We’ll start with a caveat — bad things often happen when you combine ambitious ideas with Kickstarter. It’s why we usually steer clear of the crowdfunding lands, but what Z Camera is promising has gotten our attention. How can we not take notice when someone designs a 4K interchangeable lens camera body that you can slip into your pocket?
The E1’s killer feature is its size — 3″ x 2.2″ x 1″, with the lens mount extending out another inch. It’s no gimmick — despite its size, the camera is capable of 4K video at 24 fps, 16 MP stills, supports 25 fps and 50 fps shooting, and has slow-motion 720p shooting at 120 fps in the works. Inside, there’s an Ambarella A9 chip for image processing, coming from the same company that powers GoPro’s cameras. The micro four-thirds lens mount supports third-party lenses from Olympus, Panasonic Lumix, Leica, and Sigma. ISO maxes out at 102,400 for low-light shooting, but if you want to make sure the image isn’t grainy, you’ll want to only go up to 6,400. The good high-ISO performance is thanks to a 3D noise filter that uses motion compensated temporal filtering technology, which particularly helps when trying to shoot in low-light conditions without a tripod to keep the camera steady.
Speaking of tripods, the Z Camera has a mount on the bottom that will work with most third-party accessories out there. There’s also 802.11n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth LE connectivity, allowing you to use Z Camera’s apps to control the camera remotely. Have any other ideas on how to use the camera? Z Camera is making an SDK public, so you can design apps or features using the E1 yourself.
Being small, very powerful, and metal, you’d do well to worry about burning your hands while using this thing. Worry not, Z Camera says — the E1 body is die-cast magnesium, designed to spread heat evenly and keep it comfortable to hold. That said, the company says that they are not trying to
Lots of promises there, and this Kickstarter is less than a week old. You can currently reserve one at the $600 tier, although at the time of writing, there are only 20 left. For what it’s worth, the project has already blown by its finding goal by over $100,000. Let’s hope the E1 doesn’t succumb to stretch goal creep, or that target December 2015 ship date is going to end up even farther off.