Internal Pro Res for $799: The Z Cam E2C - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 37 Old 08-14-2019, 04:00 PM - Thread Starter
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Internal Pro Res for $799: The Z Cam E2C

http://www.z-cam.com/e2c/

4K @ 30fps, 10-bit color
4/3" CMOS sensor
11.5 stops dynamic range
Gigabit Ethernet for data, control & live streaming*
iOS and Android (beta) app for control setting & live preview



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post #2 of 37 Old 08-14-2019, 07:33 PM
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Mark, you’re soon going to need another house just to store all your cameras.
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post #3 of 37 Old 08-15-2019, 08:24 AM - Thread Starter
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ZRAW is coming also

Just attach a small external ssd (like Samsung T5) via usb-c to the camera and shoot Pro Res or ZRAW (a real RAW). Or just shoot H265 10bit at high bitrates onto a good old regular u3 SD card. HLG supported, plus a log gamma.
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post #4 of 37 Old 08-15-2019, 02:28 PM
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C’mon guys, no real EVF again...and no, I don’t want to start adding one dongly accessory after another.
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post #5 of 37 Old 08-15-2019, 04:24 PM
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If it does not shoot 8k120 16 bit raw, it is completely inadequate for professional cat video work
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post #6 of 37 Old 08-15-2019, 06:49 PM
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Out of studio work I don't see who the maker of this camera is aiming at. Both casual shooters and most pros on budget would balk at having to pay significantly more for batteries (not one in the box unless they are Canon users who already have this particular battery), a monitor like the Ninja V or something around that size, and likely some sort of gripping accessories to help with the actual handling of the camera which, in addition to this bare body, would need to have a lens and an external monitor in field shooting.

Though we probably never know for sure about the sensor inside this camera, it looks to be one of the older generation used in older or budget Panasonic and Olympus cameras. Not the one in the 2-year-old Panasonic GH5 or 3-year-old Olympus EM1 Mk2. The latter also has on sensor phase detection AF that along with the recent firmware works superbly on par (in video) with many Canon Dual Pixel AF DSLRs.

I think the price as being offered is deceptive considering the need to make it really useable though the useability with all the said add-ons and cables etc. may vary from one shooter to another.
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post #7 of 37 Old 08-15-2019, 08:30 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by P&Struefan View Post
Out of studio work I don't see who the maker of this camera is aiming at. Both casual shooters and most pros on budget would balk at having to pay significantly more for batteries (not one in the box unless they are Canon users who already have this particular battery), a monitor like the Ninja V or something around that size, and likely some sort of gripping accessories to help with the actual handling of the camera which, in addition to this bare body, would need to have a lens and an external monitor in field shooting.

Though we probably never know for sure about the sensor inside this camera, it looks to be one of the older generation used in older or budget Panasonic and Olympus cameras. Not the one in the 2-year-old Panasonic GH5 or 3-year-old Olympus EM1 Mk2. The latter also has on sensor phase detection AF that along with the recent firmware works superbly on par (in video) with many Canon Dual Pixel AF DSLRs.

I think the price as being offered is deceptive considering the need to make it really useable though the useability with all the said add-ons and cables etc. may vary from one shooter to another.
The battery costs $17 on Amazon. It's a standard Canon-type battery, same as used on the BMPCC 4K and lots of Canon DSLRs except this camera gets 80 minutes from it, not 25. You don't need a recorder like the Ninja V. That is the point. You are recording in the camera to a tiny ssd drive like the little Samsung T5 via usb c, if you want RAW or ProRes. Otherwise the same sd card you use in a GoPro to get 10bit H265 HLG. You can use a little ipod touch as a monitor,touch screen works. Fully articulating. Or you can just use the lcd on the camera, it has one.

The sensor is the one on the GH4. You get a tiny GH4 that internally shoots 10bit with better color and DR. AF like the GH4, passable if you work right with it.

I don't know who this appeals to, but certainly not to those with no imagination. Pros love to rig cameras. Modular is what they like, so they can build a rig that suits them. I agree a handle is a good idea, but you can choose what you like.

It mounts on a small gimbal, so great for handheld work, otherwise relies on the OIS in Lumix lenses. Tiny, 10bit, ILC with great customization options that don't bulk up.

Real HDR video not fake like Sony (ahem) from a tiny camera.

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post #8 of 37 Old 08-15-2019, 09:10 PM
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Piece of crap. Human tracking - cannot focus on a human.
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post #9 of 37 Old 08-16-2019, 02:53 AM
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That video is definitely not 4k, it looks more like effective 720p resolution to me. The sort of thing you might see from older Canon cameras and camcorders from a few years back.
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post #10 of 37 Old 08-16-2019, 03:28 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tugela View Post
That video is definitely not 4k, it looks more like effective 720p resolution to me. The sort of thing you might see from older Canon cameras and camcorders from a few years back.
What video? The only one I have seen that has some competence is this:

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post #11 of 37 Old 08-16-2019, 01:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tugela View Post
That video is definitely not 4k, it looks more like effective 720p resolution to me. The sort of thing you might see from older Canon cameras and camcorders from a few years back.
When the youtube video is in focus, its resolution is well above 1080p by my eyes. Did you set the quality to be 2160p on youtube?
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post #12 of 37 Old 08-16-2019, 01:03 PM
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The only thing vaguely attractive about this camera (at least to me) is the live 4k streaming, for which you need to connect it to a PC. What's the point of that??
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post #13 of 37 Old 08-16-2019, 01:33 PM
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When the youtube video is in focus, its resolution is well above 1080p by my eyes. Did you set the quality to be 2160p on youtube?
4K on a 4K monitor. The resolution on the OP video is less than HD. It is marginally better than what my G30 (Ninja V recording through the HDMI port, so compression is not an issue) upscaled to 4K looks like, and that camera has an effective resolution of around 700 - 800 lines.
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post #14 of 37 Old 08-16-2019, 02:43 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Tugela View Post
4K on a 4K monitor. The resolution on the OP video is less than HD. It is marginally better than what my G30 (Ninja V recording through the HDMI port, so compression is not an issue) upscaled to 4K looks like, and that camera has an effective resolution of around 700 - 800 lines.
And the second video? Are we making judgements about the camera's resolution from YouTube compressed videos? What is going on? I am confused (I agree the resolution of that guy's video is terrible).
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post #15 of 37 Old 08-16-2019, 07:25 PM - Thread Starter
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4K H265 10bit 200 Mbps REC709


You can download the original video I uploaded and by pass Vimeo compression.
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post #16 of 37 Old 08-17-2019, 12:12 AM
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Mine just arrived. I'll be posting a review and menu guide soon at focuspulling.com.

For limited purposes, it's surprisingly great. I hate ProRes (inefficient for acquisition, really just an intermediate codec for old Final Cut Pro) and dig H.265 for efficiency and 10-bit performance. I couldn't care less about high frame rates: no interest in shooting weddings with bridezillas in slow motion, etc. RAW is on the way via firmware. The auto-focus is at least a little better than the BMPCC4K/6K with active lenses. Battery life is longer than the BMPCC4K/6K too, even though the same battery - and there's no fan either, but a temperature readout right there on the display. Even though the packaging states iOS control only, the beta Android app works great: with the robust Wi-Fi antenna, you really get a solid viewfinder wireless connection with nominal latency, and full touchscreen controls of every function.

As a B- or C-camera during live events/music especially, it's a great (because it's cheap) thing to bring alongside better cameras. But the rolling shutter is the worst I've ever seen (no, seriously): so this thing really needs to be something you just set and forget on sticks.
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post #17 of 37 Old 08-18-2019, 10:25 AM - Thread Starter
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In the park


Note: no peripherals: no monitor, no handle, no big battery. Just the camera and lens (PL 12-60mm).

Shooting H265 200 Mbps. 10bit.
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post #18 of 37 Old 08-18-2019, 08:03 PM
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Without a monitor how do you see what you’re shooting? Actually, how would you even know if you’re holding the camera level?
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post #19 of 37 Old 08-18-2019, 09:05 PM - Thread Starter
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Without a monitor how do you see what you’re shooting? Actually, how would you even know if you’re holding the camera level?
It has an LCD screen! The screen is a little bigger than the one on the Osmo Pocket. And with focus peaking, you know what is in focus (or whether in focus) even using AF (which I use). So, it is very compact, and I can use it just like any of my other toy cameras, without anyone paying much attention - just a little box with a lens (and tiny battery).
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post #20 of 37 Old 08-18-2019, 09:06 PM - Thread Starter
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And Here is an HDR Video: HLG 10bit

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post #21 of 37 Old 08-18-2019, 10:37 PM
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While appreciating these samples, I do feel that it's Z-Log2 or bust for adjudging quality on the E2C: in this clip especially, the highlight roll-off is pretty catastrophic, looking gooey in both chrominance and luminance.

BTW, if you've got a smartphone, that's basically your monitor. They even have an Android beta that works perfectly so far as I can tell, if you're not Team Jobs.
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post #22 of 37 Old 08-19-2019, 01:00 AM
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In this particular HLG sample I think there must have been something wrong with the settings, with the HLG algorithm of the camera itself or how YouTube interpreted the upload file so the video looks the way it looks.

On my Galaxy Tab S4 screen, the highlight treatment is not only bad but all wrong. The WB is all over the place with the emphasis on noticeable red and magenta cast. The midtones in general look unnaturally flat down to the black level that also looks too pumped up. The skin tones are way off etc.

I understand the thing about HLG is that the format has more than a fair share of compatibility and viewing problems from my experience. But still there must have been something wrong here. I'd like to know how it looks on HDR TVs.
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post #23 of 37 Old 08-19-2019, 04:06 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by P&Struefan View Post
In this particular HLG sample I think there must have been something wrong with the settings, with the HLG algorithm of the camera itself or how YouTube interpreted the upload file so the video looks the way it looks.

On my Galaxy Tab S4 screen, the highlight treatment is not only bad but all wrong. The WB is all over the place with the emphasis on noticeable red and magenta cast. The midtones in general look unnaturally flat down to the black level that also looks too pumped up. The skin tones are way off etc.

I understand the thing about HLG is that the format has more than a fair share of compatibility and viewing problems from my experience. But still there must have been something wrong here. I'd like to know how it looks on HDR TVs.
If you did not view this in HDR, specifically HLG, then you cannot judge the quality. There is no sense in which the SDR transformation by Youtube is a good one to judge the camera. Do you see the same problems with the Rec709 videos?

I agree there are many blown highlights in this HLG video, even viewed in HDR. I used a new editor, and in color management mode it was diificult to see even with scopes what was going on. The REC709 videos seem fine.

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post #24 of 37 Old 08-19-2019, 04:43 AM
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It has an LCD screen! The screen is a little bigger than the one on the Osmo Pocket. And with focus peaking, you know what is in focus (or whether in focus) even using AF (which I use). So, it is very compact, and I can use it just like any of my other toy cameras, without anyone paying much attention - just a little box with a lens (and tiny battery).
Interesting. Looking at the pix & specs on the B&H website I would never have known the existence of the small LCD...unless I missed something.
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post #25 of 37 Old 08-19-2019, 05:43 AM - Thread Starter
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Interesting. Looking at the pix & specs on the B&H website I would never have known the existence of the small LCD...unless I missed something.
Yes, it took some digging to figure out there was an lcd that actually was a live view and acted just like a regular viewing lcd, and with metrics like ISO, shutter speed, aperture etc. It is not the default view, you shift into it (stays with that view even if you turn the camera off once shifted). All the product pictures show the default, with just metrics. And all the Youtube videos are with people pimping up the camera with 7" monitors, rails, big batteries, etc.
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post #26 of 37 Old 08-19-2019, 04:57 PM
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If you did not view this in HDR, specifically HLG, then you cannot judge the quality. There is no sense in which the SDR transformation by Youtube is a good one to judge the camera. Do you see the same problems with the Rec709 videos?

I agree there are many blown highlights in this HLG video, even viewed in HDR. I used a new editor, and in color management mode it was diificult to see even with scopes what was going on. The REC709 videos seem fine.
I got to watch this on my Sony HDR TV and yes it now looked normal but as another poster says, problems with highlight roll-offs remained.

What is scary about HLG is, unlike HDR10 or Dolby Vision materials that have the consistent "off" looks (wash-out color and saturation, neon greens and pinkish reds etc.) on the more ubiquitous Rec.709 SDR displays such as older TVs, computer monitors or most mobile devices, HLG video looks can be wildly and inconsistently off in WB, saturation, color cast, black level, highlight and shadow. Could this be a result of editing blind using HLG incompatible computer monitors or varied settings on the export output?

This video, for example, looks nothing on SDR displays like several HLG videos posted on YouTube by yourself, Ken and a few other posters and had become a subject of discussions here a while back.
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post #27 of 37 Old 08-19-2019, 06:41 PM - Thread Starter
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A Light, Small Touch-Screen Monitor

Touch menu items, live histogram and touch-screen focus! Weighs nothing, 8-hour battery life.

The Ipod Touch, using the Z Cam app.

You can link the Touch by usb cable, by ethernet cable or wirelessly by wifi.
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post #28 of 37 Old 08-20-2019, 06:39 AM - Thread Starter
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Zlog2 Graded (not to look filmic)

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post #29 of 37 Old 08-21-2019, 07:51 AM - Thread Starter
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Low-Light Test: Grand Central Terminal Basement


In all my GCT tests, these are the best results from any camera. ISO 1600 for most shots, at f2.8 (PL 12-60mm lens).
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post #30 of 37 Old 08-21-2019, 07:09 PM
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Mark, I got a chance to watch the HLG video from Washington Square Park on my LG C9 OLED (the newest LG OLED). So a few observations:

* To those watching in SDR, the very pink biased coloration doesn't exist in true HLG, but there are caveats.
* I noticed quite a few clips where clipping was occurring in white shirts and highlights. Not sure if this was a case of having the overall exposure set too high, not paying enough attention to the highlights, or simply the need for a ND filter.
* Just as with the Sonys that I've used when shooting in HLG, the Z Cam colors frequently do not look quite right and at other times look fine. When the colors get skewed (particularly with some flesh tones) they do tend toward the pink. As I mentioned, I've seen this same behavior with Sonys and it's the major reason I've pretty much abandoned HLG. To my eyes the colors look much more natural when shooting in SDR with the Sony and with your Z Cam.
* I frequently noticed you shifting the framing upwards as you were shooting a clip. It appeared as if you weren't sure about the framing as you began a clip. Perhaps this was not being quite familiar with the rig you were using or a case of the LCD being too small?

After watching several of the other Z Cam videos, I have to say I preferred your overall results with the Canon despite the better lowlight of the Z Cam. You'll probably disagree, but this may just be a subjective thing.

Just my 2 cents if it's worth that much.
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