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Canon XSi vs Epson R-D1

The Canon EOS Rebel XSi (called Canon 450D in some regions) and the Epson R-D1 are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in January 2008 and March 2004. The XSi 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 12.2 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 XSi versus Epson R-D1
Canon XSi Epson R-D1
Digital single lens reflex Rangefinder camera
Canon EF mount lenses Leica M mount lenses
12.2 MP, APS-C Sensor 6 MP, APS-C Sensor
no Video no Video
ISO 100-1,600 ISO 200-1,600
Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
3.0 LCD, 230k dots 2.0 LCD, 235k dots
Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive) Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)
3.5 shutter flaps per second 1 shutter flaps per second
129 x 98 x 62 mm, 524 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 Rebel XSi 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 XSi 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 views from the front, the top, and the rear side are shown. All width, height and depth measures are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

Size Canon XSi vs Epson R-D1
Compare XSi versus R-D1 top
Comparison XSi 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 XSi and the Epson R-D1 are of equal size. However, the R-D1 is markedly heavier (18 percent) than the XSi. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the XSi 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 (XSi) and the Leica M Lens Catalog (R-D1).

The following table provides a synthesis of the main physical specifications of the two cameras and other similar ones. In case you want to display and compare another camera duo, you can use the CAM-parator app to select your camera combination among a large number of options.

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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 XSi 129 mm 98 mm 62 mm 524 g 500 n Jan 2008 799i
2.
 
Epson R-D1 142 mm 89 mm 40 mm 620 g .. n Mar 2004 2,999i
3.
 
Canon T6i 132 mm 101 mm 78 mm 555 g 440 n Feb 2015 749i
4.
 
Canon T6s 132 mm 101 mm 78 mm 565 g 440 n Feb 2015 649i
5.
 
Canon T4i 133 mm 100 mm 79 mm 575 g 440 n Jun 2012 849i
6.
 
Canon T3 130 mm 100 mm 78 mm 495 g 700 n Feb 2011 449i
7.
 
Canon T2i 129 mm 98 mm 62 mm 530 g 440 n Feb 2010 699i
8.
 
Canon T1i 129 mm 98 mm 62 mm 520 g 400 n Mar 2009 799i
9.
 
Canon XS 126 mm 98 mm 65 mm 502 g 500 n Jun 2008 449i
10.
 
Canon 40D 146 mm 108 mm 74 mm 822 g 750 n Aug 2007 1,299i
11.
 
Canon XTi 127 mm 84 mm 65 mm 556 g 370 n Aug 2006 799i
12.
 
Canon XT 127 mm 94 mm 64 mm 540 g 400 n Feb 2005 899i
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
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 XSi was launched at a markedly lower price (by 73 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 imaging sensor is at the core of digital cameras and its size is one of the main determining factors of image quality. All other things equal, a large sensor will have larger individual pixel-units that offer better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and 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.

Both cameras under consideration feature an APS-C sensor, but their sensors differ slightly in size. The sensor area in the R-D1 is 12 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have format factors, respectively, of 1.6 (XSi) and 1.5. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.

Canon XSi and Epson R-D1 sensor measures

Despite having a smaller sensor, the Canon XSi offers a higher resolution of 12.2 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 5.19μm versus 7.85μm for the R-D1). However, it should be noted that the XSi is much more recent (by 3 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 XSi implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the XSi for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 21.4 x 14.2 inches or 54.3 x 36.2 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 17.1 x 11.4 inches or 43.4 x 28.9 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 14.2 x 9.5 inches or 36.2 x 24.1 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 Rebel XSi has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 1600. The corresponding ISO settings for the Epson R-D1 are ISO 200 to ISO 1600 (no boost).

XSi 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 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 XSi APS-C 12.2 4272 2848none21.910.869261
2.
 
Epson R-D1 APS-C 6.0 3008 2000none........
3.
 
Canon T6i APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/30p22.712.091971
4.
 
Canon T6s APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/30p22.612.091570
5.
 
Canon T4i APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p21.711.272262
6.
 
Canon T3 APS-C 12.2 4272 2848720/30p21.911.075562
7.
 
Canon T2i APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p22.111.578466
8.
 
Canon T1i APS-C 15.1 4752 31681080/20p21.711.566363
9.
 
Canon XS APS-C 10.1 3888 2592none........
10.
 
Canon 40D APS-C 10.1 3888 2592none22.111.370364
11.
 
Canon XTi APS-C 10.1 3888 2592none22.111.066462
12.
 
Canon XT APS-C 8.0 3456 2304none21.810.863760
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
The XSi 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 XSi 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 XSi 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 XSioptical n 3.0 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.5 Y n
2.
 
Epson R-D1optical n 2.0 235 fixed n 1/2000s 1.0 n n
3.
 
Canon T6ioptical n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 1/4000s 5.0 Y n
4.
 
Canon T6soptical Y 3.0 1040 swivel Y 1/4000s 5.0 Y n
5.
 
Canon T4ioptical n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 1/4000s 5.0 Y n
6.
 
Canon T3optical n 2.7 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
7.
 
Canon T2ioptical n 3.0 1040 fixed n 1/4000s 3.7 Y n
8.
 
Canon T1ioptical n 3.0 920 fixed n 1/4000s 3.4 Y n
9.
 
Canon XSoptical n 2.5 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
10.
 
Canon 40Doptical Y 3.0 230 fixed n 1/8000s 6.5 Y n
11.
 
Canon XTioptical n 2.5 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
12.
 
Canon XToptical n 1.8 115 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
13.
 
Canon Rebeloptical n 1.8 118 fixed n 1/4000s 2.5 Y n
14.
 
Leica X Variooptional n 3.0 920 fixed n 1/2000s 5.0 Y n
15.
 
Nikon D50optical n 2.0 130 fixed n 1/4000s 2.5 Y n
16.
 
Nikon D70soptical n 2.0 130 fixed n 1/8000s 3.0 Y n
17.
 
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 XSi has one, while the R-D1 does not. While the built-in flash of the XSi is not very powerful, it can at times be useful as a fill-in light.

Concerning the storage of imaging data, both the XSi and the R-D1 write their files to 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 Rebel XSi 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 XSiY----mini2.0---
2.
 
Epson R-D1Y---------
3.
 
Canon T6iYstereomonoY-mini2.0YY-
4.
 
Canon T6sYstereomonoY-mini2.0YY-
5.
 
Canon T4iYstereomonoY-mini2.0---
6.
 
Canon T3Ystereomono--mini2.0---
7.
 
Canon T2iYstereo-Y-mini2.0---
8.
 
Canon T1iYmonomono--mini2.0---
9.
 
Canon XSY-----2.0---
10.
 
Canon 40DY-----2.0---
11.
 
Canon XTiY-----2.0---
12.
 
Canon XTY-----2.0---
13.
 
Canon RebelY-----1.1---
14.
 
Leica X VarioYstereomono--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 XSi) features a PC Sync socket, so that professional strobe lights can be controlled by the camera.

Both the XSi and the R-D1 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The XSi was replaced by the Canon T1i, 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 how do things add up? Is there a clear favorite between the Canon XSi 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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Reasons to prefer the Canon EOS Rebel XSi:

  • More detail: Offers more megapixels (12.2 vs 6MP) with a 42% higher linear resolution.
  • Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.0" vs 2.0") for image review and settings control.
  • Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/4000s vs 1/2000s) to freeze action.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (3.5 vs 1 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • Less heavy: Is lighter (by 96g 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 (73 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More modern: Reflects 3 years and 10 months of technical progress since the R-D1 launch.

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Advantages 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 count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the XSi is the clear winner of the match-up (8 : 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 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.

XSi 08:02 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 XSi or the R-D1. 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 XSi..+ ++ +4/54.5/5 Jan 2008 799i
2.
 
Epson R-D1.......... Mar 2004 2,999i
3.
 
Canon T6i5/5..75/1004.5/54.5/5 Feb 2015 749i
4.
 
Canon T6s5/5+77/1004.5/54.5/5 Feb 2015 649i
5.
 
Canon T4i4/5+ +77/1004.5/54.5/5 Jun 2012 849i
6.
 
Canon T3..80/10069/1004/54.5/5 Feb 2011 449i
7.
 
Canon T2i..+ +77/1004/54.5/5 Feb 2010 699i
8.
 
Canon T1i..+ +74/1004.5/54.5/5 Mar 2009 799i
9.
 
Canon XS..82/100+ +3.5/54.5/5 Jun 2008 449i
10.
 
Canon 40D..+ ++ +4.5/54.5/5 Aug 2007 1,299i
11.
 
Canon XTi..+ ++ +o4/5 Aug 2006 799i
12.
 
Canon XT..80/100+ +o.. Feb 2005 899i
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 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 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 XSi:
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 XSi 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 XSi Epson R-D1
    Camera Type Digital single lens reflex Rangefinder camera
    Camera Lens Canon EF mount lenses Leica M mount lenses
    Launch Date January 2008 March 2004
    Launch Price USD 799 USD 2,999
    Sensor Specs Canon XSi Epson R-D1
    Sensor Technology CMOS CCD
    Sensor Format APS-C Sensor APS-C Sensor
    Sensor Size 22.2 x 14.8 mm 23.7 x 15.6 mm
    Sensor Area 328.56 mm2 369.72 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 26.7 mm 28.4 mm
    Crop Factor 1.6x 1.5x
    Sensor Resolution 12.2 Megapixels 6 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 4272 x 2848 pixels 3008 x 2000 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 5.19 μm 7.85 μm
    Pixel Density 3.70 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
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) 61 ..
    DXO Color Depth (bits) 21.9 ..
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) 10.8 ..
    DXO Low Light (ISO) 692 ..
    Screen Specs Canon XSi 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 230k dots 235k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen Fixed screen
    Shooting Specs Canon XSi Epson R-D1
    Focus System Phase-detect AF Manual Focus
    Continuous Shooting 3.5 shutter flaps/s 1 shutter flaps/s
    Fill Flash Build-in Flash no On-Board Flash
    Storage Medium SDHC cards SDHC cards
    Second Storage Option Single card slot Single card slot
    UHS card support no no
    Connectivity Specs Canon XSi 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
    Wifi Support no Wifi no Wifi
    Body Specs Canon XSi Epson R-D1
    Battery Type LP-E5 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 524 g (18.5 oz) 620 g (21.9 oz)

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