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Epson R-D1 vs Sony A77 II

The Epson R-D1 and the Sony Alpha SLT-A77 II are two enthusiast cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in March 2004 and May 2014. The R-D1 is a rangefinder-focusing mirrorless camera, while the A77 II is a DSLR. Both cameras are equipped with an APS-C sensor. The Epson has a resolution of 6 megapixels, whereas the Sony provides 24 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
Sony A77 II
Epson R-D1   Sony A77 II
Rangefinder camera Digital single lens reflex
Leica M mount lenses Sony A mount lenses
6 MP – APS-C sensor 24 MP – APS-C sensor
no Video 1080/60p Video
ISO 200-1,600 ISO 100-25,600 (50 - 51,200)
Optical viewfinder Electronic viewfinder (2359k dots)
2.0" LCD – 235k dots 2.0" LCD – 1229k dots
Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive) Fully flexible screen (no touchscreen)
1 shutter flaps per second 12 shutter flaps per second
no shake reductionIn-body stabilization
not weather sealedWeathersealed body
142 x 89 x 40 mm, 620 g 143 x 104 x 81 mm, 647 g
Epson R-D1:
Check Ebay offers
Sony A77 II:
Check Amazon price

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Epson R-D1 and the Sony Alpha SLT-A77 II? 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 Sony A77 II 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 measures are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

Size Epson R-D1 vs Sony A77 II
Compare R-D1 versus A77 II top
Comparison R-D1 or A77 II rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Sony A77 II is notably larger (18 percent) than the Epson R-D1. Moreover, the A77 II is slightly heavier (4 percent) than the R-D1. It is noteworthy in this context that the A77 II 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 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.
 
Sony A77 II 143 mm 104 mm 81 mm 647 g 480 Y May 2014 1,199 i
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 D7200 136 mm 107 mm 76 mm 765 g 1110 Y Mar 2015 1,199i
10.
 
Nikon D7100 136 mm 107 mm 76 mm 765 g 950 Y Feb 2013 1,199i
11.
 
Nikon D40 124 mm 94 mm 64 mm 522 g 470 n Nov 2006 499i
12.
 
Nikon D50 133 mm 102 mm 76 mm 620 g 400 n Apr 2005 749i
13.
 
Nikon D70s 140 mm 111 mm 78 mm 679 g 500 n Apr 2005 899i
14.
 
Nikon D70 140 mm 111 mm 78 mm 679 g 400 n Jan 2004 999i
15.
 
Sony A68 143 mm 104 mm 81 mm 610 g 540 n Nov 2015 699i
16.
 
Sony A7 II 127 mm 96 mm 60 mm 599 g 350 Y Nov 2014 1,999i
17.
 
Sony A77 143 mm 104 mm 81 mm 732 g 470 Y Aug 2011 1,399i
Note: 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 A77 II was launched at a markedly lower price (by 60 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. 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. 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 more expensive and lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.

Both cameras under consideration feature an APS-C sensor, but their sensors differ slightly in size. The sensor area in the A77 II is 1 percent smaller. 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 Sony A77 II sensor measures

Despite having a slightly smaller sensor, the A77 II offers a higher resolution of 24 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 3.91μm versus 7.85μm for the R-D1). However, it should be noted that the A77 II is much more recent (by 10 years and 1 month) 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 Sony A77 II implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the A77 II for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 30 x 20 inches or 76.2 x 50.8 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 24 x 16 inches or 61 x 40.6 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 20 x 13.3 inches or 50.8 x 33.9 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 Sony Alpha SLT-A77 II are ISO 100 to ISO 25600, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 50-51200.

R-D1 versus A77 II MP

Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for many cameras. 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.
 
Sony A77 II APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p23.512.7144277
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 D7200 APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.514.6133387
10.
 
Nikon D7100 APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.213.7125683
11.
 
Nikon D40 APS-C 6.0 3008 2000none21.011.056156
12.
 
Nikon D50 APS-C 6.0 3008 2000none20.910.856055
13.
 
Nikon D70s APS-C 6.0 3008 2000none20.410.352950
14.
 
Nikon D70 APS-C 6.0 3008 2000none20.410.352950
15.
 
Sony A68 APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60i24.113.570179
16.
 
Sony A7 II Full Frame 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.913.6244990
17.
 
Sony A77 APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.013.280178
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 A77 II indeed provides for movie recording, while the R-D1 does not. The highest resolution format that the A77 II can use is 1080/60p.

Feature comparison

Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the A77 II has an electronic viewfinder (2359k 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 table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Epson R-D1 and Sony A77 II 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
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.
 
Sony A77 II2359 Y3.0 / 1229 full-flex n 1/8000s 12.0/s Y Y
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 D7200optical Y3.2 / 1229 fixed n 1/8000s 6.0/s Y n
10.
 
Nikon D7100optical Y3.2 / 1229 fixed n 1/8000s 6.0/s Y n
11.
 
Nikon D40optical n2.5 / 230 fixed n 1/4000s 2.5/s Y n
12.
 
Nikon D50optical n2.0 / 130 fixed n 1/4000s 2.5/s Y n
13.
 
Nikon D70soptical n2.0 / 130 fixed n 1/8000s 3.0/s Y n
14.
 
Nikon D70optical n1.8 / 130 fixed n 1/8000s 3.0/s Y n
15.
 
Sony A681440 Y2.7 / 460 tilting n 1/4000s 8.0/s Y Y
16.
 
Sony A7 II2400 n3.0 / 1230 tilting n 1/8000s 5.0/s n Y
17.
 
Sony A772359 Y3.0 / 921 full-flex n 1/8000s 12.0/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 A77 II, 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 A77 II 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.

The R-D1 writes its imaging data to SDHC cards, while the A77 II uses SDXC or Memory Stick PRO Duo cards. The A77 II 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.

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 Sony Alpha SLT-A77 II 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.
 
Sony A77 IIYstereo / monoY-mini2.0YY-
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 D7200Ystereo / monoYYmini2.0YY-
10.
 
Nikon D7100Ystereo / monoYYmini2.0---
11.
 
Nikon D40Y- / ----2.0---
12.
 
Nikon D50Y- / ----2.0---
13.
 
Nikon D70sY- / ----2.0---
14.
 
Nikon D70Y- / ----1.0---
15.
 
Sony A68Ystereo / monoY-micro2.0---
16.
 
Sony A7 IIYstereo / monoYYmicro2.0YY-
17.
 
Sony A77Ystereo / monoY-mini2.0---

It is notable that the A77 II offers wifi support, which can be a very convenient means to transfer image data to an off-camera location. In contrast, the R-D1 does not provide wifi capability.

Both cameras feature a PC Sync terminal to control professional strobe lights, which will be appreciated by studio photographers.

The A77 II is a recent model that features in the current product line-up of Sony. In contrast, the R-D1 has been discontinued (but can be found pre-owned on eBay). There has not been a direct replacement model for the R-D1 from Epson. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Epson and Sony websites.

Review summary

So how do things add up? Is there a clear favorite between the Epson R-D1 and the Sony A77 II? Which camera is better? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.

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Reasons to prefer the Epson R-D1:

  • Brighter framing: Features an optical viewfinder for clear, lag-free composition.
  • More compact: Is smaller (142x89mm vs 143x104mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in March 2004).

ilogo

Advantages of the Sony Alpha SLT-A77 II:

  • More detail: Has more megapixels (24 vs 6MP), which boosts linear resolution by 100%.
  • Broader imaging potential: Can capture not only stills but also 1080/60p video.
  • More framing info: Has an electronic viewfinder that displays shooting data.
  • 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 (1229k vs 235k dots).
  • More flexible LCD: Has a full-flex 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 (1/8000s vs 1/2000s) to freeze action.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (12 vs 1 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • 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.
  • Easier file upload: Has wifi built in for automatic backup or image transfer to the web.
  • Easier device pairing: Supports NFC for fast wireless image transfer over short distances.
  • Faster buffer clearing: Has an SD card interface that supports the UHS-I standard.
  • More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (60 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More modern: Reflects 10 years and 1 month of technical progress since the R-D1 launch.

If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the A77 II is the clear winner of the contest (18 : 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 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 03:18 A77 II

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 A77 II. User reviews that are available, for instance, at amazon can sometimes shed light on these issues, but such feedback is all too often partial, inconsistent, and inaccurate.

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 2,999i
2.
 
Sony A77 II4/5....80/1004.5/55/5 May 2014 1,199 i
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 D72004/5+ +..84/1004.5/54.5/5 Mar 2015 1,199i
10.
 
Nikon D71005/5+ +..85/1004.5/54.5/5 Feb 2013 1,199i
11.
 
Nikon D40..81/100..+ +o4.5/5 Nov 2006 499i
12.
 
Nikon D50..78/100..+ +4/54.5/5 Apr 2005 749i
13.
 
Nikon D70s..........5/5 Apr 2005 899i
14.
 
Nikon D70......+ +.... Jan 2004 999i
15.
 
Sony A683/5......4/54/5 Nov 2015 699i
16.
 
Sony A7 II5/5+4/582/1004.5/55/5 Nov 2014 1,999i
17.
 
Sony A775/591/100..81/100..5/5 Aug 2011 1,399i
Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.

The review scores listed above should be treated with care, though. The ratings were established in reference to similarly priced cameras that were available in the market at the time of the review. 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:
Check Ebay offers
Sony A77 II:
Check Amazon price

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. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting.

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    Specifications: Epson R-D1 vs Sony A77 II

    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 Sony A77 II
    Camera Type Rangefinder camera Digital single lens reflex
    Camera Lens Leica M mount lenses Sony A mount lenses
    Launch Date March 2004 May 2014
    Launch Price USD 2,999 USD 1,199
    Sensor Specs Epson R-D1 Sony A77 II
    Sensor Technology CCD CMOS
    Sensor Format APS-C Sensor APS-C Sensor
    Sensor Size 23.7 x 15.6 mm 23.5 x 15.6 mm
    Sensor Area 369.72 mm2 366.6 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 28.4 mm 28.2 mm
    Crop Factor 1.5x 1.5x
    Sensor Resolution 6 Megapixels 24 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 3008 x 2000 pixels 6000 x 4000 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 7.85 μm 3.91 μm
    Pixel Density 1.63 MP/cm2 6.55 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability no Video 1080/60p Video
    ISO Setting 200 - 1,600 ISO 100 - 25,600 ISO
    ISO Boost no Enhancement 50 - 51,200 ISO
    Screen Specs Epson R-D1 Sony A77 II
    Viewfinder Type Optical viewfinder Electronic viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 100% 100%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.73x
    Viewfinder Resolution 2359k dots
    Top-Level Screen no Top Display Control Panel
    LCD Framing Live View
    Rear LCD Size 2.0inch 3.0inch
    LCD Resolution 235k dots 1229k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen Fully flexible screen
    Shooting Specs Epson R-D1 Sony A77 II
    Focus System Manual Focus Phase-detect AF
    Manual Focusing Aidno Peaking FeatureFocus Peaking
    Max Shutter Speed (mechanical) 1/2000s 1/8000s
    Continuous Shooting 1 shutter flaps/s 12 shutter flaps/s
    Image Stabilizationno shake reductionIn-body stabilization
    Fill Flash no On-Board Flash Built-in Flash
    Storage Medium SDHC cards MS or SDXC cards
    Second Storage Option Single card slot Single card slot
    UHS card support no UHS-I
    Connectivity Specs Epson R-D1 Sony A77 II
    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 Wifi built-in
    Near-Field Communication no NFC NFC built-in
    Body Specs Epson R-D1 Sony A77 II
    Environmental Sealingnot weather sealedWeathersealed body
    Battery Type EU-85 NP-FM500H
    Body Dimensions 142 x 89 x 40 mm
    (5.6 x 3.5 x 1.6 in)
    143 x 104 x 81 mm
    (5.6 x 4.1 x 3.2 in)
    Camera Weight 620 g (21.9 oz) 647 g (22.8 oz)
    Epson R-D1:
    Check Ebay offers
    Sony A77 II:
    Check Amazon price

    Did you notice an error on this page? If so, please get in touch, so that we can correct the information.

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