View Full Version : R-D1 is still unique
I don't know if any of you have noticed, but we appear to be going through a PMA show cycle without a challenger to the R-D1 being announced. I suppose that is both a good thing and a bad thing.
I wasn't expecting any "challengers" to the R-D1 until next year's PMA at the earliest, since a) that's when Leica's digital M is scheduled to be shown (although their currently dire financial situation makes that now seem unlikely); b) Zeiss's film Ikon won't be released until May, so I doubt that they would develop a digital Ikon until they've had some time to gauge the reception of this new line (which I predict will have a healthy following); and c) with no other immediate competitors on the horizon and with the Sony 6MP CCD still being used in other current DSLR's (like the Nikon D70, Pentax *ist D/DS, Minolta 7D, etc) I don't see Epson having much of an incentive to upgrade the R-D1; and d) the R-D1 appears to be still selling nicely anyway in its current niche.
I had decided that I wasn't going to wait another 1-2 years for a digital rangefinder, which was why I picked up the R-D1 despite its rather inflated price -- time waits for no man. I do hope for more "challengers" soon but I had certainly not planned on it. :D
Sometimes I think we're very lucky the R-D1 was made at all (high price or not) because no other camera maker: 1) Has released a camera like this. 2) Seems close to releasing a camera like this. It's a rare group of people (many of them pros who've been around for awhile) who have any interest in rangefinders. I'm convinced that Leica will indeed release a digital M if they can get their finances in order. If they're bought, I hope its by someone who values rangefinders. It's even crossed my mind that Epson could buy Leica, if it is up for sale, and thus kill two birds with one stone. Or maybe Leica will sort things out under Hermes.
I'll bet Zeiss will sell a digital RF as soon as they can. I don't imagine they expect to be selling just a film version of that camera for the next several years. They were smart to build the lenses first. Potentially, these new lenses will work better with digital rangefinders than many existing RF lenses do. They might even work with a FF sensor.
Meanwhile, any of us could be killed by a bus tomorrow and if that happens to me I will have already had three months pleasure of working with the R-D1 as well as the $$ it's earned.
Meanwhile, any of us could be killed by a bus tomorrow
Ever the optimist, Sean, eh? :D
Just kidding. ;) Point well made. Zeiss has said that they are waiting for a full size sensor, which they think is a ways in the offing. For now, they think that film is the best sensor for wide angle, Rf photography. . . . Or so they say.
Cheers . . .
Companies say all kinds of things until they have a camera ready for production.
Sean (who's looking out for buses now)
The challenge might come from Konica-Minolta. They have an M mount rangefinder in the (non-US) market, even though most people seem to like to supress/forget it. They also have many digital cameras in production and they have finally gotten their DSLR out.
KM's first DSLR is a little under-spec'd for its price and is thus vulnerable to competition from both the middle segment (20D) from a features/performance standpoint and the entry level (D70, 350D, *ist DS, etc) from a price standpoint. (Having said that, their DSLR's ergonomics and anti-shake certainly look very nice though.) I would think that KM's priority would be to expand and solidify their DSLR lineup first, especially given that there'll be more growth in the DSLR market than the P&S market in the upcoming couple of years. Thus, I can't see KM taking a little "time off" from developing more lucrative DSLR's to pay attention to the small and risky rangefinder market when they've already been coming to the DSLR race late (being the last major brand) and are playing catchup on that front. KM is also sorely lacking in "digital" SLR lenses compared to the other manufacturers, and I'm sure that even now they're devoting considerable resources to address that issue.
The film Hexars are built like tanks though, so of course a digital Hexar would be spiffy if my prediction happened to be wrong! But I know better than to play the lottery. :D
I don't think there will be much competition until ZI comes out with something. It's interesting that, either way, Cosina wins (they make the Zeiss Icon RF). Now that's playing it right as a middle man!
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