The new Mission Impossible movie used different cameras for filming, and one of them was the Z CAM E2-F6, a compact 6K camera from China. This camera is not only powerful but also cost-effective, priced at just $3,000. Z CAM, a company established in 2015, initially focused on virtual reality cameras for three years. However, in 2018, they launched the Z CAM E2, a budget-friendly 4K camera capable of shooting at 160 frames per second with 10-bit color. Following its success, they released the Z CAM E2-F8, which can shoot in full-frame 8K.
Although independent filmmakers had been using Z CAM cameras for a while, the company gained significant recognition when the Z CAM E2-F6 was used to film action scenes in Mission Impossible: Dead Reckoning Part 1. The camera was employed as a “crash cam,” meaning it was placed in risky or challenging situations where using an expensive IMAX camera would be impractical. While they could have chosen the RED Komodo, the crew preferred the Z CAM E2-F6 because it is a full-frame system, compact, and cost-effective.
YM Cinema reported that the Z CAM E2-F6 was used in various demanding stunts, such as car pursuits, real train crashes, and motocross skydiving scenes. Tom Cruise, the lead actor, rehearsed over 500 skydives and more than 13,000 motocross jumps to perform these intricate stunts accurately.
The base model of the Z CAM E2-F6 costs $3,000 and supports full-frame 12-bit ProRes RAW output via HDMI to an Atomos Ninja V monitor recorder. It can shoot 6K footage at up to 60 frames per second and 4K at up to 120 frames per second. The camera also captures Z CAM’s ZRAW format, offering 15 stops of dynamic range. It comes with a Canon EF mount as standard, but with an optional accessory, it can be equipped to shoot with Leica M, Micro Four Thirds, or PL mounts.
For an additional $1,000, the “pro” version of the camera is available, which includes a five-inch touch monitor for camera control and options like Z-Log2, 10-bit Color, ProRes 422, and ProRes 422 HQ recording. Considering the performance it offers, this upgraded version remains an attractive bargain. Its highest resolution format is 6,064 by 4,040 at 30 frames per second (open gate), and it supports a variety of frame rates and resolutions.
RAW over HDMI external recording is not yet supported on the pro version at the time of publication. Instead, Z CAM provides custom media called ZBlades with 1, 2, and 4TB capacity options.
Given its successful use on the Mission Impossible set, Z CAM may become more prevalent in future film productions. The camera’s compact size, affordability, and impressive performance make it an appealing choice for filmmakers looking to achieve high-quality results without breaking the bank.