Building the Ultimate Z CAM E2 F6/S6/M4 Cinema Rig

Underrated may not be the right word, but more people should be paying attention to Z CAM.

They have come out with a ton of different models of the E2 cinema camera with the increasingly popular box design and each one has been fielding a great set of specs for the price.

The E2-F6, E2-S6, and E2-M4 are all spectacular options for budget cinema cameras and come in full-frame, Super35, and Micro Four Thirds flavors, respectively.

If you have jumped on the Z CAM train or are looking more into them then you might want to see what you’ll need to get it properly kitted out. Check out this rig from filmmaker Thomas J McClure to see a great example.

Before we even get into the rig part we should dissect the line a touch. Z CAM has a bunch of cameras under the E2 name, all distinguished by the letter and number after the E2. It’s easy to decipher once you get a look at it.

  • F6 = Full-frame 6K sensor
  • S6 = Super35 6K sensor
  • M4 = Four Thirds 4K sensor

Easy, right? There’s even an F6 Pro on the way with a few nice body tweaks.

Image Credit: ZCam

Taking a look at the camera in the video you can see how tiny the camera is in his hands.

It’s also quite affordable for the features as the full-frame 6K model runs around $3,000 and that is one of the pricier ones.

This rig build does start with an interesting piece: a battery plate. Now, the Z CAM has a built-in NP-F type plate already.

However, the pins on that can be fragile and to protect it he adds an NP-F plate to the top of the built-in plate.

This Zitay BZ-H1 battery plate will secure via a couple of screws and will be much easier (and cheaper) to replace.

Next up is the cage. SmallRig continues to deliver budget-friendly and nicely constructed cages so it would make sense to go with their Z CAM Cage.

To make it easier to handle he adds, you guessed it, a side handle. He has expensive, moderate, and cheap options for you to look at.

SmallRig Cage for Z CAM E2

Image Credit: SmallRig

Helping with the mounting is the SmallRig 15mm Rod Clamp with Integrated NATO Rail. It’s a nice, small option if you are looking to add any small accessories to the top of the rig.

Now you can attach a top handle. He opted for the NICEYRIG Mini Top Handle with NATO Clamp. It’s nice a tiny and have a comfortable grip.

Pop on a cold shoe to the front along with a monitor mount and you are looking very good. If you want to start shooting you’ll need to mount a lens.

For an easy recommendation on a budget there are the Meike FF-Prime Cine Lenses which have focal length options ranging from 24mm up to 135mm with T2.1 maximum apertures. They are nice and relatively affordable.

Meike FF Prime 50mm Cine Lens

Image Credit: Meike

Monitoring can be any number of options, but for the external recording benefit, Thomas uses the Atomos Ninja V.

It is a lot cheaper to pick up large drives for the Ninja than it is to find equivalent sizes in CFast.

Atomos Ninja V Monitor/Recorder

Image Credit: Atomos

That is all you need to start shooting with a complete, compact rig. It’s lightweight as well, though there is a bit of weight coming from the lens choice.

Expanding onto this rig you can start looking to add a baseplate.

He went with a decent Nitze one with a built-in Arca-type quick release plate for easy on/off. You can also just find a decent generic option like this one from SmallRig.

Either of those baseplates will take a pair of 15mm rods. These are essential for mounting additional accessories and to do that he adds a 15mm rod clamp with ARRI rosette mount for another handle.

Tilta Nucleus Nano

Image Credit: Tilta

That handle is a wireless focusing handle from Tilta. The Nucleus-Nano system will allow you to use a small motor along with this handle for much easier focus control. Also, the front of the rods will hold a Mini Matte Box.

For the bigger rig he wants to use larger V-mount battery for higher capacity, powering accessories, and balance.

You’ll need a simple adapter to do this. Attach it to the NP-F plate you already added to get clearance for the back of the camera.

CAME-TV Mini 99 Lightweight V-Mount Battery

Image Credit: CAME-TV

Smaller V-mount batteries are nice and CAME-TV has the Mini 99 Lightweight V-Mount Battery that does the job.

Now you just need to run some cables. You’ll be running power cables and HDMI to get everything up and running.

What do you think about this rig? Have you tried out Z CAM’s E2 cinema cameras?

[source: Thomas J McClure]

Order Links:

  • Z CAM E2-F6 Cinema Camera (B&H)
  • Z CAM E2-S6 Cinema Camera (B&H)
  • Z CAM E2-M4 Cinema Camera (B&H, Amazon)
  • ZITAY BZ-H1 Battery Plate for Z CAM E2 (Amazon)
  • SmallRig CVZ2423 Cage for Z CAM E2 (B&H, Amazon)
  • GLOBAL DYNAMICS UNITED Derringer Right Handle (B&H)
  • NICEYRIG Wooden Handle with Rosette Extension Arm (B&H, Amazon)
  • CAMVATE 2829 Wooden Hand Grip (B&H, Amazon)
  • SmallRig 15mm Single Rod Clamp with Integrated NATO Rail (B&H, Amazon)
  • NICEYRIG Mini Top Handle with NATO Clamp (B&H, Amazon)
  • SmallRig Cold Shoe (B&H, Amazon)
  • ANDYCINE Mini Shoe Mount Mount (B&H, Amazon)
  • Meike 50mm T2.1 FF-Prime Cine Lens (B&H, Amazon)
  • Atomos Ninja V Recorder/Monitor (B&H, Amazon)
  • Nitze 15mm LWS Baseplate with Rod Clamps (Amazon)
  • SmallRig 1674 Camera Baseplate (Amazon)
  • SmallRig 12” 15mm Stainless Steel Rods (B&H, Amazon)
  • Tilta Nucleus-Nano Wireless Lens Control System (B&H)
  • NICEYRIG 15mm Rod Clamp with ARRI Rosette Adapter (B&H, Amazon)
  • SmallRig Mini Matte Box Lite (B&H, Amazon)
  • Fotga NP-F to V-Mount Battery Plate Adapter (Amazon)
  • CAME-TV Mini 99 Lightweight V-Mount Battery (B&H, Amazon)
  • Tiltaing Left Side Advanced Focus Handle Type V (B&H)

Disclaimer: As an Amazon Associate partner and participant in B&H and Adorama Affiliate programmes, we earn a small comission from each purchase made through the affiliate links listed above at no additional cost to you.

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