For a brief history of the Epson R-D1, please see the very broad digital rangefinder time line.
Epson R-D1, 2004–2007
The Epson R-D1 was announced on 11 March 2004, with a limited production run of 10,000, and was on sale in November of that year. In 2006, the camera’s firmware was improved, and the name changed to the R-D1s; the production run was not increased. On 29 May 2007, the online photography website Photoscala published a short article, translated from German into English below:
Has Epson’s foray into the camera business ended?
Once very desirable but now somewhat outdated, the R-D1s (6 MP, 2000 euros), based on a Bessa body made by Cosina, is nearing its end. According to our information, although the camera is still available from stock, its production has ceased.
Whether Epson will produce a successor digital camera is unknown, but we have not heard of one.
We contacted Epson Germany for verification, and they told us they will ask Epson Japan. We expect their answer by the end of the week.
Postscript (31.5.2007). Everything is correct, confirms Epson Germany: the R-D1s is no longer in production; there will not be a successor.
This was confirmed in a news article by the UK’s Amateur Photographer magazine on 5 June 2007. An Epson UK spokeswoman told it:
Due to recent launches in the very niche segment of rangefinder digital cameras, the interest and total demand increased unexpectedly. As Europe is one of the biggest markets, our limited production has sold out earlier than planned.
We regret to say that we will not be able to fulfil existing demand. However, in Japan the product is still available. At the moment there is no plan for a successor model.
(Actually, the cartoon’s a little unfair, as Epson have said that they will continue to honour all warranties and repair contracts for the next 6 years.)
February 2009: Epson R-D1xG announced
In the words of Mark Twain,
The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated. Two years after Epson ceased production of its R-D1s digital rangefinder, the company announced, on 27 February 2009, that a new rangefinder model, the Epson R-D1xG, would be available from 9 April 2009. The camera will be released in Japan only.
Differences from the Epson R-D1s include: a removable handgrip (hence the “G” in R-D1xG), a larger 2.5 inch LCD (which no longer swivels), support for SDHC cards up to 32 GB and improved image processing. The camera will have a 6 MP APS-C sensor like its predecessor; it’s unclear if the sensor is the same or a new model.