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Epson R-D1 vs Nikon Df

The Epson R-D1 and the Nikon Df are two enthusiast cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in March 2004 and November 2013. The R-D1 is a rangefinder-style mirrorless camera, while the Df is a DSLR. The cameras are based on an APS-C (R-D1) and a full frame (Df) sensor. The Epson has a resolution of 6 megapixels, whereas the Nikon provides 16.2 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 Df
Epson R-D1 Nikon Df
Rangefinder camera Digital single lens reflex
Leica M mount lenses Nikon F mount lenses
6 MP, APS-C Sensor 16.2 MP, Full Frame Sensor
no Video no Video
ISO 200-1,600 ISO 100-12,800 (50 - 204,800)
Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
2.0 LCD, 235k dots 3.2 LCD, 921k dots
Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive) Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)
1 shutter flaps per second 5.5 shutter flaps per second
not weather sealedWeathersealed body
142 x 89 x 40 mm, 620 g 144 x 110 x 67 mm, 760 g

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Epson R-D1 and the Nikon Df? 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 physical size and weight of the Epson R-D1 and the Nikon Df are illustrated in the side-by-side display below. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three consecutive perspectives from the front, the top, and the back are available. All width, height and depth measures are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

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

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

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Nikon Df is notably larger (25 percent) than the Epson R-D1. Moreover, the Df is markedly heavier (23 percent) than the R-D1. It is noteworthy in this context that the Df 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 (Df).

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.

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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 Df 144 mm 110 mm 67 mm 760 g 1400 Y Nov 2013 2,749i
3.
 
Canon 350D 127 mm 94 mm 64 mm 540 g 400 n Feb 2005 899i
4.
 
Canon 300D 142 mm 99 mm 72 mm 649 g 400 n Aug 2003 899i
5.
 
Leica M10 139 mm 80 mm 39 mm 660 g 210 Y Jan 2017 6,595 i
6.
 
Leica X Vario 133 mm 73 mm 95 mm 680 g 450 n Jun 2013 2,850i
7.
 
Leica M9 139 mm 80 mm 37 mm 585 g .. n Sep 2009 7,999i
8.
 
Leica M8 139 mm 80 mm 37 mm 591 g .. n Sep 2006 5,499i
9.
 
Nikon D4S 160 mm 157 mm 91 mm 1350 g 3020 Y Feb 2014 6,499i
10.
 
Nikon D750 141 mm 113 mm 78 mm 750 g 1230 Y Sep 2014 2,299i
11.
 
Nikon D810 146 mm 123 mm 82 mm 980 g 1200 Y Jun 2014 3,299i
12.
 
Nikon D610 141 mm 113 mm 82 mm 850 g 900 Y Oct 2013 1,999 i
13.
 
Nikon D4 160 mm 157 mm 91 mm 1340 g 2600 Y Jan 2012 5,999i
14.
 
Nikon D50 133 mm 102 mm 76 mm 620 g 400 n Apr 2005 749i
15.
 
Nikon D70s 140 mm 111 mm 78 mm 679 g 500 n Apr 2005 899i
16.
 
Nikon D70 140 mm 111 mm 78 mm 679 g 400 n Jan 2004 999i
17.
 
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.

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 Df was somewhat cheaper (by 8 percent) than the R-D1 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. Then, after the new model is out, very good deals can frequently be found on the pre-owned market.

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Sensor comparison

The size of the sensor inside a digital camera is one of the key determinants of image quality. All other things equal, a large sensor will have larger individual pixel-units that offer better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and 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 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 Df a full frame sensor. The sensor area in the Df 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 Df sensor measures

With 16.2MP, the Df offers a higher resolution than the R-D1 (6MP), but the Df has smaller individual pixels (pixel pitch of 7.29μm versus 7.85μm for the R-D1). Yet, the Df is a much more recent model (by 9 years and 7 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 Df implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the Df for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 24.6 x 16.4 inches or 62.6 x 41.7 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 19.7 x 13.1 inches or 50.1 x 33.3 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 16.4 x 10.9 inches or 41.7 x 27.8 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 Df are ISO 100 to ISO 12800, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 50-204800.

R-D1 versus Df 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.

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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 2000none........
2.
 
Nikon Df Full Frame 16.2 4928 3280none24.613.1327989
3.
 
Canon 350D APS-C 8.0 3456 2304none21.810.863760
4.
 
Canon 300D APS-C 6.3 3072 2048none21.010.854455
5.
 
Leica M10 Full Frame 23.8 5952 3992none24.413.2213386
6.
 
Leica X Vario APS-C 16.1 4928 32721080/30p23.412.7132078
7.
 
Leica M9 Full Frame 18.1 5212 3472none22.511.788469
8.
 
Leica M8 APS-H 10.4 3936 2630none21.111.366359
9.
 
Nikon D4S Full Frame 16.2 4928 32801080/60p24.413.3307489
10.
 
Nikon D750 Full Frame 24.2 6016 40161080/60p24.814.5295693
11.
 
Nikon D810 Full Frame 36.2 7360 49121080/60p25.714.8285397
12.
 
Nikon D610 Full Frame 24.2 6016 40161080/30p25.114.4292594
13.
 
Nikon D4 Full Frame 16.2 4928 32801080/30p24.713.1296589
14.
 
Nikon D50 APS-C 6.0 3008 2000none20.910.856055
15.
 
Nikon D70s APS-C 6.0 3008 2000none20.410.352950
16.
 
Nikon D70 APS-C 6.0 3008 2000none20.410.352950
17.
 
Olympus E-300 Four Thirds 8.0 3264 2448none........
The Df offers Live View, so that it can project the live image that the sensor receives onto the rear screen for framing. The R-D1 lacks this capability. Both cameras are still-image focused and cannot record videos.
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Feature comparison

Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The R-D1 and the Df 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 following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Epson R-D1, the Nikon Df, and comparable cameras.

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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
1.
 
Epson R-D1optical n 2.0 235 fixed n 1/2000s 1.0 n n
2.
 
Nikon Dfoptical Y 3.2 921 fixed n 1/4000s 5.5 n n
3.
 
Canon 350Doptical n 1.8 115 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
4.
 
Canon 300Doptical n 1.8 118 fixed n 1/4000s 2.5 Y n
5.
 
Leica M10optical n 3.0 1037 fixed n 1/4000s 5.0 n n
6.
 
Leica X Variooptional n 3.0 920 fixed n 1/2000s 5.0 Y n
7.
 
Leica M9optical n 2.5 230 fixed n 1/4000s 2.0 n n
8.
 
Leica M8optical n 2.5 230 fixed n 1/8000s 2.0 n n
9.
 
Nikon D4Soptical Y 3.2 921 fixed n 1/8000s 11.0 n n
10.
 
Nikon D750optical Y 3.2 1229 tilting n 1/4000s 6.0 Y n
11.
 
Nikon D810optical Y 3.2 1229 fixed n 1/8000s 5.0 Y n
12.
 
Nikon D610optical Y 3.2 921 fixed n 1/4000s 6.0 Y n
13.
 
Nikon D4optical Y 3.2 921 fixed n 1/8000s 11.0 n n
14.
 
Nikon D50optical n 2.0 130 fixed n 1/4000s 2.5 Y n
15.
 
Nikon D70soptical n 2.0 130 fixed n 1/8000s 3.0 Y n
16.
 
Nikon D70optical n 1.8 130 fixed n 1/8000s 3.0 Y n
17.
 
Olympus E-300optical n 1.8 134 fixed n 1/4000s 2.5 Y n

One feature that is present on the Df, 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 Df 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 Df uses SDXC cards. The Df 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.

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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 Df 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
1.
 
Epson R-D1Y---------
2.
 
Nikon DfY----mini2.0---
3.
 
Canon 350DY-----2.0---
4.
 
Canon 300DY-----1.1---
5.
 
Leica M10Y------Y--
6.
 
Leica X VarioYstereomono--mini2.0---
7.
 
Leica M9Y-----2.0---
8.
 
Leica M8Y-----2.0---
9.
 
Nikon D4SYmonomonoYYmini2.0---
10.
 
Nikon D750YstereomonoYYmini2.0Y--
11.
 
Nikon D810YstereomonoYYmini3.0Y--
12.
 
Nikon D610YmonomonoYYmini2.0---
13.
 
Nikon D4YmonomonoYYmicro2.0---
14.
 
Nikon D50Y-----2.0---
15.
 
Nikon D70sY-----2.0---
16.
 
Nikon D70Y-----1.0---
17.
 
Olympus E-300Y-----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 Df have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. Neither of the two has a direct successor, so they represent the end of the respective camera lines from Epson and Nikon. 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.

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Review summary

So how do things add up? Which of the two cameras – the Epson R-D1 or the Nikon Df – 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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Reasons to prefer the Epson R-D1:

  • More compact: Is smaller (142x89mm vs 144x110mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
  • Less heavy: Is lighter (by 140g or 18 percent) and hence easier to carry around.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in March 2004).

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Arguments in favor of the Nikon Df:

  • More detail: Has more megapixels (16.2 vs 6MP), which boosts linear resolution by 64%.
  • 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.
  • 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 (1/4000s vs 1/2000s) to freeze action.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (5.5 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.
  • Faster buffer clearing: Has an SD card interface that supports the UHS-I standard.
  • More modern: Reflects 9 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 Df is the clear winner of the contest (14 : 3 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 sports photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a street photog, and a person interested in family portraits has distinct needs from a landscape shooter. Hence, the decision which camera is best and worth buying is often a very personal one.

R-D1 03:14 Df

In any case, while the comparison of the spec-sheets of cameras can offer a general idea of their imaging potential, it remains incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the R-D1 or the Df perform in practice. 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 table below provides a synthesis of the camera assessments of some of the best known photo-gear review sites (amateurphotographer [AP], cameralabs [CL], 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 
 DPR 
 score 
 EPZ 
 score 
 PB 
 score 
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
1.
 
Epson R-D1.......... Mar 2004 2,999i
2.
 
Nikon Df4/5..81/1004/54/5 Nov 2013 2,749i
3.
 
Canon 350D..80/100+ +o.. Feb 2005 899i
4.
 
Canon 300D....+ +.... Aug 2003 899i
5.
 
Leica M104.5/5....4/54.5/5 Jan 2017 6,595 i
6.
 
Leica X Vario3/5....4/54/5 Jun 2013 2,850i
7.
 
Leica M9......4.5/5.. Sep 2009 7,999i
8.
 
Leica M8....+ +.... Sep 2006 5,499i
9.
 
Nikon D4S5/5....4.5/54.5/5 Feb 2014 6,499i
10.
 
Nikon D7505/5+ +90/1004.5/54.5/5 Sep 2014 2,299i
11.
 
Nikon D8105/5..86/1005/54.5/5 Jun 2014 3,299i
12.
 
Nikon D6104/5+ +87/1004.5/54.5/5 Oct 2013 1,999 i
13.
 
Nikon D4......4.5/54.5/5 Jan 2012 5,999i
14.
 
Nikon D50..78/100+ +4/54.5/5 Apr 2005 749i
15.
 
Nikon D70s........5/5 Apr 2005 899i
16.
 
Nikon D70....+ +.... Jan 2004 999i
17.
 
Olympus E-300....+o4.5/5 Sep 2004 799i
Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.

Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, 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 comparisons of ratings among very different cameras or across long time periods have little meaning. Also, please note that some of the review sites have changed their methodology and reporting over time.

Epson R-D1:
Check Ebay offers
Nikon Df:
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. 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 Df

    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 Df
    Camera Type Rangefinder camera Digital single lens reflex
    Camera Lens Leica M mount lenses Nikon F mount lenses
    Launch Date March 2004 November 2013
    Launch Price USD 2,999 USD 2,749
    Sensor Specs Epson R-D1 Nikon Df
    Sensor Technology CCD CMOS
    Sensor Format APS-C Sensor Full Frame Sensor
    Sensor Size 23.7 x 15.6 mm 36.0 x 23.9 mm
    Sensor Area 369.72 mm2 860.4 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 28.4 mm 43.2 mm
    Crop Factor 1.5x 1.0x
    Sensor Resolution 6 Megapixels 16.2 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 3008 x 2000 pixels 4928 x 3280 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 7.85 μm 7.29 μm
    Pixel Density 1.63 MP/cm2 1.88 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability no Video no Video
    ISO Setting 200 - 1,600 ISO 100 - 12,800 ISO
    ISO Boost no Enhancement 50 - 204,800 ISO
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) .. 89
    DXO Color Depth (bits) .. 24.6
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) .. 13.1
    DXO Low Light (ISO) .. 3279
    Screen Specs Epson R-D1 Nikon Df
    Viewfinder Type Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 100% 100%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.70x
    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 Df
    Focus System Manual Focus Phase-detect AF
    Continuous Shooting 1 shutter flaps/s 5.5 shutter flaps/s
    Time-Lapse Photographyno IntervalometerIntervalometer built-in
    Fill Flash no On-Board Flash no On-Board 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 Df
    External Flash Hotshoe Hotshoe
    Studio Flash PC Sync socket PC Sync socket
    USB Connector no USB USB 2.0
    HDMI Port no HDMI mini HDMI
    Wifi Support no Wifi no Wifi
    Body Specs Epson R-D1 Nikon Df
    Environmental Sealingnot weather sealedWeathersealed body
    Battery Type EU-85 EN-EL14
    Body Dimensions 142 x 89 x 40 mm
    (5.6 x 3.5 x 1.6 in)
    144 x 110 x 67 mm
    (5.7 x 4.3 x 2.6 in)
    Camera Weight 620 g (21.9 oz) 760 g (26.8 oz)

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