DPR: Zeiss ZX1 Interview, Android, Apps, Design Philosophy, and More


The Zeiss ZX1 is their first new camera in over a decade and they decided if they were going to enter the camera market again it should be something new. Below are excerpts from an interview with Elliot Shih, Senior Product Manager of Zeiss at CP+2019 with DPReview:

  • Zeiss has been working on the ZX1 for 4 years now
  • They didn’t want to copy what others were doing if they were going to make a new kind of camera that was more suitable for a post smartphones photography world
  • Development wasn’t linear and took a long time to become focused, but now things are moving quickly
  • Android is the base but they coded it themselves to be camera-centric
  • The camera is designed around vertical logic
  • There is a slight bend to the rear cover glass to make a natural separation between live view and the toolbar area
  • You can vertically swipe on the toolbar area to select different tools and swipe on the left to switch between modes like image review so it should be familiar to smartphone users
  • Targeted at digital photographers that need a fast workflow with superb image quality that their sensor and lens can deliver
  • The 37.4MP DNG is 70MB
  • Zeiss focused on image processing
  • Their AF and image processing pipeline has been a learning curve
  • The Zeiss ZX1 is being designed completely in-house with some external partners helping with functions like the industrial design and user experience
  • Zeiss has taken a lot of code out of Android to make it perform better since most of it won’t work with a large sensor so it will be more responsive
  • There was a lot of effort put into the design of Wi-Fi because the camera will have a lot of data to transfer
  • The plastic on top of the camera is where the Wi-Fi antenna is located
  • The Zeiss ZX1 will boot up about as quickly as a smartphone so you will want to keep it on and use its sleep state, but Zeiss has focused on battery performance too because photographers care a lot about good battery performance
  • When the camera is sleeping the sensor and screen do not use any power and there is very little drain
  • The switch to sleep and wake the camera also switches the camera between stills and movie mode
  • If you sleep the camera all day the battery will drain about 10%
  • The battery is 3,190mAh and should last about 250 shots, which is not a CIPA rating
  • Should be priced around Leica Q and Sony RX1RII
  • The only physical controls are shutter speed, aperture, and ISO
  • All other controls are digital
  • The Zeiss ZX1 has a leaf shutter that goes up to 1/1,000 and electronic shutter takes over beyond that via digital controls
  • The Zeiss ZX1 is a camera that does everything shooting, reviewing, editing and uploading
  • Even if it doesn’t always make sync to sync 300 RAW files via hotspot to your smartphone for editing Zeiss wants to give you the capability
  • An all in one camera is great for photojournalists that might just have to rely on what they have with them
  • USB-C is the fastest way to get photos off the Zeiss ZX1’s internal SSD which can go up to 5GB/s
  • Since the Zeiss is android based it can work as a mini computer and operate as a master and a slave when connected via USB so transfers can be done from the camera
  • USB-C is the only output so you will need an adapter to use it with a TV or external mic
  • Zeiss is only allowing select apps to be installed at this time for security purposes like those developed with their partner Adobe

If you want to read the full interview you can do so here.

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Zeiss ZX1 (Coming Soon): B&H Photo / Amazon / Adorama

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