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Epson R-D1 vs Nikon D5

The Epson R-D1 and the Nikon D5 are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in March 2004 and January 2016. The R-D1 is a rangefinder-focusing mirrorless camera, while the D5 is a DSLR. The cameras are based on an APS-C (R-D1) and a full frame (D5) sensor. The Epson has a resolution of 6 megapixels, whereas the Nikon provides 20.7 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 D5
Epson R-D1   Nikon D5
Rangefinder camera Digital single lens reflex
Leica M mount lenses Nikon F mount lenses
6 MP – APS-C sensor 20.7 MP – Full Frame sensor
no Video 4K/30p Video
ISO 200-1,600 ISO 100-102,400 (50 - 3,280,000)
Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
2.0" LCD – 235k dots 2.0" LCD – 2359k dots
Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive) Fixed touchscreen
1 shutter flaps per second 14 shutter flaps per second
not weather sealedWeathersealed body
142 x 89 x 40 mm, 620 g 160 x 159 x 92 mm, 1415 g
Epson R-D1:
Check Ebay offers
Nikon D5:
Check Ebay offers

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Epson R-D1 and the Nikon D5? 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

An illustration of the physical size and weight of the Epson R-D1 and the Nikon D5 is provided 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.

Size Epson R-D1 vs Nikon D5
Compare R-D1 versus D5 top
Comparison R-D1 or D5 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Nikon D5 is considerably larger (101 percent) than the Epson R-D1. Moreover, the D5 is substantially heavier (128 percent) than the R-D1. It is noteworthy in this context that the D5 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. A larger imaging sensor will tend to go along with bigger and heavier lenses, although exceptions exist. You can compare the optics available for the two cameras in the Leica M Lens Catalog (R-D1) and the Nikon Lens Catalog (D5).

As can be seen in the images above, the D5 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 D5 160 mm 159 mm 92 mm 1415 g 3780 Y Jan 2016 6,499i
3.
 
Canon 1D X Mark II 158 mm 168 mm 83 mm 1530 g 1210 Y Feb 2016 5,999i
4.
 
Canon Rebel 142 mm 99 mm 72 mm 649 g 400 n Aug 2003 899i
5.
 
Leica CL 131 mm 78 mm 45 mm 403 g 220 n Nov 2017 2,795 i
6.
 
Leica M10 139 mm 80 mm 39 mm 660 g 210 Y Jan 2017 6,595 i
7.
 
Leica X-U Typ 113 140 mm 79 mm 88 mm 635 g 450 Y Jan 2016 2,950i
8.
 
Leica X Vario 133 mm 73 mm 95 mm 680 g 450 n Jun 2013 2,850i
9.
 
Leica M9 139 mm 80 mm 37 mm 585 g .. n Sep 2009 7,999i
10.
 
Nikon D6 160 mm 163 mm 92 mm 1270 g 3580 Y Feb 2020 6,499 i
11.
 
Nikon D4S 160 mm 157 mm 91 mm 1350 g 3020 Y Feb 2014 6,499i
12.
 
Nikon D750 141 mm 113 mm 78 mm 750 g 1230 Y Sep 2014 2,299i
13.
 
Nikon D610 141 mm 113 mm 82 mm 850 g 900 Y Oct 2013 1,999 i
14.
 
Nikon D40 124 mm 94 mm 64 mm 522 g 470 n Nov 2006 499i
15.
 
Nikon D50 133 mm 102 mm 76 mm 620 g 400 n Apr 2005 749i
16.
 
Nikon D70s 140 mm 111 mm 78 mm 679 g 500 n Apr 2005 899i
17.
 
Nikon D70 140 mm 111 mm 78 mm 679 g 400 n Jan 2004 999i
Note: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.

Any camera decision will naturally be influenced heavily by the price. The manufacturer’s suggested retail prices give an idea on the placement of the camera in the maker’s lineup and the broader market. The R-D1 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 54 percent) than the D5, 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 sensor inside a digital camera is one of the key determinants 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 Nikon D5 a full frame sensor. The sensor area in the D5 is 132 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 1.5 and 1.0. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.

Epson R-D1 and Nikon D5 sensor measures

With 20.7MP, the D5 offers a higher resolution than the R-D1 (6MP), but the D5 has smaller individual pixels (pixel pitch of 6.44μm versus 7.85μm for the R-D1). Yet, the D5 is a much more recent model (by 11 years and 9 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 D5 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the D5 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 27.9 x 18.6 inches or 71 x 47.1 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 22.4 x 14.8 inches or 56.8 x 37.7 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 18.6 x 12.4 inches or 47.3 x 31.4 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 Nikon D5 are ISO 100 to ISO 102400, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 50-3280000.

R-D1 versus D5 MP

Since 2007, DXO Mark has published sensor performance measurements that have been derived using a consistent methodology. This service assesses and scores the color depth ("DXO Portrait"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports") of camera sensors, and also publishes an overall camera score. 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 2000none21.110.456455
2.
 
Nikon D5 Full Frame 20.7 5588 37124K/30p25.112.3234388
3.
 
Canon 1D X Mark II Full Frame 20.0 5472 36484K/60p24.113.5320788
4.
 
Canon Rebel APS-C 6.3 3072 2048none21.010.854455
5.
 
Leica CL APS-C 24.1 6014 40144K/30p24.013.3178882
6.
 
Leica M10 Full Frame 23.8 5952 3992none24.413.2213386
7.
 
Leica X-U Typ 113 APS-C 16.1 4928 32641080/30p23.813.0161480
8.
 
Leica X Vario APS-C 16.1 4928 32721080/30p23.412.7132078
9.
 
Leica M9 Full Frame 18.1 5212 3472none22.511.788469
10.
 
Nikon D6 Full Frame 20.7 5568 37124K/30p25.314.3288695
11.
 
Nikon D4S Full Frame 16.2 4928 32801080/60p24.413.3307489
12.
 
Nikon D750 Full Frame 24.2 6016 40161080/60p24.814.5295693
13.
 
Nikon D610 Full Frame 24.2 6016 40161080/30p25.114.4292594
14.
 
Nikon D40 APS-C 6.0 3008 2000none21.011.056156
15.
 
Nikon D50 APS-C 6.0 3008 2000none20.910.856055
16.
 
Nikon D70s APS-C 6.0 3008 2000none20.410.352950
17.
 
Nikon D70 APS-C 6.0 3008 2000none20.410.352950
Note: DXO values in italics represent estimates based on sensor size and age.

Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. The D5 indeed provides for movie recording, while the R-D1 does not. The highest resolution format that the D5 can use is 4K/30p.

Feature comparison

Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The R-D1 and the D5 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 D5 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
Specifications
(inch/000 dots)
LCD
Attach-
ment
Touch
Screen
(yes/no)
Max
Shutter
Speed *
Max
Shutter
Flaps *
Built-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Built-in
Image
Stab
1.
 
Epson R-D1optical n2.0 / 235 fixed n 1/2000s 1.0/s n n
2.
 
Nikon D5optical Y3.2 / 2359 fixed Y 1/8000s 14.0/s n n
3.
 
Canon 1D X Mark IIoptical Y3.2 / 1620 fixed Y 1/8000s 16.0/s n n
4.
 
Canon Rebeloptical n1.8 / 118 fixed n 1/4000s 2.5/s Y n
5.
 
Leica CL2360 Y3.0 / 1040 fixed Y 1/8000s 10.0/s n n
6.
 
Leica M10optical n3.0 / 1037 fixed n 1/4000s 5.0/s n n
7.
 
Leica X-U Typ 113optional n3.0 / 920 fixed n 1/2000s 5.0/s Y n
8.
 
Leica X Variooptional n3.0 / 920 fixed n 1/2000s 5.0/s Y n
9.
 
Leica M9optical n2.5 / 230 fixed n 1/4000s 2.0/s n n
10.
 
Nikon D6optical Y3.2 / 2359 fixed Y 1/8000s 14.0/s n n
11.
 
Nikon D4Soptical Y3.2 / 921 fixed n 1/8000s 11.0/s n n
12.
 
Nikon D750optical Y3.2 / 1229 tilting n 1/4000s 6.0/s Y n
13.
 
Nikon D610optical Y3.2 / 921 fixed n 1/4000s 6.0/s Y n
14.
 
Nikon D40optical n2.5 / 230 fixed n 1/4000s 2.5/s Y n
15.
 
Nikon D50optical n2.0 / 130 fixed n 1/4000s 2.5/s Y n
16.
 
Nikon D70soptical n2.0 / 130 fixed n 1/8000s 3.0/s Y n
17.
 
Nikon D70optical n1.8 / 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 differentiating feature between the two cameras concerns the touch sensitivity of the rear screen. The D5 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 Nikon D5 has an intervalometer built-in. This enables the photographer to capture time lapse sequences, such as flower blooming, a sunset or moon rise, without purchasing an external camera trigger and related software.

The R-D1 writes its imaging data to SDHC cards, while the D5 uses Compact Flash or XQD cards. The D5 features dual card slots, which can be very useful in case a memory card fails. In contrast, the R-D1 only has one slot.

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 D5 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
Mic / Speaker
Microphone
Port
Headphone
Port
HDMI
Port
USB
Port
WiFi
Support
NFC
Support
Bluetooth
Support
1.
 
Epson R-D1Y- / --------
2.
 
Nikon D5Ystereo / monoYYmini3.0---
3.
 
Canon 1D X Mark IIYmono / monoYYmini3.0---
4.
 
Canon RebelY- / ----1.1---
5.
 
Leica CLYstereo / mono----Y--
6.
 
Leica M10Y- / -----Y--
7.
 
Leica X-U Typ 113Ystereo / mono---2.0---
8.
 
Leica X VarioYstereo / mono--mini2.0---
9.
 
Leica M9Y- / ----2.0---
10.
 
Nikon D6Ystereo / monoYYmini3.1Y-Y
11.
 
Nikon D4SYmono / monoYYmini2.0---
12.
 
Nikon D750Ystereo / monoYYmini2.0Y--
13.
 
Nikon D610Ymono / monoYYmini2.0---
14.
 
Nikon D40Y- / ----2.0---
15.
 
Nikon D50Y- / ----2.0---
16.
 
Nikon D70sY- / ----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 D5 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The D5 was replaced by the Nikon D6, 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 D5? Which camera is better? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.

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Advantages of the Epson R-D1:

  • More compact: Is smaller (142x89mm vs 160x159mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
  • Less heavy: Is lighter (by 795g or 56 percent) and hence easier to carry around.
  • More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (54 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in March 2004).

ilogo

Reasons to prefer the Nikon D5:

  • More detail: Has more megapixels (20.7 vs 6MP), which boosts linear resolution by 86%.
  • Better image quality: Is equipped with a larger and more technologically advanced sensor.
  • Richer colors: The sensor size advantage translates into images with better, more accurate colors.
  • More dynamic range: Larger sensor captures a wider spectrum of light and dark details.
  • Better low-light sensitivity: Larger sensor produces good images even in poorly lit environments.
  • Broader imaging potential: Can capture not only stills but also 4K/30p video.
  • Easier setting verification: Features a control panel on top to check shooting parameters.
  • Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.2" vs 2.0") for image review and settings control.
  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (2359k vs 235k dots).
  • Fewer buttons to press: Has a touchscreen to facilitate handling and shooting adjustments.
  • Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/8000s vs 1/2000s) to freeze action.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (14 vs 1 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • Easier time-lapse photography: Has an intervalometer built-in for low frequency shooting.
  • 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.
  • Greater peace of mind: Features a second card slot as a backup in case of memory card failure.
  • More modern: Reflects 11 years and 9 months of technical progress since the R-D1 launch.

If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the D5 is the clear winner of the contest (17 : 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 04:17 D5

In any case, while the comparison of technical specifications can provide a useful overview of the capabilities of different cameras, it says little about, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance of the R-D1 and the D5 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 where reviews by experts come in. 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.

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Expert Camera Reviews
     Camera 
 Model 
 AP 
 score 
 CL 
 score 
 DCW 
 score 
 DPR 
 score 
 EPZ 
 score 
 PB 
 score 
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
1.
 
Epson R-D1............ Mar 2004 2,999i
2.
 
Nikon D5....4/589/1004.5/55/5 Jan 2016 6,499i
3.
 
Canon 1D X Mark II....4.5/589/1004.5/54.5/5 Feb 2016 5,999i
4.
 
Canon Rebel......+ +.... Aug 2003 899i
5.
 
Leica CL....4.2/5....4/5 Nov 2017 2,795 i
6.
 
Leica M104.5/5......4/54.5/5 Jan 2017 6,595 i
7.
 
Leica X-U Typ 1133.5/5........3.5/5 Jan 2016 2,950i
8.
 
Leica X Vario3/5......4/54/5 Jun 2013 2,850i
9.
 
Leica M9........4.5/5.. Sep 2009 7,999i
10.
 
Nikon D6....4/5..4.5/54.5/5 Feb 2020 6,499 i
11.
 
Nikon D4S5/5......4.5/54.5/5 Feb 2014 6,499i
12.
 
Nikon D7505/5+ +4/590/1004.5/54.5/5 Sep 2014 2,299i
13.
 
Nikon D6104/5+ +..87/1004.5/54.5/5 Oct 2013 1,999 i
14.
 
Nikon D40..81/100..+ +o4.5/5 Nov 2006 499i
15.
 
Nikon D50..78/100..+ +4/54.5/5 Apr 2005 749i
16.
 
Nikon D70s..........5/5 Apr 2005 899i
17.
 
Nikon D70......+ +.... Jan 2004 999i
Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.

The above review scores should be interpreted with care, though. The assessments were made in relation to similar cameras of the same technological generation. Thus, a score needs to be put into the context of the launch date and the launch price 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.

Epson R-D1:
Check Ebay offers
Nikon D5:
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 make your choice using the following search menu. There is also a set of direct links to comparison reviews that other users of the CAM-parator app explored.

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    Specifications: Epson R-D1 vs Nikon D5

    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 D5
    Camera Type Rangefinder camera Digital single lens reflex
    Camera Lens Leica M mount lenses Nikon F mount lenses
    Launch Date March 2004 January 2016
    Launch Price USD 2,999 USD 6,499
    Sensor Specs Epson R-D1 Nikon D5
    Sensor Technology CCD CMOS
    Sensor Format APS-C Sensor Full Frame Sensor
    Sensor Size 23.7 x 15.6 mm 35.9 x 23.9 mm
    Sensor Area 369.72 mm2 858.01 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 28.4 mm 43.1 mm
    Crop Factor 1.5x 1.0x
    Sensor Resolution 6 Megapixels 20.7 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 3008 x 2000 pixels 5588 x 3712 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 7.85 μm 6.44 μm
    Pixel Density 1.63 MP/cm2 2.42 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability no Video 4K/30p Video
    ISO Setting 200 - 1,600 ISO 100 - 102,400 ISO
    ISO Boost no Enhancement 50 - 3,280,000 ISO
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) .. 88
    DXO Color Depth (bits) .. 25.1
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) .. 12.3
    DXO Low Light (ISO) .. 2343
    Screen Specs Epson R-D1 Nikon D5
    Viewfinder Type Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 100% 100%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.72x
    Top-Level Screen no Top Display Control Panel
    LCD Framing Live View
    Rear LCD Size 2.0inch 3.2inch
    LCD Resolution 235k dots 2359k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen Fixed screen
    Touch Input no Touchscreen Touchscreen
    Shooting Specs Epson R-D1 Nikon D5
    Focus System Manual Focus Phase-detect AF
    Continuous Shooting 1 shutter flaps/s 14 shutter flaps/s
    Time-Lapse Photographyno IntervalometerIntervalometer built-in
    Fill Flash no On-Board Flash no On-Board Flash
    Storage Medium SDHC cards CF or XQD cards
    Second Storage Option Single card slot Dual card slots
    Connectivity Specs Epson R-D1 Nikon D5
    External Flash Hotshoe Hotshoe
    Studio Flash PC Sync socket PC Sync socket
    USB Connector no USB USB 3.0
    HDMI Port no HDMI mini HDMI
    Microphone Port no MIC socket External MIC port
    Headphone Socket no Headphone port Headphone port
    Wifi Support no Wifi no Wifi
    Body Specs Epson R-D1 Nikon D5
    Environmental Sealingnot weather sealedWeathersealed body
    Battery Type EU-85 EN-EL18a
    Body Dimensions 142 x 89 x 40 mm
    (5.6 x 3.5 x 1.6 in)
    160 x 159 x 92 mm
    (6.3 x 6.3 x 3.6 in)
    Camera Weight 620 g (21.9 oz) 1415 g (49.9 oz)
    Epson R-D1:
    Check Ebay offers
    Nikon D5:
    Check Ebay offers

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