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Z-CAM E2 camera is coming with 4K at 120fps
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  • After a little bit of hacking based on what I mentioned above, I can now confirm that ProRes code is done and in the camera, but waiting for some feature flag to be turned on.

    The "hack" persists between power cycles and a number of menu / settings changes, but will be instantly reset to h.264 if you make the mistake of going into the menu to choose h.264/h.265/etc. So far, in NTSC mode, the camera also only claims h.265 for 60p, but that might be different in PAL or CINEMA mode. I haven't taken a lot of time to play with it yet.

    Someone with more experience decompiling code might be able to figure out what flag needs to be present to enable the option in menus. I just made a guess at a config file setting based on the order of entries in the strings of the binary.

    prores menu.jpg
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  • ... and with a much easier hack (file on the memory card vs manually edit config files), my camera is now fully enabled for ProRes. It looks like the current firmware supports ProRes LT/422/HQ at up to 4kp30 and ProRes LT at 4kp60. Not bad! Too bad it'll be fairly dark by the time I'm done with my day job for today...

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  • Z-CAM E2 / 3840x2160 / 4K 120p / 1768Mbps = 221MB/s ~H264/265 4:2:0

    Z-CAM E2 / 3840x2160 / 4K 60p / 884Mbps = 110MB/s ~ H264/265 4:2:0

    Z-CAM E2 / 3840x2160 / 4K 30p / 442Mbps = 55MB/s ~ H264/265 4:2:0

    pros : 4k 120fps 2k 240fps 720p 360fps(not yet?), small size, cheap and long life battery, 16stop DR Mode

    cons : monitor, low bitrate, not yet prores 422hq

    BMPCC 4K / 3840x2160 / 4K 120p / Not support

    BMPCC 4K / 3840x2160 / 4K 60p / 1760Mbps = 220MB/s / Prores 4:2:2 HQ

    BMPCC 4K / 3840x2160 / 4K 30p / 880MB/s = 110MB/s / Prores 4:2:2 HQ

    pros : 12bit RAW, huge bitrate, Blackmagic RAW(not yet), Intraframe compression codec(prores)

    cons : battery life, ugly size, crop 1080 120fps, RAW need external SSD.

    GH5s / 3840x2160 / 4K 120p / Not support

    GH5s / 3840x2160 / 4K 60p / 150Mbps = 18MB/s ~ H264/265 longGOP 4:2:2

    GH5s / 3840x2160 / 4K 30p / 400Mbps = 50MB/s ~ H264/265 ALL-Intra 4:2:2

    Is that correct?

    Is it possible that the bitrate increase on Z-cam e2 after prores 422 codec firmware updates?

  • The ProRes bitrate on the E2 is a lot higher than h.265, as one would expect.

    ProRes 422 and ProRes HQ are only available at 4kp24 or 4kp30 right now. ProRes LT is available at up to 4kp60. 4kp120 is h.265 only.

    These limits are all based on how much data they can write to the card.

    Also, I don't think the engineers have committed to supporting 720p360 yet (and who cares, really?)

  • Check

    “Yes, this is the new virtual reality,” Zhang writes.

    “Built-in real-time facial beauty feature,” Z CAM writes. “Do you want it in [the] Z CAM E2?”

  • Jason has lots of interesting side projects going. They are also talking about a lidar module for autofocus and combining that with built-in support for the API for some company's electronic focus puller.

  • They are also talking about a lidar module for autofocus and combining that with built-in support for the API for some company's electronic focus puller.

    I am not sure if they know LIDARs really good. As making it work is around 100x harder than it seems.

  • I have no way of knowing how much experience they have with that sort of thing. In the meantime, without LIDAR, they are working on having human detection for focus and the posted videos look decent if mildly laggy.

  • Just released New beta firmware suppose to have increased the DR to 15 stops ? When I questioned it on facebook group . They simply replied with "We are Z cam we can do it "

  • I haven’t been near my camera to try the new beta, but feedback from those who have tried it has been very positive.

  • So they decided to explain the magic behind the increased dynamic range from same sensor . Via Facebook group

    I've seen a lot of "cloud reviewing" about dynamic range yesterday and let me give you some basic knowledge on log curves. When you understand how log curve compress lights you may find the way you use to judge dynamic range is kind of wrong.

    1. Sensor dynamic range can be higher than camera system dynamic range. For example the sensor can be over 100db dynamic range but the adc is only 12bit which will limit it to maximum 13 stops. If the system only deals with 12bit raw in pipeline it will be maximum 13 stops too. For those who claim Arri can do 16 stops I just want to let you know it's impossible.

    2. Log compress low light and highlights non-linearly. Normally if we normalize the light range, from 0.5-1 light range are compressed to less than 10% room. The beginning a few stops are very weak so if we don't put enough lift for these signals it will be enlarged hundreds times which will bring in very serious noise. So normally camera makers give 10%-20% of the light range as lift. This area is normally not log(we have a parameter of cut in log curve), so stops here are very flat. Then when you observe from scope the difference among these stops are weak.You can refer to existing DR test charts from log based cameras. So what to judge? SNR. I just want to say that the scene footage won't be easy to judge dynamic range from not proper prepared light environment. It's easier to judge by comparison. If you get Arri to shoot in the same condition you still have the same feeling. That's not your fault.

    3. More stops in shadow means it's more clean with the same sensor and it also means that you can under expose and still get the details back. One problem we didn't design more stops to highlight is some of our customers don't have enough lighting experience and sometimes there are shadows in face and it will break the image if it's under exposed. Most of the users I talked to don't use false color as exposure tool and that means getting into problem is a sure thing. I DON'T care how other brands solve the problem but I DO care how to make our users easier to produce good image with less efforts and I don't want them to fail in shooting. We modified the AE strategy as well to prevent over exposure as well.

  • It keeps getting better .. the sensor now can do 16 stops and "magic" is not involved .per Facebook group

    It is not magic it is engineering. The sensor is capable to do more than 15 stops. In fact when WDR is enabled it is 16 stops. As a professional camera manufacturer of course we have dynamic range test methodologies and tools not just test scenes.

  • Z Cam E2 looks good in this comparison:

  • Mark has been working on the comparison for a while so that's also with a slightly older firmware version. I'm glad he finished it. The E2 footage is also with a slightly older firmware and h.265. When he has some time, I also expect that he'll do some ProRes tests since I gave him the trick for enabling it.

  • @Eastmoomuchjam you know how to enable prores on E2? And in all flavors ?

  • @sammy Yes. It wasn't too hard to look around their firmware and figure it out. The first way I found was hard and would get reset every time you changed any of a number of settings. The second way I found is super easy and stays on. Since you seem to be following the group, you have probably seen me mention it there multiple times already.

    And yes, it enables all flavors within the limits of what the camera supports - prores 422 and hq up to 30p and prores lt at up to 60p.

  • Correction - the new firmware beta adds ProRes Proxy and now ProRes 422 shows up as an option at 4kp60. I haven't tried it yet, but I'm excited!

  • Is it possible to have 15 stop DN with this E2 ?

  • Judging by the fb group, measuring dynamic range on cameras is hard and depends on how one measures SNR. Z-Cam are claiming that the latest firmware beta has similar DR to an Alexa at up to 30p. I haven't done any tests with it yet, but even when I do, I don't have an Alexa to do side-by-side comparisons so that will be difficult to evaluate. It seems from the tests of others, though, that the new non-WDR mode has similar DR to the WDR mode and that's actually pretty exciting.

  • Judging by the fb group, measuring dynamic range on cameras is hard and depends on how one measures SNR

    To be correct - measuring "dynamic range", first require to do proper definition of it. Including specified SNR.
    And as almost 100% cameras have some kind of noise reduction you also need special measures to fully eliminate it's effect, show worst real case.

    Z-Cam are claiming that the latest firmware beta has similar DR to an Alexa at up to 30p

    As I see each day that Z-Cam guys are doing I want to cry. Now they want to compete with Alexa.
    Company completely do not understand where camera must fit on the market.

    This is the game they play now:


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  • I thought it's in the firmware but not yet "enabled" pending licences for pro res . Are you saying you hacked it to enable pro res ? Or did they already enable it ?