Zoom Q4 vs Sony HDR-MV1 – The Camera Forum®
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Zoom Q4 vs Sony HDR-MV1

Zoom Q4 vs Sony HDR-MV1

Introducing the new Zoom Q4 Music Video Recorder.

I don’t know if it is the exuberance of it being New Year and the Chinese Year of the Horse or what, but for some reason this year is starting with a plethora of good sounding, purpose designed live recording devices for capturing live music.  The end of October last year brought us the Sony HDR-MV1 announcement which I covered HERE.  Below I post a good review, if a bit long,  featuring one of the first actual Sony HDR-MV1 production units.  These are just starting to hit retailer’s shelves here in the USA. And now Zoom is shipping the Zoom Q4, a more than worthy competitor.

The New Zoom Q4 - Front View & Rotating Monitor

The New Zoom Q4 – Front View & Rotating Monitor

But Sony isn’t the only one with history recording music.  Zoom cut their teeth on it, in fact, many would say that the whole Zoom company was founded on their ability to inexpensively and with great portability record music and other live events.  The Zoom H1 was widely sold as a stereo portable music recording device. I don’t know a single musician without one. How many of those same people will now upgrade to a Zoom Q4? Hard to say, but my bet would be many. Just like the music video changed the nature of television forever, this new class of portable “music video recorders” with their convenience combined with outrageously good audio and video recording could change the entire game all over again.

The Zoom Q4 Features Every Adjustment Necessary For Professional Quality Sound.

The Zoom Q4 Features Every Adjustment Necessary For Professional Quality Sound.

Feature wise, the Zoom Q4 appears to be well thought out. High quality audio, of course, and several different video selections are available. Interesting to note are the audio only possibility, the ability to rotate the screen and articulate it or even detach it if you like which the Sony does not have, and the clear intent for this unit to be used by serious musicians to record serious music. You don’t include a standard size 1/4″ mic jack just for amateur home use.

The Monitor On The Zoom Q4 Articulates & Moves, Unlike The Sony.

The Monitor On The Zoom Q4 Articulates & Moves, Unlike The Sony.


Sony of course, does have extensive history and experience building excellent quality consumer electronics devices.  It is their primary business.  Given the large number of different products in both video and audio Sony has offered over the years, one could reasonably assume they should know how to build a device designed specifically for musicians and music recording.  From the reviewers comments in his extensive review below, Sony has done a good job with the HDR-Mv1.  I look forward to seeing more tests by more people, and especially look forward to seeing what musicians start doing with these new recorders once they get them in their own hands.

So which of these two obvious direct competitors is the best?  We will have to try and get both in here to have a test and try to come up with that answer.  Right now, it looks neck and neck to me reading the specs, right down to identical suggested retail prices of $299.  The way I would use these devices would be as stationary “spot,”  “feature,” or “close-up” cameras on individual musicians or specific areas of the stage I want to frequently cut back to in a multi camera session.  I would use a different camera & lens focal length for my overview front coverage.

Sony HDR MV1 Music Cam Review (Includes sample clips)



Chuck Jones

Digital Media Producer, Photographer, Video Storyteller, Cinemagraph Master. Only Semi-Reformed Hippy. Managing Editor of http://TheCameraForum.Com

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