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Zeiss ZX1 Comparison Review

The Zeiss ZX1 is a fixed lens compact camera that was revealed to the public in September 2018 and is equipped with a full frame sensor. It offers a resolution of 37.4 megapixel.

camera

Is the Zeiss ZX1 a good camera? The ZX1 has a Camera Elo of 2981. This rating puts the ZX1 among the top 10 percent of all prime lens compact cameras. In terms of its sensor size category (full frame cameras), the ZX1 ranks among the top 30 percent.

Headline Specifications
Zeiss ZX1
Fixed lens compact camera
35mm f/2.8
37.4 MP, Full Frame Sensor
4K/30p Video
ISO 80-51200
Electronic viewfinder (6221k dots)
4.3" LCD, 2765k dots
Fixed touchscreen
3 shutter flaps per second
142 x 93 x 46 mm, 800 g


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Read on to find out more about the camera's size, sensor, features, reception by expert reviewers, and how it compares to other digital cameras.

Body comparison with a credit card

The side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size of the Zeiss ZX1 vis-à-vis a credit card. 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.

Zeiss ZX1 vs credit card front
ZX1 versus credit card top view
ZX1 and credit card rear side

The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the Zeiss ZX1 alongside a set of comparators. If you want to review a camera pair side-by-side, just select a right-side 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 comparisons there.

Camera Body Specifications
  Camera
Model
Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life
(CIPA)
Weather
Sealing
(yes/no)
Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Used
Price
(USD)
Camera
Model
 
Zeiss ZX1 5.6 in 3.7 in 1.8 in 28.2 oz .. n Sep 2018 4,199 i i Zeiss ZX1
 
Leica Q2« » 5.1 in 3.1 in 3.6 in 25.3 oz 370 Y Mar 2019 4,995 i i Leica Q2
 
Leica M-E Typ 240« » 5.5 in 3.1 in 1.7 in 24.0 oz .. Y Jun 2019 3,999 i i Leica M-E Typ 240
 
Leica V-LUX 5« » 5.4 in 3.8 in 5.2 in 28.6 oz 350 n Jul 2019 1,249 i i Leica V-LUX 5
 
Leica M10-P« » 5.5 in 3.1 in 1.5 in 23.3 oz 210 Y Aug 2018 7,995 i i Leica M10-P
 
Leica M10« » 5.5 in 3.1 in 1.5 in 23.3 oz 210 Y Jan 2017 6,595 i i Leica M10
 
Leica Q Typ 116« » 5.1 in 3.1 in 3.7 in 22.6 oz 300 n Jun 2015 4,249- i Leica Q Typ 116
 
Panasonic FZ1000 II« » 5.4 in 3.8 in 5.2 in 28.6 oz 350 n Feb 2019 899 i i Panasonic FZ1000 II
 
Panasonic FZ1000« » 5.4 in 3.9 in 5.2 in 29.3 oz 360 n Jun 2014 899- i Panasonic FZ1000
 
Sony RX100 VI« » 4.0 in 2.3 in 1.7 in 10.6 oz 240 n Jun 2018 1,199- i Sony RX100 VI
 
Sony RX1R II« » 4.4 in 2.6 in 2.8 in 17.9 oz 220 n Oct 2015 3,299 i i Sony RX1R II
Note: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.

The listed prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The Zeiss ZX1 was launched in the US market at a price of $4,199. 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.

Zeiss ZX1:
Check Amazon price

Sensor comparison with a 35mm slide

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 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 are more costly to manufacture and tent to lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.

The Zeiss ZX1 features a full frame sensor and has a format factor (sometimes also referred to as "crop factor") of 1.0. Within the spectrum of camera sensors, this places the Zeiss ZX1 among the large-sensor cameras that aim for top notch image quality.

Zeiss ZX1 sensor measures

For most 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 table below summarizes the physical sensor characteristics and sensor quality findings and compares them across a set of similar cameras.

Sensor Characteristics
  Camera
Model
Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
Camera
Model
 
Zeiss ZX1 Full Frame 37.4 7488 49924K/30p----Zeiss ZX1
 
Leica Q2« » Full Frame 46.7 8368 55844K/30p26.413.5249196Leica Q2
 
Leica M-E Typ 240« » Full Frame 23.7 5952 39761080/25p----Leica M-E Typ 240
 
Leica V-LUX 5« » 1-inch 20.0 5472 36484K/30p----Leica V-LUX 5
 
Leica M10-P« » Full Frame 23.8 5952 3992-----Leica M10-P
 
Leica M10« » Full Frame 23.8 5952 3992-24.413.2213386Leica M10
 
Leica Q Typ 116« » Full Frame 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.312.7222185Leica Q Typ 116
 
Panasonic FZ1000 II« » 1-inch 20.0 5472 36484K/30p----Panasonic FZ1000 II
 
Panasonic FZ1000« » 1-inch 20.0 5472 36484K/30p22.111.751764Panasonic FZ1000
 
Sony RX100 VI« » 1-inch 20.0 5472 36484K/30p----Sony RX100 VI
 
Sony RX1R II« » Full Frame 42.2 7952 53041080/60p25.813.9320497Sony RX1R II

Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but also of capturing video footage. The ZX1 indeed provides movie recording capabilities. The highest resolution format that the ZX1 can use is 4K/30p.

Feature comparison

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. For example, the ZX1 has an electronic viewfinder with a resolution of 6221k dots. The viewfinder offers a field of view of 100% and a magnification of 0.74x. The adjacent tables list some of the other core features of the Zeiss ZX1 along with similar information for a selection of comparators.

Core Features
  Camera
Model
Viewfinder
(Type or
'000 dots)
Control
Panel
(yes/no)
LCD
Size
(inch)
LCD
Resolution
('000 dots)
LCD
Attach-
ment
Touch
Screen
(yes/no)
Mech
Shutter
Speed
Shutter
Flaps
(1/sec)
Built-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Built-in
Image
Stab
Camera
Model
 
Zeiss ZX16221 n 4.3 2765 fixed Y 1/1000s 3.0 n n Zeiss ZX1
 
Leica Q2« »3680 n 3.0 1040 fixed Y 1/2000s 20.0 n Y Leica Q2
 
Leica M-E Typ 240« »optical n 3.0 920 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 n n Leica M-E Typ 240
 
Leica V-LUX 5« »2360 n 3.0 1240 swivel Y 1/4000s 12.0 Y Y Leica V-LUX 5
 
Leica M10-P« »optical n 3.0 1037 fixed Y 1/4000s 5.0 n n Leica M10-P
 
Leica M10« »optical n 3.0 1037 fixed n 1/4000s 5.0 n n Leica M10
 
Leica Q Typ 116« »3680 n 3.0 1040 fixed Y 1/2000s 10.0 n Y Leica Q Typ 116
 
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
 
Sony RX1R II« »2360 n 3.0 1229 tilting n 1/4000s 5.0 n n Sony RX1R II

It is worthwhile pointing out that the ZX1 has a touchscreen. Touch control can be particularly helpful, for example, when trying to adjust the focus point.

 

Connection comparison

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 Zeiss ZX1 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.

Input-Output Connections
  Camera
Model
Hotshoe
Port
Internal
Microphone
Internal
Speaker
Microphone
Port
Headphone
Port
HDMI
Port
USB
Type
WiFi
Support
NFC
Support
Bluetooth
Support
Camera
Model
 
Zeiss ZX1Ystereomono---3.1YYYZeiss ZX1
 
Leica Q2« »Ystereomono----Y-YLeica Q2
 
Leica M-E Typ 240« »Ymono----2.0---Leica M-E Typ 240
 
Leica V-LUX 5« »Ystereomono--micro2.0Y-YLeica V-LUX 5
 
Leica M10-P« »Y------Y--Leica M10-P
 
Leica M10« »Y------Y--Leica M10
 
Leica Q Typ 116« »Ystereomono--micro2.0YY-Leica Q Typ 116
 
Panasonic FZ1000 II« »Ystereomono--micro2.0Y-YPanasonic FZ1000 II
 
Panasonic FZ1000« »YstereomonoY-micro2.0YY-Panasonic FZ1000
 
Sony RX100 VI« »-stereomono--micro2.0YYYSony RX100 VI
 
Sony RX1R II« »YstereomonoY-micro2.0YY-Sony RX1R II

It is notable that the ZX1 offers wifi support. Wifi can be a very convenient means to transfer image data to an off-camera location.

 

The ZX1 has a prime lens built in (35mm f/2.8). The camera is, hence, ready to shoot, while remaining more compact in size than an interchangeable lens camera with an optic of similar focal length and aperture specifications.

Expert reviews

While the specs-based evaluation of cameras is instructive in revealing their potential as photographic tools, it says nothing about, for example, the handling, responsiveness, and overall imaging quality of 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 summarizes the assessments of some of the best known camera review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, photographyblog).

Review Scores
  Camera
Model
cameralabs dpreview ephotozine imaging-resource photographyblog Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Used
Price
(USD)
Camera
Model
 
Zeiss ZX1----- Sep 2018 4,199 i i Zeiss ZX1
 
Leica Q2« »-84/1004.5/5-4/5 Mar 2019 4,995 i i Leica Q2
 
Leica M-E Typ 240« »----- Jun 2019 3,999 i i Leica M-E Typ 240
 
Leica V-LUX 5« »--4/5-4/5 Jul 2019 1,249 i i Leica V-LUX 5
 
Leica M10-P« »----4/5 Aug 2018 7,995 i i Leica M10-P
 
Leica M10« »--4/5-4.5/5 Jan 2017 6,595 i i Leica M10
 
Leica Q Typ 116« »-80/1004.5/5-4.5/5 Jun 2015 4,249- i Leica Q Typ 116
 
Panasonic FZ1000 II« »--4.5/5-4.5/5 Feb 2019 899 i i Panasonic FZ1000 II
 
Panasonic FZ1000« »+ +82/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Jun 2014 899- i Panasonic FZ1000
 
Sony RX100 VI« »+ +83/1004/5-4.5/5 Jun 2018 1,199- i Sony RX100 VI
 
Sony RX1R II« »-82/100-o4.5/5 Oct 2015 3,299 i i Sony RX1R II
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. Hence, a score should always be seen in the context of the camera's market launch date and its price, and comparisons of ratings among very different cameras or across long time periods have little meaning. It should also be noted that some of the review sites have over time altered the way they render their verdicts.

Zeiss ZX1 FAQ

Below are some additional questions and answers concerning some particular features of the ZX1.

What type of imaging sensor is used in the ZX1?

The camera has a CMOS (Complementary Metal–Oxide–Semiconductor) sensor at its core.

What is the ISO sensitivity range of the ZX1?

The camera has a native sensitivity range from ISO 80 to ISO 51200.

Is completely silent shooting possible with the Zeiss ZX1?

The camera has an electronic shutter option, so that it is indeed feasible to capture images without any shutter noise.

Which battery does the ZX1 use?

The camera gets its power from the DD-PS1A, which is a rechargeable Lithium-Ion power pack.

Camera to camera comparisons

In case you are interested in seeing how this camera compares to another one, just use the search menu below. There is also a set of direct links to comparison reviews that other users of the CAM-parator app explored.

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    Specifications Summary
    Camera Model Zeiss ZX1
    Camera Type Fixed lens compact camera
    Camera Lens 35mm f/2.8
    Launch Date September 2018
    Launch Price USD 4199
    Sensor Specs
    Sensor Technology CMOS
    Sensor Format Full Frame Sensor
    Sensor Size 36.0 x 24.0 mm
    Sensor Area 864 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 43.3 mm
    Crop Factor 1.0x
    Sensor Resolution 37.4 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 7488 x 4992 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 4.81 μm
    Pixel Density 4.33 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability 4K/30p Video
    ISO Setting 80-51200 ISO
    Screen Specs
    Viewfinder Type Electronic viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 100%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.74x
    Viewfinder Resolution 6221k dots
    LCD Framing Live View
    Rear LCD Size 4.3 inch
    LCD Resolution 2765k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen
    Touch Input Touchscreen
    Shooting Specs
    Autofocus System Contrast-detect AF
    Manual Focusing AidNo Peaking Feature
    Maximum Shutter Speed 1/1000s
    Continuous Shooting 3 shutter flaps/s
    Silent ShootingElectronic Shutter
    Time Lapse Photographyno Intervalometer
    Fill Flash no On-Board Flash
    Storage Medium Internal SSD
    Second Storage Option n/a
    Connectivity Specs
    External Flash Hotshoe
    USB Connector USB 3.1
    HDMI Port no HDMI
    Wifi Support Wifi built-in
    Near-Field Communication NFC built-in
    Bluetooth Support Bluetooth built-in
    Body Specs
    Battery Type DD-PS1A power pack
    Body Dimensions 142 x 93 x 46 mm
    (5.6 x 3.7 x 1.8 in)
    Camera Weight 800 g (28.2 oz)

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