On the Street With the R-D1


I recently spent 7 days in Tokyo and Kyoto with my family recently, bringing my parents to visit the country for the first time. For this trip, I brought along my R-D1 and my trusty Fuji F30 instead of the D200. It was a risk as I have only 1 lens (the 35mm Voigtlander) to use on the R-D1 and I have not used a rangefinder before for an extended period of time.

Tokyo is FINE…and looks like it was functioning as normal when I was there. I did experience 2 tremors while I was there. In the the Tokyo area, it was magnitude 1 and 3. My first experience of an earthquake.

Light and Portable

Yup, the R-D1 is much more portable and lighter than the D200. It is not as bulky and less heavy than the D200. I did not feel weighed down as much as with a D200. Makes for nicer walks.

Focusing Not So Easy

I’m still getting to grips with fast focusing on the R-D1. Focusing with 2 eyes opened is still difficult to do accurately. I still needed to close my left eye and concentrate with my right eye to get accurate focus. With both eyes opened and relaxed, I am unable to get accurate focus even though the images seemed to line up. Maybe I need more practice.

In addition, focusing on moving things is really a challenge. By moving, I mean people walking, running, cars moving etc. People who are strolling along at a slow pace, those are still not too difficult, but it is quite difficult to focus on those who are walking at a brisk pace.

Parallax Error of Viewfinder?

Mid way through the trip, I noticed that when I looked through the viewfinder at certain angles, the images at infinity did not line up. I initially thought that the adjustment got loose and went off. However, I realised that I may have adjusted the rangefinder while looking through the viewfinder from a certain angle. I fixed that after I returned home.

The images that I took did not show any appreciable out of focus shots (at least I think so).

Signs of Age

Throughout the trip, I shot exclusively in the camera’s RAW format and took about 700 photos (which was why I needed to buy an extra SD card in Tokyo and now need a new hard disk) and processed it with Photoshop Elements 5.

Just a tip. I noted that the conversion using Photoshop Elements 5 results in much nicer photos than if I were to use the Epson RAW convertor. Principally, JPEGs converted in Photoshop Elements 5 seemed sharper than those from Epson’s. This is especially noticeable at f1.4 and f2. With Epson’s RAW convertor, f1.4 looks rubbish, but with Photoshop Elements 5, f1.4 is still usable.

I guess that’s the good thing with shooting RAW. The same shot can possibly be better processed as new techniques and programming algorithms extract the best from these raw shots.

I also noted that somehow the shots from the R-D1 do not have the same detail or sharpness of the newer (albeit still outdated) D200. I guess new technology and more megapixels do make a difference. Somehow, before processing the photos, they do not look as sharp or as nice. Sometimes I am left wondering if the rangefinder was misaligned or the shots were out of focus when I zoom in on the camera.

Some Repeating Incidents

I tend to use the exposure compensation dial sometimes, but after shooting, I tend to forget to set it back to zero. Without an indicator in the viewfinder, I can end up shooting a series of shots and over or under exposing them. Happened quite often.

Sometimes I forget to cock the shutter lever for the next shot and missed the shot.

The most irritating thing is the auto power off function. After the camera goes to sleep, I tend forget to half press the shutter button to wake it up (it is a half press, but one needs to press it down more than the D200) and tried to shoot the next shot. With…nada…missed another shot. This is very irritating.

Well, here are some photos to share… For more photos, just go here:



2 thoughts on “On the Street With the R-D1

  1. I recently got a R-D1 with the Nokton 35mm f1.4. I really love this camera although I still need a lot of practice to master it. Your shots are very good, I have only been shooting jpeg, maybe I should try RAW as your photos look much sharper.

    1. Hi RomyHK,

      Thank you for your comment and compliments. I have always been shooting in Jpegs until I got the R-D1. The main reason I started shooting with RAW was due to the less than satisfactory results from its white balance. In RAW, we have more flexibility with adjusting the colour balance after the shot was taken.

      As for the sharper images, I use the same lens as yours and found that at f1.4, the lens is not very sharp. At f2, the results are more acceptable while at f2.8 the photos are very nice. I use Photoshop Elements 5 for the RAW conversion and during this conversion, there is a default sharpening which helps sharpen the images. The dilemma that I have now is whether to get a Leica 35mm f2 or sell the whole thing. I’m afraid that I will fall into this bottomless pit and throw more money into this.

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