Sony had launched the ZV-1 compact camera a little over a year ago, a close relative of the RX100 series that specifically targets "vloggers and content creators". An important announced feature was its webcam functionality, which would allow it to be connected to a computer via USB to stream images live to the web (or even to be used for video conferencing or telephony).
However, this functionality was limited until now - using Sony's Imaging Edge Webcam (macOS/Windows) it was possible to stream via USB, but on the one hand the software was necessary, on the other hand the resolution was limited to 1,024 x 576 pixels (streaming via HDMI also worked, of course, but only with an additional HDMI capture card).
The just released new firmware update 2.0 now allows live streaming via UVC/UAC protocol over USB to a computer with a higher quality, streaming now via MJPEG with a resolution of 1,280 × 720 pixels at 25/30 fps and 2-channel 16-bit PCM audio at 48 kHz. During USB streaming, the camera is powered by the computer. Support for the UVC/UAC standard means that the camera can thus easily be included as input in streaming or web conferencing programs on the computer.
Alternatively, it is possible to connect the camera via USB to a Sony Xperia 1 II or Xperia 5 II smartphone that has been updated to Android 11, and use it to stream mobile directly to the network. In this case, the Xperia smartphone serves as a second display, which can be used to monitor the live stream.
here contains instructions on how to activate the USB live streaming function on the camera.
The firmware update is available for Windows or Mac, but unfortunately not for Macs with the latest version of macOS X Big Sur. Instructions for performing the update can be found on the linked OS-specific pages.
The small ZV-1 is currently available for purchase starting at 659 Euros, it offers a "real" flip display and brings a small directional 3-capsule mic for good audio quality. It uses a 20MP 1" Exmor RS BSI CMOS sensor with BIONZ X image processor and front-end LSI, and a Zeiss Vario-Sonnar T* 24-70mm f/1.8-2.8 zoom lens. The latter is familiar from the RX100V(A), as are the 315 focus points and autofocus time of 0.03sec. An eye autofocus works in real time, and real-time tracking for video is also offered.
Filming is done in 4K at 30/24p (XAVC S, AVCHD), optionally also in HLG (Hybrid Log-Gamma (HDR) or flat image profiles (S-Gamut3.Cine / S-Log3). In FullHD, the frame rates reach up to Slomo-compatible 120p. Image stabilization is also available in 4K (optical SteadyShot / Active mode), and a 3.5mm mini-jack connector for an external microphone is available. The maximum video recording time is a typical 29 minutes.