Forget about clipping, forget about gain, and forget about hassle; just power-on the Zoom F3 portable 2-track field recorder and press Record to capture clear, distortion-free sound from your external XLR mics in an instant for your next video shoot, interview, or sound design excursion. With two premium mic preamps and 32-bit float technology, the F3 handles the softest and loudest sounds you can throw at it while avoiding distortion, maintaining low-noise performance, and freeing you from the responsibility of adjusting gain. Recordings ruined by clipped converters and poorly set preamps are things of the past with the F3.
Extending the F Line
Palm-size like the F1 and F2, but sporting several features found on the larger and higher-range F6, the F3 sits at the top of the pocket-format recorders in the F Series. Not only is it a capable, ultra-compact field recorder with pro-level performance, it also will see expanded functionality such as app-based remote control and a USB audio interface mode via Zoom’s firmware and software releases planned for March 2022.
Inside and Out
The F3 utilizes dual A/D converters and 32-bit float recording technology to capture intensely loud signals without clipping the converters and bring in extremely quiet sounds without overwhelming noise, all without requiring any gain adjustment from you. Record with confidence knowing that you can just connect your microphones and start recording to attain crisp, clear audio.
In place of internal storage, the F3 relies on microSDHC/microSDXC cards (up to 1TB). It supports recording high-quality sample rates between 44.1 and 192 kHz in mono or stereo uncompressed BWF (Broadcast Wave File) format; no data compression means that no quality is lost in the creation of the audio files.
Two balanced mic/line inputs with locking XLR jacks and switchable +48V phantom power make the F3 an ideal match for professional microphones such as reporter-style handheld dynamics and shotgun condensers, as well as line-level feeds from a dedicated field mixer.
While the 3.5mm line output enables straightforward routing to your camera, DSLR, or secondary recorder, a dedicated 3.5mm stereo headphone jack with its own volume control offers convenient audio monitoring at the recorder.
To keep up with the pace of on-location production, the F3 can be powered via two AA alkaline, lithium, or NiMH rechargeable batteries (alkaline included), a Zoom AD-17 power adapter (available separately), or a USB Type-C battery pack (available separately). With up to eight hours of run time on AA batteries, all-day shoots are no problem for the F3.
Intuitive one-touch buttons—Record, Play, Stop, and Volume Up/Down— provide fast, hassle-free operations with no menus to wade through. You don't even have to worry about unintentionally interrupting the F3 because a simple flick of the Record switch (to the Hold position) will keep it recording no matter which button you press. The F3’s onboard screen shows zoomable real-time waveforms and clear indication of battery status, recording time, and more.
Get Out There
Whether you need long-duration stereo recording for an interview, redundant capture of dual-mic setups for a video shoot, or failure-proof recording on location, the F3 has the modes, resolutions, and media support to handle your crucial audio tasks. Plus, its operational versatility ensures that the F3 will always enhance your workflow, be it simple, complex, or always changing. You can feel confident using it as your main recorder, a USB audio interface for your dedicated computer rig, or a backup unit for added safety.
Where does the F3 fit in your line of work? Let us know in the Comments section, below.