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Epson R-D1 vs Pentax K-5

The Epson R-D1 and the Pentax K-5 are two enthusiast cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in March 2004 and September 2010. The R-D1 is a rangefinder-focusing mirrorless camera, while the K-5 is a DSLR. Both cameras are equipped with an APS-C sensor. The Epson has a resolution of 6 megapixels, whereas the Pentax provides 16.1 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
Pentax K-5
Epson R-D1   Pentax K-5
Rangefinder camera Digital single lens reflex
Leica M mount lenses Pentax K mount lenses
6 MP – APS-C sensor 16.1 MP – APS-C sensor
no Video 1080/25p Video
ISO 200-1,600 ISO 100-12,800 (80 - 51,200)
Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
2.0" LCD – 235k dots 3.0" LCD – 921k dots
Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive) Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)
1 shutter flaps per second 7 shutter flaps per second
no shake reductionIn-body stabilization
not weather sealedWeathersealed body
142 x 89 x 40 mm, 620 g 131 x 97 x 73 mm, 760 g
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Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Epson R-D1 and the Pentax K-5? 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 Pentax K-5 is provided in the side-by-side display below. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three successive views from the front, the top, and the rear are shown. All width, height and depth dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

Size Epson R-D1 vs Pentax K-5
Compare R-D1 versus K-5 top
Comparison R-D1 or K-5 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 Pentax K-5 are of equal size. However, the K-5 is markedly heavier (23 percent) than the R-D1. It is noteworthy in this context that the K-5 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. Hence, you might want to study and compare the specifications of available lenses in order to get the full picture of the size and weight of the two camera systems.

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 2,999ebay.com
2.
 
Pentax K-5 131 mm 97 mm 73 mm 760 g 740 Y Sep 2010 1,099ebay.com
3.
 
Canon 350D 127 mm 94 mm 64 mm 540 g 400 n Feb 2005 899ebay.com
4.
 
Canon 300D 142 mm 99 mm 72 mm 649 g 400 n Aug 2003 899ebay.com
5.
 
Leica M10 139 mm 80 mm 39 mm 660 g 210 Y Jan 2017 6,595ebay.com
6.
 
Leica X Vario 133 mm 73 mm 95 mm 680 g 450 n Jun 2013 2,850ebay.com
7.
 
Leica M9 139 mm 80 mm 37 mm 585 g .. n Sep 2009 7,999ebay.com
8.
 
Leica M8 139 mm 80 mm 37 mm 591 g .. n Sep 2006 5,499ebay.com
9.
 
Nikon D50 133 mm 102 mm 76 mm 620 g 400 n Apr 2005 749ebay.com
10.
 
Nikon D70s 140 mm 111 mm 78 mm 679 g 500 n Apr 2005 899ebay.com
11.
 
Nikon D70 140 mm 111 mm 78 mm 679 g 400 n Jan 2004 999ebay.com
12.
 
Olympus E-300 147 mm 85 mm 64 mm 624 g 750 n Sep 2004 799ebay.com
13.
 
Pentax K-3 II 131 mm 100 mm 77 mm 800 g 720 Y Apr 2015 1,099ebay.com
14.
 
Pentax K-50 130 mm 97 mm 71 mm 650 g 410 Y Jun 2013 599ebay.com
15.
 
Pentax K-3 131 mm 100 mm 77 mm 800 g 560 Y Oct 2013 1,299ebay.com
16.
 
Pentax K-30 130 mm 97 mm 71 mm 650 g 410 Y May 2012 849ebay.com
17.
 
Pentax K-5 II 131 mm 97 mm 73 mm 760 g 740 Y Sep 2012 1,099ebay.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 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 K-5 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 63 percent) than the R-D1, which puts it into a different market segment. 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.

Sensor comparison

The size of the imaging sensor is a crucial determinant of image quality. A large sensor will tend to have larger individual pixels that provide better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and richer color-depth than smaller pixel-units 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.

Both cameras under consideration feature an APS-C sensor, but their sensors differ slightly in size. The sensor area in the K-5 is 1 percent bigger. 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 Pentax K-5 sensor measures

With 16.1MP, the K-5 offers a higher resolution than the R-D1 (6MP), but the K-5 has smaller individual pixels (pixel pitch of 4.81μm versus 7.85μm for the R-D1). Yet, the K-5 is a much more recent model (by 6 years and 6 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 Pentax K-5 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the K-5 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 24.6 x 16.3 inches or 62.6 x 41.5 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 19.7 x 13.1 inches or 50.1 x 33.2 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 16.4 x 10.9 inches or 41.7 x 27.6 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 Pentax K-5 are ISO 100 to ISO 12800, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 80-51200.

In terms of underlying technology, the R-D1 is build around a CCD sensor, while the K-5 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.

R-D1 versus K-5 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 2000none21.110.456455
2.
 
Pentax K-5 APS-C 16.1 4928 32641080/25p23.714.1116282
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 D50 APS-C 6.0 3008 2000none20.910.856055
10.
 
Nikon D70s APS-C 6.0 3008 2000none20.410.352950
11.
 
Nikon D70 APS-C 6.0 3008 2000none20.410.352950
12.
 
Olympus E-300 Four Thirds 8.0 3264 2448none20.410.1-4048
13.
 
Pentax K-3 II APS-C 24.1 6016 40001080/60i23.613.6110680
14.
 
Pentax K-50 APS-C 16.1 4928 32641080/30p23.713.0112079
15.
 
Pentax K-3 APS-C 24.1 6016 40001080/60i23.713.4121680
16.
 
Pentax K-30 APS-C 16.1 4928 32641080/30p23.713.0112979
17.
 
Pentax K-5 II APS-C 16.1 4928 32641080/25p23.814.1123582
Note: DXO values in italics represent estimates based on sensor size and age.

Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. The K-5 indeed provides for movie recording, while the R-D1 does not. The highest resolution format that the K-5 can use is 1080/25p.

Feature comparison

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The R-D1 and the K-5 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 Pentax K-5, 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.
 
Pentax K-5optical Y3.0 / 921 fixed n 1/8000s 7.0/s Y Y
3.
 
Canon 350Doptical n1.8 / 115 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0/s Y n
4.
 
Canon 300Doptical n1.8 / 118 fixed n 1/4000s 2.5/s Y n
5.
 
Leica M10optical n3.0 / 1037 fixed n 1/4000s 5.0/s n n
6.
 
Leica X Variooptional n3.0 / 920 fixed n 1/2000s 5.0/s Y n
7.
 
Leica M9optical n2.5 / 230 fixed n 1/4000s 2.0/s n n
8.
 
Leica M8optical n2.5 / 230 fixed n 1/8000s 2.0/s n n
9.
 
Nikon D50optical n2.0 / 130 fixed n 1/4000s 2.5/s Y n
10.
 
Nikon D70soptical n2.0 / 130 fixed n 1/8000s 3.0/s Y n
11.
 
Nikon D70optical n1.8 / 130 fixed n 1/8000s 3.0/s Y n
12.
 
Olympus E-300optical n1.8 / 134 fixed n 1/4000s 2.5/s Y n
13.
 
Pentax K-3 IIoptical Y3.2 / 1037 fixed n 1/8000s 8.3/s n Y
14.
 
Pentax K-50optical n3.0 / 921 fixed n 1/6000s 6.0/s Y Y
15.
 
Pentax K-3optical Y3.2 / 1037 fixed n 1/8000s 8.3/s Y Y
16.
 
Pentax K-30optical n3.0 / 921 fixed n 1/6000s 6.0/s Y Y
17.
 
Pentax K-5 IIoptical Y3.0 / 921 fixed n 1/8000s 7.0/s Y Y
Notes: *) Information refers to the mechanical shutter, unless the camera only has an electronic one.

One feature that is present on the K-5, 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 Pentax K-5 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 K-5 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 Pentax K-5 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.
 
Pentax K-5Ystereo / monoY-mini2.0---
3.
 
Canon 350DY- / ----2.0---
4.
 
Canon 300DY- / ----1.1---
5.
 
Leica M10Y- / -----Y--
6.
 
Leica X VarioYstereo / mono--mini2.0---
7.
 
Leica M9Y- / ----2.0---
8.
 
Leica M8Y- / ----2.0---
9.
 
Nikon D50Y- / ----2.0---
10.
 
Nikon D70sY- / ----2.0---
11.
 
Nikon D70Y- / ----1.0---
12.
 
Olympus E-300Y- / ----2.0---
13.
 
Pentax K-3 IIYmono / monoYYmini3.0---
14.
 
Pentax K-50Ymono / mono--micro2.0---
15.
 
Pentax K-3Ymono / monoYYmini3.0---
16.
 
Pentax K-30Ymono / mono---2.0---
17.
 
Pentax K-5 IIYstereo / monoY-mini2.0---

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 K-5 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on ebay. The K-5 was replaced by the Pentax K-5 II, while the R-D1 does not have a direct successor. Further information on the features and operation of the R-D1 and K-5 can be found, respectively, in the Epson R-D1 Manual (free pdf) or the online Pentax K-5 Manual.

Review summary

So what conclusions can be drawn? Is there a clear favorite between the Epson R-D1 and the Pentax K-5? Which camera is better? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.

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Arguments in favor of the Epson R-D1:

  • 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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Reasons to prefer the Pentax K-5:

  • More detail: Has more megapixels (16.1 vs 6MP), which boosts linear resolution by 64%.
  • Broader imaging potential: Can capture not only stills but also 1080/25p video.
  • Easier setting verification: Features a control panel on top to check shooting parameters.
  • 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).
  • Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/8000s vs 1/2000s) to freeze action.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (7 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.
  • Sharper images: Has stabilization technology built-in to reduce the impact of hand-shake.
  • Easier fill-in: Has a small integrated flash to brighten shadows of backlit subjects.
  • More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (63 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More modern: Reflects 6 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 K-5 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 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.

R-D1 02:13 K-5

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 K-5 in practical situations. At times, user reviews, such as those published at amazon, address these issues in a useful manner, but such feedback is on many occasions incomplete, inconsistent, and unreliable.

Expert reviews

This is why hands-on reviews by experts are important. The adjacent summary-table relays the overall verdicts of several of the most popular camera 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 2,999ebay.com
2.
 
Pentax K-54/5....83/1005/54.5/5 Sep 2010 1,099ebay.com
3.
 
Canon 350D..80/100..+ +o.. Feb 2005 899ebay.com
4.
 
Canon 300D......+ +.... Aug 2003 899ebay.com
5.
 
Leica M104.5/5......4/54.5/5 Jan 2017 6,595ebay.com
6.
 
Leica X Vario3/5......4/54/5 Jun 2013 2,850ebay.com
7.
 
Leica M9........4.5/5.. Sep 2009 7,999ebay.com
8.
 
Leica M8......+ +.... Sep 2006 5,499ebay.com
9.
 
Nikon D50..78/100..+ +4/54.5/5 Apr 2005 749ebay.com
10.
 
Nikon D70s..........5/5 Apr 2005 899ebay.com
11.
 
Nikon D70......+ +.... Jan 2004 999ebay.com
12.
 
Olympus E-300......+o4.5/5 Sep 2004 799ebay.com
13.
 
Pentax K-3 II4.5/5......5/55/5 Apr 2015 1,099ebay.com
14.
 
Pentax K-505/5......5/54.5/5 Jun 2013 599ebay.com
15.
 
Pentax K-34/5....83/1005/55/5 Oct 2013 1,299ebay.com
16.
 
Pentax K-304/5....78/1004.5/54.5/5 May 2012 849ebay.com
17.
 
Pentax K-5 II5/5....80/1005/54.5/5 Sep 2012 1,099ebay.com
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 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.

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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 use the search menu below. 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 Pentax K-5

    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 Pentax K-5
    Camera Type Rangefinder camera Digital single lens reflex
    Camera Lens Leica M mount lenses Pentax K mount lenses
    Launch Date March 2004 September 2010
    Launch Price USD 2,999 USD 1,099
    Sensor Specs Epson R-D1 Pentax K-5
    Sensor Technology CCD CMOS
    Sensor Format APS-C Sensor APS-C Sensor
    Sensor Size 23.7 x 15.6 mm 23.7 x 15.7 mm
    Sensor Area 369.72 mm2 372.09 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 28.4 mm 28.4 mm
    Crop Factor 1.5x 1.5x
    Sensor Resolution 6 Megapixels 16.1 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 3008 x 2000 pixels 4928 x 3264 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 7.85 μm 4.81 μm
    Pixel Density 1.63 MP/cm2 4.32 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability no Video 1080/25p Video
    ISO Setting 200 - 1,600 ISO 100 - 12,800 ISO
    ISO Boost no Enhancement 80 - 51,200 ISO
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) .. 82
    DXO Color Depth (bits) .. 23.7
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) .. 14.1
    DXO Low Light (ISO) .. 1162
    Screen Specs Epson R-D1 Pentax K-5
    Viewfinder Type Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 100% 100%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.61x
    Top-Level Screen no Top Display Control Panel
    LCD Framing Live View
    Rear LCD Size 2.0inch 3.0inch
    LCD Resolution 235k dots 921k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen Fixed screen
    Shooting Specs Epson R-D1 Pentax K-5
    Focus System Manual Focus Phase-detect AF
    Continuous Shooting 1 shutter flaps/s 7 shutter flaps/s
    Time-Lapse Photographyno IntervalometerIntervalometer built-in
    Image Stabilizationno shake reductionIn-body stabilization
    Fill Flash no On-Board Flash Built-in Flash
    Storage Medium SDHC cards SDXC cards
    Single or Dual Card Slots Single card slot Single card slot
    UHS card support no no
    Connectivity Specs Epson R-D1 Pentax K-5
    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
    Microphone Port no MIC socket External MIC port
    Wifi Support no Wifi no Wifi
    Body Specs Epson R-D1 Pentax K-5
    Environmental Sealingnot weather sealedWeathersealed body
    Battery Type EU-85 D-LI90
    Body Dimensions 142 x 89 x 40 mm
    (5.6 x 3.5 x 1.6 in)
    131 x 97 x 73 mm
    (5.2 x 3.8 x 2.9 in)
    Camera Weight 620 g (21.9 oz) 760 g (26.8 oz)
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