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Zoom Q4 Handy Video Recorder

You Pay: $299.99
Product Highlights
  • Full HD 1080p/30 Video
  • 120° X/Y Condenser Microphone
  • Detachable 2.0" LCD Screen
  • Lens with Wide 130° Angle-of-View
  • Outboard Audio Controls
  • Line-In/Stereo Mic Input Jack
  • Combo Headphones/Line Output Jack
  • Micro HDMI Output
  • USB Port for Using Camcorder as a Webcam
  • 3-Prong Action Camera Mount Compatible

The Zoom Q4 Handy Video Recorder combines Full HD 1080p video with Zoom's high-quality audio capture technology. Designed with musicians in mind, the Q4 features a pop-up 120° X/Y condenser microphone that lets you capture live studio performances, concerts, or videos of yourself playing with studio-quality sound. The Q4 also features a detachable flip-out 2.0" LCD screen unit, a lens with a wide 130° viewing angle, and outboard audio controls for quick access to settings such as gain, monitor volume, and low cut filter.

The Q4 captures HD video at 1080p/30, 720p/60, or 720p/30 to SD/SDHC/SDXC memory cards up to 128GB in size. It can also record WVGA video at 60 or 30fps. A micro HDMI port allows you to connect the camcorder to your HDTV to watch your footage. When it comes to recording audio, the Q4 provides a lot of options. When highest-quality audio is needed, you can record using 16 or 24-bit uncompressed WAV formats at 96, 48, or 44.1kHz. When audio quality isn't as important and you want to save space on your SD card, you can choose to record audio using the compressed AAC format with bit rates from 64 to 320kbps.

The Q4 provides an external stereo input jack with plug-in power for connecting external microphones and other audio devices, and a headphones/line output jack for listening to your audio. A USB port allows the Q4 to be connected to your computer or to an iPad using an optional iPad camera connection kit. This lets you transfer files and use the camcorder as a webcam for streaming audio and video. The USB port also provides power for charging the lithium-ion battery. An optional AC adapter is also available, sold separately. The Zoom Q4 comes included with the a lithium-ion battery that provides up to 3 hours of record time, a hairy windscreen and attachment screw, and a USB cable.

Full HD 1080p Recording
The Q4 captures video using the H.264 video codec, and offers Full HD 1920x1080 video at 30fps, as well as 720p video at 30 or 60fps. In addition, you can also choose to record standard definition WVGA formats at 30 or 60fps when smaller file sizes are needed.
2.0" Detachable LCD Screen Unit
The 2.0" LCD screen can be rotated to be viewed from a variety of angles. When the screen is positioned to face the front of the camera, the image rotates so it is right side up. This is useful when recording videos of yourself playing. The LCD screen unit can also be detached, making the camcorder even more compact.
Pop-Up X/Y Condenser Microphone
The wide 120° pop-up X/Y condenser microphone give you professional-quality audio, making the Zoom Q4 ideal for shooting any kind of musical performance and sharing it with the world. The microphone features a maximum sound pressure input of 130 dB SPL, and an input gain of +7 to +47 dB.
Outboard Audio Controls
Outboard audio controls let you quickly adjust and fine-tune your audio settings. Select between Auto and Manual Gain control, enable the low cut filter, and adjust volume.
Use as a Webcam
Connect the Q4 to your computer via a USB cable to use it as a high-quality video and audio streaming webcam. The recorder can simultaneously transmit video of up to 720p and 48kHz/16-bit quality PCM audio to the computer. If the streaming application does not have a lip sync function, you can use the volume +/- keys to set the audio delay time so that it matches the timing of the video.
Lighting Settings
Choose among three different lighting settings. For most situations, choosing "Auto" will give you the best, clearest results, as it adjusts lighting conditions automatically. You can also select "Concert Lighting", which is better suited for live shows, concerts, and other situations with bright lights. Choose "Night" for maximizing results when recording at night or in dark environments.
Combo Line In / Stereo Input Jack
Use an external microphone or audio equipment by connecting them to the external stereo input jack. The jack can be activated to provide plug-in power to external microphones. When an external device is connected to the external input jack, the built-in X/Y microphone is disabled.
Compatible with 3-Prong Action Camera Mount
In addition to a 1/4"-20 threaded hole, the Zoom Q4 also features the same mount as GoPro cameras, making it compatible with a wide range of 3-prong action camera mounts. Attach the camera to a mic stand, clamp it to a guitar, or place it anywhere onstage or in the rehearsal room.
Additional Features
  • Digital Zoom takes angle-of-view from 130° to 95°
  • Combo line-in/stereo mic input jack for using external microphones
  • Combo headphones/line output jack
  • Built-in 400mW speaker
  • iPad support for using Q4 as audio interface and mass storage
  • HDMI output is NTSC/PAL switchable for multi-region viewing
  • Hairy windscreen with attachment screw
Camera
Sensor 3 Megapixel 1/3"  CMOS
Optics
35mm Equivalent Focal Length 22 
Maximum Aperture f/ 2.8
Lens Fixed Focus
Focusing Distance 21.7" / 55.0 cm - Infinity
Angle of View 130°
Zoom Digital
Recording
System NTSC
Recording Media SD/SDHC/SDXC Up To 128GB 
Video Format High Definition
MPEG4-AVC/H.264
1920 x 1080p / 30 fps
1280 x 720p / 60 fps
1280 x 720p / 30 fps
Standard Definition
WVGA
848 x 480 / 60 fps
848 x 480 / 30 fps
Aspect Ratio 16:9
Microphone Recording Angle 120°
Channels Stereo
Audio Format AAC
WAV
Sampling Frequency AAC: 48.0 kHz
WAV: 96.0 kHz
WAV: 48.0 kHz
WAV: 44.1 kHz
Bit Rate AAC: 320.0 kbps
AAC: 256.0 kbps
AAC: 192.0 kbps
AAC: 128.0 kbps
AAC: 64.0 kbps
WAV:24.0-bit
WAV:16.0-bit
Display
Display Type LCD
Touchscreen No
Screen Size 2.0"
Features
Scene Modes Preset: Yes
Built-in Mic Yes
Built-in Speaker Yes
Accessory Shoe None
Tripod Mount 1/4"
Input/Output Connectors
Inputs 1x 1/8" (3.5mm) Stereo Input (Jack) combined line/mic (can supply plug-in power)
Outputs 1x 1/8" (3.5mm) Stereo Output (Jack) combined line/headphone
1x HDMI D (Micro)
1x USB Mini-B
Microphone Input Yes
Headphone Jack Yes
General
Battery Rechargeable Lithium-Ion Battery Pack, 3.7-4.2VDC, 1050mAh
Providing up to 3 Hours per Charge
Charging Method AC Adapter
USB
Charging Time 3 hours
Dimensions (WxHxD) 4.2 x 2.3 x 1.2" / 106.4 x 57.8 x 30.4 mm Recorder, without battery
1.6 x 1.9 x 2.9" / 40.1 x 48.4 x 73.6 mm LCD unit
Weight 5.89 oz / 167 g Recorder, without battery
1.80 oz / 51 g LCD unit
Zoom Q4 Handy Video Recorder
  • Detachable LCD Screen
  • Lithium-Ion Battery
  • Hairy Windscreen
  • Attachment Screw for Hairy Windscreen
  • USB Cable
  • Limited 1-Year Warranty
  • REVIEW SNAPSHOT®

    by PowerReviews
    ZoomQ4 Handy Video Recorder
     
    4.0

    (based on 11 reviews)

    Ratings Distribution

    • 5 Stars

       

      (4)

    • 4 Stars

       

      (4)

    • 3 Stars

       

      (2)

    • 2 Stars

       

      (1)

    • 1 Stars

       

      (0)

    91%

    of respondents would recommend this to a friend.

    Pros

    • Easy to use (10)
    • Great sound (10)
    • Great picture quality (5)
    • Good in low light (3)

    Cons

    • Limited zoom (8)
    • Poor in low light (4)

    Best Uses

    • Home movies (6)
    • Documentaries (5)
    • Travel (4)
    • Weddings (4)
    • HD shooting (3)
      • Reviewer Profile:
      • Semi-pro (5), Pro videographer (3)
      • Was this a gift?:
      • No (11)

    Most Liked Positive Review

     

    Zoom Q4 gets high marks

    The new product that had everybody excited at the 2014 Winter NAMM tradeshow in Anaheim was the Zoom Q4 camcorder, intended to compete in the "head-cam, personal POV, miniature camera"...Read complete review

    The new product that had everybody excited at the 2014 Winter NAMM tradeshow in Anaheim was the Zoom Q4 camcorder, intended to compete in the "head-cam, personal POV, miniature camera" market.

    The Q4 is small and lightweight. It will fit within the palm of your hand (or in your shirt pocket).

    A couple of the features that caught everyone's eye was the more traditional ergonomics of the unit, along with the ability to record 1080/30HD video MPEG-4 AVC/H.264 (MOV)) along with professional grade audio up to 24bit/96k!

    Of course you can choose to record video and audio at a wide variety of lesser settings and smaller file sizes:

    HD 1080p/30fps, HD 720p/60fps, HD 720p/30fps, WVGA 60fps, WVGA 30fps.

    WAV (16/24-bit quantization, 44.1/48/96kHz sampling frequency , AAC (64 – 320kbps bit rate, 48kHz sampling frequency).

    The Q4 handles like a traditional camcorder, not a flat pocket still camera. It has a flip out viewfinder that rotates front to back. The viewfinder module slides off of the camera body entirely if you need to conserve size, mass, or power. The Q4 menu allows you to invert the video, so that you can operate the camera suspended upside down, which is handy if you hang the camera from its ¼-20 tripod socket (on the bottom of the Q4).

    The lens is a fixed wide angle. However, a touch of the button instantly cuts to a 4X narrower view. So, in effect, you can alternate (live) between two angles of view. The specs lead one to believe that minimum focus is 55 cm (22 inches), but I had no problem shooting objects just a couple inches away from the lens.

    Exposure and white balance are auto. There are 3 exposure settings available: normal auto; Concert (backlight); and Night (high gain).

    I tried a test using a (nightvision) IR illumination array that I use with my surveillance camera. The Q4 did see the IR led's glowing brightly, but was not sensitive enough in that spectrum to see anything "lit" by the array.

    Let's look at the audio. The Q4 features a flip-up X-Y stereo microphone, which is far superior to the typical "on-board" camcorder mikes.

    On the back of the camera is a stereo mini headphone jack, with volume variably controlled by a rocker switch on the side. That jack can also serve as a line level output instead.

    Also on the rear of the camera is a stereo mini input jack, for mic or line level external input. A menu selection can activate a volt or two of "mic powering" for consumer electret units. (Do not confuse this for professional Phantom powering.)

    Input level options include auto gain or manual gain. In the Auto mode, there are choices for Concert (loud), Solo performance (not so loud), or Meeting (normal). The manual gain switch also only provides for three choices, but is selectable on the side of the camera rather than via the menu. The viewfinder meters accurate audio levels in dB.

    Although I would have preferred completely variable input levels, at least the 3 settings get me close enough that I can make more precise ref level adjustments from my mixing panel.

    I ran some tests and discovered that Zoom's definition of LINE LEVEL INPUT is questionable, in practice. Technically, they are correct. I sent a -10dB test tone into the Q4 (set to manual audio) and it landed (on the lowest sensitivity setting) at -6dB. It cleared it, but not by much! When I selected a +4dB tone output, the signal blew off the Q4 meter scale.

    Next, I pumped the tone generator into my Mackie 1402 panel, and set my output to zero on the Mackie meters. Normally, when I output the Mackie to a digital recorder, I adjust Mackie zero to -20dB on the recorder. Zero out of the Mackie, into the Q4, blew off the scale. If I depressed the built-in attenuator switch on the back of the 1402, which knocks around -35dB off of the main outputs (Mackie calls it a mic/line button), then of course I had no problem going in to the Q4.

    I tried using my XLR-PRO adapter box (similar to a BeachTek) and of course that had no problem converting a hot line signal down to a Q4 acceptable mic level input. But the Q4 does not require a full -50dB line to mic conversion; simply using an inline attenuator pad that could knock off -20 to -30dB is fine.

    What sets the Q4 apart is the ability to record audio in professional formats, such as 24bit/96k or the more commonly used 24bit/48k. Of course, you can also choose 16bit, or 44.1k -- or even lower bit rates (though I cannot imagine why).

    Using the Q4 is easy. Files can be immediately played back by pressing a button from the home screen. Alternately, you can menu thru to the Files area and select files for playback or deletion.

    Connect to your computer via the (supplied) USB cable. The Q4 does not come with an external battery charger, but charges within the camera via USB. You can purchase a separate USB power supply if you prefer not to tie up your computer.

    With the USB connected, the Q4 acts as a guest drive (card reader), and you can access the files just as you would with a still camera. You can play the files thru the USB connection and view them on your computer screen, or you can copy them directly to your hard drive. They show up as MOV files, which play in QuickTime or may require a different media player, depending on your computer configuration. (Even though I have QT on my laptop, the Windows 8.1 requires a different media player.) Just as with a still camera, you can edit the SD card of the Q4 through your computer access.

    Speaking of QuickTime, I did discover that the Q4 codec did not work in some of the older video editing programs, such as Adobe Premiere CS5. You can use QuickTime Pro to export the files into a friendlier version of H.264 or a wide variety of other formats.

    To output the video files from the Q4 directly to a monitor or projector, you need to purchase an HDMI to Micro type D output cable. I have discovered that when you output audio via the HDMI, you need to make sure that the headphone output is not set too high, or else you will hear hiss on the soundtrack.

    It fits into my pocket, so I can carry it around while hiking, sightseeing, or at events. When I teach college classes or workshops, the camera allows me to show close-up detail on a large monitor. Often, during my courses or workshops, we record production sound direct to video from a mixing panel so that the class can review the playbacks. In the past, I have utilized bulky 3-chip camcorders. But the Q4 affords me the same technique, but with one less heavy case to ship.

    Zoom did not offer any spare batteries for the Q4. They do, however, offer an AC powered USB charger that allows you to recharge the camera battery inside of the camera, without having to connect to a computer host.

    But there is a better solution. Turns out that the Zoom Q4 uses a Samsung SLB-10 (SLB-10a) style lithium battery. So if you run an internet search for that battery, you will find spare batteries in the $10 to $20 range. I just purchased one and I was also able to purchase an external battery charger (AC or 12v CIG) -- which is more convenient than having to use the camera as a charger!

    A note regarding use of SD cards. Most SD cards work just fine for 30p settings. However, to record at 720/60p -- you must have a high speed card or else the camera will drop out of RECORD mode within a second or two. At first, that was driving me crazy, until I swapped out SD cards with my still camera. Then the dropped recording problem went away.

    The Q4 might also serve as an excellent introductory camera for basic filmmaking. Not having a zoom lens forces the students to be more cognizant of camera placement and setups.

    VS

    Most Liked Negative Review

     

    music video camera

    I recently got a zoom q4 camera so i could record my band's live shows, practices, etc. I've only used it a couple times but here is what i think so...Read complete review

    I recently got a zoom q4 camera so i could record my band's live shows, practices, etc. I've only used it a couple times but here is what i think so far-

    - video is decent and excellent at the highest HD setting. the auto settings are good for concert and night time

    -audio is excellent. the condenser mics pick up everything in the room and there are controls are easy to set and use

    the bad stuff -

    - my biggest issue with the zoom q4 is the power settings. The battery lasts only 2 hrs and you cannot record while plugged to a wall. Since I am recording three sometimes four hour shows, this is a problem. I'm going to have to hunt down an extra battery or two in order to get the most out of the camera.

    Reviewed by 11 customers

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    Displaying reviews 1-11

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    5.0

    Very Handy HD Camera / Surprising Audio

    By GHB

    from Georgia

    About Me Pro Videographer

    Verified Buyer

    Pros

    • Easy to Use
    • Great Picture Quality
    • Great Sound

    Cons

    • Limited Zoom
    • No image stabilization

    Best Uses

    • Documentaries
    • Travel

    Comments about Zoom Q4 Handy Video Recorder:

    With the new downloadable upgrade - Not only is the Q4 a great little video camera, but a great little webcam as well.

    • Was this a gift?:
    • No

    Share this review

     
    5.0

    GoPro Size with Real Audio and a Screen!

    By Dutch

    from Georgia

    About Me Pro Videographer

    Verified Buyer

    Pros

    • Easy to Use
    • Great Picture Quality
    • Great Sound
    • Large Clear LCD

    Cons

    • Limited Zoom

    Best Uses

      Comments about Zoom Q4 Handy Video Recorder:

      The Q4 is an amazing little camera which competes with the GoPro for size and image quality...It is not designed to be "kicked around" like the GoPro, but it absolutely makes great HD video. It surpasses the GoPro on ease of use, built-in audio quality, and video review (by a mile!) I highly recommend this camera for anyone looking for a highly portable, usable HD video capture device. GREAT CAMERA!

      • Was this a gift?:
      • No

      Share this review

       
      4.0

      Nice Little Camera

      By Pete B.

      from Winchendon, MA

      About Me Semi-pro Videographer

      Verified Buyer

      Pros

      • Easy to Use
      • Great Picture Quality
      • Great Sound

      Cons

      • Limited Zoom

      Best Uses

      • Action Shots
      • B-roll
      • Documentaries
      • Home Movies
      • Stock Footage
      • Weddings/Events

      Comments about Zoom Q4 Handy Video Recorder:

      Overall, this is a nice little camera. The video quality is nice, and the audio quality is superb. This thing picks up audio that you might not think was there (sometimes, not such a good thing, too). A couple things to note when you buy: 1) the camera is very small. Handling it may be difficult/uncomfortable/unnatural. We attached it to an action mount to overcome the size issue. 2) The image "fish eyes" around the edges. In our production, we noticed this when we went for a wide shot of an audience, and the left and right sides bowed out a little. 3) The audio auto-leveling sometimes drowns out the intended subject, and catches little nuance noises in the area. It wasn't very noticeable, but it happened every now and again where the subject of the shoot was suddenly quiet, and an ambient noise took over. And, 4) there are only two zoom settings: wide, and not as wide (I definitely wouldn't call it tight). For our application, it is helpful to keep the shooter focused on the subject, rather than focused on zooming in and out for the shot. For more professional or fine-tuned applications, this might not be good enough. Overall, a good camera for action and stock footage. The hairy windsocks were a nice touch as well (definitely a conversation starter, if anything).

      • Was this a gift?:
      • No

      Share this review

       
      3.0

      Good

      By Alex

      from NYC

      About Me Semi-pro Videographer

      Verified Buyer

      Pros

      • Easy to Use
      • Great Sound

      Cons

      • Limited Zoom
      • Poor In Low Light

      Best Uses

      • Home Movies
      • Weddings/Events

      Comments about Zoom Q4 Handy Video Recorder:

      The image quality is OK. was expecting better but it's ok. Zoom is known for the microphones, not the cameras.

      The sound is of excellent quality. However, here are some annoying facts:

      - if you put the input level on automatic, the sound will drop when the volume of the band gets loud.

      - when on manual, the minimum is REALLY minimum… then the second position of the input level is much much higher, and the sound can be distorted. the high position should not be used for anything else than to record the level of a conversation.

      the cool things:

      - the screen that can turn around so you can see and be recorded.
      - the light on the front of the camera flashes when the sound input is to high
      - the mic is good and the way it is stored inside the camera is good to keep it safe. however I have forgotten a few times to open it, but it worked fine anyway.
      - it can use the GoPro mounts
      - It can be used while power connected on a computer.
      - seems like it is well manufactured and will last. although the screen seems a little fragile.

      Basically it is a good product. I was personally expecting a better image quality and an easier way to set up and control the sound. Despite this, I have kept it and use it all the time.

      • Was this a gift?:
      • No

      Share this review

      (0 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

       
      2.0

      not what we expected

      By Russ

      from Springfield,Mo.

      About Me Semi-pro Videographer

      Verified Buyer

      Pros

      • Good sound

      Cons

      • Limited Zoom
      • Poor Image Quality
      • Poor In Low Light
      • Poor Still Image

      Best Uses

      • Web cam

      Comments about Zoom Q4 Handy Video Recorder:

      as far as sound quality it was good, but for filming it dose not perform well. you can not zoom slowly in and out.it is all or nothing.the picture quality was not good at all it made everything we tried to film look dull and washed out.overall not very good unless your going to use it for a web cam.

      • Was this a gift?:
      • No

      Share this review

      (2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

       
      4.0

      Solid, fit to purpose

      By Ahconway

      from Arlington MA

      About Me Video Enthusiast

      Verified Buyer

      Pros

      • Easy to Use
      • Great Sound

      Cons

      • Limited Zoom

      Best Uses

      • Live Music

      Comments about Zoom Q4 Handy Video Recorder:

      I got the Q4 primarily for recording live music, and it's great for that. Sound quality is easily as good as my Zoom H2N, and the auto levels are working well. I really like the no-nonsense design, but ergonomics are more suited to use on a tripod or other mount - not handheld as is.

      • Was this a gift?:
      • No

      Share this review

      (11 of 12 customers found this review helpful)

       
      4.0

      Zoom Q4 gets high marks

      By Fred Ginsburg CAS PhD

      from Los Angeles CA

      About Me Pro Videographer

      Verified Reviewer

      Pros

      • Compact
      • Easy to Use
      • Excellent Audio
      • External Audio Input
      • Great Sound
      • Headphone jack
      • Removable Viewfinder
      • Traditional Viewfinder

      Cons

      • Battery Only Lasts 3 Hrs
      • Poor In Low Light
      • Unusual Video Codec

      Best Uses

      • Documentaries
      • HD Shooting
      • Home Movies
      • Travel
      • Weddings/Events

      Comments about Zoom Q4 Handy Video Recorder:

      The new product that had everybody excited at the 2014 Winter NAMM tradeshow in Anaheim was the Zoom Q4 camcorder, intended to compete in the "head-cam, personal POV, miniature camera" market.

      The Q4 is small and lightweight. It will fit within the palm of your hand (or in your shirt pocket).

      A couple of the features that caught everyone's eye was the more traditional ergonomics of the unit, along with the ability to record 1080/30HD video MPEG-4 AVC/H.264 (MOV)) along with professional grade audio up to 24bit/96k!

      Of course you can choose to record video and audio at a wide variety of lesser settings and smaller file sizes:

      HD 1080p/30fps, HD 720p/60fps, HD 720p/30fps, WVGA 60fps, WVGA 30fps.

      WAV (16/24-bit quantization, 44.1/48/96kHz sampling frequency , AAC (64 – 320kbps bit rate, 48kHz sampling frequency).

      The Q4 handles like a traditional camcorder, not a flat pocket still camera. It has a flip out viewfinder that rotates front to back. The viewfinder module slides off of the camera body entirely if you need to conserve size, mass, or power. The Q4 menu allows you to invert the video, so that you can operate the camera suspended upside down, which is handy if you hang the camera from its ¼-20 tripod socket (on the bottom of the Q4).

      The lens is a fixed wide angle. However, a touch of the button instantly cuts to a 4X narrower view. So, in effect, you can alternate (live) between two angles of view. The specs lead one to believe that minimum focus is 55 cm (22 inches), but I had no problem shooting objects just a couple inches away from the lens.

      Exposure and white balance are auto. There are 3 exposure settings available: normal auto; Concert (backlight); and Night (high gain).

      I tried a test using a (nightvision) IR illumination array that I use with my surveillance camera. The Q4 did see the IR led's glowing brightly, but was not sensitive enough in that spectrum to see anything "lit" by the array.

      Let's look at the audio. The Q4 features a flip-up X-Y stereo microphone, which is far superior to the typical "on-board" camcorder mikes.

      On the back of the camera is a stereo mini headphone jack, with volume variably controlled by a rocker switch on the side. That jack can also serve as a line level output instead.

      Also on the rear of the camera is a stereo mini input jack, for mic or line level external input. A menu selection can activate a volt or two of "mic powering" for consumer electret units. (Do not confuse this for professional Phantom powering.)

      Input level options include auto gain or manual gain. In the Auto mode, there are choices for Concert (loud), Solo performance (not so loud), or Meeting (normal). The manual gain switch also only provides for three choices, but is selectable on the side of the camera rather than via the menu. The viewfinder meters accurate audio levels in dB.

      Although I would have preferred completely variable input levels, at least the 3 settings get me close enough that I can make more precise ref level adjustments from my mixing panel.

      I ran some tests and discovered that Zoom's definition of LINE LEVEL INPUT is questionable, in practice. Technically, they are correct. I sent a -10dB test tone into the Q4 (set to manual audio) and it landed (on the lowest sensitivity setting) at -6dB. It cleared it, but not by much! When I selected a +4dB tone output, the signal blew off the Q4 meter scale.

      Next, I pumped the tone generator into my Mackie 1402 panel, and set my output to zero on the Mackie meters. Normally, when I output the Mackie to a digital recorder, I adjust Mackie zero to -20dB on the recorder. Zero out of the Mackie, into the Q4, blew off the scale. If I depressed the built-in attenuator switch on the back of the 1402, which knocks around -35dB off of the main outputs (Mackie calls it a mic/line button), then of course I had no problem going in to the Q4.

      I tried using my XLR-PRO adapter box (similar to a BeachTek) and of course that had no problem converting a hot line signal down to a Q4 acceptable mic level input. But the Q4 does not require a full -50dB line to mic conversion; simply using an inline attenuator pad that could knock off -20 to -30dB is fine.

      What sets the Q4 apart is the ability to record audio in professional formats, such as 24bit/96k or the more commonly used 24bit/48k. Of course, you can also choose 16bit, or 44.1k -- or even lower bit rates (though I cannot imagine why).

      Using the Q4 is easy. Files can be immediately played back by pressing a button from the home screen. Alternately, you can menu thru to the Files area and select files for playback or deletion.

      Connect to your computer via the (supplied) USB cable. The Q4 does not come with an external battery charger, but charges within the camera via USB. You can purchase a separate USB power supply if you prefer not to tie up your computer.

      With the USB connected, the Q4 acts as a guest drive (card reader), and you can access the files just as you would with a still camera. You can play the files thru the USB connection and view them on your computer screen, or you can copy them directly to your hard drive. They show up as MOV files, which play in QuickTime or may require a different media player, depending on your computer configuration. (Even though I have QT on my laptop, the Windows 8.1 requires a different media player.) Just as with a still camera, you can edit the SD card of the Q4 through your computer access.

      Speaking of QuickTime, I did discover that the Q4 codec did not work in some of the older video editing programs, such as Adobe Premiere CS5. You can use QuickTime Pro to export the files into a friendlier version of H.264 or a wide variety of other formats.

      To output the video files from the Q4 directly to a monitor or projector, you need to purchase an HDMI to Micro type D output cable. I have discovered that when you output audio via the HDMI, you need to make sure that the headphone output is not set too high, or else you will hear hiss on the soundtrack.

      It fits into my pocket, so I can carry it around while hiking, sightseeing, or at events. When I teach college classes or workshops, the camera allows me to show close-up detail on a large monitor. Often, during my courses or workshops, we record production sound direct to video from a mixing panel so that the class can review the playbacks. In the past, I have utilized bulky 3-chip camcorders. But the Q4 affords me the same technique, but with one less heavy case to ship.

      Zoom did not offer any spare batteries for the Q4. They do, however, offer an AC powered USB charger that allows you to recharge the camera battery inside of the camera, without having to connect to a computer host.

      But there is a better solution. Turns out that the Zoom Q4 uses a Samsung SLB-10 (SLB-10a) style lithium battery. So if you run an internet search for that battery, you will find spare batteries in the $10 to $20 range. I just purchased one and I was also able to purchase an external battery charger (AC or 12v CIG) -- which is more convenient than having to use the camera as a charger!

      A note regarding use of SD cards. Most SD cards work just fine for 30p settings. However, to record at 720/60p -- you must have a high speed card or else the camera will drop out of RECORD mode within a second or two. At first, that was driving me crazy, until I swapped out SD cards with my still camera. Then the dropped recording problem went away.

      The Q4 might also serve as an excellent introductory camera for basic filmmaking. Not having a zoom lens forces the students to be more cognizant of camera placement and setups.

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      3.0

      music video camera

      By jeffonbass

      from La Mesa, CA

      About Me Casual User

      Verified Buyer

      Pros

      • Easy to Use
      • Good in Low Light
      • Great Sound
      • Large Clear LCD

      Cons

      • Short Battery Life

      Best Uses

      • Documentaries
      • HD Shooting
      • Home Movies
      • Indoors/Low Light
      • Travel

      Comments about Zoom Q4 Handy Video Recorder:

      I recently got a zoom q4 camera so i could record my band's live shows, practices, etc. I've only used it a couple times but here is what i think so far-

      - video is decent and excellent at the highest HD setting. the auto settings are good for concert and night time

      -audio is excellent. the condenser mics pick up everything in the room and there are controls are easy to set and use

      the bad stuff -

      - my biggest issue with the zoom q4 is the power settings. The battery lasts only 2 hrs and you cannot record while plugged to a wall. Since I am recording three sometimes four hour shows, this is a problem. I'm going to have to hunt down an extra battery or two in order to get the most out of the camera.

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      5.0

      Zoom Q4, perfect for muscians

      By JRP

      from San Francisco, CA

      About Me Casual User

      Verified Buyer

      Pros

      • Easy to Use
      • Good Image Stabilization
      • Good in Low Light
      • Great Picture Quality
      • Great Sound

      Cons

      • Limited Zoom

      Best Uses

      • HD Shooting
      • Indoors/Low Light

      Comments about Zoom Q4 Handy Video Recorder:

      I purchased this at the recommendation of other pro musicians I know and trust. I'm using it, so far, to record myself for promotional purposes and I couldn't be happier. I'm no gear-head and not particularly technologically proficient and I was able to get the whole shebang up and running in an hour. Recording in home, piano and un-mic'ed vocals, great balance, GREAT clarity on piano, almost too sensitive, the mic pics up the pedaling mechanism if I place recorder too close, easy to use, clear instructions. My only complaint is that there is no way to rotate 90 degrees as I'd prefer to film in "portrait" mode (i know, i know, but it really does look better that way when filming a person sitting at a piano). It has to be done in post, which kinda annoys me. But overall, I'm very happy.

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      4.0

      Good for the on the go Musician

      By LoveCartwright

      from Long Beach, CA

      About Me Semi-pro Videographer

      Verified Buyer

      Pros

      • Easy to Use
      • External Mic Imput
      • Great Sound
      • Headphone Monitoring
      • Small size

      Cons

      • No image stabilization
      • Poor In Low Light

      Best Uses

      • Band rehearsals
      • Home Movies
      • Simple Web Videos

      Comments about Zoom Q4 Handy Video Recorder:

      The Q4 is a simple to use camera and audio recorder. I purchased it because I have always loved Zoom's digital recorders. It works great for recording rehearsals, or impromtu performances. The flip screen makes it easy to frame you self in a shot for selfie videos. I recommend buying Zoom's mic stand sttachment. The camera is not a superb quality, it is grainy and the lighting has to be good to make a nice picture. But for price, it is a good camera to keep in your instrument case for when you need it. Note the this is a very wide angle lens. don't expect to stand more than 10 feet away to get good detail.

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      (3 of 3 customers found this review helpful)

       
      5.0

      Small and Powerful

      By Matt Montoya

      from Manila, Philippines

      About Me Semi-pro Videographer

      Verified Reviewer

      Pros

      • Easy to Use
      • Good Image Stabilization
      • Good in Low Light
      • Great Picture Quality
      • Great Sound

      Cons

      • Limited Zoom

      Best Uses

      • Documentaries
      • Home Movies
      • Indoors/Low Light
      • Movies/Short Films
      • Travel
      • Weddings/Events

      Comments about Zoom Q4 Handy Video Recorder:

      I'm a tv show producer for the past decade or so and we are engaged in ENG programs. Recently we decided to utilize small and portable video cameras to complement our mobile video equipment. We currently have a Kodak zi8 and zi12 and also an Olympus LS20M. We have used Zoom recorders in the past but this is the first Zoom Audio/Video recorder we have and all our videographers agree that this is one very good product. With its multifunctional capabilities, I would say that this is the best product in its market segment to date even probably overtaking the Sony HDR MV1. My only gripe is the zoom-in function or the lack of it, then again you don't really expect that kind of feature in products like these. Over-all, its an amazing audio-video recorder for its price and we will probably purchase another one in the near future.

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      Required item: A memory card (not included) is required to record your footage.

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