UPDATE April 1, 2011: Is it true? Will Epson re-release the R-D1 in the North American market?
I now own an Epson R-D1 digital rangefinder body, on to which, I have attached the 35mm f1.7 Voigtländer lens. I spent two days in Vancouver shooting with it around the Canada day celebrations.
Over the past couple of months, I have really enjoyed shooting with the Bessa R2A. Handling the camera and the analog controls make this a very different experience from shooting with DSLRs. I use one to two DSLRs when shooting events for work and they are great cameras for that sort of work. For walking around the street, the rangefinder is a better tool.
The one frustration of shooting film, well, was dealing with film. The quality of images was never an issue and the look of the photos was great. I just found it too frustrating to have to pay for developing of the film and the 6 megapixel scans were not the greatest. So, I have been looking around for a digital rangefinder to stick my M-mount lens on.
This past week, I traded my second DSLR body for a used Epson R-D1 body. It is a bit like trading in a late model Japanese car for an old Karmann Ghia. The DSLR has bigger and better EVERYTHING and there are an awful lot of them on the road. The R-D1 is no longer available in North America, doesn’t have half of the features or megapixels as the DSLRs, but it sure has a lot of what I am looking for in a street camera.
From the first shots that I took over two days in Vancouver, I loved the camera. I am very happy with the quality of the B/W JPEGs as well as the colour RAW files. I shoot both at the same time, treating the camera as though it has B/W film in it, but if I need to have the colour images, for work for instance, than I have the RAW file to work with. The camera takes a LONG time to process the files, so there is no opportunity to shoot continuously. This hasn’t proved to be a problem and makes me slow down a lot, like shooting film. I look forward to shooting more with the Epson and trying other lenses on it. Just need to save some money to get them!