Epson R-D1 vs Leica V-LUX 4
The Epson R-D1 and the Leica V-LUX 4 are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in March 2004 and September 2012. The R-D1 is a rangefinder-focusing mirrorless camera, while the V-LUX 4 is a fixed lens compact. The cameras are based on an APS-C (R-D1) and a 1/2.3-inch (V-LUX 4) sensor. The Epson has a resolution of 6 megapixels, whereas the Leica provides 12 MP.
Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Epson R-D1 and the Leica V-LUX 4? 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 physical size and weight of the Epson R-D1 and the Leica V-LUX 4 are illustrated in the side-by-side display below. 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.
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Leica V-LUX 4 is notably smaller (14 percent) than the Epson R-D1. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the R-D1 nor the V-LUX 4 are weather-sealed.
The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the V-LUX 4 has a lens built in, whereas the R-D1 is an interchangeable lens camera that requires a separate lens. Attaching the latter will add extra weight and bulk to the setup. You can compare the optics available for the R-D1 and their specifications 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, you can use the CAM-parator app to select your camera combination among a large number of options.
|1.||Epson R-D1||142 mm||89 mm||40 mm||620 g||..||n||Mar 2004||2,999|
|2.||Leica V-LUX 4||125 mm||87 mm||110 mm||588 g||540||n||Sep 2012||949|
|3.||Canon G1 X Mark II||116 mm||74 mm||66 mm||553 g||240||n||Feb 2014||799|
|4.||Canon G1 X||117 mm||81 mm||65 mm||534 g||250||n||Jan 2012||799|
|5.||Canon SX40||123 mm||92 mm||108 mm||600 g||380||n||Sep 2011||429|
|6.||Canon Rebel||142 mm||99 mm||72 mm||649 g||400||n||Aug 2003||899|
|7.||Leica CL||131 mm||78 mm||45 mm||403 g||220||n||Nov 2017||2,795|
|8.||Leica M10||139 mm||80 mm||39 mm||660 g||210||Y||Jan 2017||6,595|
|9.||Leica X-U Typ 113||140 mm||79 mm||88 mm||635 g||450||Y||Jan 2016||2,950|
|10.||Leica X Vario||133 mm||73 mm||95 mm||680 g||450||n||Jun 2013||2,850|
|11.||Leica V-LUX 3||124 mm||81 mm||95 mm||540 g||410||n||Dec 2011||949|
|12.||Leica V-LUX 2||124 mm||80 mm||95 mm||520 g||410||n||Sep 2010||849|
|13.||Leica M9||139 mm||80 mm||37 mm||585 g||..||n||Sep 2009||7,999|
|14.||Nikon D40||124 mm||94 mm||64 mm||522 g||470||n||Nov 2006||499|
|15.||Nikon D50||133 mm||102 mm||76 mm||620 g||400||n||Apr 2005||749|
|16.||Nikon D70s||140 mm||111 mm||78 mm||679 g||500||n||Apr 2005||899|
|17.||Nikon D70||140 mm||111 mm||78 mm||679 g||400||n||Jan 2004||999|
|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 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 V-LUX 4 was launched at a lower price than the R-D1, despite having a lens built in. 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.
The size of the imaging sensor is a crucial determinant of image quality. A large sensor will generally have larger individual pixels that offer better low-light sensitivity, provide wider dynamic range, and have richer color-depth than smaller pixels 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 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 V-LUX 4 a 1/2.3-inch sensor. The sensor area in the V-LUX 4 is 92 percent smaller. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 1.5 and 5.6. The sensor in the R-D1 has a native 3:2 aspect ratio, while the one in the V-LUX 4 offers a 4:3 aspect.
Despite having a smaller sensor, the V-LUX 4 offers a higher resolution of 12 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 1.53μm versus 7.85μm for the R-D1). However, it should be noted that the V-LUX 4 is much more recent (by 8 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. Coming back to sensor resolution, it should be mentioned that the V-LUX 4 has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.
The resolution advantage of the Leica V-LUX 4 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the V-LUX 4 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 20 x 15 inches or 50.8 x 38.1 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 16 x 12 inches or 40.6 x 30.5 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 13.3 x 10 inches or 33.9 x 25.4 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 V-LUX 4 are ISO 100 to ISO 3200, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 100-6400.
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 following table provides an overview of the physical sensor characteristics, as well as the sensor quality measurements for a selection of comparators.
|2.||Leica V-LUX 4||1/2.3||12.0||4000||3000||1080/60p||19.8||11.1||501||43|
|3.||Canon G1 X Mark II||1.5-inch||13.0||4160||3120||1080/30p||21.5||10.8||581||58|
|4.||Canon G1 X||1.5-inch||14.2||4352||3264||1080/24p||21.7||10.8||644||60|
|8.||Leica M10||Full Frame||23.8||5952||3992||none||24.4||13.2||2133||86|
|9.||Leica X-U Typ 113||APS-C||16.1||4928||3264||1080/30p||23.8||13.0||1614||80|
|10.||Leica X Vario||APS-C||16.1||4928||3272||1080/30p||23.4||12.7||1320||78|
|11.||Leica V-LUX 3||1/2.3||12.0||4000||3000||1080/60p||19.7||11.0||430||42|
|12.||Leica V-LUX 2||1/2.3||14.0||4320||3240||1080/60i||19.4||10.7||321||39|
|13.||Leica M9||Full Frame||18.1||5212||3472||none||22.5||11.7||884||69|
|Note: DXO values in italics represent estimates based on sensor size and age.|
Many modern cameras cannot only take still pictures, but also record videos. The V-LUX 4 indeed provides for movie recording, while the R-D1 does not. The highest resolution format that the V-LUX 4 can use is 1080/60p.
Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the V-LUX 4 has an electronic viewfinder (1312k dots), while the R-D1 has an optical one. Both systems have their advantages, with the electronic viewfinder making it possible to project supplementary shooting information into the framing view, whereas the optical viewfinder offers lag-free viewing and a very clear framing image. The table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Epson R-D1 and Leica V-LUX 4 in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras.
|1.||Epson R-D1||optical||n||2.0 / 235||fixed||n||1/2000s||1.0/s||n||n|
|2.||Leica V-LUX 4||1312||n||3.0 / 460||swivel||n||1/4000s||12.0/s||Y||Y|
|3.||Canon G1 X Mark II||optional||n||3.0 / 1040||tilting||Y||1/4000s||5.2/s||Y||Y|
|4.||Canon G1 X||optical||n||3.0 / 922||swivel||n||1/4000s||1.9/s||Y||Y|
|5.||Canon SX40||202||n||2.7 / 230||swivel||n||1/3200s||10.3/s||Y||Y|
|6.||Canon Rebel||optical||n||1.8 / 118||fixed||n||1/4000s||2.5/s||Y||n|
|7.||Leica CL||2360||Y||3.0 / 1040||fixed||Y||1/8000s||10.0/s||n||n|
|8.||Leica M10||optical||n||3.0 / 1037||fixed||n||1/4000s||5.0/s||n||n|
|9.||Leica X-U Typ 113||optional||n||3.0 / 920||fixed||n||1/2000s||5.0/s||Y||n|
|10.||Leica X Vario||optional||n||3.0 / 920||fixed||n||1/2000s||5.0/s||Y||n|
|11.||Leica V-LUX 3||202||n||3.0 / 460||swivel||n||1/2000s||12.0/s||Y||Y|
|12.||Leica V-LUX 2||202||n||3.0 / 460||swivel||n||1/2000s||11.0/s||Y||Y|
|13.||Leica M9||optical||n||2.5 / 230||fixed||n||1/4000s||2.0/s||n||n|
|14.||Nikon D40||optical||n||2.5 / 230||fixed||n||1/4000s||2.5/s||Y||n|
|15.||Nikon D50||optical||n||2.0 / 130||fixed||n||1/4000s||2.5/s||Y||n|
|16.||Nikon D70s||optical||n||2.0 / 130||fixed||n||1/8000s||3.0/s||Y||n|
|17.||Nikon D70||optical||n||1.8 / 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.|
One difference between the cameras concerns the presence of an on-board flash. The V-LUX 4 has one, while the R-D1 does not. While the built-in flash of the V-LUX 4 is not very powerful, it can at times be useful as a fill-in light.The V-LUX 4 has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing. This characteristic will be appreciated by vloggers and photographers who are interested in taking selfies. In contrast, the R-D1 does not have a selfie-screen.
The R-D1 writes its imaging data to SDHC cards, while the V-LUX 4 uses SDXC cards. The V-LUX 4 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.
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 V-LUX 4 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
Mic / Speaker
|1.||Epson R-D1||Y||- / -||-||-||-||-||-||-||-|
|2.||Leica V-LUX 4||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|3.||Canon G1 X Mark II||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|4.||Canon G1 X||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|5.||Canon SX40||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||YES||2.0||-||-||-|
|6.||Canon Rebel||Y||- / -||-||-||-||1.1||-||-||-|
|7.||Leica CL||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||-||-||Y||-||-|
|8.||Leica M10||Y||- / -||-||-||-||-||Y||-||-|
|9.||Leica X-U Typ 113||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|10.||Leica X Vario||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|11.||Leica V-LUX 3||Y||stereo / -||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|12.||Leica V-LUX 2||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|13.||Leica M9||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|14.||Nikon D40||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|15.||Nikon D50||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|16.||Nikon D70s||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|17.||Nikon D70||Y||- / -||-||-||-||1.0||-||-||-|
Studio photographers will appreciate that the Epson R-D1 (unlike the V-LUX 4) features a PC Sync socket, so that professional strobe lights can be controlled by the camera.
Both the R-D1 and the V-LUX 4 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The V-LUX 4 was replaced by the Leica V-LUX Typ 114, 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 what is the bottom line? Is there a clear favorite between the Epson R-D1 and the Leica V-LUX 4? Which camera is better? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.
Advantages of the Epson R-D1:
- Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
- 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.
- Brighter framing: Features an optical viewfinder for clear, lag-free composition.
- More flexible: Accepts interchangeable lenses, so that lens characteristics can be altered.
- 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).
Reasons to prefer the Leica V-LUX 4:
- More detail: Has more megapixels (12 vs 6MP), which boosts linear resolution by 38%.
- 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 1080/60p video.
- More framing info: Has an electronic viewfinder that displays shooting data.
- 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 (460k vs 235k dots).
- More flexible LCD: Has a swivel screen for odd-angle shots in portrait or landscape orientation.
- More selfie-friendly: Has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing.
- Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/4000s vs 1/2000s) to freeze action.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (12 vs 1 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Ready to shoot: Has an integrated lens, whereas the R-D1 necessitates an extra lens.
- More compact: Is smaller (125x87mm vs 142x89mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
- Less heavy: Has a lower weight even though it has a lens built in (unlike the R-D1).
- Sharper images: Has stabilization technology built-in to reduce the impact of hand-shake.
- Easier fill-in: Has a small integrated flash to brighten shadows of backlit subjects.
- 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 affordable: Was introduced at a lower price, despite coming with a built-in lens.
- More modern: Reflects 8 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 V-LUX 4 is the clear winner of the contest (19 : 9 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.
In any case, while the specs-based evaluation of cameras can be instructive in revealing their potential as photographic tools, it remains incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the R-D1 or the V-LUX 4 perform in practice. 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.
This is why hands-on reviews by experts 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.
|1.||Epson R-D1||..||..||..||..||..||..||Mar 2004||2,999|
|2.||Leica V-LUX 4||..||..||..||..||..||..||Sep 2012||949|
|3.||Canon G1 X Mark II||3/5||+||..||77/100||4/5||4.5/5||Feb 2014||799|
|4.||Canon G1 X||5/5||+||..||76/100||4/5||4.5/5||Jan 2012||799|
|5.||Canon SX40||..||+||..||..||4.5/5||4/5||Sep 2011||429|
|6.||Canon Rebel||..||..||..||+ +||..||..||Aug 2003||899|
|7.||Leica CL||..||..||4.2/5||..||..||4/5||Nov 2017||2,795|
|8.||Leica M10||4.5/5||..||..||..||4/5||4.5/5||Jan 2017||6,595|
|9.||Leica X-U Typ 113||3.5/5||..||..||..||..||3.5/5||Jan 2016||2,950|
|10.||Leica X Vario||3/5||..||..||..||4/5||4/5||Jun 2013||2,850|
|11.||Leica V-LUX 3||..||..||..||..||..||..||Dec 2011||949|
|12.||Leica V-LUX 2||..||..||..||..||..||..||Sep 2010||849|
|13.||Leica M9||..||..||..||..||4.5/5||..||Sep 2009||7,999|
|14.||Nikon D40||..||81/100||..||+ +||o||4.5/5||Nov 2006||499|
|15.||Nikon D50||..||78/100||..||+ +||4/5||4.5/5||Apr 2005||749|
|16.||Nikon D70s||..||..||..||..||..||5/5||Apr 2005||899|
|17.||Nikon D70||..||..||..||+ +||..||..||Jan 2004||999|
|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.
- Canon 5DS R vs Epson R-D1
- Canon XT vs Leica V-LUX 4
- Epson R-D1 vs Fujifilm XP120
- Epson R-D1 vs Nikon D5300
- Epson R-D1 vs Olympus E-410
- Epson R-D1 vs Panasonic GF1
- Epson R-D1 vs Sony RX100 IV
- Leica S Typ 006 vs Leica V-LUX 4
- Leica V-LUX 4 vs Nikon D3100
- Leica V-LUX 4 vs Olympus E-520
- Leica V-LUX 4 vs Samsung NX1
- Leica V-LUX 4 vs Sony H200
Specifications: Epson R-D1 vs Leica V-LUX 4
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 V-LUX 4|
|Camera Type||Rangefinder camera||Fixed lens compact camera|
|Camera Lens||Leica M mount lenses||25-600mm f/2.8|
|Launch Date||March 2004||September 2012|
|Launch Price||USD 2,999||USD 949|
|Sensor Specs||Epson R-D1||Leica V-LUX 4|
|Sensor Format||APS-C Sensor||1/2.3" Sensor|
|Sensor Size||23.7 x 15.6 mm||6.17 x 4.55 mm|
|Sensor Area||369.72 mm2||28.0735 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||28.4 mm||7.7 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||6 Megapixels||12 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||3008 x 2000 pixels||4000 x 3000 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||7.85 μm||1.53 μm|
|Pixel Density||1.63 MP/cm2||42.74 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||no AA filter|
|Movie Capability||no Video||1080/60p Video|
|ISO Setting||200 - 1,600 ISO||100 - 3,200 ISO|
|ISO Boost||no Enhancement||100 - 6,400 ISO|
|Screen Specs||Epson R-D1||Leica V-LUX 4|
|Viewfinder Type||Optical viewfinder||Electronic viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||100%||100%|
|Viewfinder Resolution||1312k dots|
|LCD Framing||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||2.0inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||235k dots||460k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Swivel screen|
|Shooting Specs||Epson R-D1||Leica V-LUX 4|
|Focus System||Manual Focus||Contrast-detect AF|
|Continuous Shooting||1 shutter flaps/s||12 shutter flaps/s|
|Fill Flash||no On-Board Flash||Built-in 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 V-LUX 4|
|Studio Flash||PC Sync socket||no PC Sync|
|USB Connector||no USB||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||no HDMI||mini HDMI|
|Microphone Port||no MIC socket||External MIC port|
|Wifi Support||no Wifi||no Wifi|
|Body Specs||Epson R-D1||Leica V-LUX 4|
142 x 89 x 40 mm
(5.6 x 3.5 x 1.6 in)
125 x 87 x 110 mm
(4.9 x 3.4 x 4.3 in)
|Camera Weight||620 g (21.9 oz)||588 g (20.7 oz)|
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