e1 mft camera

Does the Z E1 turn out to be a BlackMagic Micro Cinema Camera killer?

by planetMitch5 Comments

I was blessed to talk with the Z E1 team at NAB 2015 – not many people did because they were way out in the “startup village” far from the main hall. But when I saw it I said instantly that this would sure give the BlackMagic Micro Cinema Camera a huge run for its money.

Of course, the usual question is will they be able to deliver?

Specs look amazing.

Totally unknown camera company.

Financing thru kickstarter… rocky start or awesome launch?

Well, I can tell you the press release below just crossed my desk – the kickstarter just launched, and it is 60% funded already!

Better get your orders in! Early backers are getting a heck of a discount which is why I rushed this post to print.

Quick summary:

  • 4k cinema at 24fps (4096×2160)
  • 4k UHD at 30fps
  • 60fps in 1080 and 120fps in 720
  • Controllable via smartphone
  • Micro 4/3 sensor and mount
  • Open platform for additional functionality (Magic Lantern anyone?)
  • $699 target price after kickstarter (cheaper now if you get in)

The E1 4k UHD interchangeable lens camera

Z E1 micro 4/3 interchangeable lens camera

Z E1 micro 4/3 interchangeable lens camera

Kickstarter movie

BlackMagic Micro Cinema Camera (MCC)

Ok, BlackMagic Micro Cinema Camera killer? We'll see. Obviously, there's a big price difference. The E1 is targeted at $700 and the MCC is $1000 (rounding up)

The MCC also has a switchable global shutter that the E1 doesn't.

But the E1 is a Micro 4/3 sensor where the MCC is a super 16 so the E1 is a good bit larger.

Oh, and the E1 shoots 4k, while the MCC “only” does 1080.

Super 16 vs Micro 4/3 vs APS-C sensor sizes

Super 16 vs Micro 4/3 vs APS-C sensor sizes

(Image via Ron Dawson)

So, we're just learning a bit about this camera – it looks damn exciting for certain markets… what do you think?

More from Kickstarter

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

Incredible Technology

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 4096×2160 video at 24 frames per second or ultra-high definition video 3840×2160 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.

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.

E1 controlled by iPhone and Android

E1 controlled by iPhone and Android

There's a ton more info on the kickstarter page!

What do you think? Did you buy one?

(cover photo credit: snap from the kickstarter)


  1. Another big difference from the BM MCC is that the E1 has a screen. Only QVGA resolution, but the MCC has neither screen nor wireless monitoring, so you would need to add an HMDI monitor to that solution.

    Oddly, the ks description discusses its use for event recording, but the lack of any way to record even an audio reference track for syncing makes that more challenging.

  2. Pingback: The Z-Cam is the World's Smallest 4K Micro Four Thirds Interchangeable Lens Camera | 4K Shooters

  3. Pingback: E1 Camera Is Essentially A Micro Four Thirds Action Cam

  4. If it ever ships, BM MCC has *global shutter* and PWM or S Bus RC control down to the lens. Without these vital features (on a drone mounted cam) you end up with just another rolling (tears with yaw) shutter and ~heavy glass you can’t control from the ground. You also have to settle for compressed video – no ability to write RAW or ProRes for colour balance in post.

    May as well fly a GoPro or GH4.

    The BM MCC promises cine quality colour depth/dynamic range, at the expense of resolution-nobody-can-write-to-the-media-fast-enough-because-of-card-limitations – if these are your priorities. 

    All the compact media cams have this fundamental limitation. The compromise is either depth or resolution.
    This fills a weird niche, without the best features of any of these other specialist products. Why anyone shoots 4K for the web (assumedly its target market) is an ongoing puzzle.

  5. The BMMCC is all about RAW at 60 fps. That’s it, that’s all. Can’t wait to get mine and show the world what 13 stops of dynamic range can do at 60 fps. No, I don’t work for blackmagic. Just love love love grading RAW. Every time I press “render” it’s like I’m opening up 30 frames per second of Christmas presents. Now 60? Omg. Omg. Omg. 🙂

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