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Epson R-D1 vs Panasonic GF2

The Epson R-D1 and the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF2 are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in March 2004 and November 2010. The R-D1 is a rangefinder-style mirrorless, while the GF2 is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera. The cameras are based on an APS-C (R-D1) and a Four Thirds (GF2) 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 GF2
Epson R-D1   Panasonic GF2
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 1080/60i Video
ISO 200-1,600 ISO 100-6,400
Optical viewfinder Viewfinder optional
2.0 LCD, 235k dots 3.0 LCD, 460k dots
Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive) Fixed touchscreen
1 shutter flaps per second 2.6 shutter flaps per second
142 x 89 x 40 mm, 620 g 113 x 68 x 33 mm, 310 g

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Epson R-D1 and the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF2? 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 Panasonic GF2 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 width, height and depth measures are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

The GF2 can be obtained in four different colors (black, silver, red, white), while the R-D1 is only available in black.

Size Epson R-D1 vs Panasonic GF2
Compare R-D1 versus GF2 top
Comparison R-D1 or GF2 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Panasonic GF2 is considerably smaller (39 percent) than the Epson R-D1. Moreover, the GF2 is substantially lighter (50 percent) than the R-D1. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the R-D1 nor the GF2 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 (GF2).

The following table provides a synthesis of the main physical specifications of the two cameras and other similar ones. 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 2,999 i
2.
 
Panasonic GF2 113 mm 68 mm 33 mm 310 g 300 n Nov 2010 549 i
3.
 
Canon Rebel 142 mm 99 mm 72 mm 649 g 400 n Aug 2003 899 i
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 2,950 i
7.
 
Leica X Vario 133 mm 73 mm 95 mm 680 g 450 n Jun 2013 2,850 i
8.
 
Leica M9 139 mm 80 mm 37 mm 585 g .. n Sep 2009 7,999 i
9.
 
Nikon D40 124 mm 94 mm 64 mm 522 g 470 n Nov 2006 499 i
10.
 
Nikon D50 133 mm 102 mm 76 mm 620 g 400 n Apr 2005 749 i
11.
 
Nikon D70s 140 mm 111 mm 78 mm 679 g 500 n Apr 2005 899 i
12.
 
Nikon D70 140 mm 111 mm 78 mm 679 g 400 n Jan 2004 999 i
13.
 
Panasonic G3 115 mm 84 mm 47 mm 336 g 270 n May 2011 599 i
14.
 
Panasonic GF3 108 mm 67 mm 32 mm 264 g 300 n Jun 2011 549 i
15.
 
Panasonic G10 124 mm 84 mm 74 mm 388 g 380 n Mar 2010 499 i
16.
 
Panasonic G2 124 mm 84 mm 74 mm 428 g 360 n Mar 2010 599 i
17.
 
Panasonic GF1 119 mm 71 mm 36 mm 385 g 380 n Sep 2009 749 i
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 manufacturer’s suggested retail prices give an idea on the placement of the camera in the maker’s lineup and the broader market. The GF2 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 82 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.

Sensor comparison

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 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 Panasonic GF2 a Four Thirds sensor. The sensor area in the GF2 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 GF2 offers a 4:3 aspect.

Epson R-D1 and Panasonic GF2 sensor measures

Despite having a smaller sensor, the GF2 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 GF2 is much more recent (by 6 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 Panasonic GF2 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the GF2 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-GF2 are ISO 100 to ISO 6400 (no boost).

R-D1 versus GF2 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 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 2000none...... ..
2.
 
Panasonic GF2 Four Thirds 12.0 4000 30001080/60i21.210.3506 54
3.
 
Canon Rebel APS-C 6.3 3072 2048none21.010.8544 55
4.
 
Leica CL APS-C 24.1 6014 40144K/30p...... ..
5.
 
Leica M10 Full Frame 23.8 5952 3992none24.413.22133 86
6.
 
Leica X-U Typ 113 APS-C 16.1 4928 32641080/30p...... ..
7.
 
Leica X Vario APS-C 16.1 4928 32721080/30p23.412.71320 78
8.
 
Leica M9 Full Frame 18.1 5212 3472none22.511.7884 69
9.
 
Nikon D40 APS-C 6.0 3008 2000none21.011.0561 56
10.
 
Nikon D50 APS-C 6.0 3008 2000none20.910.8560 55
11.
 
Nikon D70s APS-C 6.0 3008 2000none20.410.3529 50
12.
 
Nikon D70 APS-C 6.0 3008 2000none20.410.3529 50
13.
 
Panasonic G3 Four Thirds 15.8 4592 34481080/60i21.010.6667 56
14.
 
Panasonic GF3 Four Thirds 12.0 4000 30001080/60i20.610.0458 49
15.
 
Panasonic G10 Four Thirds 12.0 4000 3000720/30p21.210.1411 52
16.
 
Panasonic G2 Four Thirds 12.0 4000 3000720/30p21.210.3493 53
17.
 
Panasonic GF1 Four Thirds 12.0 4000 3000720/30p21.210.3513 54

Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but also of capturing video footage. The GF2 indeed provides for movie recording, while the R-D1 does not. The highest resolution format that the GF2 can use is 1080/60i.

Feature comparison

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the R-D1 has an optical viewfinder, which can be very useful when shooting in bright sunlight. In contrast, the GF2 relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. That said, the GF2 can be equipped with an optional viewfinder – the DMW-LVF1. The table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Epson R-D1 and Panasonic GF2 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
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.
 
Panasonic GF2optional n 3.0 460 fixed Y 1/4000s 2.6 Y n
3.
 
Canon Rebeloptical n 1.8 118 fixed n 1/4000s 2.5 Y n
4.
 
Leica CL2360 Y 3.0 1040 fixed Y 1/8000s 10.0 n n
5.
 
Leica M10optical n 3.0 1037 fixed n 1/4000s 5.0 n n
6.
 
Leica X-U Typ 113optional n 3.0 920 fixed n 1/2000s 5.0 Y n
7.
 
Leica X Variooptional n 3.0 920 fixed n 1/2000s 5.0 Y n
8.
 
Leica M9optical n 2.5 230 fixed n 1/4000s 2.0 n n
9.
 
Nikon D40optical n 2.5 230 fixed n 1/4000s 2.5 Y n
10.
 
Nikon D50optical n 2.0 130 fixed n 1/4000s 2.5 Y n
11.
 
Nikon D70soptical n 2.0 130 fixed n 1/8000s 3.0 Y n
12.
 
Nikon D70optical n 1.8 130 fixed n 1/8000s 3.0 Y n
13.
 
Panasonic G31440 n 3.0 460 swivel Y 1/4000s 4.0 Y n
14.
 
Panasonic GF3none n 3.0 460 fixed Y 1/4000s 3.2 Y n
15.
 
Panasonic G10202 n 3.0 460 fixed n 1/4000s 2.6 Y n
16.
 
Panasonic G21440 n 3.0 460 swivel Y 1/4000s 2.6 Y n
17.
 
Panasonic GF1optional n 3.0 460 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n

One differentiating feature between the two cameras concerns the touch sensitivity of the rear screen. The GF2 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 R-D1 writes its imaging data to SDHC cards, while the GF2 uses SDXC 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-GF2 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.
 
Panasonic GF2Ystereomono--mini2.0---
3.
 
Canon RebelY-----1.1---
4.
 
Leica CLYstereomono----Y--
5.
 
Leica M10Y------Y--
6.
 
Leica X-U Typ 113Ystereomono---2.0---
7.
 
Leica X VarioYstereomono--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.
 
Panasonic G3Ystereomono--mini2.0---
14.
 
Panasonic GF3-stereomono--mini2.0---
15.
 
Panasonic G10Ymono---mini2.0---
16.
 
Panasonic G2Ystereomono--mini2.0---
17.
 
Panasonic GF1Ymonomono--mini2.0---

Studio photographers will appreciate that the Epson R-D1 (unlike the GF2) features a PC Sync socket, so that professional strobe lights can be controlled by the camera.

Both the R-D1 and the GF2 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The GF2 was replaced by the Panasonic GF3, 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.

Review summary

So how do things add up? Is the Epson R-D1 better than the Panasonic GF2 or vice versa? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.

ilogo

Advantages of the Epson R-D1:

  • Easier framing: Has an optical viewfinder for image composition and settings control.
  • 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

Reasons to prefer the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF2:

  • More detail: Has more megapixels (12 vs 6MP), which boosts linear resolution by 38%.
  • 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 (460k vs 235k dots).
  • Fewer buttons to press: Has a touchscreen to facilitate handling and shooting adjustments.
  • Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/4000s vs 1/2000s) to freeze action.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (2.6 vs 1 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • More compact: Is smaller (113x68mm vs 142x89mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
  • Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 310g or 50 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 (82 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More modern: Reflects 6 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 GF2 is the clear winner of the contest (12 : 3 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 03:12 GF2

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 GF2. 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 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], 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 2,999 i
2.
 
Panasonic GF23/582/10070/1004.5/54.5/5 Nov 2010 549 i
3.
 
Canon Rebel....+ +.... Aug 2003 899 i
4.
 
Leica CL........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 2,950 i
7.
 
Leica X Vario3/5....4/54/5 Jun 2013 2,850 i
8.
 
Leica M9......4.5/5.. Sep 2009 7,999 i
9.
 
Nikon D40..81/100+ +o4.5/5 Nov 2006 499 i
10.
 
Nikon D50..78/100+ +4/54.5/5 Apr 2005 749 i
11.
 
Nikon D70s........5/5 Apr 2005 899 i
12.
 
Nikon D70....+ +.... Jan 2004 999 i
13.
 
Panasonic G33/5+ +75/1004.5/55/5 May 2011 599 i
14.
 
Panasonic GF33/582/10071/1004.5/54/5 Jun 2011 549 i
15.
 
Panasonic G103/5..70/1004/54/5 Mar 2010 499 i
16.
 
Panasonic G2....72/1004/54.5/5 Mar 2010 599 i
17.
 
Panasonic GF1..85/10069/1004.5/54.5/5 Sep 2009 749 i
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 comparing ratings of very distinct cameras or ones that are far apart in terms of their release date have little meaning. It should also be noted that some of the review sites have over time altered the way they render their verdicts.

Epson R-D1:
Check Ebay offers
Panasonic GF2:
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 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.

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    Specifications: Epson R-D1 vs Panasonic GF2

    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 GF2
    Camera Type Rangefinder camera Mirrorless system camera
    Camera Lens Leica M mount lenses Micro Four Thirds lenses
    Launch Date March 2004 November 2010
    Launch Price USD 2,999 USD 549
    Sensor Specs Epson R-D1 Panasonic GF2
    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 1080/60i Video
    ISO Setting 200 - 1,600 ISO 100 - 6,400 ISO
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) .. 54
    DXO Color Depth (bits) .. 21.2
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) .. 10.3
    DXO Low Light (ISO) .. 506
    Screen Specs Epson R-D1 Panasonic GF2
    Viewfinder Type Optical viewfinder Viewfinder optional
    Viewfinder Field of View 100%
    Viewfinder Magnification
    LCD Framing Live View
    Rear LCD Size 2.0inch 3.0inch
    LCD Resolution 235k dots 460k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen Fixed screen
    Touch Input no Touchscreen Touchscreen
    Shooting Specs Epson R-D1 Panasonic GF2
    Focus System Manual Focus Contrast-detect AF
    Continuous Shooting 1 shutter flaps/s 2.6 shutter flaps/s
    Fill Flash no On-Board Flash Built-in Flash
    Storage Medium SDHC cards SDXC cards
    Second Storage Option Single card slot Single card slot
    UHS card support no no
    Connectivity Specs Epson R-D1 Panasonic GF2
    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 GF2
    Battery Type EU-85 DMW-BLD10
    Body Dimensions 142 x 89 x 40 mm
    (5.6 x 3.5 x 1.6 in)
    113 x 68 x 33 mm
    (4.4 x 2.7 x 1.3 in)
    Camera Weight 620 g (21.9 oz) 310 g (10.9 oz)

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