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Epson R-D1 vs Nikon D5200

The Epson R-D1 and the Nikon D5200 are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in March 2004 and November 2012. The R-D1 is a rangefinder-style mirrorless camera, while the D5200 is a DSLR. Both cameras are equipped with an APS-C sensor. The Epson has a resolution of 6 megapixels, whereas the Nikon provides 24 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 D5200
Epson R-D1 Nikon D5200
Rangefinder camera Digital single lens reflex
Leica M mount lenses Nikon F mount lenses
6 MP, APS-C Sensor 24 MP, APS-C Sensor
no Video 1080/60i Video
ISO 200-1,600 ISO 100-6,400 (100 - 25,600)
Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
2.0 LCD, 235k dots 3.0 LCD, 921k dots
Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive) Swivel screen (not touch-sensitive)
1 shutter flaps per second 5 shutter flaps per second
142 x 89 x 40 mm, 620 g 129 x 98 x 78 mm, 555 g

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Epson R-D1 and the Nikon D5200? 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 D5200 is provided 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.

The D5200 can be obtained in two different colors (black, red), while the R-D1 is only available in black.

Size Epson R-D1 vs Nikon D5200
Compare R-D1 versus D5200 top
Comparison R-D1 or D5200 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Epson R-D1 and the Nikon D5200 are of equal size. However, the D5200 is markedly lighter (10 percent) than the R-D1. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the R-D1 nor the D5200 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 (D5200).

The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the two cameras alongside a broader set of comparators. If you want to switch the focus of the display and review another camera pair, just select a new right or left comparator from among the camera models in the table. Alternatively, you can also 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 1
Weather
Sealing
Camera
Launch 2
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
 
Epson R-D1 142 mm 89 mm 40 mm 620 g .. n Mar 2004 2,999i
 
Nikon D5200 129 mm 98 mm 78 mm 555 g 500 n Nov 2012 749i
 
Canon 350D 127 mm 94 mm 64 mm 540 g 400 n Feb 2005 899i
 
Canon 300D 142 mm 99 mm 72 mm 649 g 400 n Aug 2003 899i
 
Leica M10 139 mm 80 mm 39 mm 660 g 210 Y Jan 2017 6,595 i
 
Leica X Vario 133 mm 73 mm 95 mm 680 g 450 n Jun 2013 2,850i
 
Leica M9 139 mm 80 mm 37 mm 585 g .. n Sep 2009 7,999i
 
Leica M8 139 mm 80 mm 37 mm 591 g .. n Sep 2006 5,499i
 
Nikon D5600 124 mm 97 mm 70 mm 465 g 970 n Nov 2016 699 i
 
Nikon D5500 124 mm 97 mm 70 mm 420 g 820 n Jan 2015 899i
 
Nikon D5300 125 mm 98 mm 76 mm 480 g 600 n Oct 2013 799i
 
Nikon D3200 125 mm 96 mm 77 mm 505 g 540 n Apr 2012 599i
 
Nikon D5100 128 mm 97 mm 79 mm 560 g 660 n Apr 2011 749i
 
Nikon D50 133 mm 102 mm 76 mm 620 g 400 n Apr 2005 749i
 
Nikon D70s 140 mm 111 mm 78 mm 679 g 500 n Apr 2005 899i
 
Nikon D70 140 mm 111 mm 78 mm 679 g 400 n Jan 2004 999i
 
Olympus E-300 147 mm 85 mm 64 mm 624 g 750 n Sep 2004 799i
Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.
(1) Number of images that can be taken on a full battery charge according to the CIPA-standard; (2) Official announcement.

Any camera decision will obviously take relative prices into account. 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 D5200 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 75 percent) than the R-D1, which puts it into a different market segment. 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.

Sensor comparison

The imaging sensor is at the core of digital cameras and its size is one of the main determining factors 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. Furthermore, a large sensor camera will give the photographer more possibilities to use shallow depth-of-field in order to isolate a subject from the background. On the downside, larger sensors are more costly to manufacture and tend to lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.

Both cameras under consideration feature an APS-C sensor, but their sensors differ slightly in size. The sensor area in the D5200 is 1 percent smaller. 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 D5200 sensor measures

Despite having a slightly smaller sensor, the D5200 offers a higher resolution of 24 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 3.91μm versus 7.85μm for the R-D1). However, it should be noted that the D5200 is much more recent (by 8 years and 7 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.

The resolution advantage of the Nikon D5200 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the D5200 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 30 x 20 inches or 76.2 x 50.8 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 24 x 16 inches or 61 x 40.6 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 20 x 13.3 inches or 50.8 x 33.9 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 D5200 are ISO 100 to ISO 6400, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 100-25600.

R-D1 versus D5200 MP

For many cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. 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 table below summarizes the physical sensor characteristics and sensor quality findings and compares them across a set of similar 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
 
Epson R-D1 APS-C 6.0 3008 2000none........
 
Nikon D5200 APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60i24.213.9128484
 
Canon 350D APS-C 8.0 3456 2304none21.810.863760
 
Canon 300D APS-C 6.3 3072 2048none21.010.854455
 
Leica M10 Full Frame 23.8 5952 3992none24.413.2213386
 
Leica X Vario APS-C 16.1 4928 32721080/30p23.412.7132078
 
Leica M9 Full Frame 18.1 5212 3472none22.511.788469
 
Leica M8 APS-H 10.4 3936 2630none21.111.366359
 
Nikon D5600 APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.114.0130684
 
Nikon D5500 APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.114.0143884
 
Nikon D5300 APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.013.9133883
 
Nikon D3200 APS-C 24.1 6016 40001080/30p24.113.2113181
 
Nikon D5100 APS-C 16.1 4928 32641080/30p23.513.6118380
 
Nikon D50 APS-C 6.0 3008 2000none20.910.856055
 
Nikon D70s APS-C 6.0 3008 2000none20.410.352950
 
Nikon D70 APS-C 6.0 3008 2000none20.410.352950
 
Olympus E-300 Four Thirds 8.0 3264 2448none........

Many modern cameras cannot only take still pictures, but also record videos. The D5200 indeed provides for movie recording, while the R-D1 does not. The highest resolution format that the D5200 can use is 1080/60i.

Feature comparison

Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The R-D1 and the D5200 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 D5200 along with similar information for a selection of comparators.

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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
 
Epson R-D1optical n 2.0 235 fixed n 1/2000s 1.0 n n
 
Nikon D5200optical n 3.0 921 swivel n 1/4000s 5.0 Y n
 
Canon 350Doptical n 1.8 115 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
 
Canon 300Doptical n 1.8 118 fixed n 1/4000s 2.5 Y n
 
Leica M10optical n 3.0 1037 fixed n 1/4000s 5.0 n n
 
Leica X Variooptional n 3.0 920 fixed n 1/2000s 5.0 Y n
 
Leica M9optical n 2.5 230 fixed n 1/4000s 2.0 n n
 
Leica M8optical n 2.5 230 fixed n 1/8000s 2.0 n n
 
Nikon D5600optical n 3.2 1037 swivel Y 1/4000s 5.0 Y n
 
Nikon D5500optical n 3.2 1037 swivel Y 1/4000s 5.0 Y n
 
Nikon D5300optical n 3.2 1037 swivel n 1/4000s 5.0 Y n
 
Nikon D3200optical n 3.0 921 fixed n 1/4000s 4.0 Y n
 
Nikon D5100optical n 3.0 921 swivel n 1/4000s 4.0 Y n
 
Nikon D50optical n 2.0 130 fixed n 1/4000s 2.5 Y n
 
Nikon D70soptical n 2.0 130 fixed n 1/8000s 3.0 Y n
 
Nikon D70optical n 1.8 130 fixed n 1/8000s 3.0 Y n
 
Olympus E-300optical n 1.8 134 fixed n 1/4000s 2.5 Y n

One difference between the cameras concerns the presence of an on-board flash. The D5200 has one, while the R-D1 does not. While the built-in flash of the D5200 is not very powerful, it can at times be useful as a fill-in light.

The D5200 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 Nikon D5200 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 D5200 uses SDXC cards. The D5200 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.

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 D5200 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
 
Epson R-D1Y---------
 
Nikon D5200YstereomonoY-mini2.0---
 
Canon 350DY-----2.0---
 
Canon 300DY-----1.1---
 
Leica M10Y------Y--
 
Leica X VarioYstereomono--mini2.0---
 
Leica M9Y-----2.0---
 
Leica M8Y-----2.0---
 
Nikon D5600YstereomonoY-mini2.0YYY
 
Nikon D5500YstereomonoY-mini2.0Y--
 
Nikon D5300YstereomonoY-mini2.0Y--
 
Nikon D3200YmonomonoY-mini2.0---
 
Nikon D5100YmonomonoY-mini2.0---
 
Nikon D50Y-----2.0---
 
Nikon D70sY-----2.0---
 
Nikon D70Y-----1.0---
 
Olympus E-300Y-----2.0---

Studio photographers will appreciate that the Epson R-D1 (unlike the D5200) features a PC Sync socket, so that professional strobe lights can be controlled by the camera.

Both the R-D1 and the D5200 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The D5200 was replaced by the Nikon D5300, 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? Which of the two cameras – the Epson R-D1 or the Nikon D5200 – has the upper hand? Is one clearly better than the other? 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).

ilogo

Arguments in favor of the Nikon D5200:

  • More detail: Has more megapixels (24 vs 6MP), which boosts linear resolution by 100%.
  • Broader imaging potential: Can capture not only stills but also 1080/60i video.
  • 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 (921k 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 (5 vs 1 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • Easier time-lapse photography: Has an intervalometer built-in for low frequency shooting.
  • 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 affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (75 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More modern: Reflects 8 years and 7 months of technical progress since the R-D1 launch.

If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the D5200 is the clear winner of the contest (13 : 2 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 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 02:13 D5200

In any case, while the specs-based evaluation of cameras can be instructive in revealing their potential as photographic tools, it says little about, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance of the R-D1 and the D5200 in practical situations. 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 (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.

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Review Scores
  Camera
Model
camera
  labs  
dp
review  
ephoto
  zine  
imaging
resource
photography
  blog  
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
 
Epson R-D1.......... Mar 2004 2,999i
 
Nikon D5200+ +79/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Nov 2012 749i
 
Canon 350D80/100+ +oo.. Feb 2005 899i
 
Canon 300D..+ +..o.. Aug 2003 899i
 
Leica M10....4/5..4.5/5 Jan 2017 6,595 i
 
Leica X Vario....4/54/54/5 Jun 2013 2,850i
 
Leica M9....4.5/54.5/5.. Sep 2009 7,999i
 
Leica M8..+ +...... Sep 2006 5,499i
 
Nikon D5600..79/1004.5/54.5/54/5 Nov 2016 699 i
 
Nikon D5500+79/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Jan 2015 899i
 
Nikon D5300+ +79/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Oct 2013 799i
 
Nikon D3200+ +73/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Apr 2012 599i
 
Nikon D5100+ +76/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Apr 2011 749i
 
Nikon D5078/100+ +4/5o4.5/5 Apr 2005 749i
 
Nikon D70s......o5/5 Apr 2005 899i
 
Nikon D70..+ +..o.. Jan 2004 999i
 
Olympus E-300..+oo4.5/5 Sep 2004 799i
Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.

The review scores listed above should be treated with care, 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 rating-comparisons among cameras that span long time periods or concern very differently equipped models make little sense. Also, please note that some of the review sites have changed their methodology and reporting over time.

Epson R-D1:
Check Ebay offers
Nikon D5200:
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 D5200

    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 D5200
    Camera Type Rangefinder camera Digital single lens reflex
    Camera Lens Leica M mount lenses Nikon F mount lenses
    Launch Date March 2004 November 2012
    Launch Price USD 2,999 USD 749
    Sensor Specs Epson R-D1 Nikon D5200
    Sensor Technology CCD CMOS
    Sensor Format APS-C Sensor APS-C Sensor
    Sensor Size 23.7 x 15.6 mm 23.5 x 15.6 mm
    Sensor Area 369.72 mm2 366.6 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 28.4 mm 28.2 mm
    Crop Factor 1.5x 1.5x
    Sensor Resolution 6 Megapixels 24 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 3008 x 2000 pixels 6000 x 4000 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 7.85 μm 3.91 μm
    Pixel Density 1.63 MP/cm2 6.55 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability no Video 1080/60i Video
    ISO Setting 200 - 1,600 ISO 100 - 6,400 ISO
    ISO Boost no Enhancement 100 - 25,600 ISO
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) .. 84
    DXO Color Depth (bits) .. 24.2
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) .. 13.9
    DXO Low Light (ISO) .. 1284
    Screen Specs Epson R-D1 Nikon D5200
    Viewfinder Type Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 100% 95%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.51x
    LCD Framing Live View
    Rear LCD Size 2.0inch 3.0inch
    LCD Resolution 235k dots 921k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen Swivel screen
    Shooting Specs Epson R-D1 Nikon D5200
    Focus System Manual Focus Phase-detect AF
    Continuous Shooting 1 shutter flaps/s 5 shutter flaps/s
    Time-Lapse Photographyno IntervalometerIntervalometer built-in
    Fill Flash no On-Board Flash Build-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 Nikon D5200
    External Flash Hotshoe Hotshoe
    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 Nikon D5200
    Battery Type EU-85 EN-EL14
    Body Dimensions 142 x 89 x 40 mm
    (5.6 x 3.5 x 1.6 in)
    129 x 98 x 78 mm
    (5.1 x 3.9 x 3.1 in)
    Camera Weight 620 g (21.9 oz) 555 g (19.6 oz)

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