Monday, June 5, 2017

Seiko Epson RD1 vs Nikon D70s/D100 in 2017

Why did I pit these two together?? In 2017 ??

Both are CCD sensors, both are 6 megapixel and both came around more or less at the same time. Now read on:

Original Picture by James Bamford:
I sometimes wonder if people are inherently crazy or if the collective human intelligence is diminishing due to all the GMO food, chemicals in water and air. Why am I saying that? 

Apparently we cannot ascertain the value of things with an aware mind. I came to this conclusion after reading about the Epson RD-1 series cameras and their exorbitant used prices on eBay. Too much ?

I first heard about this camera from a book written by Zack arias, Photography Q&A: Real Questions. Real Answers, which I had ordered from Amazon. Recently going through some website I came across this camera again. I went to ebay to check the prices and was shocked to see the average price of $1000 for the earlier models and $2000 for later models. Seriously?? For a 6 megapixel camera that came in 2004? You might as well get the Leica M8 or M9 for that many dollars. 

Original picture by Oliver Korbl :

The RD-1 had quite a few iterations in the coming years like the R-D1s, R-D1x, and R-D1xG. According to Wikipedia the camera uses the same interline-transfer Sony CCD (Sony ICX413AQ) sensor as the Nikon D100 and Pentax *ist D, which was originally developed in 2002.  However the excellent sensor of the D70s contrary popular belief, even though with the same megapixel count, is a different version (Sony ICX453AQ).

Shot with a Nikon D100

Officially Seiko Epson stopped making it after 2007, but unofficially some “collector” cameras were available new until as recently as 2014. This is an age old “going out of business” sales trick. The Indian government owned HMT watches uses the same trick today to sell their watches. The trick involves announcing that a company is winding up and selling off their stock at a discount. People flog to the shops hoping to own something brand new that will cease to exist and at a discount, sometimes there is no discount but people buy it anyway, just for the thrill of owning it.

Original Picture by Michael Khan :
Shot with a Nikon D100

Buying a camera just because it has fancy meters and dials is probably not a sound photographic practice. It makes you almost a fetishist. It’s not the camera buttons and dials, but the image quality that needs to be the bench mark for any camera purchase. Well that may be subjective, but I am sure you will not disagree if I say 6 megapixels is too less in 2017. Ofcourse if you are buying it for nostalgia, then it’s a different story. This camera does not justify any Leica or ZM lens on it because the sensor and its algorithms are too ancient to deliver anything worthy.

Shot with a Nikon D100

There are far better cheaper cameras which came around the same period as the RD1 like the Nikon D100, Nikon D70s, Minolta Maxxum 5D & 7D etc. Why I am I referencing these cameras here, now ?? They all came more or less at the same time and all of them are 6 megapixel CCD sensors.   I personally own a D70s and this camera doesn’t stop amazing me with its colour depth, rendition and tonal graduations, inspite of its meager 6 megapixel sensor.  If given a choice between a D70s and a D100 I will go with the latter as it has a full magnesium alloy body and can take a beating. This is a fun camera in 2017 for casual fun pictures of family etc, cannot be used professionally because of its meagre 6 megapixel sensor, still that's plenty for a home camera or a testing camera for main shoots for pros.

Shot with a Nikon D70s.

Trust me when I tell you the D70s is atleast 10 times better than the Epson RD1. If you want a strong magnesium body like the RD1 you can choose the D100 as it’s the cheapest pro DSLR available on eBay today. There are also tons and tons of cheap Nikon lenses that will easily resolve 6 megapixels worth of information. Remember the D100 is also a 6 megapixel camera like the Epson RD1 and they are in fact the same sensor.

Listen to me; make better use of your money. Put it in a bank or buy something for your children.

Cheers and happy clicking!

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Leica M8 / M9 in 2017 ??

Leica M8/M9 in 2017 is not suggestible. Its not only a risky proposition given the sensor rot issue, but also a huge economic liability.  Leica recently acknowledged and taken responsibility for the 'rot' in their CCD sensors. Particularly the ones in M9. M8 has a lot of issues and given the high price, I wouldn't touch it with a 10 foot pole. I feel the M8 was a experiment, a beta version of the M9. They were testing waters with the M8 to put it plainly. Man I love Leicas too, but its hard to justify the price given my meager lifestyle. 

Though the sensor rot has been only acknowledged in the M9, I am sure some problems could arise for M8 sensor too as it is also a CCD.

Here are some useful links:

As a consolation Leica has not only acknowledged the "rot" issue, but also promised to completely replace the sensors free of charge irrespective of warranties which is a very welcome gesture. But the question is why do these cameras costing thoudands of dollars have issues in the first place?? I have to admit my faith in Leica has been shaken a bit. I am not a Leica hater, on the contrary. How long till some one finds an issue with an M240 or an M10 ?? I am starting to think I am better off without Leica, may be I will be happy with a Nikon D7100 or a D610 or may be even a D3400 (not the D3300 as it has a shuter shock issue under 1/250th) or a D5300, but that blurry esoteric light from the bokeh of a 50 f2 lens from a Leica camera keeps calling me like a siren from under the water. I try to resist.  Ironically my not so millionaire economic condition regulates my funkiness. 

If your primary aim to to get the "leica look" I suggest you forget the M8 as its too much of a hassle. I love CCD sensors and still hold on to my D200 with my dear life. The D200, D80, D60, D40x all have great 10 megapixel CCD sensors (made by Sony) with excellent true to life color and depth. A nice voigtlander or zeiss or nikkor prime would help you with that "leica man" image (if you want that). 

The best part is they are all extremely cheap and can be had for peanuts. Break it ?? no problem, you can get a new one. Stolen? no worries, order a new one on ebay. Image quality wise the M8 doesnt have any particular advantages over the above listed cameras. With a clever use of some cheap flash like a vivitar or yongnuo I am absolutely sure you will get some great images. I cant justify the price of a Leica even if I am a millionaire. Save the money and put it to some other good use. I know you wont like my advice, but trust me, I have been there where you are right now. 

Cheers and happy clicking. 

Cheers :cool: