Welcome to the Z Fam

This handbook was made using my own experiences with my E2 and E2 F8, as well as the collective knowledge of the members of the Z Cam E2 Facebook group, it’s by no means complete but it is a good starting point if you are new to Z Cam. The quick FAQ below addresses most of the questions I see new members ask when joining the Facebook group, after that is a more detailed guide on each of the cameras, features, and software. Last update June 25, 2020

If you want to take this on the go even in remote shooting environments use chrome on your mobile device. For android click the menu dots in the top right then the download arrow in the middle of the top row of icon. On iOS the reading lists feature lets you save web pages to be read at a later time. The only function that doesn’t work when you do this is the return to top arrow in the bottom right of this webpage. Left clicking any link in the table of contents skips you ahead to that section, right clicking gives you the option to copy link location, which when pasted will link directly to that section.

How To Upgrade Z Cam Firmware

Not possible to rollback to previous firmware releases once upgraded to 0.95

My preferred way to connect my Z Cam to my computer is with a USB C cable and connecting to the web browser, since it requires no installs and gives you the same basic features as the desktop application. Connect to 172.18.18.1/www/index.html in your browser. Be sure your USB mode is set to Network in the Connection Menu in camera. On the webpage you can control the camera or playback. Latest firmware for each camera is linked below, and to update your camera, go into the Misc Menu, click Upgrade and then select the file you downloaded from Z Cam’s website in the prompt.

Camera Settings – Connection β†’ USB set to Network
Computer Settings – Bottom Right Misc Menu β†’ Upgrade β†’ select download of latest firmware

Firmware Upgrade Trouble Shooting Help

  • Use chrome to download on mac. Safari will occasionally auto extract the contents
  • Do not unzip your download folder. You upload the full .zip file to your camera.
  • If you don’t see VFR options after a firmware update, just go to System > Clear settings. Although it is best practices to do this after each and every firmware update.
  • When you update your firmware the video preview on the camera’s screen will default to the settings view, to switch back to the video preview on that screen, press FN + OK.

Newest Firmware 0.96 (June 29th, 2020)

Features / bug fixes on all models unless otherwise noted

Added:

  • in camera SRT push (web interface)
  • in camera RTMP/RTMPS push (web interface)
  • UVC web camera, supports both H.264 & MJPEG
  • Concert image profile
  • F2 F3 F4 can be assigned for Mode Switching

Improvements:

  • RAW over HDMI performance
  • [E2-F6][E2-S6] Noise performance further improved in high ISO
  • [E2C][E2-F8][E2-S6] White balance 10000K color temperature
  • 23.98fps output on HDMI
  • Camera preview LUT updated
  • Bug Fix: H.264 meta data error
  • Bug Fix: Audio gain incorrect
  • other bug fixes

Z Cam Firmware 0.96 Download Links

Z Cam E2C | Z Cam E2 |Z Cam E2 M4| Z Cam E2-S6 | Z Cam E2-F6 | Z Cam E2-F8

Old Firmware Change-log & Roll Back Downloads

Firmware 0.95 (May 12th, 2020)

NOTE BEFORE UPGRADING – Not possible to rollback to previous firmware releases once upgraded to 0.95

Features on all models unless otherwise noted

  • RAW output over HDMI (Atomos Annoncement, Atomos Supported Camera Page, not currently on F8)
  • File name display on HDMI when OSD info is ON
  • Audio track left / right gain setting adjustment
  • Hot Pixel algorithm improved for high ISO
  • Noise performance improved for higher frame rates (not applicable to E2C & E2G)
  • Maximum ISO refined for Z-Log2
  • Programmable eND user button mapping & auto function (flagships only)
  • In camera playback Audio video sync issue fixed
  • Performance Optimization
  • Minor bug fixes

E2 F8

  • Noise performance improved for high frame rate & high ISO

E2 F6

  • Supports ISO auto

E2 S6

  • Added Low jello mode in C5K/5K/C4K/4K/4K 2.4:1
  • 2.8K 120fps (2868×1512)

E2 & E2G

  • Multicam co-exposure aperture setting
  • Multicam master camera AWB push to set

E2G

  • Resolution 2880×2160 30fps
  • Fixed 23.98 & 50 project fps exposure issue

E2C & E2G

  • Added Denoise Off/Weak/Medium setting
  • Refined shadow area saturation

FINAL WARNING BEFORE UPGRADING – Not possible to rollback to previous firmware releases once upgraded to 0.95

Z Cam Firmware 0.95 Download Links

Z Cam E2C | Z Cam E2G |Z Cam E2 | Z Cam E2-S6 | Z Cam E2-F6 | Z Cam E2-F8

Frequently Asked Questions

Wow, this is a cool handbook, how can I support the author?

First off, thank you. I’m never going to charge for access to this resource. A completely free and easy way to support the writing of content for this handbook is to buy products through the Amazon Affiliate links in it, as long as they are competitively priced. This costs you nothing extra but credits me a very small percentage of the revenue of the items you buy, which I then spend on gear to review. If you want to sponsor a piece of gear for review, here is a wish list of items I am interested in getting. If you are looking to support my artistic projects, here is a link to my digital business card, which has my social media links to stay informed of my latest projects.

CFast vs SSD & Recommended Brands

For reliability it is always recommended to use a CFast card, but you can also record onto an external USB C SSD. Due to the high constant bitrate write demand here are the top recommendations based on the Facebook group:

RECOMMENDED

  • Angelbird CFast, SSD, or Bundle – recommended by Z Cam, and my choice for CFAST
  • Sandisk SSD or CFast – recommended by Z Cam, and my choice for SSD
  • Freetail Evoke Pro CFast – cheapest reliable card
  • EgoDisk Elite Pro CFast – good compatibility according to Z Cam team
  • Silicon Power CFast

TESTED BUT NOT RECOMMENDED

  • Sony CFast
  • Prograde CFast – works in limited sample size
  • Samsung T5 SSD – Kinson himself recommends against it and to use a Sandisk or Angel bird. However, many users have spare T5 drives left over from stitching from other brands of cameras, so they do work but there are many reported issues of dropping frames due to the drive’s limited sustained write speed

AVOID

  • Lexar CFast
  • Integral Ultima – too slow for ProRes422HQ

Recording Media Formatting Troubleshooting Steps

  1. Format on PC using Exfat and set to GUID Partition Table (GPT)
  2. Turn on camera and make sure Cfast card is not inserted
  3. After camera boot-up, insert card
  4. Format in camera

Max Frame Rates, Resolutions, and Codecs

Each firmware update potentially changes the max performance from the camera, so please check which firmware the camera’s chart is labeled with. I will be adding index card sized downloads of these charts for your gearbag, but for now taking a screenshot can make due.

Z Cam E2 F8 Max Frame Rate and Resolution

Firmware 0.95MegapixelsH.264H.265ProRes
Proxy
ProRes
LT
ProRes
422
ProRes
HQ
ZRAWCrop Factor
8K
7680 x 4320
33.23030x1.2
8K 2.4:1
8192 x 3456
28.33030x1.2
C6K
6144 x 3240
19.4303030303030x1.66
6K
5760 x 3240
18.7303030303030x1.66
4K
3840 x 2160
8.3606060606048x1.2 or x2.4
S16
3392 x 1908
3.560606060606060x2.71

Z Cam E2 F6 Max Frame Rate and Resolution

Firmware 0.95MegapixelsH.264H.265ProRes
Proxy
ProRes
LT
ProRes
422
ProRes
HQ
ZRAWCrop Factor
6K Open Gate
6064 x 4040
24.5303030303030x1
6K
5760 x 3240
18.6484830303030x1
C6K
6064 x 3196
19.4484830303030x1
6K 2.4:1
6064 x 2560
15.560603030452530x1
5K 4:3
5376 x 4032
21.7303030303030x1
5K 6:5
4848 x 4040
19.6303030303030x1
C4k
4096 x 2160
8.860906060603060x1 or x1.47 (forced at 48 fps+)
4K
3840 x 2160
8.360907272604860x1 or x1.5 (forced at 49 fps+)
C4K 2.4:1
4096 x 1728
7.1601207560605060x1.48
S16 16:9
2112 x 1188
2.5601707575757560x2.73
HD
1920 x 1080
2.1120120120120120120x1 or x3

Z Cam E2 S6 Max Frame Rate and Resolution

Firmware 0.95MegapixelsH.264H.265ProRes
Proxy
ProRes
LT
ProRes
422
ProRes
HQ
ZRawCrop Factor
6k Open Gate
6244 x 4168
26303030303030x1.4
6K
5760 x 3240
18.6484830303030x1.4
C6K
6144 x 3240
19.4484830303030x1.4
6K 2.4:1
6144 x 2592
15.560603030302530x1.4
5K 4:3
5552 x 4164
23.1303030303030x1.4
5K 6:5
4992 x 4160
20.8303030303030x1.4
C5k
5120 x 2700
13.86030303030x1.4
5k
4800 x 2700
13.06030303030x1.4
C4k (Low Noise)
4096 x 2160
8.8303030303030x1.4
4k Low Noise
3840 x 2160
8.3303030303030x1.4
C4K
4096 x 2160
8.8607560606030x1.4 or
x2.1 (forced at 48 fps+)
4K 3840 x 21608.3607575756048x1.4 or
x2.1 (forced at 50 fps+)
C4k 2.4:1
4096 x 1728
7.16010075606050x2.1
S16 16:9
3392 x 1908
6.560907575757560x2.38
2.8k
2868 x 1512
4.36012075757575x3
HD
1920 x 1080
2.1120120120120120120x1.4 or
x4.2

Z Cam E2 and E2 M4 Max Frame Rate and Resolution

Firmware 0.94MegapixelsH.264H.265ProRes
Proxy
ProRes
LT
ProRes
422
ProRes
HQ
ZRAWCrop Factor
C4K (Low Noise)
4096 x 2160
8.830303030303030x2
4K (Low Noise)
3840 x 2160
8.330303030303030x2
C4K
4096 x 2160
8.8601206060603060x2
4K
3840 x 2160
8.3601207575605060x2
C4K 2.4:1
4096 x 1728
7.1601507560605060x2
4K 2.4:1
3840 x 1600
6.1601607575606060x2
3696 x 2772 (Low Noise)10.230303030303030x2
4k 4:3
3696 x 2772
10.260606060503060x2
4k 6:5
3312 x 2760
9.160606060603060x2
S16
2490 x 1400
3.5601607575757560x3.09
S16 16:9
2112 x 1188
2.5601707575757560x3.64
HD
1920 x 1080
2.1120240120120120120x2 or x4

Z Cam E2C Max Frame Rate and Resolution

All flavors of ProRes and ZRAW can only able to be recorded onto an external SSD on the E2c.

Firmware 0.95MegapixelsH.264H.265ProRes
Proxy
ProRes
LT
ProRes
422
ProRes
HQ
ZRAWCrop or Sampling
C4K (Low Noise)
4096 x 2160
8.830303030303030x2
4K (Low Noise)
3840x 2160
8.330303030303030x2
C4k
3840 x 2160
8.830303030303030x2
4K
3840 x 2160
8.330303030303030x2
2880 x 28808.330303030303030x2
2336 x 13343.160606060606060x2
HD
1920 x 1080
2.160606060606060x2

What Bitrate does Z Cam Record in & How Much Recording Time on 1TB of Storage?

Note – camera bitrate is noted in megabits (Mb) per second, these are 1/8th the size of Megabytes (MB), which is typically what storage media is noted in. Recording media advertises their max write speed in Megabytes per second (MB/s) which is misleading many users into believing their recording media can handle the constant bitrate demand. The camera constantly outputs the bitrates below, so if the recording media drops under that for even a moment the camera’s buffer will start to fill and that is when dropped frames and corrupted files occur. So do not buy recording media based on the max advertised write speed, the two brands that Z Cam found could handle these data rates best are Sandisk and Angelbird.

H.265 Bitrates

ResolutionFrame RateHigh Bitrate (Mbps)Medium Bitrate (Mbps)Low Bitrate (Mbps)
8K (2.4:1, UHD)all500400200
6K (Open Gate, DCI, UHD, 2.4:1)31 – 60
0 – 30
300
250
190
160
130
100
5K (4:3, 6:5)0-30250160100
4K (DCI, UHD, 2.4:1) & Super1660 +
31 – 60
0 – 30
300
230
200
200
150
130
160
100
60
1080P60 +
31 – 60
0 – 30
200
60
30
130
30
20
60
15
10

Using those bitrates here’s the approximate recording time you would have on a 1TB Sandisk SSD.

ResolutionFrame RateHigh Bitrate (Hours:Min)Medium Bitrate (Hours:Min)Low Bitrate (Hours:Min)
8K (2.4:1, UHD)all4:275:3511:07
6K (Open Gate, DCI, UHD, 2.4:1)31 – 60
0 – 30
7:25
8:55
11:45
13:55
17:10
22:15
5K (4:3, 6:5)0-308:5513:5522:15
4K (DCI, UHD, 2.4:1) & Super1660 +
31 – 60
0 – 30
7:25
9:40
11:07
11:07
14:52
17:10
13:55
22:15
37:06
1080P60 +
31 – 60
0 – 30
11:07
37:06
74:12
17:10
74:12
111:30
37:06
148:30
223:00

ProRes Bitrates

Note this info was based off the Apple ProRes Whitepapers target data rates which might not precisely match how it performs on Z Cam. To see the current max resolution and max FPS of ProRes enabled on each model click here.

ResolutionFrame RateProxy (Mbps)LT (Mbps)422 (Mbps)422 HQ (Mbps)
8K
6K45
30
25
24

437
365
350

985
821
788
(2121)
1414
1180
1131


1769
1697
5K30
25
24
304
253
243
684
570
547
982
819
786
1473
1229
1178
4K75
60
50
30
25
24
(486)
388
323
194
162
155
(1095)
875
730
437
365
350
(1572)
1257
1049
629
524
503
(2358)
1886
1573
943
786
754
1080P120
60
50
30
25
24
(182)
91
76
45
38
36
(408)
204
170
102
85
85
(584)
293
245
147
122
117
(880)
440
367
220
184
176
Bitrates in brackets are to be treated as speculation until I can validate with testing

Using those bitrates here’s the approximate recording time you would have on a 1TB Sandisk SSD.

Resolution Frame Rate Proxy
(Hours:Min)
LT
(Hours:Min)
422
(Hours:Min)
422 HQ
(Hours:Min)
8K
6K45
30
25
24

5:52
7:01
7:19

2:36
3:07
3:15
(1:12)
1:48
2:10
2:16


1:27
1:30
5K30
25
24
8:26
10:08
10:33
3:45
4:30
4:41
2:37
3:08
3:16
1:44
2:05
2:10
4K75
60
50
30
25
24
(5:17)
6:36
7:56
13:13
15:49
16:32
(2:20)
2:56
3:30
5:51
7:01
7:19
(1:38)
2:02
2:27
4:05
4:53
5:05
(1:05)
1:22
1:38
2:43
3:16
3:24
1080P120
60
50
30
25
24
(14:05)
28:10
33:44
56:58
67:27
71:12
(6:17)
12:34
15:05
25:08
30:09
30:09
(4:23)
8:45
10:28
17:26
21:00
21:54
(2:55)
5:50
6:59
11:39
13:56
14:34
The times noted above in brackets are to be treated as speculation until I can validate with testing

ZRAW Bitrates

ZRAW records in 1.2Gbps, which will fill up 1TB of storage in 2 hours and 5 minutes.

What ISO do I shoot with my Z Cam?

The Z Cam E2 and flagships have dual native ISO, while the E2C and E2G only have one native ISO. Here is a chart listing them. If you want to film exclusively in these ISOs, change ISO Control in the Exposure Menu to Native ISO.

CameraLow Native ISO . High Native ISO .
E2C800
E2G1250
E2 & E2 M45002500
E2 & E2 M4 WDR enabled2501250
E2 S64001250
E2 F64002500
E2 F84001250
Dual Native ISO settings for Z Cam E2 and Flagships

How to properly set exposure for Z Cam?

First get familiarized with exposing with false color. The image to the right is the false color values for all Z Cams. As a general rule you want to make sure your image is free from orange, purple, and blue while in false color mode. The neon green is where you want to aim to get your middle grey exposure, as this leaves 7 stops above to deal with over exposure. All skin tone exposure values in the scene should fall between the neon green and yellow regions.

Next get familiarized with shooting in the Zlog2 image profile. Zlog is about 1/8 of the exposure when compared to Rec 709, which is about 3 stops less in practice. Which is my next tip, go practice exposing with these settings before going on a real shoot. If you learn to set your exposure and white balance for how Z Cam color science is designed, then you will have the right color.

How do I connect my E2 to my computer for live-streaming, monitoring, camera control and firmware updates?

The easiest way I have done it is to connect USB C from camera to USB A to your computer (this cable works great in my testing) and connect to 172.18.18.1/www/index.html in your browser. Be sure your USB mode is set to Network in the Connection Menu in camera. On the webpage you can control the camera or playback. OBS is able to pick up the signal via VLC stream at 172.18.18.1/mjpeg_stream with about a one second delay. You can find the latest Z Cam E2 firmware here.

Is Z Cam going to have a price drop because of any camera?

The S6 had a price drop from $2,995 to $2,499 on May 24th, 2020. The F6 had a $1,000 price drop the same day, which coincided with the E2 M4 launch.

What gear should I get for my Z Cam?

That depends heavily on your needs. To learn more about commonly used accessories click here. TL;DR The monitor with the best compatibility is the Atomos Ninja V, most feature rich handle is the Portkeys Keygrip, and Powerextra NP-f970 battery with DC and USB output is my favorite battery.

How do I record Proxy files on Z Cam?

In your camera enter the video menu. In that menu enable proxy track, this bakes in a proxy track while you record. Click here to go to the Z Cam Video Transcoder Proxy file extracting guide.

Can the Z Cam E2 take pictures?

Yes. Under the video menu you can select photo quality. Under system settings you can map still capture to a function button. I have mine remapped to front dial click on my RVLVR clutch handle.

Does Z Cam have autofocus?

Yes. It’s contrast based so I wouldn’t rely on it. But in side by sides it has come out ahead of RED and Panasonic. Comparing my E2 to my GH-4 with the same lenses it feels similar but slower to crawl to focus. Human tracking makes it faster for human subjects. In short it’s there but don’t depend on it.

Does Z Cam have in body stabilization?

No, but if you want to learn about the best gear to use with it to have the steadiest shot, read about gimbal compatibility with the E2.

Does ZRAW work in any NLE? How do I edit ZRAW?

ZRAW is now compatible with Adobe Premiere Pro and SCRATCH with the corresponding plugins. You may also use the ZRAW VideoSuite to make use of your ZRAW footage. For a walk through of the software, click here. To get best performance out of your Zlog footage while editing click here.

I want to test the Z Cam E2 before I buy, how can I?

Once health concerns due to the pandemic clear up I will be hosting occasional Los Angeles meetups where I’ll bring my E2 & E2 F8 and get you hands on & familiar with the cameras. You can also bring any lenses or accessories you want to test compatibility for. I’ll be creating a form soon to sign up for a mailing list to be notified of all of these events, but in the meantime read the rest of this handbook & join the Z Cam E2 Facebook page to get familiar with the camera.

Do you have sample footage I can edit?

I am in the process of filming some and researching the best way to host them for mass download. In due time.

Are there any LUTs for Z Cams?

Yes. Z Cam has their most up to date first party LUTs here. You can also view other third party LUTs created for Z Cam below.

Dharma Film Look LUT Type A – And many other Dharma LUTs are available for purchase with 70% of the proceeds to Hitoyoshi and Ashikita citities which had disasters, one of which being the creator’s hometown. – “Orange & Teal 3D LUT suitable for Log image capture. Adds contrast to a flat image and makes the middle part mild. Optimized for Japanese skin tone, with the tone not overly thick.”

Zlog REC709 Monitoring LUTs – Made by James Davis from Exigent Films – These LUTs are designed so that you can expose for your eye in a standard color space, as in “what you see is what you get”. However since this is a monitoring LUT instead of a color profile, you have the flexibility to apply any output color in the Z Cam LUT Plugin in post. -0 & -1 are there for reference, but not intended for use, they produce noise in dark areas in post because the Zlog curve is under exposed. Use -2 for normal use and -3 for low light situations. -4 is included if you really need to brighten Zlog2

How do I fix a dead pixel on my Z Cam?

I have not had a dead pixel in either of my Z Cams to test if it’s successful, but Kinson’s steps for solving a dead pixel are

  1. Make sure that you stay in the resolution setting that you discovered the dead pixel in.
  2. Connect your camera to a stable power source and start recording until internal temperature exceeds 55C
  3. MOST IMPORTANT STEP – be sure to have a lens or body cap securely on your camera to block ALL light to the sensor
  4. Go to Camera Status under the System Settings menu.
  5. Press Fn to show Sensor Calibration
  6. Press OK to initiate Sensor Calibration. This process will take about five minutes. During the process it is crucial that no light reaches the sensor.

My HDMI Output is just static when I use HDMI RAW, what about ProRes RAW?

Z Cam released their side of the software update in 0.95, but Atomos is scheduled to release their side of software to enable this feature in June.

What is the Z Cam E2 M4?

The Z Cam E2 M4 is a new release from Z Cam that is essentially the same camera as the E2, but in a flagship body. By default it ships with a micro four thirds mount, but is compatible with all the interchangeable mounts currently available for the flagships. Like all the other flagships, the M4 will lack the multi-cam sync feature that the E2 had.

Do Z Cams lose all your footage when the battery dies?

No. This is downright misinformation that has been said by YouTubers who did not consult with Z Cam about how footage is saved through power loss. If your battery dies naturally your footage is safe, but let me elaborate for the more skeptical of readers. Your footage will be automatically saved once your battery hits the low battery alarm, after that point the camera will not even allow you to start recording a new clip until you put in a battery that has more power in it. You can see the default voltages in the menu setting picture to the right. The only way you will lose footage through a battery problem is if you rip out your battery, your battery implodes, the battery somehow suddenly drops power, an EMP is detonated, or any other random/sudden/rapid super rare event occurs.

How to install an NP-F Battery on a Z Cam

Every Z Cam has gold pins for the NP-F battery protruding from the bottom of the battery mount, slightly above those are gold contacts for add on accessories. If you aim the edge of your NP-F battery in between these two gold regions then you can slide it down with only slight pressure and install it.


Z Cam E2 Flagships (M4, S6, F6, F8)

eND Filter

Z Cam E2 flagships have a removable module in the lens mount that currently allows for the installation of an eND filter that is based on LCD technology. Due to the CPL in the eND filter, if installed there will be at least 1 stop of ND applied. Be sure to set your white balance to eND in camera when installed.

Interchangeable Mounts

The Z Cam E2 flagships come with the ability to remove and replace the lens mount that comes with the camera, the current options are EF, PL, and Micro Four Thirds mounts. An EF speedbooster (x0.71 crop) has been teased on the Facebook group as an upcoming fourth option called the TurboMount. Note that not all mounts are compatible with eND, for now it is limited to the standard EF and PL mounts.

How to Change Mount Types on Z Cam Flagships

For a visual aid to changing your lens mount watch this video from HyperMediaCreators or follow the instructions below.

  1. 0:16 Remove the four screws from your current mount. It is best practice to alternate screw and only unscrew a little at a time
  2. 0:30 Remove your existing mount from Z Cam flagship body. Only do this in a controlled dust free environment.
  3. 0:38 Place your desired mount on the Z Cam body. Pay attention to the alignment of the electronic contacts.
  4. 0:44 Tighten the new mount down with 4 screws. Again alternate screws and only tighten a little at a time.

Inputs & Outputs

Front

  1. Lens Mount – The Z Cam flagships feature an interchangeable lens mount.
  2. Lens Lock Ring – In contrast to the E2’s button lens release, the flagship series has a robust locking mechanism that provides a sturdy connection even with heavy cinema lenses

Rear

  1. Auxiliary Power Output – 2 Pin LEMO connector that can supply DC 12V to other devices, such as external monitors
  2. Remote Port – 2.5mm socket compatible with Sony LANC protocol
  3. XLR Audio In – 5 Pin LEMO connector for dual XLR input. Cable options.
  1. Control Port – Double serial ports with 4 pin aviation connectors. RS232 protocol is supported
  2. Battery Socket – NP-F mount with contacts pins for power output to accessories. Powerextra NP-f970 battery with DC and USB output is my favorite battery, but any stable and secure NP-F battery can work. Some users adapt this mount to V Lock with this adapter.
  3. HDMI Port – HDMI 2.0 Type A, Max output: C4K 60fps, 10-bit 4:2:2
  4. Wi-Fi Antenna Port – Use this antenna paired with this adapter for best performance. 5GHz signal, supports 802.11 b/g/n standard
  5. Ethernet Port – gigabit Ethernet port for connecting to a computer or network switch for live control, streaming, and updates
  6. Battery Release Button – releases np-f battery lock
  7. USB C Port – USB 3.0 standard. It has 5 options in the menu for what it can do, for an explanation of its functions read this section.
  8. Power Input – 2 Pin LEMO connector that supplies 12V power to the camera.

Left

  1. CFast Card Slot – supports CFast 2.0 standard
  2. Function Buttons – F1 – F4 – 4 user buttons with custom remapping under user settings
  3. Power Button – Press Once for playback, hold to power off
  4. 1/4″ Screw Holes – 3 1/4″ screw holes allow for many cage offerings.

Right

  1. 3.5mm Audio In – 3.5mm TRS socket for stereo audio input
  2. 3.5mm Audio Out – 3.5mm TRS socket for stereo audio output

Top

  1. LCD Display – press FN + OK when the camera is in standby to turn on video preview
  2. FN / ISO Button – FN function in camera settings, ISO quick setting in standby, preview, and record modes
  3. MENU Button – Enter or exit the camera settings, or return to the previous menu while in camera settings
  4. Up / SHT Button – Increases value in camera settings. Selects Shutter control when in standby, preview, and record modes
  1. 1/4″ Screw Hole – for top mounting a monitor or securing a cage onto the camera
  2. πŸ”΄ Record Button – Start and stop recording a video
  3. Down / EV Button – Reduce value in camera settings or quick select EV controls while in standby, preview, and record modes
  4. OK Button – Confirmation in camera settings menu. Auto Focus function (with AF lenses) in standby, preview, and recording mode

Z Cam E2 Flagship (M4, S6, F6, F8) Cages

Kondor Blue – the one I have on my rig

Nitze Cage – symmetrical, lightweight cage featuring rosette mounts on both sides.

Z Cam Flagship Sample Kits

Z Cam E2 F8 Sample Kit

This build focuses on taking advantage of the 8k resolution of the camera. It would be best used for stock footage or for a heavily cropped editing style. This is similar to my setup for client work where I film in 8k and deliver in 4k, because the F8 allows me to crop 4x without any loss in quality.

Z Cam E2 F6 Sample Kit

This build focuses on being a one person production unit with the ability to go from shoulder rig to tripod with ease. What the F6 lacks in resolution compared to the F8 it makes up for in frame rates


Z Cam E2

Inputs & Outputs

Front

  1. Fn Buttons – F1 – F3, default mapping is F1 – Auto Exposure Lock, F2 – Load User Profile, F3 – aperture control setting. All button functions are remappable in user settings.
  2. Power Button – Press for 3 second to power on or off the camera, short press to switch to playback mode.

Top

  1. Down / EV Button – reduce value in settings menus, EV quick setting in standby, preview, or record modes.
  2. OK / AF Button – Confirmation in menu or trigger Auto Focus function (with supported AF lens) in standby, preview, or record modes.
  1. πŸ”΄ Record Button – Start and stop recording a video
  2. 1/4β€³ Screw Hole – for top mounting a monitor or securing a cage onto the camera
  3. Up / SHT Button – Increases value in camera settings. Selects Shutter control when in standby, preview, and record modes
  4. MENU Button – Enter or exit the camera settings, or return to the previous menu while in camera settings
  5. FN / ISO Button – FN function in camera settings, ISO quick setting in standby, preview, and record modes
  6. LCD Display – press FN + OK when the camera is in standby to turn on video preview

Left

  1. 3.5mm Audio Out – 3.5mm TRS socket for stereo audio output
  2. 3.5mm Audio In – 3.5mm TRS socket for stereo audio input

Back

  1. I/O Port – 10- pin LEMO port for multi-cam sync with a cable like this.
  2. Remote Port – 2.5mm socket compatible with Sony LANC protocol
  3. XLR Audio In – 5 Pin LEMO connector for dual XLR input. Cable options.
  4. COM Port – DB-9 connector with RS232 protocol
  1. Camera Mode Switch – M / I / S – M is master mode where this camera dictates control to others. I is individual mode, which is default. S is slave mode to receive camera controls from a Z Cam set to M mode.
  2. Battery Socket – NP-F mount with contacts pins for power output to accessories. Powerextra NP-f970 battery with DC and USB output is my favorite battery, but any stable and secure NP-F battery can work. Some users adapt this mount to V Lock with this adapter.
  3. HDMI Port – HDMI 2.0 Type A, Max output: C4K 60fps, 10-bit 4:2:2
  4. Wi-Fi Antenna Port – connect a 2.4GHz Wi-Fi antenna. Supports 802.11 n standard
  5. Ethernet Port – gigabit Ethernet port for connecting to a computer or network switch for live control, streaming, and updates
  6. Battery Release Button – releases np-f battery lock
  7. USB C Port – USB 3.0 standard. It has 5 options in the menu for what it can do, for an explanation of its functions read this section.
  8. Power Input – 4 Pin LEMO connector that supplies 12V power to the camera.

Sample Z Cam E2 Kit

This rig is from community member Boyan Ortse from Epic Pixel.

  • Camera – Z Cam E2
  • Cage – SmallRig cage for E2 (2264)
  • Lens – Sigma Art 18-35 f/1.8 with PolarPro Variable ND Filter
  • Right Handle – RVLVR Labs Clutch Handle
  • Monitor – Atomos Ninja V with 1TB SSD, mounted with a SmallRig swivel monitor (2174), ontop of a SmallRig Cinematic Top Handle (2393)
  • Recording Media – The one modification I would make to this rig is to put the mSata drive from the Samsung T5 SSD into a SolidPod Slim from NKI for major improvements to recording stability from the T5. That will fit in the same SmallRig SSD Holder (2174)

Z Cam E2C

Inputs & Outputs

Front

  1. Fn Buttons – F1 – F3, default mapping is F1 – Auto Exposure Lock, F2 – Load User Profile, F3 – aperture control setting. All button functions are remappable in user settings.
  2. Power Button – Press for 3 second to power on or off the camera, short press to switch to playback mode.

Top

  1. LCD Display – press FN + OK when the camera is in standby to turn on video preview
  2. FN / ISO Button – FN function in camera settings, ISO quick setting in standby, preview, and record modes
  3. MENU Button – Enter or exit the camera settings, or return to the previous menu while in camera settings
  1. Up / SHT Button – Increases value in camera settings. Selects Shutter control when in standby, preview, and record modes
  2. 1/4β€³ Screw Hole – for top mounting a monitor or securing a cage onto the camera
  3. πŸ”΄ Record Button – Start and stop recording a video
  4. OK / AF Button – Confirmation in menu or trigger Auto Focus function (with supported AF lens) in standby, preview, or record modes.
  5. Down / EV Button – reduce value in settings menus, EV quick setting in standby, preview, or record modes.

Left

  1. 3.5mm Audio Out – 3.5mm TRS socket for stereo audio output
  2. 3.5mm Audio In – 3.5mm TRS socket for stereo audio input

Right

  1. SDXC Class 10 SD card. Recommend to use UHS-I Speed Class 3 (U3) ones for 4K video recording

Back

  1. Ethernet Port – gigabit Ethernet port for connecting to a computer or network switch for live control, streaming, and updates. PoE supported and 802.3af / 802.3at compatible
  2. Remote Port – 2.5mm socket compatible with Sony LANC protocol
  1. Battery Socket – compatible with Canon LP-E6 battery
  2. HDMI Port – HDMI 2.0 Type A, Max output: C4K 60fps, 10-bit 4:2:2
  3. Wi-Fi Antenna Port – connect a 2.4GHz Wi-Fi antenna. Supports 802.11 n standard
  4. USB C Port – For data transmission and camera control only
  5. Battery Release Button – releases Canon LP-E6 battery lock
  6. Power Input – 2 Pin LEMO connector that supplies 12V power to the camera.

Sample Z Cam E2C Kit

This kit is designed to be an extremely light weight, in the field handheld rig, that uses the same batteries you have on hand to add hot swapping power capabilities.


Z Cam Menu Functions Explained

Record

Resolution – set the recording resolution, for max resolution settings check here

Project FPS – set the FPS that your editing timeline will be in

File Format – MOV or MP4, must be in MOV for ProRes

Split Duration – 1 / 5 / 10 / 15 / 20 / 30 / 60 minute options – set the time that the camera will split the clip, I have mine set to 5 minutes. To stitch together before editing use the Z Cam VideoConcatenator

Time Code

…….Time Code Source – internal or external

…….Time Code Value – Reset, manually set, or set time code to current time

…………Reset – resets the time code to 0

…………Manual Input – set the time code manually (hour:minute:second:frame)

…………Current Time – Sets time code so sync with camera setting time

…….Count Up – free run or recording run

…………Rec Run – Counts the time code only when recording

…………Free Run – Continues the time code even when not recording video

…….Time Code Mode – DF or NDF

…………DF – camera modifies the difference between recorded time and time code

…………NDF – Records the time code without drop frame

…….HDMI Display – turn on or off time code displayed on your monitor through HDMI

Playback FR. – Select default (project) frame rate or variable frame rate (VFR) for playback & review in camera.

Meta Setup – Assign Camera ID (A through Z) and Reel name as a number 001-999

Pre Roll – Turn on or off a pre roll buffer to each clip, when on the camera will automatically save footage from 5 seconds before recording

Video

Variable Framerate – to film in a frame rate other than the project fps. Dependent on Resolution, project FPS and WDR settings.

Encoder – H.264 / H.265 / ProRes Proxy, LT, 422 & 422 HQ / ZRAW – Select the encoder used for your files. Click here for reference charts for max FPS & resolution. The encoder used for recording determines bit depth and color sampling, and a chart of those is below.

EncoderH.264H.265ProResZRAW
Color Bit Depth8 Bit10 Bit10 Bit12 Bit
Color Sampling4:2:04:2:04:2:2N/A
Bit Depth and Color Sampling in Z Cam Encoder Formats

Bitrate – High, Medium or Low – select the bit rate quality of the recording. I always have it set to high but if you have limited card space on a long shoot you may want to look into lowering bitrate.

ResolutionFrame RateHigh Bitrate (Mbps)Medium Bitrate (Mbps)Low Bitrate (Mbps)
8K (2.4:1, UHD)all500400200
6K (Open Gate, DCI, UHD, 2.4:1)31 – 60
0 – 30
300
250
190
160
130
100
5K (4:3, 6:5)0-30250160100
4K (DCI, UHD, 2.4:1) & Super1660 +
31 – 60
0 – 30
300
230
200
200
150
130
160
100
60
1080P60 +
31 – 60
0 – 30
200
60
30
130
30
20
60
15
10

Proxy Track – enables a proxy track to be recorded simultaneously. Prior to firmware 0.94 these files were written to a separate folder, but due to playback issues, the proxy files are now encoded in the same file as your main recording and extracted with the Z Cam Video Transcoder.

Rotation – normal or upside down. Rotates the image by 180 degrees. A setting in stream converter in being developed for 90 rotation for smartphone streaming delivery.

WDR – enable wide dynamic range in select recording modes. When enaled the dynamic range is extended from 13 stops of Z-Log2 to 16, with 1.5 stop increases for highlights and shadows

Timelapse – select the time for a timelapse

VFR Control – Select how precise of control over the exact variable frame rate

Crop Sensor – For super-sampled resolutions turning this setting on will crop the sensor to the resolution set instead of supersampling. Two examples are on the F8’s 4K mode, where you can achieve a 4x sensor crop, or on the F6’s 4K mode, where you get similar to Super 35 coverage, if you’re using crop lenses.

Low Jello – enable this mode to improve rolling shutter performance. User feedback puts improvement in performance by a factor of 2.

Photo Quality – JPEG, RAW, or HEIF – I use RAW and on my F8 each image is about 64MB

Audio

Encoder – None, AAC, or PCM

Input – Microphone, XLR, Mic Left + XLR Right, or Mic Right + XLR Left – you can choose between 3.5mm, XLR, or a mix of R/L or L/R of the two.

Input Gain – -18dB to 6dB – Adjust the recording levels of microphones. Can be mapped to a dial function on the RVLVR clutch handle. Also can be set to auto.

Output Gain – -6dB to 6dB – boost or lower the audio volume to your headset without impacting recording levels

Phantom Power – while the Z Cam has the ability to do phantom power for microphones, it is recommended that you use the microphone’s battery power for the cleanest audio. Must have an XLR input enabled to change this setting.

Audio Level Display – enables the audio level to be shown on screen

Exposure

Flicker Reduction – 60Hz or 50Hz. This setting is used to reduce light flickering caused by the frequency of electricy. Use 60Hz in Northa America, South Korea, Philippines, and Taiwan. Use 50Hz for mainland China and other countries.

EV – -3.0 through +3.0 with 0.3 increments – sets the exposure value of the camera

Shutter Speed – select the shutter speed of your camera or set to auto. Can be remapped to various handles for easier control.

Aperture – adjust the aperture of your lens. Only lenses with electronic contacts can communicate this value to the camera body, so it will not show a value when you have a manual aperture control lens on your camera.

ISO – Select the ISO of your camera. For native ISO settings on all models click here.

eND – control stops of ND applied when you have an eND filter installed in compatible flagship lens mounts.

Min ISO – Set the lowest selectable ISO value

Max ISO – Set the highest selectable ISO value

Max Shutter Speed – set the highest selectable shutter speed value

Metering Mode – Center / Average / Spot – select the exposure metering mode. Center takes values from the center of the frame, Average takes a sum of all exposure in the frame, Spot only selects a region to take exposure values from.

Shutter Operation – Change between Speed and Angle measurements for your shutter

ISO Control – Select either fine for precise control or Native ISO to lock all but the dual native ISO values to be selected

AE Speed – Slow / Normal / Fast – Auto Exposure speed adjusts how fast the camera will change the exposure when in auto exposure mode

Lock In Record – Turn off to be able to change exposure settings while recording a clip

White Balance (WB)

Mode – Auto, Incandescent, Cloudy, D10000, Fluorescent, Daylight, Shade, Manual, or eND (flagship only) – select the white balance setting, auto works very well with run and gun in changing environments in my experience.

Kelvin – when set to manual it can be adjusted from 2300K ~ 7500K

Tint – 100 to – 100, default is 0

Priority – Ambiance / White – Ambiance increases a warm cast color when shooting in a tungsten lit scene. White decreases a warm cast color when shooting in a tungsten lit scene. Always use white priority when shooting in Z-Log2

Lock in Record – Turn off to be able to change white balance settings while recording a clip

Focus

Focus Mode – MF or AF – I always use MF and a follow focus when possible

Focus Area – Flexible Zone or Human Track – human track works quite well for human subjects

Focus Area Size – Small / Medium / Large – can only be changed when flexible zone focus area is enabled.

Change Focus Area – allows the user to select which region of the screen will be used in Flexible Zone focus mode

Continuous AF – enable to allow focus tracking to follow a moving subject

Live CAF – when on it will contiously focus in real time according to the scene

CAF Sensitivity – High / Middle / Low

MF Assist – Enable or disable MF assist in preview and recording. This will temporarily zoom in with a 2x crop on the LCD screen and HDMI output. Note this is not focus peaking, that is found under the Assist Tools sub menu in System settings

Image

Image Profile – Rec. 709, Z-Log2, Flat, HLG

…….Rec. 709 – use this for direct output and quick turnaround times with no grading necessary in post.

…….Z-Log2 – Log developed by Z Cam with 13 stops of dynamic range and preserves detail in highlights, for grading in post.

…….FLAT – Has the dynamic range of Z-Log 2 but with the Rec 709 profile baked into it.

…….HLG – Hybrid Log-Gamma – Encode the high light part of the logarithmic curve and the low light part of the standard gamma curve

Sharpness – Strong, Medium, or Weak

Noise Reduction – Medium, Weak, or Off

Brightness – 0 to 100 – set the recorded brightness of the image

Saturation – 0 to 100 – set the recorded saturation of the image

Contrast – 0 to 100 – set the recorded contrast of the image

Luminance Level – Full (0-255) or Limited (16-235) – I use limited for ease of editing

Connection (Connect)

Network

…..Wi-fi – Turns on the wi-fi for connection with a tablet or phone, when enabled it will say something similar to “ZCAM-E2-0082” the default password to connect with your phone is 12345678

…..Wi-Fi IP – When Wi-Fi is enable this displays your camera’s IP4 address for manual connection

…..ETH. Mode – Router, Direct, or Static – Click here for full explanation and guides.

…..ETH. IP – displays your camera’s ethernet IP4 address for manual connection

USB

…..Host – The camera will be a host device to transfer data to an external SSD or to have a wired connection for smartphone monitoring and control

…..Mass Storage – The camera will be recognized as an external drive when connected to a computer. Use this mode for fast offloading of CFast card footage without the need to remove the card.

…..Network – connect your camera to your computer with USB C for livestreaming control and monitoring. Can also control the camera through the HTTP API.

…..Serial – the camera will be controlled by UART command when connected to a computer through the USB port

…..PTP

HDMI

…..Display Info – Enable for settings info to appear on screen, disable for a clean output image to a recorder

…..OSD Layout – Type 1 / Type 2 – Type 1 displays assist tools as waveform directly onto video. Type 2 Adds a black frame area to display assist tools

…..Format – HDMI output resolution, which differs from internal recording resolution.

…..Use EDID – toggles whether the camera automatically reads the EDID information of the HDMI connected monitor

Multi Camera

UART – choose between Controller, Pelco D, Multiplexer, or Linear TC. Changing this setting requires a camera reboot to take effect. Controller uses UART command, Pelco D is for use with gimbals, multiplexer are supported by third party devices, and Linear TC allows timecode to be input to the camera

System

Clear Settings – Resets all settings to default value. Requires a camera reboot to take effect.

Format Card – formats the CFast card. Do this every time you insert a card for best results

Assist Tools

…..Display – Toggle assist tools on or off

…..Scope – display either Waveform, Parade, Vectorscope, or histogram on screen. Option to change overlay opacity and to measure with or without the LUT

…..Peak – enable in camera focus peaking, color options are red, green, blue, orange, or white. You can toggle monochrome on or off as well as adjust the focus peaking threshold (sensitivity).

…..Exposure – Toggle zebra stripes as well as set your Zebra1 and Zebra2 sensitivity value. I usually have Zebra1 set to 100 for complete overexposure blowouts and Zebra2 to 75 for skin tone exposure.

…..Frame Line – Can overlay grid lines in 2.4:1, 2.35:1, 1.9:1, 1.85:1, or 4:3 aspect ratios onscreen in red, green, blue, orange, or white.

…..Center Mark – toggle a center mark in red, green, blue, orange, or white.

…..Grid Line – Toggle grid lines on or off

…..Safe Area – toggle safe area on or off

Load LUT – to import a LUT, save a x33 cube format with a name under 16 letters containing no spaces into MISC/looks/preview/ of the CFast card. This LUT will be available in playback mode

Desqueeze Display – apply a vertical or horizontal anamorphic desqueeze to the display options are 1x, 1.33x, 1.5x, 1.8x, and 2x.

User Profile

…..Save Profile – saves the current user settings to a profile in camera

…..Load Profile – Load a previous user profile from the camera

…..Save To Card – Saves the current user settings to a profile on the CFast card

…..Load From Card – Load a user profile from the CFast card

User Button – assign 8 custom functions on an E2 and 9 on a flagship. The options are – None, Take Photo, AE Lock, AF Lock, WB Lock, Aperture, ISO, Peak, Exposure Tool, Scope Tool, HDMI OSD, Shutter, EV, AF, Magnifier, Focus Area, Record, VFR, Enable LUT, and Playback.

Record Indicator – Toggles a red LED indicating when the camera is recording

Restore Lens Pos. – when enabled the camera will remember the latest focusing position of the lens when the camera is turned off and on.

LCD Brightness – increase or decrease in body LCD brightness

Power – Set auto power off to never, 30s, 1 min, 2 min, 4 min, 8 min, and 15 min. Auto standby options are never, 1 min, 5 min, and 15 min. You can also adjust the voltage at which a NP-F or V-Lock batteries show low warnings.

Language – change the language of your options menu

Date / Time – set a custom date and time

Time Zone – set your filming time zone

Camera Status – view your storage space usage, current camera temperature, version number, and serial number

Version – check the current firmware version number installed on your camera

Recommended Gear for Z Cams

Lenses

Eventually I’ll add a full review of each lens I can get my hands on but for now here is a list of lenses with compatible electronic controls for the Z Cam. Lenses with image stabilization are underlined

Canon EF Mount

Full Frame
APS-C (Crop Factor Lenses)

Micro Four Thirds Mount

Manual Micro Four Thirds Lenses with Superior Coverage

These lenses are for those who intend to use a MFT mount on their S6 or Full Frame models. Most MFT mount lenses are designed to only cover a MFT sensor, but this list of lenses will cover larger sensors as noted.

Recording Media

CFast & External SSD

  • Angelbird CFast, SSD, or Bundle
  • Sandisk SSD or CFast
  • Freetail Evoke Pro CFast – cheapest reliable card
  • EgoDisk Elite Pro CFast – good compatibility according to Z Cam team

CFast to mSATA

NKI SolidPod CFast 2.0 to mSATA Adapter

This has a smaller sample size of user feedback than internal CFast and the recommended SSD’s above. Facebook user review as well as a very detailed video review that shows all mounting options by Scott Dumas.

Monitors

Atomos Ninja V

Soon to support start stop touchscreen function, ProRes RAW recording from HDMI output of all Z Cams. Should be in the next firmware update for Z Cam, which is being stress tested currently.

Portkeys BM5

The Portkeys BM5 has touch screen camera control on Z Cam E2 and Flagships. I haven’t used it but Flannel Ninja has a very detailed video on it here and for quick reference here is the section of the video on Z Cam

Desview R7 – the one I currently use on my F8. It’s nothing special but it’s a good bright 7 inch screen that gets the job done.

Neewer FW700 – Appears to be the same OEM as the Desview R7 but at a discount.

Handles

Portkeys Keygrip (Right Hand)

On Z Cam models E2, S6 and F6 it can control Record, Iris, ISO, shutter speed, Zoom, Touch focus, manual auto mode switching, Resolution, frame, manual frame, playback, color temperature, FN, F1-F3, Menu, Up/down, OK, and manual focus functions. On the S6 and F6 it can also control the eND filter adjustment. Use this cable to power and control a nucleus nano and this cable for a nucleus m.

RVLVR Labs Clutch Camera Remote Handle (Right Hand)

Rating: 7.5 out of 10.

Currently sold out. Wired remote control handle with a START/STOP button and two programmable rotary clickable dials. On a Z CAM camera the dials can be programmed to control Aperture, Shutter Speed, ISO, Electronic ND, Audio Gain, White Balance, Focus.

Tilta Side Focus Handle (Left Hand)

Rating: 4.5 out of 10.

Powered with an NP-F970 battery this handle has 2 power outputs, one to power the nucleus nano and one for auxiliary power, which I feed as power in to the camera, allowing me to hot swap the battery in the grip and have continuous power. It has a spot to mount a Samsung T5 SSD opposite of the hand strap. On the front side is a focus wheel to control your nucleus nano. On the top side are a CAL button to calibrate your nano, and a REC button that functions if you run a 2.5mm LANC cable to the camera.

Follow Focus

Tilta Nucleus M

Motor Only | Full Kit | Kit 1 | Kit 2 | Kit 3 | Kit 4

If you intend on using the Nucleus M with the Z Cam series then I would recommend getting the motor only, Kit 1 bundle has a FIZ hand unit, or Kit 4 with the FIZ hand unit and an additional Nucleus M motor. This motor is combined with a handle such as the Portkeys Keygrip with this cable for the most features with Z Cam.

Tilta Nucleus Nano

Rating: 6.5 out of 10.

This is what I currently use on my Z Cams, but I plan on upgrading to the M when I can. I have trouble with the remote’s connection occasionally, so I would recommend it be used with a handle such as the Portkeys Keygrip but with this cable for maximum features with Z Cam.

Manual Follow Focus – The three I have used and can recommend are the Tilta Mini Follow Focus as the standout best, the Neewer Follow Focus as a frugal option, and the Fotga Follow Focus if you need a sturdy dual rod clamp mount.

Gimbals

Zhiyun WEEBILL S

Standard Package | Follow Focus Combo | Image Transmission Package

With firmware 1.96 and higher installed on the gimbal you are able to control aperture, ISO, and start stop recording. I cannot find max payload numbers, but many users report successful results.

Feyiu AK4500

Max payload 4.6KG

Lens Mounts, Speedboosters, & Adapters

Interchangeable Lens Mount – Z Cam currently has four lens mounts available for their flagships. Those mounts are EF mount, M mount, MFT mount, and PL mount.

Speedboosters & Electronic Adaptersmetabones work the best and is recommended by Kinson. Avoid the brand Kipon due to a problem in compatibility with their electronic design. Some members use Viltrox with successful results.

Audio Equipment

Audio Recorders

I would always recommend an external audio recorder for the highest quality recordings. First are the ones I’ve used and then are the ones I gathered based on Z Cam Facebook group’s reported use.

Marantz PMD-706 6-Channel Recorder

Rating: 9 out of 10.

XLR Inputs 1-4

1/4″ Inputs 5-6

3.5mm Camera in and outputs

3.5mm Line out

3.5mm headphones output with output dial

This is my audio recorder of choice due to the six audio dial controls and the ability to do 4 sources with 2 safety tracks.

Tascam DR-10L Audio Recorder

Rating: 8.5 out of 10.

For a videography gig like a wedding I always have one of these in my gearbag and they come in handy for film shoots where this recorder is smaller than a lot of wireless packs. The mic that comes included with the recorder has fairly good audio quality, but can be outperformed with pairing a separate mic with the recorder.

Zoom H1n

Rating: 5.5 out of 10.

Another pocket sized recorder option, this is what I used before I got the DR-10L. The new model of this has an audio control dial, which I view as a huge feature.

Wireless Microphone Packs

Rode Wireless Go

Rating: 9 out of 10.

Compact transmitter and receiver that has a built in microphone. This is preferred kit because of the price and because of how easily it mounts to anything. For interview subjects you can clip the transmitter pack to the inside of their shirt pocket and you have a completely wireless run and gun setup. The receiver can clip into any available shoe mount on your rig. The downside to this kit is the 5 hour battery life and USB C charging with no removable battery.

Sennheiser G4 Wireless Lavalier System

Rating: 10 out of 10.

If price is not a concern and you are simply after the best wireless lav system then you should go for the industry standard Sennheiser G4. I used the G3’s a lot and wish I had the budget for a G4. The transmitter and receiver are bulkier than the Rode option, but it’s quality is hard to beat.

Cables

Power Cables

Right Angle / Straight 2 Pin Lemo to AC Outlet

Right Angle / Straight 2 Pin Lemo to D-Tap

Right Angle 2 Pin Lemo to Right Angle DC – for powering an external monitor with E2 Flagship AUX power

Straight 2 Pin Lemo to Right Angle DC – for powering an external monitor with E2 Flagship AUX power

Audio Cables

Right Angle 5 Pin Lemo to 3.5mm TRS Cable

Straight 5 Pin Lemo to Dual XLR

Right Angle 5 Pin Lemo to Dual XLR

Right Angle 5 Pin Lemo to Single XLR

Networking Equipment

Power over Ethernet (PoE) Options – allows the connection of multiple Z Cams to one network as well as offers compact power delivery solution. Important features to look for are gigabit speeds because you don’t want to be limited by bandwidth and 30 Watt power delivery from a single port.

Ubiquiti EdgeSwitch 8 Port 150 Watts – reliable, trusted option

YuanLey 5 Port Gigabit PoE Switch – budget option that still delivers up to 30W per port with a total max of 78W

TP-Link PoE Splitter – this allows for a DC power output from PoE switches. Only the E2C directly supports PoE connection so to use PoE for the E2 use this cable to supply power and this one for flagships.

Unmanaged Network Switch – if you do not need the option of delivering power to your camera then I would recommend going for an inexpensive gigabit network switch.

TP-Link 8 Port Gigabit Ethernet Network Switch – the one Kinson uses and recommends

NETGEAR 5-Port Gigabit Ethernet Unmanaged Switch

Single Camera Connection – if you only need to attach a single Z Cam to your computer then you can do so with either the USB C network (172.18.18.1) or with Ethernet connection, here are some of the cables and adapters for that

TP-Link USB to Ethernet Adapter – I like this one because the cable can fold into the body to make it easily fit into gear bags

Anker USB to Ethernet Adapter – an all aluminum design, this is a more durable option

Z Cam Software

Z Cam Controller

Z Cam SteamConverter

ZRAW VideoSuite

The ZRAW VideoSuite is used to work with ZRAW footage. A plugin to work natively with ZRAW in premiere is under development and currently being beta tested by some users in the Z Cam Facebook group.

Z Cam Video Concatenator

Z Cam Video Transcoder

In order to extract proxies you will have had the Proxy Track enabled in your camera’s Video Settings Menu while recording that clip. An easy way to check if you did have this turned on for any individual clip is to play the clip back in VLC Media Player and check under video tracks if there are 2 separate options.

Open Z Cam Video Transcoder once installed. Click browse in the top right to open a file explorer to locate your footage
Once located, select all footage & import into Z Cam Video Transcoder. It will appear in a hierarchical view with long clips grouped together
Check the box to Export Proxy streaming to separate file & select proxy output destination
Click start and your computer will start extracting the proxy files
When complete, all of your files should be in the output destination, now that we have our proxy files, we’ll head over to our preferred NLE, mine is Premiere, so it will be the first tutorial for now.
Import all of your h.265 footage into premiere. Select all and right click, proceed down to Proxy and click attach Proxies
This window will pop up to attach the proxy clips. With the boxes checked on screen all you need to do is locate one of the proxy files in your file explorer and Premiere will automatically seek the rest
Once you find the proxy footage folder (the output destination from the Z Cam Video Transcoder) click OK, this will start Premiere to seek the rest
Make sure that the icon that is blue in the bottom right is somewhere in your tool bars. Clicking will switch between the original and proxy files being used in editing and playback

Z Cam Controller (Web Browser)

My preferred way to connect my Z Cam to my computer is with a USB C cable and connecting to the web browser, since it requires no installs and gives you the same basic features as the desktop application. Connect to 172.18.18.1/www/index.html in your browser. Be sure your USB mode is set to Network in the Connection Menu in camera. On the webpage you can control the camera or playback. You can find the latest Z Cam E2 firmware here for download, and to update your camera, go into the Misc Menu, click Upgrade and then select the file you downloaded from Z Cam’s website in the prompt.

Z Cam Web Browser Controller Home Screen
Z Cam Web Browser Controller All Menu Settings
Z Cam Web Browser Connection Video tutorial by Jake Ratcliffe from CVP

Z Cam Color Plugin


Third Party Software

OBS

OBS Studio is a free and open-source software suite for recording and live streaming. OBS provides real-time source and device capture, scene composition, encoding, recording, and broadcasting. Transmission of data is primarily done via the Real Time Messaging Protocol (RTMP) and can be sent to any RTMP supporting destination, including many presets for streaming websites such as YouTube, Twitch, Instagram and Facebook.

OBS SSP Plugin

Currently in beta 0.9.0 – This plugin allows for Z Cam cameras to be used as source input through SSP protocol. Here are the current features, with the ones added by the latest update marked as new

OBS SSP Plugin Feature List
  • ZCAM SSP camera as OBS source directly
  • Tiny latency (about 100ms).
  • (New) Auto discovery your cameras.
  • (New) Able to set Encoder / Resolution / Framerate / Bitrate directly from properties.
  • (New) Hardware Decoding.
  • (New) Wait for Intra Frame (can provide much little latency).
  • (New) Front LED as Tally light.

OBS SSP Plugin Known Bugs

To help report bugs so they can be addressed by the developer, create a New issue on the Github.

  • H.264 hardware decoding crashed on Windows.
  • Auto discovery cannot query on all interface.

OBS SSP Plugin Future Feature Plan

  • Auto reconnect when disconnected.

Guides and Tutorials for Z Cam

How to Connect Z Cams for Livestreaming (USB C, Direct Ethernet, & Router Networking Modes Explained)

Before we get into how to setup the Z Cam for livestreaming I’m first going to give some basic explanations of networking to help first time users.

DHCP – Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol – in simple terms this is a networking configuration feature that allows an item connected to a network to assign an IP address that can occasionally change to other devices. Z Cams have DHCP enabled when turned to Direct Ethernet mode, so it can assign IP addresses to other devices, such as more Z Cams that are in Router mode. Router mode allows Z Cams to receive a DHCP assignment from another device on the network. My home network already has DHCP, so when I connect my Z Cams to my PoE switch I turn them to Router mode to be able to access their web controller portal from any device connected to my home network.

PoE – Power over Ethernet – this allows you to deliver power through an Ethernet cable. Note that only the Z Cam E2C natively supports PoE so for the other models you will have to get a PoE splitter and either the DC power cable for the E2 or the Flagships, but this is definitely a feature that is worth using.

Switch – A piece of network equipment that can be thought of as a hub for Ethernet devices. They come in two varieties managed, a highly configurable switch that is usually at the core of networks, and unmanaged which is a plug and play hub. For our uses we need an unmanaged switch, such as this 5 port option from TP Link or this 5 port PoE option from YuanLey. Neither of these have DHCP built in, which means they won’t try to overwrite IP settings that either your network will assign it or the one from the host Z Cam in a Direct – Router multi-cam setup.

Z Cam USB C Networking Tutorial

USB C Connection with Z Cam Flagship

This is the simplest networking connection method because it will always assign your Z Cam to the IP 172.18.18.1 which makes this my preferred method for single camera connection or for diagnosing a troublesome camera in a multi camera configuration. A limitation to this method is that since the USB C Network IP cannot be change this only works for one camera. All you need for this method is a USB C cable to connect to your computer. In camera navigate to the Connect menu and enter the USB option and change it to networking, now plug in the cable to the computer. Now you are able to access the Z Cam Web Controller at 172.18.18.1/www/index.html in your web browser. In the Z Cam Controller desktop app you can go to add camera and direct it to 172.18.18.1 or with the OBS SSP plugin at the same IP.

Z Cam Direct Ethernet Networking Mode Tutorial

Direct Ethernet Networking Connection with Z Cam Flagship

This section will focus on connecting a single camera through Ethernet to a computer, although if that’s all you’re after I would recommend using USB C, but after the Routing section, I’ll go into detail of how the two modes can be used in tandem for a Z Cam DHCP assigned multi-cam network. To utilize this mode you will connect your camera’s Ethernet to a PCI Ethernet port, USB to Ethernet adapter, or a spare Ethernet port if your desktop or laptop has one available. Ethernet Cat 5 and above is recommended so I use these flat Cat 6 cables. In your camera change your USB setting to something other than network, then in the network settings switch to Direct mode. Now plug in your camera to the computer and wait a few moments for your DHCP to configure the IP assignment. Enter the network settings in camera again and you should be able to view an IP address, mine when I connected this way was 10.98.32.1 but yours maybe different so verify in camera. When I connect a Z Cam to my laptop through the USB to Ethernet adapter the Scan Camera feature works on the desktop Z Cam Controller, your mileage may vary. Since the 10 network is a local access only network you will not be able to access the cameras from another devices connected to your internet network.

Z Cam Routing Ethernet Networking Mode Tutorial

Router Ethernet Networking Connection with Z Cam Flagship

If your network already has a DHCP running on it then this mode will allow your Z Cam to receive an IP assignment from another device instead of generating its own. Turn your camera to Routing Ethernet mode in the connection setting then connect it to your switch. After a few moments your DHCP will assign the camera an IP address which you can view in the network connection menu. When I connected this way to my home network the IP for my F8 & E2 were 192.168.1.23 and 192.168.1.25 but yours maybe different so verify in your camera menu. The auto scan feature on the Z Cam Controller desktop application didn’t auto discover either camera with this method, but when I added the IP addresses manually it works as expected. Using this method allows you to connect to the camera’s web control portal from any other device on the network.

Z Cam Direct – Routing Hybrid Networking Setup Tutorial

This is a complex networking setup that you need to be familiar with both the direct and routing modes and how they work independently before putting them together. From what I can come up with this setup is helpful in 2 situations, the first being if your network doesn’t have a DHCP and the second being if you are shooting in a remote environment that does not have an internet connection. I had to figure out this setup to prepare for a JRE style podcast where I won’t have access to the internet connection on site, but I still wanted high fidelity recordings in camera and a live switched local recording of the show on my laptop. Here are the steps that I got this method tested & working.

  1. Turn your main camera to Direct mode in network connection menu. Connect it to your Ethernet switch in the first port with no other devices plugged in. Wait a few moments and it will assign itself an IP as normal in Direct mode, once the IP displays
  2. Turn your second camera to Router mode in network connection and plug it in to the second port on your Ethernet switch. Wait a few moments and it will receive an IP assignment from your main camera.
  3. Repeat step 2 for up to 13 Z Cams in Router mode (10.98.32.X network limitation)
  4. Once all cameras are connected and have their IP assignments plug in an Ethernet cable to the uplink port of your switch, if it’s not labeled you can usually see one port is separated from the others, like port 5 on this TP link model.
  5. Now connect that Ethernet cable to your computer, if you aren’t connected to another Ethernet network I would recommend using your motherboard’s native Ethernet port if it has one.
  6. Input all the IPs manually into your program of choice, when I used this method my main camera was 10.98.32.1 and 10.98.32.12 for my second camera, but again yours might be different, so make note of the IPs when you connect your cameras in steps 1-3

A limitation of this method is that the cameras will not be able to be accessed by another computer on the internet network if you are connected to one.

Z Cam Static IP Networking and How to Assign a Static IP

Make sure when assigning Static IP’s to multiple Z Cams, to use a different final number in the Static IP assignment for each camera.

  1. With your Z Cam attached to your computer with any ethernet connection method above open your browser
  2. Enter this code into your browser, with XX’s being your current IP and YYY’s being the IP you are assigning it to
XX.XX.XX.XX/ctrl/network?action=set&mode=static&ipaddr=192.168.1.YYY&netmask=255.255.255.0&gateway=192.168.1.1

To change my camera from Direct mode on 10.98.32.1 to static mode on 192.168.1.100 I used this code

10.98.32.1/ctrl/network?action=set&mode=static&ipaddr=192.168.1.100&netmask=255.255.255.0&gateway=192.168.1.1

To change my camera from Router mode on 192.168.1.23 to static mode on 192.168.1.100 I used this code

192.168.1.23/ctrl/network?action=set&mode=static&ipaddr=192.168.1.100&netmask=255.255.255.0&gateway=192.168.1.1

To change my camera in static mode on 192.168.1.100 to a new IP (192.168.1.108) in static mode I used this code

192.168.1.100/ctrl/network?action=set&mode=static&ipaddr=192.168.1.108&netmask=255.255.255.0&gateway=192.168.1.1
  1. Wait about a minute and then test to see if the change took place by entering the web controller for your new IP, in my case it was 192.168.1.100/www/index.html

How to Use a Z Cam for Video Conferencing

Connect your Z Cam to your computer using any of the above methods, since we will only be connecting one camera for this setup I would recommend using USB C, so the IPs in this tutorial will all reference the Z Cam USB C Network (172.18.18.1). In order to use this method for connecting a Z Cam for video conferencing here’s everything you need and the steps

Follow along with Jake Ratcliffe from CVP for a video tutorial
  1. Connect your Z Cam to your computer with a USB C cable. In camera connection settings menu make sure your USB setting is turned to Network
  2. Open OBS Studio and add 172.18.18.1 with Z Cam SSP Source, chose low latency & hardware acceleration for the smallest delay
  3. In OBS Tools menu select VirtualCamera, set your target camera as OBS-Camera, decreasing the buffered frames will decease latency to your video conferencing application. Click start.
  4. Open your video conferencing application, such as Discord, Skype, or Zoom, and change your video input to OBS-Camera
Last modified: October 6, 2020

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