The Z Cam E2 has finally started shipping and is now available for direct order at their site. The camera caught our attention for its low price of just $1999 and the high frame rate features of 240fps 1080p and 120fps 4k. It seems to be using the same 4/3 sensor as the great Panasonic GH5s but with extended features.
The camera company ZCam has also released some samples in a variety of scenarios so you can see what the camera is capable of. At first inspection, it is clear this camera is a clear step up from the Z Cam E1 which had some image quality issues. The E2 seems to go out of the box ready to produce class-leading imagery and offer some very nice high frame rate action. There are also some rumored comments that suggest the team is testing 300fps at 720p as an added bonus for future software.
Z Cam the relatively new Camera company from Shenzhen, China has announced the Z Cam E2 at NAB 2018 MSRP $1,999.00 USD. It is not a direct replacement for their ambitious but half-baked Z E1 m4/3 camera which costs $399. The new camera is a beast specs wise with up to 120fps 4k and full HD 1080p at 240fps. The codecs will be H.264 and H.265 at 10 bit but no RAW support so far which might be acceptable if the codec is clean enough and their promised Log Flat curve preserves the estimated 13.5 stops of dynamic range.
The camera is still being developed for a June 2018 estimated ship date. It lacks a back screen and relies on a Wifi or Gigabit Ethernet link to their dedicated control application. They intend to support iOS devices and or a PC client. No mention of Android support or Mac which should be included in order to maintain the widest compatibility. We feel lacking Android control is a big deal and should be promised in a future update. It is also unclear if the camera will be possible to use by using a touch screen field monitor which probably will not be the case. Using an iPhone or an iPad as the control interface is probably the best use case.
So the rumors proved to be accurate on the GH5s and now we have a low light version of the GH5 that can shoot cleanly up to ISO 12,800 with up to 100k ISO and by then a much noisier picture. It is claimed by Panasonic that there was a 1.5 stop improvement in noise performance. Judging by the initial video samples it is clear that the new 10.28MP sensor along with dual native ISO circuitry for each photosite “one at ISO 400” and “one at ISO 2400” make a huge performance leap if low light is desired in a m43 camera.
All is not rosy in Lumix land however as the camera now lacks IBIS or In Built Image Stabilization on the sensor which was a main selling point of both the GH5 and the G9. Panasonic claims that it was a decision made to cater to filmmakers that need no wobble or vibrations in a shot that can be produced when the stabilizer fails. But why not just add an On-Off switch? 1080p 240fps is also included in the camera but as initial samples show it reduces quality substantially.
There is no question Canon has had great success with their EOS Cinema line of cameras. They continue to dominate the rental production market and even when they are overpriced compared to competitor’s options it is in a class of its own when it comes to Dual Pixel Continuous AF with Canon EF lenses which are plentiful and part of the stable of most serious camera professionals.
The latest iteration just announced is the Canon EOS C200 EF Cinema Camera which has some serious performance improvements over the current price/performance kind in their camera line. The new camera slots between the lower priced C100 Mark II and the more professional 4k C300 Mark II. However the C200 records in 4k RAW Light format which gives 15 stops of dynamic range with all the benefits of RAW editing with some compression.
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