Zoom has released the new F1 Field Recorder, a small and compact unit that is designed to be used as a discreet on-person recorder with a lavalier mic or in combination with a shotgun mic module for on-camera work.
- Two-channel audio recorder
- Compatible with Zoom microphone capsules
- Supports up to 24-bit/96 kHz audio in BWF-compliant WAV or a variety of MP3 formats
- One-touch button controls
- 1.25” monochrome LCD display
- Rec Hold function to avoid accidental operation of buttons
- Stereo ⅛” Mic/Line In mini phone jack with Plug-in power (2.5V)
- Stereo ⅛” Phone/Line Output jack with dedicated volume control
- Built-in limiter and auto level control to avoid clipping
- Pre-Record function
- Tone generator for calibrating audio levels between the F1 and a DSLR or video camera without the need for an attenuator cable
- Sound marker function that outputs quick tone to make syncing audio and video easy
- Records directly to micro SD and SDHC cards up to 32 GB
- Micro USB port for data exchange to and from computer and use as an audio interface with computer or iOS device
- Runs on only 2 standard AAA alkaline, Lithium, or NiMH rechargeable batteries, or AC adapter (AD-17)
- Up to 10 hours of operation with alkaline batteries (when using lavalier)
Small & Discreet
The Zoom F1 is not quite as small as Tascam’s DR-10L, measuring in at 64×79.8×33.3 mm but it’s still small enough to be used as a belt pack recorder. Easily fit into a groom’s suit pocket at a wedding, a talent’s shirt for an interview or even for field recording placing the recorder & lav on a moving subject. A 10-hour battery life means you could also leave it recording for quite some time.
A backup for your wireless pack
Even though wireless technology has become much better in recent years, there are environments and situations where you will still experience drop outs, interference or not be able to use wireless at all due to distance. Being able to mount the audio recorder on-person means not having to worry about any of these issues.
Just like Tascam’s DR-10c which is unavailable in the US, the Zoom F1 could be used together with a wireless audio transmitter to act as a backup recorder. For that extra peace of mind where your audio is critical with no chances of a retake, you can add the Zoom F1 to a wireless mic setup to act as a redundancy. Sending the output of the F1 into the wireless pack to record to your camera or audio recorder.
While it doesn’t have a safety track, something that the Tascam DR-10L features to recording the same source at a lower level, you can use the built-in limiter and auto-level control to avoid clipping.
Now you see it, now you don’t
The F1-SP can be used as an on-camera shotgun microphone using the included shock mount and 3.5mm stereo patch cable. Since the device is also a standalone recorder, it can record audio for redundancy while also outputting the audio to the camera. While it doesn’t look as streamlined as an on-camera mic like the RØDE’s VideoMic Pro+ you are getting a complete audio recorder in itself.
The tone generator feature can be used to set the audio levels of the camera.
You may recognise the shotgun module included in the F1-SP from Zoom’s previous H5 & H6 audio recorders and that’s because it’s the same one. The F1 uses the same 10-pin proprietary connector which also makes it compatible with the other mic capsules in the line up.
The lack of XLR inputs is understandable for a device of this size but you could use the EXH-6 dual XLR/TRS module to add two XLR inputs creating a very compact two-channel XLR audio recorder. Take note that the EXH-6 does not support phantom power though. Still, useful for recording from a mixer desk, self-powered mics, and instruments.
Pricing & Availability
The unit is expected to start shipping soon but no exact date has been provided.
The Zoom F1-LP costs $199.
The Zoom F1-SP is priced at $249 USD