Clemens Schiesko has pointed out the following incident in our forum: "The hacker Rustam Zaripov is working on a ZRAW to DNG converter and has meanwhile managed to decrypt ZRAW and create an almost clean DNG." The linked thread posting also subsequently includes recent comments by Rustam Zaripov on the status of the hack.
Among other things, this claims that ZRAW actually saves RAW in Bayer-only format. This is a concrete contradiction to the manufacturer's statement that ZRAW is saved partially debayered. And this should once again confirm that many manufacturers want to avoid the notorious RED patent by stating partial debayering in the camera www.slashcam.de/artikel/Editorials/REDs-Compressed-RAW-Patent-bleibt-gueltig---Wie-geht-es-jetzt-weiter-.html.
According to the hacker, the camera stores ZRAW losless (Huffmann/Golomb) with linear 12-bit values. This would indeed be very raw RAW, but in the linear case a maximum of 12 f-stops (minus the black level) could be recorded. That would be a bit low for a cine camera in 2021.
Since ZRAW can only be converted to DNxHR, YUV, H.265 and EXR under Windows with a tool (video suite), integration into existing workflows looks rather poor. The Hacker suspects this is deliberate on Atomos' part to push their external ProRes RAW solution. (Quote: "Looks like a deliberate collaboration with Atomos...").
However, it is much more likely that Z Cam simply wants to avoid a lawsuit from RED. Blackmagic Design, after all, has also moved from internal CDNG recording to "partially debayered" RAW recording and more or less openly explained this move at the time through the RED patents.
Should Rustam Zaripov succeed in creating a functioning Cinema DNG converter, this should sweeten the workflow with the ZCAM for many users. Of course, a natively usable RAW format "out-of-the-cam" would be even more effective. The suspicion that Z CAM intentionally cannot or does not want to offer such a RAW format has now been further strengthened by these hints...