Sunday, June 8, 2014

Zacuto Control Grip - ENG Camera Killer?

I hung around the Zacuto both at NAB for a couple days to see the new Control Grip and Z-Motor, but, according to the NAB entry on the Zacuto News & Events page, the grip "didn't make it due to some last minute tweaks for Zacuto's high quality standards".

The Zacuto crew were very nice and very apologetic (shout out to Megan Lally, EVP for Sales & Marketing for the free t-shirt), but I wasn't able to see the grip. But enough about me.

The Control Grip and Z Motor did make it down to CineGear last week - and here's another great video from Nate Weber of, this time with Steve Weiss of Zacuto, pitching the new products:

After seeing this, it seems to me that broadcasters will be a lot less likely buy a traditional $12,000 ENG camera like the Panasonic AG-HPX600 (pictured above, with the big red "X" through it - subtle, eh?).

With a $5500 Dual Pixel Autofocus Canon C100, a $799 Sigma 18-35mm f1.8 for low light plus a $2699 Canon 28-300mm f3.5-5.6L or a $2499 Canon 70-200mm f2.8L for telephoto, stations will still have about $3000 left to buy a rig, control grip and z-motor - while staying under the price of the ENG camera.

At the end of the day, this means cinema quality Super 35 images for local TV broadcast, with the ease of use of ENG.

As this 2012 piece from suggests, 3CCD ENG camera sales have been declining for some time due to the advent of CMOS DSLRs, prosumer camcorders and relatively inexpensive large sensor cinema cameras such as the Canon C100/300.  But the last bastion of the old guard has been the fast autofocusing shoulder mounted ENG camera.  After watching this video, it seems to me that traditional ENG camera sales are destined to drop even faster.

The Zacuto Control Grip and Z-Motor haven't been released yet, but when they are, they'll be available at the Zacuto stores on Adorama and Amazon.

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