Epson RD-1s+M lenses: some advice please...

Discussion in 'Leica and Rangefinders' started by luigi v, Aug 20, 2006.

  1. I am tempted to try out my Leica M lenses on a digital body.
    The new M8 is out of the question: I am simply not willing to spend GBP 3500 USD 5500 or whatever in
    that region for a digital camera, not yet anyway, it is just not my need/desire/budget, however good that
    camera may turn out to be.
    So my other cheaper option/alternative is the Epson RD-1s. I have seen some pics taken with it and I kind
    of like them.
    I just wonder: has the RD-1 also got a "crop factor" and if so what is it?
    Anybody here who has got one and wishes to share his/her thoughts on the camera pros and vs?
    What do you like most and what less?
    Too much it a sturdy rugged camera or just too weak compared to an M body?
    What's the performance of the M lenses "digitally"?
    What's its level of compability with the Mac OS X operating system when it comes to downloading the
    pictures onto the computer? Does it need any additional software or is it going to be, as I am used with all
    Apple software and hardware, a simple "plug in and play" operation?
    And finally, what's a good price in your opinion to pay for an RD-1s brand new and what are they going
    for if are they to be found used?
    Many thanks in advance, any advice will be much appreciated...!
  2. For lenses:
  3. Luigi: to answer part of your question (as another Apple user) - I don't see any problem at
    all given that you can transfer files using a card reader, and your Mac can then just get on
    with the job it does so well.

    The reports I read are generally good, but then it doesn't have much competition, does it?
    If the M8 is really out of your range, then I'd say go for it. I think the crop factor is about
    1.5, so at least the mental arithmetic is easy.

    I think Robert White offer the best prices in the UK and I believe they have it in stock.
  4. Thanks Vivek, thanks Paul...
    Also wondering: any macro mode...?
  5. Luigi, for macros, better buy a D200. :)
  6. I do have the R-D1, but have not been able to afford any Leica lenses. I have been using CV and Canon lenses. I do, however, use Macs, and can answer that part of your question. There is no problem with compatibility. Both the Epson PhotoRaw standalone software and the Photoshop plug-in work fine on the Mac. I also use an early version of Raw Developer.

    Sean Reid's review of the R-D1 on Luminous Landscape, remains the best place to start in terms of a comprehensive review:

    His paysite is also recommended, because it has detailed comparisons of various lenses on the R-D1:

    And has extensive discussions, and user experiences, not all of them happy.

    Personally, I have wonky framelines on mine, and an inaccurate battery guage (not as serious as it seems, because it still lets me know before the battery is dead). But I have had mine since March 2005 and have no regrets about buying it. However, if I were you, I would wait until after Photokina, to see if Zeiss comes out with a digital RF, and what the price is, if it does come out.
  7. There has been much discussion regarding the RD-1 and its pros and cons over at the
    Rangefinder Forum website, where the RD-1 has it's own section in the forums. You can
    probably find many answers and opinions there.

    Those who have it generally love it (I do), those who don't have one express the usual "too
    expensive for what it is; too many problems; film forever" type sentiments. Some have had
    problems, some haven't (I haven't). Some have gone through several bodies to find one
    that's perfect (but obviously think its worthwhile to go through that effort).

    But to address your questions:

    crop factor 1.5.

    My thoughts: one of my most favorite cameras, ever (and I have a lot of cameras).

    Like/dislike: I don't like the frameline system (manually selected, and only three of them...
    I want to (easily) use my 24, 75, and 90). I don't like the manual shutter cocking, just
    because it means I often have to move the camera away from my face between shots (I
    shoot vertical a lot). That's it.

    Build: Surprisingly sturdy feeling camera, though it's no M. On a scale of D70 to D2x, for
    example, I think it's closer to the latter than the former.

    M lenses: M lenses are wonderful here, as elsewhere, though some have quirks (more
    vignetting that expected, etc). Search for reviews by "Sean Reid", who tested many lenses
    on the RD-1. I think they're on Luminous Landscape.

    OSX: OSX should be fine for downloading images... however, I don't remember if the Epson
    software for RAW processing is OSX compatible, but I don't even use it. I use Rawshooters
    Premium which is Windows only (and soon to be non-existent).

    Price: dunno. Used ones do pop up. Many might pop-up when the M8 is released. I'm sure
    many RD-1 users are considering the M8. I certainly am.... though I don't think I'd sell the

  8. Luigi -- from the way that you are phrasing your questions, it appears to me that you have
    not used a digital camera before. Maybe I am wrong. But if I am not, I would suggest trying
    something more basic to get your feet wet and give you a feel for what shooting digital is
    like. The RD-1 is a pretty expensive camera to be someone's first digital camera. And
    while many people like it, it will have some large differences from what you are used to
    with your Leicas. Not least of which being that all your lenses have a field of view that is
    multiplied by 1.5 (Your 35mm is now a 50mm etc). Also, contrary to popular belief, digital
    files don't just pop out looking great. They require a lot of work to get right, just like any
    other type of shooting. Adjusting to the new workflow can take some time and it can be
    frustrating. So if you have never done it before, you are probably better off starting out
    with something less expensive. That way you are only losing a little bit if you decide digital
    is not for you, and on the flip side, if you like it a lot you will probably be able to make a
    more informed decision about what would be best for you. Anyway, I would recommend
    something like a Fuji F11 -- it is cheap, has great high iso performance and is generally
    highly regarded.
  9. That's good advice. I worked with a Fuji Finepix A500 for a couple months this summer while I waited for the RD-1s to arrive and come down in price. It was a small investment and provided a lot of value in the learning curve. For an old dyed in the dektol type like myself, there was a lot to get used to with SD cards, card readers, digital file types and so on. The younger fellows working for me were mentoring me on digital. That said, if you know film based photography, it doesn't take long to pick up enough to do reasonably well with digital.

    If you already have a 35mm lens for your Leica, you are set as it makes a nice 50 on the R-D1s with the 1.5x factor. If you have a selection between 21 and 50, you are set. I find the 21mm lens and the VC 28mm minifinder make a perfect combination and the minifinder is now more-or-less a permanent fixture on the camera.

    This is a heavy and solidly-built camera. If you mount one of the chrome or titanium Leica lenses, it is easily as heavy as an M. After carrying it for a while, then picking up a Bessa, the Bessa feels like a toy. That said, there have been posts that raise questions about the number of cycles its shutter will carry to failure. I intend to personally test that stat ... I have found I shoot almost one and three quarters as many digital frames as film frames.

    All things considered, this won't replace film for me for a long time. It's a complement to my film system, not a substitute. It can't compete in the wide-angle arena yet, and I lean too much towards wide angle. But in the "normal lens" space, it's a killer platform.
  10. Last year in Tokyo I saw an elderly man (~60?) carrying an RD-1 with an E-58 Noct'. I asked him if he had any problem focussing it (short baseline), and he replied: no.
  11. I am just waiting for the price drop when M8 comes out.
  12. "Last year in Tokyo I saw an elderly man (~60?) carrying an RD-1 with an E-58 Noct'. I asked him if he had any problem focussing it (short baseline), and he replied: no."

    I think the requirement for a really long base rangefinder for fast 50's is a myth. According to Puts the requisite effective baselength to accurately focus a 50mm f1.0 is 25mm. The EBL of an R-D1s is 38mm. Lots of room. There have been posts on this forum of nice, sharp, wide-open shots with an adapted Canon 50mm f0.95 mounted on an R-D1. EBL becomes more and more important as focal length and speed increases. With 135's, it's all-important.
  13. Bo Hu, I predict demand for the R-D1s and (possibly) a Zeiss digital will INCREASE when the M8 comes out. With that demand will come a firming of prices. I'd be interested to see where Zeiss price their offering, and what its features will be like!

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