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Zeiss ZX1 versus Canon 1D X Mark II

The Zeiss ZX1 and the Canon EOS-1D X Mark II are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in September 2018 and February 2016. The ZX1 is a fixed lens compact, while the 1DX Mark II is a DSLR. Both cameras are equipped with a full frame sensor. The Zeiss has a resolution of 37.4 megapixel, whereas the Canon provides 20 MP. Read on to find out how these two cameras compare with respect to their size, their sensors, their features, and their reception by expert reviewers.

Body comparison: Zeiss ZX1 vs Canon 1D X Mark II

The side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size and weight of the Zeiss ZX1 and the Canon 1D X Mark II. 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 measures are rounded to the nearest millimeter. You can also toggle the display to switch to a percentage comparison if you prefer that the measures are being expressed in relative terms (in this case, the camera on the left side – the ZX1 – represents the basis for the calculations across all the size and weight measures).

Compare Zeiss ZX1 vs Canon 1D X Mark II
Compare ZX1 versus 1DX Mark II top
Compare ZX1 and 1DX Mark II rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Canon 1D X Mark II is considerably larger (101 percent) than the Zeiss ZX1. It is noteworthy in this context that the 1DX Mark II is splash and dust-proof, 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 build in, whereas the 1DX Mark II is an interchangeable lens camera that requires a separate lens. Attaching the latter will add extra weight and bulk to the setup. You can find an overview of optics for the 1DX Mark II and their specifications in the Canon EF Lens Catalog.

As can be seen in the images above, the 1DX Mark II has a battery grip build in. This facilitates image-taking in portrait orientation and gives it additional battery power.

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.

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» 142 mm 93 mm 46 mm 800 g .. n Sep 2018 .. i i Zeiss ZX1
Canon 1D X Mark II« 158 mm 168 mm 83 mm 1530 g 1210 Y Feb 2016 5,999 i i Canon 1D X Mark II
Canon SX740« » 110 mm 64 mm 40 mm 299 g 265 n Jul 2018 399 i i Canon SX740
Canon SX70« » 127 mm 91 mm 117 mm 608 g 325 n Sep 2018 549 i i Canon SX70
Canon 5D Mark IV« » 151 mm 116 mm 76 mm 890 g 900 Y Aug 2016 3,499 i i Canon 5D Mark IV
Canon 80D« » 139 mm 105 mm 79 mm 730 g 960 Y Feb 2016 1,199 i i Canon 80D
Canon 1D X« » 158 mm 168 mm 83 mm 1551 g 1120 Y Oct 2011 6,799- i Canon 1D X
Canon 1Ds Mark III« » 150 mm 160 mm 80 mm 1385 g 1800 Y Aug 2007 7,999- i Canon 1Ds Mark III
Fujifilm XF10« » 113 mm 64 mm 41 mm 279 g 330 n Jul 2018 499 i i Fujifilm XF10
Leica C-LUX« » 113 mm 67 mm 46 mm 340 g 370 n Jun 2018 1,049 i i Leica C-LUX
Leica M10-P« » 139 mm 80 mm 39 mm 660 g 210 n Aug 2018 7,995 i i Leica M10-P
Nikon P1000« » 146 mm 119 mm 181 mm 1415 g 250 n Jul 2018 999 i i Nikon P1000
Nikon D5« » 160 mm 159 mm 92 mm 1415 g 3780 Y Jan 2016 6,499 i i Nikon D5
Panasonic LX100 II« » 115 mm 66 mm 65 mm 392 g 300 n Aug 2018 999 i i Panasonic LX100 II
Sony RX100 VI« » 102 mm 58 mm 43 mm 301 g 240 n Jun 2018 1,199 i i Sony RX100 VI
Sony HX99« » 102 mm 58 mm 36 mm 242 g 370 n Aug 2018 449 i i Sony HX99
Sony HX95« » 102 mm 58 mm 36 mm 242 g 370 n Aug 2018 429 i i Sony HX95

The price is, of course, an important factor in any camera decision. The listed launch prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. 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.

 

Sensor comparison: Zeiss ZX1 vs Canon 1D X Mark II

The size of the sensor inside a digital camera is one of the key determinants of image quality. All other things equal, a large sensor will have larger individual pixel-units that offer better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and 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 tend to lead to bigger and heavier cameras 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.

Technology-wise, both cameras are equipped with CMOS (Complementary Metal–Oxide–Semiconductor) sensors.

Zeiss ZX1 and Canon 1D X Mark II sensor measures

While the two cameras under review share the same sensor size, the ZX1 offers a higher resolution of 37.4 megapixel, compared with 20 MP of the 1DX Mark II. This megapixel advantage translates into a 37 percent gain in linear resolution. On the other hand, these sensor specs imply that the ZX1 has a higher pixel density and a smaller size of the individual pixel (with a pixel pitch of 4.81μm versus 6.57μm for the 1DX Mark II). In this context, it should be noted, however, that the ZX1 is much more recent (by 2 years and 7 months) than the 1DX Mark II, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that compensate for the smaller pixel size.

The 1DX Mark II has on-sensor phase detect pixels, which results in relatively fast and reliable autofocus acquisition during video recording.

ZX1 versus 1DX Mark II MP

Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for many cameras. 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 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
Canon 1D X Mark II« Full Frame 20.0 5472 36484K/60p24.113.5320788Canon 1D X Mark II
Canon SX740« » 1/2.3 20.2 5184 38884K/30p----Canon SX740
Canon SX70« » 1/2.3 20.2 5184 38884K/30p----Canon SX70
Canon 5D Mark IV« » Full Frame 30.1 6720 44804K/30p24.813.6299591Canon 5D Mark IV
Canon 80D« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p23.613.2113579Canon 80D
Canon 1D X« » Full Frame 17.9 5184 34561080/30p23.811.8278682Canon 1D X
Canon 1Ds Mark III« » Full Frame 21.0 5616 3744-24.012.0166380Canon 1Ds Mark III
Fujifilm XF10« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40004K/15p----Fujifilm XF10
Leica C-LUX« » 1-inch 20.0 5472 36484K/30p----Leica C-LUX
Leica M10-P« » Full Frame 23.8 5952 3992-----Leica M10-P
Nikon P1000« » 1/2.3 15.9 4608 34564K/30p----Nikon P1000
Nikon D5« » Full Frame 20.7 5588 37124K/30p25.112.3234388Nikon D5
Panasonic LX100 II« » Four Thirds 16.8 4736 35524K/30p----Panasonic LX100 II
Sony RX100 VI« » 1-inch 20.0 5472 36484K/30p----Sony RX100 VI
Sony HX99« » 1/2.3 18.0 4896 36724K/30p----Sony HX99
Sony HX95« » 1/2.3 18.0 4896 36724K/30p----Sony HX95

Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but also of capturing video footage. Both cameras under consideration are equipped with sensors that have a sufficiently high read-out speed for moving images, but the 1DX Mark II provides a faster frame rate than the ZX1. It can shoot movie footage at 4K/60p, while the Zeiss is limited to 4K/30p.

 

Feature comparison: Zeiss ZX1 vs Canon 1D X Mark II

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. For example, the ZX1 has an electronic viewfinder (6221k dots), while the 1DX Mark II has an optical one. Both systems have their advantages, with the electronic viewfinder making it possible to project supplementary shooting information into the framing view, whereas the optical viewfinder offers lag-free viewing and a very clear framing image. The table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Zeiss ZX1 and Canon 1D X Mark II in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras. The full specs-sheets can be found in the camera manual or in the dpreview camera hub.

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)
Shutter
speed
(1/sec)
Shutter
flaps
(1/sec)
Build-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Build-in
Image
Stab
Camera
Model
Zeiss ZX1»6221 n 4.3 2765 fixed Y 1000 3.0 n n Zeiss ZX1
Canon 1D X Mark II«optical Y 3.2 1620 fixed Y 8000 16.0 n n Canon 1D X Mark II
Canon SX740« »- n 3.0 922 tilting n 3200 10.0 Y Y Canon SX740
Canon SX70« »2360 n 3.0 922 swivel n 2000 10.0 Y Y Canon SX70
Canon 5D Mark IV« »optical Y 3.2 1620 fixed Y 8000 7.0 n n Canon 5D Mark IV
Canon 80D« »optical Y 3.0 1040 swivel Y 8000 7.0 Y n Canon 80D
Canon 1D X« »optical Y 3.2 1040 fixed n 8000 14.0 n n Canon 1D X
Canon 1Ds Mark III« »optical Y 3.0 230 fixed n 8000 5.0 n n Canon 1Ds Mark III
Fujifilm XF10« »- n 3.0 1040 fixed Y 4000 6.0 Y n Fujifilm XF10
Leica C-LUX« »2330 n 3.0 1240 fixed Y 2000 10.0 Y Y Leica C-LUX
Leica M10-P« »optical n 3.0 1037 fixed Y 4000 5.0 n n Leica M10-P
Nikon P1000« »2359 n 3.2 921 swivel n 4000 7.0 Y Y Nikon P1000
Nikon D5« »optical Y 3.2 2359 fixed Y 8000 14.0 n n Nikon D5
Panasonic LX100 II« »2764 n 3.0 1240 fixed n 4000 11.0 n Y Panasonic LX100 II
Sony RX100 VI« »2359 n 3.0 1229 tilting Y 2000 24.0 Y Y Sony RX100 VI
Sony HX99« »638 n 3.0 922 tilting Y 2000 10.0 Y Y Sony HX99
Sony HX95« »638 n 3.0 922 tilting n 2000 10.0 Y Y Sony HX95

One feature that is present on the 1DX Mark II, 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 and shutter burst refer to the use of the mechanical shutter. In addition, the ZX1 features an electronic shutter, which makes completely silent shooting possible. However, this mode is less suitable for photographing moving objects (rolling shutter) or shooting under artificial light sources (flickering).

The ZX1 writes its imaging data to an internal SSD, while the 1DX Mark II uses Compact Flash or CFast cards.

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 ZX1»Ystereomono---3.1YYYZeiss ZX1
Canon 1D X Mark II«YmonomonoYYmini3.0---Canon 1D X Mark II
Canon SX740« »-stereomono--micro2.0YYYCanon SX740
Canon SX70« »-stereomonoY-micro2.0Y-YCanon SX70
Canon 5D Mark IV« »YmonomonoYYmini3.0YY-Canon 5D Mark IV
Canon 80D« »YstereomonoYYmini2.0YY-Canon 80D
Canon 1D X« »Ymono-Y-mini2.0---Canon 1D X
Canon 1Ds Mark III« »Y-----2.0---Canon 1Ds Mark III
Fujifilm XF10« »-stereomonoY-micro2.0Y-YFujifilm XF10
Leica C-LUX« »-stereomono--micro2.0Y--Leica C-LUX
Leica M10-P« »Y------Y--Leica M10-P
Nikon P1000« »YstereomonoY-micro2.0Y-YNikon P1000
Nikon D5« »YstereomonoYYmini3.0---Nikon D5
Panasonic LX100 II« »Ystereomono--micro2.0Y-YPanasonic LX100 II
Sony RX100 VI« »-stereomono--micro2.0YYYSony RX100 VI
Sony HX99« »-stereomono--micro2.0YY-Sony HX99
Sony HX95« »-stereomono--micro2.0YY-Sony HX95

Both the ZX1 and the 1DX Mark II are recent models that feature in their makers' current product line-up. The 1DX Mark II replaced the earlier Canon 1DX, while the ZX1 does not have a direct predecessor.

Review summary: Zeiss ZX1 vs Canon 1D X Mark II

So what is the bottom line? Which of the two cameras – the Zeiss ZX1 or the Canon 1D X Mark II – has the upper hand? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.

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Advantages of the Zeiss ZX1:

  • More detail: Offers more megapixels (37.4 vs 20MP) with a 37% higher linear resolution.
  • More framing info: Has an electronic viewfinder that displays shooting data.
  • 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 1620k dots).
  • Less disturbing: Has an electronic shutter option for completely silent shooting.
  • Ready to shoot: Comes with a build-in lens, while the 1DX Mark II requires a separate lens.
  • More compact: Is smaller (142x93mm vs 158x168mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
  • Less heavy: Is lighter even though it comes with a build-in lens (unlike the 1DX Mark II).
  • Faster data transfer: Supports a more advanced USB protocol (3.1 vs 3.0).
  • Easier file upload: Has wifi build in for automatic backup or image transfer to the web.
  • 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 price.
  • More modern: Reflects 2 years and 7 months of technical progress since the 1DX Mark II launch.

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Reasons to prefer the Canon EOS-1D X Mark II:

  • Better video: Provides higher movie framerates (4K/60p versus 4K/30p).
  • Better video autofocus: Features on-sensor phase-detection for more confident movie 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.
  • Brighter framing: Features an optical viewfinder for clear, lag-free composition.
  • Easier setting verification: Features a control panel on top to check shooting parameters.
  • Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (8000/sec vs 1000/sec) to freeze action.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (16 vs 3 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • More flexible: Makes it possible to change lenses and thus to use specialty optics.
  • More portrait friendly: Features an integrated vertical grip for easier portrait shooting.
  • Better sealing: Is splash and dust sealed for shooting in inclement weather conditions.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been around for much longer (launched in February 2016).

If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the ZX1 emerges as the winner of the contest (14 : 12 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.

ZX1 14:12 1DX Mark II

In any case, while the comparison of technical specifications can provide a useful overview of the capabilities of different cameras, it remains partial and cannot reveal, for example, the handling experience and imaging performance when actually working with the ZX1 or the 1DX Mark II. 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 following table reports the overall rankings of the cameras as published by some of the major camera review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, photographyblog). You can find the full text of the reviews by clicking on the site logo in the table header.

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 .. i i Zeiss ZX1
Canon 1D X Mark II«-89/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Feb 2016 5,999 i i Canon 1D X Mark II
Canon SX740« »Rec-4/5-4/5 Jul 2018 399 i i Canon SX740
Canon SX70« »----- Sep 2018 549 i i Canon SX70
Canon 5D Mark IV« »HiRec87/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Aug 2016 3,499 i i Canon 5D Mark IV
Canon 80D« »HiRec84/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Feb 2016 1,199 i i Canon 80D
Canon 1D X« »--4.5/54.5/54.5/5 Oct 2011 6,799- i Canon 1D X
Canon 1Ds Mark III« »-HiRec4.5/5-- Aug 2007 7,999- i Canon 1Ds Mark III
Fujifilm XF10« »--4/5-4.5/5 Jul 2018 499 i i Fujifilm XF10
Leica C-LUX« »--4.5/5-4/5 Jun 2018 1,049 i i Leica C-LUX
Leica M10-P« »----4/5 Aug 2018 7,995 i i Leica M10-P
Nikon P1000« »Rec73/1003.5/5-3.5/5 Jul 2018 999 i i Nikon P1000
Nikon D5« »-89/1004.5/55/55/5 Jan 2016 6,499 i i Nikon D5
Panasonic LX100 II« »--4.5/5-4.5/5 Aug 2018 999 i i Panasonic LX100 II
Sony RX100 VI« »HiRec83/1004/5-4.5/5 Jun 2018 1,199 i i Sony RX100 VI
Sony HX99« »----4.5/5 Aug 2018 449 i i Sony HX99
Sony HX95« »----- Aug 2018 429 i i Sony HX95

The above review scores should be interpreted 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. 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. Also, please note that some of the review sites have changed their methodology and reporting over time.

 

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 a corresponding selection in the search boxes below. There is also a set of direct links to comparison reviews that other users of the CAM-parator app explored. If you cannot find the camera you are interested in, please send me an email, and I will try to add information on that model to the database.

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