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Daily Authority: 📸 Testing time with Sony's best pocket camera

Is a Samsung phone a better camera than a Sony camera? Also, find out what Reddit would wish for if genies were real.

Published onJanuary 23, 2023

sony zv 1 alongside samsung galaxy s21 fe
Calvin Wankhede / Android Authority

😐 Good day, and welcome to the Daily Authority. I had a great weekend, except when I took a chunk of glass from a smartwatch’s screen by doing little more than everyday chores around the house. Top tip: Always invest in a screen protector for every device you own.

Point-and-shoot! Why did I buy this?

sony zv 1 peeking through bag pocket
Calvin Wankhede / Android Authority

We often wonder when (or if) phones will ever have the imaging power to outshine point-and-shoot cameras. For my colleague Calvin Wankhede, that moment may have arrived during a summer vacation.

For context, Calvin wanted a new pocket camera, and with all the hype surrounding Song’s new one-inch camera hardware, he opted for the Sony ZV-1. It houses the same sensor as the Sony Xperia Pro-I and RX100, but it is much cheaper than both. Naturally, he bought one, but buyer’s remorse kicked in soon after. Here’s the story.

What’s not to love?

  • All signs point to the Sony ZV-1’s photography prowess.
  • It features a 24-70mm f/1.8-2.8 lens, which should produce great bokeh and stunning low-light performance.
  • The camera is incredibly portable, too, quickly slipping in and out of most bags and deep pockets when needed.
  • With all this in mind, Calvin took the camera along for a trip to Vietnam with the hopes of capturing some great memories.
  • He also brought along a Samsung Galaxy S21 FE as his primary smartphone.
  • However, the phone seemingly took over as his main camera on the journey.

Taking a backseat

  • Sightseeing on a motorcycle, Calvin only had enough bag capacity for three days of clothing and essentials.
  • Immediately, the Sony ZV-1 seemed excessive, even with its compact body.
  • As a result, it stayed locked in a suitcase in the hotel. But this was probably the best decision given the trip conditions.
  • “On the very first day, we rode through a foggy mountain pass and eventually ran into full-blown rain.”
  • The ZV-1 isn’t weather sealed, so it surely would’ve been risky using it. This wasn’t a problem for the Galaxy S21 FE, which at points, stayed strapped to his bike without issue.
  • “By the end of that first day, the ZV-1 was little more than an afterthought in my mind.”

Seeing the light

  • When the weather wasn’t a limiting factor, Calvin put the ZV-1 and S21 FE through a few head-to-head comparisons.
  • “I fully expected the camera to come out ahead in a side-by-side comparison, but it was often hard to pick a winner.”
  • Regarding immediate results, the S21 FE won in terms of dynamic range straight out of the camera, while the ZV-1 claimed the zoom contest.
  • “I’ll also admit that selfies taken with the ZV-1 almost always looked better than my smartphone’s tiny camera, and proper framing was possible thanks to the fully articulating screen. Likewise, videos look noticeably better with more detail, depth of field, and zero over-sharpening.”
  • Those wins were just not enough to balance the overall experience, though.

What’s the key takeaway?

  • For $500 on sale, the Samsung Galaxy S21 FE more than keeps up with the dedicated camera Sony ZV-1.
  • “My biggest disappointment with the ZV-1 is that even though it’s one of the smallest cameras on the market, it’s not very convenient.”
  • The Sony is compact, but it’s still tricky to fit in a pocket. It also lacks grip, uses a micro USB charging port, and lacks water resistance.
  • Of course, this doesn’t mean the ZV-1 is a lousy camera.
  • “But in a world where computational photography exists, you can obtain nearly the same results from a phone without breaking the bank. And if you manage to nail shot composition, you’ll achieve a great deal with even a modest smartphone camera.”
  • If you want even better results, check out our picks for the best camera phones you can buy.


🕹️ Step aside emulation, I restored my old Nintendo instead: Reviving the game console that brought you so much joy as a kid is surprisingly easy (Android Authority).

⌚ The Amazfit Falcon flirts with premium watch territory: What happens when a mid-table smartwatch maker swings for the big leagues? (Android Authority).

📱 Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra vs S23 Ultra: Will the new handset be worth the wait? (Android Authority).

🧞 “A genie offered you one wish, but it will be granted for everyone on Earth. What do you wish for?” (r/askreddit).

Monday Meme (and handy tip)

I’ve deleted a Microsoft Edge shortcut from my desktop a few times in the past week. The thing keeps reappearing, even after it’s removed. It seems I’m not the only one, either…

Thankfully, there’s a surprisingly easy fix.

Thanks to the great folks of Reddit, you can tweak a registry entry relating to Edge to stop the constant re-adding of the shortcut to your desktop. After editing the entry, Edge should stop bothering you, until Microsoft finds another way to push its browser to users.

Have a great day!

Andy Walker, Editor.

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