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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-style 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.

Headline Specifications
Epson R-D1 VS Nikon D40
Epson R-D1 Nikon D40
Rangefinder camera Digital single lens reflex
Leica M mount lenses Nikon F mount lenses
6 MP, APS-C Sensor 6 MP, APS-C Sensor
no Video no Video
ISO 200-1600 ISO 200-1600 (200-3200)
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 2.5 shutter flaps per second
142 x 89 x 40 mm, 620 g 124 x 94 x 64 mm, 522 g

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.

Body comparison

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.

Size Epson R-D1 vs Nikon D40
Compare R-D1 versus D40 top
Comparison R-D1 or D40 rear

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, just click on the right or left arrow next to the camera that you would like to inspect. Alternatively, you can also use the CAM-parator to select your camera combination among a larger number of options.

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)
Camera
Model
 
Epson R-D1» 5.6 in 3.5 in 1.6 in 21.9 oz .. n Mar 2004 2,999iEpson R-D1
 
Nikon D40« 4.9 in 3.7 in 2.5 in 18.4 oz 470 n Nov 2006 499iNikon D40
 
Canon Rebel« » 5.6 in 3.9 in 2.8 in 22.9 oz 400 n Aug 2003 899iCanon Rebel
 
Leica CL« » 5.2 in 3.1 in 1.8 in 14.2 oz 220 n Nov 2017 2,795 iLeica CL
 
Leica M10« » 5.5 in 3.1 in 1.5 in 23.3 oz 210 Y Jan 2017 6,595 iLeica M10
 
Leica X-U Typ 113« » 5.5 in 3.1 in 3.5 in 22.4 oz 450 Y Jan 2016 2,950 iLeica 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 iLeica X Vario
 
Leica M9« » 5.5 in 3.1 in 1.5 in 20.6 oz .. n Sep 2009 7,999iLeica M9
 
Nikon D3400« » 4.9 in 3.9 in 3.0 in 15.7 oz 1200 n Aug 2016 499iNikon D3400
 
Nikon D3300« » 4.9 in 3.9 in 3.0 in 15.2 oz 700 n Jan 2014 499iNikon D3300
 
Nikon D3100« » 4.9 in 3.8 in 3.0 in 17.8 oz 550 n Aug 2010 599iNikon D3100
 
Nikon D40X« » 4.9 in 3.7 in 2.5 in 18.4 oz 520 n Mar 2007 729iNikon D40X
 
Nikon D50« » 5.2 in 4.0 in 3.0 in 21.9 oz 400 n Apr 2005 749iNikon D50
 
Nikon D70s« » 5.5 in 4.4 in 3.1 in 24.0 oz 500 n Apr 2005 899iNikon D70s
 
Nikon D70« » 5.5 in 4.4 in 3.1 in 24.0 oz 400 n Jan 2004 999iNikon D70
Note: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as 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.

 

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 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.

Epson R-D1 and Nikon D40 sensor measures

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.

R-D1 versus D40 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.

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 2000none........Epson R-D1
 
Nikon D40 APS-C 6.0 3008 2000none21.011.056156Nikon D40
 
Canon Rebel APS-C 6.3 3072 2048none21.010.854455Canon Rebel
 
Leica CL APS-C 24.1 6014 40144K/30p........Leica CL
 
Leica M10 Full Frame 23.8 5952 3992none24.413.2213386Leica M10
 
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 3472none22.511.788469Leica M9
 
Nikon D3400 APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.813.9119286Nikon D3400
 
Nikon D3300 APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.312.8138582Nikon D3300
 
Nikon D3100 APS-C 14.2 4608 30721080/24p22.511.391967Nikon D3100
 
Nikon D40X APS-C 10.0 3872 2592none22.411.451663Nikon D40X
 
Nikon D50 APS-C 6.0 3008 2000none20.910.856055Nikon D50
 
Nikon D70s APS-C 6.0 3008 2000none20.410.352950Nikon D70s
 
Nikon D70 APS-C 6.0 3008 2000none20.410.352950Nikon D70
Neither the R-D1 nor the D40 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.
 

Feature comparison

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.

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-D1optical n 2.0 235 fixed n 1/2000s 1.0 n n Epson R-D1
 
Nikon D40optical n 2.5 230 fixed n 1/4000s 2.5 Y n Nikon D40
 
Canon Rebeloptical n 1.8 118 fixed n 1/4000s 2.5 Y n Canon Rebel
 
Leica CL2360 Y 3.0 1040 fixed Y 1/8000s 10.0 n n Leica CL
 
Leica M10optical n 3.0 1037 fixed n 1/4000s 5.0 n n Leica M10
 
Leica X-U Typ 113optional n 3.0 920 fixed n 1/2000s 5.0 Y n Leica X-U Typ 113
 
Leica X Variooptional n 3.0 920 fixed n 1/2000s 5.0 Y n Leica X Vario
 
Leica M9optical n 2.5 230 fixed n 1/4000s 2.0 n n Leica M9
 
Nikon D3400optical n 3.0 921 fixed n 1/4000s 5.0 Y n Nikon D3400
 
Nikon D3300optical n 3.0 921 fixed n 1/4000s 5.0 Y n Nikon D3300
 
Nikon D3100optical n 3.0 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n Nikon D3100
 
Nikon D40Xoptical n 2.5 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n Nikon D40X
 
Nikon D50optical n 2.0 130 fixed n 1/4000s 2.5 Y n Nikon D50
 
Nikon D70soptical n 2.0 130 fixed n 1/8000s 3.0 Y n Nikon D70s
 
Nikon D70optical n 1.8 130 fixed n 1/8000s 3.0 Y n Nikon D70

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.

 

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 D40 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
Port
WiFi
Support
NFC
Support
Bluetooth
Support
Camera
Model
 
Epson R-D1Ynonenone--nonenone---Epson R-D1
 
Nikon D40Ynonenone--none2.0---Nikon D40
 
Canon RebelYnonenone--none1.1---Canon Rebel
 
Leica CLYstereomono--nonenoneY--Leica CL
 
Leica M10Ynonenone--nonenoneY--Leica M10
 
Leica X-U Typ 113Ystereomono--none2.0---Leica X-U Typ 113
 
Leica X VarioYstereomono--mini2.0---Leica X Vario
 
Leica M9Ynonenone--none2.0---Leica M9
 
Nikon D3400Ymonomono--mini2.0--YNikon D3400
 
Nikon D3300YmonomonoY-mini2.0---Nikon D3300
 
Nikon D3100Ymonomono--mini2.0---Nikon D3100
 
Nikon D40XYnonenone--none2.0---Nikon D40X
 
Nikon D50Ynonenone--none2.0---Nikon D50
 
Nikon D70sYnonenone--none2.0---Nikon D70s
 
Nikon D70Ynonenone--none1.0---Nikon D70

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.

Review summary

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.

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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).

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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.

R-D1 02:07 D40

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.

Expert reviews

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 (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
cam
era
  labs  
dp
re
  view  
e
photo
  zine  
ima
ging
resource
photo
graphy
  blog  
Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Camera
Model
 
Epson R-D1.......... Mar 2004 2,999iEpson R-D1
 
Nikon D4081/100+ +o5/54.5/5 Nov 2006 499iNikon D40
 
Canon Rebel..+ +..o.. Aug 2003 899iCanon Rebel
 
Leica CL........4/5 Nov 2017 2,795 iLeica CL
 
Leica M10....4/5..4.5/5 Jan 2017 6,595 iLeica M10
 
Leica X-U Typ 113........3.5/5 Jan 2016 2,950 iLeica X-U Typ 113
 
Leica X Vario....4/54/54/5 Jun 2013 2,850 iLeica X Vario
 
Leica M9....4.5/54.5/5.. Sep 2009 7,999iLeica M9
 
Nikon D3400+76/1004/54.5/54.5/5 Aug 2016 499iNikon D3400
 
Nikon D3300+77/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Jan 2014 499iNikon D3300
 
Nikon D3100+ +72/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Aug 2010 599iNikon D3100
 
Nikon D40X79/100+ +4/5o4/5 Mar 2007 729iNikon D40X
 
Nikon D5078/100+ +4/5o4.5/5 Apr 2005 749iNikon D50
 
Nikon D70s......o5/5 Apr 2005 899iNikon D70s
 
Nikon D70..+ +..o.. Jan 2004 999iNikon D70
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.

Epson R-D1:
Check Ebay offers
Nikon D40:
Check Ebay offers

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.

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    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 Specifications
    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 2999 USD 499
    Sensor Specs Epson R-D1 Nikon D40
    Sensor Technology CCD CCD
    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
    Crop Factor 1.5x 1.5x
    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 200-1600 ISO 200-1600 ISO
    ISO Boost no Enhancement 200-3200 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%
    Viewfinder Magnification ..x 0.53x
    Rear LCD Size 2.0 inch 2.5 inch
    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 Build-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
    External Flash Hotshoe Hotshoe
    Studio Flash PC Sync socket no PC Sync
    USB Connector USB no USB 2.0
    HDMI Port no HDMI no HDMI
    Wifi Support no Wifi no Wifi
    Body Specs Epson R-D1 Nikon D40
    Battery Type EU-85 EN-EL9
    Body Dimensions 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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