Zeiss's New ZX1 Camera

F-Train

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This is an extremely interesting camera: https://zx1.zeiss.com/?gclid=EAIaIQobChMI_Mm5662x3wIVmoWzCh20PgH1EAAYASAAEgLi_fD_BwE

I'm a potential buyer, but my big question is what the process is, and what the post warranty cost is, if the 512GB flash drive has to be diagnosed/replaced.

No price yet, but B&H shows it on its site for e-mail notification: https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1436638-REG/zeiss_zx1_digital_camera.html

B&H Overview:


Three Blind Men, interview starts at 06:08:


New Zeiss video:

 
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kenoh

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I like the colour scheme. In line with their Otus lenses. I find the yellow pleasing but yes, I wonder about the storage unless it is user serviceable - which I doubt
 

F-Train

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If I were to guess, I'd say its going to be in the neighborhood of a thousand dollars
At that price, I’m in in a heartbeat. However, if it’s a serious Zeiss lens, plus a leaf shutter, I suspect that we’re looking at US$2,000 minimum and quite possibly closer to $3,000.
 
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Nathan King

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Here's what I don't understand, and I'm fully prepared to admit that I may be out of touch, but is a photographer whose main desire is quickly sharing a small, compressed Jpeg online going to see value in shelling out 3K for a sensor and glass? What is that going to get them? Heck, even 3200 ASA film with a fungus-etched prime lens from the 60's looks silky smooth and sharp in a 2 megapixel image.
 

kenoh

macrumors demi-god
Jul 18, 2008
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Here's what I don't understand, and I'm fully prepared to admit that I may be out of touch, but is a photographer whose main desire is quickly sharing a small, compressed Jpeg online going to see value in shelling out 3K for a sensor and glass? What is that going to get them? Heck, even 3200 ASA film with a fungus-etched prime lens from the 60's looks silky smooth and sharp in a 2 megapixel image.
Yeah I know, thats the head scratcher for me. Why go to that effort. All they have to do is a full frame fixed 50mm and they slot in beside the Q and the RX1 then the battle of the 28,35,50 people starts. If it was a 50mm planar on a tuned sensor, it would be superb and the "50 kinda guys" will flock to it - i think...
 

F-Train

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Yeah I know, thats the head scratcher for me. Why go to that effort. All they have to do is a full frame fixed 50mm and they slot in beside the Q and the RX1 then the battle of the 28,35,50 people starts.
I don't think that people interested in the ZX1 will be considering those cameras. Assuming that the lens is as good as I expect it to be, this is a serious 37.5MP camera that can also shoot 4K Video. The lens choice - 35mm - is in my view exactly where it needs to be. I want to know more about how the camera handles, but based on what I know at the moment I'm interested.

is a photographer whose main desire is quickly sharing a small, compressed Jpeg online going to see value in shelling out 3K for a sensor and glass?
I don't think that that is the market for this camera. There is a reason why a pro is the subject of the first hands-on video.

Unfortunately, the more that I look at the specs, the more that my estimate of the price of this camera goes up :)
 
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fathergll

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At that price, I’m in in a heartbeat. However, if it’s a serious Zeiss lens, plus a leaf shutter, I suspect that we’re looking at US$2,000 minimum and quite possibly closer to $3,000.

There isn't a chance that this comes in under $3k, In fact I would be very surprised if it's much under $4k. It's going to be aimed at the Leica Q market.


If you got the disposal cash for this i'm sure it's going to be great. I would say for most you are much better off grabbing a used RX1 for fixed 35mm use as the IQ is incredibly good and then use funds elsewhere.
 

F-Train

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I’m actually interested in this camera but have a different view on its place in the market and think that pricing is something of a wild card.

I own a digital M as well as an M6 and an M3 and several Leica lenses. I am interested in the Zeiss because it is a 37.5MP camera and shoots 4K video. The Leica Q is a 24.4MP camera and manages only HD video in a market in which, if video is offered, 4K has in my view become mandatory. I passed on both the Leica Q and the Sony RX1 when they were released and certainly don’t see them as attractive now.

That said, this Zeiss camera has a lot to prove. Zeiss has never made a digital camera, and indeed has not even made an analogue camera in a very long time. Even if the lens is high quality, there are big questions about support for the product, build quality, camera handling, including issues like ergonomics and autofocus, the decision to use a solid state drive, the absence of a backup card slot, the practical utility of incorporating Lightroom, etc.

If Zeiss intends to go head to head with Leica, including on price, that’s great, but it’s a tall order. As a camera manufacturer, Zeiss doesn’t have the brand recognition, reputation for build quality, or a deep support structure. It matters that I can get my 1956 M3 serviced/repaired as well as the digital M. One of my first questions will be, what evidence is there that Zeiss is even serious about making cameras, or indeed serious about supporting this camera, because the history is not good. Too many years of abandoning brands (remember Contax?), making lenses for others and making a quick buck from licensing use of the name.

In any event, we should know some actual facts, as distinct from speculation, in the next two or three months. I’m probably part of the target market, and I’m interested, but I think that Zeiss has a lot of convincing to do.
 
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steveash

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I’m sure it will be expensive. Zeiss are a premium brand with limited manufacturing capabilities. Unless it is being made by Sony on their behalf then they will struggle to make the kind of quantities that keep unit prices reasonable.
 

F-Train

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I’m sure it will be expensive. Zeiss are a premium brand with limited manufacturing capabilities. Unless it is being made by Sony on their behalf then they will struggle to make the kind of quantities that keep unit prices reasonable.
Zeiss is not a premium brand when it comes to cameras. The most expensive version of the Zeiss Ikon, actually made by Cocina and produced for all of four or five years before being killed off in 2012, sold for much less than a Leica M7. The Contax, actually made by Kyocera until the brand was killed off in 2005, had the nickname "the poor man's Leica". It was popular with photography students because it was a good camera that was much cheaper than a Leica.

Personally, I have never heard "modern" Zeiss cameras mentioned in the same breath as Hasselblad and Leica.

If this Zeiss is made by Sony, there is not a chance that it will be built to Leica standards. That just isn't what Sony does.
[doublepost=1545930598][/doublepost]
Whats the lowest you think the price could possible be?
I have no idea what the price will be. The main attractions are that the lens is potentially very good, the camera boasts a 37.5MP sensor and it offers 4K video. Zeiss is stressing that it designed the sensor itself, which, given other businesses it's in, I believe it has the ability to do, the implicit point being that it isn't from Sony's parts bin.

The one thing that I'm confident of is that if Zeiss wants to command Leica prices for this camera, it is going to be a major break with Zeiss's history, such as it is, as a camera manufacturer, and a hard sell for the reasons mentioned earlier in this thread. I don't see how Zeiss can expect to compete with Leica unless it can demonstrate the same kind of commitment. It isn't clear to me how it is going to do that with its first foray into camera production in a long time, let alone digital camera production, which it has never even attempted.

I'm pretty sure that anyone who is aware of the history of Contax and of the more recent Zeiss Ikon is going to be wary of purchasing this camera unless it is attractively priced, and will have doubts even then. When the Zeiss Ikon was finally released, after many delays, in about 2008, Zeiss and Cocina made lots of noises about long-term commitment. They pulled the plug on the camera, not to mention the owners, four years later. That was the last time that a camera body had Zeiss's name on it.

If this camera comes with a US$4500 price tag, which would make it far and away the most expensive camera Zeiss has put its name to, I'll be watching with interest, but I won't be buying.
 
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OreoCookie

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I have to disagree here: Zeiss is a premium brand. Their 55 mm f/1.4 manual focus lens costs $4k, for example. I don’t remember the price off-hand, but while the Zeiss Ikon was cheaper than a Leica back in the day (pretty much everything is ;)), it was still solidly in the four digits. BHPhoto sells a viewfinder for the Zeiss Ikon (for 15 mm) for almost $400, if that is any indication. So I think it stands to reason that their new camera won’t be cheap either.
 

ChrisA

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Here's what I don't understand, and I'm fully prepared to admit that I may be out of touch, but is a photographer whose main desire is quickly sharing a small, compressed Jpeg online going to see value in shelling out 3K for a sensor and glass? What is that going to get them? Heck, even 3200 ASA film with a fungus-etched prime lens from the 60's looks silky smooth and sharp in a 2 megapixel image.
Yes, there are so many people who think they need "image quality" and then they view the images on a cell phone screen. Photography has always been like that. So many people think that if only they had better equipment they would be a better photographer.

Any camera company might sell equipment to professionals but no camera company can stay in business if they sell ONLY to Profesionals. I'd guess most of these high-end cameras go to rich amateurs who are at least as much into photo equipment as photography.
 

F-Train

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I'd guess most of these high-end cameras go to rich amateurs who are at least as much into photo equipment as photography.
I have two cameras that I'll never part with. One is a Mamiya 7 II and the other is a Leica M3. They are both rangefinders, the first 6x7 and the second 35mm. I like rangefinder cameras, which are generally not inexpensive, but as far as I know they are not the exclusive preserve of rich amateurs.

Indeed, the Leica was made in 1956 and cost me about US$700 several years ago. I also have five Leica prime lenses, the most recent of which was manufactured in 1992.

It is far and away my favourite camera, both ergonomically and from the point of view of how the lenses work, both mechanically and aesthetically. For digital photography, I have a six year old Leica M 240, which cost quite a bit more money, but made it possible to continue using a rangefinder camera and those same lenses in a digital era.

I am so tired of people who know exactly nothing about these cameras getting on their high horse to dismiss their users as "rich amateurs".

Furthermore, what exactly is wrong with being interested in, and indeed enjoying, well-crafted tools? Am I supposed to be embarrassed because I use a beautifully made 63 year old camera that works as well as the day that it was made, and that gives me pleasure every time that I use it? Do you get your kicks from denigrating people if their cameras and lenses won’t be obsolete, if not falling apart, in four or five years?
 
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fathergll

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Zeiss is not a premium brand when it comes to cameras. The most expensive version of the Zeiss Ikon, actually made by Cocina and produced for all of four or five years before being killed off in 2012, sold for much less than a Leica M7. The Contax, actually made by Kyocera until the brand was killed off in 2005, had the nickname "the poor man's Leica". It was popular with photography students because it was a good camera that was much cheaper than a Leica.

Personally, I have never heard "modern" Zeiss cameras mentioned in the same breath as Hasselblad and Leica.

If this Zeiss is made by Sony, there is not a chance that it will be built to Leica standards. That just isn't what Sony does.
[doublepost=1545930598][/doublepost]

I have no idea what the price will be. The main attractions are that the lens is potentially very good, the camera boasts a 37.5MP sensor and it offers 4K video. Zeiss is stressing that it designed the sensor itself, which, given other businesses it's in, I believe it has the ability to do, the implicit point being that it isn't from Sony's parts bin.

The one thing that I'm confident of is that if Zeiss wants to command Leica prices for this camera, it is going to be a major break with Zeiss's history, such as it is, as a camera manufacturer, and a hard sell for the reasons mentioned earlier in this thread. I don't see how Zeiss can expect to compete with Leica unless it can demonstrate the same kind of commitment. It isn't clear to me how it is going to do that with its first foray into camera production in a long time, let alone digital camera production, which it has never even attempted.

I'm pretty sure that anyone who is aware of the history of Contax and of the more recent Zeiss Ikon is going to be wary of purchasing this camera unless it is attractively priced, and will have doubts even then. When the Zeiss Ikon was finally released, after many delays, in about 2008, Zeiss and Cocina made lots of noises about long-term commitment. They pulled the plug on the camera, not to mention the owners, four years later. That was the last time that a camera body had Zeiss's name on it.

If this camera comes with a US$4500 price tag, which would make it far and away the most expensive camera Zeiss has put its name to, I'll be watching with interest, but I won't be buying.


If Zeiss was trying to play the value game here like Pentax does with their DSLRs they would not be releasing a camera with 512GB of internal SSD storage. Fixed XXmm fullframe compacts is a very niche area to begin with and currently is $3300-$4500 at the moment maintained by Sony and Leica. I don't even know how Zeiss could release a camera with that amount of internal SSD storage, Lightroom, touchscreen, 4k video, leaf shutter lens and a in-house developed 37.4 MP sensor at the lower end of the fixed fullframe market given the amount of R&D at play here. If this camera is a complete dud then it's going to fail at multiple price points but I would suspect Zeiss is not playing to lose with these specs.

Flip-side here is that Leica and Sony have not had any competition in this market and they are due for new releases as well which could change things.
 

Scepticalscribe

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I have two cameras that I'll never part with. One is a Mamiya 7 II and the other is a Leica M3. They are both rangefinders, the first 6x7 and the second 35mm. I like rangefinder cameras, which are generally not inexpensive, but as far as I know they are not the exclusive preserve of rich amateurs.

Indeed, the Leica was made in 1956 and cost me about US$700 several years ago. I also have five Leica prime lenses, the most recent of which was manufactured in 1992.

It is far and away my favourite camera, both ergonomically and from the point of view of how the lenses work, both mechanically and aesthetically. For digital photography, I have a six year old Leica M 240, which cost quite a bit more money, but made it possible to continue using a rangefinder camera and those same lenses in a digital era.

I am so tired of people who know exactly nothing about these cameras getting on their high horse to dismiss their users as "rich amateurs".

Furthermore, what exactly is wrong with being interested in, and indeed enjoying, well-crafted tools? Am I supposed to be embarrassed because I use a beautifully made 63 year old camera that works as well as the day that it was made, and that gives me pleasure every time that I use it? Do you get your kicks from denigrating people if their cameras and lenses won’t be obsolete, if not falling apart, in four or five years?
Excellent post and I agree with you.

I, too, love well crafted "old things".

Actually, I have a Leica M6, and two lenses a Summilux 35, and a Summilux 50. I love the small size, the ergonomics and the weight of the thing, and adore the exquisite precision in low light settings that I can capture when using it.
 
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fathergll

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And Leica has jumped the line and shipping a new Q for $5k. Zeiss is sleeping here unless they can undercut Leica in price or if it is a major performer. Zeiss better hope Sony doesn't release an updated RX1 camera that would undercut them in price.

https://www.dpreview.com/news/4603423287/leica-q2-boasts-47-3mp-sensor-4k-video-and-weather-sealing
https://www.dpreview.com/samples/9163831415/leica-q2-sample-image-gallery


  • 47.3MP full-frame sensor
  • 28mm F1.7 Summilux stabilized lens
  • 3.68MP OLED EVF with 0.76x magnification
  • 3" fixed touchscreen LCD with 1.04 million dots
  • Fast autofocus and smoothly damped manual focus ring
  • Native ISO range of 50-50,000
  • 4K video capture
  • Leaf shutter up to 1/2000 sec
  • E-shutter up to 1/40,000 sec
  • IP52 rated dust and water resistant
  • Magnesium-alloy body
  • Wi-Fi and Bluetooth
  • Improved battery life
 

steveash

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If any of them had a 50mm lens I would buy one today. I blame mobile phone cameras for all these wide angle fixies.
 
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