A relatively unknown company called Z Camera may have just announced the perfect camera for UAVs and drones.
It's called the E1, and at roughly the same size as a GoPro, this little camera is big on features. First and foremost, the E1 sports a Micro 4/3 sensor and an active Micro 4/3 lens mount. This gives it a leg up in versatility over most similarly-sized cameras, most of which feature extremely wide fixed lenses. Secondly, it's apparently much better in low light, offering a clean image at up to 6400 ISO. And of course, at that size, the E1 is a prime candidate for drone cinematography, and it will likely be a solid alternative to Blackmagic's Micro Cinema Camera.
Here's the Kickstarter video for E1 camera:
Here are the basic specs and features of the E1:
- Cinema 4K at 24fps (4096×2160)
- UHD at 30fps
- 60fps in 1080 and 120fps in 720
- ISO up to 102,400 (clean up to 6400)
- Controllable via smartphone
- Micro 4/3 sensor and mount
- Open platform for additional functionality
- $699 target price
With those features and at that price-point ($200 off if you preorder through Kickstarter), the E1 is going to be an attractive option not only for budget-friendly aerial cinematography, but also for DPs who need to mount cameras in hard-to-reach places and want the ability to remotely trigger them. And for anybody who's already heavily invested in M4/3 lenses, the E1 looks to be a seamless addition to that workflow.
The only concern that I have about this camera is the fact that it's coming from a small, relatively unheard of company, and it's being launched through Kickstarter. Most of us have seen how notoriously difficult the process of manufacturing a camera from scratch can be. Just look at the Digital Bolex and all of the trials and tribulations of getting that camera designed and manufactured. With that said, the founder of Z Camera is a veteran in the camera manufacturing industry, so I wouldn't be too worried about this project falling through, especially considering how much support the campaign has already generated in its first day.
Anyhow, if you're interested in learning more about the E1, you can head over to the Kickstarter page, where one of the first batch of these cameras can be had for $499.