In the era of the iPhone, I've long wanted a pro-grade camera that lets me capture high-quality pixels, edit them to taste, and share them with the world—all without pulling out a phone. Many companies have tried putting Android guts in camera bodies—the Samsung Galaxy NX being perhaps the closest implementation of what I'd want—but those efforts have generally not taken off. Today's SLRs and mirrorless cameras instead use tacked-on connectivity features like SnapBridge to wirelessly move images into the connected world by way of smartphone apps.
Now, storied optics house Zeiss is taking an intriguing crack at the connected-camera idea with its ZX1 enthusiast point-and-shoot. The ZX1 uses a non-interchangeable 35-mm f/2 lens and a 37.4-MP full-frame sensor to acquire images. Manual controls for shutter speed and ISO dot the ZX1's top panel, and an aperture ring on its lens provides another direct control over the shooting experience. Past those basics, its similarities to traditional cameras end there.
The ZX1 has a version of Adobe's Lightroom CC baked in, so photographers can edit raw images right on the camera's curved 4.3" touch screen. Once the user seasons their images to taste, the ZX1 can share them with the world using Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, or USB Type-C connections to external devices. Zeiss says users will be able to update the ZX1's firmware over the air. In another break with today's cameras, the ZX1 doesn't even bother with a card slot. Instead, the camera has 512 GB of non-removable storage.
DPReview says the ZX1's integrated EVF has a generous 1920x1080 resolution and 0.74x magnification. Continuous stills shooting is limited to 3 FPS, although videographers will find options for 4K capture at up to 30 FPS and 1920x1080 shooting at up to 60 FPS. Zeiss didn't provide pricing info for the ZX1, though it will doubtless be a plaything for the well-heeled when it arrives early next year.