Video recorder with high-performance stereo microphones
Our take on the Zoom Q4n by Crutchfield's Eric Angevine
The Zoom Q4n's retractable stereo microphones can be deployed in a wide A/B configuration (seen here) or a focused X/Y configuration.
High-resolution audio and HD video in the palm of your hand
We've seen Zoom pack a ton of useful features into portable recording devices before, but the Zoom Q4n is, ounce-for-ounce, one of the most impressive devices we've yet seen.
The camera is small enough to fit in the palm of your hand, yet it features a wide-angle lens, HD video recording, and enhanced video performance in conditions ranging from sunlight to low light. Built-in high-performance stereo microphones can be extended and deployed in an A/B configuration for capturing a broad slice of audio from a room, or an X/Y configuration that can focus on every note of a vocal or instrumental performance. Sound can be recorded in compressed AAC and uncompressed WAV audio formats up to 24-bit/96kHz, making this an ideal choice for recording gorgeous homemade musical performance videos.
The rotating 2” LCD touchscreen lets you frame your shots and adjust settings — whether you're behind the camera or in front of it. If you're the production crew as well as the performer, you can make sure the shot is lined up as you go, and make quick changes in the settings menu between songs.
Rely on the camera's automatic gain settings, or adjust the levels manually as you need. The built-in stereo mic module and the additional inputs have easy-to-use gain knobs for dialing in your levels precisely. A low-cut switch helps eliminate low-end rumble. And for recording outdoors, the included foam windscreen minimizes rustles from wind gusts. Monitor your recording in real time using the Q4n's built-in speaker or headphone output with adjustable volume control.
The Q4n also makes video recording easy. It features eleven lighting modes, ranging from "Concert" for settings with bright stage lights to "Night" for low-light clubs and venues. You can choose "Auto" if you're expecting conditions to change as you go.
- retractable stereo microphones can be configured for A/B (wide) or X/Y (focused) recording
- full-color rotating 2" LCD touchscreen
- 1/3-inch 3-megapixel CMOS sensor
- f/2.0 fixed wide-angle lens with 160° coverage
- convenient one-touch recording button
- adjustable self-timer lets you get into position before recording begins
- records directly to optional SD/SDHC/SDXC memory cards (speed class 10 or higher)
- included foam windscreen helps reduce low-frequency noise
- built-in speaker
- built-in lithium-ion rechargeable batteries with over 2 hours operation
- supports WVGA and 3M HD video formats up to 2304 x 1296 pixels at 30 fps
- supports 24 Mbps and 16 Mbps high-def video with frame rates up to 60fps
- 11 video preset options for use in a wide range of lighting environments
- 1.5X digital zoom
- compatible with Skype®, USTREAM, and other live-streaming applications
- supports AAC and uncompressed WAV audio formats up to 24-bit/96kHz
- three-position mic gain switch with Auto-Gain control
- low-cut filter for the elimination of low-frequency noise and rumble
- minijack input for adding external microphone
- 1/8" line-level/headphone stereo output with dedicated volume control
- micro-HDMI output for connection to HDTVs, selectable between NTSC and PAL
- mini-USB for live streaming and data transfer to and from computer editing software (cable included)
- recorder (microphones closed): 2"W x 2-7/16"H x 4-11/16"D
- weight: 6 oz.
- warranty: 1 year parts and labor
- Our 60-day money-back guarantee
What's in the Box:
- Audio/video recorder
- BT-02 Lithium-Ion rechargeable battery (3.7V 1050mAh 3.89Wh)
- Foam windscreen
- Wrist strap
- Slip-on lens cap (with attached tether)
- Snap-on lens hood
- Action camera mount adapter
- 59" USB cable (Type A USB on one end and Mini-B 2.0 USB on other end)
- User Guide
- Included items list
- Warranty Registration
Zoom Q4n Reviews
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Features and Specs
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Overview: The Zoom Q4n Handy Video Recorder is a high-definition video and high-resolution audio recorder, designed with musicians in mind. Compared to its predecessor, the Q4, the Q4n has an improved lens with an f/2 maximum aperture, shorter minimum focusing distance (14"), and a wider angle of view (160°), compared to f/2.8, 21.7", and 130° for the Q4. The Q4n also adds digital zoom, and higher resolution video. The Q4n can record video up to 3M HD, with hi-res audio up to 24-bit/96kHz PCM. It has a removable LCD screen, and a built-in X/Y microphone system.
Video Recording: The Q4n can record 3M high-definition and standard-definition video in MPEG-4 AVC/H.264 (MOV) format in several different settings:
|Recording Setting |
|Frame Rate||Video Bit Rate|
|3M HD 2304 x 1296||30 fps||24 Mbps|
|HD 1920 x 1080||30 fps||24 Mbps|
|HD 1920 x 1080||30 fps||16 Mbps|
|HD 1280 x 720||60 fps||16 Mbps|
|HD 1280 x 720||30 fps||15 Mbps|
|WVGA 800 x 480||60 fps||8 Mbps|
|WVGA 800 x 480||30 fps||5 Mbps|
Audio Recording: Audio can be recorded in uncompressed WAV format or AAC compression. WAV format should be used for recording the best possible audio quality, and if you are not concerned about the file size. If memory card space is limited, you should record in AAC format. The following audio settings can be selected:
- WAV: 96kHz/24-bit, 96kHz/16-bit, 48kHz/24-bit, 48kHz/16-bit, 44.1kHz/24-bit, 44.1kHz/16-bit
- AAC: 320 kbps, 256 kbps, 192 kbps, 128 kbps, 64 kbps
SD Card Slot: Video and audio are recorded onto SD, SDHC, and SDXC memory cards up to 128 GB. You should use SD cards with a Class 10 speed rating or higher, as well as format the card in the unit, for best results. A list of tested and confirmed SD cards is available on the Zoom website.
Lens/Image Sensor: The Q4n features a 16mm fixed focal length lens (35mm equivalent) with an aperture of F2. It can provide clear images from 14.2" to infinity. The Q4n also has a 1/3" 3 Megapixel CMOS sensor for producing the high-definition video images. The Q4n does not take still images.
Digital Zoom: In order to change the angle of view, you can apply Digital Zoom magnification to the image. The Digital Zoom can be set to 0.75x, 0.85x, 1.00x (no zoom), 1.30x, or 1.50x.
Scene: In the menu, you can change the Scene setting depending upon the lighting conditions:
- Auto: camera adjusts to lighting conditions automatically
- Concert Lighting: best setting for live shows, concerts, and other situations with bright lights
- Night: best setting for night and other dark situations
- Concert-Low Light: for use in small concert halls with dim lighting conditions.
- Dance Club: for venues with dramatically-changing lighting, such as a dance club.
- Jazz Club: for small clubs or similar venues.
- Concert Hall: best setting for classical concerts, recitals, or other similar performances.
- Rehearsal Studio: for recording in a studio setting.
- Garage: best setting for recording band performances in a garage.
- Outdoor: adjustments are optimized for outdoor shooting.
- Sunset: for recording outdoor scenes with rich sunset colors.
Upside Down: The Q4n can be mounted to a standard tripod, or a 3-pronged action camera mount, to give you a wide variety of interesting angles and perspectives. It can even be mounted upside down. When video is recorded while the unit is upside down, you can invert the video 180° by selecting "Upside Down" in the menu.
X/Y or A/B Microphone Configurations: The Q4n Handy Video Recorder has two matched unidirectional microphones that can be configured in an A/B or X/Y stereo configuration. The microphones can be raised by a sliding lever on the rear panel, then rotated into one of two positions. The microphones are capable of handling sound levels up to 140 dB SPL. A foam windscreen is included to significantly reduce wind noise when the recorder is used outside. You can engage a low-cut filter to eliminate low-frequency noise, if needed. The mic orientations can be changed to the following recording techniques:
- A/B: When the microphones are aimed away from each other in an A/B configuration, the mics capture the surrounding environment as well as the main sound source. This method is good for recording the reverb of a hall, or for meetings with people talking in different areas of the room.
- X/Y: In the X/Y configuration, the mics are aimed in a crossing pattern. This captures sound from a nearby sound source with natural depth and width. The result is a 3-dimensional sound stage for solo performances, live rehearsals, and field recordings.
Auto Gain Settings: You can set the Audio Gain manually, or choose one of three levels for the automatic gain:
- Concert: for band performances, concerts, and other loud situations
- Solo: for solo performances, and other quiet sounds
- Meeting: for meetings and field recordings
LCD Screen: The recorder has a flip-out, 2" LCD screen for framing your subjects during recording, and to play back your videos. The screen can flip out 90° and rotate 270°, allowing you to view yourself during self-recordings. You can record with the LCD closed to save battery power.
Self Timer: You can delay the start of the recording by setting the Self Timer by 3, 5, or 10 seconds. The Self Timer can only be used when the LCD is rotated towards yourself.
Battery: The Q4n is powered by the BT-02 Lithium-Ion rechargeable battery (3.7V 1050mAh 3.89Wh). The battery can charged in the Q4n when it is connected to a computer via USB (charging time: about 3 hours), or when connected to the optional Zoom AD-17 AC adapter (charging time: about 2 hours). Estimated battery life is about 3 hours (recording 720p/30fps video with LCD unit closed). You can monitor the remaining battery life in the LCD screen during recording or playback.
Inputs and Outputs: The rear panel contains connections for other devices:
- HDMI Output: A Micro HDMI (Type D) connection is provided for connecting the Q4n to an HDTV. In the menu, you can set the output format to NTSC or PAL.
- USB: A Mini-B USB 2.0 port is provided for connecting the unit to a computer to charge the battery and to download recordings. Through this connection, the Q4n can be used as a memory card reader, a USB microphone, or a web camera for live video streaming. You can also connect the Q4n to an iPad when using an optional Apple Camera Connection kit.
- Microphone Input: You can connect an external microphone to the unit via a 3.5mm mini jack. When an external mic is connected, the built-in mics are disabled. In the menu, you can turn on Plug-In Power for those mics that require it.
- Headphone/Line Output: A 3.5mm stereo headphone/line output is provided for connecting headphones or other audio equipment for monitoring the audio.
Mounting: The Zoom Q4n has a standard 1/4"-20 tripod thread on the bottom which allows you to attach the recorder to a standard tripod. A 3-prong adapter is included that enables you to mount the Q4n on an action camera mount.
Optional Mounts: Because of the versatility of the Q4n, unique mounts have been made available. The GHM-1 Guitar Headstock Mount lets you clamp the camera to the head of a guitar to give you an "on stage" experience. The MSM-1 Mic Stand mount lets you mount the Q4n to a microphone stand for recording live performances on stage or in the studio. These optional mounts are available directly from the manufacturer.
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Why did you buy this?
Camcorder suddenly went bad, had to use something to make some recordings for daughter's school auditions. Needed something quickly, no time to research much. This seems pretty good for the purpose. [ Michael Nov 19, 2016 ]
to videotape live music performances [ roderic Mar 03, 2016 ]
1 question already asked
its a mini-usb not the modern micro-usb. I might of had one laying around ,but i remember getting one with it. they're fairly cheap. [ TREVOR Aug 10, 2017 ]
We are using a mini-HDMI cable with USB on the other end and it charging well. Great little camera. [ Grier Jan 09, 2017 ]
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