Jump to content

Z-CAM E2 Sticky Thread


Recommended Posts

On 6/22/2020 at 12:02 PM, barefoot_dp said:

I'm actually starting to get interested in the Z-Cams. Since covid-19 smashed my dreams of buying an URSA Mini Pro G2 this year I've been thinking about other options and the Z-Cam is the only other camera that ticks most of the boxes I want for my next camera. Here's the checklist of things I want:

- 4K @ 100fps
- Internal ProRes (or similar edit-friendly 10-bit codec)
- V-Mount batteries (or easily adapted without making a horrible rig) to power monitor, FF, etc.
- Better Image quality / colour than the FS700 4K
- Dual XLR
- Native EF mount so I can do away with Metabones adapters.

It seems the Z Cams can handle all of this with the exception of XLR - though with the newest update it at least makes it possible to record and adjust two channels independently. I'm researching exactly what I need to make a working rig at the moment.
 

4K 100fps is a super ambitious spec, why not 4K 60fps max??

Panasonic EVA1 is worth a look. Ticks all those other boxes. 
Ditto secondhand Sony FS7 or F5 (as I really don't think using Metabones is a big deal?!). The Sony F55 would even allow you to exceed that 4K 100fps "requirement" (however, you'd need the R7!!). 

Giving up SDI & NDs in the Z Cam is quite a significant sacrifice I feel. 

 

Link to post
Share on other sites
On 12/25/2020 at 3:13 PM, IronFilm said:

4K 100fps is a super ambitious spec, why not 4K 60fps max??

Panasonic EVA1 is worth a look. Ticks all those other boxes. 
Ditto secondhand Sony FS7 or F5 (as I really don't think using Metabones is a big deal?!). The Sony F55 would even allow you to exceed that 4K 100fps "requirement" (however, you'd need the R7!!). 

Giving up SDI & NDs in the Z Cam is quite a significant sacrifice I feel. 

 

I did end up buying a Z-Cam E2-S6 earlier in the year and have put it to good use. I've got the eND so I'm not sacrificing ND at all, but I do sometimes miss the SDI. However I haven't yet had a job with it where I've needed a director or AC's feed - my guess is that when I do, it will also be a job that has the budget to rent whatever I need (same goes for TC).

As far as those other options, I crossed most of them off the list for various reasons. The FS7 did not seem like a big enough IQ jump over what I already had to justify a $10,000+ investment. If I'm paying that much I'd much rather spring an few thousand extra and get the G2 I originally wanted. Same story for the EVA1. Sony F5/55 are great but do I really want to buy an 8 year old camera to be my workhorse, and expect it to last another 5 years? And again, a G2 package mostly works out cheaper.

The Metabones are good when they're new. However as time goes on (like most lenses) they start to get issues with contacts, or with firmware not working for certain lenses. It's just one more point of failure that I would like to eliminate. Plus I always get nervous putting something like a 70-200 on the front of an adapter - or it means an extra few minutes setting up rails and lens support.

I shoot a lot of surfing & action sports which is why the 100fps is a must-have for me. And I wouldn't say it is a super ambitious spec these days - basically every major camera announced this year has a 4K100p. It's pretty clear that it is going to be almost an expected feature going forward so that is why I didn't want to buy something that was limited to 60p (or 50p, in practicality) knowing that in 12-18 months it will just be expected you can shoot 4K at 100fps. I'm not the type of person who upgrades at every new release so I wanted specs that would keep my going for a good few years.

I'm not saying the Z-Cam has been perfect but I'm definitely happy with the choice. It paid for itself within a few gigs and was a good fit for the level of shoots I was mostly doing this year (local website vids & commercials). Once I get back in to my more regular schedule post-COVID, which involves more TV stuff and lots of travel, I'll probably really start wishing I had the G2 I originally wanted, or something even newer like an FX6 or C70. But my Z-Cam will at least keep me going until those start popping up 2nd hand at lower prices.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 3 months later...

I got my E2 at the beginning of last year, used it twice, and then it sat in a closet all during the pandemic. Now that my crew and I are getting our vaccines, I'm starting to kit out and practice with the camera a little. I'm still very happy with it.

One of the best things I did was get this chest strap to mount my phone. I got it for gimbal use, but it's actually really nice when the camera is on a tripod as well, if I'm setting up lights or am one-man-banding it and need to hold a boom pole. I just look down and see this video feed--neat! Latency on par with the HDMI latency from my old NX1. Maybe not something I'd bring on a budgeted pro shoot, but considering the phone was free, its a great value. I hope to get a better phone soon with a bigger and better screen, both because I need a new phone and it will be a better monitor. This is what I see when I look down:

phone.thumb.jpg.69c75103bf2fe6837893dd25c8104d7f.jpg

I like a minimal setup that is as lightweight as possible, and in particular is easy to move between tripod and glidecam. With it stripped down, and with the glidecam's top plate modified, it's light enough to use without an arm if necessary. The worst part is the absolutely atrocious timecode adapter with its ridiculously long cable with a heavy adapter at the end. I whipped up a bracket to mount it for my shots today, and am working on a more elegant solution. So yes, it does block the Cfast door in this picture. I'll probably also ditch the Viltrox focal reducer. It flares too easily.

rig.jpg.0535e2e570142a36f0de08f29ce50328.jpg

 

So what does all that get? Well, with no actors I took videos of flowers. This I shot from my glidecam with the Nikon 28mm in the pic above.

flower_1_12.1.thumb.png.4772421f6a996c05598f459eeba085a3.png

And this one with a Nikon 105mm AI. It was shot at 160fps which is why you see a bit more noise. Both have noise reduction off, and none added in post. Actually these are both worst case for noise as they were shot in the "Low Jello" mode that reduces rolling shutter. Probably not necessary for the shot below, but it is nice for gimbal shots like the one above.

bee_1_13.2.thumb.png.1a0b1c7f10018c329ee3e52ef836c742.png

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Restore formatting

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

×
×
  • Create New...