Two years after its announcement during Photokina 2018, it looks like ZEISS is close to starting shipping its compact 37.4MP full-frame camera: the ZEISS ZX1. This camera comes with an Android operating system, a fixed ZEISS Distagon T* 35mm f/2 lens, and its now available for preorder at a premium $6000.00 price tag. Let’s take a closer look at it!
ZEISS ZX1 – Better Late than Never
Two years ago, during Photokina 2018, we first saw a prototype of the ZEISS ZX1. Below is a video we made during the tradeshow if you want to remember about it.
Photokina 2020 was supposed to take place during May 2020, and it’s easy to think that ZEISS was going to announce the launch of the camera at that time.
The question we can ask ourselves now is simple: does this compact full-frame camera still make sense nowadays?
ZEISS ZX1 Features
The ZEISS ZX1 is a compact camera – 5.6 x 3.7 x 2.6″ / 142 x 93 x 66mm for a weight of 1.76lb/800g with battery – that features a 37.4MP full-frame CMOS sensor. It can capture stills at up to 3 frames per second. For photographers, a leaf shutter design provides flash sync at all shutter speeds and allows for quiet shooting. There’s a top hot-shoe that’s compatible with the Sigma TTL flash protocol.
The camera does have a built-in ZEISS Distagon T* 35mm f/2 lens. There’s no doubt that the image quality will be on-par with ZEISS’ reputation of creating high-quality and very sharp lenses. The optical design consists of eight elements in five groups with two double-sided aspherical elements to reduce spherical aberrations and minimize distortion.
The ZX1 has a sensitivity range of ISO 80-51200. Like its competitors such as the Leica Q2, for example, there are physical shutter speed and ISO dials, along with a manual aperture ring on the lens. However, it doesn’t mean the camera is fully-manual, as there a 255-area AF system. The AF system can work in either single-shot or continuous AF modes, as well as DMF and MF modes.
At the back of the camera, there’s a 0.7″ OLED electronic viewfinder with FullHD resolution, and a 0.74x magnification. Below the viewfinder is a 4.34″ rear LCD touchscreen with a 1280 x 720 338ppi resolution. This touchscreen allows you to navigate inside the menu and edit your photos (more on that later).
For filmmakers, the ZEISS ZX1 might not be the most exciting camera out here. Indeed, it can only shoot video in 4K at 30p and 1080P at 60 frames per second max, there’s a microphone and headphone jack, a built-in microphone, and a USB Type-C port to connect an external monitor or power/charge the camera.
As you can see, there are minimal input/output ports on the ZEISS ZX1. The camera doesn’t have any memory card slots, as it records everything onto its internal 512GB storage. The concept behind the ZEISS ZX1 is more around shoot/edit/share.
Shoot, Edit, Share
The ZEISS ZX1 is powered by an Android operating system. It does have built-in Bluetooth and WiFi connectivity. The main idea is to shoot, edit, and share your photos/videos all within the camera.
Indeed, the camera comes with a built-in Adobe Photoshop Lightroom CC software that allows you to edit your pictures directly on the camera. The software lets you adjust all your traditional RAW parameters. Once you’re happy with your edit, you can share it directly with your smartphone to share it on social media. If you want to edit your pictures further, you can sync the camera with Lightroom on your computer.
Also, the USB Type-C port allows you to back up the camera to an external hard drive. You can back up your cameras to a cloud storage service, and even your NAS.
You got it, the ZEISS ZX1 is a camera meant to be used without a computer primarily, but you still have the ability to connect it to your computer.
Price and Availability
The ZEISS ZX1 is available for preorder now on B&H for a whopping $6000.00 price. At the moment, there’s no info about a shipping date yet.
At this price, the ZEISS ZX1 is one of the most expensive compact cameras available on the market, and it’s even $1000.00 more expensive than the Leica Q2.
What do you think about the ZEISS ZX1? Do you still use compact cameras? Don’t hesitate to let us know in the comments below!