Smallest 4K MFT camera for drones on Kickstarter

With 457 backers, a total of $264,856 pledged of a $42,000 goal and 18 days to go, the E1, a 4K interchangeable lens camera, is well on the way to become a reality.

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When in June we published one article about the “The Smallest Micro Four Thirds 4K Camera for Drones” the camera from Chinese company ImagineVision was not yet on Kickstarter. It entered the crowdfunding platform afterwards, to achieve its goals and even surpass them in a few days.

With 18 days to go before the crowdfunding campaign ends, this low light performance 4K UHD camera with support for all Panasonic and Olympus MFT lenses and a price of $699 seems to have all the right features to become one optional tool for multiple tasks.

Able to capture cinema-quality 4K, 4096×2160 video at 24 frames per second or 4K ultra-high definition video 3840×2160 at 30 frames per second with H.264 compression, the camera offers, according to the creators, “incredible low-light performance with the camera’s ability to shoot at up to 102400 ISO while maintaining high image quality, up to 6400 ISO.” 

“We are creating a camera that will deliver amazing quality without having to spend thousands of dollars. E1 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” says Jason Zhang, a 34-year old engineer from Shenzhen, China, responsible for the project.

Presented as the ideal drone camera (it weighs 168 grams without battery), the Z camera – or now E1 – from ImagineVision is built around a 16MP Micro Four Thirds sensor and bayonet, giving the camera access to a wide range of lenses from Olympus, Panasonic, Sigma and other brands.

The information available indicates that the “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.”

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Remote control of the camera is possible through proprietary applications for iOS and Android already available at the usual places. These apps provide users with users the ability to control, live stream and manage content via their Wi-Fi or Bluetooth 4.0-enabled devices.

The creators also say that 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 are easily added in a snap to the E1’s standard 1/4”-20 tripod mount.”

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When it comes to drones, an area where the small form factor of the camera might be an asset, users can remotely configure the camera without having to land it. For users who want to customize the functionality of the E1, the I/O port and the software development kit (SDK) for this open platform product are the door to another level of interaction with the product.

Although Kickstarter projects have to be taken with some salt, it appears that in this case the creators of the camera already did their homework, so what they need is the money to go ahead and manufacture the product. The development of prototypes, from an early model with a reverse engineered MFT bayonet until the final model, is documented.

The team expects to deliver the first cameras in November this year, for the backers, with the special price of $499 for the camera body. Find more information about the whole project at their Kickstarter page and on the website created for the Z camera E1.

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Journalist, writer and photographer since 1979, both print and online, with a vast experience in the fields of photography, software, hardware, web, aviation, History, video games, technology, having published content in almost all Portuguese newspapers…

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