Z Cam E2 Best Value 4k Slow Motion Cam?

Z Cam E2

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.

Z CAM E2 Main Specs:

  • 4K @120fps, 10 bit color
  • H.264 & H.265 (10 bit) Codec With Log Flat S-Curve.
  • 4/3″ Sony CMOS sensor
  • pixel size = 4.63m
  • 13.5 Stops of Dynamic Range In Flat Log Profile.
  • Micro Four Thirds lens mount
  • Auto, Manual (ISO 100-6400)
  • Gigabit Ethernet port for control setting & live streaming
  • iOS app for control setting & live preview
  • 4K @60fps HDMI 2.0
  • 4K 60fps, 10bit
  • 4K 60fps SDI 12G (optional accessory)
  • Deep Learning Engine built in with SDK
  • Global Shutter Option Planned
  • MSRP $1,999.00

Z Cam E2 4K m43 camera with 4K 10bit 120fps by Personal View:

Frame Rate Options:

4096×2160 4k DCI @120fps/60fps/50fps/
30fps/25fps/24fps

3840×2160 4k UHD @120fps/60fps/50fps/
30fps/25fps/24fps 

1920×1080 Full HD @240fps/120fps/60fps/
50fps/30pfs/25fps/24fps

There are no image samples of the camera aside from snippets in their NAB 2018 Booth demo which shows a deep learning algorithm that can be programmed to recognize people or objects in real time which may prove to be a very useful tool for surveillance, research laboratories, and educational object recognition programming.  It may also be used to control AF with compatible micro 4/3 mounted electronic lenses to keep diverse objects in focus as the camera moves.

Z Cam E2 4K 120fps Cinematic Camera First Look | NAB 2018 by CreatorUp!:

Other Z Cam E2 Specs:

Video Encoder H.264 high profile
H.265 main 10 profile
Color Bit Depth 10bit
Bit rate for 4K UHD Maximum 1,768Mbps
Audio Encoder AAC
File Format MOV/MP4
Shutter Speed Auto, Manual (1/30″ ~ 1/8000″)
Time Lapse (Video) Yes
Photo Snap Yes

Connectivity

USB USB Type-C, 3.0 for camera control & data transfer
HDMI HDMI 2.0 4K 60fps, 10bit
Sync Port 10-pin LEMO port for synchronization
I/O Port COM (RS232 serial port)
LANC 2.5mm jack
Microphone-in 3.5mm jack (TRS) for active mic
Audio-out 3.5mm jack (TRS)
Wi-Fi Yes, 802.11n
Ethernet 1 x Gigabit Ethernet port for control setting & live streaming
(with Z CAM™ iOS / PC client)

Power

Battery SONY NP-F series compatible battery socket
Power Supply DC 12V 5A, LEMO power port

Settings

ISO Auto, Manual (ISO 100-6400)
White Balance Auto, Manual
Metering Mode Center, Average, Spot
Focus Auto (Single, Continuous, Center weight, Flexible zone), Manual
Brightness Yes
Sharpness Yes
Saturation Yes
Contrast Yes

Connectivity

USB USB Type-C, 3.0 for camera control & data transfer
HDMI HDMI 2.0 4K 60fps, 10bit
Sync Port 10-pin LEMO port for synchronization
I/O Port COM (RS232 serial port)
LANC 2.5mm jack
Microphone-in 3.5mm jack (TRS) for active mic
Audio-out 3.5mm jack (TRS)
Wi-Fi Yes, 802.11n
Ethernet 1 x Gigabit Ethernet port for control setting & live streaming
(with Z CAM™ iOS / PC client)

Storage

Media CFAST 2.0
File System FAT/exFAT

The Z Cam E2 is kind of an enigma. It really could be a camera darling for larger drone operators, crane shooters, surveillance, and labs. For filmmakers on the go, it is unclear how well it will work within the latency issues associated with shooting over ethernet or Wifi.  There is an investment to be made into CFAST 2.0 cards which are yet to budge in price due to low supply and slow adoption.

It has a 12MP Micro 4/3 sensor but the highest ISO listed is 6400 ISO which means this is probably not a low light geared camera like the recently announced Blackmagic PCC 4k or the GH5s which probably share the same sensor.

The ability to shoot 4k 120fps at 10 bit is really promising and while it would have been ideal to have 480fps at 1080p it does 240fps at Full HD but no word so far on the way that resolution is achieved. Probably it will not downsample from the full sensor and be a windowed resolution which will probably create a 4x+ crop on the camera frame.

We will wait for the camera to ship and deliver samples to make a full assessment of image quality, usability, and overall capabilities. As of today, it is a paper launch with a prototype in development and while June seems doable we remain unconvinced that software development will be production solid by the. Once they are in the field we will take a look at samples and share them here. Then we will be able to rate it and place it in our camera guide.  -HSC

More information on the E2 Camera at their Official Site: http://www.z-cam.com/e2/


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2 thoughts on “Z Cam E2 Best Value 4k Slow Motion Cam?”

  1. The last 4 years we have seen huge quality improvements in the 120/240 fps area. It is a pity that not more camera systems that are able to deliver 4K at 60 fps try to have at least some seconds of 480 and 960 fps like the Sony RX100 V does.

    When I have to believe the rumours no new RX100 will arrive before the end of this year, no new Sony camera has been registered in the wireless certification agency lately.

    1. We were also disappointed by Sony’s lackluster NAB product announcements. The FS5 II is essentially the same camera with just bundled firmware that was sold separately before. We should see better frame rates show up as the year advances.

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