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Image credit: Carl Zeiss AG

Zeiss' first digital camera is the ZX1 full-frame compact

It has built-in Adobe Photoshop Lightroom CC capability.
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Carl Zeiss AG

Zeiss has unveiled its first-ever digital camera, the interesting and exotic ZX1 compact. It has a full-frame 37.4-megapixel sensor and a fixed 35mm f/2.0 T* lens, putting it into exclusive company with Sony's RX1 and the Leica Q. The boxy body is distinctive, to say the least, with a triangular grip and bright yellow lettering on the lens and dials. Most notably, Zeiss teamed up with Adobe to build Lightroom CC into the camera, letting you shoot, tweak and share images.

It can shoot at 3 fps, a bit slow, but not bad considering the resolution and sensor size. Autofocus details are scant, but it works in both continuous and single mode. Zeiss said it designed both the lens and high-resolution sensor to work in harmony with each other to create images "with that typical Zeiss look." The ZX1 can also shoot video at 4K 30fps, and full HD at up to 60 fps.

ZEISS ZX1

The ZX1 has a large 4.3-inch 1,280 x 720 multi-touch display with an unusual curve to help you not just shoot but edit photos afterwards. It's also equipped with a full HD (1,920 x 1,080) OLED electronic viewfinder. There's no card slot at all, weirdly, but it has 512GB of internal storage that Zeiss said can hold up to 6,800 RAW files in the DNG format. On the connectivity side, it packs WiFi, Bluetooth and USB-C. Over-the-air updates will keep the software up to date.

In a brief video, Zeiss showed how the Adobe integration will work. A smartphone-like interface on the side lets you bring up the typical Lightroom adjustments, like cropping, exposure, contrast, highlights and shadows. You can then upload those images to Dropbox or whatever cloud sharing service you want, and email the link to a friend or client.

The ZX1 comes out of left field from Zeiss, but it does seem like the kind of camera the company would create. Zeiss said it will arrive in early 2019, but there's no word on pricing. As a benchmark, Sony's RX1, with a full-frame 24-megapixel sensor, cost $2,800 when it came out in 2013. The Leica Q, meanwhile, runs $4,250.

Follow all the latest news from Photokina 2018 here!

Steve should have known that civil engineering was not for him when he spent most of his time at university monkeying with his 8086 clone PC. Although he graduated, a lifelong obsession of wanting the Solitaire win animation to go faster had begun. Always seeking a gadget fix, he dabbles in photography, video, 3D animation and is a licensed private pilot. He followed l'amour de sa vie from Vancouver, BC, to France and now lives in Paris.

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