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7 hours ago, IronFilm said:

Same... I follow news of the F8 quite closely, as I hang out on all the main pro sound forums (taperssection, jwsoundgroup, gearsultz, etc) and both the Zoom F8 Facebook groups, yet I don't recall noting down this deal breaker for myself. 

Read the B&H reviews. More than one reviewer mentions it. One of the reviews is voted as the most helpful critical review.

If I had to guess it would be this. Most video guys aren't audio guys. They set it and forget it. And then deal with what they have in post. This individual won't run into the problem, and it wouldn't be a deal breaker. And that's why this issue probably doesn't come up much.

I started off as an audio guy. I am constantly tinkering with the audio, including during recording. And I always instruct my audio guy to trim the levels as needed. And in this case you would run into the problem.... every time. For me, a complete deal breaker. End of story.

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EOSHD Pro Color for Sony cameras EOSHD Pro LOG for Sony CamerasEOSHD C-LOG and Film Profiles for All Canon DSLRs

As Mattias already said, great pre amps for such a cheap device, the emergency battery is the best thing ever happened to an audio recorder. Also, more video orientated than other recorders and brands.

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On 9/29/2016 at 3:26 PM, Jonesy Jones said:

Just a note on the F8 (and I am going to assume the F4 has the same issue), you cannot adjust the gain while recording since it adds a clicking or zipper noise. Meaning that while you're recording, if the talent begins to talk louder or quieter, you cannot really make adjustments or it will add noise to the recording. The alone kills it for me, since adjusting the trim is something I do all the time. Other than that the F8/4 seems awesome, but I couldn't do it.

I was pretty damn certain this info was incorrect, so I got feedback:
https://www.facebook.com/groups/zoomf8/permalink/1661624674149358/

Indeed, this is not relevant. I wouldn't worry about it Jonesy :)

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2 hours ago, IronFilm said:

I was pretty damn certain this info was incorrect, so I got feedback:
https://www.facebook.com/groups/zoomf8/permalink/1661624674149358/

Indeed, this is not relevant. I wouldn't worry about it Jonesy :)

Thank you for looking into that. However, I can say with certainty that some of those comments are misinformed, particularly the ones about not adjusting on the fly. If that were the case then productions would never need mixers, only boom operators. Productions and live sound techs are constantly monitoring and adjusting audio. It may often just be minor, but it is happening regularly. So that part is incorrect, which makes me wonder about the rest.

Also, I don't know about Zaxcom, but Sound Devices can be trimmed with no stepping. I have the Mixpre and have no stepping noise. I also have the Marantz 661 (I think) and hear no trimming noise.

Whether or not it's audible on the F8(4), I can't say for certain as I don't have it. But with multiple reviewers saying the noise is there, I would assume it's there. Again, my experience is that the VAST amount of video guys are NOT audio folks. They set their levels between takes and then roll as is. It's not that this is wrong, but there are many instances, like interviews and events, where audio needs to be monitored and trimmed. I think most video guys don't do this and so it's not an issue for them at all. I do it a lot.

Now, with all the other offerings of the F8(4) it's hard to ignore it. I guess when it comes time to purchase I'd have to try it out and see for myself. That probably won't happen soon for me as I've just purchased a cam with XLR's and will be taking the Mixpre right into the cam. 

Thanks again Dave. You are super knowledgeable and all over it.

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I remember the Tascam 60 has a stepping gain adjustment, I would think that F4(8), been priced much higher won't. The thing is, that digital gain can have little "steps", unlike analog ones that you have access to the whole spectrum.

The older Zooms were working like this, and the cheaper Tascams, better devices (such the Sound ones!) not.

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5 hours ago, Jonesy Jones said:

Thank you for looking into that. However, I can say with certainty that some of those comments are misinformed, particularly the ones about not adjusting on the fly. I

You wouldn't change it in the midst of a word, that is what is meant. So no, I wouldn't regard it as misinformed. 

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1 minute ago, IronFilm said:

You wouldn't change it in the midst of a word, that is what is meant. So no, I wouldn't regard it as misinformed. 

Audio techs adjust the trim constantly. While someone is talking is commonplace. Happens all the time. 

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5 hours ago, Jonesy Jones said:

Also, I don't know about Zaxcom, but Sound Devices can be trimmed with no stepping.

As was pointed out, it technically exists for a 633 as well.....   because it is digitally controlled, but you won't hear it. Thus I assume the same is true for a Zoom F8/F4.

5 hours ago, Jonesy Jones said:

But with multiple reviewers saying the noise is there, I would assume it's there.

Welllll... you can only point to a couple of B&H reviewers? And I rate B&H reviews as at best a mere starting point for further investigations (yes, I'd rate them even a lot lower than feedback on Facebook, as at least there you can dig a bit deeper for context). 

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5 hours ago, Jonesy Jones said:

Again, my experience is that the VAST amount of video guys are NOT audio folks.

True true. I even take that attitude towards 95%+ of camera reviews, as "the VAST amount of camera reviewer guys are NOT video folks" ;-) One of the key things I like about EOSHD is it is not part of that 95%+.

However....    I did post that to a group which is exclusively F8/F4 owners (or soon to be owners one day.... like myself next year), people who buy an F8 and actively participate in a narrowly focused group exclusively about that recorder are absolutely not going be part of that general "VAST amount of video guys". Also the group has Zoom reps, F8/F4 beta testers, and even the guy who was in the promo video!

https://holdforsound.wordpress.com/2016/10/04/zoom-f4-promo-breakdown/

Additionally did you see the list of places I mentioned I hanged out and followed Zoom F8/F4 news closely? They're all exclusively sound forums, not camera forums. Haven't heard this brought up frequently as a notable issue. Plus they have a certain minority sub group on those forums of pros who love to be very vocal to sneer and laugh at anything which isn't $$$$$$ and thus "pro" (you think camera forums are bad?? Ha! Wait until you hang out on these audio forums....). If this is true, and it is a big problem, then I'm sure they'd love to raise this every second post!

Anyway, I've scoped out the range of options for recorders pretty well I feel, and my view is if you want a big step up from a DR60D/DR70D/DR680/H5/H6, but can't justify the cost of a 633/644/688 (or Nagra, or Zaxcom, etc... which are even more expensive!), then a Zoom F8 or F4 are the clear leading options by a large margin. (their only close competitors in price/features only have a chance if you find them at a really great deal secondhand, such as a Tascam HS-P82 or Roland R-88)

Only reason why I haven't brought one already is because I own currently a pretty decent setup for my situation with a Sound Devices 552 + Tascam DR680, thus I can wait for these two things to happen first:

1) I've purchased various other more important audio items first (such as another wireless kit or two, Oscar SoundTech lav upgrade for everything, a couple of new mics such as an Audio-Technica AT4053b or Audix SCX1-HC, then a RODE NTG3 etc)

2) for the Zoom F4 to ship (already started for Japanese buyers! A few more days of waiting still to go for us overseas consumers), so I can see plenty of F4 reviews and comparisons with the F8

Once these two things have happened, then I'm almost certain to buy an F4 or F8 (unless a better option pops up.....   are you listening Tascam?? ;) ).

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Why F4 is "the clear leading option" instead of the DR100mkIII or the DR-701D? Even though I love the F4 features, I wouldn't be 100% certain until I test one. It seems like the best Zoom video orientated product, but I will wait.

I used to use DR680 and I do not consider it as one of the best Tascam devices, mayne the II is better, but still 8ch are too much for carrying it around while you can have better pre amps in DR100 and/or others.

Soundmen do not constantly trim, or it would be a nightmare in post. They know when to trim and why, and that is why they are get paid. Do anyone of you adjust 58 times your exposure in a 5 minutes interview or a 20seconds scene?

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1 hour ago, Kisaha said:

Why F4 is "the clear leading option" instead of the DR100mkIII or the DR-701D? Even though I love the F4 features, I wouldn't be 100% certain until I test one. It seems like the best Zoom video orientated product, but I will wait.

Note I'm writing this from the perspective of a film sound recordist.

DR100mk3 fails badly in terms of ergonomics, it is a handheld record, very bag unfriendly. Lacks many many features vs the F4 (less inputs, no TC, no dual cards, etc).

DR701D lacks XLR out, don't like how the screen angles out, I just see it as a bit poor value for money. You can get the Tascam DR70D for drastically less and all you really lose is TC, I used a DR70D on a feature film: 

 

 

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DR100 is the King of hand held recorders, I have the Petrol bag as well and I have accomplished a few hundred nationaly televised episodes from music to science documentaries to whatever. 

I do not own the 701 but it seems to me such a much biger improvement to the 70, which is more similar to the 60, than the 70 to the 701 and I am not sure about the XLR out, I mean, usually I do not need one.

The F4 ticks all the boxes, and 701 seems a bit overpriced, to be honest, the old 4ch Edirol was the best device I used to use and the old table Fostexes were just amazing, but seem to stayed behind in evolution. Even with digital Nagra and Sound Devices I had huge problems (mainly software with Nagra, hardware with Sound Devices) in between feature film's productions.

I just say that F4 is not a clear winner, until it is, and I buy one next year! It is very welcomed that they do produce specific video production devices.

Thanks for all the info and experience.

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It all depends on what your purpose/role is, if you're primarily a cameraman/DP then an F4/F8 likely is overkill. 

 

1 hour ago, Kisaha said:

Even with digital Nagra and Sound Devices I had huge problems (mainly software with Nagra, hardware with Sound Devices) in between feature film's productions.

What problems?

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Very true. My main profession is sound since 1999 that I finished sound school, but I have a BA in Film as well and I have done most things in the industry so I do everything, but I am not mixing responsibilities in projects and I do not believe in one man's bands . 

Nagra: huge problems with suddenly peaking with no apparent reason and I had to restart. Because I couldn't explain what was going on to the production (I had asked for it, as I knew the pre amps were amazing, and they really were). thankfully I found a workaround that it was fast and reliable (I immediately going to 0db, switch off the pre amps first, the the recorder, and then I had to wait 2-3 seconds, and the opposite to switch it off, honestly, I am amazed that I coped with all this hassle) that no one ever noticed (actually is the first time I share this "experience"!), but I had to do it a few dozen times per day. Some other software related glitches. That was 8-9 years ago for a horror feature in UK. Sound was impressive, the software related problems were just too much.

I had tested the device, upgraded the firmware and it was brand new, so I was the first one to use it.

Sound Devices: a promo video for a fashion magazine in Greece, while recording starting to distort the sound and buttons weren't working properly in that state.

Corporate video: while playing back started running faster and faster and I had some issues with pressing the buttons (maybe the first and main problem had something to do with the buttons been pressed abnormally)

In both cases I had to "restart", I managed to cope, but the whole situation (and not very cooperative clients) were too stressful. The first one was tested by me beforehand, the second brought by the production company. anecdote: In the second case they brought me a half opened 416 very badly deformed, which worked as new!

These Sound Devices were rented and the second one seemed like it was overused.

I had some issues with the Fostex FR-2LE as well, and I didn't like the sound/the build quality/the operational system, the good ole deck Fostex was brilliant to use though, and the DC-R302 is a very interesting design, I consider it better than the LE but a bit outdated too..

All in all, there isn't a perfect recorder yet (as there isn't a perfect camera), but it is good that the options are broadened. I am pretty sure the F8(F4) will bring better devices and better prices to the segment, something we really need. 

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This is in response to posts on this thread, but not really to the posters. Too much defensiveness and too much misinformation. I'm only responding for future onlookers to hear both sides. After this I'm out. 

As far as the F8(4) goes, it may be the best piece of audio kit since the microphone was invented. Or it could be like a Blackmagic camera, and be totally awesome, but have 1 or 2 flaws that are no big deal to some, a work around for others, and a deal breaker to a few (for the record, I love Blackmagic cameras). 

Based on only a couple, but yet seemingly legitimate reviews, I have a concern that this unit may exhibit a digital stepping noise while trimming during recording. This may be entirely unnoticeable while recording dialogue... but without my own tests I couldn't say. If I were in the market for a recorder I would be very tempted by the Zoom F8. I would probably get one, but this would be the first test. I would test recording various sources, including dialogue, and adjust the trim level while recording, both slightly and a lot, and judge the results. I hope it would be a non-issue. 

From what I can tell, the greatest majority of users wouldn't find it a problem, even if the F8 did exhibit the stepping noise. Most, apparently, never adjust the trim while recording, or don't do it while the subject is audible. For those users, this would be a non issue or an easy work around. No problemo.

I do adjust the trim during recording. I used the term 'constantly' earlier. This was incorrect. I am 'constantly' monitoring the levels, and I adjust when necessary. Which is not all the time every time, but it is not unusual either. This does not create a post-production nightmare. On the contrary, it makes post nearly flawless and easy as the levels are super consistent. I understand that limiters do a lot of this work for you. But even still I find that subjects can and often change their energy, higher or lower, during a take, (or other factors like power levels, proximity, bleed, humidity, etc) and I make adjustments to ensure the best usable signal when working in post. I don't necessarily ride the trim pot, but I'm constantly watching, and I adjust to changes. 

Just like DP's adjust exposure when moving from interior to exterior (or the other way around), sometimes audio needs to be adjusted when the scene calls for it. I find this most common on long takes, events, or long interviews. Regardless, when levels begin, or are likely to change, I adjust.

Hope that's useful to some. 

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Actually I completely agree. I am waiting for the F4 (do not care for 8ch at the moment), stepping adjustment issues (if Iam understanding it right) is a no go for me, and of course you have to trim "when and why", and digital gain with step implementation is a post nightmare when you do!

There is a recent trend here(Greece) with one man sound departments, especially for documentary series, so my evolution is to have the ability to have some kind of control while booming. The market is just a mess at the moment (for financial, political and social reasons), so I have to upgrade wisely, as sound is often overlooked and very badly paid.

 

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for dual recording, the Zoom F4 becomes 2 channels. Shouldn't be an issue for most, but when I need at least 3 channels (two lavs and a boom for example, or simply 3 lav mics) then I wouldn't be able to use the dual recording feature for all channels. 

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