Z CAM has introduced a stable of cameras over the last year or so, and they are all under the E2 moniker:
- Z CAM E2C (Amazon, B&H)
- Z CAM E2 (Amazon, B&H)
- Z CAM E2G
- Z CAM E2-S6 (B&H)
- Z CAM E2-F6 (B&H)
- Z CAM E2-F8 (B&H)
What are the differences between these six cameras, and which one is right for your work? That’s what I’ll attempt to answer in this article. Read on!
Resolution, Codecs and Frame Rates
Let’s go over the names and prices of all the cameras:
|Camera||Price of body||Sensor Size||Lens Mount|
|Z CAM E2C||$799||17.56 x 13.11mm||MFT|
|Z CAM E2||$1,999||19.0 x 13.0 mm||MFT|
|Z CAM E2G||$2,499||14.13 x 7.45 mm||MFT|
|Z CAM E2-S6||$2,995||23.4 x 15.67 mm||Canon EF/Arri PL|
|Z CAM E2-F6||$4,995||37.09 x 24.75 mm||Canon EF/Arri PL|
|Z CAM E2-F8||$5,995||35.97 x 23.98 mm||Canon EF/Arri PL|
It’s pretty obvious the larger the sensor size, the more the camera costs (except for the E2G).
With a larger sensor you also have a larger mount.
The naming system is pretty straightforward:
- The G in E2G stands for global shutter, which is why it’s slightly more expensive than the ‘plain’ E2.
- The C in E2C stands for ‘compact’.
- The S stands for Super 35mm, since that’s the sensor size.
- The F stands for Full Frame, since that’s the sensor size.
- The numbers 6 and 8 stand for 6K and 8K, respectively.
Let’s look at what you get in terms of resolution, ISO and frame rates:
|Camera||ISO Range||Native ISO Values||Claimed Dynamic Range (Z-Log2)|
|Z CAM E2C||800 to 25,600||N/A||11.5 stops|
|Z CAM E2*||500 to 102,400||250 and 2500||13~15 Stops|
|Z CAM E2G||1250 to 40,000||N/A||12 Stops|
|Z CAM E2-S6||400 to 125,000||400 and 1250||14 stops|
|Z CAM E2-F6||400 to 125,000||400 and 2500||15 stops|
|Z CAM E2-F8||400 to 125,000||400 and 1250||14 stops|
|Camera||Highest Resolution and fps||Max fps at 4K||Highest Bitrate||Color Information|
|E2C||UHD @30 fps||30 fps||N/A||10-bit 4:2:0 (H.265)*|
|E2||4096 x 1728 @120 fps||160 fps (2.4:1)||300 Mbps||ZRAW, 10-bit 4:2:0 (H.265) & 10-bit 4:2:2 (Prores HQ)|
|E2G||4K DCI @30 fps||30 fps||200 Mbps||10-bit 4:2:0 (H.265)|
|E2-S6^||6244×4168 @30fps||100 fps (2.4:1)||300 Mbps||ZRAW, 10-bit 4:2:0 (H.265)|
|E2-F6 ^||6244×4168 @30fps||120 fps (2.4:1)||300 Mbps||ZRAW, 10-bit 4:2:0 (H.265)|
|E2-F8^||8192×3456 @30fps||30 fps (UHD)||300 Mbps||ZRAW, 10-bit 4:2:0 (H.265)|
*According to Z CAM: “Apple ProRes will be supported via firmware update after the certification program.” An SSD will have to be used via the USB-C output.
^4K is available by cropping or downsampling:
- E2 S6: Cropping / Supersampling selectable for: 4K UHD, 4K UHD Low Noise, DCI 4K, DCI 4K Low Noise
- E2 F6: Cropping / Supersampling selectable for: 4K UHD, DCI 4K
- E2 F8: Cropping / Supersampling selectable for: 4K UHD, 6K UHD, DCI 6K
Here’s what you get with the HDMI output (All have HDMI 2.0 Type A connectors):
|Camera||Max HDMI Output*|
|Z CAM E2C||N/A|
|Z CAM E2||C4K @60fps|
|Z CAM E2G||C4K @ 30fps|
|Z CAM E2-S6||DCI 4K @60fps, 10-bit 4:2:2|
|Z CAM E2-F6||C4K @ 60fps, 10-bit 4:2:2|
|Z CAM E2-F8||C4K @ 60fps, 10-bit 4:2:2|
I’m not sure how C4K is different from DCI 4K, though I think they’re the same thing.
*Z CAM are also working with Atomos and other partners to get ZRAW and ProresRAW recording out of some of these cameras.
Media cards and power
All models use CFast 2.0 (except the Z Cam E2C which uses SDXC).
|Camera||Battery Type||Battery life^||External connector|
|Z CAM E2C||Canon LP-E6||N/A||12V|
|Z CAM E2||Sony NP-F||120 minutes||12V LEMO|
|Z CAM E2G||Sony NP-F||N/A||12V LEMO|
|Z CAM E2-S6||Sony NP-F||N/A||12V LEMO|
|Z CAM E2-F6||Sony NP-F||N/A||12V LEMO|
|Z CAM E2-F8||Sony NP-F||N/A||12V LEMO|
The higher-specced cameras will have a larger power draw due to their sensor and processing, though we don’t have official numbers yet.
Which Z CAM E2 Cine Camera to Pick?
Since most of these cameras haven’t been released yet we can only surmise, so here’s my take for now:
|E2C||Price, probably the cheapest cinema camera ever.||It’s hard to recommend this when the BMPCC 4K is available.|
|E2||Remote control via Wi-Fi or Ethernet, VERY compact compared, 160 fps!||Not so good in low light, you’ll need to build the camera up because not much is included in the price.|
|E2G||Global shutter||Relatively low dynamic range due to global shutter.|
|S6||Super 35mm sensor at a great price, 100 fps in 2.4:1||The BMPCC 6K is hard to beat. You’ll need to build the camera up because not much is included in the price. The Red Komodo also is a factor in this price point.|
|F6||15 stops of DR, best low light performer and great feature set||Let’s wait for the actual camera to ship. The Panasonic S1H competes at this price range.|
|F8||Full-frame sensor, 8K resolution||Nothing yet, no other camera offers what this one does at this price point.|
The Z CAM E2-F8 (B&H) camera is a special case that doesn’t deliver much value to low budget filmmakers in return for 8K. You can use the $1,000 saved for lenses or important accessories. However, it might be a great B-Cam to the Helium or Monstro or Ranger. Let’s wait for more information here.
I’m not too sure about the Z CAM E2-S6 (B&H) either. It has great specs, but is too expensive for what it offers. You have to remember you don’t even get a battery with these cameras. They are completely modular, so you’ll have to build them up with accessories before you get a usable camera for cinema. The Blackmagic Pocket 6K (Amazon, B&H) offers stiff competition here.
The E2C and E2G are special-case cameras that probably won’t appeal to low budget filmmakers either.
My picks for now
The two cameras that stand out to me:
The Z CAM E2-F6 particularly has some great features for cinema:
- 15 stops of DR
- Better low light performance due to larger photosites.
- Possibility of anamorphic mode in 4K.
- Up to 120 fps in DCI 2.4:1 mode, and 72 fps in 16:9 and DCI modes.
What do you think?