Epson R-D1 vs Leica M8
The Epson R-D1 and the Leica M8 are two enthusiast cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in March 2004 and September 2006. Both the R-D1 and the M8 are rangefinder-style mirrorless cameras that are based on an APS-C (R-D1) and an APS-H (M8) sensor. The Epson has a resolution of 6 megapixels, whereas the Leica provides 10.4 MP.
Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.
|Epson R-D1||Leica M8|
|Rangefinder camera||Rangefinder camera|
|Leica M mount lenses||Leica M mount lenses|
|6 MP, APS-C Sensor||10.4 MP, APS-H Sensor|
|no Video||no Video|
|ISO 200-1,600||ISO 160-2,500|
|Optical viewfinder||Optical viewfinder|
|2.0 LCD, 235k dots||2.5 LCD, 230k dots|
|Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)||Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)|
|1 shutter flaps per second||2 shutter flaps per second|
|142 x 89 x 40 mm, 620 g||139 x 80 x 37 mm, 591 g|
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Epson R-D1 and the Leica M8? 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 side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size and weight of the Epson R-D1 and the Leica M8. 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 dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
The M8 can be obtained in two different colors (black, silver), while the R-D1 is only available in black.
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Leica M8 is notably smaller (12 percent) than the Epson R-D1. Moreover, the M8 is markedly lighter (5 percent) than the R-D1. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the R-D1 nor the M8 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 (as in the M8) 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 table below summarizes the key physical specs of the two cameras alongside a broader set of comparators. 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|
|Leica M8||5.5 in||3.1 in||1.5 in||20.8 oz||..||n||Sep 2006||5,499|
|Canon XTi||5.0 in||3.3 in||2.6 in||19.6 oz||370||n||Aug 2006||799|
|Canon Rebel||5.6 in||3.9 in||2.8 in||22.9 oz||400||n||Aug 2003||899|
|Leica CL||5.2 in||3.1 in||1.8 in||14.2 oz||220||n||Nov 2017||2,795|
|Leica M10||5.5 in||3.1 in||1.5 in||23.3 oz||210||Y||Jan 2017||6,595|
|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 Vario||5.2 in||2.9 in||3.7 in||24.0 oz||450||n||Jun 2013||2,850|
|Leica M9||5.5 in||3.1 in||1.5 in||20.6 oz||..||n||Sep 2009||7,999|
|Nikon D40||4.9 in||3.7 in||2.5 in||18.4 oz||470||n||Nov 2006||499|
|Nikon D80||5.2 in||4.1 in||3.0 in||23.6 oz||600||n||Aug 2006||999|
|Nikon D50||5.2 in||4.0 in||3.0 in||21.9 oz||400||n||Apr 2005||749|
|Nikon D70s||5.5 in||4.4 in||3.1 in||24.0 oz||500||n||Apr 2005||899|
|Nikon D70||5.5 in||4.4 in||3.1 in||24.0 oz||400||n||Jan 2004||999|
|Panasonic L10||5.3 in||3.8 in||3.1 in||19.6 oz||450||n||Aug 2007||599|
Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.
(1) Number of images that can be taken on a full battery charge according to the CIPA-standard; (2) Official announcement.
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 45 percent) than the M8, 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.
The imaging sensor is at the core of digital cameras and its size is one of the main determining factors 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 more expensive and lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.
Of the two cameras under consideration, the Epson R-D1 features an APS-C sensor and the Leica M8 an APS-H sensor. The sensor area in the M8 is 31 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 1.5 and 1.3. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.
With 10.4MP, the M8 offers a higher resolution than the R-D1 (6MP), but the M8 has smaller individual pixels (pixel pitch of 6.84μm versus 7.85μm for the R-D1). Yet, the M8 is a much more recent model (by 2 years and 6 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 M8 has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.
The resolution advantage of the Leica M8 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the M8 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 19.7 x 13.2 inches or 50 x 33.4 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 15.7 x 10.5 inches or 40 x 26.7 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 13.1 x 8.8 inches or 33.3 x 22.3 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 M8 are ISO 160 to ISO 2500 (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 table below summarizes the physical sensor characteristics and sensor quality findings and compares them across a set of similar cameras.
|Leica M10||Full Frame||23.8||5952||3992||none||24.4||13.2||2133||86|
|Leica X-U Typ 113||APS-C||16.1||4928||3264||1080/30p||..||..||..||..|
|Leica X Vario||APS-C||16.1||4928||3272||1080/30p||23.4||12.7||1320||78|
|Leica M9||Full Frame||18.1||5212||3472||none||22.5||11.7||884||69|
|Panasonic L10||Four Thirds||10.0||3648||2736||none||21.3||10.8||429||55|
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. The R-D1 and the M8 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 following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Epson R-D1, the Leica M8, and comparable cameras.
|Leica X-U Typ 113||optional||n||3.0||920||fixed||n||1/2000s||5.0||Y||n|
|Leica X Vario||optional||n||3.0||920||fixed||n||1/2000s||5.0||Y||n|
The R-D1 writes its imaging data to SDHC cards, while the M8 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 M8 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
| WiFi |
|Leica X-U Typ 113||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|Leica X Vario||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
Studio photographers will appreciate that the Epson R-D1 (unlike the M8) features a PC Sync socket, so that professional strobe lights can be controlled by the camera.
Both the R-D1 and the M8 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The M8 was replaced by the Leica M9, 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 Epson and Leica websites.
So how do things add up? Which of the two cameras – the Epson R-D1 or the Leica M8 – has the upper hand? Is one clearly better than the other? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.
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 (45 percent cheaper at launch).
- More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in March 2004).
Arguments in favor of the Leica M8:
- More detail: Has more megapixels (10.4 vs 6MP), which boosts linear resolution by 31%.
- 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 (2.5" vs 2.0") for image review and settings control.
- Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/8000s vs 1/2000s) to freeze action.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (2 vs 1 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- More compact: Is smaller (139x80mm vs 142x89mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
- More prestigious: Has the Leica luxury appeal, which ensures a high resale value.
- More modern: Reflects 2 years and 6 months of technical progress since the R-D1 launch.
If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the M8 is the clear winner of the contest (12 : 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 wildlife photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a family photog, and a person interested in architecture has distinct needs from a sports shooter. Hence, the decision which camera is best and worth buying is often a very personal one.
In any case, while the comparison of technical specifications can provide a useful overview of the capabilities of different cameras, it says little about, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance of the R-D1 and the M8 in practical situations. User reviews, such as those found at amazon, can sometimes inform about these issues, but such feedback is often incomplete, inconsistent, and biased.
This is where reviews by experts come in. The following table reports the overall ratings of the cameras as published by some of the major 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.
|Epson R-D1||..||..||..||..||..||Mar 2004||2,999|
|Leica M8||..||+ +||..||..||..||Sep 2006||5,499|
|Canon XTi||+ +||+ +||o||4.5/5||4/5||Aug 2006||799|
|Canon Rebel||..||+ +||..||o||..||Aug 2003||899|
|Leica CL||..||..||..||..||4/5||Nov 2017||2,795|
|Leica M10||..||..||4/5||..||4.5/5||Jan 2017||6,595|
|Leica X-U Typ 113||..||..||..||..||3.5/5||Jan 2016||2,950|
|Leica X Vario||..||..||4/5||4/5||4/5||Jun 2013||2,850|
|Leica M9||..||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||..||Sep 2009||7,999|
|Nikon D40||81/100||+ +||o||5/5||4.5/5||Nov 2006||499|
|Nikon D80||+||+ +||o||4.5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2006||999|
|Nikon D50||78/100||+ +||4/5||o||4.5/5||Apr 2005||749|
|Nikon D70s||..||..||..||o||5/5||Apr 2005||899|
|Nikon D70||..||+ +||..||o||..||Jan 2004||999|
|Panasonic L10||85/100||+||3.5/5||o||4/5||Aug 2007||599|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
The review scores listed above should be treated with care, though. The ratings were established in reference to similarly priced cameras that were available in the market at the time of the review. A score, therefore, has to be seen in close connection to the price and market introduction time of the camera, and comparisons of ratings among very different cameras or across long time periods have little meaning. 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? If you would like to see a different side-by-side camera review, just make a corresponding selection in the search boxes below. As an alternative, you can also directly jump to any one of the listed comparisons that were previously generated by the CAM-parator tool.
Specifications: Epson R-D1 vs Leica M8
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 M8|
|Camera Type||Rangefinder camera||Rangefinder camera|
|Camera Lens||Leica M mount lenses||Leica M mount lenses|
|Launch Date||March 2004||September 2006|
|Launch Price||USD 2,999||USD 5,499|
|Sensor Specs||Epson R-D1||Leica M8|
|Sensor Format||APS-C Sensor||APS-H Sensor|
|Sensor Size||23.7 x 15.6 mm||27.0 x 18.0 mm|
|Sensor Area||369.72 mm2||486 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||28.4 mm||32.4 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||6 Megapixels||10.4 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||3008 x 2000 pixels||3936 x 2630 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||7.85 μm||6.84 μm|
|Pixel Density||1.63 MP/cm2||2.13 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||no AA filter|
|Movie Capability||no Video||no Video|
|ISO Setting||200 - 1,600 ISO||160 - 2,500 ISO|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||..||59|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||..||21.1|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||..||11.3|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||..||663|
|Screen Specs||Epson R-D1||Leica M8|
|Viewfinder Type||Optical viewfinder||Optical viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||100%||100%|
|Rear LCD Size||2.0inch||2.5inch|
|LCD Resolution||235k dots||230k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Fixed screen|
|Shooting Specs||Epson R-D1||Leica M8|
|Focus System||Manual Focus||Manual Focus|
|Continuous Shooting||1 shutter flaps/s||2 shutter flaps/s|
|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||no|
|Connectivity Specs||Epson R-D1||Leica M8|
|Studio Flash||PC Sync socket||no PC Sync|
|USB Connector||no USB||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||no HDMI||no HDMI|
|Wifi Support||no Wifi||no Wifi|
|Body Specs||Epson R-D1||Leica M8|
142 x 89 x 40 mm
(5.6 x 3.5 x 1.6 in)
139 x 80 x 37 mm
(5.5 x 3.1 x 1.5 in)
|Camera Weight||620 g (21.9 oz)||591 g (20.8 oz)|
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