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Epson R-D1 vs Leica TL2

The Epson R-D1 and the Leica TL2 are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in March 2004 and July 2017. The R-D1 is a fixed lens compact, while the TL2 is a rangefinder-style mirrorless. Both cameras are equipped with an APS-C sensor. The Epson has a resolution of 6 megapixels, whereas the Leica provides 24.1 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   Leica TL2
Epson R-D1 Leica TL2
Rangefinder camera Mirrorless system camera
Leica M mount lenses Leica T mount lenses
6 MP, APS-C Sensor 24.1 MP, APS-C Sensor
no Video 4K/30p Video
ISO 200-1600 ISO 100-50000
Optical viewfinder Viewfinder optional
2.0" LCD, 235k dots 3.7" LCD, 1230k dots
Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive) Fixed touchscreen
1 shutter flaps per second 7 shutter flaps per second
142 x 89 x 40 mm, 620 g 134 x 69 x 33 mm, 399 g

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Epson R-D1 and the Leica TL2? 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 TL2 are illustrated 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.

The TL2 can be obtained in two different colors (black, silver), while the R-D1 is only available in black.

Size Epson R-D1 vs Leica TL2
Compare R-D1 versus TL2 top
Comparison R-D1 or TL2 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Leica TL2 is notably smaller (27 percent) than the Epson R-D1. Moreover, the TL2 is substantially lighter (36 percent) than the R-D1. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the R-D1 nor the TL2 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. 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 power pack in the TL2 can be charged via the USB port, which can be very convenient when travelling.

The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the two cameras alongside a broader set of comparators. If you would like to visualize and compare a different camera combination, just use the right or left arrows in the table to switch to the respective camera. Alternatively, you can also navigate to the CAM-parator app and make your selection from the full list of cameras there.

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)
Used
Price
(USD)
Camera
Model
 
Epson R-D1» 5.6 in 3.5 in 1.6 in 21.9 oz .. n Mar 2004 2,999- i Epson R-D1
 
Leica TL2« 5.3 in 2.7 in 1.3 in 14.1 oz 250 n Jul 2017 1,950 i i Leica TL2
 
Canon Rebel« » 5.6 in 3.9 in 2.8 in 22.9 oz 400 n Aug 2003 899- i Canon Rebel
 
Fujifilm X-T20« » 4.6 in 3.3 in 1.6 in 13.5 oz 350 n Jan 2017 899 i i Fujifilm X-T20
 
Fujifilm X-A3« » 4.6 in 2.6 in 1.6 in 12.0 oz 410 n Aug 2016 399- i Fujifilm X-A3
 
Leica CL« » 5.2 in 3.1 in 1.8 in 14.2 oz 220 n Nov 2017 2,795 i i Leica CL
 
Leica M10« » 5.5 in 3.1 in 1.5 in 23.3 oz 210 Y Jan 2017 6,595 i i Leica M10
 
Leica TL« » 5.3 in 2.7 in 1.3 in 13.5 oz 400 n Nov 2016 1,695- i Leica TL
 
Leica X-U Typ 113« » 5.5 in 3.1 in 3.5 in 22.4 oz 450 Y Jan 2016 2,950 i i 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 i i Leica X Vario
 
Leica M9« » 5.5 in 3.1 in 1.5 in 20.6 oz .. n Sep 2009 7,999- i Leica M9
 
Nikon D3400« » 4.9 in 3.9 in 3.0 in 15.7 oz 1200 n Aug 2016 499- i Nikon D3400
 
Nikon D40« » 4.9 in 3.7 in 2.5 in 18.4 oz 470 n Nov 2006 499- i Nikon D40
 
Nikon D50« » 5.2 in 4.0 in 3.0 in 21.9 oz 400 n Apr 2005 749- i Nikon D50
 
Nikon D70s« » 5.5 in 4.4 in 3.1 in 24.0 oz 500 n Apr 2005 899- i Nikon D70s
 
Nikon D70« » 5.5 in 4.4 in 3.1 in 24.0 oz 400 n Jan 2004 999- i Nikon D70
Note: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.

Any camera decision will obviously take relative prices into account. 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 TL2 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 35 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. Moreover, a large sensor camera will give the photographer more control over depth-of-field in the image and, thus, the ability to better 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.

Both cameras under consideration feature an APS-C sensor, but their sensors differ slightly in size. They nevertheless have the same format factor of 1.5. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.

Epson R-D1 and Leica TL2 sensor measures

With 24.1MP, the TL2 offers a higher resolution than the R-D1 (6MP), but the TL2 has smaller individual pixels (pixel pitch of 3.92μm versus 7.85μm for the R-D1). Yet, the TL2 is a much more recent model (by 13 years and 4 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 TL2 has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.

The resolution advantage of the Leica TL2 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the TL2 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 30.1 x 20.1 inch or 76.4 x 51 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 24.1 x 16.1 inch or 61.1 x 40.8 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 20 x 13.4 inch or 50.9 x 34 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 TL2 are ISO 100 to ISO 50000 (no boost).

R-D1 versus TL2 MP

For many cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. 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.

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 2000-----Epson R-D1
 
Leica TL2« APS-C 24.1 6014 40144K/30p----Leica TL2
 
Canon Rebel« » APS-C 6.3 3072 2048-21.010.854455Canon Rebel
 
Fujifilm X-T20« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40004K/30p----Fujifilm X-T20
 
Fujifilm X-A3« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p----Fujifilm X-A3
 
Leica CL« » APS-C 24.1 6014 40144K/30p----Leica CL
 
Leica M10« » Full Frame 23.8 5952 3992-24.413.2213386Leica M10
 
Leica TL« » APS-C 16.1 4928 32641080/30p----Leica TL
 
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 3472-22.511.788469Leica M9
 
Nikon D3400« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.813.9119286Nikon D3400
 
Nikon D40« » APS-C 6.0 3008 2000-21.011.056156Nikon D40
 
Nikon D50« » APS-C 6.0 3008 2000-20.910.856055Nikon D50
 
Nikon D70s« » APS-C 6.0 3008 2000-20.410.352950Nikon D70s
 
Nikon D70« » APS-C 6.0 3008 2000-20.410.352950Nikon D70

Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. The TL2 indeed provides for movie recording, while the R-D1 does not. The highest resolution format that the TL2 can use is 4K/30p.

 

Feature comparison

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. For example, the R-D1 has an optical viewfinder, which can be very useful when shooting in bright sunlight. In contrast, the TL2 relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. That said, the TL2 can be equipped with an optional viewfinder – the Visoflex (Typ 020). The table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Epson R-D1 and Leica TL2 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-D1»optical n 2.0 235 fixed n 1/2000s 1.0 n n Epson R-D1
 
Leica TL2«- n 3.7 1230 fixed Y 1/4000s 7.0 n n Leica TL2
 
Canon Rebel« »optical n 1.8 118 fixed n 1/4000s 2.5 Y n Canon Rebel
 
Fujifilm X-T20« »2360 n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 1/4000s 8.0 Y n Fujifilm X-T20
 
Fujifilm X-A3« »- n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 1/4000s 6.0 Y n Fujifilm X-A3
 
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 TL« »- n 3.7 1230 fixed Y 1/4000s 5.0 Y n Leica TL
 
Leica X-U Typ 113« »- n 3.0 920 fixed n 1/2000s 5.0 Y n Leica X-U Typ 113
 
Leica X Vario« »- 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 D3400« »optical n 3.0 921 fixed n 1/4000s 5.0 Y n Nikon D3400
 
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

One differentiating feature between the two cameras concerns the touch sensitivity of the rear screen. The TL2 has a touchscreen, while the R-D1 has a conventional panel. Touch control can be particularly helpful, for example, for setting the focus point.

The R-D1 writes its imaging data to SDHC cards, while the TL2 uses SDXC cards. The TL2 supports UHS-II cards (Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 312 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 TL2 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
Type
WiFi
Support
NFC
Support
Bluetooth
Support
Camera
Model
 
Epson R-D1»Y---------Epson R-D1
 
Leica TL2«Ystereomono--micro3.0Y--Leica TL2
 
Canon Rebel« »Y-----1.1---Canon Rebel
 
Fujifilm X-T20« »YstereomonoY-micro2.0Y--Fujifilm X-T20
 
Fujifilm X-A3« »Ystereomono--micro2.0Y--Fujifilm X-A3
 
Leica CL« »Ystereomono----Y--Leica CL
 
Leica M10« »Y------Y--Leica M10
 
Leica TL« »Ystereomono--micro2.0Y--Leica TL
 
Leica X-U Typ 113« »Ystereomono---2.0---Leica X-U Typ 113
 
Leica X Vario« »Ystereomono--mini2.0---Leica X Vario
 
Leica M9« »Y-----2.0---Leica M9
 
Nikon D3400« »Ymonomono--mini2.0--YNikon D3400
 
Nikon D40« »Y-----2.0---Nikon D40
 
Nikon D50« »Y-----2.0---Nikon D50
 
Nikon D70s« »Y-----2.0---Nikon D70s
 
Nikon D70« »Y-----1.0---Nikon D70

It is notable that the TL2 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 offer wifi capability.

Studio photographers will appreciate that the Epson R-D1 (unlike the TL2) features a PC Sync socket, so that professional strobe lights can be controlled by the camera.

The TL2 is a recent model that features in the current product line-up of Leica. In contrast, the R-D1 has been discontinued (but it 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.


Review summary

So what is the bottom line? Which of the two cameras – the Epson R-D1 or the Leica TL2 – has the upper hand? Is one clearly better than the other? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.

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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.
  • Easier framing: Has an optical viewfinder for image composition and settings control.
  • 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).

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Advantages of the Leica TL2:

  • More detail: Has more megapixels (24.1 vs 6MP), which boosts linear resolution by 100%.
  • Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
  • Broader imaging potential: Can capture not only stills but also 4K/30p video.
  • Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.7" vs 2.0") for image review and settings control.
  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1230k vs 235k dots).
  • Fewer buttons to press: Has a touchscreen to facilitate handling and shooting adjustments.
  • Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/4000s vs 1/2000s) to freeze action.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (7 vs 1 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • More compact: Is smaller (134x69mm vs 142x89mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
  • Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 221g or 36 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
  • Easier travel charging: Can be conveniently charged via its USB port.
  • 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-II standard.
  • More prestigious: Has the Leica luxury appeal, which ensures a high resale value.
  • More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (35 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More modern: Reflects 13 years and 4 months of technical progress since the R-D1 launch.

If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the TL2 is the clear winner of the contest (15 : 4 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 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.

R-D1 04:15 TL2

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 TL2 perform in practice. User reviews that are available, for instance, at amazon can sometimes shed light on these issues, but such feedback is all too often partial, inconsistent, and inaccurate.

Expert reviews

This is where reviews by experts come in. 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
cameralabs dpreview ephotozine imaging-resource photographyblog Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Used
Price
(USD)
Camera
Model
 
Epson R-D1»----- Mar 2004 2,999- i Epson R-D1
 
Leica TL2«--4/5-4/5 Jul 2017 1,950 i i Leica TL2
 
Canon Rebel« »-+ +-o- Aug 2003 899- i Canon Rebel
 
Fujifilm X-T20« »+ +82/1005/5-4.5/5 Jan 2017 899 i i Fujifilm X-T20
 
Fujifilm X-A3« »-74/1004.5/5-4/5 Aug 2016 399- i Fujifilm X-A3
 
Leica CL« »----4/5 Nov 2017 2,795 i i Leica CL
 
Leica M10« »--4/5-4.5/5 Jan 2017 6,595 i i Leica M10
 
Leica TL« »----4/5 Nov 2016 1,695- i Leica TL
 
Leica X-U Typ 113« »----3.5/5 Jan 2016 2,950 i i Leica X-U Typ 113
 
Leica X Vario« »--4/54/54/5 Jun 2013 2,850 i i Leica X Vario
 
Leica M9« »--4.5/54.5/5- Sep 2009 7,999- i Leica M9
 
Nikon D3400« »+76/1004/54.5/54.5/5 Aug 2016 499- i Nikon D3400
 
Nikon D40« »81/100+ +o5/54.5/5 Nov 2006 499- i Nikon D40
 
Nikon D50« »78/100+ +4/5o4.5/5 Apr 2005 749- i Nikon D50
 
Nikon D70s« »---o5/5 Apr 2005 899- i Nikon D70s
 
Nikon D70« »-+ +-o- Jan 2004 999- i Nikon D70
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, please note that some of the review sites have changed their methodology and reporting over time.

Epson R-D1:
Check Ebay offers
Leica TL2:
Check Amazon price

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 your choice using the following search menu. 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 TL2

    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 TL2
    Camera Type Rangefinder camera Mirrorless system camera
    Camera Lens Leica M mount lenses Leica T mount lenses
    Launch Date March 2004 July 2017
    Launch Price USD 2999 USD 1950
    Sensor Specs Epson R-D1 Leica TL2
    Sensor Technology CCD CMOS
    Sensor Format APS-C Sensor APS-C Sensor
    Sensor Size 23.7 x 15.6 mm 23.6 x 15.7 mm
    Sensor Area 369.72 mm2 370.52 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 28.4 mm 28.3 mm
    Crop Factor 1.5x 1.5x
    Sensor Resolution 6 Megapixels 24.1 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 3008 x 2000 pixels 6014 x 4014 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 7.85 μm 3.92 μm
    Pixel Density 1.63 MP/cm2 6.52 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter no AA filter
    Movie Capability no Video 4K/30p Video
    ISO Setting 200-1600 ISO 100-50000 ISO
    Screen Specs Epson R-D1 Leica TL2
    Viewfinder Type Optical viewfinder Viewfinder optional
    Viewfinder Field of View 100%
    Viewfinder Magnification ..x
    LCD Framing Live View
    Rear LCD Size 2.0 inch 3.7 inch
    LCD Resolution 235k dots 1230k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen Fixed screen
    Touch Input no Touchscreen Touchscreen
    Shooting Specs Epson R-D1 Leica TL2
    Autofocus System Contrast-detect AF Contrast-detect AF
    Continuous Shooting 1 shutter flaps/s 7 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 UHS-II
    Connectivity Specs Epson R-D1 Leica TL2
    External Flash Hotshoe Hotshoe
    Studio Flash PC Sync socket no PC Sync
    USB Connector USB no USB 3.0
    HDMI Port no HDMI micro HDMI
    Wifi Support no Wifi Wifi built-in
    Body Specs Epson R-D1 Leica TL2
    Battery Type EU-85 BP-DC13
    In-Camera Charging no USB charging USB charging
    Body Dimensions 142 x 89 x 40 mm
    (5.6 x 3.5 x 1.6 in)
    134 x 69 x 33 mm
    (5.3 x 2.7 x 1.3 in)
    Camera Weight 620 g (21.9 oz) 399 g (14.1 oz)

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