1. Top-of-the-line digital technology, traditional handling
With the R-D1s rangefinder camera, Epson presents a precision digital camera unique in the world of photography, which prompted furor even long before its market introduction. The combination of traditional handling, top-notch processing quality, and all the advantages of digital photography makes the R-D1s go both against and with the stream of the digital age.
Two different companies were involved in the development of the R-D1s product. Cosina was responsible for the classical body, well-known to connoiseurs and based on the famous Bessa R2 housing, along with all mechanical elements and the photometric components of the camera for control of exposure and focus. Epson provided all components involved with the recording and electronic processing of image data – from the specially developed and fabricated CCD sensor, through the analog/digital conversion and processor units for image processing, to the wide selection of software for PCs which “develop” the RAW images files from the camera, then refine them and prepare them for use in target media. And naturally, at the end of the photo processing chain is the variety of photo printers by Epson. In the hobby and professional arenas alike, they guarantee optimum results – whether you need fast prints at postcard size, or costly Fine Art prints in poster formats.
2. How does the R-D1s differ from traditional digital cameras?
As a modern example of the rangefinder cameras, the R-D1s not only has the visually attractive retro appeal from the golden age of analog photography, but also stands for the notion that, in these days of increasing snapshot automation, the classically oriented photographer can have a tool back which makes photography an active experience again. The picture creator can take full control of every aspect of the process of image creation, thereby regaining among other things the traditional mechanical and precise tools of the classical rangefinder method. To focus, two partial images from different angles are made to overlap in the viewfinder using the focus ring on the lens, resulting in a focus setting of the motif viewed. Just like the use of the rangefinder system in a digital camera, it is also a global first that the rangefinder image is neither magnified or shrunk – the photographer sees in the rangefinder exactly what the naked eye sees, and picture segments can be composed correspondingly precisely.
Many details regarding the use of the camera make the experience more intense and highlight the philosophy of the entire construction. Thus the quick-change lever for film transport still sets up the shutter and provides the feeling of a classical camera. The knob which used to be used to rewind the film now fulfills the logical function of paging through the software menus and images. And the filigreed round instrument with the indicators on the right next to the flash shoe gives the user information about the number of pictures remaining, the settings of the white balance, the battery charge state, and the image resolution selected.
The only clear feature which betrays to the user that the R-D1s has a digital heart is the particularly large and brilliant LCD display, at 235,000 pixels and two inches diagonal, for viewing of photos and changing the camera settings. And even this display is only apparent as such when the folding rear plate of the camera is opened up.
3. Hand in hand: optics and electronics
Probably the most impressive advantage of the R-D1s, however, is the possibility of using nearly any lens with a Leica M or L bayonette (or M39 mounts, using an adapter). Over 200 models in every price range represent a wide selection for any application – from the Leica fine lenses, uncompromising in their commitment to precision and long life, to the price/performance hits of the wide-angle Helion and the superzoom-oriented Nokton series from Voigtlaender or Cosina. By using a large CCD sensor in the APS-C format, with a surface of 23.7 by 15.6 mm, the focal length extension (compared to 36 by 24 mm for small-format film) is around a factor of 1.5. That means, for instance, that a lense with a small-image focal length of 50 mm works at a comparable 75 mm focal length in the R-D1s. This factor is much smaller than that for many other digital cameras, guaranteeing that the lens can be used for a similar purpose as its design application for cameras with 35mm film.
The CCD sensor offers a native resolution of around six megapixels, providing pictures at 3008 by 2000 pixels in a format which matches classical photo papers. With this many pixels, it’s no problem to print photos using a large-format A3 printer by Epson with all possible quality, resolution, and color brilliance. It also helps that pictures can be taken from the sensor directly without compression and saved in the RAW format – at 12 bits per color channel. Traditional digital cameras only offer 8 bits per channel. This gives the photographer the option of preparing the lossless, pristine image material on a computer for the final print.
4. Complete package of software and accessories
One of the most popular advantages of digital photography is the significantly higher capacity compared to physical film, with respect to the number of images per storage medium. The SecureDigital cards used in the R-D1s are available today in sizes up to 1 GB, and even larger capacities and faster variants with higher data transmission rates are planned in the months and years to come.
The compact high-power battery takes care of the power supply needs using lithium ion technology, and can manage up to 500 shots if the display is used sparingly. A matching battery charger is included, and replacement batteries are available, significantly extending the time of use of the R-D1s.
A diverse software package ensures smooth photographic work with the camera, including both Adobe Photoshop Elements 2.0, oriented towards professional needs, and also the PhotoRAW software CD, which can convert the RAW files from the camera into other image formats like TIFF or JPEG. For Adobe Photoshop version 7.0 or higher, there are also plug-ins available which extend the possibilities for manipulation of the RAW files.
The Flash simulator for the Epson R-D1s Digital Rangefinder Camera gives you an overview of practically every function of the model and the effects of the control elements on the handling of the camera. The Flash applet presents to you in detail all menus and buttons, gives you the option of taking pictures, adjusting the exposure settings, and much more. In addition a Flash movie presents the features of the new Epson R-D1s. All you need is an installed Flash player of Version 7, and you’re ready to go. Click on the preview on the right , and the simulator will open in a separate window.
Data & Facts
|Dimensions:||142 x 88.5 x 39.5 mm (W x H x D)|
|Sensor:||CCD, 23.7 x 15.6 mm, APS-C format
Primary filter (RGB)
6.1 million pixels effective resolution
|Formats:||13,54 MP: 4512 x 3000 Pixel (interpolated with Epson Photo Raw 1.2)
6 MP: 3,008 x 2,000 pixels (12-bit RAW, JPEG EXIF 2.21)
3 MP: 2,240 x 1,488 pixels (JPEG EXIF 2.21)
|Viewfinder:||double-inverted Galileo viewfinder, 1.0x magnification, format frame switchable 28/35/50 mm, parallax balance|
|Lens mount:||Type M lens bayonette, conversion factor 1.53x
Type L lens bayonette usable with adapter (not included). Conversion factor 1.53 x focal length.
|Shutter times||1 – 1/2,000 seconds, bulb|
|Aperture settings||Timed automatic and manual modes|
|Aperture correction:||+/- 2.0 EV in 0.3-EV steps (only in AE mode)|
|Sensitivity:||ISO 200, ISO 400, ISO 800, ISO 1,600|
|White balance:||automatic or manual for shade, clouds, artificial lighting, neon lighting, sun|
|Black and white modes:||Standard, green filter, yellow filter, orange filter, red filter|
|Color Space:||sRGB or Adobe RGB selectable|
|Display:||2.0“ TFT LCD, resolution 235,000 pixels|
|Indicator:||Image quality setting, white balance, remaining pictures, battery charge state|
|Playback mode:||Single picture, 4 thumbnails (2×2), enlargment (up to 16 x), slide show and displays like histogram, exposure details, and recording data|
|Print standards:||DPOF, Epson Print Image Matching 2.6, EXIF print, Print Image Matching|
|Flash:||Flash and accessory shoe|
|Storage media:||SD card (Secure Digital)|
|Power supply:||Epson EPALB1 lithium-ion battery with recharger|
|Included in delivery:||Camera body, camera lid, carrying strap, Adobe Photoshop Elements 2.0, PhotoRAW Epson RAW Data Processing CD, operator’s manual (English, French, German, Dutch, Italian, Spanish), Li-ion battery, recharger with power cord|