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Epson R-D1 vs Nikon D2Xs

The Epson R-D1 and the Nikon D2Xs are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in March 2004 and June 2006. The R-D1 is a rangefinder-style mirrorless camera, while the D2Xs is a DSLR. Both cameras are equipped with an APS-C sensor. The Epson has a resolution of 6 megapixels, whereas the Nikon provides 12.2 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 Nikon D2Xs
Epson R-D1 Nikon D2Xs
Rangefinder camera Digital single lens reflex
Leica M mount lenses Nikon F mount lenses
6 MP, APS-C Sensor 12.2 MP, APS-C Sensor
no Video no Video
ISO 200-1,600 ISO 100-800 (800 - 3,200)
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 5 shutter flaps per second
not weather sealedWeathersealed body
142 x 89 x 40 mm, 620 g 158 x 150 x 86 mm, 1252 g

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Epson R-D1 and the Nikon D2Xs? 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 Nikon D2Xs are illustrated in the side-by-side display below. 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 size dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

Size Epson R-D1 vs Nikon D2Xs
Compare R-D1 versus D2Xs top
Comparison R-D1 or D2Xs rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Nikon D2Xs is considerably larger (88 percent) than the Epson R-D1. Moreover, the D2Xs is substantially heavier (102 percent) than the R-D1. It is noteworthy in this context that the D2Xs 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. Both cameras have similarly sized sensors, but DSLRs have a larger flange-to-focal plane distance than mirrorless cameras, which imposes contraints on the optical engineering process and generally leads to bigger and heavier lenses. You can compare the optics available for the two cameras in the Leica M Lens Catalog (R-D1) and the Nikon Lens Catalog (D2Xs).

As can be seen in the images above, the D2Xs has a battery grip built in. This facilitates image-taking in portrait orientation and gives it additional battery power.

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.
 
Nikon D2Xs 158 mm 150 mm 86 mm 1252 g 3800 Y Jun 2006 4,699i
3.
 
Canon Rebel 142 mm 99 mm 72 mm 649 g 400 n Aug 2003 899i
4.
 
Leica CL 131 mm 78 mm 45 mm 403 g 220 n Nov 2017 2,795 i
5.
 
Leica M10 139 mm 80 mm 39 mm 660 g 210 Y Jan 2017 6,595 i
6.
 
Leica X-U Typ 113 140 mm 79 mm 88 mm 635 g 450 Y Jan 2016 2,950i
7.
 
Leica X Vario 133 mm 73 mm 95 mm 680 g 450 n Jun 2013 2,850i
8.
 
Leica M9 139 mm 80 mm 37 mm 585 g .. n Sep 2009 7,999i
9.
 
Nikon D300S 147 mm 115 mm 81 mm 938 g 950 Y Jul 2009 1,799i
10.
 
Nikon D3 160 mm 157 mm 88 mm 1300 g 4300 Y Aug 2007 4,999i
11.
 
Nikon D300 147 mm 114 mm 74 mm 925 g 1000 Y Aug 2007 1,799i
12.
 
Nikon D40 124 mm 94 mm 64 mm 522 g 470 n Nov 2006 499i
13.
 
Nikon D50 133 mm 102 mm 76 mm 620 g 400 n Apr 2005 749i
14.
 
Nikon D70s 140 mm 111 mm 78 mm 679 g 500 n Apr 2005 899i
15.
 
Nikon D200 147 mm 113 mm 74 mm 920 g 400 Y Nov 2005 1,699i
16.
 
Nikon D2X 158 mm 150 mm 86 mm 1252 g 3800 Y Sep 2004 4,999i
17.
 
Nikon D70 140 mm 111 mm 78 mm 679 g 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.

The price is, of course, an important factor in any camera decision. 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 36 percent) than the D2Xs, 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. 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. 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 tend to be associated with larger, more expensive camera bodies and lenses.

Both cameras under consideration feature an APS-C sensor, but their sensors differ slightly in size. The sensor area in the D2Xs is 1 percent bigger. 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 Nikon D2Xs sensor measures

With 12.2MP, the D2Xs offers a higher resolution than the R-D1 (6MP), but the D2Xs has smaller individual pixels (pixel pitch of 5.52μm versus 7.85μm for the R-D1). Yet, the D2Xs is a much more recent model (by 2 years and 2 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.

The resolution advantage of the Nikon D2Xs implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the D2Xs for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 21.4 x 14.2 inches or 54.5 x 36.2 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 17.2 x 11.4 inches or 43.6 x 28.9 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 14.3 x 9.5 inches or 36.3 x 24.1 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 Nikon D2Xs are ISO 100 to ISO 800, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 800-3200.

R-D1 versus D2Xs 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 adjacent table reports on the physical sensor characteristics and the outcomes of the DXO sensor quality tests for a sample of comparator-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 2000none........
2.
 
Nikon D2Xs APS-C 12.2 4288 2848none22.210.948959
3.
 
Canon Rebel APS-C 6.3 3072 2048none21.010.854455
4.
 
Leica CL APS-C 24.1 6014 40144K/30p........
5.
 
Leica M10 Full Frame 23.8 5952 3992none24.413.2213386
6.
 
Leica X-U Typ 113 APS-C 16.1 4928 32641080/30p........
7.
 
Leica X Vario APS-C 16.1 4928 32721080/30p23.412.7132078
8.
 
Leica M9 Full Frame 18.1 5212 3472none22.511.788469
9.
 
Nikon D300S APS-C 12.2 4288 2848720/24p22.512.278770
10.
 
Nikon D3 Full Frame 12.1 4256 2832none23.512.2229081
11.
 
Nikon D300 APS-C 12.2 4288 2848none22.112.067967
12.
 
Nikon D40 APS-C 6.0 3008 2000none21.011.056156
13.
 
Nikon D50 APS-C 6.0 3008 2000none20.910.856055
14.
 
Nikon D70s APS-C 6.0 3008 2000none20.410.352950
15.
 
Nikon D200 APS-C 10.0 3872 2592none22.311.558364
16.
 
Nikon D2X APS-C 12.2 4288 2848none22.110.947659
17.
 
Nikon D70 APS-C 6.0 3008 2000none20.410.352950
Neither the R-D1 nor the D2Xs 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 variety of features. The R-D1 and the D2Xs 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 Nikon D2Xs 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
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
1.
 
Epson R-D1optical n 2.0 235 fixed n 1/2000s 1.0 n n
2.
 
Nikon D2Xsoptical Y 2.5 230 fixed n 1/8000s 5.0 n n
3.
 
Canon Rebeloptical n 1.8 118 fixed n 1/4000s 2.5 Y n
4.
 
Leica CL2360 Y 3.0 1040 fixed Y 1/8000s 10.0 n n
5.
 
Leica M10optical n 3.0 1037 fixed n 1/4000s 5.0 n n
6.
 
Leica X-U Typ 113optional n 3.0 920 fixed n 1/2000s 5.0 Y n
7.
 
Leica X Variooptional n 3.0 920 fixed n 1/2000s 5.0 Y n
8.
 
Leica M9optical n 2.5 230 fixed n 1/4000s 2.0 n n
9.
 
Nikon D300Soptical Y 3.0 920 fixed n 1/8000s 7.0 Y n
10.
 
Nikon D3optical Y 3.0 922 fixed n 1/8000s 11.0 n n
11.
 
Nikon D300optical Y 3.0 922 fixed n 1/8000s 6.0 Y n
12.
 
Nikon D40optical n 2.5 230 fixed n 1/4000s 2.5 Y n
13.
 
Nikon D50optical n 2.0 130 fixed n 1/4000s 2.5 Y n
14.
 
Nikon D70soptical n 2.0 130 fixed n 1/8000s 3.0 Y n
15.
 
Nikon D200optical Y 2.5 230 fixed n 1/8000s 5.0 Y n
16.
 
Nikon D2Xoptical Y 2.5 235 fixed n 1/8000s 5.0 n n
17.
 
Nikon D70optical n 1.8 130 fixed n 1/8000s 3.0 Y n

One feature that is present on the D2Xs, 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 D2Xs uses Compact Flash 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 Nikon D2Xs 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
1.
 
Epson R-D1Y---------
2.
 
Nikon D2XsY-----2.0---
3.
 
Canon RebelY-----1.1---
4.
 
Leica CLYstereomono----Y--
5.
 
Leica M10Y------Y--
6.
 
Leica X-U Typ 113Ystereomono---2.0---
7.
 
Leica X VarioYstereomono--mini2.0---
8.
 
Leica M9Y-----2.0---
9.
 
Nikon D300SYstereomonoY-mini2.0---
10.
 
Nikon D3Y----mini2.0---
11.
 
Nikon D300Y----mini2.0---
12.
 
Nikon D40Y-----2.0---
13.
 
Nikon D50Y-----2.0---
14.
 
Nikon D70sY-----2.0---
15.
 
Nikon D200Y-----2.0---
16.
 
Nikon D2XY-----2.0---
17.
 
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 D2Xs have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The D2Xs was replaced by the Nikon D3X, 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 Nikon websites.

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Review summary

So how do things add up? Is the Epson R-D1 better than the Nikon D2Xs or vice versa? 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:

  • More compact: Is smaller (142x89mm vs 158x150mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
  • Less heavy: Is lighter (by 632g or 50 percent) and hence easier to carry around.
  • More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (36 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in March 2004).

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Advantages of the Nikon D2Xs:

  • More detail: Has more megapixels (12.2 vs 6MP), which boosts linear resolution by 43%.
  • Easier setting verification: Features a control panel on top to check shooting parameters.
  • 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 (5 vs 1 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • More portrait friendly: Features an integrated vertical grip for easier portrait shooting.
  • Better sealing: Is splash and dust sealed for shooting in inclement weather conditions.
  • More modern: Reflects 2 years and 2 months of technical progress since the R-D1 launch.

If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the D2Xs is the clear winner of the contest (8 : 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 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 04:08 D2Xs

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 D2Xs 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 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 (amateurphotographer [AP], cameralabs [CL], 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 
 DPR 
 score 
 EPZ 
 score 
 PB 
 score 
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
1.
 
Epson R-D1.......... Mar 2004 2,999i
2.
 
Nikon D2Xs.......... Jun 2006 4,699i
3.
 
Canon Rebel....+ +.... Aug 2003 899i
4.
 
Leica CL........4/5 Nov 2017 2,795 i
5.
 
Leica M104.5/5....4/54.5/5 Jan 2017 6,595 i
6.
 
Leica X-U Typ 1133.5/5......3.5/5 Jan 2016 2,950i
7.
 
Leica X Vario3/5....4/54/5 Jun 2013 2,850i
8.
 
Leica M9......4.5/5.. Sep 2009 7,999i
9.
 
Nikon D300S5/5+ +82/1004/54.5/5 Jul 2009 1,799i
10.
 
Nikon D3....+ +5/54.5/5 Aug 2007 4,999i
11.
 
Nikon D300..+ ++ +5/54.5/5 Aug 2007 1,799i
12.
 
Nikon D40..81/100+ +o4.5/5 Nov 2006 499i
13.
 
Nikon D50..78/100+ +4/54.5/5 Apr 2005 749i
14.
 
Nikon D70s........5/5 Apr 2005 899i
15.
 
Nikon D200..+ ++ +o.. Nov 2005 1,699i
16.
 
Nikon D2X....+ +.... Sep 2004 4,999i
17.
 
Nikon D70....+ +.... 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
Nikon D2Xs:
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. As an alternative, you can also directly jump to any one of the listed comparisons that were previously generated by the CAM-parator tool.

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    Specifications: Epson R-D1 vs Nikon D2Xs

    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 Nikon D2Xs
    Camera Type Rangefinder camera Digital single lens reflex
    Camera Lens Leica M mount lenses Nikon F mount lenses
    Launch Date March 2004 June 2006
    Launch Price USD 2,999 USD 4,699
    Sensor Specs Epson R-D1 Nikon D2Xs
    Sensor Technology CCD CMOS
    Sensor Format APS-C Sensor APS-C Sensor
    Sensor Size 23.7 x 15.6 mm 23.7 x 15.7 mm
    Sensor Area 369.72 mm2 372.09 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 28.4 mm 28.4 mm
    Crop Factor 1.5x 1.5x
    Sensor Resolution 6 Megapixels 12.2 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 3008 x 2000 pixels 4288 x 2848 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 7.85 μm 5.52 μm
    Pixel Density 1.63 MP/cm2 3.28 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability no Video no Video
    ISO Setting 200 - 1,600 ISO 100 - 800 ISO
    ISO Boost no Enhancement 800 - 3,200 ISO
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) .. 59
    DXO Color Depth (bits) .. 22.2
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) .. 10.9
    DXO Low Light (ISO) .. 489
    Screen Specs Epson R-D1 Nikon D2Xs
    Viewfinder Type Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 100% 100%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.57x
    Top-Level Screen no Top Display Control Panel
    Rear LCD Size 2.0inch 2.5inch
    LCD Resolution 235k dots 230k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen Fixed screen
    Shooting Specs Epson R-D1 Nikon D2Xs
    Focus System Manual Focus Phase-detect AF
    Continuous Shooting 1 shutter flaps/s 5 shutter flaps/s
    Fill Flash no On-Board Flash no On-Board Flash
    Storage Medium SDHC cards CF cards
    Second Storage Option Single card slot Single card slot
    Connectivity Specs Epson R-D1 Nikon D2Xs
    External Flash Hotshoe Hotshoe
    Studio Flash PC Sync socket PC Sync socket
    USB Connector no USB USB 2.0
    HDMI Port no HDMI no HDMI
    Wifi Support no Wifi no Wifi
    Body Specs Epson R-D1 Nikon D2Xs
    Environmental Sealingnot weather sealedWeathersealed body
    Battery Type EU-85 EN-EL4a
    Body Dimensions 142 x 89 x 40 mm
    (5.6 x 3.5 x 1.6 in)
    158 x 150 x 86 mm
    (6.2 x 5.9 x 3.4 in)
    Camera Weight 620 g (21.9 oz) 1252 g (44.2 oz)

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