Canon M6 vs Zeiss ZX1
The Canon EOS M6 and the Zeiss ZX1 are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in February 2017 and September 2018. The M6 is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera, while the ZX1 is a fixed lens compact. The cameras are based on an APS-C (M6) 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.
|Canon M6||Zeiss ZX1|
|Mirrorless system camera||Fixed lens compact camera|
|Canon EF-M mount lenses||35mm f/2.8|
|24 MP, APS-C Sensor||37.4 MP, Full Frame Sensor|
|1080/60p Video||4K/30p Video|
|ISO 100-25600||ISO 80-51200|
|Viewfinder optional||Electronic viewfinder (6221k dots)|
|3.0" LCD, 1040k dots||4.3" LCD, 2765k dots|
|Tilting touchscreen||Fixed touchscreen|
|9 shutter flaps per second||3 shutter flaps per second|
|295 shots per battery charge||250 shots per battery charge|
|112 x 68 x 45 mm, 390 g||142 x 93 x 46 mm, 800 g|
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Canon EOS M6 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 side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size and weight of the Canon M6 and the Zeiss ZX1. 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 width, height and depth dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
The M6 can be obtained in two different colors (black, silver), 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 (73 percent) than the Canon M6. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the M6 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 M6 is an interchangeable lens camera that requires a separate lens. Attaching the latter will add extra weight and bulk to the setup.
The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the two cameras alongside a broader set of comparators. In case you want to display and compare another camera duo, just click on the right or left arrow next to the camera that you would like to inspect. Alternatively, you can also use the CAM-parator to select your camera combination among a larger number of options.
|Canon M6»||112 mm||68 mm||45 mm||390 g||295||n||Feb 2017||779||Canon M6|
|Zeiss ZX1«||142 mm||93 mm||46 mm||800 g||250||n||Sep 2018||4,199||Zeiss ZX1|
|Canon M6 Mark II« »||120 mm||70 mm||49 mm||408 g||305||n||Aug 2019||849||Canon M6 Mark II|
|Canon M50« »||116 mm||88 mm||59 mm||390 g||235||n||Feb 2018||779||Canon M50|
|Canon 77D« »||131 mm||100 mm||76 mm||540 g||600||n||Feb 2017||899||Canon 77D|
|Canon M100« »||108 mm||67 mm||35 mm||302 g||295||n||Aug 2017||499||Canon M100|
|Canon G7 X Mark II« »||106 mm||61 mm||42 mm||319 g||265||n||Feb 2016||699||Canon G7 X Mark II|
|Canon M5« »||116 mm||89 mm||61 mm||427 g||295||n||Sep 2016||979||Canon M5|
|Canon M3« »||111 mm||68 mm||44 mm||366 g||250||n||Feb 2015||679||Canon M3|
|Fujifilm X-E3« »||121 mm||74 mm||43 mm||337 g||350||n||Sep 2017||899||Fujifilm X-E3|
|Fujifilm X-T20« »||118 mm||83 mm||41 mm||383 g||350||n||Jan 2017||899||Fujifilm X-T20|
|Leica Q2« »||130 mm||80 mm||92 mm||718 g||370||Y||Mar 2019||4,995||Leica Q2|
|Leica V-LUX 5« »||136 mm||97 mm||131 mm||812 g||350||n||Jul 2019||1,249||Leica V-LUX 5|
|Nikon D5600« »||124 mm||97 mm||70 mm||465 g||970||n||Nov 2016||699||Nikon D5600|
|Panasonic FZ1000 II« »||136 mm||97 mm||131 mm||810 g||350||n||Feb 2019||899||Panasonic FZ1000 II|
|Panasonic FZ1000« »||137 mm||99 mm||131 mm||831 g||360||n||Jun 2014||899||Panasonic FZ1000|
|Sony RX100 VI« »||102 mm||58 mm||43 mm||301 g||240||n||Jun 2018||1,199||Sony RX100 VI|
|Note: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.|
Any camera decision will obviously take relative prices into account. The listed launch prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. 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 imaging sensor is a crucial determinant 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. Moreover, a large sensor camera will give the photographer more control over depth-of-field in the image and, thus, the ability to better isolate a subject from the background. On the downside, larger sensors tend to be associated with larger, more expensive camera bodies and lenses.
Of the two cameras under consideration, the Canon M6 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 M6 (24MP), but the ZX1 nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 4.81μm versus 3.72μm for the M6) due to its larger sensor. Moreover, the ZX1 is a somewhat more recent model (by 1 year and 7 months) than the M6, 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 inch or 95.1 x 63.4 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 30 x 20 inch or 76.1 x 50.7 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 25 x 16.6 inch or 63.4 x 42.3 cm. The corresponding values for the Canon M6 are 30 x 20 inch or 76.2 x 50.8 cm for good quality, 24 x 16 inch or 61 x 40.6 cm for very good quality, and 20 x 13.3 inch or 50.8 x 33.9 cm for excellent quality prints.
The M6 has on-sensor phase detect pixels, which results in fast and reliable autofocus acquisition even during live view operation.
The Canon EOS M6 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).
Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for many cameras. 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 following table provides an overview of the physical sensor characteristics, as well as the sensor quality measurements for a selection of comparators.
|Canon M6||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||..||..||..||..||Canon M6|
|Zeiss ZX1||Full Frame||37.4||7488||4992||4K/30p||..||..||..||..||Zeiss ZX1|
|Canon M6 Mark II||APS-C||32.3||6960||4640||4K/30p||..||..||..||..||Canon M6 Mark II|
|Canon M50||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||4K/24p||..||..||..||..||Canon M50|
|Canon 77D||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||23.6||13.3||971||78||Canon 77D|
|Canon M100||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||23.5||12.9||1272||78||Canon M100|
|Canon G7 X Mark II||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||..||..||..||..||Canon G7 X Mark II|
|Canon M5||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||23.4||12.4||1262||77||Canon M5|
|Canon M3||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||1080/30p||22.8||11.8||1169||72||Canon M3|
|Fujifilm X-E3||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||4K/30p||..||..||..||..||Fujifilm X-E3|
|Fujifilm X-T20||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||4K/30p||..||..||..||..||Fujifilm X-T20|
|Leica Q2||Full Frame||46.7||8368||5584||4K/30p||26.4||13.5||2491||96||Leica Q2|
|Leica V-LUX 5||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||4K/30p||..||..||..||..||Leica V-LUX 5|
|Nikon D5600||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||24.1||14.0||1306||84||Nikon D5600|
|Panasonic FZ1000 II||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||4K/30p||..||..||..||..||Panasonic FZ1000 II|
|Panasonic FZ1000||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||4K/30p||22.1||11.7||517||64||Panasonic FZ1000|
|Sony RX100 VI||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||4K/30p||..||..||..||..||Sony RX100 VI|
Many modern cameras cannot only take still pictures, but also record videos. 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 M6. It can shoot movie footage at 4K/30p, while the Canon is limited to 1080/60p.
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety 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 M6 relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. That said, the M6 can be equipped with an optional viewfinder – the EVF-DC2. The following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Canon M6, the Zeiss ZX1, and comparable cameras.
|Canon M6||optional||n||3.0||1040||tilting||Y||1/4000s||9.0||Y||n||Canon M6|
|Zeiss ZX1||6221||n||4.3||2765||fixed||Y||1/1000s||3.0||n||n||Zeiss ZX1|
|Canon M6 Mark II||optional||n||3.0||1040||tilting||Y||1/4000s||14.0||Y||n||Canon M6 Mark II|
|Canon M50||2360||n||3.0||1040||swivel||Y||1/4000s||10.0||Y||n||Canon M50|
|Canon 77D||optical||Y||3.0||1040||swivel||Y||1/4000s||6.0||Y||n||Canon 77D|
|Canon M100||none||n||3.0||1040||tilting||Y||1/4000s||6.1||Y||n||Canon M100|
|Canon G7 X Mark II||none||n||3.0||1040||tilting||Y||1/2000s||8.0||Y||Y||Canon G7 X Mark II|
|Canon M5||2360||n||3.2||1620||tilting||Y||1/4000s||9.0||Y||n||Canon M5|
|Canon M3||optional||n||3.0||1040||tilting||Y||1/4000s||4.2||Y||n||Canon M3|
|Fujifilm X-E3||2360||n||3.0||1040||fixed||Y||1/4000s||8.0||n||n||Fujifilm X-E3|
|Fujifilm X-T20||2360||n||3.0||1040||tilting||Y||1/4000s||8.0||Y||n||Fujifilm X-T20|
|Leica Q2||3680||n||3.0||1040||fixed||Y||1/2000s||20.0||n||Y||Leica Q2|
|Leica V-LUX 5||2360||n||3.0||1240||swivel||Y||1/4000s||12.0||Y||Y||Leica V-LUX 5|
|Nikon D5600||optical||n||3.2||1037||swivel||Y||1/4000s||5.0||Y||n||Nikon D5600|
|Panasonic FZ1000 II||2360||n||3.0||1240||swivel||Y||1/4000s||12.0||Y||Y||Panasonic FZ1000 II|
|Panasonic FZ1000||2359||n||3.0||921||swivel||n||1/4000s||12.0||Y||Y||Panasonic FZ1000|
|Sony RX100 VI||2359||n||3.0||1229||tilting||Y||1/2000s||24.0||Y||Y||Sony RX100 VI|
One difference between the cameras concerns the presence of an on-board flash. The M6 has one, while the ZX1 does not. While the built-in flash of the M6 is not very powerful, it can at times be useful as a fill-in light.The M6 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 Canon M6 has an intervalometer built-in. This enables the photographer to capture time lapse sequences, such as flower blooming, a sunset or moon rise, without purchasing an external camera trigger and related software.
The M6 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 M6 and Zeiss ZX1 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
|Canon M6||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||Y||Canon M6|
|Zeiss ZX1||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||none||3.1||Y||Y||Y||Zeiss ZX1|
|Canon M6 Mark II||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||Y||Canon M6 Mark II|
|Canon M50||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||Y||Canon M50|
|Canon 77D||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||Y||Canon 77D|
|Canon M100||-||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||Y||Canon M100|
|Canon G7 X Mark II||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-||Canon G7 X Mark II|
|Canon M5||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||Y||Canon M5|
|Canon M3||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-||Canon M3|
|Fujifilm X-E3||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||Y||Fujifilm X-E3|
|Fujifilm X-T20||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-||Fujifilm X-T20|
|Leica Q2||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||none||none||Y||-||Y||Leica Q2|
|Leica V-LUX 5||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||Y||Leica V-LUX 5|
|Nikon D5600||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||Y||Nikon D5600|
|Panasonic FZ1000 II||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||Y||Panasonic FZ1000 II|
|Panasonic FZ1000||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-||Panasonic FZ1000|
|Sony RX100 VI||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||Y||Sony RX100 VI|
It is notable that the M6 has a microphone port, which is missing on the ZX1. Such an external microphone input can help to substantially improve the quality of audio recordings when a good external microphone is used.
The ZX1 is a recent model that features in the current product line-up of Zeiss. In contrast, the M6 has been discontinued (but it can be found pre-owned on eBay). As a replacement in the same line of cameras, the M6 was succeeded by the Canon M6 Mark II. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Canon and Zeiss websites.
So what is the bottom line? Is the Canon M6 better than the Zeiss ZX1 or vice versa? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.
Arguments in favor of the Canon EOS M6:
- Better live-view autofocus: Features on-sensor phase-detection for more confident autofocus.
- Better sound: Can connect to an external microphone for higher quality sound recording.
- 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 (9 vs 3 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Easier time-lapse photography: Has an intervalometer built-in for low frequency shooting.
- More flexible: Accepts interchangeable lenses, so that lens characteristics can be altered.
- More compact: Is smaller (112x68mm 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.
Reasons to prefer 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 M6 necessitates an extra lens.
- 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.
If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the ZX1 emerges as the winner of the match-up (13 : 11 points). However, the pertinence of the various camera strengths will differ across photographers, so that you might want to weigh individual camera traits according to their importance for your own imaging needs before making a camera decision. A professional wildlife photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a family photog, and a person interested in architecture has distinct needs from a sports 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 M6 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 specs-based evaluation of cameras can be instructive in revealing their potential as photographic tools, it remains incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the M6 or the ZX1 perform in practice. At times, user reviews, such as those published at amazon, address these issues in a useful manner, but such feedback is on many occasions incomplete, inconsistent, and unreliable.
This is why expert reviews are important. The adjacent summary-table relays the overall verdicts of several of the most popular camera review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, and photographyblog). 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.
Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, though. The ratings are only valid when referring to cameras in the same category and of the same age. Hence, a score should always be seen in the context of the camera's market launch date and its price, and rating-comparisons among cameras that span long time periods or concern very differently equipped models make little sense. It should also be noted that some of the review sites have over time altered the way they render their verdicts.
Other camera comparisons
Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? In case you would like to check on the differences and similarities of other camera models, just make your choice using the following search menu. As an alternative, you can also directly jump to any one of the listed comparisons that were previously generated by the CAM-parator tool.
- Canon 1D Mark II N vs Zeiss ZX1
- Canon M6 Mark II vs Nikon D80
- Canon M6 Mark II vs Panasonic ZS70
- Canon M6 Mark II vs Zeiss ZX1
- Canon M6 vs Fujifilm GFX 100
- Canon M6 vs Sony HX80
- Fujifilm GFX 50R vs Zeiss ZX1
- Leica Digilux 3 vs Zeiss ZX1
- Nikon D600 vs Zeiss ZX1
- Nikon D800E vs Zeiss ZX1
- Olympus E-P1 vs Zeiss ZX1
- Sony A77 vs Zeiss ZX1
Specifications: Canon M6 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 M6||Zeiss ZX1|
|Camera Type||Mirrorless system camera||Fixed lens compact camera|
|Camera Lens||Canon EF-M mount lenses||35mm f/2.8|
|Launch Date||February 2017||September 2018|
|Launch Price||USD 779||USD 4199|
|Sensor Specs||Canon M6||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||100-25600 ISO||80-51200 ISO|
|Screen Specs||Canon M6||Zeiss ZX1|
|Viewfinder Type||Viewfinder optional||Electronic viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||100%|
|Viewfinder Resolution||6221k dots|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0 inch||4.3 inch|
|LCD Resolution||1040k dots||2765k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Tilting screen||Fixed screen|
|Shooting Specs||Canon M6||Zeiss ZX1|
|Focus System||On-Sensor Phase-detect||Contrast-detect AF|
|Manual Focusing Aid||Focus Peaking||No Peaking Feature|
|Continuous Shooting||9 shutter flaps/s||3 shutter flaps/s|
|Electronic Shutter||no E-Shutter||up to 1/8000s|
|Time-Lapse Photography||Intervalometer built-in||no Intervalometer|
|Fill Flash||Build-in Flash||no On-Board Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDXC cards||Internal SSD|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Single SSD|
|Connectivity Specs||Canon M6||Zeiss ZX1|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 3.1|
|HDMI Port||mini HDMI||no HDMI|
|Microphone Port||External MIC port||no MIC socket|
|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 M6||Zeiss ZX1|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||295 shots per charge||250 shots per charge|
112 x 68 x 45 mm
(4.4 x 2.7 x 1.8 in)
142 x 93 x 46 mm
(5.6 x 3.7 x 1.8 in)
|Camera Weight||390 g (13.8 oz)||800 g (28.2 oz)|
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