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Zoom F4

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5 hours ago, VividLizard said:

From what I've been able to gather from the kind people at B&H who have worked with it, discussion groups and Zoom itself, the F4 still suffers from much of the same ills as the F8... [...]

jup, eliminate all those ills and you pretty much have a 633 which costs fives times as much ; )

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On 9/30/2016 at 11:26 PM, chrismedr said:

jup, eliminate all those ills and you pretty much have a 633 which costs fives times as much ; )

Yes, so true. But if this recorder was upgraded to fix at least most of those issues, how much do you think it would cost? Fairly decent analog limiters, physical gain pots for channels 5 & 6 (and separate return input), somewhat better display, and mic plus real line level for the XLR inputs... just these. What, double the price, say $1400? Even at that price I would consider it a good bargain. Still, the most vexing omission would be the kind of service you get from a company like SD, which is worth quite a bit.

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3 hours ago, Vivid Lizard said:

... just these. What, double the price, say $1400? Even at that price I would consider it a good bargain. 

yeah, they could probably do that, but then they would probably sell five times less, plus quite a few people would consider going full in and spend a bit more and get a 633 which is just the nicer machine to operate, even if specs would be nearly the same.

I guess the reason for the 1/4 line-ins is that they consider musicians just as much of a market as filmmakers. 

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They've sorted the O/P and return connector (so it can conveniently be used with 'normal' camera tails - a dedicated 'return' button also a must). The pots are a useable size, is it not possible to mix with these? Deal breaker for most I'd think if not. The TC holds after a power cycle. It looks like the I/Ps will now handle an industrial line level, albeit on the 1/4" TRS. Shame not to have this with the XLRs as well, but you can make quite nice low profile TRS connectors, they wont get pulled in normal operation and they can be orientated in any direction. 

Line level issue; O/P and return connectors; pot size and monitor function precluded any standalone use of the F8 imho, if you can mix with F4 pots, the dated display is a small price to pay. Zoom have upped their game, it would not be a surprise to see a recorder in a couple of years priced somewhere between the cost of a decent mic (mkh50) and full frame DSLR (A7/D5).

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On 9/30/2016 at 9:02 PM, Vivid Lizard said:

From what I've been able to gather from the kind people at B&H who have worked with it, discussion groups and Zoom itself, the F4 still suffers from much of the same ills as the F8...

1. Digital limiters

2. Mic level only XLR inputs

3. Difficult, menu-laden "mixing"

4. A "not-as-good-as-it-should-be" headphone output (some coloring)

5. No headphone monitor knob

6. Hard to reach rear connectors / media

7. Plus, what's with that LCD screen? Going B&W I can see the cost point, but better resolution can't be THAT pricey anymore.
 

As far as positives...

1. Supposedly, the losing time code after a power down bug has been fixed. We'll see.

2. More option buttons on the front panel to access menu items faster.

3. Somewhat larger gain knobs.


One thing I was hoping for... I asked if the 5/6 channel 1/8" input was used for camera return only (simply monitoring), could the proprietary Zoom capsule input be used for recording on channels 5 & 6 at the same time.  Nope.  Worth a shot.  I find a lot of workarounds on things but this wasn't one of them.

Hey Vivid Lizard,

 

Mostly accurate here. 2 comments

 

There is a headphone volume knob on both the F8 and F4.

And time code accuracy when you turn the unit off, same as the F8. It's not so much a bug but a feature these units do not have.

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10 hours ago, ZoomOfficial said:

Hey Vivid Lizard,

 

Mostly accurate here. 2 comments

 

There is a headphone volume knob on both the F8 and F4.

And time code accuracy when you turn the unit off, same as the F8. It's not so much a bug but a feature these units do not have.

Thank you. I appreciate the feedback.

I wasn't very specific about a headphone "knob". My bad. What I meant was a headphone selector switch to select individual audio channels to monitor... or separate monitor solo buttons. Very important in my opinion.

Bummer about the time code accuracy when the unit is turned off. That kind of eliminates the F4 (and F8) as the primary time code source and thus requires another separate time code generator just for the F4 to re-sync to after a lunch or other needed shut-down. And since you need a separate TC generator anyway, Zoom might as well have saved more money and left it off and just accepted TC from the additional generator.  I know you don't see it as a "bug" but it is a rather annoying and expensive oversight... all for not having an added, tiny battery backup for time code.

But I do agree the the F4 has some very impressive qualities otherwise.

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12 minutes ago, Vivid Lizard said:

What I meant was a headphone selector switch to select individual audio channels to monitor...

as far as I have gathered one can use the PFL buttons to monitor single input channels.

 

12 minutes ago, Vivid Lizard said:

And since you need a separate TC generator anyway [...]

I wouldn't say you "need" a separate TC generator - you can record perfectly accurate sync audio as long as you keep the unit powered up or resync the camera after power down. on the type of shoots where the F4 is the primary recorder, that is not too bad of a compromise (most people will go that way instead of hooking up a separate TC generator which doubles the recorder cost).

obviously I'd love to have all the 633 features for the price of an F4, but since that's not possible I prefer they have kept price down to 700USD instead of going for slightly better and higher price - makes it a good primary recorder for people on low-budget shoots and a decent backup recorder.

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On 10/3/2016 at 5:24 AM, daniel said:

Zoom have upped their game, it would not be a surprise to see a recorder in a couple of years priced somewhere between the cost of a decent mic (mkh50) and full frame DSLR (A7/D5).

Yes, my wild guesses is next Zoom will bring out a physical hardware mixing option (rather than an iPad) to use with their F8/F4, then next after that will be an F10 which is priced higher but still priced cheaper than a typical full frame DSLR.

Maaaaaybe we'd see a Zoom F2, which is something I'd like to see! 
It would be priced at perhaps half the price of a F4 (so still higher than an H5), with 2x XLR input, 2x 3/4" inputs (and/or the H5/H6/F4/H8 accessory addition option), plus 1x XLR output. 

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10 hours ago, IronFilm said:

Yes, my wild guesses is next Zoom will bring out a physical hardware mixing option (rather than an iPad) to use with their F8/F4, then next after that will be an F10 which is priced higher but still priced cheaper than a typical full frame DSLR.

Maaaaaybe we'd see a Zoom F2, which is something I'd like to see! 
It would be priced at perhaps half the price of a F4 (so still higher than an H5), with 2x XLR input, 2x 3/4" inputs (and/or the H5/H6/F4/H8 accessory addition option), plus 1x XLR output. 

I'd like to see an F1/F2. Single/dual channel recorder, balanced/unbalanced i/p, phantom power, TC, HP, wifi transport & monitor, size of plug-on transmitter.

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On 10/4/2016 at 2:07 AM, chrismedr said:

I wouldn't say you "need" a separate TC generator - you can record perfectly accurate sync audio as long as you keep the unit powered up or resync the camera after power down.

I usually think it's best to assume a recorder will get powered down for some reason during a shoot. If not, that's great. But to have to re-sync the lockits on the camera(s) if audio powers down, when those lockits can easily go all day without a re-sync otherwise can be a minor time-consuming task during a shoot, and even unprofessional looking during actual production.  In any case, it's the audio operator and their recorder that is losing sync, not the cameras, and that just doesn't sit well with me.

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On 10/4/2016 at 8:23 AM, daniel said:

Hey Zoom Official (Samuel),

Can the F4 mix with the 4 pots/faders?

d r

 

Hey d r,

 

Yes. The 4 pots can be switched between gain and fader.

 

Samuel

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17 minutes ago, ZoomOfficial said:

Hey d r,

Yes. The 4 pots can be switched between gain and fader.

Samuel

Interesting. Can the F8 currently do the same? (Or might there be a software update to do so in the offing?)

Thanks, Jez Adamson

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11 minutes ago, The Immoral Mr Teas said:

Interesting. Can the F8 currently do the same? (Or might there be a software update to do so in the offing?)

Thanks, Jez Adamson

Hey Jez,

 

The F8 could not on release, but there was a firmware update that added this capability.

 

Samuel

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