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Epson Launches the World's First Rangefinder Digital Camera

Epson has launched the Epson Rangefinder digital camera R-D1, the world's first rangefinder digital camera, in partnership with Cosina. The R-D1 dares to swim against the high tide of fully automatic electronic digital cameras. It is a digital camera that still manages to feel like a traditional manual camera, for people who appreciate the peculiar satisfaction that comes with the ability to use an analog camera....

PRESS RELEASE

Epson Launches the World's First Rangefinder Digital Camera - digital camera and photography news- TOKYO, Japan, March 11 –

Seiko Epson Corporation ("Epson") has launched the Epson Rangefinder Digital Camera R-D1*1, the world's first rangefinder digital camera, in partnership with Cosina Corporation.

Technical collaboration
Epson has helped transform the world of photo printing into the digital world by developing inkjet printers and other digital photo printing technologies. Among the critical technologies behind the stunning quality of Epson's digitally rendered photos is digital image processing—technology for optimizing digital data as a high-quality photo image. Digital image processing technology is already being used in Epson's printer drivers, high-resolution scanners and other input and output devices, but Epson had been looking for new potentially intriguing applications for it, as well. It was while scouting the possibilities that Epson met up with Cosina, a company that can boast some of the world's foremost original optical technologies.

Cosina has developed outstanding original optics technologies in the production of camera lenses while still maintaining a rigorous fidelity to the historic photography heritage. Epson felt that if the companies were to use the rangefinder camera platform—a platform that is being left in the wake of progress toward the digital age—and if they were to merge Epson's digital image processing technology with Cosina's advanced optics technology, they might be able to discover some completely new creative photographic possibilities. This idea led to collaboration between the two companies, with engineers from both sides paying uncompromising attention to detail during product development. Thus was born the R-D1

The R-D1 dares to swim against the high tide of fully automatic electronic digital cameras. It is a digital camera that still manages to feel like a traditional manual camera, for people who appreciate the peculiar satisfaction that comes with the ability to use an analog camera well. In other words, the R-D1 is simultaneously a state-of-the-art digital camera that offers outstanding performance and image quality, and a throwback that offers camera buffs the look and feel of a vintage film camera, as well as the joy of skillfully using their camera as a tool.

Digital camera firsts
Among many digital camera firsts, the R-D1 is the world's first rangefinder digital camera. A rangefinder is a type of camera that has a built-in device for measuring distance based on the principles of triangulation. The photographer focuses the camera by superimposing two slightly different views of a scene with the rangefinder. In general, compared to an auto-focus system, performance does not change even if lenses are swapped, and focus can be achieved quickly, accurately and with a light level that is nearly the same as the unaided eye, even in dimly lit locations. In addition, since the field of view is not blocked by the action of a shutter as it is with a single-lens reflex camera, the photographer will not miss the decisive moment.

The R-D1 is also the world's first digital camera to accept Leica L- and M-mounts*2. As such, it offers a new platform that links the future with the past. A huge number of lens types — more than 200 — have been created and sold over the long history of photography. This camera gives twenty-first century photographers a way to use these famed lenses from our photographic heritage. The new camera gives photographers the chance to develop a new cult of photography by allowing them to resurrect their familiar old lenses in a digital world.

The R-D1 also uses the world's first 1x viewfinder, enabling photographers to view scenes – including panoramas - through the camera as if they were looking at scenes using their naked eyes. The camera also has the advantage of improved focus precision compared to low magnification optical finders.

Epson = Photo
With "Epson = Photo" as its watchword, Epson is committed to bringing color to life and to the way people communicate, by aspiring to create new possibilities that expand the horizons of the digital photo market and by suggesting new ways to enjoy digital photography using advanced digital image processing technology.

The R-D1 will be exhibited at the 2004 Photo Expo, which will be held from March 19-21 at the Tokyo Big Sight.

*1 Epson Rangefinder Digital Camera R-D1 is a trademark of Seiko Epson Corp.
*2 The L-mount is adaptor-compatible.
Note: Lenses with external dimensions exceeding 20.5 cannot be used with this camera. In addition, the following lenses cannot be used (correct as of March 11, 2004)
Hologon 15mm F8, Super Angulon 21 mm F4, Super Angulon 21 mm F3.4, Elmarit 28 mm F2.8 (early models), Summicron 50 mm F2 (dual range Summicron), Hektor 50 mm F2.5, and Elmar 50 mm F3.5.


About Epson
The Epson Group increases its corporate value through its innovative and creative culture. Dedicated to providing its customers with digital image innovation, its main product lines comprise information-related equipment such as printers and projectors, electronic devices including displays, semiconductors and quartz devices, and precision products such as watches. Epson products are known throughout the world for their superior quality, functionality, compactness and energy efficiency.
The Epson Group is a network of 88,036 employees in 111 companies around the world, and is proud of its ongoing contributions to the global environment and to the communities in which it is located. Led by the Japan-based Seiko Epson Corp., which is listed on the First Section of the Tokyo Stock Exchange, the Group had consolidated sales of 1,322 billion yen in fiscal 2002.
March 11, 2004
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