Friday, May 1, 2015

Zoom Q8 - Like A Q4, But More

 On the face of it, if you thought the Q4 was a good deal at $299, but lacked some features, maybe the Zoom Q8, at $399 is the answer. I like the Q4 for the price and found it easy to use. The picture was good for this kind of small camera. If you missed my review of the Zoom Q4, you can find it here. 

The Q8 came with foam pop filter for the X/Y mics. It's OK for indoors, but you really need a dead squirrel for outside work. The kit also includes a USB charging and file transfer cable, lens hood and lens cap.

The Q4 and Q8 are color balanced only for daylight. The lack of adjustable white balance for both cameras means, if you shoot under incandescent lighting, everything looks too red. If you shoot under fluorescent things look green and yellow and you can not correct that in the camera. You can, of course, in post, if you know how.

The Q8 doesn’t seem to make automatic exposure adjustments as well as the Q4, but perhaps thats because the LCD viewer panel makes most shots look blown out even when they aren’t. 

I don’t recall seeing the 24 Mbps 2304 x 1296, 30 fps video resolution on the 
Q4, but the Q8 offers it. Quicktime will play it, but when I imported some of these files into FCP X, I got this text box: The Video Properties of this clip are not recognized. Click OK to use the settings below or click Cancel to choose another clip to automatically set your properties from. Format 2K, 2048x1152 29.97p. Final Cut X had to re-render them before they played on the timeline.

In addition, while the clips played back in the camera, they dropped frames when played back from a USB card reader and also when played back from my computer's internal HD using Quicktime 10.1 player. Curiously, Quicktime 7 was able to play without dropped frames. I was using a SanDisk Extreme 80 MB/s 10 SD HC I SD card. 

The smaller, 24 MBPS 1920 x 1080 30P files opened right up with no problem. While most of the Q8 video settings are 30 fps, it does have 1280 x 720 and 800 x 480 modes at 60fps for shooting higher action subjects.