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Z Camera E1 Mini m43 4K camera for $199 only, cheapest 4K ever
  • image

    • Three selectable video noise reduction levels
    • Low 200 millisecond latency when using app
    • Single, Continuous Center, and Flexible Zone autofocus modes
    • microSD/SDHC/SDXC card slot
    • Two 2000mAh rechargeable battery packs included
    • Mini-HDMI 1.4a port supports clean 1080p output
    • Micro-USB 2.0 port
    • 3.5mm mic input
    • Expansion port
    • DC power input for external power source (5V, 2A)

    666 x 619 - 45K
  • 276 Replies sorted by
  • Even for $200, it's garbage and the company who made it pretty much abandoned it so that they could move on to making another camera that they'll probably abandon after people buy it.

  • @eatstoomuchjam

    What exactly is garbage?

  • Manual controls ? 24p? Clean hdmi out?

    Thanks :)

  • clean 1080p output (see specs above). 24p at 4K DCI. Manual controls. Aperture, shutter, ISO. Autofocus is not good (worse even than GH5 :)).

    A review:

  • Max 60 Mbps @ 4k.

  • Seems like Yi m43 camera would be better for general usage ... if only Yi had 24p 4K and clean 4K out.

    Probably both limited by their Ambarella LSI

  • Garbage =

    • sharpening options = "oversharpen footage" or "footage that looks like it was shot through a nylon"
    • log profile doesn't seem to change dynamic range at all, just uglies the image
    • autofocus is very poor - slow and hunts a lot
    • visibly noisy at iso 800

    I remember hating their smartphone app too, for some reason, but my Z-Cam has been sitting on a shelf collecting dust for long enough that I can't remember why I hated the app so much.

    Seconding the recommendation for the Yi. Aside from it already producing a nicer image, the Yi folks are still committed to the camera and releasing impressive firmware updates (the latest one was pretty impressive, even if there's still work to be done). The Z-Camera people switched their focus to their 360 camera and pretty much abandoned the E1.

  • autofocus is very poor - slow and hunts a lot

    Well, if single shot AF still works if slow, it is enough.

    visibly noisy at iso 800

    Interesting to see same place and same lens comparison with GH4 class camera. On videos I see opinion that it is not worse than Yi M1, if not better.

    Seconding the recommendation for the Yi. Aside from it already producing a nicer image, the Yi folks are still committed to the camera and releasing impressive firmware updates (the latest one was pretty impressive, even if there's still work to be done). The Z-Camera people switched their focus to their 360 camera and pretty much abandoned the E1.

    I am not too sure that you will get any update after 3.0 for Yi. And 3.0 has lot of bugs and missing features.

  • High ISO look not bad

  • A handful of these would be a cheap way to get into 360VR

  • They are actually still supporting the E1. The latest firmware update (0.30) was released on October 19. Basically last month so fairly recently. They also say that they might still update it.

  • I haven't plugged mine in since 0.2x came out many months before. When the forum vanished (unless it's moved somewhere and is no longer linked from their website), I assumed that they shut it down because it was almost nothing but people complaining about how bad the camera was/is.

    The facebook post about 0.30 doesn't have a whole lot of info about what the patch does. Someone mentioned bug fixes and maximum iso setting.

  • This deal was a no-brainer: $199 for an m43 camera selling for $499 or $599, and a 30-day return policy. You can take the deal and sell the camera for a profit if you don't like it. Or buy 10 and undercut the sellers.

    So, yes, I bought one. I have mft lenses and have access to a GH4. So, I can compare.

    I am used to lousy continuous AF on all Panasonic cameras. But if this camera is ok, then one can have a gimbaled relatively large sensor camera that is light and portable. One can move with the camera!

    My faith in Chinese companies producing their own cameras with standard parts (like big-company sensors) that are real deals was upped by my experience with Yi: it's 4K+ action cam beats the GoPro 6 in IQ and is half the price, and so does its 360 camera beat the GoPro Fusion, at 57% of the GoPro price (although I am not sure its m43 offering is a bargain).

  • I dug mine out and charged it - I had firmware 0.26 on it - I think that was from around the time when they shut down their forum.

    I set up 0.30 yesterday, but haven't had a chance to go shoot anything with it. The user interface is still pretty awkward unless there's some way to change aperture/shutter speed/iso without going into a menu. If I still dislike it and anybody here likes it, I'll be glad to sell it to them for not much money. If you love yours, markr041, maybe you'll be interested in a second... :)

    Oh, and you're totally right about the 4K+. I absolutely love mine - I also finally have my ribcage modified one (and one where I swapped the lens for a rectilinear m12 instead of a fisheye). Maybe I'll do a test of all of them along with the yi m43 camera...

  • I think the current special price of the Yi M1 that includes both a zoom and a prime lens is pretty decent for $322.99 (Update. The price just increased to $350. It was $322.99 when I originally wrote this post) The 42.5mm f/1.8 lens alone usually sells for $199 although it was $99 very recently but the price just went up to the original $199. Now that the $199 deal for the E1 is over, the Yi M1 can be an alternative for anyone who wants a very cheap M43 camera as long as they aren't expecting too much for that price.

    Definitely pluses and minuses between both camera. The Yi M1 has a touch screen and standard SD card slot while on the E1, it's not a touch screen and it has a micro SD card slot. A benefit of the E1 is obviously the fact that it's a little smaller and has a 24p 4K DCI option with slightly more resolution.

    A question mark is the low light capabilities and auto focusing between the 2 cameras.

    I guess I'll have to wait and see since I'll also be getting it. I'll be comparing it with the Yi M1. Debated with myself over getting it and then finally decided that I should have once the deal was over. Was able to talk to a B&H rep over the phone yesterday to see if I can still get the deal and in the end, they allowed it. I can definitely use another 4K angle for some of the kinds of videos I shoot including music videos. I might also add extra angles to videos of events that I sometimes shoot around Boston.

    Now to hope the manual controls on the E1 will be easy to set. It's very easy on the Yi M1. Only major issue now (After the recent firmware update) is the fact that you can't see how the video will truly look in full manual mode until after you hit record. Basically if you increase the ISO on the Yi M1, the picture doesn't get brighter. Stays the same. You'll only see how it truly looks until after you hit record. Good news is that you can still do adjustments once you hit record but that's annoying. Yi have fixed some bugs already so hopefully they'll still release a newer firmware update that fixes that.

    I think the chances are very good that we could see both Yi and Z Cam releases successors of the M1 and E1 in 2018.. Perhaps the new versions could have the same sensor that is in the GH5 and offer 4K 60p.

  • B&H have reduced the price of the E1 again. It's now $250. $50 more than the previous special price but still not bad. Perhaps it'll stay at that price. People will need to order it quick just in case it doesn't stay at that price.

  • So, mine arrived today, it's had a quick test around the house and I believe it to be value for money:


    From the GH2 days I have a selection of nice old 'L' type FD lenses. Here's the wide angle on the E1:

    It might just go on a dog walk shortly!

    2400 x 1695 - 2M
    800 x 644 - 63K
  • Nice! I'd like to see images in good light conditions! DR, Colors, bit rates... But i already have a Yi M1 (which i'm enjoying)

  • Very good POV with interchangeable lense for price with 4k posibility. But just a negative point. This cam doesn't work with MFT panasonic lenses. Focus and aperture not available.

  • This cam doesn't work with MFT panasonic lenses. Focus and aperture not available.

    If you look at camera page they have list of working Panasonic lenses.

  • I just gave mine another try today in a sort-of shootout with bunch of other cameras. The picture quality has definitely improved from firmware 0.2.6, but the noise is still pretty bad in shadows (I was noticing it a lot at ISO 500) and moire in my shirt was really bad.

    I think it's graduated, though, to being a camera that I could throw in a bag and leave attached to a lens doing a time lapse or catching bts footage or something if it's a fairly bright day outside.

  • (And FWIW, the Yi m43 camera doesn't have nearly as much moire or noise in my tests)

  • Quick, not very detailed shootout with the E1 and several other cameras/options - when reviewing it again, the yi's moire is worse than I originally thought, but still not as bad):