Panasonic S1R vs Zeiss ZX1
The Panasonic Lumix DC-S1R and the Zeiss ZX1 are two enthusiast cameras that were announced, respectively, in February 2019 and September 2018. The S1R is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera, while the ZX1 is a fixed lens compact. Both cameras are equipped with a full frame sensor. The Panasonic 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.
|Panasonic S1R||Zeiss ZX1|
|Mirrorless system camera||Fixed lens compact camera|
|Leica L mount lenses||35mm f/2.8|
|46.7 MP, Full Frame Sensor||37.4 MP, Full Frame Sensor|
|4K/60p Video||4K/30p Video|
|ISO 100-25,600 (50 - 51,200)||ISO 80-51,200|
|Electronic viewfinder (5760k dots)||Electronic viewfinder (6221k dots)|
|3.2 LCD, 2100k dots||4.3 LCD, 2765k dots|
|Fully flexible touchscreen||Fixed touchscreen|
|9 shutter flaps per second||3 shutter flaps per second|
|In-body stabilization||no shake reduction|
|Weathersealed body||not weather sealed|
|380 shots per battery charge||250 shots per battery charge|
|149 x 110 x 97 mm, 1016 g||142 x 93 x 46 mm, 800 g|
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Panasonic Lumix DC-S1R 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 Panasonic S1R 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 perspectives from the front, the top, and the back are available. All width, height and depth 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 smaller (19 percent) than the Panasonic S1R. It is worth mentioning in this context that the S1R is splash and dust resistant, while the ZX1 does not feature any corresponding weather-sealing.
The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the ZX1 has a lens built in, whereas the S1R is an interchangeable lens camera that requires a separate lens. Attaching the latter will add extra weight and bulk to the setup.
The power pack in the S1R can be charged via the USB port, so that it is not always necessary to take the battery charger along when travelling.
The following table provides a synthesis of the main physical specifications of the two cameras and other similar ones. 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.
|Panasonic S1R||5.9 in||4.3 in||3.8 in||35.8 oz||380||Y||Feb 2019||3,699|
|Zeiss ZX1||5.6 in||3.7 in||1.8 in||28.2 oz||250||n||Sep 2018||4,199|
|Canon 5DS||6.0 in||4.6 in||3.0 in||32.8 oz||700||Y||Feb 2015||3,699|
|Leica SL2||5.7 in||4.2 in||1.7 in||33.6 oz||370||Y||Nov 2019||5,999|
|Leica Q2||5.1 in||3.1 in||3.6 in||25.3 oz||370||Y||Mar 2019||4,995|
|Leica M10||5.5 in||3.1 in||1.5 in||23.3 oz||210||Y||Jan 2017||6,595|
|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|
|Nikon D850||5.7 in||4.9 in||3.1 in||35.5 oz||1840||Y||Jul 2017||3,299|
|Panasonic S1||5.9 in||4.3 in||3.8 in||35.9 oz||400||Y||Feb 2019||2,499|
|Panasonic S1H||5.9 in||4.5 in||4.3 in||37.1 oz||400||Y||May 2019||3,999|
|Panasonic FZ1000||5.4 in||3.9 in||5.2 in||29.3 oz||360||n||Jun 2014||899|
|Pentax K-1 II||5.4 in||4.3 in||3.4 in||35.6 oz||670||Y||Feb 2018||1,999|
|Sony A7R III||5.0 in||3.8 in||2.9 in||22.9 oz||650||Y||Oct 2017||3,199|
|Sony A99 II||5.6 in||4.1 in||3.0 in||29.9 oz||490||Y||Sep 2016||3,199|
|Sony RX1R II||4.4 in||2.6 in||2.8 in||17.9 oz||220||n||Oct 2015||3,299|
|Sony A850||6.1 in||4.6 in||3.2 in||31.6 oz||880||Y||Aug 2009||1,999|
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. Normally, street prices remain initially close to the MSRP, but after a couple of months, the first discounts appear. 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. 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 S1R 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 S1R 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 S1R is a somewhat more recent model (by 4 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 S1R has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.
The resolution advantage of the Panasonic S1R implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the S1R 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.
Unlike the ZX1, the S1R has the capacity to capture high quality composite images (187MP) by combining multiple shots after shifting its sensor by miniscule distances. This multi-shot, pixel-shift mode is most suitable for photography of stationary objects (landscapes, studio scenes).
The Panasonic Lumix DC-S1R has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 25600, which can be extended to ISO 50-51200. The corresponding ISO settings for the Zeiss ZX1 are ISO 80 to ISO 51200 (no boost).
For many cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. This service assesses and scores the color depth ("DXO Portrait"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports") of camera sensors, and also publishes an overall camera score. The adjacent table reports on the physical sensor characteristics and the outcomes of the DXO sensor quality tests for a sample of comparator-cameras.
|Panasonic S1R||Full Frame||46.7||8368||5584||4K/60p||26.4||14.1||3525||100|
|Zeiss ZX1||Full Frame||37.4||7488||4992||4K/30p||..||..||..||..|
|Canon 5DS||Full Frame||50.3||8688||5792||1080/30p||24.7||12.4||2381||87|
|Leica SL2||Full Frame||46.7||8368||5584||4K/60p||..||..||..||..|
|Leica Q2||Full Frame||46.7||8368||5584||4K/30p||26.4||13.5||2491||96|
|Leica M10||Full Frame||23.8||5952||3992||none||24.4||13.2||2133||86|
|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|
|Nikon D850||Full Frame||45.4||8256||5504||4K/30p||26.4||14.8||2660||100|
|Panasonic S1||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||4K/60p||25.2||14.5||3333||95|
|Panasonic S1H||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||6K/30p||..||..||..||..|
|Pentax K-1 II||Full Frame||36.2||7360||4912||1080/60i||..||..||..||..|
|Sony A7R III||Full Frame||42.2||7952||5304||4K/30p||26.0||14.7||3523||100|
|Sony A99 II||Full Frame||42.2||7952||5304||4K/30p||25.4||13.4||2317||92|
|Sony RX1R II||Full Frame||42.2||7952||5304||1080/60p||25.8||13.9||3204||97|
|Sony A850||Full Frame||24.4||6048||4032||none||23.8||12.2||1415||79|
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, but the S1R provides a higher frame rate than the ZX1. It can shoot video footage at 4K/60p, while the Zeiss is limited to 4K/30p.
Beyond 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 slightly higher resolution than the one in the S1R (6221k vs 5760k dots). The following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Panasonic S1R, the Zeiss ZX1, and comparable cameras.
|Leica Q Typ 116||3680||n||3.0||1040||fixed||Y||1/2000s||10.0||n||Y|
|Pentax K-1 II||optical||Y||3.2||1037||full-flex||n||1/8000s||4.4||n||Y|
|Sony A7R III||3686||n||3.0||1440||tilting||Y||1/8000s||10.0||n||Y|
|Sony A99 II||2400||Y||3.0||1229||full-flex||n||1/8000s||12.0||n||Y|
|Sony RX1R II||2360||n||3.0||1229||tilting||n||1/4000s||5.0||n||n|
One feature that is present on the S1R, but is missing on the ZX1 is a top-level LCD. While being, of course, smaller than the rear screen, the control panel conveys some of the essential shooting information and can be convenient for quick and easy settings verification.
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 Panasonic S1R 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 S1R writes its imaging data to SDHC or XQD 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 Panasonic Lumix DC-S1R and Zeiss ZX1 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
| WiFi |
|Leica Q Typ 116||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|Pentax K-1 II||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||micro||2.0||Y||-||-|
|Sony A7R III||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||micro||3.1||Y||Y||Y|
|Sony A99 II||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||micro||2.0||Y||Y||Y|
|Sony RX1R II||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
It is notable that the S1R 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.
Studio photographers will appreciate that the Panasonic S1R (unlike the ZX1) features a PC Sync socket, so that professional strobe lights can be controlled by the camera.
Both the S1R and the ZX1 are recent models that are part of the current product line-up. Neither of the two has a direct predecessor, so perhaps they will constitute the origins of new camera lines for Panasonic and Zeiss. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Panasonic and Zeiss websites.
So what conclusions can be drawn? Which of the two cameras – the Panasonic S1R or the Zeiss ZX1 – has the upper hand? Is one clearly better than the other? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.
Arguments in favor of the Panasonic Lumix DC-S1R:
- 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.
- High quality composites: Can combine several shots after pixel-shifting its sensor.
- Better video: Provides higher movie framerates (4K/60p versus 4K/30p).
- Better sound: Can connect to an external microphone for higher quality sound recording.
- Better sound control: Has a headphone port that enables audio monitoring while recording.
- Larger viewfinder image: Features a viewfinder with a higher magnification (0.78x vs 0.74x).
- Easier setting verification: Features an LCD display on top to control shooting parameters.
- More flexible LCD: Has a full-flex screen for odd-angle shots in portrait or landscape orientation.
- Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/8000s 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.
- Longer lasting: Can take more shots (380 versus 250) on a single battery charge.
- Easier travel charging: Can be conveniently charged via its USB port.
- Better sealing: Is weather sealed to enable shooting in dusty or wet environments.
- Sharper images: Has hand-shake reducing image stabilization built-in.
- More solid recording: Has a full-sized HDMI port for a sturdy connection to an external recorder.
- Better studio light control: Has a PC Sync socket to connect to professional strobe lights.
Reasons to prefer the Zeiss ZX1:
- Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
- Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (4.3" vs 3.2") for image review and settings control.
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (2765k vs 2100k dots).
- Ready to shoot: Has an integrated lens, whereas the S1R necessitates an extra lens.
- More compact: Is smaller (142x93mm vs 149x110mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
- Less heavy: Has a lower weight even though it has a lens built in (unlike the S1R).
- Easier device pairing: Supports NFC for fast wireless image transfer over short distances.
- 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 S1R is the clear winner of the match-up (18 : 8 points). However, the relevance of individual strengths will vary across photographers, so that you might want to apply your own weighing scheme to the summary points when reflecting and deciding on a new camera. A professional wedding photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a travel photog, and a person interested in cityscapes has distinct needs from a macro 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 Panasonic S1R 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 technical specifications can provide a useful overview of the capabilities of different cameras, it says little about, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance of the S1R and the ZX1 in practical situations. 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 why expert reviews are important. The table below provides a synthesis of the camera assessments of some of the best known photo-gear 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.
|Panasonic S1R||..||89/100||4.5/5||5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2019||3,699|
|Zeiss ZX1||..||..||..||..||..||Sep 2018||4,199|
|Canon 5DS||+||83/100||4.5/5||5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2015||3,699|
|Leica SL2||..||..||..||..||4/5||Nov 2019||5,999|
|Leica Q2||..||84/100||4.5/5||..||4/5||Mar 2019||4,995|
|Leica M10||..||..||4/5||..||4.5/5||Jan 2017||6,595|
|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|
|Nikon D850||+ +||89/100||4.5/5||5/5||5/5||Jul 2017||3,299|
|Panasonic S1||+ +||88/100||4.5/5||..||4/5||Feb 2019||2,499|
|Panasonic S1H||..||90/100||..||..||..||May 2019||3,999|
|Panasonic FZ1000||+ +||82/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2014||899|
|Pentax K-1 II||..||79/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2018||1,999|
|Sony A7R III||+ +||90/100||4.5/5||5/5||5/5||Oct 2017||3,199|
|Sony A99 II||..||85/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2016||3,199|
|Sony RX1R II||..||82/100||..||o||4.5/5||Oct 2015||3,299|
|Sony A850||..||75/100||..||4/5||4.5/5||Aug 2009||1,999|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
The review scores listed above should be treated with care, 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 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? If you would like to see a different side-by-side camera review, just use the search menu below. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting.
- Canon 1D Mark II N vs Zeiss ZX1
- Canon 1D vs Zeiss ZX1
- Canon 30D vs Panasonic S1R
- Canon G9 X vs Zeiss ZX1
- Canon M vs Panasonic S1R
- Fujifilm X-T4 vs Zeiss ZX1
- Leica M10-P vs Panasonic S1R
- Olympus E-PL10 vs Panasonic S1R
- Panasonic G7 vs Panasonic S1R
- Panasonic GX1 vs Zeiss ZX1
- Panasonic S1H vs Panasonic S1R
- Pentax 645D vs Zeiss ZX1
Specifications: Panasonic S1R 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||Panasonic S1R||Zeiss ZX1|
|Camera Type||Mirrorless system camera||Fixed lens compact camera|
|Camera Lens||Leica L mount lenses||35mm f/2.8|
|Launch Date||February 2019||September 2018|
|Launch Price||USD 3,699||USD 4,199|
|Sensor Specs||Panasonic S1R||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/60p Video||4K/30p Video|
|ISO Setting||100 - 25,600 ISO||80 - 51,200 ISO|
|ISO Boost||50 - 51,200 ISO||no Enhancement|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||100||..|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||26.4||..|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||14.1||..|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||3525||..|
|Screen Specs||Panasonic S1R||Zeiss ZX1|
|Viewfinder Type||Electronic viewfinder||Electronic viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||100%||100%|
|Viewfinder Resolution||5760k dots||6221k dots|
|Top-Level Screen||Control Panel||no Top Display|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.2inch||4.3inch|
|LCD Resolution||2100k dots||2765k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fully flexible screen||Fixed screen|
|Shooting Specs||Panasonic S1R||Zeiss ZX1|
|Focus System||Contrast-detect AF||Contrast-detect AF|
|Manual Focusing Aid||Focus Peaking||no Peaking Feature|
|Continuous Shooting||9 shutter flaps/s||3 shutter flaps/s|
|Electronic Shutter||up to 1/8000s||up to 1/8000s|
|Time-Lapse Photography||Intervalometer built-in||no Intervalometer|
|Image Stabilization||In-body stabilization||no handshake reduction|
|Fill Flash||no On-Board Flash||no On-Board Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDXC or XQD cards||Internal SSD|
|Second Storage Option||Dual card slots||Single SSD|
|Connectivity Specs||Panasonic S1R||Zeiss ZX1|
|Studio Flash||PC Sync socket||no PC Sync|
|USB Connector||USB 3.1||USB 3.1|
|HDMI Port||full HDMI||no HDMI|
|Microphone Port||External MIC port||no MIC socket|
|Headphone Socket||Headphone port||no Headphone port|
|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||Panasonic S1R||Zeiss ZX1|
|Environmental Sealing||Weathersealed body||not weather sealed|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||380 shots per charge||250 shots per charge|
|In-Camera Charging||USB charging||no USB charging|
149 x 110 x 97 mm
(5.9 x 4.3 x 3.8 in)
142 x 93 x 46 mm
(5.6 x 3.7 x 1.8 in)
|Camera Weight||1016 g (35.8 oz)||800 g (28.2 oz)|
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