If you’d think about monitor/recorders, your first thought would always be either Atomos or Blackmagic Design. Recently, Atomos has expanded its options with the Atomos Connect, Shogun Connect, and Atomos Cloud Studio, which brings it all together. That’s a lot of Atomos. 

With these tools, filmmakers get Camera to Cloud, or C2C, and live-production tools in addition to having a ProRes RAW recorder.

But now, Atomos is tackling livestreaming with the announcement of the Zato Connect. This 5” monitor/encoder is a streamer's wet dream, at least on paper. Let’s dig in and see what all the fuss is about.

The Zato Connect Monitor/Encoder

You’d think with Atomos’ product line, this would be a typo. But no, the company has finally evolved its monitor into an encoder instead of a recorder. 

But what does this mean?

The Zato Connect is the second fully integrated device in the CONNECT line of products and offers not only livestreaming options but also high-quality video conferencing tools. 

If that’s confusing, here’s a simple breakdown. The Zato Connect is a 5” monitor that can stream your video source directly to Facebook Live, Twitch, and YouTube (among others). On top of that, you can convert any HDMI source to a webcam signal, so the Zato connect can be used with Microsoft Teams, Slack, or Zoom.

Atomos Zato Connect Front ViewCredit: Atomos

Hardware, Software, and Ports

The Atomos Zato Connect is built around a SuperAtom IPS 5” display that pumps out 1000nits of brightness. On the back, you get two USB-C ports, which can be adapted to Gigabit Ethernet via a USB-C adapter, and two full HDMI connections for video IN and OUT. 

For power, creatives can use NP-F batteries or use a power bank via the USB-C PD port. On the side, you’ll have a mic port, a headphone jack, and a connection for remotes. Opposite that, you get a power button and SD card for recording 8-bit H.264 at 80 Mbps when you’re not streaming.

Atomos Zato Connect Left ViewPorts on the left sideCredit: Atomos

It's not the best format for cinema use, but is perfect for content that is going to YouTube or Twitch. 

Software-wise, the Zato Connect runs AtomOS Lite, which is a stripped-down version found on its other devices. You won’t get fancy cinema tools like a waveform or false color, but you’ll have built-in overlay effects like lower thirds, image zoom, and frame guides.

Atomos Zato Connect Right ViewEverything on the right sideCredit: Atomos

A Bold Move

When compared to other Atomos products, the Zato Connects feels like a solid monitor that’s been stripped of any useful features that filmmakers rely on. 

But this little unit has some unique tricks up its sleeve that may surprise you. 

The Zato Connect is built not for dedicated cinema use but for the streaming and post-pandemic world. At its heart, it’s an encoder that can stream directly to your YouTube channel, Facebook, or Twitch account. 

Creatives can use it as a camera monitor and do live vlogs, or connect it to a GPU to offload the processing workload from your computer when streaming. You can also connect it to your drone output, especially if it’s an older model without modern features. 

Zato Connect UICredit: Atomos

With this in mind, having a stripped-down AtomOS makes sense. You don't need all those bells and whistles. 

The Zato Connect also includes a software audio mixer, which can adjust and/or combine audio signals, either from the 3.5mm mic input or from your HDMI and USB UVC sources. Each channel can be adjusted independently and mixed into a single stereo track for a livestream, recording, or video presentation. 

While the new unit is only focusing on providing livestreaming options, Atomos has confirmed they are working on implementing live-production and Camera to Cloud functionality.

Atomos Zato Connect Audio MixerBuilt-in Audio MixerCredit: Atomos

Not for Cameras Anymore

Atomos has always been about on-camera workflows, but with the Zato Connect, that has changed. Its tools are no longer for cinema use only. You still can use it for narrative productions, such as livestreaming your camera signal to a private channel for clients, producers, or different departments, but this new device pushes Atomos deeper into content creator territory. And that’s pretty cool. 

Atomos ZATO CONNECT 5" Monitor/Encoder

New Release!
  • 5.2" 1920 x 1080 Touchscreen Display
  • 1000 cd/m² Brightness
  • 2 x HDMI, 2 x USB Type-C
  • Records up to 1080p Video
  • Wi-Fi 5, Gigabit Ethernet
  • Simultaneous Record and Stream Video
  • Audio Mixing Capabilities
  • ATOMOS Cloud Studio, AtomOS Lite
  • Power via L-Series Battery or USB Input
5" Monitor/Encoder

Also, for only $399, it’s a bargain for what it offers in connectivity. 

Whether this is the perfect tool for your content creation needs or you have no use for it at all, it’s interesting to see Atomos bringing its expertise to other markets outside of cinematography. 

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