Zeiss ZX1 vs Sony RX1RII vs Leica Q2: Is The Zeiss Just an Expensive Tech Demo?


I have been a fan of fix lens compact cameras going back to the Fujifilm X100, which I have repeately bought throughout my time in digital photography, but many of these cameras came up short for me due to issues like a lack of weather sealing. When the Zeiss ZX1 was announced I was excited that they might provide photographers with a total package camera that has classicly good Ziess image quality, but the more I look at it today the more I come to the conclusion that the Zeiss is a bit of an expensive tech demo.

To give you an idea of my ownership past with this style of camera I owned the Sony RX1, Leica Q2, Fujifilm X100, 3 Fujifilm X100S, and the Ricoh GR. All helped me to have a camera on me at all times, but in the end I had a hard time justifying keeping any of them simply because it rains a lot in FL and I hate leaving expensive stuff in my car.

So now that I am looking into the ZX1 as a possible option it is coming off as a bit large and over priced for what it has to offer, because it has made me consider the Sony RX1RII and Leica Q2 again since both provide a great compact user experience that is capible of stunning image quality. So I went to apotelyt to better condense the conclusions I have been comeing to. You can see the Zeiss ZX1 vs Sony RX1RII comparison here and the Zeiss ZX1 vs Leica Q2 comparison here if the below summaries arent enough and more of my thoughts after the comparisons.


Arguments in favor of the Zeiss ZX1:

  • Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
  • Better video: Provides higher definition movie capture (4K/30p vs 1080/60p).
  • More detailed viewfinder: Has higher resolution electronic viewfinder (6221k vs 2360k dots).
  • Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (4.3″ vs 3.0″) for image review and settings control.
  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (2765k vs 1229k dots).
  • Fewer buttons to press: Is equipped with a touch-sensitive rear screen to facilitate handling.
  • Less disturbing: Has an electronic shutter option for completely silent shooting.
  • Longer lasting: Can take more shots (250 versus 220) on a single battery charge.
  • Faster data transfer: Supports a more advanced USB protocol (3.1 vs 2.0).
  • Easier wireless transfer: Supports Bluetooth for image sharing without cables.
  • More prestigious: Has the Zeiss luxury appeal, which ensures a high resale price.

Advantages of the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX1R II:

  • More detail: Has more megapixels (42.2 vs 37.4MP), which boosts linear resolution by 6%.
  • Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor’s full resolution potential.
  • Better sound: Can connect to an external microphone for higher quality sound recording.
  • More flexible LCD: Has a tilting screen for odd-angle shots in landscape orientation.
  • Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/4000s vs 1/1000s) to freeze action.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (5 vs 3 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • Better light gathering: Has a lens with a wider maximum aperture (f/2.0 vs f/2.8).
  • More compact: Is smaller (113x65mm vs 142x93mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
  • Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 293g or 37 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
  • Easier travel charging: Can be conveniently charged via its USB port.
  • More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (45 percent cheaper at launch).


Advantages of the Zeiss ZX1:

  • Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
  • More detailed viewfinder: Has higher resolution electronic viewfinder (6221k vs 3680k dots).
  • Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (4.3″ vs 3.0″) for image review and settings control.
  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (2765k vs 1040k dots).
  • Easier device pairing: Supports NFC for fast wireless image transfer over short distances.

Reasons to prefer the Leica Q2:

  • More detail: Has more megapixels (46.7 vs 37.4MP), which boosts linear resolution by 12%.
  • Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor’s full resolution potential.
  • Larger viewfinder image: Features a viewfinder with a higher magnification (0.76x vs 0.74x).
  • Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/2000s vs 1/1000s) to freeze action.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (20 vs 3 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • Easier time-lapse photography: Has an intervalometer built-in for low frequency shooting.
  • Better light gathering: Has a lens with a wider maximum aperture (f/1.7 vs f/2.8).
  • Wider view: Has a wider-angle lens that facilitates landscape or interior shots.
  • More compact: Is smaller (130x80mm vs 142x93mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
  • Longer lasting: Gets more shots (370 versus 250) out of a single battery charge.
  • Better sealing: Is splash and dust sealed for shooting in inclement weather conditions.
  • Sharper images: Has stabilization technology built-in to reduce the impact of hand-shake.
  • More affordable: Was released into a lower priced segment (17 percent cheaper at launch).

Apotelyt really just compares the specs, but the differences are pretty shocking when you take into consideration the price differences between these three cameras. The Zeiss ZX1 comes in at $1,005 more expensive than the Leica Q2 that from what I have seen will beat it handily in image quality. Worse yet the ZX1 comes in at $2,702 more than the excellent Sony RX1RII that will give you that classic 35mm Zeiss look that many love and I haven’t seen much of in ZX1 samples.

If we look past image quality the Sony RX1RII and Leica Q2 win almost all the quality of life check marks too except for them having older EVF and rear displays. So if either line us updated in the near future they should meet or beat the Zeiss ZX1 while maintining their chosen price points. So in my opinion the Zeiss ZX1 is a camera to skip until the price comes way down unless its worth $2702 for you to edit on your camera. For that much more you could get a loaded Macbook Air M1 or iPad Pro to edit on that would be far more powerful and have all day battery life or just use could always just use a cellphone.

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Zeiss ZX1: B&H Photo / Adorama
Leica Q2: B&H Photo / Adorama
Sony RX1RII: B&H Photo / Adorama

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