Tuesday, March 20, 2007

R-D1s Lens Kit - last call for the Epson Rangefinder?

The Leica M8 has grabbed all the headlines these days. First with its initial rush, infrared problems, fixes, firmware updates, filters finally available, initial rush over with stock on several major websites, etc, etc, today we got to hear from the "other" digital rangefinder maker, Epson, and it might not be good news.

Epson announced the R-D1s Len Kit (R-D1sL), to be available in Japan in April. The kit will come with a Cosina Color Skopar 28mm F3.5 lens in black with round hood, a M-Bayonet Adapter, a special neckstrap and a soft leather half case (silver or red fonts).

The Color Skopar 28mm lens on the R-D1s becomes a 42mm given the sensor size. It is very close to the normal human perspective (43mm). It's F3.5, not the best low light performer but it's small and light, making the combination very useful for street photography. The included Leica mount adapter expands the lens options for the R-D1s, which otherwise is a $55-dollar part.

As we know the production of R-D1 has ended. This is possibily the last clearing of stock before Epson completes sells out of its inventory. With the revival of film rangefinders, one would think the digital rangefinder market should be sizable. At almost $5000 for the M8 (body only, in comparison the Canon 5D is about half the price), one would think there must be money to be made here, no?

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