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Z-CAM E2 camera is coming with 4K at 120fps
  • 336 Replies sorted by
  • BHphotovideo Z CAM E2 only $249.00 starting October 31, 2022! :)

    Hahaha! But the E1 started from a much lower release price than the significantly higher price the E2 is starting at.

    Thus I do not expect the E2 to be dropping down to the same price level any time soon whatsoever. Probably will take much longer than 2022!

  • @IronFilm

    I believe whole E2 issue is attempt to repeat wrong approach used by BM and do lot of things via FPGAs.

    E1 happened as project by ex Ambarella LSI engineers. Hence it used very cheap and efficient LSI.

  • @Vitaliy_Kiselev would you say it is possible with average commonly available LSI chips to offer onboard raw recording - if someone were to do clever software tricks - like dumping the framebuffer into a raw capture container - sort of a DMA addressing trick to capture and rescale or truncate raw sensor data ? think about magic lantern raw recording, but on an Ambarella or Panasonic or other LSI?

  • @bannedindv

    All LSIs on market get full size raw images and process them further.

    raw compression and storage is much simpler task compared to anything else.

    It is just laziness and fear of capitalist companies that it means providing too much.

  • I guess I forgot to share that here when I put it up. Thanks. :)

    In the meantime, the Z-Cam folks have a new beta firmware today which adds a feature that almost nobody will care about while fixing a couple of actually-annoying bugs while ignoring other major issues (including complete failure to work with Olympus Pro lenses and the SmallHD Focus).

    Major fix:

    • Correct the image quality of ISO800 (One of native ISO)
    • Continuous AF performance


    • WDR is supported in 3696x2772P24/P25/P30
    • Show menu in HDMI
    • Refine the menu
  • @eatstoomuchjam

    They seem to be very short of man power.

  • @Vitaliy_Kisilev They focused some of their people on the Z-Cam E2 variation with a global shutter and others on a new firmware release for the E1 (due by the end of the month) - so it's not surprising that they are stretched thin.

    Even if they are short on manpower, any time working on improving 4:3 modes is basically wasted. While anamorphic shooters are pretty loud online, they make up a tiny minimum of people using/buying cameras - almost definitely a smaller group than people trying to use Olympus lenses. :P

  • Kinda disappointed they got distracted by making a global shutter camera.

    There are some very vocal global shutter fanatics online (worse than anamorphic shooters! As at least they're a real need and have greater real uses), and I fear their loud voices have mislead Z Cam as to what is really truly needed. (such as making the current Z Cam E2 quickly a well polished product. And then only after that, think about an E3 which can be another rolling shutter camera which is a further natural iteration and improvement over the E2. Like the E2 was a big leap over the E1)

  • @Ironfilm

    Kinda disappointed they got distracted by making a global shutter camera.

    What you mean?

  • Agreed - I think that the global shutter is also only a 1" sensor which reduces the audience... but really, a $2500 global shutter camera is a pretty big deal. I can see why they jumped to the next shiny thing, but agreed that it would be nice if they got the E2 polished before jumping so hard on the E2G or whatever they end up calling the global shutter model.

    Apparently they need to implement support for each lens 1-by-1 so implementing new lenses is slow and requires them to have one. I've asked how Panasonic and Olympus are able to work so well with each others' lenses as well as lenses from Yi or DJI, etc. It seems like the majority of lenses from each manufacturer should "just work" if other lenses from that manufacturer work already.

  • @eatstoomuchjam

    For now they can't pull E2, abandoned app, etc

    If they try to do global shutter it can be bad.

  • What you mean?

    Because they're a teeny company, any resources diverted elsewhere will lead to compromising their other current (and future) projects. Such as the E2 at the moment.

    but really, a $2500 global shutter camera is a pretty big deal.

    The Digital Bolex D16 struggled badly at US$2.5K (although the Kickstarter was very successful, but it failed to follow through in achieving much more great success beyond the Kickstarter campaign. Not helped by a small price increase post Kickstarter), this shipped way back in 2013. Shut down in 2016.

    I am very skeptical that in 2019 that Z Cam will have a better chance of pulling off a USS$2.5K S16 global shutter camera than Digital Bolex managed to do.

  • @IronFilm

    I mean, where they announced that they'll do it?

  • @Vitaliy_Kisilev They have mentioned it on their facebook group repeatedly and are taking preorders for it. For $2500, it will be 4kp30 and there is an additional $500 upgrade to unlock 4kp60.

    In some other posts, they've dropped some hints like that the sensor is 8.9 megapixels and will be a 1" sensor with 12 stops of dynamic range (vs the 14-15 of the standard E2) - so the crop will be similar to the original BMPCC at around 2.7x.

  • I started poking around at the latest beta firmware update package today. For someone who is better at decompiling/disassembling than I am, I think this camera is super-hackable.

    The firmware image is an unencrypted zip file. In it, there's a uImage (bootable Linux kernel image), a md5 checksum file, a version file, and some tgz's containing the root fs and preferences.

    I packed the rootfs and in poking around, it looks like a pretty darn standard Linux setup, but with a couple of added binaries - imvt_camera and imvt_camera_watchdog

    Running strings against imvt_camera turns up lots of useful stuff - e.g.

    $ strings imvt_camera | grep -i "\.cfg" /usr/local/share/script/pref.cfg /tmp/data/pref.cfg /usr/local/share/script/calibration.cfg /tmp/nv/calibration.cfg /tmp/mnt/sd/MISC/logo.cfg /tmp/nv/mipi_lvds_crop_position.cfg /tmp/nv/mipi_crop_position.cfg

  • @eatstoomuchjam Is the camera still too buggy to keep, or are you able to send it back for a refund/new one at a later date?

    I'm not a huge fan of "ship first, firmware fix later" cams, and sadly, our specific BMPCC4K has to go back as we saw a few too many operational "kinks/bugs" that have cropped up, ours was not reliable enough to use on paid shoots yet...

  • I haven't asked about sending mine back for a refund. I'm willing to keep working around the limitations for now.

    If you want a stable camera that will work with all of your micro 4/3 lenses, definitely work with your HDMI screen, and consistently connect to your phone without issues, etc, you should definitely wait before considering the E2.

  • Some of the first footage from the global shutter version of the camera:

  • New firmware update with tons of fixes and user requests addressed. I'm delighted to say that my Olympus 40-150 now works (even with the teleconverter) and while I haven't tried it, I'm hopeful that the Olympus 7-14/2.8 will too.

    Fixed: HDMI compatibility with Small HD monitor
    Fixed: PCM track compatibility with QuickTime/FCP
    Fixed: ISO 800 as high native ISO
    Improved: Lens compatibility
    Improved: USB SSD writing stability and speed
    Improved: Luminance level default value is changed to limited
    Improved: TC run type default value is changed to free run
    Improved: Record audio in VFR mode
    Improved: 200/240 VFR for 1080P25/1080P50
    Improved: AF & continuous AF
    Improved: Firmware upgrade stability
    Improved: Menu layout
    New: Show menu on HDMI
    New: Desqueeze video display
    New: Option to select the playback FPS for VFR
    New: Option to enable/disable phantom power
    New: 3696x2772 resolution under WDR mode
    New: Show AF region in LCD monitor
    We will arrange the next release in the end of next month. It will:
    - Improve the CAF, it will base on human tracking.
    - Reduce the sharpness on zlog/rec709
    - AE metering: spot. It could work with the ROI of AF.
    - MF magnifier. Magnify the preview to help you to do the MF.
    - stability & other issues.

  • No progress on raw or 422 mode?

  • They say that the code for ProRes is done, but they are awaiting license approval. I think that one of the Z-Cam people mentioned before that they will support ProRes 422 and ProRes HQ at up to 60 fps. For 4kp120, H.265 is the only promised option.

    Raw still hasn't been promised - and in fact, historically they've said they had no plans to support it. Jason Z said late last week that he was reconsidering that and that some form of raw may end up happening. I wouldn't bet on it happening any time soon, though.

    FWIW, the 10-bit 120 megabit/second h.265 that the camera already does is pretty darn good, even if it isn't the most efficient codec for editing on an older system.

    The improved monitor compatibility and lens support fix my two biggest gripes, really. Once they add ProRes and make CAF better (it currently doesn't do anything at all unless using the phone app, as far as I can tell), this will be a really impressive camera, especially given how small it is.

  • 422 is useful for keying