Shoot, Edit, and Share with the Full-Frame ZEISS ZX1

ZEISS has introduced the ZX1, the first camera that allows you to take a photograph, edit it in Adobe Photoshop Lightroom, and share the results… all in-camera! Intended for a number of shooting genres, most notably travel, street, and landscape, the ZX1 is a compact camera sporting a high-resolution 37.4MP full-frame CMOS sensor and a fixed Distagon T* 35mm f/2 lens.

ZEISS ZX1 Digital Camera

The ZX1 has an elegantly minimalist wedge-shaped, stealth-black body, which measures a very palmable manageable 5.6 x 3.7 x 3.7" and weighs 12.7 oz, including battery. It features a 0.7" OLED EVF, with Full HD resolution and a large 0.74x magnification, as well as a huge 4.3" touchscreen LCD with a 1280 x 720 resolution for image review and in-camera editing. JPEGs and raw (DNG) files can be edited by touch using the built-in Lightroom app, which offers intuitive sliders to adjust exposure, contrast, highlights, shadows, whites, and blacks, as well as other familiar editing tools.

To facilitate sufficient storage space to handle in-camera picture editing in Lightroom, the ZX1 also has the unique distinction of including an internal 512GB SSD; additional external storage space can be accessed via USB-C with NAS access using SMB protocols. This omission of a memory card slot in favor of built-in storage is a unique solution to avoiding lost or damaged cards and also ensures memory speeds will always be at their peak in relation to the imaging system. Additionally, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity are available for wireless sharing and remote camera control, as well as OTA firmware updates when needed.

Among other unique traits of this already-unique camera, the ZX1 features a leaf shutter, with shutter speeds ranging from 30 seconds up to 1/2000 second, with flash sync available at all speeds up to 1/1000 second. The leaf shutter design has the advantages of being especially quiet and keeping internal vibrations to a minimum to promote stealthier shooting. Also, manually adjustable ISO settings are accessible via the top physical dial, with a range of ISO 80-51200. In addition, the camera's autofocus system is a hybrid contrast-/phase-detection AF system with touch focus and manual focus override. Beyond photo, it's worth mentioning that the ZX1 is a capable tool for video, too, with support for UHD 4K recording up to 30 fps or FHD up to 60 fps.

ZEISS ZX1 Digital Camera

All-in-all, the ZEISS ZX1 is one of the more unique cameras available, taking the concept of having an advanced point-and-shoot camera, but then adding a high-resolution full-frame sensor, impressive ZEISS prime lens, and then further tweaking it to have a large LCD screen, built-in memory, and even a copy of Adobe Lightroom for on-board editing. It's essentially an all-in-one camera, replacing the need to have a separate body and lens—as well as even replacing the need to have separate memory cards or a computer to process your files. For minimalist travel, it's certainly an enticing option. According to ZEISS, the ZX1 will be available for purchase during the upcoming holiday season.

ZEISS ZX1 Sample Images

What are your thoughts on this distinct camera? How do you feel about editing your photos with Lightroom directly from the camera? Do you like the idea of an "all-in-one" camera? Let us know your thoughts in the Comments section, below.

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73 Comments

Instead of giving us this "fixed Distagon" nonsense, Zeiss would do better in finally giving us a digital replacement for the now discontinued Zeiss Ikon ZM body to use their fine manual ZM Biogon, Sonnar and Tele-Tessar lenses on. Leitz Wetzlar needs some (affordable) competition!

More photography gear pricing nonsense. $6000...I mean,come on. 

for 6000? best joke in election time

the more he talks the more the 6k price tag is Pi$$ing me off. not really sure who asked for this. even less sure why they didn't work with actual photographers who take good images.

Looks great Im sure Marcuspix would buy them.

Looking at those sample photos, I put my $6000 back to my packet like I really had $6000, and pick up my Huawei phone and I may do better photos. LMAO.

$6K is better used for a real photo editing system and play 4K games as a bonus. I bet you'll have plenty of cash left over too.

It looks like a quality camera but the price is an insult.

Just curious..... How many would really use the editing function. I don't know if I would have a use for it and really can't imagine trying to edit on anything other than a large monitor. 😏

Oh my God.
I still shoot in Film... and of course occasionally with DSLRs, but having all in one - a FX camera, plenty of MP for high details, abilities to edit right in camera and abilities to share straight from camera sounds perfect (except for the price i don't see in this pre-order and for the moment in which economy is running too). If i'm not wrong Samsung started a similar project too long time ago except for not a FX sensor, but it discontinued before we could buy one.

Anyway, looks wonderful and depending on many things... why not, i would like to have it one day soon.

New iPhone 12 can take pictures and retouch them for you in a snap for two grands! Leica surely provides great lens but who needs LR time when you photograph hundreds pix a day! It's the end if an era. 

Few weeks later, this will decorate the first page of B&H, tagged Deal Zone, by $4,500 discount. Boys, Girls! Let’s wait for that! 

I first saw this marketed in spring 2019 with an unspecified launch date. Now it’s here! Ho hum. It seems foolhardy to pay $6000 for a device with built-in obsolescence. I would opt for a Leica if I had that kind of money to spend. And even save $1000 with a Q2. Plus I already have the Contax G2 with four Zeiss primes, and a Nikon LS-5000, when I want Zeiss quality. (Like LPs, film is experiencing a comeback.) for digital, I’m perfectly happy with my Fujifilm APS-C setup. 

Is like a Leica Wannabe 

So many sour comments from the people that cannot afford this beauty... Cannot afford - just carry on.

I could afford it. The reason I could is that I don't waste money on overpriced gadgets like this. Not decrying the quality, just the value!

Right ON, Ken J.

What a completely mediocre and overpriced camera. It's basically just a $1500 camera body with a $4500 lens attached to it to be honest.
Battery life is sure to be mediocre with it having to run a custom and proprietary build of Android that no doubt will be poorly optimized and promptly abandoned after just a couple software updates. Buying a Nikon Z 6II and pairing it with their f/1.8 S primes is a far more intelligent way to spend $6,000. Oh, and better yet, you can still transfer the photos to your Android smartphone and work on them in Lightroom, imagine that! No one will buy this camera, nor should they.

A $6,000 Smartphone without the phone bit?

I've been saying for years that camera companies need to make a camera like this in order to even have a fighting chance competing with smartphones for the average point-and-shoot consumer. Now that it is here, it is really confused as to who it's for. It is priced for the wrong market. The pros won't touch it and the average consumer will laugh at the price. With all that said, this IS the future of cameras. Hardware, software and internet integration.

You’re not wrong.. for the same reasons being a former pro and now a hobbyist I’ll wait on a Sony RX model to step up closer to this for 1/3 if not less the price.. sure the full frame sensor and internal storage are super nice, but it’s an amateur/hobbyist style build for on the go.. I see a hotshot but... and there isn’t a mention of video of any kind so it’s a strange little “awesome” camera with a weird marketplace honestly. But I agree that this is a great step in the direction the cameras should be going I love seeing some of these new features implemented, just an early case study unfortunately, hopefully Zeiss realizes that too and more or less doesn’t come out of the gates producing tens of thousands thinking they’re going to sell 

It's hard to express just how little interest I have in purchasing this.

Not very pretty is it? Beauty should go hand in hand with function and price.

Huh? You've got backward values, form follows function. It's perfect. But it should have a phone.

lol? This is overpriced by about $5000.

Hahah maybe not $5000 but definitely $4000

$2,000 is still over priced.

What I find curious is, that for such an elegant and $mart camera, they didn't hire some photographers with acceptable artistic vision to shoot the promo photos displayed here. A flower? Really? Empty railroad tracks, a squirrel, really? You are going to use a $6K camera to shoot a turtle in a pond? The samples are embarrassing sub amateur snaps not worth keeping or sharing, to say nothing of advertising a fine tool.

Spec sheet does not mention weather proofing and apparently no stabilization, making it much less than it could be as a street shooter, urban landscape, or travel camera. High tech low tech!

Who do you think will buy this camera?  People who take pictures just like the promo pics... These consumers who can drop the $6K will think that the cache of the Zeiss name will turn themselves into real photographers, elevating their mundane compositions into true art.  I personally do not see any serious photographer actually ponying up the cash for this one, far too many limitations in what amounts to be an over glorified point and shoot.

Sorry Zeiss, I just don't (and will not) buy it.

Not the point, you still use great images to sell it.

Regardless, if Zeiss chose to use stunning user compositions to promote their ZX1, I STILL would not be interested in purchasing it.  Then again, I'm not the target consumer.

I like some of the ideas on board as an industry direction for cams.. I don’t think this will sell much at all and I would never pay 6k for it but definitely sparking some new enginuity into the camera body functions I feel Sony will adopt some of this into their mix on their RX lines and maybe a bit into the alphas 

"Elegant and $mart"??? It has all the aesthetics of an early prototype and in practical terms, the FujiFilm 50-R or even the F100X or V would be much smarter choices. Contrary to the marketing, a full frame sensor and Zeiss optics will not actually improve the snapshots of your feet to be shared online even with LR processing! If the ZX1 were weather proof Zeiss would make sure you know it and I'll bet $6,000 that you wouldn't pull this thing out in a drizzle. I can't wait for the collector's edition, gold-plated with ivory dials and a velvet-lined wooden Zeiss box.

I thought the turtle snap (no pun intended) was kinda cool.  I also liked the walking bridge especially the perspective of the shot.

I agree. If you're going to compete against Leica at a higher price point, at least display sample photos that don't look like they were taken by a Soccer-Dad at the local park on his iPhone 8. Even rich consumers would still like to believe that they can aspire to something more professionally artistic. You wouldn't sell a top of the line sports car by only showing a commercial of the car pulling in and out of a mall parking space, which is what Zeiss has sort of done here.  A true missed launch opportunity.  

   "ZEISS has introduced the ZX1, the first camera that allows you to take a photograph, edit it in Adobe Photoshop Lightroom, and share the results… all in-camera!" - Nope, actually the Samsung Galaxy NX was first.

As a piece of art, a decoration, jewelry, or a nice toy for someone who doesn't need to be concerned about cost, this is probably a good solution.

As a hobbyist photographic tool, there are better solutions available at much lower cost and greater capability.

As a professional photographic tool, it probably works well as a high end paperweight. 

The price reminds of the introduction of Sigma's SD Merrill: about $8 Grand as I recall! The price came down, down, down over time to the point where photogs were actually buying and using it. As far as the ZX1 goes, I simply cannot imagine anyone doing serious post-processing on such a small screen. Lightroom software built into a camera sounds almost like a joke. It also denigrates the importance of post work. Can the screen be calibrated? How quickly and smoothly can L/R be accessed and worked with? I'm smiling as I write this and imagine myself loading and working with L/R's 3 panels on this thing. 

You might need to adjust your imagination. First of all you are not FORCED to use the in camera software, but you can. And if you intelligently use a smartphone camera now, you certainly almost always tweak the shots you wish to share with the simple tools it has. So under my imagination, this is a great little feature, especially for working for pay, when you might very well need to send off some samples in their best presentation. Would you suggest, given the ability to make adjustments in camera, they NOT include that in a camera this expensive?

Ouch...this is going to hurt...them...go to the Zeiss main page...click on Photography...and their big new launch is posted...yup, scroll down, down some more...2/3 of the way down the page...not "top of the fold" so to speak...and when you do go to the new camera's main page...there is just no "wow" factor, no stunning leading image that says wow what amazing technology... My hunch? And what do I know? They are going to take a beating on this, yes $6k with a fixed lens and no zoom is a mess in my book...and I would wager its technology/sensor will become outdated in no time...they will lose out in what has become a brutal year for new cameras... As a professional photographer there is no way I'm budgeting for something like this... Again, what do I know, and there you have it, my advice, free, worth what you paid for it. Presumably too development and then production was long in the works before COVID19 hit and they were so invested financially they had to proceed and launch??????

I think the hurdle is associated with how many they need to sell. It's a fantastic camera for many reasons, and perhaps the best street shooter available if what I've seen of how good the ergo is on this. No mention of weather sealing but I bet it's practically waterproof. The 35mm is the premier focal length if you could only have one. It's stealthy. All you have to do is look at the $$ cars on the highway to understand that plenty of people who pay $1200 for an iPhone will love this camera.

$6k .... that about does says it all. Great conceptual attempt though, give credit for that. 

Arrgh, I hit the wrong key. Here is the conclusion of my comment... Now THAT would be a good camera to have (referring to a 3 lens camera in my previous post). As this camera is now, I cannot imagine spending $6000 on it. I guess there will be bucks up people who can put that kind of money into a very limiting camera, but not me.

Whew. I like the camera, but SIX GRAND. C'mon, that is insane. I go along with what another comment stated that the camera should be removable lens and come as a 3 lens kit with 3 fast, small, prime lenses such as the 35, a 50, and an 85. It should come with a little bag that could be attached to a belt that holds the lenses securely but with easy access. Now THAT

Nah, in the end when you actually use it, less is more. You spend zero mental time thinking about changing lenses, you just get really good at what you have. The 35mm on FF is King of focal lengths for general shooting, it encompasses the natural field of view of the human eye. It's brilliant. Cost is a side issue, many things are costly.

I totally agree. Android software tends to be supported for only 2-3 years, and even if it were supported for a year or two more, paying $6000 for a software that's going to be outdated in a few years is ridiculous. It's obviously going to still take amazing photos and the software will still work, but the value just isn't there for the price.

I about gasped at the $6K price tag. This will definitely be a niche "collector's" camera. If the glass is amazing (as Zeiss glass often is), it could develop a cult following. I currently own the brilliant Leica Q-P and I've also used the very capable Sony RX1R.  Lightroom bells and whistles aside, the success of this camera really hinges on the glass - and other resolving/IQ capabilities that have nothing to do with the built-in editing. I want to know how good the focus system is, what kind of dynamic range this puppy has - and whether it can perform admirably in low-light with minimal noise and RAW artifacts. If it can excel in these areas when combined with a legendary Zeiss lens that delivers on clarity and micro-contrast, then a fixed 35mm could be a great option for street aficionados and travel photographers. But the street price puts it out of range for most people - and quite honestly, the sample photos seem a bit underwhelming and pedestrian to me.

All of the features that this camera offers are enticing, however, one question: does it have a flip out screen?  If the answer is no, well that's a deal breaker. Geez Louise, $6,000.00

DOA - And OH I want to edit my pics on a 4 inch screen using Ligthroom.  WHAT ?   

They don't take away your home PC and Photoshop, it's an OPTION. In fact I never share a smartphone image without a bit of editing on the built-in software, that's proof enough it makes sense. Full Lightroom is overkill but so what?

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