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peter_n
02-24-2005, 09:03
The field test is by David Alan Harvey and runs on pages 42-45 of the magazine. He likes it except for the "film" advance lever...

The cover of the mag is adorned with the camera and some Leica M lenses. Whether Leica would be pleased is perhaps open to question but Epson are probably glad of the publicity.

jlw
02-24-2005, 09:09
The field test is by David Alan Harvey and runs on pages 42-45 of the magazine. He likes it except for the "film" advance lever...

Awww, poor boopie! His widdle thumbie get all tired?

Thanks for the heads-up... I'll make sure to take my blood-pressure medication before I read this!

richard_l
02-24-2005, 09:48
Awww, poor boopie! His widdle thumbie get all tired?.....
I doubt it. Harvey normally uses Leica M cameras.

simonclivehughe
02-24-2005, 10:05
My copy came last night too. Overall it was a pretty standard American Photo review... very little real substance. Also, the 4 pictures shot by DAH were all done at 1600 ISO, which admittedly, looked pretty good, but certainly didn't knock your socks off, and at least one shot at a low ISO would have been nice.

I've been thinking about getting an RD-1 for the last week or two, and this helped to push me over the edge... I ordered mine this morning.

One question for those of you who are already experienced: is the camera actually coupled? I've had the R2 and, of course, it isn't. I see the lever on the top and was curious, as my present adapters are all 28/90s. (I did order the right ones this morning.)

I'll be using it with VC lenses: 12mm, 28mm f1.9, 35mm f1.7, 50mm f1.5 and 90mm f3.5.

I can't wait to get my hands on it tomorrow!!

peter_n
02-24-2005, 10:17
Overall it was a pretty standard American Photo review... very little real substance.You could say that for the magazine as a whole - I get it free and to be honest I think its junk.

Good luck with your new cam!! :)

Sean Reid
02-24-2005, 10:39
The frames aren't coupled. You need to manually set them for the FOV an R-D1 "sees" with a 28, 35 and 50. The rangefinder itself is of course couples. Answers to this and many other questions in my LL review.

Cheers,

Sean

simonclivehughe
02-24-2005, 11:44
Thanks, Sean. I'm glad I ordered the correct adapters! BTW, your reviews of both the RD-1 and the use of wide angle lenses with it went a considerable way to convincing me about the RD-1. I'm not sure my wife thanks you, but I certainly do ;^)

Cheers,

Sean Reid
02-24-2005, 12:21
Hi Simon,

I'm glad it was helpful. Since one sets the frame lines manually on an R-D1, any screwmount to M-mount adapter can work for various focal lengths.

Cheers,

Sean

Sean Reid
02-25-2005, 18:32
I stopped by a bookstore today to pick up American Photo and Pop Photo to read the R-D1 reviews.

American Photo first: David Alan Harvey is the real deal as a photographer and the article seems honest and fair. It's not detailed technically but essentially reports on how well the Epson works as a digital Leica. And the answer is "pretty well". Harvey liked the camera and the file quality. His concern about the advance lever seeming a bit silly is just a matter of opinion. He's right about the limitation of the 42mm FOV in the finder window. Interestingly enough, that *isn't* really a function of the 1.5 sensor mag but rather of the 1:1 finder mag. In other words, Epson could consider making two versions of this camera:

Version A: 1:1 finder with max framelines for 42mm FOV

Version B: .72 (or thereabouts) finder with max framelines for 32mm FOV (21mm lens)

Many photographers might appreciate that .72 finder although I myself really do love working with the 1:1. In any case, Harvey's concern really is created by the finder mag not the sensor mag. An R3A has about the same finder FOV limitation. He's right that needing to use two windows for a 21mm lens (one for focus and one for composition) can be alkward for fast work. Epson could easily and inexpensively make a Version B camera and I want to make that suggestion to them the next time we talk.

Sean

Sean Reid
02-25-2005, 19:20
Now for the Pop Photo articles.... (long sigh)...I was very dissapointed by the quality of both pieces.

Editor Resnick, whom I like, was not at his finest in the street smarts section. The finder is not dim, it's as bright as that in an M2 or M3 and not quite as bright as that in an M7. Hardly a failing unless one considers an M3 finder to be problematic. The shutter is louder than an M7's and I'd like a quieter one too, so no disagreement there. He found the LCD screen to be distracting...so fold it in and ignore it. Complaining about its availability on a digital camera is not a valid criticism.

Pop Photo's lab tests supposedly showed that the sensor's exposure latitude is limited. I'll bet they tested with a Leica ASPH lens and the highlights blew easily. Unless a test like that shows results from lenses with various contrast characteristics, the results are useless. The R-D1 sensor has about the same dynamic range as that found in a 10D or D100. The real factor determining dynamic range capability in that camera is the lens. Choose a contrasty lens and the highlights will blow easily. Use a more moderate contrast lens like the wonderful Voigtlander 28 Ultron and the range will be much better. That's true for any test that purports to measure a digital camera's dynamic range without specifying the related contrast of the test lens used *unless* the camera has a fixed lens.

It's similar to the many tests I see that supposedly measure a camera's noise levels at various ISO levels. Yet, the reviewer often doesn't test to see what ISO the camera is actually delivering at a given nominal speed. Some digital cameras deliver an actual 540 ISO at a their "ISO 800" setting, others deliver 1000 ISO at the same nominal setting. Why do so many testers not think things through? It makes the "results" sloppy and of limited usefulness.

The main Pop Photo review is a mess. They praise the "large" 2 inch LCD in the "What's Hot" summary and then later write "we were expecting a larger screen" in their suggested improvements section. Their "Certified Test Results" rate the camera's resolution as "Extremely High" and they then go on to criticize it's resolution later in the article. How many people worked on this article and did they even compare notes before it went to press? They write, "Even the 5MP Olympus E-1 out-resolves it". That's not remotely true. I like the E-1 and happen to have one with me right now on loan from Olympus for a "Second Opinion" review. I've been shooting the same subject with both the R-D1/Ultron 28 and E-1/14-54 side by side and the latter camera's files are *much* softer. No amount of sharpening can get them even close to the R-D1/Ultron results. I've even tried my Zeiss 18 on the E-1 and the files are still soft.

Pop Photo's "What's Not" list for the R-D1 includes criticisms such as:

- No TTL viewfinder (on a rangefinder!!??)
- no AF system (on a Leica-style rangefinder with manual lenses!!??)
- no burst mode (with a manual shutter advance lever!!??)
- no pop-up flash (for crying out loud...)
- no dedicated hot shoe (dedicated to what high tech flash?)

In short the camera isn't an auto-SLR or point n' shoot - that's the whole point. It's like criticizing a motorcycle with comments like: is missing two wheels, provides inadequate rain protection, falls over when stopped if operator is not alert, etc..

There's not much point in analyzing the review further but I'm embarrased for Pop Photo. Take this review with a grain of salt, methinks, not because it's critical of the Epson but because most of the criticisms make little sense or contradict other parts of the review.

This is the first Pop Photo I've bought in years and I want my $5.00 back.

Yours with a smile,

Sean

Sean

neilsphoto
02-27-2005, 10:16
It seems odd to me DAH complains about the film advance lever, uh I mean the shutter cocking lever. Shouldn't that make the camera even more "M" like? And the alternative, an electric advance would only make noise. How could that be better?

I don't have an R-D1, yet, but the closer it is to a film camera, an "M" if you will the better as far as I'm concerned.

richard_l
02-27-2005, 11:31
".....The camera is a rangefinder to its core, but every once in a while you remember that you're not shooting film--and you feel a little silly flipping your thumb out after every shot." --DAH

neilsphoto
02-27-2005, 12:01
Yeah he said that but having to move your thumb after firing should be more than second nature to him, hell even one of us.

Wonder why he shot JPEGs and not RAW? I'd love to have a RAW file from the camera to try out.

I don't own any digital camera at all right now. I tell myself why do I need one? I have no deadlines to meet, I don't shoot for a living anymore, the files I get from the Minolta 5400 are huge and full of detail and I don't have to worry about different FOV's from the crop factor. And would I get a DSLR for my Nikon lenses, for my one Canon USM lens or for my Leica RF lens'?

And yet I have that damn itch to try one.

DaShiv
02-27-2005, 16:37
Re the ASPH/contrast issue: I honestly haven't noticed it since I process everything pretty heavily in RAW, and I haven't had any more problems with dynamic range than on my Canon DSLRs with L lenses (but to be fair, most L lenses are pretty darn contrasty too). However, since fast lenses are often used to shoot in available light (which often has very strong contrast due to light source proximity), I'm particularly curious to see how the different fast lenses handle contrast. The 28/1.9 so far sounds great except for its size (ugh); I'd like to see if there are any other good, fast low-contrast options to try out and compare to my ASPH.

I wish the new Zeiss lenses had been faster!

peter_n
02-27-2005, 16:44
I don't have one and I really have no interest in owning one either. A regular RF camera and a film scanner seems to work fine for me, at least right now they do. ;)

Sean Reid
02-27-2005, 19:11
Bob,

The 35/2 had the strongest contrast of the three I tested. In an ideal world, a sensor or piece of film would be able to handle as wide a contrast range as that lens conveys but in reality it can often provide a much wider contrast range than any camera can handle: film or digital. But those Leica ASPH lenses are still wonderful.

I didn't like the size of the Ultron 28 either in theory but in practice its not a problem. That is such a wonderful lens on the R-D1.

Sean

jlw
02-27-2005, 19:27
Wonder why he shot JPEGs and not RAW? I'd love to have a RAW file from the camera to try out.

Unless you've got Epson's raw-file conversion software, I'm not sure what you'd do with one. But I can put one (either a 'raw' raw or a 16-bit Photoshop conversion) on my server if you want to download it. Let me know which you want to see.

I don't own any digital camera at all right now. I tell myself why do I need one? I have no deadlines to meet, I don't shoot for a living anymore, the files I get from the Minolta 5400 are huge and full of detail and I don't have to worry about different FOV's from the crop factor.

All very sensible reasoning. As I replied recently to someone else, you can't do anything with an R-D1 that you couldn't do at least as well with the same lenses on a film RF camera. You could make the argument that if you need a digital end product, shooting digitally is theoretically better because it eliminates one analog conversion step (scanning the film) but in practice, situations probably could be invented that would make either one option or the other look better.

For me, the fact that I need to produce a lot of digital images, plus the fact that there's only a limited amount of time in my life for photography, make the R-D 1 a great way to go. Eliminating the film-scanning step is a huge time-saver if you shoot a lot.

If you don't, though, why sweat it? The price of an R-D 1 will buy a nice film scanner AND a lot of film.

wlewisiii
02-27-2005, 19:36
And yet I have that damn itch to try one.

I hear you. I'm in a little better spot re: lenses - the ones I have are for Canon FD, M42 or Contax/Kiev RF so I've nothing to worry about - none of them will ever fit a digital camera! . The Epson is really the only one I've ever been seriously tempted by and it's price tag makes it easy to be virtuous... :bang: :bang: :bang:

I do keep wondering if it would be possible to gut out a used digital back and affix it to a Kiev back for a seriously insane hack though... :eek:

William

JonasYip
02-27-2005, 21:54
> you can't do anything with an R-D1 that you couldn't do at least as well with the same lenses on a film RF camera.

You can...

... take a couple pictures inside at ISO 1600, go outside and take a couple at ISO 200, etc without wasting or unloading/loading film or carrying multiple bodies.

... do a portrait sitting, review at any time to see if you've got the shot and stop, or alternately determine that you need to keep going, or even just to appease the art director.

... not worry about whether you have daylight or tungsten balanced film in the camera, and indeed fine tune to daylight, cloudy, open-shade, tungsten, etc or even down to a specific K if you so desire. And you can change your mind later (if you're shooting raw)

... shoot in B+W... and then change it to color later if you want (again, if you're shooting RAW).

... fit many many "rolls of film" in the space of one roll of real film. Of course by the same token you can lose an entire shoot with one misplaced card.

Well, I'm just listing things off the top of my head. I actually shoot both film and digital as the need arises, but there are definite advantages to the digital work flow. And there are definite reasons for me use film at times too, when digital just won't work. It's just a matter of knowing when to use what (for your own needs, of course)...

j

JonasYip
02-27-2005, 22:06
Oh yeah, I also could do without the manual advance lever. I mean, I like the look and feel of it and all, but on a more practical level: I shoot probably 90% vertical and there's no good way for me to shoot continuously without moving the camera away from my face between each shot. But that's just me. Maybe my forehead is too big.

With the M6TTL I of course have the same problem, but there at least I have some motor drive or rapidwinder options if I so choose.

(But I sill love the R-D1... I just don't find it all that odd that someone would find the manual shutter cocking less than ideal)

j

hth
02-27-2005, 22:29
JonasYip, this thing about not worrying what color balanced film there is in a digital camera you mention, it is not the first time I see it and I do not understand it.

If I use film, isn't it just a matter of applying the appropriate filter before taking the picture, or apply filtering at the print stage, or do some white balancing photoshop (if you scan)?

JonasYip
02-27-2005, 22:48
Remember, that was in regard to this statement:

> you can't do anything with an R-D1 that you couldn't do at least as well with the same lenses on a film RF camera.

Yes, if you carry enough filters along you can apply filters (and lose stops when you need the most perhaps). And you can get your lab to adjust (to their taste?), and you can do anything in photoshop (but probably not as cleanly because you're munging the post-scan data as opposed to adjusting the settings *before* the initial interpolation... probably a minor diff if you're working in 16-bit?).

Obviously we were able to handle these situations just fine with film before digital capture came along. It's just the degree of convenience and control that sets the digital workflow apart for certain things (and causes us to spend far too much time at the computer.... but that's a whole 'nuther issue....)

j

hth
02-28-2005, 00:19
I see. Yes, I never carried enough filters for this, and getting the right was not easy either. Getting the lab to do it properly did did not work either. Doing it in my darkroom worked, but was a pain, which I why I gave up and concentrated on B&W and slide film instead.

It is easy to do all color balancing in Photoshop, but then I am forced to have digital output in the end, which is OK as wet color printing is such as hazzle. I just got a good scanner, so I am on the beginning of the learning curve to get the best out of it, my simple trials so far have been very promising.

neilsphoto
02-28-2005, 02:22
JLW,
I do have PS CS with their Epson convertor but hey if you can put either kind of R-D1 file up somewhere for a download that would be great. I haven't got any idea what to expect and I'd like to get one, idea I mean.

Thanks

Neil

Sean Reid
02-28-2005, 03:41
I agree that the pros and cons of the advance lever are really a matter of opinion. I like it but can see why many would want it gone.

Sean

David Kieltyka
02-28-2005, 11:43
I'm in a little better spot re: lenses - the ones I have are for Canon FD, M42 or Contax/Kiev RF so I've nothing to worry about - none of them will ever fit a digital camera!

William

You may be right about the FD mount but the other two...well, you can use M42 lenses on Canon & Pentax D-SLRs via adapter. And some folks at photo.net are working on a reasonably-priced Contax-to-LTM adapter, using focusing mounts from Kiev cameras. This would let us mount Contax/Kiev lenses on LTM & M cameras, including the R-D1. :cool:

-Dave-

JonasYip
02-28-2005, 13:54
> I agree that the pros and cons of the advance lever are really a matter of opinion. I like it but can see why many would want it gone.

I was thinking this morning it'd be cool to have both built-in. Auto shutter cocking when you want it, manual advance lever when you want it, user selectable via a menu selection.

I mean, for general shooting I like the handling with the real knobs and manual advance, LCD hidden.... feels like I'm handling a, uh, "real" camera. But in situations where the advance lever gets in the way, like a headshot session perhaps, then I'd switch into "autowind".

Hmm... there must be plenty of room in the $3k cost for them to add everything *I* want, right?

j

jlw
02-28-2005, 14:29
> you can't do anything with an R-D1 that you couldn't do at least as well with the same lenses on a film RF camera.

You can...

... take a couple pictures inside at ISO 1600, go outside and take a couple at ISO 200, etc without wasting or unloading/loading film or carrying multiple bodies.

Right. Or you can plan ahead. Make sure you wear your bifocals so you can see the tiny ISO numbers when changing the setting on the R-D1.

... do a portrait sitting, review at any time to see if you've got the shot and stop, or alternately determine that you need to keep going, or even just to appease the art director.

Funny, I was just doing that the other day, standing up on a ladder to shoot a large group shot. When I turned the camera so the client could look at the LCD and see if she liked the effect, I bonked her in the forehead with the camera! Didn't appease her much. Incidentally, I still say you don't really know if you got it until you get it home and see it on the computer monitor.

... not worry about whether you have daylight or tungsten balanced film in the camera, and indeed fine tune to daylight, cloudy, open-shade, tungsten, etc or even down to a specific K if you so desire. And you can change your mind later (if you're shooting raw)

Y'know, I shot film for about a quarter-century before I got my R-D 1, and I don't recall ever worrying about that. Like I say, you can plan ahead.

... shoot in B+W... and then change it to color later if you want (again, if you're shooting RAW).

See above comment. This is mostly a limitation of my own: When I'm looking for pictures, I can either "see" b&w opportunities or color opportunities, not both at the same time. So, I make up my mind which one I'm looking for and load the camera accordingly. (It's cool that you can switch the R-D 1's raw b&ws back to color, but I can't say I've ever actually wanted to do it.)

... fit many many "rolls of film" in the space of one roll of real film. Of course by the same token you can lose an entire shoot with one misplaced card.

Both true. And don't forget that if you want to shoot more than one card's worth with the R-D 1 (no great trick in raw mode) you've either got to carry several expensive cards, or lug along a laptop computer, CD burner, hard disk transfer device, or whatever.

Well, I'm just listing things off the top of my head. I actually shoot both film and digital as the need arises, but there are definite advantages to the digital work flow. And there are definite reasons for me use film at times too, when digital just won't work. It's just a matter of knowing when to use what (for your own needs, of course)...

All very true. Much as I hate myself for it, I now shoot digital almost all the time, so I'm aware that there are advantages in HOW you use it. In terms of results, though, I still say you can do just as well with film... maybe not as conveniently in some ways, but more conveniently in others.


Remember, my original reply was to someone who had liked one of my R-D 1 pictures and doesn't own an R-D 1. I just wanted to make him feel better (or put him on the spot, depending on how you look at it) by reminding him that the same result could have been achieved on film.

jlw
02-28-2005, 14:35
I was thinking this morning it'd be cool to have both built-in. Auto shutter cocking when you want it, manual advance lever when you want it, user selectable via a menu selection.

If you incorporate the gear train, clutches, etc. needed for a manual advance lever, you've pretty much negated the advantages of building in a motor advance, and vice-versa.

Of course, if this feature did become a craze, I can easily imagine some point-and-shoot manufacturer building a camera with motor advance, but incorporating a fake manual lever that, when actuated, would simply trip a switch that would cycle the wind motor. They could even include a recorded fake wind-gear sound, like the ridiculous "shutter-noise" sounds used on some digital point-and-shoots.

So be careful what you wish for! You might get it, and it would be lame...

jlw
02-28-2005, 14:38
I was thinking this morning it'd be cool to have both built-in. Auto shutter cocking when you want it, manual advance lever when you want it, user selectable via a menu selection.

Or how about this? You've seen those radios that run on a hand-cranked generator instead of batteries, right? So, how about a manual lever that, when cranked, charges the camera battery enough to get off a shot or two?

Running the LCD takes more power, so they could also add a 'rewind crank' that you'd spin a number of times to generate enough juice to "rewind" and review your pictures on the LCD!

This is so crazy that it's almost starting to make sense...

jlw
02-28-2005, 14:46
JLW,
I do have PS CS with their Epson convertor but hey if you can put either kind of R-D1 file up somewhere for a download that would be great. I haven't got any idea what to expect and I'd like to get one, idea I mean.

Thanks

Neil

OK, here's a totally raw Epson ERF image that you can download from the following link:

Click here to download the file (http://homepage.mac.com/jlw)

NOTE: If you tried this earlier, you probably didn't get the complete file; for some reason, the server was choking on it. Using the link above will fix it. It will take you to a file-sharing page called 'Jim Williams' Public Folder.' At the bottom of the folder you'll see a list of files you can download; the one you want is named 05-02-05_07.ERF. Click the little download arrow in the column at right and it will begin downloading to your computer. What you'll get is a 13mb binhexed file that will need an application such as Stuffit Expander to decode it, but once you've done that you'll have a complete 9.5mb Epson ERF raw file with which to experiment.

Also, some people have posted that Photoshop CS's raw image converter doesn't do quite as good a job as the skookum Epson one, so you may want to reserve final judgement if your results aren't quite up to snuff.

I'm not claiming the photo is stellar, but it should provide a lot of skin tones, edges, etc. to play with. Tech specs: Epson R-D 1 with Canon 50mm f/1.4 lens and electronic flash illumination; exposure 1/125 (X-sync) @ f/8-ish; ISO equivalent 200.

By the way, the nice-looking folks pictured are the Creighton University Dance Company -- be sure to go see 'em if you ever get a chance.

I'll attach a smaller JPEG version showing how I cleaned up the file:

DaShiv
02-28-2005, 14:46
I had a gag flashlight that had to be hand-cranked to produce light (no conventional batteries inside). Operating it was a purely comedic feat, pumping and pumping just to coax out a thin beam of light. I'd like to retain a little dignity while I'm shooting with a camera... :D

JonasYip
02-28-2005, 15:29
Of course, if this feature did become a craze, I can easily imagine some point-and-shoot manufacturer building a camera with motor advance, but incorporating a fake manual lever that, when actuated, would simply trip a switch that would cycle the wind motor. They could even include a recorded fake wind-gear sound, like the ridiculous "shutter-noise" sounds used on some digital point-and-shoots.

So be careful what you wish for! You might get it, and it would be lame...


Hey, how about downloadable camera tones! ;) I want my R-D1 to sound like an F3/MD-4 ... heh.

j

(i'm kidding, of course)

driggett
02-28-2005, 19:22
When I open the file in Photoshop CS running on a mac I gey invalid file format. Only 2.8mb downloaded. I tried several times but the same file size came thorugh. Can you check the file again.
Thanks,
Chris

Doug
02-28-2005, 22:22
I only got a 1.4Mb download file, and Photoshop CS won't open it...