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Reid Reviews' R-D1 Long Term Report
Old 02-15-2006   #1
loretdem
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Reid Reviews' R-D1 Long Term Report

My review of Reid Reviews:

As many on this forum know, Sean Reid's reviews are among the most useful and well written. He approaches his subject as a working professional photographer with practical real world needs and expectations, not to mention a healthy knowledge of the history of photography. Most equipment and technical reviews are not much more than press release rehashes or marketing drivel. My opinion is that Sean cares more for the photography that the gear can help the photographer produce than for the gear itself. That is one of the reasons his are some of the only equipment reviews I read. Another is because he is genuinely interested in and really understands rangefinder photography, particularly in today's digital imaging reality. He has written very good pieces on professional DSLRs, among other topics. But when his attention is turned to digital rangefinder photography his writing is that much more focused, even passionate! IMHO his best pieces were the ones he wrote centered around the use of the Epson R-D1 for Luminous Landscape. His new R-D1 Long Term Report is just as good as those great LL pieces, and just as informative but now updated to reflect over a year of experience and the feedback of many other R-D1 users. It is very rare that a piece of equipment gets a follow up over a year after its introduction, particularly a digital camera in today's obsolescence driven industry. Sean's new piece adds important pertinent information in an even handed and complete manner. Anyone interested in this camera and in the current state of digital rangefinder photography should read it. It is available on Sean's subscription site www.reidreviews.com and this one piece alone is worth the subscription price, but his other articles on correct exposure myths, DSLR reviews and small sensor camera are all worth it too. Since Sean will be actively reviewing all pertinent digital rangefinder tools such as the new Zeiss M lenses and Leica's forthcoming digital M camera among others, his review site is becoming arguably the best destination on the web for information on digital rangefinder photography, its current state and its future. Leica, Epson and Cosina Voigtlander, among hopefully others, should be very grateful to Sean for providing such a thoughtful and useful resource.

I have no affiliation at all with Sean Reid. I'm just a very content subscriber who would like to encourage all to check out his latest piece on the R-D1, a year in the making.

-Carlos Loret de Mola
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Want to subscribe but how?
Old 02-15-2006   #2
rvaubel
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Want to subscribe but how?

Hi, Sean if your reading this...
I"ve been seriously considering a R-D1 for awhile now. Sean's reviews in luminous landscape have been very insightful. I have a number of VC and Leica film bodies/lenses so I know the the rangefinder QA issue quite well.
I have found a demo model that I have tested the rangefinder with both a CV 40mm F1.4 and a Leica 90mm F4 and they are both spot on. My only concern is the long term viability of the camera because of the lack of support from Epson (I wouldnt want a replacement because of the crapshoot factor). I talked to DAG and he says he can keep the rangefinder going if you have one that is not fundamentally flawed to begin with. The demo seems to be near perfect in that regard and also regard hot pixels , etc.
I quess my question is what happens if the camera's electronics go on the fritz? Is the only alternative a replacement body from Epson while under warrenty? After that, then what?
I would really like to buy this camera. My camera store let my use it all day, and I got some great pictures. I made a few prints at 100% (16 X 24) and they were fine.

*SEAN* btw, I tried to subscribe to your website review thingy, but clicking "here" took my to some Microhell email sevice that required me siqning up with them, getting passwords, etc. Not the best way to snag subscribers. I sent you a regular email, the old fashioned way, so hopefully you can get back to me and I can give you money.
Rex
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Old 02-16-2006   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rvaubel
*SEAN* btw, I tried to subscribe to your website review thingy, but clicking "here" took my to some Microhell email sevice that required me siqning up with them, getting passwords, etc. Not the best way to snag subscribers. I sent you a regular email, the old fashioned way, so hopefully you can get back to me and I can give you money.
The "here" I see is sending you to Macromedia to get the Flash Player.
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Old 02-16-2006   #4
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Excellent review !!!

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Old 02-16-2006   #5
Sean Reid
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Wow, thank you very much Carlos. I deeply appreciate your comments on my review. There was a lot of work that went into producing it and I'm very pleased to know that you feel it's on the mark. I tried to be as fair and thorough as possible. I do feel more passionate about rangefinder cameras because they're really in synch with my own approach to much of my work. In fact, I was just talking with a friend of mine, a professional who has shot for magazines for decades. He's a Leica guy and is considering the R-D1 once again and mentioned that as competent as his 5D is, he just doesn't "love" it. I have one too and seem to feel that way about all SLRs. I use them for work when needed but I have little affection for them. The rangefinder stuff, though, that's more my thing. BTW, there's also a review on the site now of the Tri-Elmar on the R-D1.

My contact at Leica USA wrote to me shortly after this article was published. He read it carefully and I know that it will be read widely in Solms as well. They wonder, of course, how many R-D1 owners will be buying the Digital M. I told him my guess is that almost every R-D1 owner who can afford it will want to buy the Digital M. There are also many photographers who have skipped the R-D1 but will likely buy the Leica.

Right now, I'm testing the R-D1, M7 and Zeiss Ikon with the following lenses:

28: CV 28/1.9, Leica 28/2.0, Zeiss 28/2.8
35: CV 35/1.7. Leica 35/2.0, Zeiss 35/2.0
50: CV 50/1.5, Leica 50/2.0, Zeiss 50/2.0

The Digital M is based on an evolution of the M7 and a Zeiss digital rangefinder would most likely be based on the Ikon. So my tests of these two cameras are designed to look at them for themselves but also for what they suggest to us about their digital brethren. The Digital M is real. I don't know where Zeiss is with a digital Ikon. The review will also show how these lenses perform both on the R-D1 and on FF film cameras. That might give us a glimpse of how they might work on a DRF with, say, a 1.33 crop factor.

I will write about the Digital M as soon as I'm allowed to.

Daniel,

Thank you!

Sean
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Last edited by Sean Reid : 02-16-2006 at 03:47.
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Old 02-16-2006   #6
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Thanks Sean
I too, would be an enthusiastic Digital M buyer. I am sure we are all waiting for any further updates from you as to when we can get our object of desire!
Rex
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Old 02-16-2006   #7
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Sean: just wanted to echo the warm sentiments above. Great review, and very close to my own experience. I have my own concerns that the RD-1 will be an "orphan" camera and that in ten years (an age, in terms of electronic products) there will be no one to repair it if something goes wrong. Nevertheless, I am enjoying mine now and it seems like there are other products in the pipeline that may emerge during the useful life of this camera. Keep 'em snapping.

Ben
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Old 02-16-2006   #8
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Which review are you talking about? Do you have an URL to share?

Kevin
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Old 02-16-2006   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sean Reid
My contact at Leica USA wrote to me shortly after this article was published. He read it carefully and I know that it will be read widely in Solms as well. They wonder, of course, how many R-D1 owners will be buying the Digital M. I told him my guess is that almost every R-D1 owner who can afford it will want to buy the Digital M. There are also many photographers who have skipped the R-D1 but will likely buy the Leica.
The DRF concept is so attractive that as long as they do not make similar mistakes as Epson regarding pricing, marketing and support then I'm sure that they'll have a great success. Especially pricing. Everyone knows that Leica's viability is at stake. As good as the R-D1 is, right now many are waiting in the wings for the next generation DRF. If Epson does deliver an R-D2 before Leica can deliver its digital M, I think it might be a very costly mistake for Solms. I hope Leica realizes that they have some competition to deal with these days with Epson and Zeiss and who knows who else may be out there. The R-D1 has been a much better camera than I expected so I have no doubt that an R-D2 would definitely cannibalize digital M sales, just as the Zeiss M lenses are giving their Leica counterparts a run for the money.
-Carlos
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Old 02-16-2006   #10
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Quote:
If Epson does deliver an R-D2 before Leica can deliver its digital M
I can't believe that I am saying this, but I actually think that Leica will have it's DRF out before Epson has an R-D2.

given the lack of news of any sort, I just don't believe that Epson is working seriously on the R-D2. Maybe they are waiting to see how the Leica camera is recieved.
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Old 02-16-2006   #11
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The amazing thing is how many people are still contenplating buying a R-D1 with all the Epson support problems. It just goes to show what a great concept the digital rangefinder is for its targeted market (us). It may be a relatively small market, but we either have money to spend/or are willing to rob banks to get our rangefinder/Leica/Zeiss/CV fix. Plus, we are relatively influencial within the advanced amatuer, affecianado crowd.
On the later point, I was taking a midlevel photoshop one day seminar last weekend, and my R-D1 was the envy of the class. Forget the 5D's, Ds's and more plebian fare. Everyone wanted to examine my camera and marvel how could look thru a window, focus manually and not be "forced" to look thru the lens. They thought it was way cool.
It puzzles me that Epson went to all the trouble to figure out the market so well, and then drop the ball on such a relatively minor issue of fixing the problem models. Granted, they may have not made much (or any) money on the first model, but the prestige and experience should have been worth it. Not to mention the possibility of skimming off the upper end of the point and shoot market (that where the real money is).
Oh well, not to cry over splilt milk.
The only consulation is, Leica does understand this market. The fact that the R-D1's are still the best thing out there, despite 2 year old technology, should give heart to Leica as their Digital M could have real "legs" as the sensors have evolved to the point that the megapixal war should be subsiding.
Give me a 10 meg, 1.3 x crop Leica and I'll be happy for many years to come.

Rex
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Old 02-16-2006   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JoshRoot
I can't believe that I am saying this, but I actually think that Leica will have it's DRF out before Epson has an R-D2.

given the lack of news of any sort, I just don't believe that Epson is working seriously on the R-D2. Maybe they are waiting to see how the Leica camera is recieved.
I agree as Epson have not yet sold 5,000 of the projected 10,000 in over a year and I bet they had to get close to the full quota to see any profit. I suppose if an R-D2 did not require a major retooling of the production line with the associated costs it could be possible.
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Sean Reid's site
Old 02-16-2006   #13
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Sean Reid's site

Sean has THE best reviews. I spent probably an hour reading his Leica DMR review. The small $ to join is worth it many times over. I have the hots for an R-D1 now. In negotiations for a use one. Saving up for the Digital M!
Boilerdoc
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Old 02-16-2006   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JoshRoot
I can't believe that I am saying this, but I actually think that Leica will have it's DRF out before Epson has an R-D2.

given the lack of news of any sort, I just don't believe that Epson is working seriously on the R-D2. Maybe they are waiting to see how the Leica camera is recieved.
I completely agree with you, but you never know. PMA is just around the corner and Photokina is still months away. Anything can happen.
I heard a while back that Epson had actually begun working on a successor to the R-D1 almost as early as late 2004, around the time of the R-D1's introduction, but nothing came of that. It may appear that they've abandoned ship, and probably have. But an updated R-D1 wouldn't have to be a difficult undertaking. They've committed to building 10000 R-D1's with Cosina. So far less than 5000 have hit the market. If they are to see this commitment through, I would like to believe that the remaining 5000 cameras ought to be updated, if for no other reason so that they would be able to continue selling them at just under US$3000 a piece. But what do I know?!
-Carlos
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Old 02-16-2006   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by boilerdoc2
Sean has THE best reviews. I spent probably an hour reading his Leica DMR review. The small $ to join is worth it many times over. I have the hots for an R-D1 now. In negotiations for a use one. Saving up for the Digital M!
Boilerdoc
Boilerdoc,

Thank you! You guys are really making my day. My sincere thanks to everyone who is helping to spread the word about the site.

Cheers,

Sean
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Old 02-16-2006   #16
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Thumbs up

Sean
Signed up today, and just [quick]read the Rd-1 review for the first time.
Excellent, i had NOT yet worked out the cure for the dreaded"double shutter press" but now I know...........................thanks worth the money for that .
Off to Prague tomorrow for four days shohoting stock, they WILL be working hard!
Wish your review for the GR-D hadn't been so damned positive though................I have a GR1 that i still use a lot [like the FOV!] so i guess it'll have to be replaced by one of thse, at least I have a spare voigt 28mm finder though......................
Thanks
Clive
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Old 02-16-2006   #17
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I guess the reason why Epson hasn't sold 5000 units yet has a lot to do with marketing and advertising. The camera simply isn't advertised anywhere in any meaningful way. If Epson were really committed to the R-D1 it would do the marketing, the sales and the post-sale support properly. Nevertheless, I'm pleased as punch with my R-D1. That's not enough, though, for Epson to sell another 5000.
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Old 02-18-2006   #18
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Sean Reid's reviews are great pieces of literature about photography. There are tests of equipment, but also well-written and experienced reflexions about photography. Some of the best articles I have read about these subjects.
R.
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Old 02-21-2006   #19
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Carlos, thank you for initiating this thread. You've reminded me to do what I had intended to do months ago, but have been procrastinating. I have now sent in my registration & am looking forward to reading Sean's most recent reviews.

Huck
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Old 02-21-2006   #20
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Hi Huck,

Very glad to hear it - just e-mailed you.

Just as an FYI, I'm leaving Friday for an extended trip and my e-mail contact may be sporadic. If anyone is thinking about subscribing and wants to start soon, t'would be better to do it before the 2/24.

Thanks everyone for the comments here. Much obliged...

Sean
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Hello
Old 04-13-2008   #21
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Hello

Hello

First off, I must say both Reid's reviews and your review of his reviews (ha!) are very good, and enlightening to read. I must recommend to you all this book, full of useful information, techniques, and ideas for the amazing rangefinder camera.

Jason
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Old 08-12-2011   #22
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I am very interested in this book. I am just beginning to learn about photography, and I recently picked up a rangefinder camera, and I think this book would be very helpful to me. I am glad I stumbled upon this thread. I do apologize for digging up the old thread, but this is still relevant to me. I am also looking for a good mentor. I was wondering where might be a good place to look. Would angies list be a good place to look? Thanks for any suggestions you may have.

Last edited by snappy : 10-01-2011 at 13:08.
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