a7CR, being full-frame mirrorless cameras with interchangeable lenses, offer more versatility but come at a higher price point.
6. What factors should I consider when choosing between these cameras?
When making a decision, it’s important to consider your intended use, budget, photography/videography requirements, and preferences. If vlogging is your primary focus, the Sony ZV-E1 is an excellent choice. However, if you prioritize exceptional image quality and advanced features, the a7C II or a7CR would be better suited for your needs. It’s also worth considering the cost of additional lenses if you opt for the a7C II or a7CR.
We hope these FAQs help you make an informed decision about which camera suits your needs best. Happy shooting!
I hope you find useful my article Sony ZV-E1 VS a7C II VS a7CR | Which Should You Buy?, I also recommend you to read my other posts in my blog at this link.
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