Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 2004/10/12

[Author Prev] [Author Next] [Thread Prev] [Thread Next] [Author Index] [Topic Index] [Home] [Search]

Subject: [Leica] Epson RD-1
From: tcioni at (Terry Cioni)
Date: Tue Oct 12 17:28:46 2004

I start off thanking Tom Abrahamsson for loaning me the RD-1 for 4 days. It 
was a great opportunity, unfortunatetly it rained all of the 4 days, but 
that made things more of a challenge and thus more interesting. After all it 
is Vancouver.

For my purposes I shot only .jpg files and did not shoot RAW. I shoot 
primarily street scenes around Vancouver and I felt it important the RD-1 be 
able to replace my Lecia rangefinders without any distraction or 
complication. I shot primarily in B&W at 400 ISO in AE mode, adjusting the 
aperture as needed. I used a variety of lenses including the TRI-ELMAR (a 
nice fit for the RD-1) and a 21mm F4 VC lens. 

In practical terms the RD-1 exceeded my expectations. It is well built, has 
an amazingly bright viewfinder, not to mention 1:1 viewing. The RD-1 is 
intuitive without being overburdened with buttons, dials, and LCD panels. 
Indeed once you figure-out the round dial on top of the camera with it's 
pointers, it is in my very humble opinion better than an LCD status panel 
found on the current crop of digital gear. The battery life seemed good 
although I would want a second or third battery in my kit - before I set out 
on a day of shooting. The camera operated flawlessly and I suppose that is 
all one can ask. I did notice there are a number of stuck (on) pixels. Epson 
might want to consider some pixel mapping in-camera firmware to ensure this 
is not a problem for shooters going forward.

I shot the equivalent of 10 rolls of film mostly doing what I like doing 
best, street photography. I did not use the LCD Monitor to check images but 
instead choose to treat the camera no different than a Leica M7, waiting 
until I returned home to the digital darkroom to view the images. My 
assessment is simple, it is a digital rangefinder that allows me to use my 
Leica and Voigtlander lens package - I think it is about time for this 
camera and Epson deserves kudos for doing it. Leica needs to get to moving 
if they hope to catch-up with Epson.

The images appear to be almost grainless (digital noise) from ISO 200 to 
800. I found myself thinking that I would like to add grain - out of the 
camera they are clean, sharp and dynamic range is outstanding. The images 
did require leveling in PhotoShop, but post processing can only be described 
as minimal to achieve excellent results. The ability to use high quality 
Leica lenses on the RD-1 makes it an important addition to any rangefinder 
film photographers kit bag.

In short I want one, that said I do believe the camera suffers from one 
major problem; price. A digital body no lens, no memory card, six megapixel 
sensor in a Bessa 3A camera body at $2900US is very hard to justify in 
todays world of eight megapixel DSLRs with zoom lens at $1500 to $1800US. 

I have posted some images on my website, 
The Epson RD-1 photos are indicated above the photo. Thanks for looking.

Cheers. Terry Cioni

Replies: Reply from attinasi at (Marc Attinasi) ([Leica] Epson RD-1)
Reply from mark at (Mark Rabiner) ([Leica] Epson RD-1)
Reply from mark at (Mark Rabiner) ([Leica] Epson RD-1)
Reply from thlrlgrp at (Mike Cahill) ([Leica] Epson RD-1)