Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 2004/10/13

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Subject: [Leica] Epson RD-1
From: thlrlgrp at (Mike Cahill)
Date: Wed Oct 13 09:00:13 2004

On 10/12/04 8:28 PM, "Terry Cioni" <> wrote:

> 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
> _______________________________________________
> Leica Users Group.
> See for more information

A very accurate assessment, Tony.  I shoot primarily landscapes and
"Americana" work and I've found the color images to be exceptional.  I was
thinking of posting a link to download the full size JPG files so others can
get an idea of the quality of the images.  I've had a Nikon D100, which
apparently shares the same sensor.  Whether it's the glass (almost
certainly) or tweaks to the electronics, the R-D1 is certainly superior.
I'm taking it to VT this weekend to shoot some leaves.  I'll post some
images when I return.

BTW, great street stuff and a nice site in general.


In reply to: Message from tcioni at (Terry Cioni) ([Leica] Epson RD-1)