Yo what’s going on?
Today I’m checking out a nice little video camera from Zoom called the Q4
Let’s dive right into it!
So what is the Zoom Q4?
This is an HD recorder, wide angle camera that also has a built in x/y stereo mic, similar to what’s on their handheld recorders.
The concept behind it, is to be easy to use, as well as easy to mount in all sorts of ways.
The big draw is that it can capture great stereo audio which is perfect for concerts, performances, rehersals, tutorials, and even field recording.
Of course there are no limits to how you can use it, but their aim is for capturing great quality video and audio quickly and easily.
It’s also very lightweight so it’s easy to carry around.
- video format: MPEG-4 AVC/H.264 (MOV)
- video resolution: HD 1080p/30fps, HD 720p/60fps, HD 720p/30fps, WVGA 60fps, WVGA 30fps
- audio format: Wav (16 and 24 bit, 44.1, 48, and 96K), AAC/Mp3 (up to 320kpbs)
- recording media: SD/SDHC/SDXC cards (up to 128 GB)
- connections: mic/line input, usb, mini hdmi, and headphone outputs
- other features: x/y stereo mic, 2″ detachable screen, built in speaker
- price: $299.99
- product page: https://www.zoom-na.com/products/field-video-recording/video-recording/zoom-q4-handy-video-recorder
How does it sound?
I don’t have a need to go 24bit/96k, but knowing it’s there is great for those that are capturing performances, field recording, or generally working with the highest quality audio possible.
As for the sound, I find it to be pretty good for my uses, nice natural sound without picking up too much noise and I like that you can change the sensitivity settings to fit your needs.
I was wondering how it would compare to my shotgun mic, and while my shotgun was a bit more direct as suspected, the stereo mic still sounded great. I’m sure with some tweaking in the gain settings I could get a really good recording.
Also the fact that you can still hook up an external mic if you want is cool, complete with plugin power if needed!
Overall I think it sounds great, I want to see how it behaves in a much louder setting like a concert or trade show, but for the price and ease of use I think it does a great job. I could see people taking this out doing some field recording and actually capturing their field recording process as well, perfect for independent sound designers that want to give people a bit of a “behind the scenes” to what they do without too much setup.
How does it look?
The video quality is really good, and the wide angle lense really captures a lot of the viewing range.
I did find that in some situations it can give a bit of a “fish eye” effect, which may be desired when doing different creative actions shots and such, but you can’t really control it. It seems to happen more when you try to get closer to an object or area while staying in wide view.
There is no zoom, only wide and close, and there doesn’t seem to be a macro setting for close up detailed shots, then again this isn’t really aimed at that type of user I would imagine. There doesn’t seem to be any control over auto focus but again I only really found myself needing that when testing out the very close detail type of shots.
I could still get close to objects, but situations like reading text up close there seems to be a sweet spot between getting too close and blurry and being close enough to see it.
Overall, I’m happy with the video quality, the HD picture and the super wide viewing angle is really useful in a lot of situations
So what’s the bottom line?
There are many cameras out there, and audio capturing is usually not the best on most of them.
The fact that Zoom is known for their handheld recorders should definitely give you some excitement to see them mesh that tech with a full HD camera.
I give the Zoom Q4 Handy Video Recorder a 4.5 out of 5 subs, if you want a high quality HD camera that’s easy to use and can capture great audio recordings as well this is worth looking at.
The fact that it also doubles as an action camera for you adventurous types is pretty cool too, because it can use the various types of “Go Pro” style action mounts and accessories.
It also doubles as a streaming web cam and even a usb microphone, so it’s a very versatile unit in a small and portable package.
Battery life seems to be between 2.5 and 3 hours, nothing to really complain about there and it’s easy to charge via usb or it’s own wall style charger.
For those of you that want to get some high quality video, capture audio, but don’t want to spend your time learning all the subtle nuances of videography, this is definitely a grab and go solution that you can mount in many creative ways.
For example, for me, this is super easy to get overhead shots of gear on my tripods and mic stands, where my normal camera is a bit too heavy so it causes them to tip over and such.
Overall, this is a great camera, I dig it a lot for it’s ease of use and high quality output, the fact that it has a nice stereo camera as well as option to plug in an external mic is definitely a plus, it would have been cool if there was a way to mount external cameras to it though.
But, the thing is tiny so…I can forgive that!
Leave a comment below and let me know what you think