Shrunken full-frame cameras must be the new black; this year we’ve had announcements for six mirrorless models from new players in the segment, and . Now another familiar newcomer enters the fray, the Zeiss ZX1, with an interesting take on a fixed-lens model. It’s slated to ship in 2019, and that’s when Zeiss will reveal the pricing.
Zeiss is pursuing the mobile-first photographer — presumably a deep-pocketed one, since it’s Zeiss — like Wile E. Coyote in a tux. It eschews card slots and connections in favor of a big 4.3-inch (10.9) display, an enormous built-in 512GB of memory, a relatively huge 3,190 mAh battery, a USB-C connection for input and output, and fast 802.11ac Wi-Fi for transfers.
A copy ofcomes installed for real in-camera photo editing and (presumably) syncing if you’re a Creative Cloud subscriber. Through the touchscreen on the back, you can control the storage and share to services.
It still remembers it’s a camera, though with manual shutter speed and ISO dials on top and an aperture ring on the 35mm f2 T* lens, as well as an EVF.
If you remember Samsung’s Galaxy cameras — the and the — then some of this may sound familiar. Samsung, too, tried to be the connected camera of the future. But that was 2013 and this is now, when a lot of pieces have fallen into place to make it a bit more practical and price effective.
But it’s still pretty big at almost 6 in/155 mm wide and close to 4 in/95 mm high. And yes, it’s got a big battery, but it may need it just to retain battery-life parity with models that don’t use as much: that big screen and EVF are energy sinks even without considering how much time you’ll spend with the big display if you use it as intended.
Zeiss provided a decent amount of details about the specifications, but it’s a relative newcomer to digital cameras, so how well any of this will work is anyone’s guess.
|Leica Q||Sony RX1R II||Zeiss ZX1|
|Sensor effective resolution||24.2MP CMOS n/a 14-bit||42.4MP Exmor R CMOS 14-bit||37.4MP n/a|
|Sensor size||36 x 24mm||35.8 x 23.9mm||36 x 24mm|
|Lens||28mm f.1.7||35mm f2.0||35mm f2.0|
|Closest focus||6.7 in 17 cm||7.9 in 20 cm||11.8 in 30cm|
|Sensitivity range||ISO 100 – ISO 50,000||ISO 50 (exp)/ISO 100 – ISO 25600/102400 (exp)||ISO 80 – ISO 51200|
|Burst shooting||10fps n/a raw/unlimited JPEG||5fps n/a (with continuous AF but fixed exposure)||3fps n/a|
|Viewfinder (mag/ effective mag)||Electronic 100% coverage 3.68MP LCOS n/a||OLED EVF 0.4 in/10.2 mm 2.4 million dots 100% coverage 0.74x||OLED EVF 0.7 in/17.8mm 2.1 million dots n/a 0.74x|
|Hot Shoe||Yes||Yes||Yes (Sigma protocol)|
|Autofocus||n/a Contrast AF||399-point phase-detection AF, 25-area contrast AF||n/a 255 selectable areas|
|AF sensitivity (at center point)||n/a||n/a||n/a|
|Shutter speed||1/2,000 to 30 secs (to 1/6,000 with electronic shutter); bulb; 1/500 sec x-sync||1/4,000 to 30 secs; bulb; tk x-sync||1/8,000 to 30 secs; bulb|
|Best video||H.264 MP4 1080/60p, 30p||XAVC S 1080/60p @ 50Mbps||MP4 4K UHD/30p|
|Audio||stereo||stereo; mic input||built-in mic; mic, headphones and HDMI via USB-C|
|Manual aperture and shutter in video||Yes||Yes||n/a|
|Maximum best-quality recording time||n/a||n/a||n/a|
|Clean HDMI out||n/a||n/a||n/a|
|IS||Optical||Electronic (movies only)||n/a|
|LCD||3 in/7.5 cm Fixed touchscreen 1.04m dots||3 in/7.5cm Tilting 921,600 dots plus extra set of white dots||4.3 in/10.9 cm Fixed touchscreen 921,600 dots|
|Memory slots||1 x SDXC||1 x SDXC||None. 512GB internal, USB-C for external|
|Wireless connection||Wi-Fi 802.11bgn, NFC||Wi-Fi 802.11bgn, NFC||Wi-Fi 802.11ac, NFC, Bluetooth 4.1|
|Battery life (CIPA rating)||n/a (1,200 mAh)||200 shots (viewfinder); 220 shots (LCD) (1,080 mAh)||n/a (3,190 mAh)|
|Size (WHD)||5.1 x 3.1 x 3.7 in 130 x 80 x 93mm||4.5 x 2.6 x 2.8 in 113 x 65 x 72 mm||5.6 x 3.7 x 2.6 in 142 x 93 x 66 mm|
|Body operating weight||22.6 oz 640 g||17.9 oz (est.) 507 g (est.)||28.2 oz 800 g (est.)|
|Mfr. price||$4,495 £3,700 AU$6,300||$3,299 £3,450 AU$5,499||n/a|
|Release date||June 2015||November 2015||early 2019|