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Canon 50D vs Epson R-D1

The Canon EOS 50D and the Epson R-D1 are two enthusiast cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in August 2008 and March 2004. The 50D 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 15.1 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 50D versus Epson R-D1
Canon 50D Epson R-D1
Digital single lens reflex Rangefinder camera
Canon EF mount lenses Leica M mount lenses
15.1 MP, APS-C Sensor 6 MP, APS-C Sensor
no Video no Video
ISO 100-3,200 (100 - 12,800) ISO 200-1,600
Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
3.0 LCD, 920k dots 2.0 LCD, 235k dots
Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive) Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)
6.3 shutter flaps per second 1 shutter flaps per second
Weathersealed bodynot weather sealed
146 x 108 x 74 mm, 822 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 50D 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 side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size and weight of the Canon 50D and the Epson R-D1. 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 50D vs Epson R-D1
Compare 50D versus R-D1 top
Comparison 50D 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 (20 percent) than the Canon 50D. Moreover, the R-D1 is markedly lighter (25 percent) than the 50D. It is worth mentioning in this context that the 50D 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. 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 (50D) and the Leica M Lens Catalog (R-D1).

The adjacent table lists the principal physical characteristics of the two cameras alongside a wider set of alternatives. If you want to switch the focus of the display and review another camera pair, you can move across to the CAM-parator tool and choose from the broad selection of possible camera comparisons 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 50D 146 mm 108 mm 74 mm 822 g 800 Y Aug 2008 1,299i
2.
 
Epson R-D1 142 mm 89 mm 40 mm 620 g .. n Mar 2004 2,999i
3.
 
Canon 80D 139 mm 105 mm 79 mm 730 g 960 Y Feb 2016 1,199i
4.
 
Canon 7D II 149 mm 112 mm 78 mm 910 g 670 Y Sep 2014 1,799 i
5.
 
Canon 70D 139 mm 104 mm 79 mm 755 g 920 Y Jul 2013 1,199i
6.
 
Canon 60D 145 mm 106 mm 79 mm 755 g 1100 Y Aug 2010 1,399i
7.
 
Canon 1D Mark IV 156 mm 157 mm 80 mm 1230 g 1500 Y Oct 2009 4,999i
8.
 
Canon 7D 148 mm 111 mm 74 mm 860 g 800 Y Sep 2009 1,699i
9.
 
Canon 500D 129 mm 98 mm 62 mm 520 g 400 n Mar 2009 799i
10.
 
Canon 40D 146 mm 108 mm 74 mm 822 g 750 n Aug 2007 1,299i
11.
 
Canon 30D 144 mm 106 mm 74 mm 785 g 750 n Feb 2006 1,399i
12.
 
Canon 5D 152 mm 113 mm 75 mm 895 g 400 Y Aug 2005 3,299i
13.
 
Canon 300D 142 mm 99 mm 72 mm 649 g 400 n Aug 2003 899i
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
17.
 
Olympus E-300 147 mm 85 mm 64 mm 624 g 750 n Sep 2004 799i
Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.

Any camera decision will obviously take relative prices into account. 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 50D was launched at a markedly lower price (by 57 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.

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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 tend to have larger individual pixels that provide better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and richer color-depth than smaller pixel-units 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.

Both cameras under consideration feature an APS-C sensor, but their sensors differ slightly in size. The sensor area in the R-D1 is 11 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have format factors, respectively, of 1.6 (50D) and 1.5. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.

Canon 50D and Epson R-D1 sensor measures

Despite having a smaller sensor, the Canon 50D offers a higher resolution of 15.1 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 4.69μm versus 7.85μm for the R-D1). However, it should be noted that the 50D is much more recent (by 4 years and 5 months) than the R-D1, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that make it possible to gather light more efficiently.

The resolution advantage of the Canon 50D implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the 50D for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 23.8 x 15.8 inches or 60.4 x 40.2 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 19 x 12.7 inches or 48.3 x 32.2 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 15.8 x 10.6 inches or 40.2 x 26.8 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 50D has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 3200, which can be extended to ISO 100-12800. The corresponding ISO settings for the Epson R-D1 are ISO 200 to ISO 1600 (no boost).

50D versus R-D1 MP

For many cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. This service assesses and scores the color depth ("DXO Portrait"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports") of camera sensors, and also publishes an overall camera score. The following table provides an overview of the physical sensor characteristics, as well as the sensor quality measurements for a selection of comparators.

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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 50D APS-C 15.1 4752 3168none21.811.469663
2.
 
Epson R-D1 APS-C 6.0 3008 2000none........
3.
 
Canon 80D APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p23.613.2113579
4.
 
Canon 7D II APS-C 20.0 5472 36481080/60p22.411.8108270
5.
 
Canon 70D APS-C 20.0 5472 36481080/30p22.511.692668
6.
 
Canon 60D APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p22.211.581366
7.
 
Canon 1D Mark IV APS-H 16.0 4896 32641080/30p22.812.0132074
8.
 
Canon 7D APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p22.011.785466
9.
 
Canon 500D APS-C 15.1 4752 31681080/20p21.711.566363
10.
 
Canon 40D APS-C 10.1 3888 2592none22.111.370364
11.
 
Canon 30D APS-C 8.2 3504 2336none21.510.873659
12.
 
Canon 5D Full Frame 12.7 4368 2912none22.911.1136871
13.
 
Canon 300D APS-C 6.3 3072 2048none21.010.854455
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
17.
 
Olympus E-300 Four Thirds 8.0 3264 2448none........
The 50D offers Live View, so that it can project the live image that the sensor receives onto the rear screen for framing. The R-D1 lacks this capability. Both cameras are still-image focused and cannot record videos.
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Feature comparison

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The 50D 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 50D 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 50Doptical Y 3.0 920 fixed n 1/8000s 6.3 Y n
2.
 
Epson R-D1optical n 2.0 235 fixed n 1/2000s 1.0 n n
3.
 
Canon 80Doptical Y 3.0 1040 swivel Y 1/8000s 7.0 Y n
4.
 
Canon 7D IIoptical Y 3.0 1040 fixed n 1/8000s 10.0 Y n
5.
 
Canon 70Doptical Y 3.0 1040 swivel Y 1/8000s 7.0 Y n
6.
 
Canon 60Doptical Y 3.0 1040 swivel n 1/8000s 5.3 Y n
7.
 
Canon 1D Mark IVoptical Y 3.0 920 fixed n 1/8000s 10.0 n n
8.
 
Canon 7Doptical Y 3.0 920 fixed n 1/8000s 8.0 Y n
9.
 
Canon 500Doptical n 3.0 920 fixed n 1/4000s 3.4 Y n
10.
 
Canon 40Doptical Y 3.0 230 fixed n 1/8000s 6.5 Y n
11.
 
Canon 30Doptical Y 2.5 230 fixed n 1/8000s 5.0 Y n
12.
 
Canon 5Doptical Y 2.5 230 fixed n 1/8000s 3.0 n n
13.
 
Canon 300Doptical n 1.8 118 fixed n 1/4000s 2.5 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
17.
 
Olympus E-300optical n 1.8 134 fixed n 1/4000s 2.5 Y n

One difference between the cameras concerns the presence of an on-board flash. The 50D has one, while the R-D1 does not. While the built-in flash of the 50D is not very powerful, it can at times be useful as a fill-in light.

The 50D 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 50D 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 50DY----mini2.0---
2.
 
Epson R-D1Y---------
3.
 
Canon 80DYstereomonoYYmini2.0YY-
4.
 
Canon 7D IIYstereomonoYYmini3.0---
5.
 
Canon 70DYstereomonoY-mini2.0Y--
6.
 
Canon 60DYmonomonoY-mini2.0---
7.
 
Canon 1D Mark IVYstereo-Y-mini2.0---
8.
 
Canon 7DYmono-Y-mini2.0---
9.
 
Canon 500DYmonomono--mini2.0---
10.
 
Canon 40DY-----2.0---
11.
 
Canon 30DY-----2.0---
12.
 
Canon 5DY-----2.0---
13.
 
Canon 300DY-----1.1---
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 50D and the R-D1 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The 50D was replaced by the Canon 60D, 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 conclusions can be drawn? Is the Canon 50D better than the Epson R-D1 or vice versa? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.

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Advantages of the Canon EOS 50D:

  • More detail: Offers more megapixels (15.1 vs 6MP) with a 58% higher linear resolution.
  • Easier setting verification: Features an LCD display on top to control shooting parameters.
  • Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.0" vs 2.0") for image review and settings control.
  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (920k vs 235k dots).
  • Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/8000s vs 1/2000s) to freeze action.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (6.3 vs 1 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • Better sealing: Is weather sealed to enable shooting in dusty or wet environments.
  • Easier fill-in: Is equipped with a small onboard flash to brighten deep shadow areas.
  • More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (57 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More modern: Reflects 4 years and 5 months of technical progress since the R-D1 launch.

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Reasons to prefer the Epson R-D1:

  • More compact: Is smaller (142x89mm vs 146x108mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
  • Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 202g or 25 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been around for much longer (launched in March 2004).

If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the 50D is the clear winner of the match-up (10 : 3 points). However, the relative importance of the various individual camera aspects will vary according to personal preferences and needs, so that you might like to apply corresponding weights to the particular features before making a decision on a new camera. A professional wedding photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a travel photog, and a person interested in cityscapes has distinct needs from a macro shooter. Hence, the decision which camera is best and worth buying is often a very personal one.

50D 10:03 R-D1

In any case, while the comparison of technical specifications can provide a useful overview of the capabilities of different cameras, it remains incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the 50D or the R-D1 perform in practice. User reviews, such as those found at amazon, can sometimes inform about these issues, but such feedback is often incomplete, inconsistent, and biased.

Expert reviews

This is why hands-on reviews by experts are important. The following table reports the overall ratings of the cameras as published by some of the major 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 50D..+ ++ +4.5/54.5/5 Aug 2008 1,299i
2.
 
Epson R-D1.......... Mar 2004 2,999i
3.
 
Canon 80D4/5+ +84/1004.5/54.5/5 Feb 2016 1,199i
4.
 
Canon 7D II4.5/5+84/1004/54.5/5 Sep 2014 1,799 i
5.
 
Canon 70D5/5+ +83/1004.5/55/5 Jul 2013 1,199i
6.
 
Canon 60D5/5+79/1004/54.5/5 Aug 2010 1,399i
7.
 
Canon 1D Mark IV5/5..89/100.... Oct 2009 4,999i
8.
 
Canon 7D5/5+ +84/1004.5/54.5/5 Sep 2009 1,699i
9.
 
Canon 500D..+ +74/1004.5/54.5/5 Mar 2009 799i
10.
 
Canon 40D..+ ++ +4.5/54.5/5 Aug 2007 1,299i
11.
 
Canon 30D..+ ++ +o.. Feb 2006 1,399i
12.
 
Canon 5D..88/100+ +o.. Aug 2005 3,299i
13.
 
Canon 300D....+ +.... Aug 2003 899i
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
17.
 
Olympus E-300....+o4.5/5 Sep 2004 799i
Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.

The above review scores should be interpreted with care, though. The ratings are only valid when referring to cameras in the same category and of the same age. A score, therefore, has to be seen in close connection to the price and market introduction time 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 50D:
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 use the search menu below. There is also a set of direct links to comparison reviews that other users of the CAM-parator app explored.

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    Specifications: Canon 50D 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 50D Epson R-D1
    Camera Type Digital single lens reflex Rangefinder camera
    Camera Lens Canon EF mount lenses Leica M mount lenses
    Launch Date August 2008 March 2004
    Launch Price USD 1,299 USD 2,999
    Sensor Specs Canon 50D Epson R-D1
    Sensor Technology CMOS CCD
    Sensor Format APS-C Sensor APS-C Sensor
    Sensor Size 22.3 x 14.9 mm 23.7 x 15.6 mm
    Sensor Area 332.27 mm2 369.72 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 26.8 mm 28.4 mm
    Crop Factor 1.6x 1.5x
    Sensor Resolution 15.1 Megapixels 6 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 4752 x 3168 pixels 3008 x 2000 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 4.69 μm 7.85 μm
    Pixel Density 4.53 MP/cm2 1.63 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability no Video no Video
    ISO Setting 100 - 3,200 ISO 200 - 1,600 ISO
    ISO Boost 100 - 12,800 ISO no Enhancement
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) 63 ..
    DXO Color Depth (bits) 21.8 ..
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) 11.4 ..
    DXO Low Light (ISO) 696 ..
    Screen Specs Canon 50D Epson R-D1
    Viewfinder Type Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 95% 100%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.59x
    Top-Level Screen Control Panel no Top Display
    LCD Framing Live View
    Rear LCD Size 3.0inch 2.0inch
    LCD Resolution 920k dots 235k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen Fixed screen
    Shooting Specs Canon 50D Epson R-D1
    Focus System Phase-detect AF Manual Focus
    Continuous Shooting 6.3 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 50D Epson R-D1
    External Flash Hotshoe Hotshoe
    Studio Flash PC Sync socket PC Sync socket
    USB Connector USB 2.0 no USB
    HDMI Port mini HDMI no HDMI
    Wifi Support no Wifi no Wifi
    Body Specs Canon 50D Epson R-D1
    Environmental SealingWeathersealed bodynot weather sealed
    Battery Type BP-511A EU-85
    Body Dimensions 146 x 108 x 74 mm
    (5.7 x 4.3 x 2.9 in)
    142 x 89 x 40 mm
    (5.6 x 3.5 x 1.6 in)
    Camera Weight 822 g (29.0 oz) 620 g (21.9 oz)

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