Sony RX10 IV vs Zeiss ZX1
The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX10 IV and the Zeiss ZX1 are two enthusiast cameras that were announced, respectively, in September 2017 and September 2018. Both the RX10 IV and the ZX1 are fixed lens compact cameras that are based on an one-inch (RX10 IV) and a full frame (ZX1) sensor. The Sony has a resolution of 20 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.
|Sony RX10 IV||Zeiss ZX1|
|Fixed lens compact camera||Fixed lens compact camera|
|24-600mm f/2.4-4.0||35mm f/2.8|
|20 MP, 1" Sensor||37.4 MP, Full Frame Sensor|
|4K/30p Video||4K/30p Video|
|ISO 100-12,800 (64 - 25,600)||ISO 80-51,200|
|Electronic viewfinder (2359k dots)||Electronic viewfinder (6221k dots)|
|3.0 LCD, 1440k dots||4.3 LCD, 2765k dots|
|Tilting touchscreen||Fixed touchscreen|
|24 shutter flaps per second||3 shutter flaps per second|
|Weathersealed body||not weather sealed|
|400 shots per battery charge||250 shots per battery charge|
|133 x 94 x 145 mm, 1095 g||142 x 93 x 46 mm, 800 g|
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX10 IV 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 Sony RX10 IV and the Zeiss ZX1 is provided 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 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 (6 percent) than the Sony RX10 IV. However, the ZX1 is markedly lighter (27 percent) than the RX10 IV. It is worth mentioning in this context that the RX10 IV is splash and dust resistant, while the ZX1 does not feature any corresponding weather-sealing.
The power pack in the RX10 IV can be charged via the USB port, so that it is not always necessary to take the battery charger along when travelling.
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.
|Sony RX10 IV||5.2 in||3.7 in||5.7 in||38.6 oz||400||Y||Sep 2017||1,699|
|Zeiss ZX1||5.6 in||3.7 in||1.8 in||28.2 oz||250||n||Sep 2018||4,199|
|Canon G1 X Mark III||4.5 in||3.1 in||2.0 in||14.1 oz||200||Y||Oct 2017||1,299|
|Fujifilm X-Pro2||5.6 in||3.3 in||1.8 in||17.5 oz||350||Y||Jan 2016||1,699|
|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|
|Panasonic FZ2500||5.4 in||4.0 in||5.3 in||32.3 oz||350||n||Sep 2016||1,199|
|Panasonic FZ1000||5.4 in||3.9 in||5.2 in||29.3 oz||360||n||Jun 2014||899|
|Sony RX100 VI||4.0 in||2.3 in||1.7 in||10.6 oz||240||n||Jun 2018||1,199|
|Sony RX0||2.3 in||1.6 in||1.2 in||3.9 oz||240||Y||Aug 2017||699|
|Sony A6300||4.7 in||2.6 in||1.9 in||14.3 oz||400||Y||Feb 2016||999|
|Sony RX10 III||5.2 in||3.7 in||5.0 in||37.1 oz||420||Y||Mar 2016||1,499|
|Sony RX100 V||4.0 in||2.3 in||1.6 in||10.5 oz||220||n||Oct 2016||999|
|Sony RX1R II||4.4 in||2.6 in||2.8 in||17.9 oz||220||n||Oct 2015||3,299|
|Sony RX10 II||5.1 in||3.5 in||4.0 in||28.7 oz||400||Y||Jun 2015||1,299|
|Sony RX10||5.1 in||3.5 in||4.0 in||28.7 oz||420||Y||Oct 2013||1,299|
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 listed launch prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The RX10 IV was launched at a markedly lower price (by 60 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. Then, after the new model is out, very good deals can frequently be found on the pre-owned market.
The imaging sensor is at the core of digital cameras and its size is one of the main determining factors 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 are more costly to manufacture and tend to lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.
Of the two cameras under consideration, the Sony RX10 IV features an one-inch sensor and the Zeiss ZX1 a full frame sensor. The sensor area in the ZX1 is 645 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 2.7 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 RX10 IV (20MP), but the ZX1 nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 4.81μm versus 2.41μm for the RX10 IV) due to its larger sensor. Moreover, the ZX1 is a somewhat more recent model (by 1 year) than the RX10 IV, 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 Sony RX10 IV are 27.4 x 18.2 inches or 69.5 x 46.3 cm for good quality, 21.9 x 14.6 inches or 55.6 x 37.1 cm for very good quality, and 18.2 x 12.2 inches or 46.3 x 30.9 cm for excellent quality prints.
The RX10 IV has on-sensor phase detect pixels, which results in fast and reliable autofocus acquisition even during live view operation.
The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX10 IV has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 12800, which can be extended to ISO 64-25600. 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 determines an overall sensor rating, as well as sub-scores for low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and color depth ("DXO Portrait"). The following table provides an overview of the physical sensor characteristics, as well as the sensor quality measurements for a selection of comparators.
|Sony RX10 IV||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||4K/30p||..||..||..||..|
|Zeiss ZX1||Full Frame||37.4||7488||4992||4K/30p||..||..||..||..|
|Canon G1 X Mark III||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||..||..||..||..|
|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|
|Sony RX100 VI||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||4K/30p||..||..||..||..|
|Sony RX10 III||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||4K/30p||23.1||12.6||472||70|
|Sony RX100 V||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||4K/30p||22.8||12.4||586||70|
|Sony RX1R II||Full Frame||42.2||7952||5304||1080/60p||25.8||13.9||3204||97|
|Sony RX10 II||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||4K/30p||23.0||12.6||531||70|
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, 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 RX10 IV (6221k vs 2359k dots). The adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Sony RX10 IV and Zeiss ZX1 along with similar information for a selection of comparators.
|Sony RX10 IV||2359||Y||3.0||1440||tilting||Y||1/2000s||24.0||Y||Y|
|Canon G1 X Mark III||2360||n||3.0||1040||swivel||Y||1/2000s||9.0||Y||Y|
|Leica Q Typ 116||3680||n||3.0||1040||fixed||Y||1/2000s||10.0||n||Y|
|Sony RX100 VI||2359||n||3.0||1229||tilting||Y||1/2000s||24.0||Y||Y|
|Sony RX10 III||2359||Y||3.0||1229||tilting||n||1/2000s||14.0||Y||Y|
|Sony RX100 V||2359||n||3.0||1229||tilting||n||1/2000s||24.0||Y||Y|
|Sony RX1R II||2360||n||3.0||1229||tilting||n||1/4000s||5.0||n||n|
|Sony RX10 II||2359||Y||3.0||1229||tilting||n||1/3200s||14.0||Y||Y|
One difference between the cameras concerns the presence of an on-board flash. The RX10 IV has one, while the ZX1 does not. While the built-in flash of the RX10 IV is not very powerful, it can at times be useful as a fill-in light.
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 RX10 IV is equipped with a zoom lens, while the ZX1 comes with a built-in prime. The RX10 IV has a 24-600mm f/2.4-4.0 optic and the ZX1 offers a 35mm f/2.8 (focal lengths in full frame equivalent terms). Hence, the Sony 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 RX10 IV offers the faster maximum aperture.
The RX10 IV writes its imaging data to SDXC or Memory Stick PRO Duo 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 Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX10 IV and Zeiss ZX1 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
| WiFi |
|Sony RX10 IV||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|Canon G1 X Mark III||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||Y|
|Leica Q Typ 116||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|Sony RX100 VI||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||Y|
|Sony RX10 III||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|Sony RX100 V||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|Sony RX1R II||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|Sony RX10 II||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
It is notable that the RX10 IV 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.
Both the RX10 IV and the ZX1 are recent models that are part of the current product line-up. The RX10 IV replaced the earlier Sony RX10 III, 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 Sony and Zeiss websites.
So what conclusions can be drawn? Is there a clear favorite between the Sony RX10 IV and the Zeiss ZX1? Which camera is better? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.
Advantages of the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX10 IV:
- 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.
- Better sound control: Has a headphone port that enables audio monitoring while recording.
- Easier setting verification: Features an LCD display on top to control shooting parameters.
- More flexible LCD: Has a tilting screen for odd-angle shots in landscape orientation.
- Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/2000s vs 1/1000s) to freeze action.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (24 vs 3 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Better light gathering: Has a lens with a wider maximum aperture (f/2.4 vs f/2.8).
- Wider view: Has a wider-angle lens that facilitates landscape or interior shots.
- Longer lasting: Can take more shots (400 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.
- Easier fill-in: Is equipped with a small onboard flash to brighten deep shadow areas.
- More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (60 percent cheaper at launch).
Arguments in favor of the Zeiss ZX1:
- More detail: Has more megapixels (37.4 vs 20MP), which boosts linear resolution by 37%.
- 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 2359k dots).
- Larger viewfinder image: Features a viewfinder with a higher magnification (0.74x vs 0.70x).
- 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 1440k dots).
- Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 295g or 27 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
- Faster data transfer: Supports a more advanced USB protocol (3.1 vs 2.0).
- 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 RX10 IV comes out slightly ahead of the ZX1 (14 : 13 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 Sony RX10 IV 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 comparison of the spec-sheets of cameras can offer a general idea of their imaging potential, it remains partial and cannot reveal, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance when actually working with the RX10 IV or the ZX1. 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 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.
|Sony RX10 IV||+||84/100||4.5/5||..||5/5||Sep 2017||1,699|
|Zeiss ZX1||..||..||..||..||..||Sep 2018||4,199|
|Canon G1 X Mark III||+||79/100||4.5/5||..||4.5/5||Oct 2017||1,299|
|Fujifilm X-Pro2||+||83/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2016||1,699|
|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 FZ2500||+||82/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||5/5||Sep 2016||1,199|
|Panasonic FZ1000||+ +||82/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2014||899|
|Sony RX100 VI||+ +||83/100||4/5||..||4.5/5||Jun 2018||1,199|
|Sony RX0||..||..||3.5/5||..||4/5||Aug 2017||699|
|Sony A6300||+||85/100||5/5||5/5||5/5||Feb 2016||999|
|Sony RX10 III||+||84/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Mar 2016||1,499|
|Sony RX100 V||+ +||83/100||4/5||5/5||4.5/5||Oct 2016||999|
|Sony RX1R II||..||82/100||..||o||4.5/5||Oct 2015||3,299|
|Sony RX10 II||+ +||82/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4/5||Jun 2015||1,299|
|Sony RX10||+||80/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Oct 2013||1,299|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
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. There is also a set of direct links to comparison reviews that other users of the CAM-parator app explored.
- Canon 5D Mark II vs Sony RX10 IV
- Canon G15 vs Zeiss ZX1
- Canon M6 vs Sony RX10 IV
- Fujifilm X-E1 vs Zeiss ZX1
- Fujifilm X-M1 vs Sony RX10 IV
- Leica M8 vs Zeiss ZX1
- Leica V-LUX 3 vs Sony RX10 IV
- Nikon D5600 vs Sony RX10 IV
- Nikon D7100 vs Sony RX10 IV
- Olympus E-500 vs Sony RX10 IV
- Olympus E-520 vs Zeiss ZX1
- Ricoh WG-60 vs Zeiss ZX1
Specifications: Sony RX10 IV 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||Sony RX10 IV||Zeiss ZX1|
|Camera Type||Fixed lens compact camera||Fixed lens compact camera|
|Camera Lens||24-600mm f/2.4-4.0||35mm f/2.8|
|Launch Date||September 2017||September 2018|
|Launch Price||USD 1,699||USD 4,199|
|Sensor Specs||Sony RX10 IV||Zeiss ZX1|
|Sensor Format||1" Sensor||Full Frame Sensor|
|Sensor Size||13.2 x 8.8 mm||36.0 x 24.0 mm|
|Sensor Area||116.16 mm2||864 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||15.9 mm||43.3 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||20 Megapixels||37.4 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||5472 x 3648 pixels||7488 x 4992 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||2.41 μm||4.81 μm|
|Pixel Density||17.18 MP/cm2||4.33 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||4K/30p Video||4K/30p Video|
|ISO Setting||100 - 12,800 ISO||80 - 51,200 ISO|
|ISO Boost||64 - 25,600 ISO||no Enhancement|
|Screen Specs||Sony RX10 IV||Zeiss ZX1|
|Viewfinder Type||Electronic viewfinder||Electronic viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||100%||100%|
|Viewfinder Resolution||2359k dots||6221k dots|
|Top-Level Screen||Control Panel||no Top Display|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0inch||4.3inch|
|LCD Resolution||1440k dots||2765k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Tilting screen||Fixed screen|
|Shooting Specs||Sony RX10 IV||Zeiss ZX1|
|Focus System||On-Sensor Phase-detect||Contrast-detect AF|
|Manual Focusing Aid||Focus Peaking||no Peaking Feature|
|Continuous Shooting||24 shutter flaps/s||3 shutter flaps/s|
|Electronic Shutter||up to 1/32000s||up to 1/8000s|
|Fill Flash||Build-in Flash||no On-Board Flash|
|Storage Medium||MS or SDXC cards||Internal SSD|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Single SSD|
|Connectivity Specs||Sony RX10 IV||Zeiss ZX1|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 3.1|
|HDMI Port||micro 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||NFC built-in||NFC built-in|
|Bluetooth Support||no Bluetooth||Bluetooth built-in|
|Body Specs||Sony RX10 IV||Zeiss ZX1|
|Environmental Sealing||Weathersealed body||not weather sealed|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||400 shots per charge||250 shots per charge|
|In-Camera Charging||USB charging||no USB charging|
133 x 94 x 145 mm
(5.2 x 3.7 x 5.7 in)
142 x 93 x 46 mm
(5.6 x 3.7 x 1.8 in)
|Camera Weight||1095 g (38.6 oz)||800 g (28.2 oz)|
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