Leica Q2 vs Zeiss ZX1
The Leica Q2 and the Zeiss ZX1 are two enthusiast cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in March 2019 and September 2018. Both the Q2 and the ZX1 are fixed lens compact cameras that are equipped with a full frame sensor. The Leica has a resolution of 46.7 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.
|Leica Q2||Zeiss ZX1|
|Fixed lens compact camera||Fixed lens compact camera|
|28mm f/1.7||35mm f/2.8|
|46.7 MP, Full Frame Sensor||37.4 MP, Full Frame Sensor|
|4K/30p Video||4K/30p Video|
|ISO 50-50,000||ISO 80-51,200|
|Electronic viewfinder (3680k dots)||Electronic viewfinder (6221k dots)|
|3.0 LCD, 1040k dots||4.3 LCD, 2765k dots|
|Fixed touchscreen||Fixed touchscreen|
|20 shutter flaps per second||3 shutter flaps per second|
|Weathersealed body||not weather sealed|
|370 shots per battery charge||250 shots per battery charge|
|130 x 80 x 92 mm, 718 g||142 x 93 x 46 mm, 800 g|
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Leica Q2 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 Leica Q2 and the Zeiss ZX1. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three successive views from the front, the top, and the rear are shown. All size dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Zeiss ZX1 is notably larger (27 percent) than the Leica Q2. Moreover, the ZX1 is markedly heavier (11 percent) than the Q2. It is worth mentioning in this context that the Q2 is splash and dust resistant, while the ZX1 does not feature any corresponding weather-sealing.
The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the two cameras alongside a broader set of comparators. If you want to switch the focus of the display and review another camera pair, just select a new right or left comparator from among the camera models in the table. Alternatively, you can also move across to the CAM-parator tool and choose from the broad selection of possible camera comparisons there.
|Leica Q2||5.1 in||3.1 in||3.6 in||25.3 oz||370||Y||Mar 2019||4,995|
|Zeiss ZX1||5.6 in||3.7 in||1.8 in||28.2 oz||250||n||Sep 2018||4,199|
|Canon R||5.5 in||3.9 in||3.3 in||23.3 oz||370||Y||Sep 2018||2,299|
|Fujifilm GFX 50R||6.3 in||3.8 in||2.6 in||27.3 oz||400||Y||Sep 2018||4,499|
|Hasselblad X1D II||5.8 in||3.8 in||2.8 in||27.0 oz||..||Y||Jun 2019||5,750|
|Leica M10-R||5.5 in||3.1 in||1.5 in||23.3 oz||210||Y||Jul 2020||8,295|
|Leica M10-P||5.5 in||3.1 in||1.5 in||23.3 oz||210||Y||Aug 2018||7,995|
|Leica M10||5.5 in||3.1 in||1.5 in||23.3 oz||210||Y||Jan 2017||6,595|
|Leica M Typ 262||5.5 in||3.1 in||1.7 in||24.0 oz||..||Y||Nov 2015||5,195|
|Leica Q Typ 116||5.1 in||3.1 in||3.7 in||22.6 oz||300||n||Jun 2015||4,249|
|Nikon Z7||5.3 in||4.0 in||2.6 in||23.8 oz||330||Y||Aug 2018||3,399|
|Panasonic FZ1000||5.4 in||3.9 in||5.2 in||29.3 oz||360||n||Jun 2014||899|
|Sony RX1R II||4.4 in||2.6 in||2.8 in||17.9 oz||220||n||Oct 2015||3,299|
Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.
(1) Number of images that can be taken on a full battery charge according to the CIPA-standard; (2) Official announcement.
Any camera decision will obviously take relative prices into account. 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. The ZX1 was launched at a somewhat lower price (by 16 percent) than the Q2, which makes it more attractive for photographers on a tight budget. 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.
The size of the imaging sensor is a crucial determinant of image quality. A large sensor will generally have larger individual pixels that offer better low-light sensitivity, provide wider dynamic range, and have 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 tend to be associated with larger, more expensive camera bodies and lenses.
Both cameras under consideration feature a full frame sensor and have a format factor (sometimes also referred to as "crop factor") of 1.0. Within the spectrum of camera sensors, this places the review cameras among the large-sensor cameras that aim for top notch image quality. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.
While the two cameras under review share the same sensor size, the Q2 offers a higher resolution of 46.7 megapixels, compared with 37.4 MP of the ZX1. This megapixels advantage translates into a 12 percent gain in linear resolution. On the other hand, these sensor specs imply that the Q2 has a higher pixel density and a smaller size of the individual pixel (with a pixel pitch of 4.30μm versus 4.81μm for the ZX1). In this context, it should be noted, however, that the Q2 is a somewhat more recent model (by 5 months) than the ZX1, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time that at least partly compensate for the smaller pixel size. Coming back to sensor resolution, it should be mentioned that the Q2 has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.
The resolution advantage of the Leica Q2 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the Q2 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 41.8 x 27.9 inches or 106.3 x 70.9 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 33.5 x 22.3 inches or 85 x 56.7 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 27.9 x 18.6 inches or 70.8 x 47.3 cm. The corresponding values for the Zeiss ZX1 are 37.4 x 25 inches or 95.1 x 63.4 cm for good quality, 30 x 20 inches or 76.1 x 50.7 cm for very good quality, and 25 x 16.6 inches or 63.4 x 42.3 cm for excellent quality prints.
The Leica Q2 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 50 to ISO 50000. The corresponding ISO settings for the Zeiss ZX1 are ISO 80 to ISO 51200 (no boost).
Since 2007, DXO Mark has published sensor performance measurements that have been derived using a consistent methodology. 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 table below summarizes the physical sensor characteristics and sensor quality findings and compares them across a set of similar cameras.
|Leica Q2||Full Frame||46.7||8368||5584||4K/30p||26.4||13.5||2491||96|
|Zeiss ZX1||Full Frame||37.4||7488||4992||4K/30p||..||..||..||..|
|Canon R||Full Frame||30.1||6720||4480||4K/30p||24.5||13.5||2742||89|
|Fujifilm GFX 50R||Medium Format||51.1||8256||6192||1080/30p||..||..||..||..|
|Hasselblad X1D II||Medium Format||51.3||8272||6200||none||..||..||..||..|
|Leica M10-R||Full Frame||40.9||7864||5200||none||..||..||..||..|
|Leica M10-P||Full Frame||23.8||5952||3992||none||..||..||..||..|
|Leica M10||Full Frame||23.8||5952||3992||none||24.4||13.2||2133||86|
|Leica M Typ 262||Full Frame||23.7||5952||3976||none||..||..||..||..|
|Leica Q Typ 116||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||24.3||12.7||2221||85|
|Nikon Z7||Full Frame||45.4||8256||5504||4K/30p||26.3||14.6||2668||99|
|Sony RX1R II||Full Frame||42.2||7952||5304||1080/60p||25.8||13.9||3204||97|
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. Both cameras under consideration have a sensor with sufficiently fast read-out times for moving pictures, and both provide the same movie specifications (4K/30p).
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The two cameras under review are similar with respect to both having an electronic viewfinder. However, the one in the ZX1 offers a substantially higher resolution than the one in the Q2 (6221k vs 3680k dots). The table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Leica Q2 and Zeiss ZX1 in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras.
|Fujifilm GFX 50R||3690||n||3.2||2360||tilting||Y||1/4000s||3.0||n||n|
|Hasselblad X1D II||3690||n||3.6||2360||fixed||Y||1/2000s||2.7||n||n|
|Leica M Typ 262||optical||n||3.0||921||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||n||n|
|Leica Q Typ 116||3680||n||3.0||1040||fixed||Y||1/2000s||10.0||n||Y|
|Sony RX1R II||2360||n||3.0||1229||tilting||n||1/4000s||5.0||n||n|
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, both cameras under consideration feature an 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 Leica Q2 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.
Both the Q2 and the ZX1 have built-in prime lenses. The Q2 has a 28mm f/1.7 optic and the ZX1 offers a 35mm f/2.8. Hence, the Leica provides a wider angle of view than the Zeiss. The Q2 offers the faster maximum aperture.
The Q2 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 Leica Q2 and Zeiss ZX1 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
| WiFi |
|Fujifilm GFX 50R||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||micro||3.0||Y||-||Y|
|Hasselblad X1D II||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||-||3.0||Y||-||-|
|Leica M Typ 262||Y||-||-||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|Leica Q Typ 116||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|Sony RX1R II||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
Both the Q2 and the ZX1 are recent models that are part of the current product line-up. The Q2 replaced the earlier Leica Q Typ 116, while the ZX1 does not have a direct predecessor. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Leica and Zeiss websites.
So what is the bottom line? Is there a clear favorite between the Leica Q2 and the Zeiss ZX1? Which camera is better? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.
Reasons to prefer the Leica Q2:
- More detail: Offers more megapixels (46.7 vs 37.4MP) with a 12% higher linear resolution.
- Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
- Larger viewfinder image: Features a viewfinder with a higher magnification (0.76x vs 0.74x).
- Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/2000s vs 1/1000s) to freeze action.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (20 vs 3 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Easier time-lapse photography: Has an intervalometer built-in for low frequency shooting.
- Better light gathering: Has a lens with a wider maximum aperture (f/1.7 vs f/2.8).
- Wider view: Has a wider-angle lens that facilitates landscape or interior shots.
- More compact: Is smaller (130x80mm vs 142x93mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
- Less heavy: Is lighter (by 82g or 10 percent) and hence easier to carry around.
- Longer lasting: Can take more shots (370 versus 250) on a single battery charge.
- Better sealing: Is weather sealed to enable shooting in dusty or wet environments.
- Sharper images: Has hand-shake reducing image stabilization built-in.
Advantages of the Zeiss ZX1:
- Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
- More detailed viewfinder: Has higher resolution electronic viewfinder (6221k vs 3680k dots).
- 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).
- Easier device pairing: Supports NFC for fast wireless image transfer over short distances.
- More affordable: Was released into a lower priced segment (16 percent cheaper at launch).
If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the Q2 is the clear winner of the match-up (13 : 6 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 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 Leica Q2 and the Zeiss ZX1 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Prime Lens Compact Camera listing 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 says little about, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance of the Q2 and the ZX1 in practical situations. User reviews that are available, for instance, at amazon can sometimes shed light on these issues, but such feedback is all too often partial, inconsistent, and inaccurate.
This is why hands-on reviews by experts are important. The following table reports the overall ratings of the cameras as published by some of the major 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.
|Leica Q2||..||84/100||4.5/5||..||4/5||Mar 2019||4,995|
|Zeiss ZX1||..||..||..||..||..||Sep 2018||4,199|
|Canon R||o||79/100||4.5/5||4/5||4/5||Sep 2018||2,299|
|Fujifilm GFX 50R||..||84/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2018||4,499|
|Hasselblad X1D II||..||..||4/5||..||..||Jun 2019||5,750|
|Leica M10-R||..||..||..||..||..||Jul 2020||8,295|
|Leica M10-P||..||..||..||..||4/5||Aug 2018||7,995|
|Leica M10||..||..||4/5||..||4.5/5||Jan 2017||6,595|
|Leica M Typ 262||..||..||..||..||..||Nov 2015||5,195|
|Leica Q Typ 116||..||80/100||4.5/5||..||4.5/5||Jun 2015||4,249|
|Nikon Z7||+||89/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||5/5||Aug 2018||3,399|
|Panasonic FZ1000||+ +||82/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2014||899|
|Sony RX1R II||..||82/100||..||o||4.5/5||Oct 2015||3,299|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, though. The ratings were established in reference to similarly priced cameras that were available in the market at the time of the review. Thus, a score needs to be put into the context of the launch date and the launch price of the camera, and comparing ratings of very distinct cameras or ones that are far apart in terms of their release date have little meaning. Also, kindly note that some of the listed sites have over time developped their review approaches and their reporting style.
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 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.
Specifications: Leica Q2 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||Leica Q2||Zeiss ZX1|
|Camera Type||Fixed lens compact camera||Fixed lens compact camera|
|Camera Lens||28mm f/1.7||35mm f/2.8|
|Launch Date||March 2019||September 2018|
|Launch Price||USD 4,995||USD 4,199|
|Sensor Specs||Leica Q2||Zeiss ZX1|
|Sensor Format||Full Frame Sensor||Full Frame Sensor|
|Sensor Size||36.0 x 24.0 mm||36.0 x 24.0 mm|
|Sensor Area||864 mm2||864 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||43.3 mm||43.3 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||46.7 Megapixels||37.4 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||8368 x 5584 pixels||7488 x 4992 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||4.30 μm||4.81 μm|
|Pixel Density||5.41 MP/cm2||4.33 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||no AA filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||4K/30p Video||4K/30p Video|
|ISO Setting||50 - 50,000 ISO||80 - 51,200 ISO|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||96||..|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||26.4||..|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||13.5||..|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||2491||..|
|Screen Specs||Leica Q2||Zeiss ZX1|
|Viewfinder Type||Electronic viewfinder||Electronic viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||100%||100%|
|Viewfinder Resolution||3680k dots||6221k dots|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0inch||4.3inch|
|LCD Resolution||1040k dots||2765k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Fixed screen|
|Shooting Specs||Leica Q2||Zeiss ZX1|
|Focus System||Contrast-detect AF||Contrast-detect AF|
|Manual Focusing Aid||Focus Peaking||no Peaking Feature|
|Continuous Shooting||20 shutter flaps/s||3 shutter flaps/s|
|Electronic Shutter||up to 1/40000s||up to 1/8000s|
|Time-Lapse Photography||Intervalometer built-in||no Intervalometer|
|Fill Flash||no On-Board Flash||no On-Board Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDXC cards||Internal SSD|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Single SSD|
|Connectivity Specs||Leica Q2||Zeiss ZX1|
|USB Connector||no USB||USB 3.1|
|HDMI Port||no HDMI||no HDMI|
|Wifi Support||Wifi built-in||Wifi built-in|
|Near-Field Communication||no NFC||NFC built-in|
|Bluetooth Support||Bluetooth built-in||Bluetooth built-in|
|Body Specs||Leica Q2||Zeiss ZX1|
|Environmental Sealing||Weathersealed body||not weather sealed|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||370 shots per charge||250 shots per charge|
130 x 80 x 92 mm
(5.1 x 3.1 x 3.6 in)
142 x 93 x 46 mm
(5.6 x 3.7 x 1.8 in)
|Camera Weight||718 g (25.3 oz)||800 g (28.2 oz)|
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