Zeiss Breaks into the Digital Camera Space With the ZX1
Optics veteran Zeiss has hit Photokina 2018 with its first digital camera, the ZX1 concept. Aimed at “ambitious, professional creatives who want to produce their photographic experiences quickly and efficiently,” the full-frame mirrorless camera is designed for snapping photos, editing and sharing without any help from other devices.
Naturally, the ZX1 has one of the company’s lenses out front – a brand new Distagon 35 mm F2 T lens to be precise – which is made up of eight elements in five groups, including two double-sided aspherical lens elements, and has a minimum focus distance of 30 cm (11.8 in). Interestingly, Zeiss has opted to go it alone for the 37.4 megapixel (36 x 24 mm) image sensor rather than partner up with the likes of Sony or Samsung.
The simply-styled camera has Adobe’s Photoshop Lightroom CC cooked in, to cater for in-camera processing of RAW format photos and more, and sports a massive 4.34-inch touchscreen display panel at 1,280 x 720 resolution around back. The main image preview part of the screen is separated from the touch controls by a slight curve to the right. Above that sits a 0.7-inch OLED viewfinder at Full HD resolution.
The massive 4.3-inch touchscreen display around back of the ZX1 has a slight curve to it, to separate image previews from camera controls
Zeiss has opted not to include a slot for SD media, but has included 512 GB of internal SSD storage instead, which the company says should be enough for 6,800 RAW files in DNG format or over 50,000 JPGs. Bluetooth 4.1 and 802.11ac Wi-Fi wireless connectivity allows for direct upload to cloud storage, cable-free transfer to a laptop or wireless remote control via a smartphone – though there is a USB-C port for hooking up peripherals and charging the camera’s battery.
Elsewhere, the 142 x 93 x 66 mm (5.6 x 3.7 x 2.6 in) ZX1 offers ISO80 – 51,200 sensitivity, continuous shooting of up to 3 frames per second, 4K video recording at 30 fps or Full HD up to 60 fps and, since there’s no built-in flash, a hotshoe mount sits up top along with two settings control dials.
Photographers may need to keep very still when staking shots though, as Zeiss hasn’t mentioned any image stabilization technology for the ZX1. But the company has put some thought into future-proofing the camera with the inclusion of over-the-air software updates.
The production ZX1 will be available from early 2019, pricing is yet to be announced.