The Zeiss ZX1, a unique camera that was announced more than two years ago before the company essentially stopped talking about it, may actually be in customers’ hands at some point in the near future. As noted by DPReview, B&H Photo has sent out emails saying that it’s coming soon and is now available to preorder for $6,000. It was originally supposed to be released in early 2019.
Why would anyone pay $6,000 for the ZX1? Well, it wouldn’t be wise to order without at least waiting for hands-on impressions of the finished product, but it is fair to say that it’s a one-of-a-kind camera. It has a 37-megapixel full-frame sensor, a fixed 35mm f/2 lens, an electronic viewfinder, and three dials to control aperture, shutter speed, and ISO. More unusually, it has a 4.3-inch touchscreen and runs a variant of Android, including a built-in version of Adobe Lightroom so you can edit right on the device itself. There’s also Wi-Fi, USB-C, and 512GB of onboard storage.
The obvious comparison would be with Sony’s RX1 compact cameras, which also feature full-frame sensors and Zeiss-branded 35mm f/2 lenses; the last one cost $3,300 in 2015. They don’t run Lightroom, of course, but they are a lot smaller. Another comparison in the premium full-frame compact space would be the Leica Q2, which sells for $4,995. Zeiss is no doubt confident in the ZX1’s optics and performance, but you know a camera’s expensive when it makes a Leica look cheap.
The value of the ZX1, then, will all come down to its UX and how effectively its software works. And, well, we don’t have any idea about that just yet. B&H Photo isn’t listing an actual release date, either, which means it’s possible that there’s still some way to go before it goes on sale — if it does at all. We’ll update you if we hear anything more specific.