PW

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.

Headline Specifications
Epson R-D1 VS Leica Digilux 3
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.

Body comparison

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.

Size Epson R-D1 vs Leica Digilux 3
Compare R-D1 versus Digilux 3 top
Comparison R-D1 or Digilux 3 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 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.

Camera Body Specifications
  Camera
Model
Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life
(CIPA)
Weather
Sealing
(yes/no)
Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Camera
Model
 
Epson R-D1» 5.6 in 3.5 in 1.6 in 21.9 oz .. n Mar 2004 2,999iEpson R-D1
 
Leica Digilux 3« 5.7 in 3.4 in 3.0 in 21.4 oz 750 n Sep 2006 1,499iLeica Digilux 3
 
Canon Rebel« » 5.6 in 3.9 in 2.8 in 22.9 oz 400 n Aug 2003 899iCanon Rebel
 
Leica CL« » 5.2 in 3.1 in 1.8 in 14.2 oz 220 n Nov 2017 2,795 iLeica CL
 
Leica M10« » 5.5 in 3.1 in 1.5 in 23.3 oz 210 Y Jan 2017 6,595 iLeica M10
 
Leica X-U Typ 113« » 5.5 in 3.1 in 3.5 in 22.4 oz 450 Y Jan 2016 2,950 iLeica 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 iLeica X Vario
 
Leica M9« » 5.5 in 3.1 in 1.5 in 20.6 oz .. n Sep 2009 7,999iLeica M9
 
Nikon D40« » 4.9 in 3.7 in 2.5 in 18.4 oz 470 n Nov 2006 499iNikon D40
 
Nikon D50« » 5.2 in 4.0 in 3.0 in 21.9 oz 400 n Apr 2005 749iNikon D50
 
Nikon D70s« » 5.5 in 4.4 in 3.1 in 24.0 oz 500 n Apr 2005 899iNikon D70s
 
Nikon D70« » 5.5 in 4.4 in 3.1 in 24.0 oz 400 n Jan 2004 999iNikon D70
 
Olympus E-330« » 5.5 in 3.4 in 2.8 in 22.5 oz 750 n Jan 2006 999iOlympus E-330
 
Olympus E-500« » 5.1 in 3.7 in 2.6 in 16.9 oz 750 n Sep 2005 599iOlympus E-500
 
Olympus E-300« » 5.8 in 3.3 in 2.5 in 22.0 oz 750 n Sep 2004 799iOlympus E-300
 
Panasonic L10« » 5.3 in 3.8 in 3.1 in 19.6 oz 450 n Aug 2007 599iPanasonic L10
 
Panasonic L1« » 5.7 in 3.4 in 2.5 in 21.4 oz 750 n Feb 2006 999iPanasonic 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.

 

Sensor comparison

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.

Epson R-D1 and Leica Digilux 3 sensor measures

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).

R-D1 versus Digilux 3 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.

Sensor Characteristics
  Camera
Model
Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
Camera
Model
 
Epson R-D1 APS-C 6.0 3008 2000none........Epson R-D1
 
Leica Digilux 3 Four Thirds 7.4 3136 2352none........Leica Digilux 3
 
Canon Rebel APS-C 6.3 3072 2048none21.010.854455Canon Rebel
 
Leica CL APS-C 24.1 6014 40144K/30p........Leica CL
 
Leica M10 Full Frame 23.8 5952 3992none24.413.2213386Leica M10
 
Leica X-U Typ 113 APS-C 16.1 4928 32641080/30p........Leica X-U Typ 113
 
Leica X Vario APS-C 16.1 4928 32721080/30p23.412.7132078Leica X Vario
 
Leica M9 Full Frame 18.1 5212 3472none22.511.788469Leica M9
 
Nikon D40 APS-C 6.0 3008 2000none21.011.056156Nikon D40
 
Nikon D50 APS-C 6.0 3008 2000none20.910.856055Nikon D50
 
Nikon D70s APS-C 6.0 3008 2000none20.410.352950Nikon D70s
 
Nikon D70 APS-C 6.0 3008 2000none20.410.352950Nikon D70
 
Olympus E-330 Four Thirds 7.4 3136 2352none........Olympus E-330
 
Olympus E-500 Four Thirds 8.0 3264 2448none........Olympus E-500
 
Olympus E-300 Four Thirds 8.0 3264 2448none........Olympus E-300
 
Panasonic L10 Four Thirds 10.0 3648 2736none21.310.842955Panasonic L10
 
Panasonic L1 Four Thirds 7.4 3136 2352none........Panasonic L1
The Digilux 3 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.
 

Feature comparison

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.

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
Camera
Model
 
Epson R-D1optical n 2.0 235 fixed n 1/2000s 1.0 n n Epson R-D1
 
Leica Digilux 3optical n 2.5 207 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n Leica Digilux 3
 
Canon Rebeloptical n 1.8 118 fixed n 1/4000s 2.5 Y n Canon Rebel
 
Leica CL2360 Y 3.0 1040 fixed Y 1/8000s 10.0 n n Leica CL
 
Leica M10optical n 3.0 1037 fixed n 1/4000s 5.0 n n Leica M10
 
Leica X-U Typ 113optional n 3.0 920 fixed n 1/2000s 5.0 Y n Leica X-U Typ 113
 
Leica X Variooptional n 3.0 920 fixed n 1/2000s 5.0 Y n Leica X Vario
 
Leica M9optical n 2.5 230 fixed n 1/4000s 2.0 n n Leica M9
 
Nikon D40optical n 2.5 230 fixed n 1/4000s 2.5 Y n Nikon D40
 
Nikon D50optical n 2.0 130 fixed n 1/4000s 2.5 Y n Nikon D50
 
Nikon D70soptical n 2.0 130 fixed n 1/8000s 3.0 Y n Nikon D70s
 
Nikon D70optical n 1.8 130 fixed n 1/8000s 3.0 Y n Nikon D70
 
Olympus E-330optical n 2.5 215 tilting n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n Olympus E-330
 
Olympus E-500optical n 2.5 215 fixed n 1/4000s 2.5 Y n Olympus E-500
 
Olympus E-300optical n 1.8 134 fixed n 1/4000s 2.5 Y n Olympus E-300
 
Panasonic L10optical n 2.5 207 swivel n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n Panasonic L10
 
Panasonic L1optical 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.

 

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 Epson R-D1 and Leica Digilux 3 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.

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
Camera
Model
 
Epson R-D1Ynonenone--nonenone---Epson R-D1
 
Leica Digilux 3Ystereomono--none2.0---Leica Digilux 3
 
Canon RebelYnonenone--none1.1---Canon Rebel
 
Leica CLYstereomono--nonenoneY--Leica CL
 
Leica M10Ynonenone--nonenoneY--Leica M10
 
Leica X-U Typ 113Ystereomono--none2.0---Leica X-U Typ 113
 
Leica X VarioYstereomono--mini2.0---Leica X Vario
 
Leica M9Ynonenone--none2.0---Leica M9
 
Nikon D40Ynonenone--none2.0---Nikon D40
 
Nikon D50Ynonenone--none2.0---Nikon D50
 
Nikon D70sYnonenone--none2.0---Nikon D70s
 
Nikon D70Ynonenone--none1.0---Nikon D70
 
Olympus E-330Ynonenone--none2.0---Olympus E-330
 
Olympus E-500Ynonenone--none2.0---Olympus E-500
 
Olympus E-300Ynonenone--none2.0---Olympus E-300
 
Panasonic L10Ynonenone--none2.0---Panasonic L10
 
Panasonic L1Ynonenone--none2.0---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.

Review summary

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.

ilogo

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).

ilogo

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.

R-D1 07:08 Digilux 3

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.

Expert reviews

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.

Review Scores
  Camera
Model
cam
era
  labs  
dp
re
  view  
e
photo
  zine  
ima
ging
resource
photo
graphy
  blog  
Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Camera
Model
 
Epson R-D1.......... Mar 2004 2,999iEpson R-D1
 
Leica Digilux 3.......... Sep 2006 1,499iLeica Digilux 3
 
Canon Rebel..+ +..o.. Aug 2003 899iCanon Rebel
 
Leica CL........4/5 Nov 2017 2,795 iLeica CL
 
Leica M10....4/5..4.5/5 Jan 2017 6,595 iLeica M10
 
Leica X-U Typ 113........3.5/5 Jan 2016 2,950 iLeica X-U Typ 113
 
Leica X Vario....4/54/54/5 Jun 2013 2,850 iLeica X Vario
 
Leica M9....4.5/54.5/5.. Sep 2009 7,999iLeica M9
 
Nikon D4081/100+ +o5/54.5/5 Nov 2006 499iNikon D40
 
Nikon D5078/100+ +4/5o4.5/5 Apr 2005 749iNikon D50
 
Nikon D70s......o5/5 Apr 2005 899iNikon D70s
 
Nikon D70..+ +..o.. Jan 2004 999iNikon D70
 
Olympus E-330..+o3.5/5.. Jan 2006 999iOlympus E-330
 
Olympus E-50076/100+ +...... Sep 2005 599iOlympus E-500
 
Olympus E-300..+oo4.5/5 Sep 2004 799iOlympus E-300
 
Panasonic L1085/100+3.5/5o4/5 Aug 2007 599iPanasonic L10
 
Panasonic L185/100+..o3.5/5 Feb 2006 999iPanasonic L1
Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.

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.

Epson R-D1:
Check Ebay offers
Leica Digilux 3:
Check Ebay offers

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.

~

    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 Specifications
    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 Technology CCD CMOS
    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
    Crop Factor 1.5x 2.0x
    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%
    Viewfinder Magnification ..x 0.47x
    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
    External Flash Hotshoe Hotshoe
    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
    Battery Type EU-85 BP-DC3
    Body Dimensions 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)

    Did you notice an error on this page? If so, please get in touch, so that we can correct the information.

    You are here Home  »  CAM-parator  »  Epson R-D1 vs Leica Digilux 3