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Canon 550D vs Epson R-D1

The Canon EOS 550D (called Canon T2i in some regions) and the Epson R-D1 are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in February 2010 and March 2004. The 550D is a DSLR, while the R-D1 is a rangefinder-focusing mirrorless camera. Both cameras are equipped with an APS-C sensor. The Canon has a resolution of 17.9 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 550D
versus
Epson R-D1
Canon 550D   Epson R-D1
Digital single lens reflex Rangefinder camera
Canon EF mount lenses Leica M mount lenses
17.9 MP – APS-C sensor 6 MP – APS-C sensor
1080/30p Video no Video
ISO 100-6,400 (100 - 12,800) ISO 200-1,600
Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
3.0" LCD – 1040k dots 2.0" LCD – 235k dots
Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive) Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)
3.7 shutter flaps per second 1 shutter flaps per second
129 x 98 x 62 mm, 530 g 142 x 89 x 40 mm, 620 g
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Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Canon EOS 550D 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 550D 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 successive views from the front, the top, and the rear are shown. All size dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

Size Canon 550D vs Epson R-D1
Compare 550D versus R-D1 top
Comparison 550D 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 Canon 550D and the Epson R-D1 are of equal size. However, the R-D1 is markedly heavier (17 percent) than the 550D. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the 550D 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 (550D) 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 550D 129 mm 98 mm 62 mm 530 g 440 n Feb 2010 699ebay.com
2.
 
Epson R-D1 142 mm 89 mm 40 mm 620 g .. n Mar 2004 2,999ebay.com
3.
 
Canon 4000D 129 mm 102 mm 77 mm 436 g 500 n Feb 2018 399 amazon.com
4.
 
Canon 750D 132 mm 101 mm 78 mm 555 g 440 n Feb 2015 749ebay.com
5.
 
Canon 760D 132 mm 101 mm 78 mm 565 g 440 n Feb 2015 649ebay.com
6.
 
Canon 1200D 130 mm 100 mm 78 mm 480 g 500 n Feb 2014 449ebay.com
7.
 
Canon 700D 133 mm 100 mm 79 mm 580 g 440 n Mar 2013 649ebay.com
8.
 
Canon 650D 133 mm 100 mm 79 mm 575 g 440 n Jun 2012 849ebay.com
9.
 
Canon 600D 133 mm 100 mm 80 mm 570 g 440 n Feb 2011 599ebay.com
10.
 
Canon 1100D 130 mm 100 mm 78 mm 495 g 700 n Feb 2011 449ebay.com
11.
 
Canon 500D 129 mm 98 mm 62 mm 520 g 400 n Mar 2009 799ebay.com
12.
 
Canon Rebel 142 mm 99 mm 72 mm 649 g 400 n Aug 2003 899ebay.com
13.
 
Leica X Vario 133 mm 73 mm 95 mm 680 g 450 n Jun 2013 2,850ebay.com
14.
 
Nikon D5100 128 mm 97 mm 79 mm 560 g 660 n Apr 2011 749ebay.com
15.
 
Nikon D50 133 mm 102 mm 76 mm 620 g 400 n Apr 2005 749ebay.com
16.
 
Nikon D70s 140 mm 111 mm 78 mm 679 g 500 n Apr 2005 899ebay.com
17.
 
Nikon D70 140 mm 111 mm 78 mm 679 g 400 n Jan 2004 999ebay.com
Note: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.

Any camera decision will naturally be influenced heavily by the price. The listed launch prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The 550D was launched at a markedly lower price (by 77 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.

Sensor comparison

The size of the imaging sensor is a crucial determinant 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. 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 (550D) and 1.5. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.

Canon 550D and Epson R-D1 sensor measures

Despite having a smaller sensor, the Canon 550D offers a higher resolution of 17.9 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 4.31μm versus 7.85μm for the R-D1). However, it should be noted that the 550D is much more recent (by 5 years and 11 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 550D implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the 550D for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 25.9 x 17.3 inches or 65.8 x 43.9 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 20.7 x 13.8 inches or 52.7 x 35.1 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 17.3 x 11.5 inches or 43.9 x 29.3 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 550D has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 6400, 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).

In terms of underlying technology, the 550D is build around a CMOS sensor, while the R-D1 uses a CCD imager. Both cameras use a Bayer filter for capturing RGB colors on a square grid of photosensors. This arrangement is found in most digital cameras.

550D versus R-D1 MP

Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for many cameras. 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 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 550D APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p22.111.578466
2.
 
Epson R-D1 APS-C 6.0 3008 2000none21.110.456455
3.
 
Canon 4000D APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p21.911.469563
4.
 
Canon 750D APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/30p22.712.091971
5.
 
Canon 760D APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/30p22.612.091570
6.
 
Canon 1200D APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p21.911.372463
7.
 
Canon 700D APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p21.711.268161
8.
 
Canon 650D APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p21.711.272262
9.
 
Canon 600D APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p22.111.579365
10.
 
Canon 1100D APS-C 12.2 4272 2848720/30p21.911.075562
11.
 
Canon 500D APS-C 15.1 4752 31681080/20p21.711.566363
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 D5100 APS-C 16.1 4928 32641080/30p23.513.6118380
15.
 
Nikon D50 APS-C 6.0 3008 2000none20.910.856055
16.
 
Nikon D70s APS-C 6.0 3008 2000none20.410.352950
17.
 
Nikon D70 APS-C 6.0 3008 2000none20.410.352950
Note: DXO values in italics represent estimates based on sensor size and age.

Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. The 550D indeed provides movie recording capabilities, while the R-D1 does not. The highest resolution format that the 550D can use is 1080/30p.

Feature comparison

Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The 550D 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 550D 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
Specifications
(inch/000 dots)
LCD
Attach-
ment
Touch
Screen
(yes/no)
Max
Shutter
Speed *
Max
Shutter
Flaps *
Built-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Built-in
Image
Stab
1.
 
Canon 550Doptical n3.0 / 1040 fixed n 1/4000s 3.7/s Y n
2.
 
Epson R-D1optical n2.0 / 235 fixed n 1/2000s 1.0/s n n
3.
 
Canon 4000Doptical n2.7 / 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0/s Y n
4.
 
Canon 750Doptical n3.0 / 1040 swivel Y 1/4000s 5.0/s Y n
5.
 
Canon 760Doptical Y3.0 / 1040 swivel Y 1/4000s 5.0/s Y n
6.
 
Canon 1200Doptical n3.0 / 460 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0/s Y n
7.
 
Canon 700Doptical n3.0 / 1040 swivel Y 1/4000s 5.0/s Y n
8.
 
Canon 650Doptical n3.0 / 1040 swivel Y 1/4000s 5.0/s Y n
9.
 
Canon 600Doptical n3.0 / 1040 swivel n 1/4000s 3.7/s Y n
10.
 
Canon 1100Doptical n2.7 / 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0/s Y n
11.
 
Canon 500Doptical n3.0 / 920 fixed n 1/4000s 3.4/s Y n
12.
 
Canon Rebeloptical n1.8 / 118 fixed n 1/4000s 2.5/s Y n
13.
 
Leica X Variooptional n3.0 / 920 fixed n 1/2000s 5.0/s Y n
14.
 
Nikon D5100optical n3.0 / 921 swivel n 1/4000s 4.0/s Y n
15.
 
Nikon D50optical n2.0 / 130 fixed n 1/4000s 2.5/s Y n
16.
 
Nikon D70soptical n2.0 / 130 fixed n 1/8000s 3.0/s Y n
17.
 
Nikon D70optical n1.8 / 130 fixed n 1/8000s 3.0/s Y n
Notes: *) Information refers to the mechanical shutter, unless the camera only has an electronic one.

One difference between the cameras concerns the presence of an on-board flash. The 550D has one, while the R-D1 does not. While the built-in flash of the 550D is not very powerful, it can at times be useful as a fill-in light.

The 550D writes its imaging data to SDXC cards, while the R-D1 uses SDHC cards.

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 550D 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
Mic / Speaker
Microphone
Port
Headphone
Port
HDMI
Port
USB
Port
WiFi
Support
NFC
Support
Bluetooth
Support
1.
 
Canon 550DYstereo / -Y-mini2.0---
2.
 
Epson R-D1Y- / --------
3.
 
Canon 4000DYmono / mono--mini2.0YY-
4.
 
Canon 750DYstereo / monoY-mini2.0YY-
5.
 
Canon 760DYstereo / monoY-mini2.0YY-
6.
 
Canon 1200DYmono / mono--mini2.0---
7.
 
Canon 700DYstereo / monoY-mini2.0---
8.
 
Canon 650DYstereo / monoY-mini2.0---
9.
 
Canon 600DYmono / monoY-mini2.0---
10.
 
Canon 1100DYstereo / mono--mini2.0---
11.
 
Canon 500DYmono / mono--mini2.0---
12.
 
Canon RebelY- / ----1.1---
13.
 
Leica X VarioYstereo / mono--mini2.0---
14.
 
Nikon D5100Ymono / monoY-mini2.0---
15.
 
Nikon D50Y- / ----2.0---
16.
 
Nikon D70sY- / ----2.0---
17.
 
Nikon D70Y- / ----1.0---

Studio photographers will appreciate that the Epson R-D1 (unlike the 550D) features a PC Sync socket, so that professional strobe lights can be controlled by the camera.

Both the 550D and the R-D1 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on ebay. The 550D was replaced by the Canon 600D, 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 what conclusions can be drawn? Is there a clear favorite between the Canon 550D and the Epson R-D1? Which camera is better? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.

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Advantages of the Canon EOS 550D:

  • More detail: Offers more megapixels (17.9 vs 6MP) with a 72% higher linear resolution.
  • Broader imaging potential: Can record not only still images but also 1080/30p movies.
  • 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 (1040k vs 235k dots).
  • Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/4000s vs 1/2000s) to freeze action.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (3.7 vs 1 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • Less heavy: Is lighter (by 90g or 15 percent) and hence easier to carry around.
  • Easier fill-in: Is equipped with a small onboard flash to brighten deep shadow areas.
  • More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (77 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More modern: Reflects 5 years and 11 months of technical progress since the R-D1 launch.

ilogo

Arguments in favor of the Epson R-D1:

  • Better studio light control: Has a PC Sync socket to connect to professional strobe lights.
  • 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 550D is the clear winner of the match-up (10 : 2 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.

550D 10:02 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 550D or the R-D1 perform in practice. 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 where reviews by experts come in. The adjacent summary-table relays the overall verdicts of several of the most popular camera review sites (amateurphotographer [AP], cameralabs [CL], digitalcameraworld [DCW], 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 
 DCW 
 score 
 DPR 
 score 
 EPZ 
 score 
 PB 
 score 
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
1.
 
Canon 550D..+ +..77/1004/54.5/5 Feb 2010 699ebay.com
2.
 
Epson R-D1............ Mar 2004 2,999ebay.com
3.
 
Canon 4000D..o3/5..3.5/53.5/5 Feb 2018 399 amazon.com
4.
 
Canon 750D5/5....75/1004.5/54.5/5 Feb 2015 749ebay.com
5.
 
Canon 760D5/5+..77/1004.5/54.5/5 Feb 2015 649ebay.com
6.
 
Canon 1200D3/5+....4/54.5/5 Feb 2014 449ebay.com
7.
 
Canon 700D......76/1004.5/54.5/5 Mar 2013 649ebay.com
8.
 
Canon 650D4/5+ +..77/1004.5/54.5/5 Jun 2012 849ebay.com
9.
 
Canon 600D3/5o..77/1004.5/54.5/5 Feb 2011 599ebay.com
10.
 
Canon 1100D..80/100..69/1004/54.5/5 Feb 2011 449ebay.com
11.
 
Canon 500D..+ +..74/1004.5/54.5/5 Mar 2009 799ebay.com
12.
 
Canon Rebel......+ +.... Aug 2003 899ebay.com
13.
 
Leica X Vario3/5......4/54/5 Jun 2013 2,850ebay.com
14.
 
Nikon D51005/5+ +..76/1004.5/54.5/5 Apr 2011 749ebay.com
15.
 
Nikon D50..78/100..+ +4/54.5/5 Apr 2005 749ebay.com
16.
 
Nikon D70s..........5/5 Apr 2005 899ebay.com
17.
 
Nikon D70......+ +.... Jan 2004 999ebay.com
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 rating-comparisons among cameras that span long time periods or concern very differently equipped models make little sense. Also, please note that some of the review sites have changed their methodology and reporting over time.

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Other camera comparisons

Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? In case you are interested in seeing how other cameras pair up, just make your choice using the following search menu. 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 550D 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 550D Epson R-D1
    Camera Type Digital single lens reflex Rangefinder camera
    Camera Lens Canon EF mount lenses Leica M mount lenses
    Launch Date February 2010 March 2004
    Launch Price USD 699 USD 2,999
    Sensor Specs Canon 550D 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 17.9 Megapixels 6 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 5184 x 3456 pixels 3008 x 2000 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 4.31 μm 7.85 μm
    Pixel Density 5.39 MP/cm2 1.63 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability 1080/30p Video no Video
    ISO Setting 100 - 6,400 ISO 200 - 1,600 ISO
    ISO Boost 100 - 12,800 ISO no Enhancement
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) 66 ..
    DXO Color Depth (bits) 22.1 ..
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) 11.5 ..
    DXO Low Light (ISO) 784 ..
    Screen Specs Canon 550D Epson R-D1
    Viewfinder Type Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 95% 100%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.54x
    LCD Framing Live View
    Rear LCD Size 3.0inch 2.0inch
    LCD Resolution 1040k dots 235k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen Fixed screen
    Shooting Specs Canon 550D Epson R-D1
    Focus System Phase-detect AF Manual Focus
    Continuous Shooting 3.7 shutter flaps/s 1 shutter flaps/s
    Fill Flash Built-in Flash no On-Board Flash
    Storage Medium SDXC cards SDHC cards
    Second Storage Option Single card slot Single card slot
    UHS card support no no
    Connectivity Specs Canon 550D Epson R-D1
    External Flash Hotshoe Hotshoe
    Studio Flash no PC Sync PC Sync socket
    USB Connector USB 2.0 no USB
    HDMI Port mini HDMI no HDMI
    Microphone Port External MIC port no MIC socket
    Wifi Support no Wifi no Wifi
    Body Specs Canon 550D Epson R-D1
    Battery Type LP-E8 EU-85
    Body Dimensions 129 x 98 x 62 mm
    (5.1 x 3.9 x 2.4 in)
    142 x 89 x 40 mm
    (5.6 x 3.5 x 1.6 in)
    Camera Weight 530 g (18.7 oz) 620 g (21.9 oz)
    logo
    Check 550D offers at
    ebay.com
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    Check R-D1 offers at
    ebay.com

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