For years we have seen companies jump into the cinema camera game with affordable, yet feature-rich products. Z CAM is one of the latest to really take off with their incredible E2 line.
More recently, this included the release of the E2-F6 – a compact full-frame offering able to record 6K video at up to 60p. Got your attention, right?
It’s still a bit unusual in form factor and is a relatively new system compared to something like an ARRI. So, to test out performance of the E2-F6, Spenser Sakurai managed to get the Z CAM model side-by-side with an ARRI AMIRA. An interesting test.
The initial test was fairly demanding for dynamic range with windows directly in the background behind the subject to provide some difficult highlight.
Everything else was matched up quite well between the two cameras with similar lenses and matched color in post. Changing things up a little in terms of aperture or ISO between the takes was a nice attempt to try and reveal any differences.
How did they compare? Well, on first glance they look really close. It’s seriously very close. I think you are seeing some interesting balancing from the differences between the two sensors.
One is a larger, higher-resolution (F6) while the other is a smaller, lower-resolution (AMIRA). The advantages of each tended to cancel each other out and put them both in line with one another in the end.
I will say if I had to pick I would probably give the AMIRA the edge in dynamic range, it just looks a bit smoother in the highlight roll off, and I would say the F6 is definitely sharper from shooting at 6K and downsampling.
If you are looking to get some great image quality at an affordable price the Z CAM E2-F6 is looking like another great pick. You don’t need an ALEXA but keep in mind that there are some oddities that go along with the Z CAM’s sub $4K price tag.
Examples of this are a small, square body, a tiny top screen, smaller, limited controls, and other quirks. You will need to pick up a monitor, such as the Atomos Ninja V, to really use it.
Seeing the footage from the E2-F6 next to the AMIRA should make everyone feel a bit more comfortable about using the camera. Also, Z CAM has been on a roll with unlocking new features on their cameras over time, like adding ProRes RAW support to the E2, so that is nice to see from the company.
[source: Spenser Sakurai]
- Z CAM E2-F6 Cinema Camera (B&H)
- ARRI AMIRA Camera (B&H)
- Atomos Ninja V 5” 4K HDMI Recorder/Monitor (B&H, Amazon)
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