Z CAM Announces E2-F6 Pro Cinema Camera
BRAW recording added to E2 series
If you’ve been paying attention to ZCAM then you probably noticed how quiet they’ve been for the past 6 months or so. Even Kinson Loo, the notorious CEO who often replies to questions in the Facebook group, was notably quiet during this time. Many people, including myself, assumed that they were secretly working away on some new product. Well, that’s exactly what they were doing. Z CAM has announced a new camera!
The new camera, called the E2-F6 Pro, is an updated model of the well respected E2-F6 and it comes with some much needed upgrades. First among them is SDI output. This is something that many people have requested and now it’s there. This moves the F6 Pro into a realm of cinema cameras much above its price point of $3,995. HDMI is still present as well. Timecode, genlock, and a built-in v-mount round out the more notable features. Along with the new camera is a new 5” monitor that appears to have some integration with the camera. Detailed information is yet to come, but I would expect to see menu control, buttons for quickly changing settings, and touch screen features. The power and video signal comes through a single connection at the top of the camera.
The E2-F6 Pro also has some obvious upgrades to the body. While it still maintains the versatile box shape, it now has a new media door, a tally light on the operator side, and more custom function buttons all around the body. These are small but very welcome upgrades. The media door on my F6 was constantly getting stuck and never sat flat. It also had just four custom function buttons. The F6 Pro looks to have at least ten buttons.
Beyond the physical aspects, the F6 Pro appears to have the same sensor and internal processing as the F6. Official specifications are limited at this time, but what was mentioned matches the F6. While that may be disappointing to some, it should be noted that the F6 already has very good color and dynamic range. Any changes to the sensor are bound by what third party sensor manufacturers make available, which in the case of this camera is Sony.
What is new is BRAW compatibility! This applies to all of the E2 series of cameras down to the M4. This is perhaps the most exciting part of the announcement since it means the Z CAM cameras gain a near-raw codec (BRAW is partially debayered) which is natively compatible with DaVinci Resolve. They already have ProRes RAW capability, but it was much too cumbersome for staunch Resolve users like myself. Just like with other manufacturers’ cameras, BRAW is recorded externally to a Blackmagic Video Assist recording monitor. Available frame rates and resolutions were not available at the time of publication.
This new BRAW capability is interesting because it was assumed that Blackmagic wouldn’t allow it with Z CAM cameras. Blackmagic and Z CAM are competitors who have cameras with similar features and price points. Whatever the behind the scenes story is, it’s a very welcome development. There's more to come from Z CAM, including new LED lights.