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Thursday, 14 June 2007


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Indeed, the BJP reported this item "officially" but the discontinuance of the R-D1 has been a well-known secret since at least last January.

I never owned an R-D1 but will be sorry to see my Leica M8 standing alone in its niche. It just doesn't bode well for the digital rangefinder market.

Gee, it would be fun to see Canon and/or Nikon surprise everyone by introducing their own digital rangefinder lines...that would certainly be a shock! But it's never going to happen. The market for such a camera, fun as it may be, is probably similar to the market for fountain pens (which are actually quite closely analogous to rangefinder cameras).

I just had a peek through the viewfinder of my Voigtlander Bessa R and thought "yes, a digital rangefinder would be nice camera to own" - a great pity the RD-1 was about twice what I could justify spending on it and now second hand prices will stay high for a couple of years.
Such a camera can really only be made by Cosina and they will be busy doing the Zeiss version (we presume) which is also likely to command a premium price.

Cheers, Robin

An intriguing concept. I'd love to see a digital RF with Cosina's workmanship behind it...Mr. K. seems to be the kind of personality that could really push for a digital RF that's "what we need."

But maybe there's just not enough overlap between people who love rangefinders and people who need digital.

I wanted an RD1, but the price put it out of my range. $1000? Absolutely yes. $1500? As best as I can do. $3000? Not without a divorce.

Here's hoping that the Sigma DP-1 comes in less than $1000...

I bet there would be a much larger margin on a RD-1 if it was labeled ZEISS rather than EPSON, and that Cosina would just as soon have a higher margin product

I was out shooting with my R-D1s yesterday. I actually prefer it to the M8 in some ways - 1:1 viewfinder! Only disadvantage - the CV 15mm Heliar vignettes badly on it but is brilliant on the M8. I was also sitting in a cafe taking a shot or two and writing with a fountain pen. Sigh.

Some honest questions:

Incentive-What world market count and retail price do you project for our ideal D-RF/DMD/Always-carry?

Thrill-How long will this latest/greatest electronic seeing-recorder device need to last before technology advancements are projected to: Put it in the drawer until I need .../"I'll give it to .../Iauction"?

Replay-What qualities of my ideal v1.0 D-RF/DMD compels me to buy the vendor's improved replacement model?

Seriously. I'm optimistic that our object of desire will come. Maybe at $1-2K, maybe less. What do marketing and management need to hear that will turn the engineers loose?

The RD1 is one of my favorite cameras of all time. Actually, two, since I bought a second one as a backup when my camera was being repaired for a mechanical problem. It's kinda like owning an old British sports car... you have to buy an extra one for when the first one is in the shop :-(

For the poster above who would pay no more than $1500 for one: batches of RD1 refurbs sometimes appear on the Epson site for less than that. I paid $1400 for my second body, and it was essentially a new camera minus the fancy box.

It's too bad Epson isn't continuing the line though. I'd love an RD2 with a 10MPix sensor (1.5x is fine) and just some minor tweaks.


I live in hope for a fountain pen writing, manual gear changing driver, a real photographer who is a product marketing manager at a camera company. Now is the time to become great and launch both the DMD and D-RF.

In anticipation...


It's a real shame. The RD1(s) was a real gem, it still is. I only handled it for maybe half an hour at the last photokina fair, but it's top-notch as far as RF cameras can go. I've always been a Voigtlaender zealot, preffering these above the Leicas. Too bad the Epson wasn't more in the Voigtlaender/Cosina pricing range instead of the premium collectable pricing the leicas sport..

Not to be a killjoy but Mr. Kobayashi has gone on record in various sources as not a fan of the digital---and by extention the digital rat race. Clearly if someone pays them (Epson) Cosina has no objection to going along with a digital body, but they're not interested in doing a digital product by/for themselves.

In that respect I think the next major development in this market will be Zeiss Ikon-D. But they (Zeiss) are also on the record as saying that they don't want to bother with this market until a full-frame 35mm sensor can be achieved with accceptable corner quality. The realities of business being what they are, one never knows how long such a stance will last. (Didn't Leica say a very similar thing a scant few years before the release of the M8???) However it's clear that for the moment Zeiss is also espousing a "wait-and-see" approach for the time being.

About the featured comment: Mike, I'm suspecting you featured it to entice discussion, haven't you?

The focus performance of a good rangefinder, on the hands of an experimented rangefinder user simply cannot be matched by an autofocus mechanism. The main reason is that with a rf I can decide exactly where to focus, without depending on the camera hopefully making the same decision I already made. More, I can focus my Summicron pretty accurately by estimating distances if I have to, so by the time I raise the camera to my eye only a slight adjustment is needed.

I'm not going to guess at the reasons someone would choose an AF system over a rangefinder, because I don't assume to know what works better for you. But Janne, some of us are really infinitely more efficient and fast with a rangefinder than with anything else. It's not love of old technology, it's sticking to a technology that works, and hasn't been surpassed by anything else.

Hi there,

I love the RD1; I have shot Leica for 30 years and eight years ago begain to use digital. I always shoot without flash and became adept at hand holding a Leica M camera often at 1/15th of a sec and occasional 1/8.

I kept using 800/1600 film in low light situations because digital prosumer cameras could not deliver in low light (ASA 800; f/2 lens, 1/30 sec) without all sorts of problems. and...I had no need for the bulk of a digital SLR. (Bulk and weight.) Then along came a princess: the Epson RD-1. wow, a digital Leica.

I guess it is about 2 years and I have not needed to go back to film. A funny thing though, on three trips to Africa, I take a film Leica as my emergency backup. It uses the same lens as the Epson and is totally mechanical!! Yeah, yeah, I know. Funny none the less.

The real shortcoming for me was the noise. The Epson is loud compared to the M film cameras.

Thus, I had high hopes for the M8. Too bad, too noisy. Worse than the epson. No digital leica in my future. If they could make a quiet shutter and wind, they could win me over. But not yet.

The Epson is one of three digital cameras that I use. I am past 11,000 images with the Epson and wear it like a glove and love it.

I found your site from a google search on Epson RD-1.

Good luck


Peter Williams

Have been using two in tandem for [nearly] everything for nearly two years now...find it difficult to use anthing else.
Mind you I just bought a ten year old Land Rover too....

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