Skip to main content

Z Cam E1 is a small camera with filmmaking aspirations

The Z Cam E1 claims to be the world’s smallest Micro Four Thirds (MFT) interchangeable lens camera, and we haven’t seen anything else that disputes it. Z Cam introduced the E1 so videographers could have an action-cam-sized 4K camera that can capture the highest quality footage possible. The E1’s portable size allows it to be mounted in ways and taken places that would otherwise be difficult to do with a DSLR camera, like attached to a drone. And, the appeal is that you can swap lenses.

The camera is almost twice the size and weight of the GoPro Hero4 Black, but the E1’s sensor is nine times the size as the Hero’s 1/2.3 sensor. That means the Z Cam E1 captures better video in low light, and offers a much greater dynamic range. But like the GoPro, 4K video at 30 frames per second is limited to 60Mbps, and unfortunately it shows. Compare the video to a similarly priced 4K MFT camera, such as the Panasonic Lumix G7 (which records 4K video at 100Mbps), and the E1 just looks muddier and lacks color space. That puts the Z Cam E1 in a class of its own, between the GoPro and standard 4K MFT cameras.

The E1 does an outstanding job as a fixed camera, however, and it was really easy to take along where space was a premium. It is well-suited as a versatile B camera where you could snap away time-lapses, film in tight spaces, or capture continuous footage of a subject while keeping your primary camera free for your main shots.

It’s really impressive that Z Cam can fit a MFT sensor into such a small body, but to really get usable footage you’ll have to frame your shots. And while the larger sensor and interchangeable lens mount on the E1 surpass the video quality you’ll get with a GoPro, the E1’s 60Mbps data rate for 4K limits the quality of footage you would otherwise get with similarly priced (albeit larger) Panasonic.

Available at: BHPhotoVideo.com

Editors' Recommendations

Alexander Thickstun
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Alexander graduated with a degree in Aerospace Engineering in 2005 and an MBA in 2011. He's an outdoor enthusiast and avid…
How to photograph April’s solar eclipse, according to Nikon
A total solar eclipse.

Excitement is building for next month’s total solar eclipse that will see the moon’s shadow fall across a large part of the U.S., from Maine in the northeast all the way to Texas in the south.

Folks who make their way to the best viewing spots are reminded to protect their eyes by using specially designed solar specs or other safe viewing devices when witnessing the celestial event on April 8. Others may want to photograph the moment the moon comes directly between our planet and the sun (solar specs are still required!), and Nikon shared a video on Thursday offering some handy tips on how to do just that.

Read more
How to photograph April’s solar eclipse, according to NASA
A total solar eclipse.

How to Photograph a Total Solar Eclipse

Nikon recently shared some tips on photographing April’s total solar eclipse, and NASA is also offering its own ideas.

Read more
The best free photo-editing software for 2024
Side view of a laptop on a desk.

Professional photo-editing applications aren't cheap, nor are they easy to master without formal training. That's why we're taking a look at the best free photo-editing software on the market.
Our top pick is GIMP, an open-source photo editing software available for the big three operating systems. It offers a huge workspace and a wide variety of professional editing tools.
We provide thousands of how-to articles, news articles, and best-of lists to help you build your photography skills, choose the best gear for your photography needs, and make the most out of your photo equipment. And if our top pick isn’t for you, check out the other options on this list. There are great choices for conventional desktop software, mobile apps, and even web-based solutions that don't require installing software.

GIMP

Read more