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Thread: GF1...RD1?

  1. #1
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    GF1...RD1?

    Not sure if where this post fits so...

    Just thinking aloud here.
    If you're looking for basically a small camera kit to use for traveling, carrying around along with a large format set up, fairly small, lightish, discreet, am not bothered about autofocus, and prefer to focus through the a viewfinder as opposed to a rear lcd...and all for a budget that rules out a used M8, M9 etc.

    Current thinking would say a GF1 along with the 20mm and one other 40-50mm prime to give the 2 lens setup with focal lengths of approx 35/40 and 90.

    ...

    but for only just a bit higher price how would the epson RD1 along with a couple of tiny voigtlander lenses fit the bill?

    I shot with a bessa and 35mm and a bunch of tri-x during my honeymoon in Paris earlier this year. Loved the experience with the camera feeling right, go back spent about 3 days in the darkroom processing and printing, got about half the shots printed...and have not had a chance o get back in their since (1 hour drive, etc, etc)...hence looking for a digital small camera.

    so...gf1 or r-d1...or is that an utterly ridiculous suggestion!

    Marc
    Last edited by Marc Wilson; 24th September 2009 at 11:05.

  2. #2
    wbrandsma
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    Re: GF1...RD1?

    In my opinion it is not an utterly ridiculous suggestion Marc. I would follow the heart and leave all the rational thinking for work, so I would get the R-D1 with a 28mm. Without any doubt.

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    Re: GF1...RD1?

    Also consider the G1 with the 20/1.7 - best manual focusing camera I've seen in a long time and a decent viewfinder. Never thought I'd like an electronic viewfinder before using this camera. The GF1's accessory shoe finder isn't as good from what I've read, but maybe other folks can comment on that.

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    Re: GF1...RD1?

    thanks guys,

    the G1 does not really appeal to me..its form puts me off...silly to some but there you go, even though it is more suited to mf primes with its built in viewfinder!

    with the r-d1 i know the frame line show for 28/35/50..if using a 24mm lens would that cover the whole viewfinder or more?
    I ask a I would prefer the 36mm equiv over the 42mm...not a huge difference but enough.

  5. #5
    wbrandsma
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    Re: GF1...RD1?

    I have read at rangefinderforum.com that a 25mm lens (Zeiss) pretty much covers the whole viewfinder. I hope that makes sense to you. I don't have the camera, but wouldn't hesitate getting one.

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    Re: GF1...RD1?

    thanks, makes perfect sense. Yes I'll head over to that forum for some info before i do any buying...will be a month or so away anyway...and if it does not work out I know it can be sold for same money.

    Marc

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    Re: GF1...RD1?

    Marc: Been there with the R-D1 and the E-P1. Loved teh R-D1, but be ready to have the RF adjusted. Less resolution and a bit bigger, but fun to shoot with.

    My 2 cents

  8. #8
    Ranger 9
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    Re: GF1...RD1?

    I use both an R-D 1 and a Pana G1 (I know you don't like the G1's form factor, but I haven't yet had a chance to try a GF1 yet, so this is my closest basis for comparison.)

    I'd say the R-D 1 and a couple of lenses make a good traveling outfit and a potential alternative to the µ4/3 option, but do make sure you're comfortable with a few tradeoffs:

    -- The R-D 1 body is significantly larger than even a G1 body, especially in terms of length. Handling them side by side, the R-D 1 is noticeably "meatier" (which might be a plus for some people.) I'd guess the difference would be more noticeable vs. the GF1 or Olympus.

    -- The R-D 1 lenses also are going to be somewhat bulkier in terms of "pack size" if you look at comparable apertures. For example, the Voigtlander 35/1.4 is pretty small, but it looks as if the Pana 20/1.7 is going to be smaller yet.

    -- Continuing on the optical theme, there's no zoom-lens option for the R-D 1, and it really doesn't work well with lenses longer than 50mm. (Sure, you can doodle around with auxiliary finders and eyepiece magnifiers -- I've done it -- but if you'll want to shoot with longer lenses, a µ4/3 camera just makes more sense.)

    -- No autofocus on the R-D 1, of course, no built-in flash, no multiple metering patterns, etc. No matter how much of a purist you are, you might at least want to stop and think about whether any of these would be significantly useful to your photography.

    -- The R-D 1 shoots 6 megapixels vs. 12 mp for µ4/3. Six is plenty for any kind of onscreen viewing and most other things (I wrote a blog post about this) but if you like to make large prints, the additional pixel count of µ4/3 means you can make them 1.4x larger at the same quality level.

    On the flip side:

    -- The R-D 1 focuses very positively with any 28, 35 or 50mm lens you're likely to use (including the 50mm f/1.1 Voigtlander, which I use.) The Pana G1 gives very sure manual focusing if you use the eye-level finder; I don't find the back LCD quite as positive, although it's a matter of opinion. So far, the reviews of the GF1 have said its add-on EVF isn't nearly as good as the G1's built-in one, so I'm guessing it may not be as adept at manual focusing. If you plan on using manual-focus lenses rather than µ4/3 lenses, this might be a point in the G1's favor.

    -- Having shot a lot with both cameras at high ISOs, I feel that the R-D 1's images are very smooth and pleasingly "film-like" even at its top ISO of 1600. The Panas will go higher, but there's a definite quality cost. In fact, I feel that my G1 at 1600 doesn't look as good as the R-D 1 at 1600, even allowing for the fact that the Pana's 12-megapixel image allows more downsampling. Like Frosty the Snowman's hat, there must have been some magic in that EdiArt chip Epson put in the R-D 1.


    Depending on how these various factors play into your own photography, some of them may be irrelevant while others may be important. Neither option is cheap, so it's worth stopping for a think before you jump.

    (Still, even though it isn't exactly cheap, I can't resist pointing out that an R-D 1 and a µ4/3 camera make a great couple... I often use my G1 and R-D 1 together, with an M-mount adapter on the Pana. I tend to shoot a wider lens on the R-D and a longer one on the Pana, but another interesting option is to use two "adjacent" lenses, such as a 35 and a 50. Depending on which lens goes on which camera, this gives you either the option of one with an effective focal length of about 2x the other, or two cameras with roughly the same effective focal length -- this makes a handy choice of combinations.)

  9. #9
    Ranger 9
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    Re: GF1...RD1?

    PS -- Any optical-RF camera (including ones whose names begin with "L") will need an RF touchup occasionally, so don't be put off by scare stories you might hear about the R-D 1 in this regard. Steve's Camera Service Center can fix the R-D 1, and in my experience once he's adjusted your rangefinder, it stays adjusted for a long time.

  10. #10
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    Re: GF1...RD1?

    Thanks for all that.
    basically I shoot dslr for commercial work and lf/hasselblads for fine art.

    I've never really been into having a camera with me all the time but am doing so more recently so its never going to be for huge art prints or commercial work...just some personal stuff, travel and the odd stock shot really...that said I'd take the M9 in a heartbeat for the extra it would allow in a similar sized package to the rd1!

    compacts never did it for me. (film or digital)
    my dslr's with two primes still too bulky and indescreet for my liking.
    four days in paris with the bessa and 35mm was lovely...I don't feel the need for a pocketable camera anyway, just a generally smaller and more discreet one.

    Cheers,

    Marc

  11. #11
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    Re: GF1...RD1?

    if you like the bessa you will like the rd1 feel also. it's a bit fatter though.
    i also use a g1 and an rd1 and find it a great combo. if i had to choose one it would be the rd1 though i think i could live with either.
    the rd1 with a 21 = a 32mm fov but you need an external finder. not a big deal to me but some hate it. while i was never much for a 28 it is perfect on the rd1 for some reason. maybe i like the 43 fov.
    for personal work (all i do) i think the rd1 is the better choice.

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    Re: GF1...RD1?

    If you like the bessa I would definatly go for the rd1.
    Larger sensor, optical viewfinder for fast and accurate framing and focusing even in low light, no shutter delay.
    I have use a 21 on the rd1 earlier and it worked fine. There exist a viewfinder specially for 21mm with the rd1-crop factor.
    For some the EVF works well , for me it is ok but if I have the choice I prefer a real rangefinder.
    Some rd1 had problems with the rangefinder - so check the rangefinder (if it works accurate) when you buy one.

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    Re: GF1...RD1?

    i'm late into the thread, but i have to say that the R-D1 is without a doubt my favourite digital camera to use!

    two things, though. it really isn't all that small. i consider a GRD small, not the R-D1. this has heft.

    and discreet? well, yes, and no. it's looks are deceptive and the ability to switch the close to useless screen around and shutter cock makes everyone think it's a film camera -- which is great. however, the THUNK when pressing the shutter can be heard quite clearly.... discreet, possibly, depending on what you're looking for -- but by no means is this a stealth camera.

    i love love love my Epson and have shot everything from a 21mm to a 135 with great results. it is still my low light camera of choice and trumps the M8 when you're needing to use a high ISO... it is the most tactile and organic experience you can get in the digital domain.

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