Smartphone or full camera? Any blogger at least once thought about how to get a good picture and not go broke. Today, the giants of the photo industry regularly release special models aimed at bloggers. Among the latter are Nikon Z30 and Sony ZV-E10. Is it worth it to spend money on a “blogger” camera and which of the two is better? Now let’s figure it out.
Nikon Z30 is a new camera specially designed for bloggers and content makers. It is similar to the Sony ZV-E10, which has the same goals. Read more about the ZV-E10 in our review.
Both cameras are compact and fairly budget hybrid models with interchangeable lenses. They are suitable for shooting blogs of any genre, as well as for a wider range of photo and video tasks.
How Nikon Z30 and Sony ZV-E10 are similar: key points
Both the Nikon Z30 and the Sony ZV-E10 are equipped with an APS‑C sensor (smaller than a full frame, but better in low light than cameras and smartphones), a swivel rear display (handy for shooting selfie videos), and good built-in microphones for convenient sound recording without additional devices.
Both models do not have a viewfinder. This immediately hints that the models are not too focused on photography, because framing a photo through the viewfinder is much more convenient, but for video this is not such a fundamental point. There is also no built-in stabilization system.
As befits camcorders, there is a light on the front that lights up when recording starts. So when shooting a selfie blog, you will not forget to press the “Rec” button.
What is the difference between Nikon Z30 and Sony ZV-E10: key points
There are not many obvious differences:
- Sony has a “more cheerful” battery — 440 versus 330 photos on a single charge (about endurance in video mode below).
- Nikon has two control dials — one at the back, the other at the front, which again is convenient for selfie shooting, while Sony has both dials located at the back.
- both cameras have connectors for connecting an external microphone, but only Sony received a headphone jack. A strange decision from Nikon, because bloggers need to check the volume of the recorded sound.
And now let’s move on to the most important thing — to the video.
The result of the video, at first glance, looks the same, but there is still a difference. Both shoot in UHD 4K at frame rates up to 30p and slow motion in Full HD at up to 120p. However, at the same time, Sony at 30 frames per second shoots with 1.23x crop (frame cropping), and at 120p — with 1.14x, while Nikon does not have any cropping.
In 4K you get more resolution and detail, in Full HD (1080p) you get less. As for the frame rate, the higher it is, the better suited for scenes with fast movement, as well as for slow motion (the effect of “slow motion”) clips.
The difference is also noticeable in the rolling shutter effect. This is a visual distortion that appears during video recording, when panning or moving the camera during shooting. The severity of the effect can be approximately estimated by the speed of reading the matrix during shooting in the electronic shutter mode. The indicator is calculated in milliseconds and characterizes the minimum shutter speed at which the effect of rolling shutter will not be noticeable.
So, the Z30 at a frame rate of 30p and 24p has a readout speed of about 20 ms — not too good, but not too bad (that is, the rolling shutter effect will appear, but not critical). Things are worse with the ZV-E10: if 27ms in cropped mode at 30p can still be survived, then at 24p the speed drops to 33ms: at this speed, even slight panning during recording can cause noticeable negative effects.
In terms of video recording time, the Z30 can record 4K video for around 35 minutes, according to Nikon, and 1080p video for 125 minutes. The limitations here are not related to the battery, but to the overheating of the camera. Sony claims 30 minutes for 4K and 60 minutes for 1080p. Smaller, but in real conditions, this is usually enough to shoot a video.
And if the video recording characteristics of the cameras are similar, then the picture is different.
Sony offers the same “Picture Profile” system found in its professional camcorders. For example, like the Sony FX3. This means you can shoot in log-mode and with a wide color gamut, which allows you to “play” with color correction in video editors. By the way, the mid-budget a6400 has the same set of color profiles as the ZV-E10.
Nikon has only a special “flat” (Flat) color profile. It is not as flexible in terms of post-processing as Log profiles, however, it allows you to get a wider dynamic range. This is great for recording movies in high-contrast lighting (such as in bright sunlight). Plus “flat” profile — ease of use. It is more convenient to “paint” such material than a video shot in log mode on Sony.
Both models received decent built-in stereo microphones on the top of the case. There are no significant differences in sound quality between them. Sony comes with a windscreen, for Nikon it will have to be purchased for $ 10. However, the Nikon version is equipped with a “cold shoe” (the most common mount for photo and video accessories), thanks to which, when installing a windscreen, you do not lose the “shoe” on the camera itself, and you can put the desired accessory on top, for example, a small LED illuminator.
At the same time, we recall that the Sony ZV-E10 has one noticeable advantage for sound recording — a headphone jack. You can immediately check the sound volume, track extraneous noise. This will prevent the typical problems of bloggers. For example, when in the final video the sound is too quiet, and there is no way to reshoot the video.
An important aspect for bloggers, and here the cameras are noticeably different. For photography, the system from Sony is more suitable. Tracking objects on the ZV-E10 is easier and faster. At the same time, the camera automatically lingers on faces in any mode, which allows you to observe a moving object and not lose autofocus on your eyes. Nikon has a special mode for this.
This difference becomes even more noticeable during video shooting. Nikon focuses tenaciously on faces, which is great for shooting a selfie blog, but when tracking other objects, autofocus periodically misses. The Sony system works more reliably if you choose the subject to focus on.
Not the most important aspect for vloggers, but the ability to take pictures with a video camera is a big plus for those who, apart from YouTube and Twitch, have a photoblog. An important bonus for travel bloggers who do not want to carry a separate camera for photography.
Both models use time-tested sensors that do an excellent job with photography. Crop APS‑C sensors help to take high-quality detailed shots and are not afraid of poor lighting.
An interesting fact: the quality of pictures taken on the ZV-E10 and Z30 will be almost the same as that of a photo taken on a top-end modern smartphone. It’s all about computational photography algorithms. If you shoot in low light on the 12th and 13th generation iPhone, it will quickly take and glue several frames in a row to compensate for the shortcomings of the small sensor. As a result, we get an optimal image, similar to a photo from a traditional camera. That is why many bloggers prefer to shoot content on a mobile phone.
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However, the “large” cameras have an ace up their sleeve. You can use lenses with them and get a lot of effects. Of course, smartphones can simulate, for example, blurring the background. But they still occasionally make mistakes, blurring small details that should stay in focus.
As for the differences between the two models, there is not much difference in detail between Nikon’s 21 megapixels and Sony’s 24 megapixels.
And a little more about lenses. Both cameras are available with a kit 16–50mm zoom lens. The Sony version is a power zoom that allows you to zoom smoothly using the button on the optional selfie stick. However, in terms of photography, Nikon offers a better “glass”.
If you intend to buy another lens for your camera, Sony has a much richer choice.
The camera from Sony uses an E‑mount, for which many native and third-party optics are available. You’ll easily find wide-angle vlogging options that make up for cropping and the lack of built-in stabilization.
But the camera from Nikon is equipped with a “younger” Z mount, for which there are not too many options on the market. In addition, lenses from third-party manufacturers are not compatible with Nikon’s autofocus system, so you have to turn to expensive “native” glasses. Alternatively, you can use lenses from Nikon DSLRs through the FTZ adapter, but the speed and reliability of autofocus will suffer.
Nikon Z30 and Sony ZV-E10: which camera to choose
Sony ZV-E10 and Nikon Z30 are in many ways very similar models, and it is not easy to pick a favorite among them.
If your content is not limited to vlogging and you often take photos, we advise you to pay attention to Nikon. The Z30’s whale zoom lens is much better suited for still photography, and the camera boasts convenient front and rear control dials. She also has a system for instantly transferring photos from the camera to a smartphone, which is convenient for quickly posting pictures on a social network. In terms of video, the Z30 boasts that it shoots 4K / 30p from the entire width of the sensor, while Sony crops the frame in this mode.
On the other hand, Sony has a longer lasting battery, a headphone jack, and a wider range of lenses to suit every budget. A significant disadvantage is the pronounced rolling shutter effect during video shooting. However, the ZV-E10 has reliable and convenient autofocus, which is evident in both stills and video.
As a result, the choice between Sony ZV-E10 and Nikon Z30 is a matter of taste, goals and brand commitment.
*in preparing the article, materials from the resource dpreview.com (Richard Butler) were used.