About this project
About Z Camera
Z was founded in March, 2013 by a vibrant team of digital imaging and information technology experts. We love to dream, create images, create video and push the boundaries of electrical engineering. Our goal is to separate ourselves from traditional photo and video products by rethinking things from the ground up.
“After spending years in the camera industry, I realized that most companies are much more interested in cutting costs of their current products than investing in developing new ones and listening to what people want," said Jason Zhang, engineer and creator
We are creating a camera that will deliver amazing quality without having to spend thousands of dollars. E1 from Z is the smallest 4K ultra-high definition camera with an interchangeable lens system. The E1 is Wi-Fi 802.11N, Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE), and Ambarella A9 image processor equipped. Easily capture cinema-quality 4K 4096x2160 video at 24 frames per second or ultra-high definition video 3840x2160 at 30 frames per second with H.264 compression. Advanced 3D noise filters using motion compensated temporal filtering (MCTF ) technology reduces noise and jitter. This allows for incredible low-light performance with the camera’s ability to shoot at up to 102,400 ISO while maintaining high image quality, up to 6400 ISO.
Additionally, the 3D noise filter actively removes ghosting and blurring. E1’s die cast magnesium housing is specifically designed to dissipate heat and properly support the high demands of the A9 image processor, making all of this technology possible.
Capture Your Content Like Never Before
The E1’s micro four-thirds lens mount can handle a wide range of AF (auto-focus) lenses available from brands such as Olympus, Panasonic Lumix, Leica and Sigma. It also supports a variety of existing MF (manual-focus) lenses. In lieu of bulky DSLRs, E1 allows users to travel with an arsenal of lenses to capture the highest-quality footage possible.
E1’s advanced focusing technology allows for continuous autofocus in both photos and video. By using different sensitivity settings, it ensures that users will not lose track of a subject while filming. And for users who are traditionalists and prefer to pull manual focus, the E1 offers an intuitive platform, featuring an automatic, on-screen zoom preview for crystal-clear focus.
Connect & Control
Our proprietary applications for iOS and Android, are already available in the Apple App Store and Google Play. These apps provide users the ability to control, live stream and manage content via their Wi-Fi or Bluetooth 4.0-enabled devices.
Users can leave the camera in standby mode and remotely power the E1, whether it's powered on or off, a feature not available with most other camera models. Once powered on, users can control and trigger the camera without physical contact. Furthermore, monitor and control your camera indefinitely by providing a direct AC power source.
The ultra-low 200-300 millisecond latency allows for easy streaming and seamless content downloads to any Android or iOS device, which makes an exceptional experience for capturing documentaries or shooting live events. A videographer can mount the E1 from the ceiling prior to the event using a standard tripod mount accessory. Aftermarket accessories area easily added in a snap to the E1’s standard 1/4”-20 tripod mount.
Create beautiful drone aerial photography and cinematography. Pilots can remotely configure the camera without having to land it. This feature provides ease for travel. Users can power it on remotely and download content to a connected iOS or Android device, all the while it is inside of a backpack or pocket.
Develop Your Way
Advanced users can customize the functionality of the E1 to amp up its potential than previously imagined through the open platform, I/O port and available software development kit (SDK), available in two levels.
Risks and challenges
We have several challenges to face being the first non-Japanese company to develop a 4k interchangeable camera system. Our experience with the latest A9 chip from Ambarella has been a major asset. Cooperation with Panasonic to embed their sensor and lens into E1 has helped us to finalize the product.
We need your support to deliver our revolutionary camera! The mount and the ring alignment is by far the most challenging aspect of our manufacturing process. As a backer, your funding will directly support the repeatable manufacturing process and tools required to align the image sensor and the lens ring. They need to be assembled perfectly in parallel with the image sensor or the lens will not capture photos and videos correctly. Please support our project and help us move from R&D into full-fledged manufacturing.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
3840x2160 @ 24fps/25fps/30fps
4096x2160 @ 24fps
2880x2160 @ 24fps/25fps/30fps
1920x1920 @ 24fps/25fps/30fps
1920x1440 @ 24fps/25fps/30fps
1920x1080 @ 24fps/25fps/30fps/50fps/60fps
1280x720 @ 50fps/60fps/240fps
848x480 @ 25fps/30fps
It use AAC as encoder, bit rate at 128kbps, the sample rate is 48k. Also, it has a external MIC jack (3.5mm)
Yes! We have been exploring this option, and may release something in the near future.
Here is the iOS application: https://itunes.apple.com/app/z-camera-app/id980859426…
Here is the Android Application: http://pcib.sj.91.com/soft/Controller.ashx…
Yes, it supports live stream output via HDMI upto 1080p60
Yes, for sure.
Normal mode it's above 10 stops and we are working on a wide dynamic range mode. Will keep you posted. Wide dynamical range mode will be expected to be 11 stops.
It's designed for 3rd party to control the camera and get the image via composite signal. It can control the camera via a serial port by VISCA protocol. This protocol enables a lot of controls for a camera.
Basically you can rewrite the app and enables more flows for the camera.
It's 60Mbps very high efficiency H.264 codec(Main Profile) recording with MOV container.
It's customised battery because we need it to be thin enough and still has 2000mah capacity.
At present it's charged by camera body but we are working on extra dual battery charger.
Extra battery is available and it will be affordable for your convenience. Accessories are used to serve the user for a better experience.
We do have the plan of controlling multiple cameras and we are working on it in two steps:
1. We are going to provide an app to do 3 camera control with BLE. Limited by the chip we are using, it's 3 cameras only.
2. We are going to work on multiple camera video-frame synchronisation. It means that every camera's video frame will be well synchronised.
Well, we want to provide tools to let user to explore the use case but we don't want to work on the applications directly for now.
Yes and well supported. Auto exposure algorithm is from video imaging so there will be no flash when doing time-lapse.
Yes, 16M with RAW(DNG) and JPG.
15fps 16M JPG.
To make it smaller. Reasonable small is what the camera designed for.
Simply used for long time standby. Installing your camera with a ladder or other tools to somewhere you can't reach easily, and you can power on/off the camera with your app.
Yes, we open SDK to 3rd party to explore the better use case of the camera. We listen to the request via forum.
Kind of warm as designed. 4K generates huge heat and the way to keep the camera healthy is to let the camera dispatch heat as soon as possible. That's why we use magnesium as body.
It feels a bit warm if you are using it in hand for long time 4K recording but the temperature isn't getting high any more very soon. This means when doing 4K recording the temperature will rise very quickly and it will hit the balance soon. For 1080p recording and still capture it's not heating.
The sensor is Panasonic MN34230 which is standard MFT sensor.
So, for still capture it's 2x as all MFT camera does. For video mode, it's around 2.34x crop factor.
One thing to highlight is, for 1080p60 mode, it's still of the same view angle as 4K.
For 1080p modes, we can do binning to obtain better crop factor as most of DSLR does.But we choose not to do in this way as we do downscaling instead of binning. You can compare the jaggy edge of the contents from our camera and a DSLR in day light and you will find out that it's smoothy.
Yes, see here: http://pan.baidu.com/s/1jGlGBZK
I'm sorry in China we can't use dropbox and sorry for inconvenience.
Some comments for the video: It's just cut/paste by iMovie without any noise reduction and color tuning. But imovie compressed the bitrate. Original files have 60Mbps bitrate. I'm going to post more clips just from the camera.
By the way, I'm not a video grapher and all the clips are done by me. You can do a better job than me.
OK, let me give you exactly my thoughts. This kind of High ISO isn't for normal movie shooting and there are noise or artefacts.
We have better noise filter which will make this camera to have better noise performance comparing to cameras which has the similar sensor size but it's not expected to be better than cameras which has much bigger sensors.
But we do think that it helps sometimes for documentary or some special cases. With this kind of high ISO it will be able to make you see details of the scenario which cannot be seen by human eye. Because of the MCTF we have, if the object isn't moving fast, the noise can be greatly removed. We will post some extreme low light video for your reference.
The camera is designed with some new concepts which is never adopted into a traditional camera before:
1. The camera is going to be upgraded by App. We have iOS and Android App which will help to push the latest firmware to the camera for upgrade. We intend to make the camera to be more versatile than normal cameras with some specialised features and fast response to professionals. Back to April when we show this camera at NAB there's no manual mode but here is full manual mode for video. The camera is continuing growing when we have more feedbacks. Can you imagine you talk to the giant camera companies to ask for a new video mode? Talk to us!
2. The camera is designed for non-handheld use case mainly. So you may complain about the feeling when you hold it in hand. But to make it small we need to sacrifice some features and we do think small matters. Because it's designed like this, you can use power source to provide non-stop power for recording, or even standby; You can mount the camera somewhere standby without worrying about the battery consumption thanks to BLE...... all these designs are just for one purpose: We want you to be able to shoot video with more options.
3. We will upgrade firmware to add more features and we are designing more accessories to give you more things you can't have before. We may want professional videography to be more affordable.
Yes, we do. We have all the technical design in house. No out sourcing, no 3rd party for software and hardware.
With a small team of 20+ engineers, we do:
Camera system(RTOS and Linux) including middleware and application.
Wifi streaming(our private protocol)
Bluetooth(standalone mcu outside of the main chip)
Yes, everything. But we don't own a factory and we don't want to own a factory. If you are interested, come and visit us in Shenzhen. You will be impressed by what we are doing now:)
It's rolling shutter.
Here is some recent footage shot from our friends at XSories with the E1 camera. It is available in 4k here on youtube: https://youtu.be/tVn5R38rGF4
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