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Sony ZV-E10

 

The ZV-E10 is a recently superseded APS-C vlogging camera, so why am I interested in it for photography? It might lack an EVF and IBIS, but that makes it very small and light (two important factors for me) and unlike the ZV-E1 this has a reasonable resolution (24mp). Combining this with the new Sirui 75mm f/1.2 lens cuts the total system weight right down while maintaining some very fast glass. So, how did I find using this camera for friendly wildlife and bokeh panoramas...

ZV-E10 + Sirui AF 75mm f/1.2 

Key Specifiations

Sensor:

Resolution:

Burst:

DR Stops:

P-Shutter:

E-Shutter:

SS:

AF points:

Video:

Vid Qual:

ISO:

EVF:

LCD:

Memory:

Weight:

Battery:

APS-C CMOS

24mp

11fps / 48 shots

10.5 (14bit)

1/160th

1/30th

30s - 1/4,000th

425 (93%)

4kp/24

4:2:0 / 8bit

100 - 25,600

None

3" / 0.92m / Flip out

SD

343g

440 (NP-FW50)

  • Highly reliable AF

  • 4K/24p video capture

  • 1080/120p slow-motion

  • Directional 3-capsule mic

  • Fully articulating display

  • Mic & headphone ports

  • Livestream (via USB-C)

  • 440 shots battery

  • Vertical video

A9 + 135mm f/1.8 vs ZV-E10 +113mm f/1.8 equivalent

These are currently two of my favourite budget and lightweight camera / lens combos for shooting friendly wildlife and bokeh panos. The full frame Samyang lens has a slightly tighter field of view, but the equivalent apertures are the same (f/1.8). The minimum focus distances (69cm) and camera resolutions are the same and focusing systems are similar. The A9 images are cleaner and the camera can shoot a little faster, but those differences have been subtle when looking at the end results. The cost and weight difference are not subtle however. You can pick up the ZV-E10 & Sirui lens brand new for less than half the cost of a second hand A9 & Samyang (€950 vs 2000) and the weight is almost half too (785g vs 1,445g)! That said, the lack of IBIS on the ZV-E10 can be a huge disadvantage (especially for video) and some people will really miss not having a viewfinder. As good as the Sirui lens is, it's not in the same league as the Samyang (especially on a high resolution sensor), which is not only a bargain, but also the lightest 135mm f/1.8 by far. 

Sirui 75mm - f/1.2, 1/320h, ISO 640

The ZV-E10 is not really a spiritual successor to the A5100. Photography focused models these days include IBIS and an EVF, but if you're looking for something modern that's light and reasonably priced this is a good option. Unlike the ZV-E1 it has a much more reasonable 24mp resolution. Sensor size is more important to image quality, but 12mp is a bit difficult for most people to justify these days. I wouldn't mind too much if it wasn't for the wildlife aspect, but it's also the price and lens options that have driven me to the smaller sensor ZV-E10.

 

Small & Light

Combining this camera with the Sirui AF 75mm f/1.2 lens gives a combined weight of 785g (1.73lbs), which is ridiculously light for a lens with a 63mm entrance pupil! To put that in perspective; it's letting in more light than an 85mm f/1.4! and only giving you a slightly longer 113mm equivalent (full frame) angle of view. This enables me to make very pleasing out of focus backgrounds for my wildlife subjects and is also great for shooting bokeh panos (see below).

Sirui 75mm - f/1.2, 1/500h, ISO 1000

Image Quality

The image quality from the ZV-E10 sensor is good. It's better than the decade old A5100, although not by a lot. It certainly feels like sensor tech has stagnated over the past 10+ years. Comparing this to older full frame sensors with the same resolution you are still losing image quality through noise and slower lenses here, but it's not too bad. None of the images are processed through modern AI noise reduction software here, so you can judge the image quality of the camera and lens by the samples that you see here.

Body

The size of the ZV-E10 is only really comfortable with very small and light lenses. The Sirui 75mm is about as far as I would want to go with weight (450g), but it already sticks out way too much near the mount for it to be comfortable (see below). That is largely Sirui's lens design at fault there, but Sony are not giving them much to work with on the grip design.

DSC04989.jpg

The flip out screen is nice for shooting video of yourself when vlogging or using it as a webcam, but I like it for shooting low angle portrait shooting too. It's also useful for me when shooting bokeh panos because I shoot them in portrait orientation and usually can't see the screen when angled for the upper rows, but here I can. It's not as convenient to just pull it up for quick low level shots, but it's still nice to have options and I love that you can have the screen facing inwards to protect it when putting the camera in a bag or just carrying it around. The size, resolution and brightness of the rear LCD is decent (not vastly different to that of the A9).

 

The lack of a viewfinder will bother some people, but for me (shooting friendly wildlife at their level) this has not been an issue. An optional viewfinder would have been nice here, but the windshield unfortunately uses that to connect to the camera.

Sirui 75mm - f/1.4, 1/250h, ISO 500

Controls

Compared to the A5100 things are vastly improved here. It's not just about the extra custom, FN buttons and top dial that you get here, but it's the vast amount of customization you can do with the modern menus, which match almost all the functionality I was used to from the A9. I love the A9 controls, but I don't use too many of them at the same time, so I can set this camera up to give me all the controls I need during most scenarios. The button placement is pretty nice here, but there are a couple of buttons that I find rather annoying.

 

The digital zoom rocker on the power button is infuriating when I knock it (all the time) and I get warning messages on the screen that won't go away. I have lost so many images of animals due to this because I am holding the camera a bit weird during low angle shooting. This almost makes the camera unusable for shooting stills... yes, it really is that bad and there is nothing you can do about it. Well, you can enable clear image zoom (CIZ) instead, but then you lose focus tracking and face detect, so that's no good. Why there is no option to just disable the pointless message or remap the function of the rocker I have no idea. Why Sony, WHY?!!!

 

I also don't like the power on button, it's awkward to move and feels like it goes the wrong way. I wish I could put a normal power switch onto this camera, but I guess Sony feels that you need that stupid digital zoom thing for some lenses... erghh!