Typically, microphones tend to be attached to cameras, not the other way around. But for Zoom, the company known for several popular audio recorders used in music and video production, starting with the mic first seemed like a good idea. The new Zoom Q2n combines a great microphone with an average camera at a very affordable price.
The device is about the size of your average action camera, but its shape is very different. The top is a large XY stereo microphone, with a small camera lens embedded in the body just below it. The Q2n is intended primarily for musicians who want to produce videos easily with much better sound than what you get with a typical consumer video camera. From concerts to YouTube music lesson videos, Zoom wants it to be easy for musicians to create their own videos.
To this end, the camera specs themselves are not impressive by today’s standards. Resolution is limited to Full HD 1080p at 24 or 30 frames per second. The lens features a wide, 160-degree angle of a view and f/2.0 aperture, but five different field-of-view settings allow it to focus in on a single subject when necessary. A built-in LCD screen makes it easy to frame shots and review videos. These should be sufficient for the intended audience.
As expected, the real selling point of the Q2n is its audio capabilities. It records 24-bit/96 kHz audio for studio-quality digital files. Zoom also promises distortion-free recording at sound pressure levels up to 120 decibels, enough to handle loud sounds without fear of clipping.
For users looking to simply add high-quality audio to an existing camera setup, the Q2n’s camera can be turned off completely, at which point it will record audio to a standalone WAV file suitable for use in video editing. Combined with the Q2n’s price of $150, it could become a great accessory for people working with traditional cameras, too.
Updated December 28, 2016: This article originally stated the Q2n could record video and audio to separate files simultaneously. This is incorrect. This feature is available on the Zoom Q8.