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Slowing Down the Frames Per Second

A weekend in Melbourne with the Epson R-D1x

At some point in your photography life you will come across Leica cameras, and possibly drool over their industrial designs and the quality of the images taken by them. You might then look at the prices of said cameras and the array of lenses, and decide to run into a forest and hug the nearest big tree to seek comfort.

This is why I'm very grateful that Epson made the R-D1, the world's first digital rangefinder camera and its subsequent successors R-D1s and R-D1x (I own the 3rd and last generation). While they were not cheap by any means, they were far more affordable than any of the Leica cameras so I didn't need to run into a forest to hug a tree, I could have just gone to a nearby park and hugged several.

The R-D1x is an absolute gem to use. The enforced manual focus combined with the need to charge the shutter with the good ol' winding lever after each shot as if there was a roll of film inside really slows down your pace. In this day and age of convenient technological advancements, it's a real delight and truly refreshing to step back and be more deliberate with the composition and exposure settings.

Focusing still takes some getting used to (read about how the focus mechanism works on Wikipedia), and because there are no snazzy computer chips or AI to assist you, not all photos I take are crispy sharp. But I've learnt that it's totally okay to have slightly blurry photos! Rather than trying to take perfect photos, I'm focused (sorry I had to squeeze in some bad puns somewhere) more on the whole experience of taking photos.

There is indeed a certain satisfaction that you get by looking through the viewfinder as opposed to having your arms stretched holding a touchscreen device. With the latter, you might feel somewhat removed from the scene, perhaps because you're not directly looking at the scene in front of you, but rather through the screen. With rangefinders (and SLRs for that matter), it feels as if you're truly immersed in the environment.

To me the rangefinder feels more human than any other cameras I've used so far. While the iPhone will be the camera that will always be with me, the R-D1x is worth lugging around for those special moments that might pass by.

Who knows, I may end up visiting a forest one day to hug a big tree.

Thank you very much for stopping by. If you liked my photos, please head over to my Instagram feed for more.