The Zeiss ZX1 is a full-35mm format camera, but it’s neither mirrorless nor reflex. Instead, it has a fixed Zeiss Distagon T* 35mm f2.0 wide-angle prime which, of course, is very precisely matched optically to the sensor. OK, so technically it is still a mirrorless camera, but you know what we mean.
There are a number of unusual aspects to the ZX1 too… for starters, it has a massive 512 GB of internal memory which is enough for around 6800 RAW files (in the Adobe DNG format) or over 50,000 best-quality JPEGs. The big internal memory means that there’s no memory card slot and Zeiss is emphasising image sharing via WiFi (with NFC), Bluetooth or the camera’s USB-C connection (the only port provided). And to this end, the ZX1 has Adobe Photoshop Lightroom CC built-in so images can be processed and edited in-camera. There’s a big 11.0 cm, 16:9 aspect ratio touchscreen monitor to help with this, while the camera’s electronic viewfinder is a 1.78 cm OLED-type panel which has a magnification of 0.74x. The monitor screen is actually slightly bent which, says Zeiss, “… separates the live view from the control elements”.
As with Leica’s TL series cameras, much of the ZX1’s operation is performed via the touchscreen and external controls are kept to a bare minimum… in fact, basically just two dials for shutter speeds and ISO settings. There’s a conventional aperture ring on the lens and the various auto exposure control modes are set using the ‘A’ positions on this and the shutter speed dial, similar to Fujifilm’s X100F (the ISO dial also has an ‘Auto’ setting). The lens incorporates a leaf shutter with a speed range of 30-1/8000 second. Other features include autofocusing, exposure bracketing, an intervalometer and in-camera panorama stitching.
The ZX1’s sensor – more than likely made by Sony – has a resolution of 37.4 megapixels and a sensitivity range equivalent to ISO 80 to 51,200. Continuous shooting is possible at up to 3.0 fps and the camera can shoot 4K UHD video at 25 fps (PAL) or Full HD at 50 fps in the MP4 format with stereo sound. The big memory allows for up to 20 hours of 4K video.
Given the absence of memory card slots, any other ports other than USB-C, a minimum of external controls, and fixed flush-fitting monitor screen the Zeiss ZX1 has a very sleek and smooth bodyshell. The external covers are aluminium and are all painted metal with no grip coverings. Availability will be from early 2019 and there’s no indication of pricing yet, but clearly the ZX1 is a premium product. For more information visit https://zx1.zeiss.com/