The $199 Z Camera E1 vs Panasonic GH4: 4K Video

Started Nov 27, 2017 | Discussions
Markr041 Veteran Member • Posts: 8,108
The $199 Z Camera E1 vs Panasonic GH4: 4K Video
4

Ok. I bought the Z camera E1 for $199 - Black Friday Deal. It is now $249, sold before for $599.

Mixed reviews on the sales sites, but...

First, at the firmware .23 that comes with the camera, half of the features do not work and autofocus does not work right. This explains most of the review complaints on BH and Amazon.

With the October update (.30), the auto focus now works - push to focus. You can set shutter speed, aperture, and ISO - you can set ISO to Auto and set aperture and shutter speed manually, for example. There are many tweaks for picture, including NR and sharpness. The is MF assist.

Second, the complaints about shadow noise may also be due to old firmware, since with the new firmware you can adjust noise reduction. In any case, the sensor is exactly the same as the one in the Panasonic GH4. So, performance should be similar (not identical, could be better given a newer processor and how it's tuned).

So, how about a 4K30P comparison of the GH4 and the Z Camera E1 - same scene, same lens, same shutter and aperture? This is actually with the old E1 firmware.

Leica Nocticron f1.2 lens (yes, a $1500 lens on a $199 camera) on both.

Here it is. Same scene at F2 and at F5.6 (and ISO 800 for that scene). The cameras are in the same order for each lens/ISO setting. Which is which? which do you like better? Which has more noise? Which is more accurate?

https://vimeo.com/244582222

One camera does not get the reds correctly (too orange). Auto WB in both.

 Markr041's gear list:Markr041's gear list
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ200 Panasonic LX100 Sony RX100 IV Panasonic ZS100 Olympus TG-5 +12 more
Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH4
If you believe there are incorrect tags, please send us this post using our feedback form.
OP Markr041 Veteran Member • Posts: 8,108
The $199 Z Camera E1 4K Video from the Same Dim Scene

https://vimeo.com/244588672

4K frame grabs:

 Markr041's gear list:Markr041's gear list
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ200 Panasonic LX100 Sony RX100 IV Panasonic ZS100 Olympus TG-5 +12 more
GodSpeaks
GodSpeaks Forum Pro • Posts: 14,247
Re: The $199 Z Camera E1 vs Panasonic GH4: 4K Video

Question: With the new firmware, is the 4K bit rate still 60 Mbps, or have they upped it to 100 Mbps?

Static subjects really tell us nothing about the ability of the codec to record real video. You know, video where things actually move, often very quickly.

For $199 I think that is quite a bargain, assuming it can record moving subjects without artifacts.

Oh, you really do need to make it clear which camera is taking which shot when you redo your side-by-side comparison.

-- hide signature --

The greatest of mankind's criminals are those who delude themselves into thinking they have done 'the right thing.'
- Rayna Butler

 GodSpeaks's gear list:GodSpeaks's gear list
Panasonic Lumix DMC-TS5 Panasonic FZ1000 Sony Alpha DSLR-A850 Nikon D800E Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX7 +49 more
OP Markr041 Veteran Member • Posts: 8,108
Re: The $199 Z Camera E1 vs Panasonic GH4: 4K Video

GodSpeaks wrote:

Question: With the new firmware, is the 4K bit rate still 60 Mbps, or have they upped it to 100 Mbps?

Static subjects really tell us nothing about the ability of the codec to record real video. You know, video where things actually move, often very quickly.

For $199 I think that is quite a bargain, assuming it can record moving subjects without artifacts.

Oh, you really do need to make it clear which camera is taking which shot when you redo your side-by-side comparison.

It is still 60 Mbps.

One step at a time. Some people had criticized the camera for noise, so that had to be dealt with first.

No, I do not need to "redo" the comparison, labeling which camera took which shot. Intelligent people will figure it out from what I said and the other video I posted.

I will have more video tests No more comparisons, but outside with plenty of detail and hopefully with people moving.

 Markr041's gear list:Markr041's gear list
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ200 Panasonic LX100 Sony RX100 IV Panasonic ZS100 Olympus TG-5 +12 more
OP Markr041 Veteran Member • Posts: 8,108
The $199 Z Camera E1 Shoots Fall Colors on Campus

https://vimeo.com/244741990

Lumix 14-140mm lens. AWB, AF, handheld.

4K frame grabs:

 Markr041's gear list:Markr041's gear list
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ200 Panasonic LX100 Sony RX100 IV Panasonic ZS100 Olympus TG-5 +12 more
OP Markr041 Veteran Member • Posts: 8,108
Is the camera Noisy in the Dark: 4K Frame Grabs in a Dim Church

No video because I had an unstabilized lens, and the video is too shaky (Lumix 20mm f1.7).

 Markr041's gear list:Markr041's gear list
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ200 Panasonic LX100 Sony RX100 IV Panasonic ZS100 Olympus TG-5 +12 more
scissorfight New Member • Posts: 4
Re: The $199 Z Camera E1 Shoots Fall Colors on Campus

I bought one of these also.  I'm 70% impressed with the camera and 30% frustrated.  The bitrate issue must be insurmountable or they would have changed that long ago.  Hope not, but seems that way.This stinks.  If they could implement 100mbps or even 200mbps this camera could be a beast.  They are now working on VR and 360 rigs so doubtful development will go much further for the E1.

One weird thing is some odd auto exposure happening with all settings at a fixed position. With my ISO set to 100 (or whatever), the shutter speed set  (1/50) and the aperture set to fixed settings (manual F mount lens), the camera still is doing some auto exposure in Photo mode.  I just can't figure out what it is changing.  Point to a dark scene and the camera brightens up, point to bright, it darkens.  Hmmm.  This isn't right.  Maybe it's just the firmware I'm using (.23)?  Anyone have insight into this or experienced the same? It kinda looks like shutter speed is being changed since the dark scenes brighten but also get smeary like a long shutter speed in video.  No clue.  Still looking for the answer to this one.

Those 2 issues are causing some buyers remorse (even at $199).  I'd love to use this on an 800mm hexacopter with a tiny gimbal but the bitrate just can't handle large sweeping scenes currently.  That also makes it not well suited to steadicam type work, which it would be great for otherwise.  So close...

OP Markr041 Veteran Member • Posts: 8,108
Re: The $199 Z Camera E1 Shoots Fall Colors on Campus

scissorfight wrote:

I bought one of these also. I'm 70% impressed with the camera and 30% frustrated. The bitrate issue must be insurmountable or they would have changed that long ago. Hope not, but seems that way.This stinks. If they could implement 100mbps or even 200mbps this camera could be a beast. They are now working on VR and 360 rigs so doubtful development will go much further for the E1.

One weird thing is some odd auto exposure happening with all settings at a fixed position. With my ISO set to 100 (or whatever), the shutter speed set (1/50) and the aperture set to fixed settings (manual F mount lens), the camera still is doing some auto exposure in Photo mode. I just can't figure out what it is changing. Point to a dark scene and the camera brightens up, point to bright, it darkens. Hmmm. This isn't right. Maybe it's just the firmware I'm using (.23)? Anyone have insight into this or experienced the same? It kinda looks like shutter speed is being changed since the dark scenes brighten but also get smeary like a long shutter speed in video. No clue. Still looking for the answer to this one.

Those 2 issues are causing some buyers remorse (even at $199). I'd love to use this on an 800mm hexacopter with a tiny gimbal but the bitrate just can't handle large sweeping scenes currently. That also makes it not well suited to steadicam type work, which it would be great for otherwise. So close...

Please, please, please update the firmware to .3. The camera acts completely differently. I was totally frustrated with .23. Now, it works as it should. The .3 firmware was made available just last month, so they are still working on the E1.

 Markr041's gear list:Markr041's gear list
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ200 Panasonic LX100 Sony RX100 IV Panasonic ZS100 Olympus TG-5 +12 more
kurth Senior Member • Posts: 1,467
Re: The $199 Z Camera E1 Shoots Fall Colors on Campus

mark...any chance for a dci sample ? There's not one on the whole internet, believe it or not ! I think dci is what really sets this camera apart, esp when u look at the price of any camera that has it ! thanks / kurth

kurth Senior Member • Posts: 1,467
Re: The $199 Z Camera E1 Shoots Fall Colors on Campus

I'd also like to see how the camera (and bitrate) behave with a moving camera. I know that's not your style but it would show the limits of the 60mbps ...thanks /k

manojsr New Member • Posts: 1
Re: Is the camera Noisy in the Dark: 4K Frame Grabs in a Dim Church

Thanks Mark for posting your review and thoughts. I too bought Z cam e1 on sale and have been impressed sometimes and baffled at others. I did download the latest firmware. When I shoot in the twilight with this camera, I don't get videos anywhere as clean as my Panasonic G7. In daylight, both perform very good. Though the Z cam hunts for focus more. Did you keep the noise reduction to strong in your shots. They look very clean. Not sure if there is some setting I am missing.

OP Markr041 Veteran Member • Posts: 8,108
Re: Is the camera Noisy in the Dark: 4K Frame Grabs in a Dim Church

manojsr wrote:

Thanks Mark for posting your review and thoughts. I too bought Z cam e1 on sale and have been impressed sometimes and baffled at others. I did download the latest firmware. When I shoot in the twilight with this camera, I don't get videos anywhere as clean as my Panasonic G7. In daylight, both perform very good. Though the Z cam hunts for focus more. Did you keep the noise reduction to strong in your shots. They look very clean. Not sure if there is some setting I am missing.

NR set to normal or middle. Hunting depends on the lens. I use AF, not AF-C, and just push focus. I am still learning what works best. So far, as a run and gun street video camera it has performed well. I will post videos when I get back from China.

 Markr041's gear list:Markr041's gear list
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ200 Panasonic LX100 Sony RX100 IV Panasonic ZS100 Olympus TG-5 +12 more
OP Markr041 Veteran Member • Posts: 8,108
Re: The $199 Z Camera E1 Shoots Fall Colors on Campus

kurth wrote:

I'd also like to see how the camera (and bitrate) behave with a moving camera. I know that's not your style but it would show the limits of the 60mbps ...thanks /k

One advantage of this tiny camera is that is suitable for a gimbal. I will try that out when I return from a trip.

 Markr041's gear list:Markr041's gear list
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ200 Panasonic LX100 Sony RX100 IV Panasonic ZS100 Olympus TG-5 +12 more
OP Markr041 Veteran Member • Posts: 8,108
Re: The $199 Z Camera E1 Shoots Fall Colors on Campus

kurth wrote:

mark...any chance for a dci sample ? There's not one on the whole internet, believe it or not ! I think dci is what really sets this camera apart, esp when u look at the price of any camera that has it ! thanks / kurth

Trying out DCI and z-log are on my agenda.

 Markr041's gear list:Markr041's gear list
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ200 Panasonic LX100 Sony RX100 IV Panasonic ZS100 Olympus TG-5 +12 more
kurth Senior Member • Posts: 1,467
Re: The $199 Z Camera E1 Shoots Fall Colors on Campus

thanks and safe travels

kurth Senior Member • Posts: 1,467
Re: The $199 Z Camera E1 Shoots Fall Colors on Campus

.....saw the dci clip. thanks for posting. Disappointingly, it had lots of moire. Was the original file the same as yt ? ...maybe vimeo can't be accessed from china ?And did dci crop more, or less than 1080 ? ...just wondering what caused the moire....thanks again /k

OP Markr041 Veteran Member • Posts: 8,108
Re: The $199 Z Camera E1 Shoots Fall Colors on Campus

kurth wrote:

.....saw the dci clip. thanks for posting. Disappointingly, it had lots of moire. Was the original file the same as yt ? ...maybe vimeo can't be accessed from china ?And did dci crop more, or less than 1080 ? ...just wondering what caused the moire....thanks again /k

Moire is odd, since like the GH4, the camera just crops from the sensor - there is no pixel binning, just 1:1 pixel readout. This is also true for DCI 4K. Maybe no anti-aliasing filter?

Did you watch the 4K version? on a 4K screen? I have seen moire produced by bad scaling of HD from 4K.

 Markr041's gear list:Markr041's gear list
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ200 Panasonic LX100 Sony RX100 IV Panasonic ZS100 Olympus TG-5 +12 more
OP Markr041 Veteran Member • Posts: 8,108
The $199 Z Camera E1 Shoots a Sunny Hong Kong Lake in DCI 4K

Graded from zlog:

https://youtu.be/da14cE7D-fc

 Markr041's gear list:Markr041's gear list
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ200 Panasonic LX100 Sony RX100 IV Panasonic ZS100 Olympus TG-5 +12 more
kurth Senior Member • Posts: 1,467
Re: The $199 Z Camera E1 Shoots Fall Colors on Campus

no...watched it a a quadhd monitor...but does that mean it wasn't on the original file....esp. the railings ? ...so dci is 1:1 ? thanks again

OP Markr041 Veteran Member • Posts: 8,108
Re: The $199 Z Camera E1 Shoots Fall Colors on Campus

kurth wrote:

no...watched it a a quadhd monitor...but does that mean it wasn't on the original file....esp. the railings ? ...so dci is 1:1 ? thanks again

I am uploading the original graded video to Vimeo, so it can be downloaded. I will post the link.

 Markr041's gear list:Markr041's gear list
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ200 Panasonic LX100 Sony RX100 IV Panasonic ZS100 Olympus TG-5 +12 more
Keyboard shortcuts:
FForum MMy threads