Canon M100 vs Zeiss ZX1
The Canon EOS M100 and the Zeiss ZX1 are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in August 2017 and September 2018. The M100 is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera, while the ZX1 is a fixed lens compact. The cameras are based on an APS-C (M100) and a full frame (ZX1) sensor. The Canon has a resolution of 24 megapixels, whereas the Zeiss provides 37.4 MP.
Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Canon EOS M100 and the Zeiss ZX1? Which one should you buy? Read on to find out how these two cameras compare with respect to their body size, their imaging sensors, their shooting features, their input-output connections, and their reception by expert reviewers.
The physical size and weight of the Canon M100 and the Zeiss ZX1 are illustrated in the side-by-side display below. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three consecutive views from the front, the top, and the rear side are shown. All size dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
The M100 can be obtained in two different colors (black, white), while the ZX1 is only available in black.
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Zeiss ZX1 is considerably larger (83 percent) than the Canon M100. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the M100 nor the ZX1 are weather-sealed.
The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the ZX1 has a lens built in, whereas the M100 is an interchangeable lens camera that requires a separate lens. Attaching the latter will add extra weight and bulk to the setup.
The adjacent table lists the principal physical characteristics of the two cameras alongside a wider set of alternatives. In case you want to display and compare another camera duo, you can use the CAM-parator app to select your camera combination among a large number of options.
|1.||Canon M100||108 mm||67 mm||35 mm||302 g||295||n||Aug 2017||499||ebay.com|
|2.||Zeiss ZX1||142 mm||93 mm||46 mm||800 g||250||n||Sep 2018||5,999||amazon.com|
|3.||Canon M200||108 mm||67 mm||35 mm||299 g||315||n||Sep 2019||549||amazon.com|
|4.||Canon M50||116 mm||88 mm||59 mm||390 g||235||n||Feb 2018||779||ebay.com|
|5.||Canon T7||129 mm||101 mm||78 mm||475 g||500||n||Feb 2018||449||amazon.com|
|6.||Canon G9 X Mark II||98 mm||58 mm||31 mm||206 g||235||n||Jan 2017||529||amazon.com|
|7.||Canon M6||112 mm||68 mm||45 mm||390 g||295||n||Feb 2017||779||ebay.com|
|8.||Canon SL2||122 mm||93 mm||70 mm||453 g||650||n||Jun 2017||549||ebay.com|
|9.||Canon M5||116 mm||89 mm||61 mm||427 g||295||n||Sep 2016||979||ebay.com|
|10.||Canon M3||111 mm||68 mm||44 mm||366 g||250||n||Feb 2015||679||ebay.com|
|11.||Canon M10||108 mm||67 mm||35 mm||301 g||255||n||Oct 2015||499||ebay.com|
|12.||Canon M||109 mm||66 mm||32 mm||298 g||230||n||Jul 2012||599||ebay.com|
|13.||Leica Q2||130 mm||80 mm||92 mm||718 g||370||Y||Mar 2019||4,995||amazon.com|
|14.||Leica M10||139 mm||80 mm||39 mm||660 g||210||Y||Jan 2017||6,595||ebay.com|
|15.||Leica Q Typ 116||130 mm||80 mm||93 mm||640 g||300||n||Jun 2015||4,249||ebay.com|
|16.||Panasonic FZ1000||137 mm||99 mm||131 mm||831 g||360||n||Jun 2014||899||ebay.com|
|17.||Sony RX1R II||113 mm||65 mm||72 mm||507 g||220||n||Oct 2015||3,299||amazon.com|
|Note: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.|
Any camera decision will naturally be influenced heavily by the price. The retail prices at the time of the camera’s release place the model in the market relative to other models in the producer’s line-up and the competition. Usually, retail prices stay at first close to the launch price, but after several months, discounts become available. Later in the product cycle and, in particular, when the replacement model is about to appear, further discounting and stock clearance sales often push the camera price considerably down. Then, after the new model is out, very good deals can frequently be found on the pre-owned market.
The size of the sensor inside a digital camera is one of the key determinants of image quality. All other things equal, a large sensor will have larger individual pixel-units that offer better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and richer color-depth than smaller pixels in a sensor of the same technological generation. Furthermore, a large sensor camera will give the photographer more possibilities to use shallow depth-of-field in order to isolate a subject from the background. On the downside, larger sensors are more costly to manufacture and tend to lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.
Of the two cameras under consideration, the Canon M100 features an APS-C sensor and the Zeiss ZX1 a full frame sensor. The sensor area in the ZX1 is 160 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 1.6 and 1.0. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.
With 37.4MP, the ZX1 offers a higher resolution than the M100 (24MP), but the ZX1 nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 4.81μm versus 3.72μm for the M100) due to its larger sensor. Moreover, the ZX1 is a somewhat more recent model (by 1 year) than the M100, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time that further enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixel-units.
The resolution advantage of the Zeiss ZX1 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the ZX1 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 37.4 x 25 inches or 95.1 x 63.4 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 30 x 20 inches or 76.1 x 50.7 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 25 x 16.6 inches or 63.4 x 42.3 cm. The corresponding values for the Canon M100 are 30 x 20 inches or 76.2 x 50.8 cm for good quality, 24 x 16 inches or 61 x 40.6 cm for very good quality, and 20 x 13.3 inches or 50.8 x 33.9 cm for excellent quality prints.
The M100 has on-sensor phase detect pixels, which results in fast and reliable autofocus acquisition even during live view operation.
The Canon EOS M100 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 25600. The corresponding ISO settings for the Zeiss ZX1 are ISO 80 to ISO 51200 (no boost).
Technology-wise, both cameras are equipped with CMOS (Complementary Metal–Oxide–Semiconductor) sensors. Both cameras use a Bayer filter for capturing RGB colors on a square grid of photosensors. This arrangement is found in most digital cameras.
For many cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. This service is based on lab testing and assigns an overall score to each camera sensor, as well as ratings for dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), color depth ("DXO Portrait"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"). The adjacent table reports on the physical sensor characteristics and the outcomes of the DXO sensor quality tests for a sample of comparator-cameras.
|2.||Zeiss ZX1||Full Frame||37.4||7488||4992||4K/30p||25.2||14.1||2759||94|
|6.||Canon G9 X Mark II||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||21.9||12.5||522||65|
|13.||Leica Q2||Full Frame||46.7||8368||5584||4K/30p||26.4||13.5||2491||96|
|14.||Leica M10||Full Frame||23.8||5952||3992||none||24.4||13.2||2133||86|
|15.||Leica Q Typ 116||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||24.3||12.7||2221||85|
|17.||Sony RX1R II||Full Frame||42.2||7952||5304||1080/60p||25.8||13.9||3204||97|
|Note: DXO values in italics represent estimates based on sensor size and age.|
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but also of capturing video footage. Both cameras under consideration have a sensor with sufficiently fast read-out times for moving pictures, but the ZX1 provides a better video resolution than the M100. It can shoot movie footage at 4K/30p, while the Canon is limited to 1080/60p.
Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the ZX1 has an electronic viewfinder (6221k dots), which can be very helpful when shooting in bright sunlight. In contrast, the M100 relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. The adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Canon M100 and Zeiss ZX1 along with similar information for a selection of comparators.
|1.||Canon M100||none||n||3.0 / 1040||tilting||Y||1/4000s||6.1/s||Y||n|
|2.||Zeiss ZX1||6221||n||4.3 / 2765||fixed||Y||1/1000s||3.0/s||n||n|
|3.||Canon M200||none||n||3.0 / 1040||tilting||Y||1/4000s||6.1/s||Y||n|
|4.||Canon M50||2360||n||3.0 / 1040||swivel||Y||1/4000s||10.0/s||Y||n|
|5.||Canon T7||optical||n||3.0 / 920||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0/s||Y||n|
|6.||Canon G9 X Mark II||none||n||3.0 / 1040||fixed||Y||1/2000s||8.2/s||Y||Y|
|7.||Canon M6||optional||n||3.0 / 1040||tilting||Y||1/4000s||9.0/s||Y||n|
|8.||Canon SL2||optical||n||3.0 / 1040||swivel||Y||1/4000s||5.0/s||Y||n|
|9.||Canon M5||2360||n||3.2 / 1620||tilting||Y||1/4000s||9.0/s||Y||n|
|10.||Canon M3||optional||n||3.0 / 1040||tilting||Y||1/4000s||4.2/s||Y||n|
|11.||Canon M10||none||n||3.0 / 1040||tilting||Y||1/4000s||4.6/s||Y||n|
|12.||Canon M||none||n||3.0 / 1040||fixed||Y||1/4000s||4.3/s||n||n|
|13.||Leica Q2||3680||n||3.0 / 1040||fixed||Y||1/2000s||20.0/s||n||Y|
|14.||Leica M10||optical||n||3.0 / 1037||fixed||n||1/4000s||5.0/s||n||n|
|15.||Leica Q Typ 116||3680||n||3.0 / 1040||fixed||Y||1/2000s||10.0/s||n||Y|
|16.||Panasonic FZ1000||2359||n||3.0 / 921||swivel||n||1/4000s||12.0/s||Y||Y|
|17.||Sony RX1R II||2360||n||3.0 / 1229||tilting||n||1/4000s||5.0/s||n||n|
|Notes: *) Information refers to the mechanical shutter, unless the camera only has an electronic one.|
One difference between the cameras concerns the presence of an on-board flash. The M100 has one, while the ZX1 does not. While the built-in flash of the M100 is not very powerful, it can at times be useful as a fill-in light.The M100 has an articulated LCD that can be turned to be front-facing. This characteristic will be appreciated by vloggers and photographers who are interested in snapping selfies. In contrast, the ZX1 does not have a selfie-screen.
The reported shutter speed information refers to the use of the mechanical shutter. Yet, some cameras only have an electronic shutter, while others have an electronic shutter in addition to a mechanical one. In fact, the ZX1 is one of those camera that have an additional electronic shutter, which makes completely silent shooting possible. However, this mode is less suitable for photographing moving objects (risk of rolling shutter) or shooting under artificial light sources (risk of flickering).
The M100 writes its imaging data to SDXC cards, while the ZX1 uses an internal SSD.
For some imaging applications, the extent to which a camera can communicate with its environment can be an important aspect in the camera decision process. The table below provides an overview of the connectivity of the Canon EOS M100 and Zeiss ZX1 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
Mic / Speaker
|1.||Canon M100||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||Y|
|2.||Zeiss ZX1||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||-||3.1||Y||Y||Y|
|3.||Canon M200||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||Y|
|4.||Canon M50||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||Y|
|5.||Canon T7||Y||mono / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|6.||Canon G9 X Mark II||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||Y|
|7.||Canon M6||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||Y|
|8.||Canon SL2||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||Y|
|9.||Canon M5||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||Y|
|10.||Canon M3||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|11.||Canon M10||-||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|12.||Canon M||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|13.||Leica Q2||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||-||-||Y||-||Y|
|14.||Leica M10||Y||- / -||-||-||-||-||Y||-||-|
|15.||Leica Q Typ 116||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|16.||Panasonic FZ1000||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|17.||Sony RX1R II||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
It is notable that the ZX1 has a hotshoe, which makes it possible to easily attach optional accessories, such as an external flash gun. The M100 does not feature such an accessory-socket.
The ZX1 is a recent model that features in the current product line-up of Zeiss. In contrast, the M100 has been discontinued (but can be found pre-owned on ebay). As a replacement in the same line of cameras, the M100 was succeeded by the Canon M200. Further information on the features and operation of the M100 and ZX1 can be found, respectively, in the Canon M100 Manual (free pdf) or the online Zeiss ZX1 Manual.
So how do things add up? Which of the two cameras – the Canon M100 or the Zeiss ZX1 – has the upper hand? Is one clearly better than the other? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.
Reasons to prefer the Canon EOS M100:
- Better live-view autofocus: Features on-sensor phase-detection for more confident autofocus.
- More flexible LCD: Has a tilting screen for odd-angle shots in landscape orientation.
- More selfie-friendly: Has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing.
- Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/4000s vs 1/1000s) to freeze action.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (6.1 vs 3 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- More flexible: Accepts interchangeable lenses, so that lens characteristics can be altered.
- More compact: Is smaller (108x67mm vs 142x93mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
- Longer lasting: Can take more shots (295 versus 250) on a single battery charge.
- Easier fill-in: Is equipped with a small onboard flash to brighten deep shadow areas.
- More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in August 2017).
Arguments in favor of the Zeiss ZX1:
- More detail: Has more megapixels (37.4 vs 24MP), which boosts linear resolution by 25%.
- Better image quality: Is equipped with a larger and more technologically advanced sensor.
- Richer colors: The sensor size advantage translates into images with better, more accurate colors.
- More dynamic range: Larger sensor captures a wider spectrum of light and dark details.
- Better low-light sensitivity: Larger sensor produces good images even in poorly lit environments.
- Better video: Provides higher definition movie capture (4K/30p vs 1080/60p).
- Easier framing: Has an electronic viewfinder for image composition and settings control.
- Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (4.3" vs 3.0") for image review and settings control.
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (2765k vs 1040k dots).
- Less disturbing: Has an electronic shutter option for completely silent shooting.
- Ready to shoot: Has an integrated lens, whereas the M100 necessitates an extra lens.
- Better lighting: Features a hotshoe and can thus hold and trigger an external flash gun.
- Faster data transfer: Supports a more advanced USB protocol (3.1 vs 2.0).
- More prestigious: Has the Zeiss luxury appeal, which ensures a high resale value.
- More modern: Was introduced somewhat (1 year) more recently.
If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the ZX1 is the clear winner of the contest (15 : 10 points). However, the relative importance of the various individual camera aspects will vary according to personal preferences and needs, so that you might like to apply corresponding weights to the particular features before making a decision on a new camera. A professional sports photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a street photog, and a person interested in family portraits has distinct needs from a landscape shooter. Hence, the decision which camera is best and worth buying is often a very personal one.
How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Canon M100 and the Zeiss ZX1 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera and Best Prime Lens Compact Camera listings whether the two cameras rank among the cream of the crop.
In any case, while the comparison of the spec-sheets of cameras can offer a general idea of their imaging potential, it remains incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the M100 or the ZX1 perform in practice. User reviews, such as those found at amazon, can sometimes inform about these issues, but such feedback is often incomplete, inconsistent, and biased.
This is where reviews by experts come in. The table below provides a synthesis of the camera assessments of some of the best known photo-gear review sites (amateurphotographer [AP], cameralabs [CL], digitalcameraworld [DCW], dpreview [DPR], ephotozine [EPZ], photographyblog [PB]). As can be seen, the professional reviewers agree in many cases on the quality of different cameras, but sometimes their assessments diverge, reinforcing the earlier point that a camera decision is often a very personal choice.
|1.||Canon M100||3/5||+||..||..||4/5||3.5/5||Aug 2017||499||ebay.com|
|2.||Zeiss ZX1||3/5||..||..||83/100||4/5||4/5||Sep 2018||5,999||amazon.com|
|3.||Canon M200||..||+||3/5||79/100||4/5||4/5||Sep 2019||549||amazon.com|
|4.||Canon M50||..||+||4/5||79/100||..||3.5/5||Feb 2018||779||ebay.com|
|5.||Canon T7||..||o||3.5/5||..||3.5/5||3.5/5||Feb 2018||449||amazon.com|
|6.||Canon G9 X Mark II||4/5||..||4/5||75/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2017||529||amazon.com|
|7.||Canon M6||..||..||..||80/100||4/5||4/5||Feb 2017||779||ebay.com|
|8.||Canon SL2||4/5||+ +||4/5||78/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2017||549||ebay.com|
|9.||Canon M5||4/5||+||4/5||82/100||4/5||4/5||Sep 2016||979||ebay.com|
|10.||Canon M3||4/5||o||..||75/100||4.5/5||4/5||Feb 2015||679||ebay.com|
|11.||Canon M10||..||..||..||..||..||4/5||Oct 2015||499||ebay.com|
|12.||Canon M||3/5||+||..||..||4/5||4/5||Jul 2012||599||ebay.com|
|13.||Leica Q2||..||..||4.5/5||84/100||4.5/5||4/5||Mar 2019||4,995||amazon.com|
|14.||Leica M10||4.5/5||..||..||..||4/5||4.5/5||Jan 2017||6,595||ebay.com|
|15.||Leica Q Typ 116||5/5||..||..||80/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2015||4,249||ebay.com|
|16.||Panasonic FZ1000||4/5||+ +||..||82/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2014||899||ebay.com|
|17.||Sony RX1R II||5/5||..||..||82/100||..||4.5/5||Oct 2015||3,299||amazon.com|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, though. The assessments were made in relation to similar cameras of the same technological generation. A score, therefore, has to be seen in close connection to the price and market introduction time of the camera, and rating-comparisons among cameras that span long time periods or concern very differently equipped models make little sense. Also, please note that some of the review sites have changed their methodology and reporting over time.
Other camera comparisons
Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? In case you are interested in seeing how other cameras pair up, just make a corresponding selection in the search boxes below. There is also a set of direct links to comparison reviews that other users of the CAM-parator app explored.
Specifications: Canon M100 vs Zeiss ZX1
Below is a side-by-side comparison of the specs of the two cameras to facilitate a quick review of their differences and common features.
|Camera Model||Canon M100||Zeiss ZX1|
|Camera Type||Mirrorless system camera||Fixed lens compact camera|
|Camera Lens||Canon EF-M mount lenses||35mm f/2.8|
|Launch Date||August 2017||September 2018|
|Launch Price||USD 499||USD 5,999|
|Sensor Specs||Canon M100||Zeiss ZX1|
|Sensor Format||APS-C Sensor||Full Frame Sensor|
|Sensor Size||22.3 x 14.9 mm||36.0 x 24.0 mm|
|Sensor Area||332.27 mm2||864 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||26.8 mm||43.3 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||24 Megapixels||37.4 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||6000 x 4000 pixels||7488 x 4992 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||3.72 μm||4.81 μm|
|Pixel Density||7.22 MP/cm2||4.33 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||1080/60p Video||4K/30p Video|
|ISO Setting||100 - 25,600 ISO||80 - 51,200 ISO|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||78||..|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||23.5||..|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||12.9||..|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||1272||..|
|Screen Specs||Canon M100||Zeiss ZX1|
|Viewfinder Type||no viewfinder||Electronic viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||100%|
|Viewfinder Resolution||6221k dots|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0inch||4.3inch|
|LCD Resolution||1040k dots||2765k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Tilting screen||Fixed screen|
|Shooting Specs||Canon M100||Zeiss ZX1|
|Focus System||On-Sensor Phase-detect||Contrast-detect AF|
|Manual Focusing Aid||Focus Peaking||no Peaking Feature|
|Continuous Shooting||6.1 shutter flaps/s||3 shutter flaps/s|
|Electronic Shutter||no E-Shutter||up to 1/8000s|
|Fill Flash||Built-in Flash||no On-Board Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDXC cards||SSD cards|
|Single or Dual Card Slots||Single card slot||Single SSD|
|Connectivity Specs||Canon M100||Zeiss ZX1|
|External Flash||no Hotshoe||Hotshoe|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 3.1|
|HDMI Port||micro HDMI||no HDMI|
|Wifi Support||Wifi built-in||Wifi built-in|
|Near-Field Communication||NFC built-in||NFC built-in|
|Bluetooth Support||Bluetooth built-in||Bluetooth built-in|
|Body Specs||Canon M100||Zeiss ZX1|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||295 shots per charge||250 shots per charge|
108 x 67 x 35 mm
(4.3 x 2.6 x 1.4 in)
142 x 93 x 46 mm
(5.6 x 3.7 x 1.8 in)
|Camera Weight||302 g (10.7 oz)||800 g (28.2 oz)|
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