Pros: Classic analogue handling with life-size finder for an involving experience, while large digital SLR-style sensor provides low noise.
Cons: Menu system is poor. Main concern is that the camera has frame-lines for only three focal lengths.
Epson’s 6mp R-D1 shares some features with the recently announced R3A. It includes the same bright, life-size finder magnification, and aperture priority exposure control.
Its big attraction, though, is the compatibility with loads of Leica M bayonet and L mount screw lenses. It also fits a wide range of other brands – such as early screw thread lenses from Canon and Nikon – with the help of an optional adaptor. A lever on the top plate allows selection from one of three frame-lines visible in the viewfinder for 50mm, 28mm, and 35mm focal lengths.
Other lenses will fit, but it will be difficult to judge the field of view for the sensor without a viewfinder. However, Voigtländer has introduced a series of four viewfinders covering 12mm, 15mm, 21mm, and 25mm focal lengths. These attach via the hot-shoe, but as yet there are no dedicated finders for longer lenses, such as an 85mm, or 105mm.
We were supplied with the gorgeous M mount Voigtländer Colour Skopar 35mm f/2.5P II pancake lens, so called due to the stubby construction. Together, handling is very good, though the R-D1’s body is big, and the magnesium alloy construction belies its 590g weight.