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Epson R-D1 vs Leica S-E Typ 006

The Epson R-D1 and the Leica S-E (Typ 006) are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in March 2004 and September 2014. The R-D1 is a rangefinder-style mirrorless camera, while the S-E Typ 006 is a DSLR. The cameras are based on an APS-C (R-D1) and a medium format (S-E Typ 006) sensor. The Epson has a resolution of 6 megapixels, whereas the Leica provides 37.5 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 S-E Typ 006
Epson R-D1 Leica S-E Typ 006
Rangefinder camera Digital single lens reflex
Leica M mount lenses Leica S mount lenses
6 MP, APS-C Sensor 37.5 MP, Medium Format Sensor
no Video no Video
ISO 200-1,600 ISO 100-1,600
Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
2.0 LCD, 235k dots 3.0 LCD, 922k dots
Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive) Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)
1 shutter flaps per second 1.5 shutter flaps per second
not weather sealedWeathersealed body
142 x 89 x 40 mm, 620 g 160 x 120 x 80 mm, 1260 g

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Epson R-D1 and the Leica S-E (Typ 006)? 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 Epson R-D1 and the Leica S-E Typ 006 is provided in the side-by-side display below. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three consecutive perspectives from the front, the top, and the back are available. All width, height and depth measures are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

Size Epson R-D1 vs Leica S-E Typ 006
Compare R-D1 versus S-E Typ 006 top
Comparison R-D1 or S-E Typ 006 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Leica S-E Typ 006 is considerably larger (52 percent) than the Epson R-D1. Moreover, the S-E Typ 006 is substantially heavier (103 percent) than the R-D1. It is noteworthy in this context that the S-E Typ 006 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. Hence, you might want to study and compare the specifications of available lenses in order to get the full picture of the size and weight of the two camera systems.

The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the two cameras alongside a broader set of comparators. 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
 
Epson R-D1 5.6 in 3.5 in 1.6 in 21.9 oz .. n Mar 2004 2,999i
 
Leica S-E Typ 006 6.3 in 4.7 in 3.1 in 44.4 oz .. Y Sep 2014 16,900i
 
Canon Rebel 5.6 in 3.9 in 2.8 in 22.9 oz 400 n Aug 2003 899i
 
Leica S3 6.3 in 4.7 in 3.1 in 44.4 oz .. Y Sep 2018 18,995 i
 
Leica CL 5.2 in 3.1 in 1.8 in 14.2 oz 220 n Nov 2017 2,795 i
 
Leica M10 5.5 in 3.1 in 1.5 in 23.3 oz 210 Y Jan 2017 6,595 i
 
Leica X-U Typ 113 5.5 in 3.1 in 3.5 in 22.4 oz 450 Y Jan 2016 2,950i
 
Leica SL 5.8 in 4.1 in 1.5 in 29.9 oz 400 Y Oct 2015 7,450i
 
Leica S Typ 007 6.3 in 4.7 in 3.1 in 44.4 oz .. Y Sep 2014 24,490 i
 
Leica X Vario 5.2 in 2.9 in 3.7 in 24.0 oz 450 n Jun 2013 2,850i
 
Leica S Typ 006 6.3 in 4.7 in 3.1 in 44.4 oz .. Y Sep 2012 21,950i
 
Leica M9 5.5 in 3.1 in 1.5 in 20.6 oz .. n Sep 2009 7,999i
 
Leica S2 6.3 in 4.7 in 3.1 in 49.7 oz .. Y Sep 2008 22,995i
 
Nikon D40 4.9 in 3.7 in 2.5 in 18.4 oz 470 n Nov 2006 499i
 
Nikon D50 5.2 in 4.0 in 3.0 in 21.9 oz 400 n Apr 2005 749i
 
Nikon D70s 5.5 in 4.4 in 3.1 in 24.0 oz 500 n Apr 2005 899i
 
Nikon D70 5.5 in 4.4 in 3.1 in 24.0 oz 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 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 R-D1 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 82 percent) than the S-E Typ 006, 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 size of the imaging sensor is a crucial determinant 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. 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 are more costly to manufacture and tend to 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 S-E Typ 006 a medium format sensor. The sensor area in the S-E Typ 006 is 265 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 1.5 and 0.8. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.

Epson R-D1 and Leica S-E Typ 006 sensor measures

With 37.5MP, the S-E Typ 006 offers a higher resolution than the R-D1 (6MP), but the S-E Typ 006 has smaller individual pixels (pixel pitch of 6.00μm versus 7.85μm for the R-D1). Yet, the S-E Typ 006 is a much more recent model (by 10 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 S-E Typ 006 has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.

The resolution advantage of the Leica S-E Typ 006 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the S-E Typ 006 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 37.5 x 25 inches or 95.3 x 63.5 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 30 x 20 inches or 76.2 x 50.8 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 25 x 16.7 inches or 63.5 x 42.3 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 S-E (Typ 006) are ISO 100 to ISO 1600 (no boost).

R-D1 versus S-E Typ 006 MP

Since 2007, DXO Mark has published sensor performance measurements that have been derived using a consistent methodology. 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.

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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
 
Epson R-D1 APS-C 6.0 3008 2000none........
 
Leica S-E Typ 006 Medium Format 37.5 7500 5000none........
 
Canon Rebel APS-C 6.3 3072 2048none21.010.854455
 
Leica S3 Medium Format 64.0 9800 65334K/24p........
 
Leica CL APS-C 24.1 6014 40144K/30p........
 
Leica M10 Full Frame 23.8 5952 3992none24.413.2213386
 
Leica X-U Typ 113 APS-C 16.1 4928 32641080/30p........
 
Leica SL Full Frame 24.0 6000 40004K/30p25.013.4182188
 
Leica S Typ 007 Medium Format 37.5 7500 50004K/24p........
 
Leica X Vario APS-C 16.1 4928 32721080/30p23.412.7132078
 
Leica S Typ 006 Medium Format 37.5 7500 5000none23.912.282476
 
Leica M9 Full Frame 18.1 5212 3472none22.511.788469
 
Leica S2 Medium Format 37.5 7500 5000none........
 
Nikon D40 APS-C 6.0 3008 2000none21.011.056156
 
Nikon D50 APS-C 6.0 3008 2000none20.910.856055
 
Nikon D70s APS-C 6.0 3008 2000none20.410.352950
 
Nikon D70 APS-C 6.0 3008 2000none20.410.352950
Neither the R-D1 nor the S-E Typ 006 offer Live View, so that they cannot project the live image that the sensor receives onto the rear screen. Moreover, 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 S-E Typ 006 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 S-E Typ 006, and comparable 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
 
Epson R-D1optical n 2.0 235 fixed n 1/2000s 1.0 n n
 
Leica S-E Typ 006optical Y 3.0 922 fixed n 1/4000s 1.5 n n
 
Canon Rebeloptical n 1.8 118 fixed n 1/4000s 2.5 Y n
 
Leica S3optical Y 3.0 922 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 n n
 
Leica CL2360 Y 3.0 1040 fixed Y 1/8000s 10.0 n n
 
Leica M10optical n 3.0 1037 fixed n 1/4000s 5.0 n n
 
Leica X-U Typ 113optional n 3.0 920 fixed n 1/2000s 5.0 Y n
 
Leica SL4400 Y 3.0 1040 fixed Y 1/8000s 11.0 n n
 
Leica S Typ 007optical Y 3.0 922 fixed n 1/4000s 3.5 n n
 
Leica X Variooptional n 3.0 920 fixed n 1/2000s 5.0 Y n
 
Leica S Typ 006optical Y 3.0 922 fixed n 1/4000s 1.5 n n
 
Leica M9optical n 2.5 230 fixed n 1/4000s 2.0 n n
 
Leica S2optical Y 3.0 460 fixed n 1/4000s 1.5 n n
 
Nikon D40optical n 2.5 230 fixed n 1/4000s 2.5 Y n
 
Nikon D50optical n 2.0 130 fixed n 1/4000s 2.5 Y n
 
Nikon D70soptical n 2.0 130 fixed n 1/8000s 3.0 Y n
 
Nikon D70optical n 1.8 130 fixed n 1/8000s 3.0 Y n

One feature that is present on the S-E Typ 006, but is missing on the R-D1 is a top-level LCD. While being, of course, smaller than the rear screen, the control panel conveys some of the essential shooting information and can be convenient for quick and easy settings verification.

The R-D1 writes its imaging data to SDHC cards, while the S-E Typ 006 uses Compact Flash or SDXC cards. The S-E Typ 006 features dual card slots, which can be very useful in case a memory card fails. In contrast, the R-D1 only has one slot. The S-E Typ 006 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.

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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 Epson R-D1 and Leica S-E (Typ 006) 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
 
Epson R-D1Y---------
 
Leica S-E Typ 006Y----mini2.0---
 
Canon RebelY-----1.1---
 
Leica S3YstereomonoYYmini3.0Y--
 
Leica CLYstereomono----Y--
 
Leica M10Y------Y--
 
Leica X-U Typ 113Ystereomono---2.0---
 
Leica SLYstereomonoYYfull3.0Y--
 
Leica S Typ 007YstereomonoYYmini3.0Y--
 
Leica X VarioYstereomono--mini2.0---
 
Leica S Typ 006Y----mini2.0---
 
Leica M9Y-----2.0---
 
Leica S2Y----mini2.0---
 
Nikon D40Y-----2.0---
 
Nikon D50Y-----2.0---
 
Nikon D70sY-----2.0---
 
Nikon D70Y-----1.0---

Both cameras feature a PC Sync terminal to control professional strobe lights, which will be appreciated by studio photographers.

Both the R-D1 and the S-E Typ 006 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The S-E Typ 006 was replaced by the Leica S Typ 007, 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.

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Review summary

So how do things add up? Which of the two cameras – the Epson R-D1 or the Leica S-E Typ 006 – has the upper hand? Is one clearly better than the other? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.

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Arguments in favor of the Epson R-D1:

  • Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
  • More compact: Is smaller (142x89mm vs 160x120mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
  • Less heavy: Is lighter (by 640g or 51 percent) and hence easier to carry around.
  • More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (82 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in March 2004).

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Reasons to prefer the Leica S-E (Typ 006):

  • More detail: Has more megapixels (37.5 vs 6MP), which boosts linear resolution by 150%.
  • 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.
  • Easier setting verification: Features a control panel on top to check shooting parameters.
  • 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 (922k vs 235k dots).
  • Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/4000s vs 1/2000s) to freeze action.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (1.5 vs 1 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • Better sealing: Is splash and dust sealed for shooting in inclement weather conditions.
  • Greater peace of mind: Features a second card slot as a backup in case of memory card failure.
  • 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 10 years and 6 months of technical progress since the R-D1 launch.

If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the S-E Typ 006 is the clear winner of the contest (16 : 5 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 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.

R-D1 05:16 S-E Typ 006

In any case, while the comparison of the spec-sheets of cameras can offer a general idea of their imaging potential, it remains incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the R-D1 or the S-E Typ 006 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 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.

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Review Scores
  Camera
Model
camera
  labs  
dp
review  
ephoto
  zine  
imaging
resource
photography
  blog  
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
 
Epson R-D1.......... Mar 2004 2,999i
 
Leica S-E Typ 006.......... Sep 2014 16,900i
 
Canon Rebel..+ +..o.. Aug 2003 899i
 
Leica S3.......... Sep 2018 18,995 i
 
Leica CL........4/5 Nov 2017 2,795 i
 
Leica M10....4/5..4.5/5 Jan 2017 6,595 i
 
Leica X-U Typ 113........3.5/5 Jan 2016 2,950i
 
Leica SL..84/1004.5/54/54/5 Oct 2015 7,450i
 
Leica S Typ 007.......... Sep 2014 24,490 i
 
Leica X Vario....4/54/54/5 Jun 2013 2,850i
 
Leica S Typ 006.......... Sep 2012 21,950i
 
Leica M9....4.5/54.5/5.. Sep 2009 7,999i
 
Leica S2.......... Sep 2008 22,995i
 
Nikon D4081/100+ +o5/54.5/5 Nov 2006 499i
 
Nikon D5078/100+ +4/5o4.5/5 Apr 2005 749i
 
Nikon D70s......o5/5 Apr 2005 899i
 
Nikon D70..+ +..o.. Jan 2004 999i
Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.

Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, though. The assessments were made in relation to similar cameras of the same technological generation. A score, therefore, has to be seen in close connection to the price and market introduction time of the camera, and comparing ratings of very distinct cameras or ones that are far apart in terms of their release date have little meaning. It should also be noted that some of the review sites have over time altered the way they render their verdicts.

Epson R-D1:
Check Ebay offers
Leica S-E Typ 006:
Check Ebay offers

Other camera comparisons

Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? In case you would like to check on the differences and similarities of other camera models, just use the search menu 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 S-E Typ 006

    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 S-E Typ 006
    Camera Type Rangefinder camera Digital single lens reflex
    Camera Lens Leica M mount lenses Leica S mount lenses
    Launch Date March 2004 September 2014
    Launch Price USD 2,999 USD 16,900
    Sensor Specs Epson R-D1 Leica S-E Typ 006
    Sensor Technology CCD CCD
    Sensor Format APS-C Sensor Medium Format Sensor
    Sensor Size 23.7 x 15.6 mm 45.0 x 30.0 mm
    Sensor Area 369.72 mm2 1350 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 28.4 mm 54.1 mm
    Crop Factor 1.5x 0.8x
    Sensor Resolution 6 Megapixels 37.5 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 3008 x 2000 pixels 7500 x 5000 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 - 1,600 ISO
    Screen Specs Epson R-D1 Leica S-E Typ 006
    Viewfinder Type Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 100% 98%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.87x
    Top-Level Screen no Top Display Control Panel
    Rear LCD Size 2.0inch 3.0inch
    LCD Resolution 235k dots 922k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen Fixed screen
    Shooting Specs Epson R-D1 Leica S-E Typ 006
    Focus System Manual Focus Phase-detect AF
    Continuous Shooting 1 shutter flaps/s 1.5 shutter flaps/s
    Fill Flash no On-Board Flash no On-Board Flash
    Storage Medium SDHC cards CF or SDXC cards
    Second Storage Option Single card slot Dual card slots
    UHS card support no UHS-I
    Connectivity Specs Epson R-D1 Leica S-E Typ 006
    External Flash Hotshoe Hotshoe
    Studio Flash PC Sync socket PC Sync socket
    USB Connector no USB USB 2.0
    HDMI Port no HDMI mini HDMI
    Wifi Support no Wifi no Wifi
    Body Specs Epson R-D1 Leica S-E Typ 006
    Environmental Sealingnot weather sealedWeathersealed body
    Battery Type EU-85 BP-PRO1
    Body Dimensions 142 x 89 x 40 mm
    (5.6 x 3.5 x 1.6 in)
    160 x 120 x 80 mm
    (6.3 x 4.7 x 3.1 in)
    Camera Weight 620 g (21.9 oz) 1260 g (44.4 oz)

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