Panasonic TZ90 vs Zeiss ZX1
The Panasonic Lumix DC-TZ90 (called Panasonic ZS70 in some regions) and the Zeiss ZX1 are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in April 2017 and September 2018. Both the TZ90 and the ZX1 are fixed lens compact cameras that are based on a 1/2.3-inch (TZ90) and a full frame (ZX1) sensor. The Panasonic has a resolution of 20.2 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 TZ90||Zeiss ZX1|
|Fixed lens compact camera||Fixed lens compact camera|
|24-720mm f/3.3-6.4||35mm f/2.8|
|20.2 MP, 1/2.3" Sensor||37.4 MP, Full Frame Sensor|
|4K/30p Video||4K/30p Video|
|ISO 80-3,200 (80 - 6,400)||ISO 80-51,200|
|Electronic viewfinder (1166k dots)||Electronic viewfinder (6221k dots)|
|3.0 LCD, 1040k dots||4.3 LCD, 2765k dots|
|Tilting touchscreen||Fixed touchscreen|
|10 shutter flaps per second||3 shutter flaps per second|
|380 shots per battery charge||250 shots per battery charge|
|112 x 67 x 41 mm, 322 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-TZ90 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.
An illustration of the physical size and weight of the Panasonic TZ90 and the Zeiss ZX1 is provided in the side-by-side display below. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three successive views from the front, the top, and the rear are shown. All width, height and depth dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
The TZ90 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 (76 percent) than the Panasonic TZ90. Moreover, the ZX1 is substantially heavier (148 percent) than the TZ90. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the TZ90 nor the ZX1 are weather-sealed.
The power pack in the TZ90 can be charged via the USB port, so that it is not always necessary to take the battery charger along when travelling.
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, 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.
|Panasonic TZ90||112 mm||67 mm||41 mm||322 g||380||n||Apr 2017||449|
|Zeiss ZX1||142 mm||93 mm||46 mm||800 g||250||n||Sep 2018||4,199|
|Canon SX740||110 mm||64 mm||40 mm||299 g||265||n||Jul 2018||399|
|Canon M100||108 mm||67 mm||35 mm||302 g||295||n||Aug 2017||499|
|Canon SX730||110 mm||64 mm||40 mm||300 g||250||n||Apr 2017||399|
|Canon SX720||110 mm||64 mm||36 mm||270 g||250||n||Feb 2016||379|
|Fujifilm XF10||113 mm||64 mm||41 mm||279 g||330||n||Jul 2018||499|
|Leica Q2||130 mm||80 mm||92 mm||718 g||370||Y||Mar 2019||4,995|
|Leica M10||139 mm||80 mm||39 mm||660 g||210||Y||Jan 2017||6,595|
|Leica Q Typ 116||130 mm||80 mm||93 mm||640 g||300||n||Jun 2015||4,249|
|Panasonic TZ95||112 mm||69 mm||42 mm||327 g||380||n||Feb 2019||449|
|Panasonic FT7||117 mm||76 mm||37 mm||319 g||300||Y||May 2018||449|
|Panasonic LX100 II||115 mm||66 mm||65 mm||392 g||300||n||Aug 2018||999|
|Panasonic FZ82||130 mm||94 mm||119 mm||616 g||330||n||Jan 2017||399|
|Panasonic FZ1000||137 mm||99 mm||131 mm||831 g||360||n||Jun 2014||899|
|Panasonic LX5||110 mm||65 mm||43 mm||271 g||400||n||Jul 2010||499|
|Sony RX1R II||113 mm||65 mm||72 mm||507 g||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 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. The TZ90 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 89 percent) than the ZX1, which puts it into a different market segment. 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 tend to have larger individual pixels that provide better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and richer color-depth than smaller pixel-units in a sensor of the same technological generation. Further, a large sensor camera will give the photographer additional creative options when using shallow depth-of-field to isolate a subject from its 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 Panasonic TZ90 features a 1/2.3-inch sensor and the Zeiss ZX1 a full frame sensor. The sensor area in the ZX1 is 2986 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 5.6 and 1.0. The sensor in the TZ90 has a native 4:3 aspect ratio, while the one in the ZX1 offers a 3:2 aspect.
With 37.4MP, the ZX1 offers a higher resolution than the TZ90 (20.2MP), but the ZX1 nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 4.81μm versus 1.18μm for the TZ90) due to its larger sensor. Moreover, the ZX1 is a somewhat more recent model (by 1 year and 5 months) than the TZ90, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time that further enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixel-units. Coming back to sensor resolution, it should be mentioned that the TZ90 has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.
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 Panasonic TZ90 are 25.9 x 19.4 inches or 65.8 x 49.4 cm for good quality, 20.7 x 15.6 inches or 52.7 x 39.5 cm for very good quality, and 17.3 x 13 inches or 43.9 x 32.9 cm for excellent quality prints.
The Panasonic Lumix DC-TZ90 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 80 to ISO 3200, which can be extended to ISO 80-6400. 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 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.
|Zeiss ZX1||Full Frame||37.4||7488||4992||4K/30p||..||..||..||..|
|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|
|Panasonic LX100 II||Four Thirds||16.8||4736||3552||4K/30p||..||..||..||..|
|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. The two cameras under consideration both have sensors whose read-out speed is fast enough to capture 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 TZ90 (6221k vs 1166k dots). The following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Panasonic TZ90, the Zeiss ZX1, and comparable cameras.
|Leica Q Typ 116||3680||n||3.0||1040||fixed||Y||1/2000s||10.0||n||Y|
|Panasonic LX100 II||2764||n||3.0||1240||fixed||Y||1/4000s||11.0||n||Y|
|Sony RX1R II||2360||n||3.0||1229||tilting||n||1/4000s||5.0||n||n|
One difference between the cameras concerns the presence of an on-board flash. The TZ90 has one, while the ZX1 does not. While the built-in flash of the TZ90 is not very powerful, it can at times be useful as a fill-in light.The TZ90 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, 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 TZ90 is equipped with a zoom lens, while the ZX1 comes with a built-in prime. The TZ90 has a 24-720mm f/3.3-6.4 optic and the ZX1 offers a 35mm f/2.8 (focal lengths in full frame equivalent terms). Hence, the Panasonic provides a wider angle of view at the short end, as well as more tele-photo reach at the long end than the Zeiss. The ZX1 offers the faster maximum aperture.
The TZ90 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 Panasonic Lumix DC-TZ90 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||-|
|Panasonic LX100 II||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||Y|
|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 TZ90 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 TZ90 has been discontinued (but can be found pre-owned on eBay). As a replacement in the same line of cameras, the TZ90 was succeeded by the Panasonic TZ95. 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? Is there a clear favorite between the Panasonic TZ90 and the Zeiss ZX1? Which camera is better? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.
Arguments in favor of the Panasonic Lumix DC-TZ90:
- Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
- 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 (1/2000s vs 1/1000s) to freeze action.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (10 vs 3 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Wider view: Has a wider-angle lens that facilitates landscape or interior shots.
- More compact: Is smaller (112x67mm vs 142x93mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
- Less heavy: Is lighter (by 478g or 60 percent) and hence easier to carry around.
- 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.
- Sharper images: Has hand-shake reducing image stabilization built-in.
- Easier fill-in: Is equipped with a small onboard flash to brighten deep shadow areas.
- More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (89 percent cheaper at launch).
Reasons to prefer the Zeiss ZX1:
- More detail: Has more megapixels (37.4 vs 20.2MP), which boosts linear resolution by 39%.
- Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
- 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.
- More detailed viewfinder: Has higher resolution electronic viewfinder (6221k vs 1166k dots).
- Larger viewfinder image: Features a viewfinder with a higher magnification (0.74x vs 0.46x).
- 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).
- Better light gathering: Has a lens with a wider maximum aperture (f/2.8 vs f/3.3).
- 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).
- Easier device pairing: Supports NFC for fast wireless image transfer over short distances.
- Easier wireless transfer: Supports Bluetooth for image sharing without cables.
- More prestigious: Has the Zeiss luxury appeal, which ensures a high resale value.
If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the ZX1 is the clear winner of the contest (16 : 12 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 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 TZ90 and the Zeiss ZX1 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Superzoom 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 says little about, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance of the TZ90 and the ZX1 in practical situations. 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 hands-on reviews by experts 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.
|Panasonic TZ90||+ +||..||4/5||..||4/5||Apr 2017||449|
|Zeiss ZX1||..||..||..||..||..||Sep 2018||4,199|
|Canon SX740||+||..||4/5||..||4/5||Jul 2018||399|
|Canon M100||+||..||4/5||..||3.5/5||Aug 2017||499|
|Canon SX730||+||..||4/5||..||4/5||Apr 2017||399|
|Canon SX720||+||..||4/5||..||4.5/5||Feb 2016||379|
|Fujifilm XF10||..||75/100||4/5||..||4.5/5||Jul 2018||499|
|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|
|Panasonic TZ95||+ +||..||4.5/5||..||..||Feb 2019||449|
|Panasonic FT7||+||..||3.5/5||..||3.5/5||May 2018||449|
|Panasonic LX100 II||+||82/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2018||999|
|Panasonic FZ82||+ +||..||4.5/5||..||4.5/5||Jan 2017||399|
|Panasonic FZ1000||+ +||82/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2014||899|
|Panasonic LX5||+||73/100||4.5/5||5/5||4.5/5||Jul 2010||499|
|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 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, 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 would like to check on the differences and similarities of other camera models, just use the search menu below. 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 Panasonic TZ90
- Canon 1D Mark III vs Zeiss ZX1
- Canon 5D Mark III vs Panasonic TZ90
- Canon M3 vs Zeiss ZX1
- Canon SX60 vs Zeiss ZX1
- Canon SX70 vs Zeiss ZX1
- Leica V-LUX 5 vs Zeiss ZX1
- Nikon B700 vs Zeiss ZX1
- Nikon D2H vs Panasonic TZ90
- Nikon D7100 vs Zeiss ZX1
- Nikon P900 vs Zeiss ZX1
- Olympus E-P3 vs Panasonic TZ90
Specifications: Panasonic TZ90 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 TZ90||Zeiss ZX1|
|Camera Type||Fixed lens compact camera||Fixed lens compact camera|
|Camera Lens||24-720mm f/3.3-6.4||35mm f/2.8|
|Launch Date||April 2017||September 2018|
|Launch Price||USD 449||USD 4,199|
|Sensor Specs||Panasonic TZ90||Zeiss ZX1|
|Sensor Format||1/2.3" Sensor||Full Frame Sensor|
|Sensor Size||6.17 x 4.55 mm||36.0 x 24.0 mm|
|Sensor Area||28.0735 mm2||864 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||7.7 mm||43.3 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||20.2 Megapixels||37.4 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||5184 x 3888 pixels||7488 x 4992 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||1.18 μm||4.81 μm|
|Pixel Density||71.80 MP/cm2||4.33 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||no AA filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||4K/30p Video||4K/30p Video|
|ISO Setting||80 - 3,200 ISO||80 - 51,200 ISO|
|ISO Boost||80 - 6,400 ISO||no Enhancement|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||36||..|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||19.1||..|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||10.6||..|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||106||..|
|Screen Specs||Panasonic TZ90||Zeiss ZX1|
|Viewfinder Type||Electronic viewfinder||Electronic viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||100%||100%|
|Viewfinder Resolution||1166k dots||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||Panasonic TZ90||Zeiss ZX1|
|Focus System||Contrast-detect AF||Contrast-detect AF|
|Manual Focusing Aid||Focus Peaking||no Peaking Feature|
|Continuous Shooting||10 shutter flaps/s||3 shutter flaps/s|
|Electronic Shutter||up to 1/16000s||up to 1/8000s|
|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||Panasonic TZ90||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||no NFC||NFC built-in|
|Bluetooth Support||no Bluetooth||Bluetooth built-in|
|Body Specs||Panasonic TZ90||Zeiss ZX1|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||380 shots per charge||250 shots per charge|
|In-Camera Charging||USB charging||no USB charging|
112 x 67 x 41 mm
(4.4 x 2.6 x 1.6 in)
142 x 93 x 46 mm
(5.6 x 3.7 x 1.8 in)
|Camera Weight||322 g (11.4 oz)||800 g (28.2 oz)|
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