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Canon M3 vs Epson R-D1

The Canon EOS M3 and the Epson R-D1 are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in February 2015 and March 2004. The M3 is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera, while the R-D1 is a rangefinder-focusing mirrorless. Both cameras are equipped with an APS-C sensor. The Canon has a resolution of 24 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 M3
versus
Epson R-D1
Canon M3   Epson R-D1
Mirrorless system camera Rangefinder camera
Canon EF-M mount lenses Leica M mount lenses
24 MP – APS-C sensor 6 MP – APS-C sensor
1080/30p Video no Video
ISO 100-12,800 (100 - 25,600) ISO 200-1,600
Viewfinder optional Optical viewfinder
3.0" LCD – 1040k dots 3.0" LCD – 235k dots
Tilting touchscreen Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)
4.2 shutter flaps per second 1 shutter flaps per second
111 x 68 x 44 mm, 366 g 142 x 89 x 40 mm, 620 g
Canon M3:
Check Ebay offers
Epson R-D1:
Check Ebay offers

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Canon EOS M3 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 M3 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 width, height and depth measures are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

The M3 can be obtained in two different colors (black, white), while the R-D1 is only available in black.

Size Canon M3 vs Epson R-D1
Compare M3 versus R-D1 top
Comparison M3 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 larger (67 percent) than the Canon M3. Moreover, the R-D1 is substantially heavier (69 percent) than the M3. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the M3 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. Hence, you might want to study and compare the specifications of available lenses in order to get the full picture of the size and weight of the two camera systems.

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 M3 111 mm 68 mm 44 mm 366 g 250 n Feb 2015 679i
2.
 
Epson R-D1 142 mm 89 mm 40 mm 620 g .. n Mar 2004 2,999i
3.
 
Canon M50 Mark II 116 mm 88 mm 59 mm 387 g 305 n Oct 2020 599 i
4.
 
Canon M50 116 mm 88 mm 59 mm 390 g 235 n Feb 2018 779i
5.
 
Canon M6 112 mm 68 mm 45 mm 390 g 295 n Feb 2017 779i
6.
 
Canon M100 108 mm 67 mm 35 mm 302 g 295 n Aug 2017 499i
7.
 
Canon M5 116 mm 89 mm 61 mm 427 g 295 n Sep 2016 979 i
8.
 
Canon M10 108 mm 67 mm 35 mm 301 g 255 n Oct 2015 499i
9.
 
Canon T6i 132 mm 101 mm 78 mm 555 g 440 n Feb 2015 749i
10.
 
Canon T6s 132 mm 101 mm 78 mm 565 g 440 n Feb 2015 649i
11.
 
Canon G7 X 103 mm 60 mm 40 mm 304 g 210 n Sep 2014 699i
12.
 
Canon M 109 mm 66 mm 32 mm 298 g 230 n Jul 2012 599i
13.
 
Canon Rebel 142 mm 99 mm 72 mm 649 g 400 n Aug 2003 899i
14.
 
Leica X Vario 133 mm 73 mm 95 mm 680 g 450 n Jun 2013 2,850i
15.
 
Nikon D50 133 mm 102 mm 76 mm 620 g 400 n Apr 2005 749i
16.
 
Nikon D70s 140 mm 111 mm 78 mm 679 g 500 n Apr 2005 899i
17.
 
Nikon D70 140 mm 111 mm 78 mm 679 g 400 n Jan 2004 999i
Note: 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 M3 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 imaging sensor is at the core of digital cameras and its size is one of the main determining factors 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. 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 associated with larger, more expensive camera bodies 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 (M3) and 1.5. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.

Canon M3 and Epson R-D1 sensor measures

Despite having a smaller sensor, the Canon M3 offers a higher resolution of 24 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 3.72μm versus 7.85μm for the R-D1). However, it should be noted that the M3 is much more recent (by 10 years and 10 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 M3 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the M3 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 30 x 20 inches or 76.2 x 50.8 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 24 x 16 inches or 61 x 40.6 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 20 x 13.3 inches or 50.8 x 33.9 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 M3 has on-sensor phase detect pixels, which results in fast and reliable autofocus acquisition even during live view operation.

The Canon EOS M3 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 12800, which can be extended to ISO 100-25600. The corresponding ISO settings for the Epson R-D1 are ISO 200 to ISO 1600 (no boost).

M3 versus R-D1 MP

Since 2007, DXO Mark has published sensor performance measurements that have been derived using a consistent methodology. 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 adjacent table reports on the physical sensor characteristics and the outcomes of the DXO sensor quality tests for a sample of comparator-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 M3 APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/30p22.811.8116972
2.
 
Epson R-D1 APS-C 6.0 3008 2000none21.110.456455
3.
 
Canon M50 Mark II APS-C 24.0 6000 40004K/24p24.013.6193983
4.
 
Canon M50 APS-C 24.0 6000 40004K/24p23.813.3168481
5.
 
Canon M6 APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p23.713.1158680
6.
 
Canon M100 APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p23.512.9127278
7.
 
Canon M5 APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p23.412.4126277
8.
 
Canon M10 APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p22.211.475365
9.
 
Canon T6i APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/30p22.712.091971
10.
 
Canon T6s APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/30p22.612.091570
11.
 
Canon G7 X 1-inch 20.0 5472 36481080/60p23.012.755671
12.
 
Canon M APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p22.111.282765
13.
 
Canon Rebel APS-C 6.3 3072 2048none21.010.854455
14.
 
Leica X Vario APS-C 16.1 4928 32721080/30p23.412.7132078
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 also of capturing video footage. The M3 indeed provides movie recording capabilities, while the R-D1 does not. The highest resolution format that the M3 can use is 1080/30p.

Feature comparison

Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the R-D1 has an optical viewfinder, which can be very useful when shooting in bright sunlight. In contrast, the M3 relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. That said, the M3 can be equipped with an optional viewfinder – the EVF-DC1. The table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Canon M3 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
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 M3optional n3.0 / 1040 tilting Y 1/4000s 4.2/s Y n
2.
 
Epson R-D1optical n2.0 / 235 fixed n 1/2000s 1.0/s n n
3.
 
Canon M50 Mark II2360 n3.0 / 1040 swivel Y 1/4000s 10.0/s Y n
4.
 
Canon M502360 n3.0 / 1040 swivel Y 1/4000s 10.0/s Y n
5.
 
Canon M6optional n3.0 / 1040 tilting Y 1/4000s 9.0/s Y n
6.
 
Canon M100none n3.0 / 1040 tilting Y 1/4000s 6.1/s Y n
7.
 
Canon M52360 n3.2 / 1620 tilting Y 1/4000s 9.0/s Y n
8.
 
Canon M10none n3.0 / 1040 tilting Y 1/4000s 4.6/s Y n
9.
 
Canon T6ioptical n3.0 / 1040 swivel Y 1/4000s 5.0/s Y n
10.
 
Canon T6soptical Y3.0 / 1040 swivel Y 1/4000s 5.0/s Y n
11.
 
Canon G7 Xnone n3.0 / 1040 tilting Y 1/2000s 6.5/s Y Y
12.
 
Canon Mnone n3.0 / 1040 fixed Y 1/4000s 4.3/s n n
13.
 
Canon Rebeloptical n1.8 / 118 fixed n 1/4000s 2.5/s Y n
14.
 
Leica X Variooptional n3.0 / 920 fixed n 1/2000s 5.0/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 M3 has one, while the R-D1 does not. While the built-in flash of the M3 is not very powerful, it can at times be useful as a fill-in light.

The M3 has an articulated LCD that can be turned to be front-facing. This characteristic will be appreciated by vloggers and photographers who are interested in snapping selfies. In contrast, the R-D1 does not have a selfie-screen.

The M3 writes its imaging data to SDXC cards, while the R-D1 uses SDHC cards. The M3 supports UHS-I cards (Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 104 MB/s), while the R-D1 cannot take advantage of Ultra High Speed SD 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 M3 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 M3Ystereo / monoY-mini2.0YY-
2.
 
Epson R-D1Y- / --------
3.
 
Canon M50 Mark IIYstereo / monoY-micro2.0Y-Y
4.
 
Canon M50Ystereo / monoY-micro2.0Y-Y
5.
 
Canon M6Ystereo / monoY-mini2.0YYY
6.
 
Canon M100-stereo / mono--micro2.0YYY
7.
 
Canon M5Ystereo / monoY-mini2.0YYY
8.
 
Canon M10-stereo / mono--mini2.0YY-
9.
 
Canon T6iYstereo / monoY-mini2.0YY-
10.
 
Canon T6sYstereo / monoY-mini2.0YY-
11.
 
Canon G7 X-stereo / mono--micro2.0YY-
12.
 
Canon MYstereo / monoY-mini2.0---
13.
 
Canon RebelY- / ----1.1---
14.
 
Leica X VarioYstereo / mono--mini2.0---
15.
 
Nikon D50Y- / ----2.0---
16.
 
Nikon D70sY- / ----2.0---
17.
 
Nikon D70Y- / ----1.0---

It is notable that the M3 offers wifi support, while the R-D1 does not. Wifi can be a very convenient means to transfer image data to an off-camera location.

Studio photographers will appreciate that the Epson R-D1 (unlike the M3) features a PC Sync socket, so that professional strobe lights can be controlled by the camera.

Both the M3 and the R-D1 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The M3 was replaced by the Canon M6, 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 the Canon M3 better than the Epson R-D1 or vice versa? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.

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Reasons to prefer the Canon EOS M3:

  • More detail: Offers more megapixels (24 vs 6MP) with a 100% higher linear resolution.
  • Broader imaging potential: Can record not only still images but also 1080/30p movies.
  • Better live-view autofocus: Features on-sensor phase-detection for more confident autofocus.
  • 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).
  • More flexible LCD: Has a tilting screen for odd-angle shots in landscape orientation.
  • Fewer buttons to press: Is equipped with a touch-sensitive rear screen to facilitate handling.
  • More selfie-friendly: Has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing.
  • Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/4000s vs 1/2000s) to freeze action.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (4.2 vs 1 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • More compact: Is smaller (111x68mm vs 142x89mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
  • Less heavy: Is lighter (by 254g or 41 percent) and hence easier to carry around.
  • Easier fill-in: Is equipped with a small onboard flash to brighten deep shadow areas.
  • Easier file upload: Has wifi built in for automatic backup or image transfer to the web.
  • Easier device pairing: Supports NFC for fast wireless image transfer over short distances.
  • Faster buffer clearing: Has an SD card interface that supports the UHS-I standard.
  • More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (77 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More modern: Reflects 10 years and 10 months of technical progress since the R-D1 launch.

ilogo

Advantages of the Epson R-D1:

  • Easier framing: Has an optical viewfinder for image composition and settings control.
  • 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 count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the M3 is the clear winner of the match-up (18 : 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 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.

M3 18:03 R-D1

In any case, while the comparison of the spec-sheets of cameras can offer a general idea of their imaging potential, it remains partial and cannot reveal, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance when actually working with the M3 or the R-D1. User reviews that are available, for instance, at amazon can sometimes shed light on these issues, but such feedback is all too often partial, inconsistent, and inaccurate.

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], 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 M34/5o..75/1004.5/54/5 Feb 2015 679i
2.
 
Epson R-D1............ Mar 2004 2,999i
3.
 
Canon M50 Mark II4/5..4/5..4.5/53.5/5 Oct 2020 599 i
4.
 
Canon M50..+4/579/100..3.5/5 Feb 2018 779i
5.
 
Canon M6......80/1004/54/5 Feb 2017 779i
6.
 
Canon M1003/5+....4/53.5/5 Aug 2017 499i
7.
 
Canon M54/5+4/582/1004/54/5 Sep 2016 979 i
8.
 
Canon M10..........4/5 Oct 2015 499i
9.
 
Canon T6i5/5....75/1004.5/54.5/5 Feb 2015 749i
10.
 
Canon T6s5/5+..77/1004.5/54.5/5 Feb 2015 649i
11.
 
Canon G7 X4/5+ +..77/1004.5/54.5/5 Sep 2014 699i
12.
 
Canon M3/5+....4/54/5 Jul 2012 599i
13.
 
Canon Rebel......+ +.... Aug 2003 899i
14.
 
Leica X Vario3/5......4/54/5 Jun 2013 2,850i
15.
 
Nikon D50..78/100..+ +4/54.5/5 Apr 2005 749i
16.
 
Nikon D70s..........5/5 Apr 2005 899i
17.
 
Nikon D70......+ +.... Jan 2004 999i
Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.

Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, though. The ratings are only valid when referring to cameras in the same category and of the same age. Hence, a score should always be seen in the context of the camera's market launch date and its price, 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 M3:
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 M3 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 M3 Epson R-D1
    Camera Type Mirrorless system camera Rangefinder camera
    Camera Lens Canon EF-M mount lenses Leica M mount lenses
    Launch Date February 2015 March 2004
    Launch Price USD 679 USD 2,999
    Sensor Specs Canon M3 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 24 Megapixels 6 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 6000 x 4000 pixels 3008 x 2000 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 3.72 μm 7.85 μm
    Pixel Density 7.22 MP/cm2 1.63 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability 1080/30p Video no Video
    ISO Setting 100 - 12,800 ISO 200 - 1,600 ISO
    ISO Boost 100 - 25,600 ISO no Enhancement
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) 72 ..
    DXO Color Depth (bits) 22.8 ..
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) 11.8 ..
    DXO Low Light (ISO) 1169 ..
    Screen Specs Canon M3 Epson R-D1
    Viewfinder Type Viewfinder optional Optical viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 100%
    LCD Framing Live View
    Rear LCD Size 3.0inch 2.0inch
    LCD Resolution 1040k dots 235k dots
    LCD Attachment Tilting screen Fixed screen
    Touch Input Touchscreen no Touchscreen
    Shooting Specs Canon M3 Epson R-D1
    Focus System On-Sensor Phase-detect Manual Focus
    Manual Focusing AidFocus Peakingno Peaking Feature
    Continuous Shooting 4.2 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 UHS-I no
    Connectivity Specs Canon M3 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 Wifi built-in no Wifi
    Near-Field Communication NFC built-in no NFC
    Body Specs Canon M3 Epson R-D1
    Battery Type LP-E17 EU-85
    Body Dimensions 111 x 68 x 44 mm
    (4.4 x 2.7 x 1.7 in)
    142 x 89 x 40 mm
    (5.6 x 3.5 x 1.6 in)
    Camera Weight 366 g (12.9 oz) 620 g (21.9 oz)
    Canon M3:
    Check Ebay offers
    Epson R-D1:
    Check Ebay offers

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