Zoom Q2N Camera
By Ryan Perillo
The Best camera for the working Musician
As a young musician, its important to showcase your work/performance as much as possible. With a vastly growing armada of ‘internet stars’ based purely on viral videos, it can be difficult to keep up.
If you’re busy playing music, you don’t have time for advanced cameras/audio recording set ups, neither will you have time for advanced film editing and audio syncing.
Luckily, a Japanese electronics company has our solution. Its called the Zoom (there’s an entire level range of cameras and recording gear) but today specifically we investigate the Zoom Q2N.
A nifty compact device, its about the size of a juice box, and it weighs about the same – With a 6m (millimetre) thread in the base, its easy to mount (I use a cymbal stand) and not labour intensive to use on hand, or store.
The 160 degree wide angle lens is brilliant for capturing a stage performance, as it can fit in the entire width or breadth of the stage in frame, even when its positioned closely to the band members – Only minimal ‘fish eye’ effect is noticeable, which makes it look like an extremely HD machine. My favourite part of this camera is the X/Y microphone. As a drummer, I’m well accustomed to having to apologise for terrible camera sound in any content I’ve uploaded in the past, as all cameras will simply crumble when presented with the sound of live drums. Without an external microphone, any other camera will give rubbish sound, even to the point where the sound will affect the image.
With the Zoom, there is no such problem, and the Audio matches perfectly to the image. As a musician your audio is the most important part – as is having control over it; the Q2N has a dial on its exterior that can quickly adjust your audio intake, this is an excellent feature, as is the record light on the front of the camera. If the audio is peaking, the light will flicker, and you can simply adjust your volume intake without disturbing the recording. For example, I mount my camera on the left of the drums (near the hi hats) its quite close to everything, and therefore I only need the intake on about 2 out of 10 to get a good clear drums sound, if you’re filming speech, from a similar distance, 7 or 8 will do the trick.
Niggles: When I bought my camera, it cam from the US, and it was about $250 including postage ect – Which is a great price for what you get. To keep the camera light and simple, it takes AA batteries -Which is annoying at times, and often wasteful if you can’t be bothered with rechargeable batteries. The AA’s last about 2 hours for recording, it also takes power (which is basically the same power cord as the android smart phones) But, you have to go and buy your own cable (it doesn’t come with one) it also doesn’t come with an SD card (Mine has a 32G micro SD, which can do about 6 hours of film) These things aren’t greatly expensive, but it’s a bit fiddly having to go and collect these items; its also not immediately obvious that it can take power (so don’t worry, it absolutely can)
It also doesn’t come with a case, and the lens doesn’t come with a cover, so I keep in wrapped in a felt bag, in a watch box. Another thing to pay attention to, which others have mentioned in similar reviews, is the lighting flare. Due to the nature of the exposed lens (its convex, unlike most cameras) there are times when a rainbow coloured veil will appear on your recording, sometimes its only little, but still visable. This is just due to the position of the lighting. The camera has internal settings to adjust your light intake too, but they’re not as effective as the volume adjuster. Mine will mainly be used for live performance, or drum films when the lighting will be correctly positioned, but if you’re going to be filming a delicate piano recital, its best to check first that there are no encroaching rainbows on your playback – the playback screen is very small, but the files can quickly be viewed on a pc or mac (if you get a USB lighting cable with a power adaptor, you can simply plug straight into the computer and check your files)
I have to give this Camera a standing ovation – Out of all the much larger more ‘serious’ cam corders I’ve been through, the Zoom has literally whooped every single one. Its perfect for all types of filming, and none more important than capturing musical performance. Its simple, its well priced, the quality is unbeatable, and when mounted on or near drums, it doesn’t really look like a camera, which is incredibly useful (as most of us are) if you prefer the capture of your performance to be discreet.
Zoom the company also have about 20 other brilliant products for film capture/production, audio capture/production, and live music effect systems. I’m certainly keen to experiment with some of their extremely high end cameras, based on what the little Q2n can do
Live raw clip captured on Zoom
Also, the Zoom in use on a HD clip