Epson R-D1 vs Nikon D40
The Epson R-D1 and the Nikon D40 are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in March 2004 and November 2006. The R-D1 is a rangefinder-focusing mirrorless camera, while the D40 is a DSLR. Both cameras are equipped with an APS-C sensor. Both cameras offer a resolution of 6 megapixels.
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 Nikon D40? 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 Nikon D40. 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 dimensions 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 Nikon D40 is notably smaller (8 percent) than the Epson R-D1. Moreover, the D40 is markedly lighter (16 percent) than the R-D1. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the R-D1 nor the D40 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. 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 (D40).
The adjacent table lists the principal physical characteristics of the two cameras alongside a wider set of alternatives. 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||ebay.com|
|2.||Nikon D40||124 mm||94 mm||64 mm||522 g||470||n||Nov 2006||499||ebay.com|
|3.||Canon Rebel||142 mm||99 mm||72 mm||649 g||400||n||Aug 2003||899||ebay.com|
|4.||Leica CL||131 mm||78 mm||45 mm||403 g||220||n||Nov 2017||2,795||amazon.com|
|5.||Leica M10||139 mm||80 mm||39 mm||660 g||210||Y||Jan 2017||6,595||ebay.com|
|6.||Leica X-U Typ 113||140 mm||79 mm||88 mm||635 g||450||Y||Jan 2016||2,950||ebay.com|
|7.||Leica X Vario||133 mm||73 mm||95 mm||680 g||450||n||Jun 2013||2,850||ebay.com|
|8.||Leica M9||139 mm||80 mm||37 mm||585 g||..||n||Sep 2009||7,999||ebay.com|
|9.||Nikon D3400||124 mm||98 mm||76 mm||445 g||1200||n||Aug 2016||499||ebay.com|
|10.||Nikon D3300||124 mm||98 mm||76 mm||430 g||700||n||Jan 2014||499||ebay.com|
|11.||Nikon D3100||124 mm||96 mm||75 mm||505 g||550||n||Aug 2010||599||ebay.com|
|12.||Nikon D40X||124 mm||94 mm||64 mm||522 g||520||n||Mar 2007||729||ebay.com|
|13.||Nikon D50||133 mm||102 mm||76 mm||620 g||400||n||Apr 2005||749||ebay.com|
|14.||Nikon D70s||140 mm||111 mm||78 mm||679 g||500||n||Apr 2005||899||ebay.com|
|15.||Nikon D70||140 mm||111 mm||78 mm||679 g||400||n||Jan 2004||999||ebay.com|
|Note: 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 D40 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 83 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.
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 more expensive and lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.
Both cameras under consideration feature an APS-C sensor and have a format factor (sometimes also referred to as "crop factor") of 1.5. Within the spectrum of camera sensors, this places the review cameras among the medium-sized sensor cameras that aim to strike a balance between image quality and portability. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.
The two cameras under review do not only share the same sensor size, but also offer an identical resolution of 6 megapixels. This similarity in sensor specs implies that both the R-D1 and the D40 have the same pixel density, as well as the same pixel size. It should, however, be noted that the D40 is much more recent (by 2 years and 8 months) than the R-D1, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time.
The Epson R-D1 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 200 to ISO 1600. The corresponding ISO settings for the Nikon D40 are ISO 200 to ISO 1600, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 200-3200.
Technology-wise, both cameras are equipped with CCD (Charged Coupled Device) sensors. Both cameras use a Bayer filter for capturing RGB colors on a square grid of photosensors. This arrangement is found in most digital cameras.
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.
|5.||Leica M10||Full Frame||23.8||5952||3992||none||24.4||13.2||2133||86|
|6.||Leica X-U Typ 113||APS-C||16.1||4928||3264||1080/30p||23.8||13.0||1614||80|
|7.||Leica X Vario||APS-C||16.1||4928||3272||1080/30p||23.4||12.7||1320||78|
|8.||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.|
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. The R-D1 and the D40 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 adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Epson R-D1 and Nikon D40 along with similar information for a selection of comparators.
|1.||Epson R-D1||optical||n||2.0 / 235||fixed||n||1/2000s||1.0/s||n||n|
|2.||Nikon D40||optical||n||2.5 / 230||fixed||n||1/4000s||2.5/s||Y||n|
|3.||Canon Rebel||optical||n||1.8 / 118||fixed||n||1/4000s||2.5/s||Y||n|
|4.||Leica CL||2360||Y||3.0 / 1040||fixed||Y||1/8000s||10.0/s||n||n|
|5.||Leica M10||optical||n||3.0 / 1037||fixed||n||1/4000s||5.0/s||n||n|
|6.||Leica X-U Typ 113||optional||n||3.0 / 920||fixed||n||1/2000s||5.0/s||Y||n|
|7.||Leica X Vario||optional||n||3.0 / 920||fixed||n||1/2000s||5.0/s||Y||n|
|8.||Leica M9||optical||n||2.5 / 230||fixed||n||1/4000s||2.0/s||n||n|
|9.||Nikon D3400||optical||n||3.0 / 921||fixed||n||1/4000s||5.0/s||Y||n|
|10.||Nikon D3300||optical||n||3.0 / 921||fixed||n||1/4000s||5.0/s||Y||n|
|11.||Nikon D3100||optical||n||3.0 / 230||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0/s||Y||n|
|12.||Nikon D40X||optical||n||2.5 / 230||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0/s||Y||n|
|13.||Nikon D50||optical||n||2.0 / 130||fixed||n||1/4000s||2.5/s||Y||n|
|14.||Nikon D70s||optical||n||2.0 / 130||fixed||n||1/8000s||3.0/s||Y||n|
|15.||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 D40 has one, while the R-D1 does not. While the built-in flash of the D40 is not very powerful, it can at times be useful as a fill-in light.
Concerning the storage of imaging data, both the R-D1 and the D40 write their files to SDHC 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 Nikon D40 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.||Nikon D40||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|3.||Canon Rebel||Y||- / -||-||-||-||1.1||-||-||-|
|4.||Leica CL||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||-||-||Y||-||-|
|5.||Leica M10||Y||- / -||-||-||-||-||Y||-||-|
|6.||Leica X-U Typ 113||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|7.||Leica X Vario||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|8.||Leica M9||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|9.||Nikon D3400||Y||mono / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||Y|
|10.||Nikon D3300||Y||mono / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|11.||Nikon D3100||Y||mono / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|12.||Nikon D40X||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|13.||Nikon D50||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|14.||Nikon D70s||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|15.||Nikon D70||Y||- / -||-||-||-||1.0||-||-||-|
Studio photographers will appreciate that the Epson R-D1 (unlike the D40) features a PC Sync socket, so that professional strobe lights can be controlled by the camera.
Both the R-D1 and the D40 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on ebay. The D40 was replaced by the Nikon D40X, 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.
So how do things add up? Is there a clear favorite between the Epson R-D1 and the Nikon D40? Which camera is better? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.
Advantages of the Epson R-D1:
- 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).
Arguments in favor of the Nikon D40:
- 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 (1/4000s vs 1/2000s) to freeze action.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (2.5 vs 1 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 98g or 16 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
- Easier fill-in: Has a small integrated flash to brighten shadows of backlit subjects.
- More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (83 percent cheaper at launch).
- More modern: Reflects 2 years and 8 months of technical progress since the R-D1 launch.
If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the D40 is the clear winner of the contest (7 : 2 points). However, the relevance of individual strengths will vary across photographers, so that you might want to apply your own weighing scheme to the summary points when reflecting and deciding 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.
In any case, while the comparison of the spec-sheets of cameras can offer a general idea of their imaging potential, it says little about, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance of the R-D1 and the D40 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 why hands-on reviews by experts 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], 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||ebay.com|
|2.||Nikon D40||..||81/100||..||+ +||o||4.5/5||Nov 2006||499||ebay.com|
|3.||Canon Rebel||..||..||..||+ +||..||..||Aug 2003||899||ebay.com|
|4.||Leica CL||..||..||4.2/5||..||..||4/5||Nov 2017||2,795||amazon.com|
|5.||Leica M10||4.5/5||..||..||..||4/5||4.5/5||Jan 2017||6,595||ebay.com|
|6.||Leica X-U Typ 113||3.5/5||..||..||..||..||3.5/5||Jan 2016||2,950||ebay.com|
|7.||Leica X Vario||3/5||..||..||..||4/5||4/5||Jun 2013||2,850||ebay.com|
|8.||Leica M9||..||..||..||..||4.5/5||..||Sep 2009||7,999||ebay.com|
|9.||Nikon D3400||4/5||+||4/5||76/100||4/5||4.5/5||Aug 2016||499||ebay.com|
|10.||Nikon D3300||3/5||+||..||77/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2014||499||ebay.com|
|11.||Nikon D3100||5/5||+ +||..||72/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2010||599||ebay.com|
|12.||Nikon D40X||..||79/100||..||+ +||4/5||4/5||Mar 2007||729||ebay.com|
|13.||Nikon D50||..||78/100||..||+ +||4/5||4.5/5||Apr 2005||749||ebay.com|
|14.||Nikon D70s||..||..||..||..||..||5/5||Apr 2005||899||ebay.com|
|15.||Nikon D70||..||..||..||+ +||..||..||Jan 2004||999||ebay.com|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
The above review scores should be interpreted with care, though. The ratings are only valid when referring to cameras in the same category and of the same age. Thus, a score needs to be put into the context of the launch date and the launch price of the camera, and rating-comparisons among cameras that span long time periods or concern very differently equipped models make little sense. 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? In case you are interested in seeing how other cameras pair up, just make a corresponding selection in the search boxes below. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting.
Specifications: Epson R-D1 vs Nikon D40
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||Nikon D40|
|Camera Type||Rangefinder camera||Digital single lens reflex|
|Camera Lens||Leica M mount lenses||Nikon F mount lenses|
|Launch Date||March 2004||November 2006|
|Launch Price||USD 2,999||USD 499|
|Sensor Specs||Epson R-D1||Nikon D40|
|Sensor Format||APS-C Sensor||APS-C Sensor|
|Sensor Size||23.7 x 15.6 mm||23.7 x 15.6 mm|
|Sensor Area||369.72 mm2||369.72 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||28.4 mm||28.4 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||6 Megapixels||6 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||3008 x 2000 pixels||3008 x 2000 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||7.85 μm||7.85 μm|
|Pixel Density||1.63 MP/cm2||1.63 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||no Video||no Video|
|ISO Setting||200 - 1,600 ISO||200 - 1,600 ISO|
|ISO Boost||no Enhancement||200 - 3,200 ISO|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||..||56|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||..||21.0|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||..||11.0|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||..||561|
|Screen Specs||Epson R-D1||Nikon D40|
|Viewfinder Type||Optical viewfinder||Optical viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||100%||95%|
|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 D40|
|Focus System||Manual Focus||Phase-detect AF|
|Continuous Shooting||1 shutter flaps/s||2.5 shutter flaps/s|
|Fill Flash||no On-Board Flash||Built-in Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDHC cards||SDHC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Single card slot|
|UHS card support||no||no|
|Connectivity Specs||Epson R-D1||Nikon D40|
|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||Nikon D40|
142 x 89 x 40 mm
(5.6 x 3.5 x 1.6 in)
124 x 94 x 64 mm
(4.9 x 3.7 x 2.5 in)
|Camera Weight||620 g (21.9 oz)||522 g (18.4 oz)|
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