Mike Slinn
Mike Slinn

Sony Alpha ZV-E1

Published 2023-09-01.
Time to read: 4 minutes.

This page is part of the av_studio collection, categorized under Sony Camera, Studio.

I purchased a Sony ZV-E1. I am completely blown away by its video capability.

A much better video camera for vlogging than anything else I have seen. Worth it.

No need for a Cam Link 4K to provide high-quality streaming video from the camera; the Sony ZV-E1 does that over USB-C, and provides audio as well, which the Cam Link 4K does not. I used a USB-C to USB3 adapter to connect the Sony ZV-E1 to my Windows PC, and found that OBS Studio immediately recognized the audio and video streams from the camera.

New camera setup perched on an old Roland electronic hand drum.<br>The shotgun microphone has not arrived yet.
New camera setup perched on an old Roland electronic hand drum.
The shotgun microphone has not arrived yet.

ZV-E1 product page.
ILCZVE1-B - body only
ILCZVE1L-B - with 28-60mm zoom lens

I also purchased:

Power Consumption

Unlike the Sony Alpha 7 mark iii that I have been using for the last few years, this camera does not charge from a USB connection. A fresh battery lasts just under 2 hours when the camera is on, or less if it is working hard. Horrible!

A dummy battery should solve the problem.


Product registration. I was unable to register using Google Chrome, but Firefox worked.

Default settings.


Really great Sony ZV-E1 tutorial videos on YouTube:

Sony Callback Support

Web page. Some of the people who answered my calls have been patient and knowledgeable, others were just patiently ignorant.

There is a huge difference between what happens when you are speaking with an American support rep, or someone in the Philippines.

The American will say “Hang on while I get that camera”, and then they will work through the issue with you.

The Filipino will likely never have actually seen the camera; they can only search through documentation.

Dear Sony:
Yes, customers can tell the difference. You may think you are saving money with overseas cheap labor, but that costs you customers.


Firmware Update

Download the Creator’s App onto your mobile device. Supposedly this app requires the camera to have the latest software update, however this is also how you update the camera.

I was able to go through the update process, which took about 15 minutes, however the camera firmware still showed v1.00 afterwards. I had to insert a fully charged battery, then use the menu to complete the update:

HDMI Display

The camera defaults to overlaying status information on the HDMI output. When this setting is in force, connecting an external HDMI monitor causes the flip-out monitor on the camera to turn off, which means you can no longer control it. Dumb.

To disable the information overlay, and restore the functionality of the flip-out monitor:


It seems that a TV remote control can be used to control the camera when a suitable HDMI cable connects the camera with the TV. This uses HDMI-CEC, which Sony variously calls BRAVIA Link, BRAVIA Sync, and Control for HDMI. So far I have not been able to make this work with my Samsung smart TV. I am using a Sony Bluetooth remote control for this purpose anyway.

HEIF format

By default, the camera stores still images in HEIF format. High Efficiency Image Format (HEIF) is a relatively new image file format that was introduced by the Moving Picture Experts Group (MPEG) in 2015. It was designed to be a more efficient alternative to the traditional JPEG format, offering improved compression and image quality.

Importing HEIF format using Creator’s App gave me problems on a fairly new iPad and Android phone, so I changed the camera default format for stills to JPG.

4K 120p Upgrade License

Enter the camera serial number here.

Camera Grip Pairing

Camera / Camera Grip pairing instructions, shown below:

25GB Cloud Storage

Sony Creator’s Cloud provides 25 GB of free cloud storage, and can update the camera firmware. The update works by the mobile device downloading the camera software, then transmitting the software to the camera.

Catalyst Browse

Catalyst Browse is a free, simple viewing and logging tool exclusively for all Sony Pro formats. Available for both Windows and Mac OS X.

Once the menu is displayed, pressing the Fn button moves to the next menu item.

  • Push to the right of the round wheel to select a menu item.
  • Push the center button within the round wheel to view options.
  • Push the at the top of the round wheel to move to the preceeding choice, and push at the bottom to move to the next choice.
  • Push to the left to back up.



The Sony ZV-E1 is a much better video camera than the Sony A7iii and the Lumix S5ii. The prime lens is not hurting things either.