Epson R-D1 vs Nikon D800E
The Epson R-D1 and the Nikon D800E are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in March 2004 and February 2012. The R-D1 is a rangefinder-focusing mirrorless camera, while the D800E is a DSLR. The cameras are based on an APS-C (R-D1) and a full frame (D800E) sensor. The Epson has a resolution of 6 megapixels, whereas the Nikon provides 36.2 MP.
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 D800E? 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 D800E. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three successive views from the front, the top, and the rear are shown. All size 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 D800E is notably larger (42 percent) than the Epson R-D1. Moreover, the D800E is substantially heavier (61 percent) than the R-D1. It is noteworthy in this context that the D800E 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 (D800E).
The adjacent table lists the principal physical characteristics of the two cameras alongside a wider set of alternatives. 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.
|1.||Epson R-D1||142 mm||89 mm||40 mm||620 g||..||n||Mar 2004||2,999||ebay.com|
|2.||Nikon D800E||146 mm||123 mm||82 mm||1000 g||900||Y||Feb 2012||3,299||ebay.com|
|3.||Canon 350D||127 mm||94 mm||64 mm||540 g||400||n||Feb 2005||899||ebay.com|
|4.||Canon 300D||142 mm||99 mm||72 mm||649 g||400||n||Aug 2003||899||ebay.com|
|5.||Leica M10||139 mm||80 mm||39 mm||660 g||210||Y||Jan 2017||6,595||ebay.com|
|6.||Leica X Vario||133 mm||73 mm||95 mm||680 g||450||n||Jun 2013||2,850||ebay.com|
|7.||Leica M9||139 mm||80 mm||37 mm||585 g||..||n||Sep 2009||7,999||ebay.com|
|8.||Leica M8||139 mm||80 mm||37 mm||591 g||..||n||Sep 2006||5,499||ebay.com|
|9.||Nikon D850||146 mm||124 mm||79 mm||1005 g||1840||Y||Jul 2017||3,299||amazon.com|
|10.||Nikon D810||146 mm||123 mm||82 mm||980 g||1200||Y||Jun 2014||3,299||ebay.com|
|11.||Nikon D610||141 mm||113 mm||82 mm||850 g||900||Y||Oct 2013||1,999||amazon.com|
|12.||Nikon D800||146 mm||123 mm||82 mm||1000 g||900||Y||Feb 2012||2,999||ebay.com|
|13.||Nikon D700||147 mm||123 mm||77 mm||1074 g||1000||Y||Jul 2008||2,999||ebay.com|
|14.||Nikon D50||133 mm||102 mm||76 mm||620 g||400||n||Apr 2005||749||ebay.com|
|15.||Nikon D70s||140 mm||111 mm||78 mm||679 g||500||n||Apr 2005||899||ebay.com|
|16.||Nikon D70||140 mm||111 mm||78 mm||679 g||400||n||Jan 2004||999||ebay.com|
|17.||Olympus E-300||147 mm||85 mm||64 mm||624 g||750||n||Sep 2004||799||ebay.com|
|Note: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.|
Any camera decision will obviously take relative prices into account. The retail prices at the time of the camera’s release place the model in the market relative to other models in the producer’s line-up and the competition. The R-D1 was somewhat cheaper (by 9 percent) than the D800E at launch, but both cameras fall into the same price category. 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 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 tend to be associated with larger, more expensive camera bodies and lenses.
Of the two cameras under consideration, the Epson R-D1 features an APS-C sensor and the Nikon D800E a full frame sensor. The sensor area in the D800E is 133 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.
With 36.2MP, the D800E offers a higher resolution than the R-D1 (6MP), but the D800E has smaller individual pixels (pixel pitch of 4.88μm versus 7.85μm for the R-D1). Yet, the D800E is a much more recent model (by 7 years and 10 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. Coming back to sensor resolution, it should be mentioned that the D800E has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.
The resolution advantage of the Nikon D800E implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the D800E for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 36.8 x 24.6 inches or 93.5 x 62.4 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 29.4 x 19.6 inches or 74.8 x 49.9 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 24.5 x 16.4 inches or 62.3 x 41.6 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 D800E are ISO 100 to ISO 6400, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 50-25600.
In terms of underlying technology, the R-D1 is build around a CCD sensor, while the D800E uses a CMOS imager. Both cameras use a Bayer filter for capturing RGB colors on a square grid of photosensors. This arrangement is found in most digital cameras.
Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for many cameras. This service determines an overall sensor rating, as well as sub-scores for low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and color depth ("DXO Portrait"). The adjacent table reports on the physical sensor characteristics and the outcomes of the DXO sensor quality tests for a sample of comparator-cameras.
|2.||Nikon D800E||Full Frame||36.2||7360||4912||1080/30p||25.6||14.3||2979||96|
|5.||Leica M10||Full Frame||23.8||5952||3992||none||24.4||13.2||2133||86|
|6.||Leica X Vario||APS-C||16.1||4928||3272||1080/30p||23.4||12.7||1320||78|
|7.||Leica M9||Full Frame||18.1||5212||3472||none||22.5||11.7||884||69|
|9.||Nikon D850||Full Frame||45.4||8256||5504||4K/30p||26.4||14.8||2660||100|
|10.||Nikon D810||Full Frame||36.2||7360||4912||1080/60p||25.7||14.8||2853||97|
|11.||Nikon D610||Full Frame||24.2||6016||4016||1080/30p||25.1||14.4||2925||94|
|12.||Nikon D800||Full Frame||36.2||7360||4912||1080/30p||25.3||14.4||2853||95|
|13.||Nikon D700||Full Frame||12.1||4256||2832||none||23.5||12.2||2303||80|
|17.||Olympus E-300||Four Thirds||8.0||3264||2448||none||20.4||10.1||-40||48|
|Note: DXO values in italics represent estimates based on sensor size and age.|
Many modern cameras cannot only take still pictures, but also record videos. The D800E indeed provides for movie recording, while the R-D1 does not. The highest resolution format that the D800E can use is 1080/30p.
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. The R-D1 and the D800E 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 D800E 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 D800E||optical||Y||3.2 / 921||fixed||n||1/8000s||4.0/s||Y||n|
|3.||Canon 350D||optical||n||1.8 / 115||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0/s||Y||n|
|4.||Canon 300D||optical||n||1.8 / 118||fixed||n||1/4000s||2.5/s||Y||n|
|5.||Leica M10||optical||n||3.0 / 1037||fixed||n||1/4000s||5.0/s||n||n|
|6.||Leica X Vario||optional||n||3.0 / 920||fixed||n||1/2000s||5.0/s||Y||n|
|7.||Leica M9||optical||n||2.5 / 230||fixed||n||1/4000s||2.0/s||n||n|
|8.||Leica M8||optical||n||2.5 / 230||fixed||n||1/8000s||2.0/s||n||n|
|9.||Nikon D850||optical||Y||3.2 / 2359||tilting||Y||1/8000s||9.0/s||n||n|
|10.||Nikon D810||optical||Y||3.2 / 1229||fixed||n||1/8000s||5.0/s||Y||n|
|11.||Nikon D610||optical||Y||3.2 / 921||fixed||n||1/4000s||6.0/s||Y||n|
|12.||Nikon D800||optical||Y||3.2 / 921||fixed||n||1/8000s||4.0/s||Y||n|
|13.||Nikon D700||optical||Y||3.0 / 922||fixed||n||1/8000s||8.0/s||Y||n|
|14.||Nikon D50||optical||n||2.0 / 130||fixed||n||1/4000s||2.5/s||Y||n|
|15.||Nikon D70s||optical||n||2.0 / 130||fixed||n||1/8000s||3.0/s||Y||n|
|16.||Nikon D70||optical||n||1.8 / 130||fixed||n||1/8000s||3.0/s||Y||n|
|17.||Olympus E-300||optical||n||1.8 / 134||fixed||n||1/4000s||2.5/s||Y||n|
|Notes: *) Information refers to the mechanical shutter, unless the camera only has an electronic one.|
One feature that is present on the D800E, 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 Nikon D800E 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 D800E uses Compact Flash or SDXC cards. The D800E features dual card slots, which can be very useful in case a memory card fails. In contrast, the R-D1 only has one slot. The D800E 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.
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 D800E 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 D800E||Y||mono / mono||Y||Y||mini||3.0||-||-||-|
|3.||Canon 350D||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|4.||Canon 300D||Y||- / -||-||-||-||1.1||-||-||-|
|5.||Leica M10||Y||- / -||-||-||-||-||Y||-||-|
|6.||Leica X Vario||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|7.||Leica M9||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|8.||Leica M8||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|9.||Nikon D850||Y||stereo / mono||Y||Y||mini||3.0||Y||Y||Y|
|10.||Nikon D810||Y||stereo / mono||Y||Y||mini||3.0||Y||-||-|
|11.||Nikon D610||Y||mono / mono||Y||Y||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|12.||Nikon D800||Y||mono / mono||Y||Y||mini||3.0||-||-||-|
|13.||Nikon D700||Y||- / -||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|14.||Nikon D50||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|15.||Nikon D70s||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|16.||Nikon D70||Y||- / -||-||-||-||1.0||-||-||-|
|17.||Olympus E-300||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
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 D800E have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on ebay. The D800E was replaced by the Nikon D810, while the R-D1 does not have a direct successor. Further information on the features and operation of the R-D1 and D800E can be found, respectively, in the Epson R-D1 Manual (free pdf) or the online Nikon D800E Manual.
So how do things add up? Which of the two cameras – the Epson R-D1 or the Nikon D800E – has the upper hand? Is one clearly better than the other? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.
Arguments in favor of the Epson R-D1:
- Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
- More compact: Is smaller (142x89mm vs 146x123mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
- Less heavy: Is lighter (by 380g or 38 percent) and hence easier to carry around.
- More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in March 2004).
Advantages of the Nikon D800E:
- More detail: Has more megapixels (36.2 vs 6MP), which boosts linear resolution by 145%.
- Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
- 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 1080/30p 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 (921k vs 235k dots).
- Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/8000s vs 1/2000s) to freeze action.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (4 vs 1 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Easier time-lapse photography: Has an intervalometer built-in for low frequency shooting.
- Better sealing: Is splash and dust sealed for shooting in inclement weather conditions.
- Easier fill-in: Has a small integrated flash to brighten shadows of backlit subjects.
- Greater peace of mind: Features a second card slot as a backup in case of memory card failure.
- Faster buffer clearing: Has an SD card interface that supports the UHS-I standard.
- More modern: Reflects 7 years and 10 months of technical progress since the R-D1 launch.
If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the D800E is the clear winner of the contest (18 : 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.
In any case, while the specs-based evaluation of cameras can be instructive in revealing their potential as photographic tools, it remains partial and cannot reveal, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance when actually working with the R-D1 or the D800E. 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 expert reviews are important. The table below provides a synthesis of the camera assessments of some of the best known photo-gear 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 D800E||..||..||..||84/100||5/5||5/5||Feb 2012||3,299||ebay.com|
|3.||Canon 350D||..||80/100||..||+ +||o||..||Feb 2005||899||ebay.com|
|4.||Canon 300D||..||..||..||+ +||..||..||Aug 2003||899||ebay.com|
|5.||Leica M10||4.5/5||..||..||..||4/5||4.5/5||Jan 2017||6,595||ebay.com|
|6.||Leica X Vario||3/5||..||..||..||4/5||4/5||Jun 2013||2,850||ebay.com|
|7.||Leica M9||..||..||..||..||4.5/5||..||Sep 2009||7,999||ebay.com|
|8.||Leica M8||..||..||..||+ +||..||..||Sep 2006||5,499||ebay.com|
|9.||Nikon D850||4.5/5||+ +||5/5||89/100||4.5/5||5/5||Jul 2017||3,299||amazon.com|
|10.||Nikon D810||5/5||..||5/5||86/100||5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2014||3,299||ebay.com|
|11.||Nikon D610||4/5||+ +||..||87/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Oct 2013||1,999||amazon.com|
|12.||Nikon D800||5/5||+ +||..||82/100||5/5||5/5||Feb 2012||2,999||ebay.com|
|13.||Nikon D700||..||89/100||..||+ +||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jul 2008||2,999||ebay.com|
|14.||Nikon D50||..||78/100||..||+ +||4/5||4.5/5||Apr 2005||749||ebay.com|
|15.||Nikon D70s||..||..||..||..||..||5/5||Apr 2005||899||ebay.com|
|16.||Nikon D70||..||..||..||+ +||..||..||Jan 2004||999||ebay.com|
|17.||Olympus E-300||..||..||..||+||o||4.5/5||Sep 2004||799||ebay.com|
|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. Hence, a score should always be seen in the context of the camera's market launch date and its price, and comparisons of ratings among very different cameras or across long time periods have little meaning. It should also be noted that some of the review sites have over time altered the way they render their verdicts.
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 your choice using the following search menu. As an alternative, you can also directly jump to any one of the listed comparisons that were previously generated by the CAM-parator tool.
- Epson R-D1 vs Leica SL2-S
- Epson R-D1 vs Nikon D610
- Epson R-D1 vs Nikon D70
- Epson R-D1 vs Olympus E-520
- Epson R-D1 vs Olympus XZ-2
- Epson R-D1 vs Sony A6000
- Nikon D5000 vs Nikon D800E
- Nikon D800E vs Olympus E-PL5
- Nikon D800E vs Sigma fp
- Nikon D800E vs Sony A6000
- Nikon D800E vs Sony A7R IV
- Nikon D800E vs Sony A7S II
Specifications: Epson R-D1 vs Nikon D800E
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 D800E|
|Camera Type||Rangefinder camera||Digital single lens reflex|
|Camera Lens||Leica M mount lenses||Nikon F mount lenses|
|Launch Date||March 2004||February 2012|
|Launch Price||USD 2,999||USD 3,299|
|Sensor Specs||Epson R-D1||Nikon D800E|
|Sensor Format||APS-C Sensor||Full Frame Sensor|
|Sensor Size||23.7 x 15.6 mm||35.9 x 24.0 mm|
|Sensor Area||369.72 mm2||861.6 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||28.4 mm||43.2 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||6 Megapixels||36.2 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||3008 x 2000 pixels||7360 x 4912 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||7.85 μm||4.88 μm|
|Pixel Density||1.63 MP/cm2||4.20 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||no AA filter|
|Movie Capability||no Video||1080/30p Video|
|ISO Setting||200 - 1,600 ISO||100 - 6,400 ISO|
|ISO Boost||no Enhancement||50 - 25,600 ISO|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||..||96|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||..||25.6|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||..||14.3|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||..||2979|
|Screen Specs||Epson R-D1||Nikon D800E|
|Viewfinder Type||Optical viewfinder||Optical viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||100%||100%|
|Top-Level Screen||no Top Display||Control Panel|
|LCD Framing||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||2.0inch||3.2inch|
|LCD Resolution||235k dots||921k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Fixed screen|
|Shooting Specs||Epson R-D1||Nikon D800E|
|Focus System||Manual Focus||Phase-detect AF|
|Continuous Shooting||1 shutter flaps/s||4 shutter flaps/s|
|Time-Lapse Photography||no Intervalometer||Intervalometer built-in|
|Fill Flash||no On-Board Flash||Built-in Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDHC cards||CF or SDXC cards|
|Single or Dual Card Slots||Single card slot||Dual card slots|
|UHS card support||no||UHS-I|
|Connectivity Specs||Epson R-D1||Nikon D800E|
|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 D800E|
|Environmental Sealing||not weather sealed||Weathersealed body|
142 x 89 x 40 mm
(5.6 x 3.5 x 1.6 in)
146 x 123 x 82 mm
(5.7 x 4.8 x 3.2 in)
|Camera Weight||620 g (21.9 oz)||1000 g (35.3 oz)|
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