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Canon 30D vs Epson R-D1

The Canon EOS 30D and the Epson R-D1 are two enthusiast cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in February 2006 and March 2004. The 30D is a DSLR, while the R-D1 is a rangefinder-style mirrorless camera. Both cameras are equipped with an APS-C sensor. The Canon has a resolution of 8.2 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 30D versus Epson R-D1
Canon 30D Epson R-D1
Digital single lens reflex Rangefinder camera
Canon EF mount lenses Leica M mount lenses
8.2 MP, APS-C Sensor 6 MP, APS-C Sensor
no Video no Video
ISO 100-1,600 (100 - 3,200) ISO 200-1,600
Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
2.5 LCD, 230k dots 2.0 LCD, 235k dots
Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive) Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)
5 shutter flaps per second 1 shutter flaps per second
144 x 106 x 74 mm, 785 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 30D 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

An illustration of the physical size and weight of the Canon 30D and the Epson R-D1 is provided in the side-by-side display below. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three consecutive perspectives from the front, the top, and the back are available. All size dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

Size Canon 30D vs Epson R-D1
Compare 30D versus R-D1 top
Comparison 30D 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 notably smaller (17 percent) than the Canon 30D. Moreover, the R-D1 is markedly lighter (21 percent) than the 30D. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the 30D nor the R-D1 are weather-sealed.

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. Both cameras have similarly sized sensors, but DSLRs have a larger flange-to-focal plane distance than mirrorless cameras, which imposes contraints on the optical engineering process and generally leads to bigger and heavier lenses. You can compare the optics available for the two cameras in the Canon EF Lens Catalog (30D) and the Leica M Lens Catalog (R-D1).

The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the two cameras alongside a broader set of comparators. 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 30D 144 mm 106 mm 74 mm 785 g 750 n Feb 2006 1,399i
2.
 
Epson R-D1 142 mm 89 mm 40 mm 620 g .. n Mar 2004 2,999i
3.
 
Canon 70D 139 mm 104 mm 79 mm 755 g 920 Y Jul 2013 1,199i
4.
 
Canon 60D 145 mm 106 mm 79 mm 755 g 1100 Y Aug 2010 1,399i
5.
 
Canon 7D 148 mm 111 mm 74 mm 860 g 800 Y Sep 2009 1,699i
6.
 
Canon 50D 146 mm 108 mm 74 mm 822 g 800 Y Aug 2008 1,299i
7.
 
Canon 40D 146 mm 108 mm 74 mm 822 g 750 n Aug 2007 1,299i
8.
 
Canon XTi 127 mm 84 mm 65 mm 556 g 370 n Aug 2006 799i
9.
 
Canon XT 127 mm 94 mm 64 mm 540 g 400 n Feb 2005 899i
10.
 
Canon 20D 144 mm 106 mm 72 mm 770 g 700 n Aug 2004 1,499i
11.
 
Canon 10D 150 mm 107 mm 75 mm 850 g 500 n Feb 2003 1,999i
12.
 
Canon Rebel 142 mm 99 mm 72 mm 649 g 400 n Aug 2003 899i
13.
 
Leica X Vario 133 mm 73 mm 95 mm 680 g 450 n Jun 2013 2,850i
14.
 
Nikon D50 133 mm 102 mm 76 mm 620 g 400 n Apr 2005 749i
15.
 
Nikon D70s 140 mm 111 mm 78 mm 679 g 500 n Apr 2005 899i
16.
 
Nikon D70 140 mm 111 mm 78 mm 679 g 400 n Jan 2004 999i
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 30D was launched at a markedly lower price (by 53 percent) than the R-D1, which puts it into a different market segment. Usually, retail prices stay at first close to the launch price, but after several months, discounts become available. 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. Then, after the new model is out, very good deals can frequently be found on the pre-owned market.

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Sensor comparison

The size of the sensor inside a digital camera is one of the key determinants of image quality. A large sensor will generally have larger individual pixels that offer better low-light sensitivity, provide wider dynamic range, and have richer color-depth than smaller pixels in a sensor of the same technological generation. Furthermore, a large sensor camera will give the photographer more possibilities to use shallow depth-of-field in order to isolate a subject from the background. On the downside, larger sensors tend to be more expensive and lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.

Both cameras under consideration feature an APS-C sensor, but their sensors differ slightly in size. The sensor area in the R-D1 is 9 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have format factors, respectively, of 1.6 (30D) and 1.5. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.

Canon 30D and Epson R-D1 sensor measures

Despite having a smaller sensor, the Canon 30D offers a higher resolution of 8.2 megapixels, compared with 6 MP of the Epson R-D1. This megapixels advantage comes at the cost of a higher pixel density and a smaller size of the individual pixel (with a pixel pitch of 6.42μm versus 7.85μm for the R-D1). However, it should be noted that the 30D is a somewhat more recent model (by 1 year and 11 months) than the R-D1, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time that partly offset its pixel-size disadvantage.

The resolution advantage of the Canon 30D implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the 30D for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 17.5 x 11.7 inches or 44.5 x 29.7 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 14 x 9.3 inches or 35.6 x 23.7 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 11.7 x 7.8 inches or 29.7 x 19.8 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 30D has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 1600, which can be extended to ISO 100-3200. The corresponding ISO settings for the Epson R-D1 are ISO 200 to ISO 1600 (no boost).

30D versus R-D1 MP

Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for many cameras. This service is based on lab testing and assigns an overall score to each camera sensor, as well as ratings for dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), color depth ("DXO Portrait"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"). 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 30D APS-C 8.2 3504 2336none21.510.873659
2.
 
Epson R-D1 APS-C 6.0 3008 2000none........
3.
 
Canon 70D APS-C 20.0 5472 36481080/30p22.511.692668
4.
 
Canon 60D APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p22.211.581366
5.
 
Canon 7D APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p22.011.785466
6.
 
Canon 50D APS-C 15.1 4752 3168none21.811.469663
7.
 
Canon 40D APS-C 10.1 3888 2592none22.111.370364
8.
 
Canon XTi APS-C 10.1 3888 2592none22.111.066462
9.
 
Canon XT APS-C 8.0 3456 2304none21.810.863760
10.
 
Canon 20D APS-C 8.2 3504 2336none21.911.072162
11.
 
Canon 10D APS-C 6.3 3072 2048none21.110.957157
12.
 
Canon Rebel APS-C 6.3 3072 2048none21.010.854455
13.
 
Leica X Vario APS-C 16.1 4928 32721080/30p23.412.7132078
14.
 
Nikon D50 APS-C 6.0 3008 2000none20.910.856055
15.
 
Nikon D70s APS-C 6.0 3008 2000none20.410.352950
16.
 
Nikon D70 APS-C 6.0 3008 2000none20.410.352950
Neither the 30D 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.
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Feature comparison

Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The 30D 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 table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Canon 30D and Epson R-D1 in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras.

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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 30Doptical Y 2.5 230 fixed n 1/8000s 5.0 Y n
2.
 
Epson R-D1optical n 2.0 235 fixed n 1/2000s 1.0 n n
3.
 
Canon 70Doptical Y 3.0 1040 swivel Y 1/8000s 7.0 Y n
4.
 
Canon 60Doptical Y 3.0 1040 swivel n 1/8000s 5.3 Y n
5.
 
Canon 7Doptical Y 3.0 920 fixed n 1/8000s 8.0 Y n
6.
 
Canon 50Doptical Y 3.0 920 fixed n 1/8000s 6.3 Y n
7.
 
Canon 40Doptical Y 3.0 230 fixed n 1/8000s 6.5 Y n
8.
 
Canon XTioptical n 2.5 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
9.
 
Canon XToptical n 1.8 115 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
10.
 
Canon 20Doptical Y 1.8 118 fixed n 1/8000s 5.0 Y n
11.
 
Canon 10Doptical Y 1.8 118 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
12.
 
Canon Rebeloptical n 1.8 118 fixed n 1/4000s 2.5 Y n
13.
 
Leica X Variooptional n 3.0 920 fixed n 1/2000s 5.0 Y 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

One difference between the cameras concerns the presence of an on-board flash. The 30D has one, while the R-D1 does not. While the built-in flash of the 30D is not very powerful, it can at times be useful as a fill-in light.

The 30D writes its imaging data to Compact Flash cards, while the R-D1 uses SDHC cards.

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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 30D 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 30DY-----2.0---
2.
 
Epson R-D1Y---------
3.
 
Canon 70DYstereomonoY-mini2.0Y--
4.
 
Canon 60DYmonomonoY-mini2.0---
5.
 
Canon 7DYmono-Y-mini2.0---
6.
 
Canon 50DY----mini2.0---
7.
 
Canon 40DY-----2.0---
8.
 
Canon XTiY-----2.0---
9.
 
Canon XTY-----2.0---
10.
 
Canon 20DY-----1.1---
11.
 
Canon 10DY-----1.1---
12.
 
Canon RebelY-----1.1---
13.
 
Leica X VarioYstereomono--mini2.0---
14.
 
Nikon D50Y-----2.0---
15.
 
Nikon D70sY-----2.0---
16.
 
Nikon D70Y-----1.0---

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

Both the 30D and the R-D1 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The 30D was replaced by the Canon 40D, 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.

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Review summary

So what is the bottom line? Is there a clear favorite between the Canon 30D and the Epson R-D1? Which camera is better? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.

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Advantages of the Canon EOS 30D:

  • More detail: Offers more megapixels (8.2 vs 6MP) with a 17% higher linear resolution.
  • Easier setting verification: Features an LCD display on top to control shooting parameters.
  • Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (2.5" vs 2.0") for image review and settings control.
  • Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/8000s vs 1/2000s) to freeze action.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (5 vs 1 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • Easier fill-in: Is equipped with a small onboard flash to brighten deep shadow areas.
  • More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (53 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More modern: Is somewhat more recent (announced 1 year and 11 months after the R-D1).

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Reasons to prefer the Epson R-D1:

  • More compact: Is smaller (142x89mm vs 144x106mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
  • Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 165g or 21 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in March 2004).

If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the 30D is the clear winner of the match-up (8 : 3 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 sports photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a street photog, and a person interested in family portraits has distinct needs from a landscape shooter. Hence, the decision which camera is best and worth buying is often a very personal one.

30D 08:03 R-D1

In any case, while the specs-based evaluation of cameras can be instructive in revealing their potential as photographic tools, it remains partial and cannot reveal, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance when actually working with the 30D or the R-D1. 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 hands-on reviews by experts are important. The table below provides a synthesis of the camera assessments of some of the best known photo-gear 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 30D..+ ++ +o.. Feb 2006 1,399i
2.
 
Epson R-D1.......... Mar 2004 2,999i
3.
 
Canon 70D5/5+ +83/1004.5/55/5 Jul 2013 1,199i
4.
 
Canon 60D5/5+79/1004/54.5/5 Aug 2010 1,399i
5.
 
Canon 7D5/5+ +84/1004.5/54.5/5 Sep 2009 1,699i
6.
 
Canon 50D..+ ++ +4.5/54.5/5 Aug 2008 1,299i
7.
 
Canon 40D..+ ++ +4.5/54.5/5 Aug 2007 1,299i
8.
 
Canon XTi..+ ++ +o4/5 Aug 2006 799i
9.
 
Canon XT..80/100+ +o.. Feb 2005 899i
10.
 
Canon 20D....+ +.... Aug 2004 1,499i
11.
 
Canon 10D....+ +.... Feb 2003 1,999i
12.
 
Canon Rebel....+ +.... Aug 2003 899i
13.
 
Leica X Vario3/5....4/54/5 Jun 2013 2,850i
14.
 
Nikon D50..78/100+ +4/54.5/5 Apr 2005 749i
15.
 
Nikon D70s........5/5 Apr 2005 899i
16.
 
Nikon D70....+ +.... Jan 2004 999i
Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.

The review scores listed above should be treated 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 comparisons of ratings among very different cameras or across long time periods have little meaning. It should also be noted that some of the review sites have over time altered the way they render their verdicts.

Canon 30D:
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 30D 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 30D Epson R-D1
    Camera Type Digital single lens reflex Rangefinder camera
    Camera Lens Canon EF mount lenses Leica M mount lenses
    Launch Date February 2006 March 2004
    Launch Price USD 1,399 USD 2,999
    Sensor Specs Canon 30D Epson R-D1
    Sensor Technology CMOS CCD
    Sensor Format APS-C Sensor APS-C Sensor
    Sensor Size 22.5 x 15.0 mm 23.7 x 15.6 mm
    Sensor Area 337.5 mm2 369.72 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 27 mm 28.4 mm
    Crop Factor 1.6x 1.5x
    Sensor Resolution 8.2 Megapixels 6 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 3504 x 2336 pixels 3008 x 2000 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 6.42 μm 7.85 μm
    Pixel Density 2.43 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 100 - 3,200 ISO no Enhancement
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) 59 ..
    DXO Color Depth (bits) 21.5 ..
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) 10.8 ..
    DXO Low Light (ISO) 736 ..
    Screen Specs Canon 30D Epson R-D1
    Viewfinder Type Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 95% 100%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.56x
    Top-Level Screen Control Panel no Top Display
    Rear LCD Size 2.5inch 2.0inch
    LCD Resolution 230k dots 235k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen Fixed screen
    Shooting Specs Canon 30D Epson R-D1
    Focus System Phase-detect AF Manual Focus
    Continuous Shooting 5 shutter flaps/s 1 shutter flaps/s
    Fill Flash Build-in Flash no On-Board Flash
    Storage Medium CF cards SDHC cards
    Second Storage Option Single card slot Single card slot
    Connectivity Specs Canon 30D 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 30D Epson R-D1
    Battery Type BP-511A EU-85
    Body Dimensions 144 x 106 x 74 mm
    (5.7 x 4.2 x 2.9 in)
    142 x 89 x 40 mm
    (5.6 x 3.5 x 1.6 in)
    Camera Weight 785 g (27.7 oz) 620 g (21.9 oz)

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