Nov 26, 2004

Luminous Landscape field tests the R-D1

Luminous Landscape has carried out a field test of the world's first digital rangefinder camera, the Epson R-D1. The camera was jointly developed by Epson and Cosina, has a 6 megapixel APS size sensor and accepts Leica M and L mount lenses. While the R-D1 has all the usual features of a digital camera, it exhibits some unique differences, such as cocking the shutter by using something akin to a film advance lever. The R-D1 should be available now and is expected to cost around $2,999

Epson’s decision to produce this unique camera was a bold one and they deserve much praise for bringing it to production. In most important respects, the R-D1 functions as the digital rangefinder that many of us have been waiting years for. Its primary flaws are that it needs a much larger RAW buffer and a histogram review mode. It also may have problems with vignetting using very short lenses but I’ll need to wait until I’m able to test it with various super wide-angle lenses to draw any conclusions. Finally, many people have complained about rangefinder focus problems with the R-D1 using certain lenses and the cause of these problems is undetermined. I did not have focus problems with the example of the R-D1 I tested using the lenses I’ve tested so far. The camera’s list of strengths is too long to reiterate here but it is a very impressive camera overall and a particularly remarkable performer especially considering that this is Epson’s first venture into the world of “serious” digital cameras. I highly recommend the Epson R-D1.