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Epson R-D1 vs Leica M10

The Epson R-D1 and the Leica M10 (Typ 3656) are two enthusiast cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in March 2004 and January 2017. Both the R-D1 and the M10 are rangefinder-focusing mirrorless cameras that are based on an APS-C (R-D1) and a full frame (M10) sensor. The Epson has a resolution of 6 megapixels, whereas the Leica provides 23.8 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
versus
Leica M10
Epson R-D1   Leica M10
Rangefinder camera Rangefinder camera
Leica M mount lenses Leica M mount lenses
6 MP – APS-C sensor 23.8 MP – Full Frame sensor
no Video no Video
ISO 200-1,600 ISO 100-50,000
Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
2.0" LCD – 235k dots 2.0" LCD – 1037k dots
Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive) Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)
1 shutter flaps per second 5 shutter flaps per second
not weather sealedWeathersealed body
142 x 89 x 40 mm, 620 g 139 x 80 x 39 mm, 660 g
Epson R-D1:
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Leica M10:
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Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Epson R-D1 and the Leica M10 (Typ 3656)? 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 side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size and weight of the Epson R-D1 and the Leica M10. 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 M10 can be obtained in two different colors (black, silver), while the R-D1 is only available in black.

Size Epson R-D1 vs Leica M10
Compare R-D1 versus M10 top
Comparison R-D1 or M10 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Leica M10 is notably smaller (12 percent) than the Epson R-D1. However, the M10 is markedly heavier (6 percent) than the R-D1. It is noteworthy in this context that the M10 is splash and dust-proof, while the R-D1 does not feature any corresponding weather-sealing.

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 (as in the M10) will tend to go along with bigger and heavier lenses, while more compact options are available for the smaller-sensor camera (R-D1). You can compare the optics available in the Leica M Lens Catalog.

The following table provides a synthesis of the main physical specifications of the two cameras and other similar ones. 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.

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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.
 
Epson R-D1 142 mm 89 mm 40 mm 620 g .. n Mar 2004 2,999i
2.
 
Leica M10 139 mm 80 mm 39 mm 660 g 210 Y Jan 2017 6,595 i
3.
 
Canon Rebel 142 mm 99 mm 72 mm 649 g 400 n Aug 2003 899i
4.
 
Leica M-E Typ 240 139 mm 80 mm 42 mm 680 g .. Y Jun 2019 3,999 i
5.
 
Leica M10-P 139 mm 80 mm 39 mm 660 g 210 Y Aug 2018 7,995 i
6.
 
Leica CL 131 mm 78 mm 45 mm 403 g 220 n Nov 2017 2,795 i
7.
 
Leica X-U Typ 113 140 mm 79 mm 88 mm 635 g 450 Y Jan 2016 2,950i
8.
 
Leica M Typ 262 139 mm 80 mm 42 mm 680 g .. Y Nov 2015 5,195i
9.
 
Leica Q Typ 116 130 mm 80 mm 93 mm 640 g 300 n Jun 2015 4,249i
10.
 
Leica X Vario 133 mm 73 mm 95 mm 680 g 450 n Jun 2013 2,850i
11.
 
Leica M Typ 240 139 mm 80 mm 42 mm 680 g .. Y Sep 2012 6,950i
12.
 
Leica M9 139 mm 80 mm 37 mm 585 g .. n Sep 2009 7,999i
13.
 
Nikon D40 124 mm 94 mm 64 mm 522 g 470 n Nov 2006 499i
14.
 
Nikon D50 133 mm 102 mm 76 mm 620 g 400 n Apr 2005 749i
15.
 
Nikon D70s 140 mm 111 mm 78 mm 679 g 500 n Apr 2005 899i
16.
 
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.

Any camera decision will obviously take relative prices into account. The listed launch prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The R-D1 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 55 percent) than the M10, which puts it into a different market segment. 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.

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Sensor comparison

The size of the sensor inside a digital camera is one of the key determinants 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.

Of the two cameras under consideration, the Epson R-D1 features an APS-C sensor and the Leica M10 a full frame sensor. The sensor area in the M10 is 131 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 1.5 and 1.0. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.

Epson R-D1 and Leica M10 sensor measures

With 23.8MP, the M10 offers a higher resolution than the R-D1 (6MP), but the M10 has smaller individual pixels (pixel pitch of 6.00μm versus 7.85μm for the R-D1). Yet, the M10 is a much more recent model (by 12 years and 10 months) than the R-D1, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixel-units. Coming back to sensor resolution, it should be mentioned that the M10 has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.

The resolution advantage of the Leica M10 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the M10 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 29.8 x 20 inches or 75.6 x 50.7 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 23.8 x 16 inches or 60.5 x 40.6 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 19.8 x 13.3 inches or 50.4 x 33.8 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 Epson R-D1 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 200 to ISO 1600. The corresponding ISO settings for the Leica M10 (Typ 3656) are ISO 100 to ISO 50000 (no boost).

R-D1 versus M10 MP

Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for many cameras. This service is based on lab testing and assigns an overall score to each camera sensor, as well as ratings for dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), color depth ("DXO Portrait"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"). The table below summarizes the physical sensor characteristics and sensor quality findings and compares them across a set of similar 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.
 
Epson R-D1 APS-C 6.0 3008 2000none21.110.456455
2.
 
Leica M10 Full Frame 23.8 5952 3992none24.413.2213386
3.
 
Canon Rebel APS-C 6.3 3072 2048none21.010.854455
4.
 
Leica M-E Typ 240 Full Frame 23.7 5952 39761080/25p25.214.2282194
5.
 
Leica M10-P Full Frame 23.8 5952 3992none25.114.1273993
6.
 
Leica CL APS-C 24.1 6014 40144K/30p24.013.3178882
7.
 
Leica X-U Typ 113 APS-C 16.1 4928 32641080/30p23.813.0161480
8.
 
Leica M Typ 262 Full Frame 23.7 5952 3976none24.813.7247890
9.
 
Leica Q Typ 116 Full Frame 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.312.7222185
10.
 
Leica X Vario APS-C 16.1 4928 32721080/30p23.412.7132078
11.
 
Leica M Typ 240 Full Frame 23.7 5952 39761080/25p24.013.3186084
12.
 
Leica M9 Full Frame 18.1 5212 3472none22.511.788469
13.
 
Nikon D40 APS-C 6.0 3008 2000none21.011.056156
14.
 
Nikon D50 APS-C 6.0 3008 2000none20.910.856055
15.
 
Nikon D70s APS-C 6.0 3008 2000none20.410.352950
16.
 
Nikon D70 APS-C 6.0 3008 2000none20.410.352950
Note: DXO values in italics represent estimates based on sensor size and age.
The M10 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 R-D1 and the M10 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 M10 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.
 
Epson R-D1optical n2.0 / 235 fixed n 1/2000s 1.0/s n n
2.
 
Leica M10optical n3.0 / 1037 fixed n 1/4000s 5.0/s n n
3.
 
Canon Rebeloptical n1.8 / 118 fixed n 1/4000s 2.5/s Y n
4.
 
Leica M-E Typ 240optical n3.0 / 920 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0/s n n
5.
 
Leica M10-Poptical n3.0 / 1037 fixed Y 1/4000s 5.0/s n n
6.
 
Leica CL2360 Y3.0 / 1040 fixed Y 1/8000s 10.0/s n n
7.
 
Leica X-U Typ 113optional n3.0 / 920 fixed n 1/2000s 5.0/s Y n
8.
 
Leica M Typ 262optical n3.0 / 921 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0/s n n
9.
 
Leica Q Typ 1163680 n3.0 / 1040 fixed Y 1/2000s 10.0/s n Y
10.
 
Leica X Variooptional n3.0 / 920 fixed n 1/2000s 5.0/s Y n
11.
 
Leica M Typ 240optical n3.0 / 920 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0/s n n
12.
 
Leica M9optical n2.5 / 230 fixed n 1/4000s 2.0/s n n
13.
 
Nikon D40optical n2.5 / 230 fixed n 1/4000s 2.5/s Y n
14.
 
Nikon D50optical n2.0 / 130 fixed n 1/4000s 2.5/s Y n
15.
 
Nikon D70soptical n2.0 / 130 fixed n 1/8000s 3.0/s Y n
16.
 
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.

The Leica M10 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 R-D1 writes its imaging data to SDHC cards, while the M10 uses SDXC cards. The M10 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 Epson R-D1 and Leica M10 (Typ 3656) 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.
 
Epson R-D1Y- / --------
2.
 
Leica M10Y- / -----Y--
3.
 
Canon RebelY- / ----1.1---
4.
 
Leica M-E Typ 240Ymono / ----2.0---
5.
 
Leica M10-PY- / -----Y--
6.
 
Leica CLYstereo / mono----Y--
7.
 
Leica X-U Typ 113Ystereo / mono---2.0---
8.
 
Leica M Typ 262Y- / ----2.0---
9.
 
Leica Q Typ 116Ystereo / mono--micro2.0YY-
10.
 
Leica X VarioYstereo / mono--mini2.0---
11.
 
Leica M Typ 240Ystereo / mono---2.0---
12.
 
Leica M9Y- / ----2.0---
13.
 
Nikon D40Y- / ----2.0---
14.
 
Nikon D50Y- / ----2.0---
15.
 
Nikon D70sY- / ----2.0---
16.
 
Nikon D70Y- / ----1.0---

It is notable that the M10 offers wifi support, which can be a very convenient means to transfer image data to an off-camera location. In contrast, the R-D1 does not provide wifi capability.

Studio photographers will appreciate that the Epson R-D1 (unlike the M10) features a PC Sync socket, so that professional strobe lights can be controlled by the camera.

The M10 is a recent model that features in the current product line-up of Leica. In contrast, the R-D1 has been discontinued (but can be found pre-owned on eBay). There has not been a direct replacement model for the R-D1 from Epson. 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.

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Review summary

So how do things add up? Is the Epson R-D1 better than the Leica M10 or vice versa? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.

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Reasons to prefer the Epson R-D1:

  • Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
  • Better studio light control: Has a PC Sync socket to connect to professional strobe lights.
  • More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (55 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in March 2004).

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Advantages of the Leica M10 (Typ 3656):

  • More detail: Has more megapixels (23.8 vs 6MP), which boosts linear resolution by 98%.
  • Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
  • Better image quality: Is equipped with a larger and more technologically advanced sensor.
  • Richer colors: The sensor size advantage translates into images with better, more accurate colors.
  • More dynamic range: Larger sensor captures a wider spectrum of light and dark details.
  • Better low-light sensitivity: Larger sensor produces good images even in poorly lit environments.
  • 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 (1037k vs 235k dots).
  • Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/4000s vs 1/2000s) to freeze action.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (5 vs 1 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • Easier time-lapse photography: Has an intervalometer built-in for low frequency shooting.
  • More compact: Is smaller (139x80mm vs 142x89mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
  • Better sealing: Is splash and dust sealed for shooting in inclement weather conditions.
  • 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 prestigious: Has the Leica luxury appeal, which ensures a high resale value.
  • More modern: Reflects 12 years and 10 months of technical progress since the R-D1 launch.

If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the M10 is the clear winner of the contest (17 : 4 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 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 04:17 M10

In any case, while the comparison of technical specifications can provide a useful overview of the capabilities of different cameras, it remains incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the R-D1 or the M10 perform in practice. 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 expert reviews are important. The table below provides a synthesis of the camera assessments of some of the best known photo-gear 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.
 
Epson R-D1............ Mar 2004 2,999i
2.
 
Leica M104.5/5......4/54.5/5 Jan 2017 6,595 i
3.
 
Canon Rebel......+ +.... Aug 2003 899i
4.
 
Leica M-E Typ 240............ Jun 2019 3,999 i
5.
 
Leica M10-P....3/5....4/5 Aug 2018 7,995 i
6.
 
Leica CL....4.2/5....4/5 Nov 2017 2,795 i
7.
 
Leica X-U Typ 1133.5/5........3.5/5 Jan 2016 2,950i
8.
 
Leica M Typ 262............ Nov 2015 5,195i
9.
 
Leica Q Typ 1165/5....80/1004.5/54.5/5 Jun 2015 4,249i
10.
 
Leica X Vario3/5......4/54/5 Jun 2013 2,850i
11.
 
Leica M Typ 2404/5......4/5.. Sep 2012 6,950i
12.
 
Leica M9........4.5/5.. Sep 2009 7,999i
13.
 
Nikon D40..81/100..+ +o4.5/5 Nov 2006 499i
14.
 
Nikon D50..78/100..+ +4/54.5/5 Apr 2005 749i
15.
 
Nikon D70s..........5/5 Apr 2005 899i
16.
 
Nikon D70......+ +.... Jan 2004 999i
Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.

The above review scores should be interpreted with care, though. The assessments were made in relation to similar cameras of the same technological generation. 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. Also, please note that some of the review sites have changed their methodology and reporting over time.

Epson R-D1:
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Leica M10:
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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. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting.

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    Specifications: Epson R-D1 vs Leica M10

    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 M10
    Camera Type Rangefinder camera Rangefinder camera
    Camera Lens Leica M mount lenses Leica M mount lenses
    Launch Date March 2004 January 2017
    Launch Price USD 2,999 USD 6,595
    Sensor Specs Epson R-D1 Leica M10
    Sensor Technology CCD CMOS
    Sensor Format APS-C Sensor Full Frame Sensor
    Sensor Size 23.7 x 15.6 mm 35.8 x 23.9 mm
    Sensor Area 369.72 mm2 855.62 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 28.4 mm 43 mm
    Crop Factor 1.5x 1.0x
    Sensor Resolution 6 Megapixels 23.8 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 3008 x 2000 pixels 5952 x 3992 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 7.85 μm 6.00 μm
    Pixel Density 1.63 MP/cm2 2.78 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter no AA filter
    Movie Capability no Video no Video
    ISO Setting 200 - 1,600 ISO 100 - 50,000 ISO
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) .. 86
    DXO Color Depth (bits) .. 24.4
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) .. 13.2
    DXO Low Light (ISO) .. 2133
    Screen Specs Epson R-D1 Leica M10
    Viewfinder Type Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 100% 100%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.73x
    LCD Framing Live View
    Rear LCD Size 2.0inch 3.0inch
    LCD Resolution 235k dots 1037k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen Fixed screen
    Shooting Specs Epson R-D1 Leica M10
    Focus System Manual Focus Manual Focus
    Manual Focusing Aidno Peaking FeatureFocus Peaking
    Max Shutter Speed (mechanical) 1/2000s 1/4000s
    Continuous Shooting 1 shutter flaps/s 5 shutter flaps/s
    Time-Lapse Photographyno IntervalometerIntervalometer built-in
    Fill Flash no On-Board Flash no On-Board Flash
    Storage Medium SDHC cards SDXC cards
    Second Storage Option Single card slot Single card slot
    UHS card support no UHS-I
    Connectivity Specs Epson R-D1 Leica M10
    External Flash Hotshoe Hotshoe
    Studio Flash PC Sync socket no PC Sync
    USB Connector no USB no USB
    HDMI Port no HDMI no HDMI
    Wifi Support no Wifi Wifi built-in
    Body Specs Epson R-D1 Leica M10
    Environmental Sealingnot weather sealedWeathersealed body
    Battery Type EU-85 BP-SCL5
    Body Dimensions 142 x 89 x 40 mm
    (5.6 x 3.5 x 1.6 in)
    139 x 80 x 39 mm
    (5.5 x 3.1 x 1.5 in)
    Camera Weight 620 g (21.9 oz) 660 g (23.3 oz)
    Epson R-D1:
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    Leica M10:
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