Canon S120 vs Epson R-D1
The Canon PowerShot S120 and the Epson R-D1 are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in August 2013 and March 2004. The S120 is a fixed lens compact, while the R-D1 is a rangefinder-focusing mirrorless. The cameras are based on a 1/1.7-inch (S120) and an APS-C (R-D1) sensor. The Canon has a resolution of 12 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.
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Canon PowerShot S120 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.
The physical size and weight of the Canon S120 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.
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 (114 percent) than the Canon S120. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the S120 nor the R-D1 are weather-sealed.
The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the S120 has a lens built in, whereas the R-D1 is an interchangeable lens camera that requires a separate lens. Attaching the latter will add extra weight and bulk to the setup. You can compare the optics available for the R-D1 and their specifications in the Leica M Lens Catalog.
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.
|1.||Canon S120||100 mm||59 mm||29 mm||217 g||230||n||Aug 2013||449|
|2.||Epson R-D1||142 mm||89 mm||40 mm||620 g||..||n||Mar 2004||2,999|
|3.||Canon G9 X Mark II||98 mm||58 mm||31 mm||206 g||235||n||Jan 2017||529|
|4.||Canon G9 X||98 mm||58 mm||31 mm||209 g||220||n||Oct 2015||529|
|5.||Canon G1 X Mark II||116 mm||74 mm||66 mm||553 g||240||n||Feb 2014||799|
|6.||Canon G16||109 mm||76 mm||40 mm||356 g||360||n||Aug 2013||549|
|7.||Canon G1 X||117 mm||81 mm||65 mm||534 g||250||n||Jan 2012||799|
|8.||Canon G15||107 mm||76 mm||40 mm||352 g||350||n||Sep 2012||499|
|9.||Canon SX50||123 mm||87 mm||106 mm||595 g||315||n||Sep 2012||429|
|10.||Canon Rebel||142 mm||99 mm||72 mm||649 g||400||n||Aug 2003||899|
|11.||Leica X Vario||133 mm||73 mm||95 mm||680 g||450||n||Jun 2013||2,850|
|12.||Nikon P7800||119 mm||78 mm||50 mm||399 g||350||n||Sep 2013||549|
|13.||Nikon D50||133 mm||102 mm||76 mm||620 g||400||n||Apr 2005||749|
|14.||Nikon D70s||140 mm||111 mm||78 mm||679 g||500||n||Apr 2005||899|
|15.||Nikon D70||140 mm||111 mm||78 mm||679 g||400||n||Jan 2004||999|
|16.||Panasonic LF1||103 mm||62 mm||28 mm||192 g||250||n||Apr 2013||499|
|17.||Panasonic LX7||111 mm||68 mm||46 mm||298 g||330||n||Jul 2012||499|
|Notes: 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 S120 was launched at a lower price than the R-D1, despite having a lens built in. 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. Then, after the new model is out, very good deals can frequently be found on the pre-owned market.
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. Further, a large sensor camera will give the photographer additional creative options when using shallow depth-of-field to isolate a subject from its background. On the downside, larger sensors tend to be more expensive and lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.
Of the two cameras under consideration, the Canon S120 features a 1/1.7-inch sensor and the Epson R-D1 an APS-C sensor. The sensor area in the R-D1 is 760 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 4.5 and 1.5. The sensor in the S120 has a native 4:3 aspect ratio, while the one in the R-D1 offers a 3:2 aspect.
Despite having a smaller sensor, the Canon S120 offers a higher resolution of 12 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 1.89μm versus 7.85μm for the R-D1). However, it should be noted that the S120 is much more recent (by 9 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 S120 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the S120 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 20 x 15 inches or 50.8 x 38.1 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 16 x 12 inches or 40.6 x 30.5 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 13.3 x 10 inches or 33.9 x 25.4 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 PowerShot S120 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 80 to ISO 12800. The corresponding ISO settings for the Epson R-D1 are ISO 200 to ISO 1600 (no boost).
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 adjacent table reports on the physical sensor characteristics and the outcomes of the DXO sensor quality tests for a sample of comparator-cameras.
|3.||Canon G9 X Mark II||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||21.9||12.5||522||65|
|4.||Canon G9 X||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||21.5||12.3||495||63|
|5.||Canon G1 X Mark II||1.5-inch||13.0||4160||3120||1080/30p||21.5||10.8||581||58|
|7.||Canon G1 X||1.5-inch||14.2||4352||3264||1080/24p||21.7||10.8||644||60|
|11.||Leica X Vario||APS-C||16.1||4928||3272||1080/30p||23.4||12.7||1320||78|
|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 S120 indeed provides movie recording capabilities, while the R-D1 does not. The highest resolution format that the S120 can use is 1080/60p.
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 S120 relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. The table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Canon S120 and Epson R-D1 in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras.
|1.||Canon S120||none||n||3.0 / 922||fixed||Y||1/2000s||12.1||Y||Y|
|2.||Epson R-D1||optical||n||2.0 / 235||fixed||n||1/2000s||1.0||n||n|
|3.||Canon G9 X Mark II||none||n||3.0 / 1040||fixed||Y||1/2000s||8.2||Y||Y|
|4.||Canon G9 X||none||n||3.0 / 1040||fixed||Y||1/2000s||6.0||Y||Y|
|5.||Canon G1 X Mark II||optional||n||3.0 / 1040||tilting||Y||1/4000s||5.2||Y||Y|
|6.||Canon G16||optical||n||3.0 / 922||fixed||n||1/4000s||2.2||Y||Y|
|7.||Canon G1 X||optical||n||3.0 / 922||swivel||n||1/4000s||1.9||Y||Y|
|8.||Canon G15||optical||n||3.0 / 922||fixed||n||1/4000s||2.1||Y||Y|
|9.||Canon SX50||202||n||3.0 / 461||swivel||n||1/2000s||2.2||Y||Y|
|10.||Canon Rebel||optical||n||1.8 / 118||fixed||n||1/4000s||2.5||Y||n|
|11.||Leica X Vario||optional||n||3.0 / 920||fixed||n||1/2000s||5.0||Y||n|
|12.||Nikon P7800||921||n||3.0 / 921||swivel||n||1/4000s||8.0||Y||Y|
|13.||Nikon D50||optical||n||2.0 / 130||fixed||n||1/4000s||2.5||Y||n|
|14.||Nikon D70s||optical||n||2.0 / 130||fixed||n||1/8000s||3.0||Y||n|
|15.||Nikon D70||optical||n||1.8 / 130||fixed||n||1/8000s||3.0||Y||n|
|16.||Panasonic LF1||200||n||3.0 / 920||fixed||n||1/4000s||10.0||Y||Y|
|17.||Panasonic LX7||optional||n||3.0 / 920||fixed||n||1/4000s||11.0||Y||Y|
One difference between the cameras concerns the presence of an on-board flash. The S120 has one, while the R-D1 does not. While the built-in flash of the S120 is not very powerful, it can at times be useful as a fill-in light.
The Canon S120 has an intervalometer built-in. This enables the photographer to capture time lapse sequences, such as flower blooming, a sunset or moon rise, without purchasing an external camera trigger and related software.
The S120 writes its imaging data to SDXC cards, while the R-D1 uses SDHC cards. The S120 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.
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 PowerShot S120 and Epson R-D1 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
Mic / Speaker
|1.||Canon S120||-||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||Y||-||-|
|2.||Epson R-D1||Y||- / -||-||-||-||-||-||-||-|
|3.||Canon G9 X Mark II||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||Y|
|4.||Canon G9 X||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|5.||Canon G1 X Mark II||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|6.||Canon G16||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||Y||-||-|
|7.||Canon G1 X||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|8.||Canon G15||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|9.||Canon SX50||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|10.||Canon Rebel||Y||- / -||-||-||-||1.1||-||-||-|
|11.||Leica X Vario||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|12.||Nikon P7800||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|13.||Nikon D50||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|14.||Nikon D70s||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|15.||Nikon D70||Y||- / -||-||-||-||1.0||-||-||-|
|16.||Panasonic LF1||-||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|17.||Panasonic LX7||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
It is notable that the S120 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 S120) features a PC Sync socket, so that professional strobe lights can be controlled by the camera.
Both the S120 and the R-D1 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. Neither of the two has a direct successor, so they represent the end of the respective camera lines from Canon and Epson. 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.
So what conclusions can be drawn? Which of the two cameras – the Canon S120 or the Epson R-D1 – has the upper hand? Is one clearly better than the other? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.
Advantages of the Canon PowerShot S120:
- More detail: Offers more megapixels (12 vs 6MP) with a 38% higher linear resolution.
- Broader imaging potential: Can record not only still images but also 1080/60p 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 (922k vs 235k dots).
- Fewer buttons to press: Is equipped with a touch-sensitive rear screen to facilitate handling.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (12.1 vs 1 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Easier time-lapse photography: Has an intervalometer built-in for low frequency shooting.
- Ready to shoot: Has a lens built-in, whereas the R-D1 requires a separate lens.
- More compact: Is smaller (100x59mm vs 142x89mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
- Less heavy: Is lighter even though it comes with a built-in lens (unlike the R-D1).
- Sharper images: Has hand-shake reducing image stabilization built-in.
- 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.
- Faster buffer clearing: Has an SD card interface that supports the UHS-I standard.
- More affordable: Was introduced at a lower price, despite coming with a built-in lens.
- More modern: Reflects 9 years and 5 months of technical progress since the R-D1 launch.
Reasons to prefer the Epson R-D1:
- Better image quality: Features bigger pixels on a larger sensor for higher quality imaging.
- Richer colors: The pixel size advantage translates into images with better, more accurate colors.
- More dynamic range: Larger pixels capture a wider spectrum of light and dark details.
- Better low-light sensitivity: Larger pixels means good image quality even under poor lighting.
- Easier framing: Has an optical viewfinder for image composition and settings control.
- More flexible: Takes interchangeable lenses and can thus be used with different optics.
- Better lighting: Features a hotshoe and can thus hold and trigger an external flash gun.
- 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 S120 is the clear winner of the match-up (16 : 9 points). However, the pertinence of the various camera strengths will differ across photographers, so that you might want to weigh individual camera traits according to their importance for your own imaging needs before making a camera decision. 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.
In any case, while the comparison of the spec-sheets of cameras can offer a general idea of their imaging potential, it says little about, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance of the S120 and the R-D1 in practical situations. 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.
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], 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.
|1.||Canon S120||..||+ +||..||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2013||449|
|2.||Epson R-D1||..||..||..||..||..||..||Mar 2004||2,999|
|3.||Canon G9 X Mark II||4/5||..||4/5||75/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2017||529|
|4.||Canon G9 X||3.5/5||+ +||..||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Oct 2015||529|
|5.||Canon G1 X Mark II||3/5||+||..||77/100||4/5||4.5/5||Feb 2014||799|
|6.||Canon G16||4/5||+||..||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2013||549|
|7.||Canon G1 X||5/5||+||..||76/100||4/5||4.5/5||Jan 2012||799|
|8.||Canon G15||4/5||+||..||76/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2012||499|
|9.||Canon SX50||3/5||+ +||..||72/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2012||429|
|10.||Canon Rebel||..||..||..||+ +||..||..||Aug 2003||899|
|11.||Leica X Vario||3/5||..||..||..||4/5||4/5||Jun 2013||2,850|
|12.||Nikon P7800||3/5||..||..||..||4/5||4.5/5||Sep 2013||549|
|13.||Nikon D50||..||78/100||..||+ +||4/5||4.5/5||Apr 2005||749|
|14.||Nikon D70s||..||..||..||..||..||5/5||Apr 2005||899|
|15.||Nikon D70||..||..||..||+ +||..||..||Jan 2004||999|
|16.||Panasonic LF1||3/5||+||..||..||4/5||4.5/5||Apr 2013||499|
|17.||Panasonic LX7||3/5||+ +||..||75/100||4/5||4.5/5||Jul 2012||499|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, though. The ratings were established in reference to similarly priced cameras that were available in the market at the time of the review. 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.
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. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting.
- Canon 1Ds Mark III vs Canon S120
- Canon 400D vs Epson R-D1
- Canon 7D vs Canon S120
- Canon G9 X vs Canon S120
- Canon S120 vs Fujifilm X30
- Canon S120 vs Nikon D1H
- Canon S120 vs Sony A5000
- Epson R-D1 vs Fujifilm X-E3
- Epson R-D1 vs Fujifilm X-T100
- Epson R-D1 vs Leica S Typ 007
- Epson R-D1 vs Panasonic GF1
- Epson R-D1 vs Sony RX100 VI
Specifications: Canon S120 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 Model||Canon S120||Epson R-D1|
|Camera Type||Fixed lens compact camera||Rangefinder camera|
|Camera Lens||24-120mm f/1.8-5.7||Leica M mount lenses|
|Launch Date||August 2013||March 2004|
|Launch Price||USD 449||USD 2,999|
|Sensor Specs||Canon S120||Epson R-D1|
|Sensor Format||1/1.7" Sensor||APS-C Sensor|
|Sensor Size||7.6 x 5.7 mm||23.7 x 15.6 mm|
|Sensor Area||43.32 mm2||369.72 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||9.5 mm||28.4 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||12 Megapixels||6 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||4000 x 3000 pixels||3008 x 2000 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||1.89 μm||7.85 μm|
|Pixel Density||27.70 MP/cm2||1.63 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||1080/60p Video||no Video|
|ISO Setting||80 - 12,800 ISO||200 - 1,600 ISO|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||56||..|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||21.3||..|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||11.9||..|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||246||..|
|Screen Specs||Canon S120||Epson R-D1|
|Viewfinder Type||no viewfinder||Optical viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||100%|
|LCD Framing||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0inch||2.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||922k dots||235k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Fixed screen|
|Touch Input||Touchscreen||no Touchscreen|
|Shooting Specs||Canon S120||Epson R-D1|
|Focus System||Contrast-detect AF||Manual Focus|
|Manual Focusing Aid||Focus Peaking||no Peaking Feature|
|Continuous Shooting||12.1 shutter flaps/s||1 shutter flaps/s|
|Time-Lapse Photography||Intervalometer built-in||no Intervalometer|
|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 S120||Epson R-D1|
|External Flash||no Hotshoe||Hotshoe|
|Studio Flash||no PC Sync||PC Sync socket|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||no USB|
|HDMI Port||mini HDMI||no HDMI|
|Wifi Support||Wifi built-in||no Wifi|
|Body Specs||Canon S120||Epson R-D1|
100 x 59 x 29 mm
(3.9 x 2.3 x 1.1 in)
142 x 89 x 40 mm
(5.6 x 3.5 x 1.6 in)
|Camera Weight||217 g (7.7 oz)||620 g (21.9 oz)|
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