Epson Rumored to Be Thinking About a New Digital Rangefinder

Did you know that the first digital rangefinder camera to hit the market was the Epson R-D1 back in 2004? What’s more, rumor has it that Epson may be considering a followup digital rangefinder to succeed the R-D1, which was made in a partnership with Cosina.

Amateur Photographer writes,

Epson is developing technology for use in digital cameras and has not ruled out the future launch of another interchangeable lens model.

‘Whether we come out with another version of the R-D1 is a possibility,’ said Rob Clark, executive director of Epson’s European Marketing Division.

Clark claimed Epson is ‘expert at commoditising a niche [market]’ and said the firm would re-enter the digital camera arena if it felt such a product was ‘commercially viable’.

Do you think a new Epson digital rangefinder would find a sizable niche in the photography community?

(via PhotoRumors)

P.S. Kai over at Digital Rev points out that a successor to the R-D1 might sound very similar to a beloved droid from Star Wars.

Image credit: Photograph by matsuiyastore

  • Chung Dha Lam

    Does it come with a free printer hehe

  • Nikhil Ramkarran

    A few knowledgeable people, genuine photographers, had been speaking for years about the need for smaller cameras (non-SLR, or non-SLR style) with large sensors and interchangeable lens. Now all of a sudden everyone is making one, or planning one. Perhaps it has just now become technically possible, or perhaps only now are manufacturers seeing the potential. Whichever it is, its fantastic news for people who like taking photos.

  • Ranger9

    As an R-D 1 owner, I don’t know that an R-D 1 successor would find a SIZABLE niche — but it still might be a VIABLE niche. It doesn’t necessarily need a huge volume of sales (or a lot of publicity) to be a profitable product. I was surprised to see the R-D 1x appear, but evidently there are enough Japanese cult-camera enthusiasts interested to make it worth Epson’s while.

    Leica is able to sell their M cameras in two niches: people who prefer to use rangefinder cameras, and high-net-worth dilettantes who enjoy flaunting prestige luxury brands. Epson sold the R-D 1 in two niches: people who prefer to use rangefinder cameras (like myself) and camera enthusiasts who enjoy having something unusual. Those niches are still there, and there still isn’t a lot of competition for them.

    The $3000 I paid for my original R-D 1 was a huge financial stretch for me, but I’d somehow scrape up the money again for a successor model with a modern sensor and a few upgrades. In many ways the R-D is a much nicer camera to use than a Leica M9 — especially the full-life-size viewfinder and the numerous dedicated controls and displays, which mean you can use an R-D 1 all day without ever resorting to the menu system.

  • Ben Jacobsen

    I think it’d sell, but as mentioned I don’t think they’d set any sales records. The problem is the EVIL cameras are now available and smaller/cheaper. So they’ve missed their boat, had they done this ~2 years ago it would have sold VERY well. Now it’ll still sell, but it will only be stealing sales from the M9 and maybe X100… If they come in under $2k and had a decent profit in that price for themselves I could see it working though.

  • Jason Michael
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  • Daniel Austin Hoherd

    I would *love* to see an R-D1 upgrade, especially if it’s as good as the R-D1! That camera has amazing qualities in both its tactile form and the way it captures light. I personally like its photos better than the M8’s. My friend sold the RD-1 for the M8 and I was so bummed. Love love love the R-D1. :D

  • Chris Vighagen

    Unfortunately it seems that the trend is veering towards the hideous NEX concept with a pretty useless LCD screen that prohibits any and all photos with the sun shining on the screen.

    Id venture that a rangefinder is pretty cheap to manufacture. Cheaper than a fullbody SLR and about the same as a NEX cam.

  • marc

    I think that if the X100 turns out to be a successful product than Epson will see that the market exists for the R-D1 followup.

  • Eddie

    rangefinders are not cheap to manufacture unfortunately the focus mechanism is far more complicated than it looks
    I would love to see a competing Rf using an M mount, but i think from a marketing standpoint cosina would be better off pairing with fuji on it like they do on 6×9 MF for example. from a camera standpoint fuji and cosina both are very respected. Epson really needed to have a fuller line. As for price, I think it is easier for a lower price to come from a fuji since the product would be a Halo product and need not be a profitable one if it builds brand awareness and sales in the profitable mass market cameras.