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Canon 1Ds Mark II vs Epson R-D1

The Canon EOS-1Ds Mark II and the Epson R-D1 are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in September 2004 and March 2004. The 1Ds Mark II is a DSLR, while the R-D1 is a rangefinder-style mirrorless camera. The cameras are based on a full frame (1Ds Mark II) and an APS-C (R-D1) sensor. The Canon has a resolution of 16.6 megapixels, whereas the Epson provides 6 MP.

Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.

Headline Specifications
Canon 1Ds Mark II
versus
Epson R-D1
Canon 1Ds Mark II   Epson R-D1
Digital single lens reflex Rangefinder camera
Canon EF mount lenses Leica M mount lenses
16.6 MP, Full Frame Sensor 6 MP, APS-C Sensor
no Video no Video
ISO 100-1,600 (50 - 3,200) ISO 200-1,600
Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
2.0 LCD, 230k dots 2.0 LCD, 235k dots
Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive) Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)
4 shutter flaps per second 1 shutter flaps per second
Weathersealed bodynot weather sealed
156 x 158 x 80 mm, 1215 g 142 x 89 x 40 mm, 620 g

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Canon EOS-1Ds Mark II and the Epson R-D1? Which one should you buy? Read on to find out how these two cameras compare with respect to their body size, their imaging sensors, their shooting features, their input-output connections, and their reception by expert reviewers.

Body comparison

The physical size and weight of the Canon 1Ds Mark II and the Epson R-D1 are illustrated in the side-by-side display below. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three successive views from the front, the top, and the rear are shown. All size dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

Size Canon 1Ds Mark II vs Epson R-D1
Compare 1Ds Mark II versus R-D1 top
Comparison 1Ds Mark II or R-D1 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Epson R-D1 is considerably smaller (49 percent) than the Canon 1Ds Mark II. Moreover, the R-D1 is substantially lighter (49 percent) than the 1Ds Mark II. It is worth mentioning in this context that the 1Ds Mark II is splash and dust resistant, while the R-D1 does not feature any corresponding weather-sealing.

The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete since they do not consider the interchangeable lenses that both of these cameras require. A larger imaging sensor will tend to go along with bigger and heavier lenses, although exceptions exist. You can compare the optics available for the two cameras in the Canon EF Lens Catalog (1Ds Mark II) and the Leica M Lens Catalog (R-D1).

As can be seen in the images above, the 1Ds Mark II has a battery grip built in. This facilitates image-taking in portrait orientation and gives it additional battery power.

The adjacent table lists the principal physical characteristics of the two cameras alongside a wider set of alternatives. If you would like to visualize and compare a different camera combination, you can navigate to the CAM-parator app and make your selection from a broad list of cameras there.

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Body Specifications
    Camera
Model
Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life
Weather
Sealing
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
1.
 
Canon 1Ds Mark II 156 mm 158 mm 80 mm 1215 g 1200 Y Sep 2004 7,999 i
2.
 
Epson R-D1 142 mm 89 mm 40 mm 620 g .. n Mar 2004 2,999 i
3.
 
Canon 1D X Mark III 158 mm 168 mm 83 mm 1440 g 2850 Y Jan 2020 6,499 i
4.
 
Canon 1D X Mark II 158 mm 168 mm 83 mm 1530 g 1210 Y Feb 2016 5,999 i
5.
 
Canon 6D 145 mm 111 mm 71 mm 770 g 1090 Y Sep 2012 2,099 i
6.
 
Canon 1D X 158 mm 168 mm 83 mm 1551 g 1120 Y Oct 2011 6,799 i
7.
 
Canon 1D Mark IV 156 mm 157 mm 80 mm 1230 g 1500 Y Oct 2009 4,999 i
8.
 
Canon 1D Mark III 156 mm 157 mm 80 mm 1155 g 2200 Y Feb 2007 4,499 i
9.
 
Canon 1Ds Mark III 150 mm 160 mm 80 mm 1385 g 1800 Y Aug 2007 7,999 i
10.
 
Canon 1D Mark II N 156 mm 158 mm 80 mm 1565 g 1200 Y Aug 2005 3,999 i
11.
 
Canon 5D 152 mm 113 mm 75 mm 895 g 400 Y Aug 2005 3,299 i
12.
 
Canon 300D 142 mm 99 mm 72 mm 649 g 400 n Aug 2003 899 i
13.
 
Canon 1Ds 156 mm 158 mm 80 mm 1265 g 600 Y Sep 2002 8,999 i
14.
 
Nikon D50 133 mm 102 mm 76 mm 620 g 400 n Apr 2005 749 i
15.
 
Nikon D70s 140 mm 111 mm 78 mm 679 g 500 n Apr 2005 899 i
16.
 
Nikon D70 140 mm 111 mm 78 mm 679 g 400 n Jan 2004 999 i
17.
 
Olympus E-300 147 mm 85 mm 64 mm 624 g 750 n Sep 2004 799 i
Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.

The price is, of course, an important factor in any camera decision. The retail prices at the time of the camera’s release place the model in the market relative to other models in the producer’s line-up and the competition. The R-D1 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 63 percent) than the 1Ds Mark II, which puts it into a different market segment. Normally, street prices remain initially close to the MSRP, but after a couple of months, the first discounts appear. Later in the product cycle and, in particular, when the replacement model is about to appear, further discounting and stock clearance sales often push the camera price considerably down.

Sensor comparison

The size of the imaging sensor is a crucial determinant of image quality. All other things equal, a large sensor will have larger individual pixel-units that offer better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and richer color-depth than smaller pixels in a sensor of the same technological generation. Moreover, a large sensor camera will give the photographer more control over depth-of-field in the image and, thus, the ability to better isolate a subject from the background. On the downside, larger sensors are more costly to manufacture and tend to lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.

Of the two cameras under consideration, the Canon 1Ds Mark II features a full frame sensor and the Epson R-D1 an APS-C sensor. The sensor area in the R-D1 is 57 percent smaller. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 1.0 and 1.5. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.

Canon 1Ds Mark II and Epson R-D1 sensor measures

With 16.6MP, the 1Ds Mark II offers a higher resolution than the R-D1 (6MP), but the 1Ds Mark II has smaller individual pixels (pixel pitch of 7.21μm versus 7.85μm for the R-D1). However, the 1Ds Mark II is a somewhat more recent model (by 6 months) than the R-D1, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time that enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixels.

The resolution advantage of the Canon 1Ds Mark II implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the 1Ds Mark II for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 25 x 16.6 inches or 63.4 x 42.3 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 20 x 13.3 inches or 50.7 x 33.8 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 16.6 x 11.1 inches or 42.3 x 28.2 cm. The corresponding values for the Epson R-D1 are 15 x 10 inches or 38.2 x 25.4 cm for good quality, 12 x 8 inches or 30.6 x 20.3 cm for very good quality, and 10 x 6.7 inches or 25.5 x 16.9 cm for excellent quality prints.

The Canon EOS-1Ds Mark II has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 1600, which can be extended to ISO 50-3200. The corresponding ISO settings for the Epson R-D1 are ISO 200 to ISO 1600 (no boost).

1Ds Mark II versus R-D1 MP

For many cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. This service determines an overall sensor rating, as well as sub-scores for low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and color depth ("DXO Portrait"). The table below summarizes the physical sensor characteristics and sensor quality findings and compares them across a set of similar cameras.

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Sensor Characteristics
    Camera
Model
Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
1.
 
Canon 1Ds Mark II Full Frame 16.6 4992 3328none23.311.31480 74
2.
 
Epson R-D1 APS-C 6.0 3008 2000none...... ..
3.
 
Canon 1D X Mark III Full Frame 20.0 5472 36484K/60p24.214.53248 91
4.
 
Canon 1D X Mark II Full Frame 20.0 5472 36484K/60p24.113.53207 88
5.
 
Canon 6D Full Frame 20.0 5472 36481080/30p23.812.12340 82
6.
 
Canon 1D X Full Frame 17.9 5184 34561080/30p23.811.82786 82
7.
 
Canon 1D Mark IV APS-H 16.0 4896 32641080/30p22.812.01320 74
8.
 
Canon 1D Mark III APS-H 10.1 3888 2592none22.711.71078 71
9.
 
Canon 1Ds Mark III Full Frame 21.0 5616 3744none24.012.01663 80
10.
 
Canon 1D Mark II N APS-H 8.2 3504 2336none22.311.2975 66
11.
 
Canon 5D Full Frame 12.7 4368 2912none22.911.11368 71
12.
 
Canon 300D APS-C 6.3 3072 2048none21.010.8544 55
13.
 
Canon 1Ds Full Frame 11.0 4064 2704none21.811.0954 63
14.
 
Nikon D50 APS-C 6.0 3008 2000none20.910.8560 55
15.
 
Nikon D70s APS-C 6.0 3008 2000none20.410.3529 50
16.
 
Nikon D70 APS-C 6.0 3008 2000none20.410.3529 50
17.
 
Olympus E-300 Four Thirds 8.0 3264 2448none...... ..
Neither the 1Ds Mark II nor the R-D1 offer Live View, so that they cannot project the live image that the sensor receives onto the rear screen. Moreover, both cameras are still-image focused and cannot record videos.

Feature comparison

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. The 1Ds Mark II and the R-D1 are similar in the sense that both have an optical viewfinder. The latter is useful for getting a clear image for framing even in brightly lit environments. The adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Canon 1Ds Mark II and Epson R-D1 along with similar information for a selection of comparators.

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Core Features
    Camera
Model
Viewfinder
(Type or
000 dots)
Control
Panel
(yes/no)
LCD
Size
(inch)
LCD
Resolution
(000 dots)
LCD
Attach-
ment
Touch
Screen
(yes/no)
Mech
Shutter
Speed
Shutter
Flaps
(1/sec)
Built-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Built-in
Image
Stab
1.
 
Canon 1Ds Mark IIoptical Y 2.0 230 fixed n 1/8000s 4.0 n n
2.
 
Epson R-D1optical n 2.0 235 fixed n 1/2000s 1.0 n n
3.
 
Canon 1D X Mark IIIoptical Y 3.2 2100 fixed Y 1/8000s 20.0 n n
4.
 
Canon 1D X Mark IIoptical Y 3.2 1620 fixed Y 1/8000s 16.0 n n
5.
 
Canon 6Doptical Y 3.0 1040 fixed n 1/4000s 4.5 n n
6.
 
Canon 1D Xoptical Y 3.2 1040 fixed n 1/8000s 14.0 n n
7.
 
Canon 1D Mark IVoptical Y 3.0 920 fixed n 1/8000s 10.0 n n
8.
 
Canon 1D Mark IIIoptical Y 3.0 230 fixed n 1/8000s 10.0 n n
9.
 
Canon 1Ds Mark IIIoptical Y 3.0 230 fixed n 1/8000s 5.0 n n
10.
 
Canon 1D Mark II Noptical Y 2.5 230 fixed n 1/8000s 8.5 n n
11.
 
Canon 5Doptical Y 2.5 230 fixed n 1/8000s 3.0 n n
12.
 
Canon 300Doptical n 1.8 118 fixed n 1/4000s 2.5 Y n
13.
 
Canon 1Dsoptical Y 2.0 120 fixed n 1/8000s 3.0 n n
14.
 
Nikon D50optical n 2.0 130 fixed n 1/4000s 2.5 Y n
15.
 
Nikon D70soptical n 2.0 130 fixed n 1/8000s 3.0 Y n
16.
 
Nikon D70optical n 1.8 130 fixed n 1/8000s 3.0 Y n
17.
 
Olympus E-300optical n 1.8 134 fixed n 1/4000s 2.5 Y n

One feature that is present on the 1Ds Mark II, but is missing on the R-D1 is a top-level LCD. While being, of course, smaller than the rear screen, the control panel conveys some of the essential shooting information and can be convenient for quick and easy settings verification.

The 1Ds Mark II writes its imaging data to Compact Flash or SDHC cards, while the R-D1 uses SDHC cards. The 1Ds Mark II features dual card slots, which can be very useful in case a memory card fails. In contrast, the R-D1 only has one slot.

Connectivity comparison

For some imaging applications, the extent to which a camera can communicate with its environment can be an important aspect in the camera decision process. The table below provides an overview of the connectivity of the Canon EOS-1Ds Mark II and Epson R-D1 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.

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Input-Output Connections
    Camera
Model
Hotshoe
Port
Internal
Microphone
Internal
Speaker
Microphone
Port
Headphone
Port
HDMI
Port
USB
Port
WiFi
Support
NFC
Support
Bluetooth
Support
1.
 
Canon 1Ds Mark IIY-----2.0---
2.
 
Epson R-D1Y---------
3.
 
Canon 1D X Mark IIIYmonomonoYYmini3.1Y-Y
4.
 
Canon 1D X Mark IIYmonomonoYYmini3.0---
5.
 
Canon 6DYmonomonoY-mini2.0Y--
6.
 
Canon 1D XYmono-Y-mini2.0---
7.
 
Canon 1D Mark IVYstereo-Y-mini2.0---
8.
 
Canon 1D Mark IIIY-----2.0---
9.
 
Canon 1Ds Mark IIIYmono----2.0---
10.
 
Canon 1D Mark II NY-----1.1---
11.
 
Canon 5DY-----2.0---
12.
 
Canon 300DY-----1.1---
13.
 
Canon 1DsY-----FW---
14.
 
Nikon D50Y-----2.0---
15.
 
Nikon D70sY-----2.0---
16.
 
Nikon D70Y-----1.0---
17.
 
Olympus E-300Y-----2.0---

Both cameras feature a PC Sync terminal to control professional strobe lights, which will be appreciated by studio photographers.

Both the 1Ds Mark II and the R-D1 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The 1Ds Mark II was replaced by the Canon 1Ds Mark III, while the R-D1 does not have a direct successor. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Canon and Epson websites.

Review summary

So how do things add up? Which of the two cameras – the Canon 1Ds Mark II or the Epson R-D1 – has the upper hand? Is one clearly better than the other? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.

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Advantages of the Canon EOS-1Ds Mark II:

  • More detail: Offers more megapixels (16.6 vs 6MP) with a 66% higher linear resolution.
  • Better image quality: Features a larger and more technologically advanced imaging sensor.
  • Richer colors: The sensor size advantage translates into images with better, more accurate colors.
  • More dynamic range: Larger sensor captures a wider spectrum of light and dark details.
  • Better low-light sensitivity: Larger sensor produces good images even in poorly lit environments.
  • Easier setting verification: Features an LCD display on top to control shooting parameters.
  • Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/8000s vs 1/2000s) to freeze action.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (4 vs 1 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • More portrait friendly: Features an integrated vertical grip for easier portrait shooting.
  • Better sealing: Is weather sealed to enable shooting in dusty or wet environments.
  • Greater peace of mind: Features a second card slot as a backup in case of memory card failure.
  • More modern: Is somewhat more recent (announced 6 months after the R-D1).

ilogo

Arguments in favor of the Epson R-D1:

  • More compact: Is smaller (142x89mm vs 156x158mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
  • Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 595g or 49 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
  • More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (63 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in March 2004).

If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the 1Ds Mark II is the clear winner of the match-up (12 : 4 points). However, the relevance of individual strengths will vary across photographers, so that you might want to apply your own weighing scheme to the summary points when reflecting and deciding on a new camera. A professional wildlife photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a family photog, and a person interested in architecture has distinct needs from a sports shooter. Hence, the decision which camera is best and worth buying is often a very personal one.

1Ds Mark II 12:04 R-D1

In any case, while the comparison of technical specifications can provide a useful overview of the capabilities of different cameras, it says little about, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance of the 1Ds Mark II and the R-D1 in practical situations. At times, user reviews, such as those published at amazon, address these issues in a useful manner, but such feedback is on many occasions incomplete, inconsistent, and unreliable.

Expert reviews

This is why expert reviews are important. The adjacent summary-table relays the overall verdicts of several of the most popular camera review sites (amateurphotographer [AP], cameralabs [CL], dpreview [DPR], ephotozine [EPZ], photographyblog [PB]). As can be seen, the professional reviewers agree in many cases on the quality of different cameras, but sometimes their assessments diverge, reinforcing the earlier point that a camera decision is often a very personal choice.

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Expert Camera Reviews
     Camera 
 Model 
 AP 
 score 
 CL 
 score 
 DPR 
 score 
 EPZ 
 score 
 PB 
 score 
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
1.
 
Canon 1Ds Mark II....+ +.... Sep 2004 7,999 i
2.
 
Epson R-D1.......... Mar 2004 2,999 i
3.
 
Canon 1D X Mark III..+ +..4.5/54/5 Jan 2020 6,499 i
4.
 
Canon 1D X Mark II....89/1004.5/54.5/5 Feb 2016 5,999 i
5.
 
Canon 6D5/5+ +83/1004.5/54.5/5 Sep 2012 2,099 i
6.
 
Canon 1D X5/5....4.5/54.5/5 Oct 2011 6,799 i
7.
 
Canon 1D Mark IV5/5..89/100.... Oct 2009 4,999 i
8.
 
Canon 1D Mark III.......... Feb 2007 4,499 i
9.
 
Canon 1Ds Mark III....+ +4.5/5.. Aug 2007 7,999 i
10.
 
Canon 1D Mark II N.......... Aug 2005 3,999 i
11.
 
Canon 5D..88/100+ +o.. Aug 2005 3,299 i
12.
 
Canon 300D....+ +.... Aug 2003 899 i
13.
 
Canon 1Ds....+ +.... Sep 2002 8,999 i
14.
 
Nikon D50..78/100+ +4/54.5/5 Apr 2005 749 i
15.
 
Nikon D70s........5/5 Apr 2005 899 i
16.
 
Nikon D70....+ +.... Jan 2004 999 i
17.
 
Olympus E-300....+o4.5/5 Sep 2004 799 i
Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.

The above review scores should be interpreted with care, though. The assessments were made in relation to similar cameras of the same technological generation. Thus, a score needs to be put into the context of the launch date and the launch price of the camera, and rating-comparisons among cameras that span long time periods or concern very differently equipped models make little sense. It should also be noted that some of the review sites have over time altered the way they render their verdicts.

Canon 1Ds Mark II:
Check Ebay offers
Epson R-D1:
Check Ebay offers

Other camera comparisons

Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? If you would like to see a different side-by-side camera review, just make a corresponding selection in the search boxes below. As an alternative, you can also directly jump to any one of the listed comparisons that were previously generated by the CAM-parator tool.

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    Specifications: Canon 1Ds Mark II vs Epson R-D1

    Below is a side-by-side comparison of the specs of the two cameras to facilitate a quick review of their differences and common features.

    Camera Specifications
    Camera Model Canon 1Ds Mark II Epson R-D1
    Camera Type Digital single lens reflex Rangefinder camera
    Camera Lens Canon EF mount lenses Leica M mount lenses
    Launch Date September 2004 March 2004
    Launch Price USD 7,999 USD 2,999
    Sensor Specs Canon 1Ds Mark II Epson R-D1
    Sensor Technology CMOS CCD
    Sensor Format Full Frame Sensor APS-C Sensor
    Sensor Size 36.0 x 24.0 mm 23.7 x 15.6 mm
    Sensor Area 864 mm2 369.72 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 43.3 mm 28.4 mm
    Crop Factor 1.0x 1.5x
    Sensor Resolution 16.6 Megapixels 6 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 4992 x 3328 pixels 3008 x 2000 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 7.21 μm 7.85 μm
    Pixel Density 1.92 MP/cm2 1.63 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability no Video no Video
    ISO Setting 100 - 1,600 ISO 200 - 1,600 ISO
    ISO Boost 50 - 3,200 ISO no Enhancement
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) 74 ..
    DXO Color Depth (bits) 23.3 ..
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) 11.3 ..
    DXO Low Light (ISO) 1480 ..
    Screen Specs Canon 1Ds Mark II Epson R-D1
    Viewfinder Type Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 100% 100%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.70x
    Top-Level Screen Control Panel no Top Display
    Rear LCD Size 2.0inch 2.0inch
    LCD Resolution 230k dots 235k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen Fixed screen
    Shooting Specs Canon 1Ds Mark II Epson R-D1
    Focus System Phase-detect AF Manual Focus
    Continuous Shooting 4 shutter flaps/s 1 shutter flaps/s
    Fill Flash no On-Board Flash no On-Board Flash
    Storage Medium CF or SDHC cards SDHC cards
    Second Storage Option Dual card slots Single card slot
    UHS card support no no
    Connectivity Specs Canon 1Ds Mark II Epson R-D1
    External Flash Hotshoe Hotshoe
    Studio Flash PC Sync socket PC Sync socket
    USB Connector USB 2.0 no USB
    HDMI Port no HDMI no HDMI
    Wifi Support no Wifi no Wifi
    Body Specs Canon 1Ds Mark II Epson R-D1
    Environmental SealingWeathersealed bodynot weather sealed
    Battery Type NP-E3 EU-85
    Body Dimensions 156 x 158 x 80 mm
    (6.1 x 6.2 x 3.1 in)
    142 x 89 x 40 mm
    (5.6 x 3.5 x 1.6 in)
    Camera Weight 1215 g (42.9 oz) 620 g (21.9 oz)

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