Meet the E1: The tiny and drone-friendly 4K camera that gives you some new lens options
Stephan Jukic – July 20, 2015
If you want to use a tiny interchangeable-lens 4K camera in a small drone or maybe set it up for GoPro Hero style action shots filmed from a mounting bracket attached to something that’s moving, there is a new option out on the market.
It’s called the E1 and it’s a fantastic little Micro Four Thirds interchangeable lens camera that’s small enough to be used in many variations of the above scenarios. However, buying one of these isn’t as simple as walking into the nearest camera store or visiting Amazon.com.
Instead, you’ll have to help finance its development or wait until enough others do so through the Kickstarter page of the company making the E1, Z Camera. However, the release of this awesome looking device does look like a nearly sure thing given that Z Camera’s funding page for the E1 on the Kickstarter website is already fully funded and that Panasonic is also cooperating in the development and manufacture of this miniscule camera. The electronics giant is building its 4K sensor and also supplying the bundled 14mm f/2.5 lens technology.
The E1 may be small but it’s not as light as some might like since he camera weighs twice as much as a GoPro Hero 4. However, with a small enough lens built into it, it can be mounted to a popular aerial drone like the DJI Phantom 3. Furthermore, Z Camera claims that their E1 will give you a noise-free image at up to 6,400 ISO with 10 to 11 stops of dynamic range and will shoot True 4K resolution (4096 x 2160 pixels) at a rate of 24fps, 4K ultra HD (3840 x 2160 pixels) at a rate of 30 frames per second and 1080p Full HD at 60 frames per second along with 720p HD at 120 fps.
Furthermore, the camera can capture 16 megapixel RAW and JPEG still images from the sky or wherever it’s operating and because the photo sensor of the camera offers an amazing ISO of 102,400, those 16 megapixel photos should work extremely well at maintaining clarity in low light.
On the whole, these are some truly excellent specs for such a tiny device and they start to look more attractive still with the addition of a smartphone (Android or iOS) app that lets you power on and control the camera video via WiFi or Bluetooth 4.0. Furthermore, the E1 supports continuous autofocus and manual focus, possibly through the smartphone app as well though we’re not sure of this detail quite yet.
Z Camera doesn’t mention if the camera comes with built-in stabilization so we’re assuming that you’ll also need a compatible gimbal if you’re going to use the E1 in a drone.
And as for pricing? Well, the E1 can be pre-ordered on Kickstarter for “just” $599 for the body alone and for $799 for the body and that Panasonic 14mm f/2.5 lens we mentioned already. After the launch on Kickstarter has completed, the camera will retail for $699 for just the body and $899 for body and body.
These prices aren’t actually all that bad at all when you consider that Blackmagic Design’s Micro Studio Camera 4K offers many of the exact same features and similar drone-mountable design specs for $899 as well.
At the very least, the 4K shooting and photo specs of the E1 adjustable lens camera from Z Camera will definitely let you capture slightly superior 4K video to that offered by the GoPro Hero 4.
Story by 4k.com