Sometime in the middle of January, Zoom, the venerable manufacturer of audio recorders, snuck a product announcement past everybody in the filmmaking community, and it's a strange one.
The product in question is the Zoom Q8. Think of it like this: it's essentially the same thing as the H6 audio recorder -- with the interchangeable microphone mounts and everything -- but with the added functionality of a fixed-lens camcorder that shoots HD video (2304x1296 actually). Here's the product launch video, which sheds some light on what the Q8 can do and who it is ideally suited for.
Here are the features, specs, and a few photos.
- Records up to 2304x1296 Video at 30 fps
- 160° Wide-Angle Lens (16.6mm f/2 Equivalent)
- Detachable X/Y Condenser Microphone
- Compatible with Zoom Microphone Capsules
- Dual XLR/TRS Combo Inputs
- Records up to Four Simultaneous Channels
- Record up to 24-Bit / 96 kHz Audio
- 2.7" LCD Touchscreen
- Doubles as USB Webcam & Audio Interface
- 1/4"-20 to 3-Prong Adapter Included
While the Zoom Q8 isn't going to be anybody's choice to shoot their next feature film (I mean, I suppose it could be if you were really determined), it seems like it has potential to be a useful tool for wide range of people. Of course you've got a few obvious use-cases like video journalists and people who want to shoot concerts without the burden of shitty in-camera sound. However, I think this odd little device may just have a place in the filmmaker's arsenal of tools as well. It could find use with those who shoot BTS footage constantly (I would definitely use it for that purpose), and it could be a reliable B-camera or C-camera for interview setups, especially with the added audio functionality.
At $400, it's a relatively inexpensive tool, although unless you have a specific use for it, you're likely better off putting that money towards some vintage glass or something. With that said, if you're interested in the Q8, it's available right now from B&H.
What do you guys think of the Zoom Q8? Does it have any place in the filmmaker's toolkit? If so, where?