Zoom F8 Initial Impressions [video]

When I first saw the Zoom F8 audio field recorder prototype at NAB 2015, I was a little skeptical. How can they make a pro level field recorder for only $1000. Most of the pro level devices are priced at least twice that, and those with 8 mic inputs are often 3 to 4 times that. But the specs looked really, really good on the most important things: the preamps and analogue to digital converter. So I put in my preorder and took a chance. I’ve now been shooting with it for almost four weeks and I’m quite impressed with most aspects of this recorder. It looks like it will meet my needs quite nicely - corporate videos with a one or two person crew.

One of the big features for me, though some will scratch their heads when they hear this, is the DC power hirose input. That means I can power the F8 for over 25 hours with my Anton Bauer Digital 90 battery. Yes, it and its accompanying charger are ridiculously expensive but I have no regrets. Shoots go so much more smoothly and end up coming out better when I'm not constantly changing batteries on everything. That's one of the big drawbacks of consumer and pro-sumer gear. Their batteries aren't made to last through an entire shoot in so many cases.

What really impresses me on the F8 is the clean, higher dynamic range of the recordings. You cannot appreciate that difference until you've worked with a proper preamp like the F8's (and Sound Devices and Zaxcom, etc.)