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Epson R-D1 vs Panasonic G1

The Epson R-D1 and the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G1 are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in March 2004 and September 2008. The R-D1 is a rangefinder-focusing mirrorless, while the G1 is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera. The cameras are based on an APS-C (R-D1) and a Four Thirds (G1) sensor. The Epson has a resolution of 6 megapixels, whereas the Panasonic provides 12 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
Panasonic G1
Epson R-D1   Panasonic G1
Rangefinder camera Mirrorless system camera
Leica M mount lenses Micro Four Thirds lenses
6 MP – APS-C sensor 12 MP – Four Thirds sensor
no Video no Video
ISO 200-1,600 ISO 100-1,600 (100 - 3,200)
Optical viewfinder Electronic viewfinder (1440k dots)
2.0" LCD – 235k dots 2.0" LCD – 460k dots
Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive) Swivel screen (not touch-sensitive)
1 shutter flaps per second 3 shutter flaps per second
142 x 89 x 40 mm, 620 g 124 x 84 x 45 mm, 360 g
Epson R-D1:
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Panasonic G1:
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Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Epson R-D1 and the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G1? 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 Panasonic G1. 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 width, height and depth dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

Size Epson R-D1 vs Panasonic G1
Compare R-D1 versus G1 top
Comparison R-D1 or G1 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Panasonic G1 is notably smaller (18 percent) than the Epson R-D1. Moreover, the G1 is substantially lighter (42 percent) than the R-D1. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the R-D1 nor the G1 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. 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 Micro Four Thirds Lens Catalog (G1).

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.
 
Panasonic G1 124 mm 84 mm 45 mm 360 g 410 n Sep 2008 599i
3.
 
Canon Rebel 142 mm 99 mm 72 mm 649 g 400 n Aug 2003 899i
4.
 
Leica CL 131 mm 78 mm 45 mm 403 g 220 n Nov 2017 2,795 i
5.
 
Leica M10 139 mm 80 mm 39 mm 660 g 210 Y Jan 2017 6,595 i
6.
 
Leica X-U Typ 113 140 mm 79 mm 88 mm 635 g 450 Y Jan 2016 2,950i
7.
 
Leica X Vario 133 mm 73 mm 95 mm 680 g 450 n Jun 2013 2,850i
8.
 
Leica M9 139 mm 80 mm 37 mm 585 g .. n Sep 2009 7,999i
9.
 
Nikon D40 124 mm 94 mm 64 mm 522 g 470 n Nov 2006 499i
10.
 
Nikon D50 133 mm 102 mm 76 mm 620 g 400 n Apr 2005 749i
11.
 
Nikon D70s 140 mm 111 mm 78 mm 679 g 500 n Apr 2005 899i
12.
 
Nikon D70 140 mm 111 mm 78 mm 679 g 400 n Jan 2004 999i
13.
 
Olympus E-410 130 mm 91 mm 53 mm 435 g 500 n Mar 2007 699i
14.
 
Panasonic G10 124 mm 84 mm 74 mm 388 g 380 n Mar 2010 499i
15.
 
Panasonic G2 124 mm 84 mm 74 mm 428 g 360 n Mar 2010 599i
16.
 
Panasonic GH1 124 mm 90 mm 45 mm 385 g 300 n Mar 2009 899i
17.
 
Panasonic L10 135 mm 96 mm 78 mm 556 g 450 n Aug 2007 599i
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 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 G1 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 80 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. 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. Moreover, a large sensor camera will give the photographer more control over depth-of-field in the image and, thus, the ability to better 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 Panasonic G1 a Four Thirds sensor. The sensor area in the G1 is 39 percent smaller. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 1.5 and 2.0. The sensor in the R-D1 has a native 3:2 aspect ratio, while the one in the G1 offers a 4:3 aspect.

Epson R-D1 and Panasonic G1 sensor measures

Despite having a smaller sensor, the G1 offers a higher resolution of 12 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 4.33μm versus 7.85μm for the R-D1). However, it should be noted that the G1 is much more recent (by 4 years and 6 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 Panasonic G1 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the G1 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 20 x 15 inches or 50.8 x 38.1 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 16 x 12 inches or 40.6 x 30.5 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 13.3 x 10 inches or 33.9 x 25.4 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 Panasonic Lumix DMC-G1 are ISO 100 to ISO 1600, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 100-3200.

R-D1 versus G1 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 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
1.
 
Epson R-D1 APS-C 6.0 3008 2000none21.110.456455
2.
 
Panasonic G1 Four Thirds 12.0 4000 3000none21.110.346353
3.
 
Canon Rebel APS-C 6.3 3072 2048none21.010.854455
4.
 
Leica CL APS-C 24.1 6014 40144K/30p24.013.3178882
5.
 
Leica M10 Full Frame 23.8 5952 3992none24.413.2213386
6.
 
Leica X-U Typ 113 APS-C 16.1 4928 32641080/30p23.813.0161480
7.
 
Leica X Vario APS-C 16.1 4928 32721080/30p23.412.7132078
8.
 
Leica M9 Full Frame 18.1 5212 3472none22.511.788469
9.
 
Nikon D40 APS-C 6.0 3008 2000none21.011.056156
10.
 
Nikon D50 APS-C 6.0 3008 2000none20.910.856055
11.
 
Nikon D70s APS-C 6.0 3008 2000none20.410.352950
12.
 
Nikon D70 APS-C 6.0 3008 2000none20.410.352950
13.
 
Olympus E-410 Four Thirds 10.0 3648 2736none21.110.049451
14.
 
Panasonic G10 Four Thirds 12.0 4000 3000720/30p21.210.141152
15.
 
Panasonic G2 Four Thirds 12.0 4000 3000720/30p21.210.349353
16.
 
Panasonic GH1 Four Thirds 12.0 4000 30001080/24p21.611.677264
17.
 
Panasonic L10 Four Thirds 10.0 3648 2736none21.310.842955
Note: DXO values in italics represent estimates based on sensor size and age.
The G1 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

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. For example, the G1 has an electronic viewfinder (1440k dots), while the R-D1 has an optical one. Both systems have their advantages, with the electronic viewfinder making it possible to project supplementary shooting information into the framing view, whereas the optical viewfinder offers lag-free viewing and a very clear framing image. The following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Epson R-D1, the Panasonic G1, and comparable 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.
 
Panasonic G11440 n3.0 / 460 swivel n 1/4000s 3.0/s Y n
3.
 
Canon Rebeloptical n1.8 / 118 fixed n 1/4000s 2.5/s Y n
4.
 
Leica CL2360 Y3.0 / 1040 fixed Y 1/8000s 10.0/s n n
5.
 
Leica M10optical n3.0 / 1037 fixed n 1/4000s 5.0/s n n
6.
 
Leica X-U Typ 113optional n3.0 / 920 fixed n 1/2000s 5.0/s Y n
7.
 
Leica X Variooptional n3.0 / 920 fixed n 1/2000s 5.0/s Y n
8.
 
Leica M9optical n2.5 / 230 fixed n 1/4000s 2.0/s n n
9.
 
Nikon D40optical n2.5 / 230 fixed n 1/4000s 2.5/s Y n
10.
 
Nikon D50optical n2.0 / 130 fixed n 1/4000s 2.5/s Y n
11.
 
Nikon D70soptical n2.0 / 130 fixed n 1/8000s 3.0/s Y n
12.
 
Nikon D70optical n1.8 / 130 fixed n 1/8000s 3.0/s Y n
13.
 
Olympus E-410optical n2.5 / 215 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0/s Y n
14.
 
Panasonic G10202 n3.0 / 460 fixed n 1/4000s 2.6/s Y n
15.
 
Panasonic G21440 n3.0 / 460 swivel Y 1/4000s 2.6/s Y n
16.
 
Panasonic GH11440 n3.0 / 460 swivel n 1/4000s 3.0/s Y n
17.
 
Panasonic L10optical n2.5 / 207 swivel n 1/4000s 3.0/s Y n
Notes: *) Information refers to the mechanical shutter, unless the camera only has an electronic one.

One difference between the cameras concerns the presence of an on-board flash. The G1 has one, while the R-D1 does not. While the built-in flash of the G1 is not very powerful, it can at times be useful as a fill-in light.

The G1 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.

Concerning the storage of imaging data, both the R-D1 and the G1 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 Panasonic Lumix DMC-G1 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.
 
Panasonic G1Y- / ---mini2.0---
3.
 
Canon RebelY- / ----1.1---
4.
 
Leica CLYstereo / mono----Y--
5.
 
Leica M10Y- / -----Y--
6.
 
Leica X-U Typ 113Ystereo / mono---2.0---
7.
 
Leica X VarioYstereo / mono--mini2.0---
8.
 
Leica M9Y- / ----2.0---
9.
 
Nikon D40Y- / ----2.0---
10.
 
Nikon D50Y- / ----2.0---
11.
 
Nikon D70sY- / ----2.0---
12.
 
Nikon D70Y- / ----1.0---
13.
 
Olympus E-410Y- / ----2.0---
14.
 
Panasonic G10Ymono / ---mini2.0---
15.
 
Panasonic G2Ystereo / mono--mini2.0---
16.
 
Panasonic GH1Ystereo / -Y-mini2.0---
17.
 
Panasonic L10Y- / ----2.0---

Studio photographers will appreciate that the Epson R-D1 (unlike the G1) features a PC Sync socket, so that professional strobe lights can be controlled by the camera.

Both the R-D1 and the G1 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The G1 was replaced by the Panasonic G2, 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 Panasonic websites.

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Review summary

So how do things add up? Is the Epson R-D1 better than the Panasonic G1 or vice versa? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.

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Arguments in favor of the Epson R-D1:

  • Brighter framing: Features an optical viewfinder for clear, lag-free composition.
  • 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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Reasons to prefer the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G1:

  • More detail: Has more megapixels (12 vs 6MP), which boosts linear resolution by 38%.
  • More framing info: Has an electronic viewfinder that displays shooting data.
  • 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 (460k 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 (3 vs 1 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • More compact: Is smaller (124x84mm vs 142x89mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
  • Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 260g or 42 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 (80 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More modern: Reflects 4 years and 6 months of technical progress since the R-D1 launch.

If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the G1 is the clear winner of the contest (13 : 3 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 03:13 G1

In any case, while the comparison of technical specifications can provide a useful overview of the capabilities of different cameras, it remains partial and cannot reveal, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance when actually working with the R-D1 or the G1. 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 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.

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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.
 
Panasonic G1..+ +..70/1004/54.5/5 Sep 2008 599i
3.
 
Canon Rebel......+ +.... Aug 2003 899i
4.
 
Leica CL....4.2/5....4/5 Nov 2017 2,795 i
5.
 
Leica M104.5/5......4/54.5/5 Jan 2017 6,595 i
6.
 
Leica X-U Typ 1133.5/5........3.5/5 Jan 2016 2,950i
7.
 
Leica X Vario3/5......4/54/5 Jun 2013 2,850i
8.
 
Leica M9........4.5/5.. Sep 2009 7,999i
9.
 
Nikon D40..81/100..+ +o4.5/5 Nov 2006 499i
10.
 
Nikon D50..78/100..+ +4/54.5/5 Apr 2005 749i
11.
 
Nikon D70s..........5/5 Apr 2005 899i
12.
 
Nikon D70......+ +.... Jan 2004 999i
13.
 
Olympus E-410..86/100..+ +4/54.5/5 Mar 2007 699i
14.
 
Panasonic G103/5....70/1004/54/5 Mar 2010 499i
15.
 
Panasonic G2......72/1004/54.5/5 Mar 2010 599i
16.
 
Panasonic GH1..+ +..72/1004.5/54.5/5 Mar 2009 899i
17.
 
Panasonic L10..85/100..+3.5/54/5 Aug 2007 599i
Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.

The review scores listed above should be treated with care, though. The ratings are only valid when referring to cameras in the same category and of the same age. Hence, a score should always be seen in the context of the camera's market launch date and its price, 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:
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Panasonic G1:
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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. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting.

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    Specifications: Epson R-D1 vs Panasonic G1

    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 Panasonic G1
    Camera Type Rangefinder camera Mirrorless system camera
    Camera Lens Leica M mount lenses Micro Four Thirds lenses
    Launch Date March 2004 September 2008
    Launch Price USD 2,999 USD 599
    Sensor Specs Epson R-D1 Panasonic G1
    Sensor Technology CCD CMOS
    Sensor Format APS-C Sensor Four Thirds Sensor
    Sensor Size 23.7 x 15.6 mm 17.3 x 13.0 mm
    Sensor Area 369.72 mm2 224.9 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 28.4 mm 21.6 mm
    Crop Factor 1.5x 2.0x
    Sensor Resolution 6 Megapixels 12 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 3008 x 2000 pixels 4000 x 3000 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 7.85 μm 4.33 μm
    Pixel Density 1.63 MP/cm2 5.34 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability no Video no Video
    ISO Setting 200 - 1,600 ISO 100 - 1,600 ISO
    ISO Boost no Enhancement 100 - 3,200 ISO
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) .. 53
    DXO Color Depth (bits) .. 21.1
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) .. 10.3
    DXO Low Light (ISO) .. 463
    Screen Specs Epson R-D1 Panasonic G1
    Viewfinder Type Optical viewfinder Electronic viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 100% 100%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.70x
    Viewfinder Resolution 1440k dots
    LCD Framing Live View
    Rear LCD Size 2.0inch 3.0inch
    LCD Resolution 235k dots 460k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen Swivel screen
    Shooting Specs Epson R-D1 Panasonic G1
    Focus System Manual Focus Contrast-detect AF
    Continuous Shooting 1 shutter flaps/s 3 shutter flaps/s
    Fill Flash no On-Board Flash Built-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 Panasonic G1
    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
    Wifi Support no Wifi no Wifi
    Body Specs Epson R-D1 Panasonic G1
    Battery Type EU-85 DMW-BLB13
    Body Dimensions 142 x 89 x 40 mm
    (5.6 x 3.5 x 1.6 in)
    124 x 84 x 45 mm
    (4.9 x 3.3 x 1.8 in)
    Camera Weight 620 g (21.9 oz) 360 g (12.7 oz)
    Epson R-D1:
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    Panasonic G1:
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