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Zeiss ZX1 Fixed-Lens Camera

Get Zeiss ZX1 at B&H Photo (early 2019).

Press release further below. It is perhaps a natural evolution for Zeiss to move from iPhone add-on lenses to an iPhone-like camera display in a real camera. Sporting a 4.3-inch multi-touch screen (a world’s largest in a real camera?), the new ZX1 is about as close to a smartphone as a real camera can get, at least one with real controls.

The resolution of that 4.3-inch screen is apparently 1280 X 720, seemingly resulting in a superior dpi to the iPhone 7, unless there is a discrepancy of "dots" vs "resolution"? I suspect that is the case, but Zeiss' specifications are not clear at all. Given that the EVF is 1920 X 1080 (2 megapixels), I suspect that the display is "dots" not "resolution" and thus greatly inferior to an iPhone.

 iPhone 7: 1334 X 750 at 4.7" = 1530 diag pixels /4.7 = 326 dpi
Zeiss ZX1: 1280 X 720 at 4.3" = 1468 diag pixels /4.3 = 341 dpi

Drawing on design details from Zeiss Otus (yellow green dials) and Zeiss Milvus (fit and finish), it fits right into the Zeiss lens family look. The images look computer generated, but still it seems about as clean and elegant a design as has yet been developed. Excepting the top dials, I’d say it’s as close to an iCamera as one might get (probably Apple would have eliminated the controls entirely, making it an expensive dilettante instrument). So Zeiss has straddled the line appropriately, given the apparent mission.

With 512GB of internal memory, there is apparently no card slot. This is both good and bad, but my initial reaction is trepidation on how images are to be transferred and how robust that internal memory will be over time.

My main concern is the total lack of physical buttons, which out in the field could be a disastrous failing: too often my iPhone touchscreen won’t work because of wet or sweaty hands, and it won’t work at all with gloves (fingerless gloves just mean frozen fingertips).

My 2nd concern is the apparent orientation to internet usage and delivery—there is no internet where I prefer to shoot, sometimes not or days at a time. So that feature is of near-zero interest to me, indeed, a liability.

That said, I’ll keep an open mind on the Zeiss ZX1—if the firmware is done right, then it ought to function well as a camera nonetheless. In other words, does the internet-centric feature set get in the way or stay out of the way.

Key things will be whether I can (a) view the histogram so as to verify exposure because given time I always nail my exposures to within 1/3 stop of optimal, (b) zoom in to check focus accuracy on a captured image.

Zeiss ZX1
Zeiss ZX1

ZEISS ZX1: The Camera Concept for the Creative Flow in Photography

First full-frame camera from ZEISS with first-class image quality and the familiar, intuitive image editing and connectivity of a smartphone.

OBERKOCHEN/Germany, 2018-09-27.

ZEISS ZX1 – That is the name of the newly developed mirrorless full-frame camera from ZEISS that was presented today in Cologne, Germany. Thanks to the ZEISS lens and a sensor developed in-house at ZEISS, the camera delivers first-class image quality combined with an operational concept and user experience that make the photographer's jobs-to-be-done as intuitive as on a smartphone.

The ZEISS camera concept is just the first step to opening up a new world of possibilities for ambitious photographers – from taking the shot to editing the image and sharing it on the web.

SHOOT. EDIT. SHARE. – Harmonized hardware, software and optics for a seamless creative process

SHOOT: the ZEISS ZX1 features a newly designed, integrated ZEISS Distagon 35 mm f/2 T* lens with autofocus that has been perfectly matched to the 37.4 megapixel full-frame sensor developed in-house at ZEISS. The interplay between the lens and sensor ensures first-class picture quality with that typical ZEISS look.

EDIT: The ZEISS ZX1 enables photographers to professionally process RAW images directly on the camera thanks to fully integrated Adobe Photoshop Lightroom CC. Moreover, the ZEISS ZX1's unique user interface supports the user's particular workflow without any interruption – providing direct access to the most frequently used functions via a 4.3" multi-touch display.

SHARE: when the networked full-frame camera is connected, the user can upload selected images directly to the internet – without the intermediate transfer to memory cards or other external devices. 512 GB of internal memory provide sufficient space for approximately 6,800 RAW files (DNG) or over 50,000 JPGs – more than enough to handle photos, even during a longer trip, and giving the photographer the chance to let their creativity flow. Versatile connectivity options such as Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and USB-C ensure that various peripherals can be connected. Over-the-air software updates keep the camera up to date without requiring a computer connection.

Designed with a passion for detail and a focus on the essentials

The design of the ZEISS ZX1 is characterized by its iconic shape with carefully crafted details. The overall form and reduction to just those elements that are absolutely necessary lay the foundation for an ergonomic camera and ensure easy handling. The symbiosis of hardware and software is exemplified by the newly defined user interface that utilizes the 4.3" multi-touch display. The slightly bent screen separates the live view from the control elements, making camera operation comfortable and straightforward.

"We know that we exploring new ways and initially addressing a special target group with the ZEISS ZX1. With our concept we are focusing on ambitious, professional creatives who want to produce their photographic experiences quickly and efficiently, and inspire as many people on the Internet as possible. This requires a streamlined workflow in addition to high-end features. This is exactly what the concept of the ZEISS ZX1 offers,” explains Jörg Schmitz, Head of the Consumer Products business group at ZEISS.

ZEISS ZX1 available from early 2019

The ZEISS ZX1 will be available at selected dealers in early 2019. ZEISS will announce the recommended retail price at the start of the official market launch. Starting now, anyone interested in receiving information on exact availability can register at

Zeiss ZX1
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