Z-Cam E2-F8 First Impressions | Gear Focus Friday

Gear Focus Friday

Gear Focus

Feb 7, 2020

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On this week’s episode of Gear Focus Friday, we take a look at the brand new Z-Cam E2-F8 8K full frame cinema camera! This camera was just released so we are very excited to use it! As far as we know, this is the first shipment of the F8 camera. The F6 has been out for a few months now, but the new F8 was just shipped out to those who pre-ordered it.

Z-Cam E2-F8 - Full Frame 8K First Impressions

This camera is TINY!! It does weigh quite a bit as it is built extremely well (found that out the hard way) but it is not much larger than a typical mirrorless camera. The construction of the camera is very good, with an all metal housing and very distinct and easy to use buttons. There is a locking Canon EF mount on the front. PRO TIP: Don't release the lens from the camera body without making sure that everything is secured!! I made the mistake of releasing a lens from the camera body which sent it tumbling to the ground below. I have since recovered from my heart palpitations, and am able to share my experience with you. Z Cam F8-E2 Typically we like to use Tilta cages for our cameras, as they are often well thought out and well built. However, the cage we bought from Adorama (which listed the Z-Cam E2-F8 as a model for the cage) did not fit. I had to completely remove the top plate in order for it to fit. And even after that it still didn’t line up completely. Once, I got the cage on the body, I finished up by mounting a Samsung t5 drive, which contrary to posts I’ve read online, worked just fine. I also used the top ¼-20 mount to attach my top handle and my Atomos Shinobi monitor.

Video Files

After a shoot in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor, I took the footage back to the editing studio and began my post production. We spent most of the day recording in the h.265 file format as ZRAW isn’t quite where it needs to be in order for me to implement it into the workflow. H.265 has it’s own pros and cons though. For instance, the file sizes are pretty small. I shot around 20 clips at 8K resolution and ended up with 55GB of footage. Whereas the 3-4 clips I recorded at the studio with the Black Magic Pocket Cinema Camera 6K were about 250GB. Z Cam F8 The downside of the H.265 files is they don’t really play that well in Premiere Pro, which is the editing suite that I use. Even at 1/16 playback resolution, the video was still choppy and did not play well. In the future, I will most likely create proxies or convert the files to ProRes. The Z-Cam E2-F8 does shoot ProRes internally, but only up to 6K resolution.

Advantages of shooting with the Z-Cam 8K full frame in Post Editing

Yes, why would you need to shoot 8K when you will delivery final edits in only 4K? Post editing magic! Yes, the options in post are almost endless with the ability to zoom in 4X since 8K is 4 times larger than 4K. This give you so much power in post video editing to zoom, crop, change composition, etc. This is probably one of, if not THE biggest advantage of shooting in 8K. We show some sample footage of the Z-cam 8K zoom editing and re-position in our video. Plus, we will be posting a full Z-cam F8 review with more footage in the weeks ahead, once we have had more time with the camera.

Other Thoughts on the Z-Cam E2-F8

Apart from the file formats, the second issue I had was the menu system. It is not setup in a way that makes it easy to navigate. It does have the ability to have custom buttons, which will help in the future, however the way it comes out of the box is not user friendly. The Z Cam app does work fairly well with the camera and the integrated monitor is a nice touch. However, even in the app, the menu system is quite slow. I will say, changing setting using the app is much quicker and easier than trying to change them on the camera body. ZCAM F8 E2 To be honest, I really cannot wait to use this Z-cam 8K camera more and really dive into it. There will be a full tutorial and review coming soon so stay tuned for that! Let us know what you think about the new Z-Cam E2-F8. Is this something you could incorporate into your workflow and get you to higher resolutions? We would love to hear from you.

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