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Z Camera E1 Mini m43 4K camera for $199 only, cheapest 4K ever
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  • Ok. I have the camera. So, let's get real :).

    First, at the firmware .23 that comes with the camera, half of the features do not work and autofocus does not work right. This explains most of the review complaints on BH and Amazon.

    With the October update (.30), the focus now works - push to focus. You can set shutter speed, aperture, and ISO - you can set ISO to Auto and set aperture and shutter speed manually, for example. There are many tweaks for picture, including NR and sharpness.

    Second, the complaints about shadow noise may also be due to old firmware, since with the new firmware you can adjust noise reduction. In any case, the sensor is exactly the same as the one in the Panasonic GH4. So, performance should be similar (not identical, could be better given a newer processor and how it's tuned).

    So, how about a 4K30P comparison of the GH4 and the Z Camera E1 - same scene, same lens, same shutter and aperture? This is actually with the old E1 firmware.

    Leica Nocticron f1.2 lens (yes, a $1500 lens on a $199 camera) on both.

    Here it is. Same scene at F2 and at F5.6 (and ISO 800 for that scene). The cameras are in the same order for each lens/ISO setting. Which is which? which do you like better? Which has more noise? Which is more accurate?

    One camera does not get the reds correctly (too orange). Auto WB in both.

  • That lens is another great buy (wow - a $299 HDR 4K monitor/TV, a $199 m43 miniature camera, a 4K60P $245 action cam).

    I need handheld, and thus OSS. So, for run and gun, the 12-35 pancake OSS lens!

    And the Z camera E1 alone (with Nocticron):

    E1 2 a.jpg
    3428 x 2571 - 2M
  • Lumix 14-140mm, AWB, AF, handheld.

  • Too noisy in dim light? 4K frame grabs from a dim church.

    Z Dark 7a.jpg
    3264 x 1836 - 1M
    Z Dark 6a.jpg
    3264 x 1836 - 2M
    Z Dark 2a.jpg
    3264 x 1836 - 2M
  • Looks good.

  • All three of those look like they're almost completely made of noise.

  • @eatstoomuchjam

    Need to add it to the fame of PV. "I just saw image almost completely made of noise".

    Do not drink so much, ok?

  • I like Vitaliy's reply. But it is interesting that mr jam does not comment on the direct comparison low-light video with the GH4 posted above, which clearly shows the cheap camera to have lower noise (and more accurate color). One needs a standard when talking about noise, and the GH4 is a good one (well-regarded for video quality) and relevant, given it has the same sensor as the Z camera.

  • @markr041

    Looking at videos around - noise is last thing their authors need to care for. It just some ancient tradition.

    I mean, look under loupe at ISO 3200 images and expect another 2 stops improvements.

  • @markr041 I didn't comment on the video vs the GH4 because I didn't click through to watch it. I don't have a GH4 and I'm unlikely to buy one. I can say that in my own test video, at ISO 400 or 500, the shadows were pretty noisy. If the GH4 is that noisy in similar situations, I'm glad I don't have one, I guess.

    If the amount of noise in the screen captures that you posted is OK for you, then great. I hope you continue to enjoy your camera. I look at them and I see a lot more noise than I generally want.

  • @eatstoomuchjam You are certainly entitled to whatever standard you want for noise, or resolution, or DR or whatever. But in a forum where the point is for people to learn what is what, it is obfuscatory to just say a camera is "noisy" or you just see noise, or dead people.

    My comparison video shows the Z Camera is less noisy than the Panasonic GH4, which is a well respected camera among professionals (and I frankly do not think either is particularly noisy, but what do I know). I made that comparison because the GH4 has the same sensor and because of the GH4's reputation.

    Now we have a standard to compare, and we now know that your "standards" for noise are way off the norm among well-respected videographers (that doesn't make them wrong, of course). It may be that all m43 cameras are too noisy for you, who knows? What we do know is the GH4 is too noisy by your unique standards (by transitivity). I think that is useful for readers to know in assessing how to interpret your interjections, which up to now were actually quite noisy (low signal-to-noise ratio). :)

  • Hey, that's cool @markr041. I watched your gh4/e1 video. From it, I learned that two cameras which are exposed slightly differently and with differing picture profiles have somewhat different characteristics and that the video was a comparison of a $200 (lowest sale price ever) camera and a $1400 camera (maybe a year or more ago at full price). Maybe you could use the histograms on both cameras to line... oh yeah, no histogram on the e1. Or focus peaking.

    But you're right, in that scene with minimal shadows, the e1 and gh4 performed pretty similarly and neither had a lot of noise. I bet it was fun changing the aperture on the e1 as well requiring only 8 or 9 button presses - such a welcome change from the tyranny of dedicated dials on other cameras!

    I admit that I hate the camera more than is totally fair and I'm probably overly critical of it as a result - I'm biased after installing firmware updates between 0.2.3 and 0.2.6, none of which did much for improving the camera. 0.3.0 is actually a pretty big step up. I think I mentioned before that it's brought the camera up to a "basically usable" level - I could definitely see throwing it in a bag with a small lens and setting it somewhere to record until it runs out of juice.

    (And mine was less a $200 camera and more a $700 camera)

  • I just played with it a few minutes. Some brief comparisons to it's closest competitor, the Yi M1.

    The controls seams to be a little easier on the Yi M1 because of the touch screen but at the same time, it wont take long to know where everything is at on the E1 so it's still not too bad. Now on the E1's favor, you're able to see your exposure in real time in full manual mode. On the M1, you'll only see how it truly looks when you hit record. I'm really hoping Yi will be able to fix that on a future firmware update. At least you can still adjust your settings when recording. You also have full manual controls on the E1 when recording.

    Yi M1 has peaking and I believe it's lacking on the E1. At least it's able to magnify when your focusing so you still have a focusing aid. I'm not sure if peaking can be added in a future firmware update. Would be great if possible.

    Yi M1 has a 3" 720x480 touch screen vs 2.5" 320x240 that isn't a touch screen on the E1.

    E1 has 4K 24p at unlike the Yi M1. Some people will never shoot in 24p but for others, that's a huge feature.

    E1 has extra shutter options that are lacking on the M1. 24, 48 and 120. That's surprising.

    I really wish the E1 uses standard sized cards but on the other hand, that might have increased the size of the E1 by a little and they wanted to make it as small as possible so it's a trade off. With the Yi M1, it uses standard sized SD cards. Micro SD cards are easier to loose.

    The value on both the Yi M1 and the Z camera E1 isn't bad. E1 has a touch screen and comes with a zoom lens for $300. Just add $50 more and you're able to get the package that also includes the 42.5mm f/1.8. That lens usually sells for $200 so it's almost like you're getting the Yi M1 plus zoom lens for just $150. As for the E1, it's $250 without a lens but comes with 2 batteries and plugs to use in different countries. That's awesome for people who travels to different countries.

    I have let someone borrow my M1 and so I'm not able to do video comparisons yet. I'll do it in the future.

  • While shooting some footage, I see a shadowy dot in the middle. I decided to switch lenses to see if it would still be their and it still is. I guess my unit could be defective. Crap!! Might need to return it back to B&H and get it replaced. Anyone else have this issue?

    Here's an unlisted video that shows what I mean.

  • Mine does not have a dot that looks like that - you've probably already confirmed that there isn't dust on the sensor assembly, but if you haven't, that's what it looks most like to me.

    Also, as far as plugs for use in different countries, I'd rather things just charge by USB (as the Yi M1 does) - that way when I inevitably forget the special charger, it's a $5-10 USB brick and cable at the corner store and not a difficult-to-find (and probably more than $5) proprietary charger.

  • Yes, it was dust on the sensor. I cleaning it bit by putting the camera upside down and shaking it a little. It looks gone now but I'll feel more conformable with an exchanged unit. This is the first time this has happened to me even though it have happened to other people.

  • I agree on the usb charging port. I got a usb cable that has the right plug so I can use my normal 5 volt adaptors that I use for all my devices. Power just needs 5 volt 2 amps.

  • Is it a 3.5mm barrel connector for the powering from USB?

  • Yes on the 3.5mm barrel connector. So just need usb to this 3.5mm cord, which is available, to use standard phone a.c. adapters.

  • The camera returns to its roots - Shenzhen:

  • DCI 4K graded zlog video:

    True 24.00 fps.

  • DCI 4K graded zlog video in sunny, high-contrast setting:

    There are turtles.