Epson R-D1 vs Leica Digilux 3
The Epson R-D1 and the Leica Digilux 3 are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in March 2004 and September 2006. The R-D1 is a rangefinder-style mirrorless camera, while the Digilux 3 is a DSLR. The cameras are based on an APS-C (R-D1) and a Four Thirds (Digilux 3) sensor. The Epson has a resolution of 6 megapixels, whereas the Leica provides 7.4 MP.
Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.
|Epson R-D1||Leica Digilux 3|
|Rangefinder camera||Digital single lens reflex|
|Leica M mount lenses||Four Thirds lenses|
|6 MP, APS-C Sensor||7.4 MP, Four Thirds Sensor|
|no Video||no Video|
|ISO 200-1600||ISO 100-1600|
|Optical viewfinder||Optical viewfinder|
|2.0" LCD, 235k dots||2.5" LCD, 207k dots|
|Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)||Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)|
|1 shutter flaps per second||3 shutter flaps per second|
|142 x 89 x 40 mm, 620 g||146 x 87 x 77 mm, 606 g|
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Epson R-D1 and the Leica Digilux 3? 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 Epson R-D1 and the Leica Digilux 3 are illustrated 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.
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Epson R-D1 and the Leica Digilux 3 are of equal size. However, the Digilux 3 is slightly lighter (2 percent) than the R-D1. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the R-D1 nor the Digilux 3 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. A larger imaging sensor will tend to go along with bigger and heavier lenses, although exceptions exist. You can compare the optics available for the two cameras in the Leica M Lens Catalog (R-D1) and the Four Thirds Lens Catalog (Digilux 3).
The adjacent table lists the principal physical characteristics of the two cameras alongside a wider set of alternatives. In case you want to display and compare another camera duo, just click on the right or left arrow next to the camera that you would like to inspect. Alternatively, you can also use the CAM-parator to select your camera combination among a larger number of options.
|Epson R-D1»||5.6 in||3.5 in||1.6 in||21.9 oz||..||n||Mar 2004||2,999||Epson R-D1|
|Leica Digilux 3«||5.7 in||3.4 in||3.0 in||21.4 oz||750||n||Sep 2006||1,499||Leica Digilux 3|
|Canon Rebel« »||5.6 in||3.9 in||2.8 in||22.9 oz||400||n||Aug 2003||899||Canon Rebel|
|Leica CL« »||5.2 in||3.1 in||1.8 in||14.2 oz||220||n||Nov 2017||2,795||Leica CL|
|Leica M10« »||5.5 in||3.1 in||1.5 in||23.3 oz||210||Y||Jan 2017||6,595||Leica M10|
|Leica X-U Typ 113« »||5.5 in||3.1 in||3.5 in||22.4 oz||450||Y||Jan 2016||2,950||Leica X-U Typ 113|
|Leica X Vario« »||5.2 in||2.9 in||3.7 in||24.0 oz||450||n||Jun 2013||2,850||Leica X Vario|
|Leica M9« »||5.5 in||3.1 in||1.5 in||20.6 oz||..||n||Sep 2009||7,999||Leica M9|
|Nikon D40« »||4.9 in||3.7 in||2.5 in||18.4 oz||470||n||Nov 2006||499||Nikon D40|
|Nikon D50« »||5.2 in||4.0 in||3.0 in||21.9 oz||400||n||Apr 2005||749||Nikon D50|
|Nikon D70s« »||5.5 in||4.4 in||3.1 in||24.0 oz||500||n||Apr 2005||899||Nikon D70s|
|Nikon D70« »||5.5 in||4.4 in||3.1 in||24.0 oz||400||n||Jan 2004||999||Nikon D70|
|Olympus E-330« »||5.5 in||3.4 in||2.8 in||22.5 oz||750||n||Jan 2006||999||Olympus E-330|
|Olympus E-500« »||5.1 in||3.7 in||2.6 in||16.9 oz||750||n||Sep 2005||599||Olympus E-500|
|Olympus E-300« »||5.8 in||3.3 in||2.5 in||22.0 oz||750||n||Sep 2004||799||Olympus E-300|
|Panasonic L10« »||5.3 in||3.8 in||3.1 in||19.6 oz||450||n||Aug 2007||599||Panasonic L10|
|Panasonic L1« »||5.7 in||3.4 in||2.5 in||21.4 oz||750||n||Feb 2006||999||Panasonic L1|
|Note: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.|
Any camera decision will naturally be influenced heavily by the price. 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 Digilux 3 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 50 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.
The size of the imaging sensor is a crucial determinant 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. 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 associated with larger, more expensive camera bodies and lenses.
Of the two cameras under consideration, the Epson R-D1 features an APS-C sensor and the Leica Digilux 3 a Four Thirds sensor. The sensor area in the Digilux 3 is 39 percent smaller. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 1.5 and 2.0. The sensor in the R-D1 has a native 3:2 aspect ratio, while the one in the Digilux 3 offers a 4:3 aspect.
Despite having a smaller sensor, the Digilux 3 offers a higher resolution of 7.4 megapixels, compared with 6 MP of the 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 5.51μm versus 7.85μm for the R-D1). However, it should be noted that the Digilux 3 is much more recent (by 2 years and 6 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 Leica Digilux 3 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the Digilux 3 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 15.7 x 11.8 inch or 39.8 x 29.9 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 12.5 x 9.4 inch or 31.9 x 23.9 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 10.5 x 7.8 inch or 26.6 x 19.9 cm. The corresponding values for the Epson R-D1 are 15 x 10 inch or 38.2 x 25.4 cm for good quality, 12 x 8 inch or 30.6 x 20.3 cm for very good quality, and 10 x 6.7 inch or 25.5 x 16.9 cm for excellent quality prints.
The Epson R-D1 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 200 to ISO 1600. The corresponding ISO settings for the Leica Digilux 3 are ISO 100 to ISO 1600 (no boost).
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.
|Epson R-D1||APS-C||6.0||3008||2000||none||..||..||..||..||Epson R-D1|
|Leica Digilux 3||Four Thirds||7.4||3136||2352||none||..||..||..||..||Leica Digilux 3|
|Canon Rebel||APS-C||6.3||3072||2048||none||21.0||10.8||544||55||Canon Rebel|
|Leica CL||APS-C||24.1||6014||4014||4K/30p||..||..||..||..||Leica CL|
|Leica M10||Full Frame||23.8||5952||3992||none||24.4||13.2||2133||86||Leica M10|
|Leica X-U Typ 113||APS-C||16.1||4928||3264||1080/30p||..||..||..||..||Leica X-U Typ 113|
|Leica X Vario||APS-C||16.1||4928||3272||1080/30p||23.4||12.7||1320||78||Leica X Vario|
|Leica M9||Full Frame||18.1||5212||3472||none||22.5||11.7||884||69||Leica M9|
|Nikon D40||APS-C||6.0||3008||2000||none||21.0||11.0||561||56||Nikon D40|
|Nikon D50||APS-C||6.0||3008||2000||none||20.9||10.8||560||55||Nikon D50|
|Nikon D70s||APS-C||6.0||3008||2000||none||20.4||10.3||529||50||Nikon D70s|
|Nikon D70||APS-C||6.0||3008||2000||none||20.4||10.3||529||50||Nikon D70|
|Olympus E-330||Four Thirds||7.4||3136||2352||none||..||..||..||..||Olympus E-330|
|Olympus E-500||Four Thirds||8.0||3264||2448||none||..||..||..||..||Olympus E-500|
|Olympus E-300||Four Thirds||8.0||3264||2448||none||..||..||..||..||Olympus E-300|
|Panasonic L10||Four Thirds||10.0||3648||2736||none||21.3||10.8||429||55||Panasonic L10|
|Panasonic L1||Four Thirds||7.4||3136||2352||none||..||..||..||..||Panasonic L1|
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. The R-D1 and the Digilux 3 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 Epson R-D1 and Leica Digilux 3 in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras.
|Epson R-D1||optical||n||2.0||235||fixed||n||1/2000s||1.0||n||n||Epson R-D1|
|Leica Digilux 3||optical||n||2.5||207||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||Y||n||Leica Digilux 3|
|Canon Rebel||optical||n||1.8||118||fixed||n||1/4000s||2.5||Y||n||Canon Rebel|
|Leica CL||2360||Y||3.0||1040||fixed||Y||1/8000s||10.0||n||n||Leica CL|
|Leica M10||optical||n||3.0||1037||fixed||n||1/4000s||5.0||n||n||Leica M10|
|Leica X-U Typ 113||optional||n||3.0||920||fixed||n||1/2000s||5.0||Y||n||Leica X-U Typ 113|
|Leica X Vario||optional||n||3.0||920||fixed||n||1/2000s||5.0||Y||n||Leica X Vario|
|Leica M9||optical||n||2.5||230||fixed||n||1/4000s||2.0||n||n||Leica M9|
|Nikon D40||optical||n||2.5||230||fixed||n||1/4000s||2.5||Y||n||Nikon D40|
|Nikon D50||optical||n||2.0||130||fixed||n||1/4000s||2.5||Y||n||Nikon D50|
|Nikon D70s||optical||n||2.0||130||fixed||n||1/8000s||3.0||Y||n||Nikon D70s|
|Nikon D70||optical||n||1.8||130||fixed||n||1/8000s||3.0||Y||n||Nikon D70|
|Olympus E-330||optical||n||2.5||215||tilting||n||1/4000s||3.0||Y||n||Olympus E-330|
|Olympus E-500||optical||n||2.5||215||fixed||n||1/4000s||2.5||Y||n||Olympus E-500|
|Olympus E-300||optical||n||1.8||134||fixed||n||1/4000s||2.5||Y||n||Olympus E-300|
|Panasonic L10||optical||n||2.5||207||swivel||n||1/4000s||3.0||Y||n||Panasonic L10|
|Panasonic L1||optical||n||2.5||207||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||Y||n||Panasonic L1|
One difference between the cameras concerns the presence of an on-board flash. The Digilux 3 has one, while the R-D1 does not. While the built-in flash of the Digilux 3 is not very powerful, it can at times be useful as a fill-in light.
The R-D1 writes its imaging data to SDHC cards, while the Digilux 3 uses SDXC 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 Epson R-D1 and Leica Digilux 3 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
|Epson R-D1||Y||none||none||-||-||none||none||-||-||-||Epson R-D1|
|Leica Digilux 3||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||none||2.0||-||-||-||Leica Digilux 3|
|Canon Rebel||Y||none||none||-||-||none||1.1||-||-||-||Canon Rebel|
|Leica CL||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||none||none||Y||-||-||Leica CL|
|Leica M10||Y||none||none||-||-||none||none||Y||-||-||Leica M10|
|Leica X-U Typ 113||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||none||2.0||-||-||-||Leica X-U Typ 113|
|Leica X Vario||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Leica X Vario|
|Leica M9||Y||none||none||-||-||none||2.0||-||-||-||Leica M9|
|Nikon D40||Y||none||none||-||-||none||2.0||-||-||-||Nikon D40|
|Nikon D50||Y||none||none||-||-||none||2.0||-||-||-||Nikon D50|
|Nikon D70s||Y||none||none||-||-||none||2.0||-||-||-||Nikon D70s|
|Nikon D70||Y||none||none||-||-||none||1.0||-||-||-||Nikon D70|
|Olympus E-330||Y||none||none||-||-||none||2.0||-||-||-||Olympus E-330|
|Olympus E-500||Y||none||none||-||-||none||2.0||-||-||-||Olympus E-500|
|Olympus E-300||Y||none||none||-||-||none||2.0||-||-||-||Olympus E-300|
|Panasonic L10||Y||none||none||-||-||none||2.0||-||-||-||Panasonic L10|
|Panasonic L1||Y||none||none||-||-||none||2.0||-||-||-||Panasonic L1|
Studio photographers will appreciate that the Epson R-D1 (unlike the Digilux 3) features a PC Sync socket, so that professional strobe lights can be controlled by the camera.
Both the R-D1 and the Digilux 3 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 Epson and Leica. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Epson and Leica websites.
So what conclusions can be drawn? Is the Epson R-D1 better than the Leica Digilux 3 or vice versa? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.
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.
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (235k vs 207k dots).
- Better studio light control: Has a PC Sync socket to connect to professional strobe lights.
- More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in March 2004).
Advantages of the Leica Digilux 3:
- More detail: Has more megapixels (7.4 vs 6MP), which boosts linear resolution by 9%.
- Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (2.5" 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 vs 1 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Easier fill-in: Has a small integrated flash to brighten shadows of backlit subjects.
- More prestigious: Has the Leica luxury appeal, which ensures a high resale value.
- More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (50 percent cheaper at launch).
- More modern: Reflects 2 years and 6 months of technical progress since the R-D1 launch.
If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the Digilux 3 comes out slightly ahead of the R-D1 (8 : 7 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 sports photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a street photog, and a person interested in family portraits has distinct needs from a landscape shooter. Hence, the decision which camera is best and worth buying is often a very personal one.
In any case, while the specs-based evaluation of cameras can be instructive in revealing their potential as photographic tools, it says little about, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance of the R-D1 and the Digilux 3 in practical situations. 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.
This is why hands-on reviews by experts are important. The adjacent summary-table relays the overall verdicts of several of the most popular camera review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, and photographyblog). 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.
The review scores listed above should be treated 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, kindly note that some of the listed sites have over time developped their review approaches and their reporting style.
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 a corresponding selection in the search boxes below. There is also a set of direct links to comparison reviews that other users of the CAM-parator app explored.
- Canon 1000D vs Leica Digilux 3
- Canon T7 vs Epson R-D1
- Epson R-D1 vs Leica S Typ 006
- Epson R-D1 vs Nikon D70s
- Epson R-D1 vs Sony A7S
- Epson R-D1 vs Sony RX0
- Leica Digilux 3 vs Leica Q2
- Leica Digilux 3 vs Nikon D1X
- Leica Digilux 3 vs Nikon D3S
- Leica Digilux 3 vs Nikon D5000
- Leica Digilux 3 vs Panasonic ZS70
- Leica Digilux 3 vs Sony RX100 V
Specifications: Epson R-D1 vs Leica Digilux 3
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||Epson R-D1||Leica Digilux 3|
|Camera Type||Rangefinder camera||Digital single lens reflex|
|Camera Lens||Leica M mount lenses||Four Thirds lenses|
|Launch Date||March 2004||September 2006|
|Launch Price||USD 2999||USD 1499|
|Sensor Specs||Epson R-D1||Leica Digilux 3|
|Sensor Format||APS-C Sensor||Four Thirds Sensor|
|Sensor Size||23.7 x 15.6 mm||17.3 x 13.0 mm|
|Sensor Area||369.72 mm2||224.9 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||28.4 mm||21.6 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||6 Megapixels||7.4 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||3008 x 2000 pixels||3136 x 2352 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||7.85 μm||5.51 μm|
|Pixel Density||1.63 MP/cm2||3.28 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||no Video||no Video|
|ISO Setting||200-1600 ISO||100-1600 ISO|
|Screen Specs||Epson R-D1||Leica Digilux 3|
|Viewfinder Type||Optical viewfinder||Optical viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||100%||95%|
|LCD Framing||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||2.0 inch||2.5 inch|
|LCD Resolution||235k dots||207k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Fixed screen|
|Shooting Specs||Epson R-D1||Leica Digilux 3|
|Focus System||Manual Focus||Phase-detect AF|
|Continuous Shooting||1 shutter flaps/s||3 shutter flaps/s|
|Fill Flash||no On-Board Flash||Build-in Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDHC cards||SDXC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Single card slot|
|UHS card support||no||no|
|Connectivity Specs||Epson R-D1||Leica Digilux 3|
|Studio Flash||PC Sync socket||no PC Sync|
|USB Connector||USB no||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||no HDMI||no HDMI|
|Wifi Support||no Wifi||no Wifi|
|Body Specs||Epson R-D1||Leica Digilux 3|
142 x 89 x 40 mm
(5.6 x 3.5 x 1.6 in)
146 x 87 x 77 mm
(5.7 x 3.4 x 3.0 in)
|Camera Weight||620 g (21.9 oz)||606 g (21.4 oz)|
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