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Canon 1100D vs Sony A5100

The Canon EOS 1100D (called Canon T3 in some regions) and the Sony Alpha A5100 are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in February 2011 and August 2014. The 1100D is a DSLR, while the A5100 is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera. Both cameras are equipped with an APS-C sensor. The Canon has a resolution of 12.2 megapixels, whereas the Sony provides 24 MP. Read on to find out how these two cameras compare with respect to their body size, their sensors, their features, their input-output connections, and their reception by expert reviewers.

Headline Specifications
Canon 1100D   Sony A5100
Canon 1100D Sony A5100
Digital single lens reflex Mirrorless system camera
Canon EF mount lenses Sony E mount lenses
12.2 MP, APS-C Sensor 24 MP, APS-C Sensor
720/30p Video 1080/60p Video
ISO 100-6400 ISO 100-25600
Optical viewfinder No viewfinder, LCD framing
2.7" LCD, 230k dots 3.0" LCD, 922k dots
Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive) Tilting touchscreen
3 shutter flaps per second 6 shutter flaps per second
700 shots per battery charge400 shots per battery charge
130 x 100 x 78 mm, 495 g 110 x 63 x 36 mm, 283 g

Body comparison: Canon 1100D vs Sony A5100

The physical size and weight of the Canon 1100D and the Sony A5100 are illustrated in the side-by-side display below. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three consecutive perspectives from the front, the top, and the back are available. All width, height and depth measures are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

Compare Canon 1100D and Sony A5100
Compare 1100D versus A5100 top
Compare 1100D or A5100 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Sony A5100 is considerably smaller (47 percent) than the Canon 1100D. Moreover, the A5100 is substantially lighter (43 percent) than the 1100D. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the 1100D nor the A5100 are weather-sealed.

The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete since they do not consider the interchangeable lenses that both of these cameras require. Both cameras have similarly sized sensors, but DSLRs have a larger flange-to-focal plane distance than mirrorless cameras, which imposes contraints on the optical engineering process and generally leads to bigger and heavier lenses. You can compare the optics available for the two cameras in the Canon EF Lens Catalog (1100D) and the Sony E-Mount Lens Catalog (A5100). Mirrorless cameras, such as the A5100, have moreover the advantage that they can use many lenses from other systems via adapters, as they have a relatively short flange to focal plane distance.

Concerning battery life, the 1100D gets 700 shots out of its LP-E10 battery, while the A5100 can take 400 images on a single charge of its NP-FW50 power pack. The power pack in the A5100 can be charged via the USB port, which can be very convenient when travelling.

The following table provides a synthesis of the main physical specifications of the two cameras and other similar ones. In case you want to display and compare another camera duo, just click on the right or left arrow next to the camera that you would like to inspect. Alternatively, you can also use the CAM-parator to select your camera combination among a larger number of options.

Camera Body Specifications
  Camera
Model
Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life
(CIPA)
Weather
Sealing
(yes/no)
Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Used
Price
(USD)
Camera
Model
Canon 1100D» 5.1 in 3.9 in 3.1 in 17.5 oz 700 n Feb 2011 449- i Canon 1100D
Sony A5100« 4.3 in 2.5 in 1.4 in 10.0 oz 400 n Aug 2014 549 i i Sony A5100
Canon 2000D« » 5.1 in 4.0 in 3.1 in 16.8 oz 500 n Feb 2018 449 i i Canon 2000D
Canon 4000D« » 5.1 in 4.0 in 3.0 in 15.4 oz 500 n Feb 2018 399 i i Canon 4000D
Canon 1200D« » 5.1 in 3.9 in 3.1 in 16.9 oz 500 n Feb 2014 449- i Canon 1200D
Canon 650D« » 5.2 in 3.9 in 3.1 in 20.3 oz 440 n Jun 2012 849- i Canon 650D
Canon G1 X« » 4.6 in 3.2 in 2.6 in 18.8 oz 250 n Jan 2012 799- i Canon G1 X
Canon SX50« » 4.8 in 3.4 in 4.2 in 21.0 oz 315 n Sep 2012 429- i Canon SX50
Canon 600D« » 5.2 in 3.9 in 3.1 in 20.1 oz 440 n Feb 2011 599- i Canon 600D
Canon 550D« » 5.1 in 3.9 in 2.4 in 18.7 oz 440 n Feb 2010 699- i Canon 550D
Canon 450D« » 5.1 in 3.9 in 2.4 in 18.5 oz 500 n Jan 2008 799- i Canon 450D
Canon 1000D« » 5.0 in 3.9 in 2.6 in 17.7 oz 500 n Jun 2008 449- i Canon 1000D
Sony RX100 IV« » 4.0 in 2.3 in 1.6 in 10.5 oz 280 n Jun 2015 999- i Sony RX100 IV
Sony A5000« » 4.3 in 2.5 in 1.4 in 9.5 oz 420 n Jan 2014 449- i Sony A5000
Sony A6000« » 4.7 in 2.6 in 1.8 in 12.1 oz 360 n Feb 2014 599- i Sony A6000
Sony NEX-3N« » 4.3 in 2.4 in 1.4 in 9.5 oz 480 n Feb 2013 499- i Sony NEX-3N
Sony RX100« » 4.0 in 2.3 in 1.4 in 8.5 oz 330 n Jun 2012 649- i Sony RX100

Any camera decision will naturally be influenced heavily by the price. The retail prices at the time of the camera’s release place the model in the market relative to other models in the producer’s line-up and the competition. The 1100D was launched at a somewhat lower price (by 18 percent) than the A5100, which makes it more attractive for photographers on a tight budget. Usually, retail prices stay at first close to the launch price, but after several months, discounts become available. Later in the product cycle and, in particular, when the replacement model is about to appear, further discounting and stock clearance sales often push the camera price considerably down. Then, after the new model is out, very good deals can frequently be found on the pre-owned market.

 

Sensor comparison: Canon 1100D vs Sony A5100

The imaging sensor is at the core of digital cameras and its size is one of the main determining factors of image quality. A large sensor will generally have larger individual pixels that offer better low-light sensitivity, provide wider dynamic range, and have richer color-depth than smaller pixels in a sensor of the same technological generation. Moreover, a large sensor camera will give the photographer more control over depth-of-field in the image and, thus, the ability to better isolate a subject from the background. On the downside, larger sensors are more costly to manufacture and tend to lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.

Both cameras under consideration feature an APS-C sensor, but their sensors differ slightly in size. The sensor area in the A5100 is 14 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have format factors, respectively, of 1.6 (1100D) and 1.5. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.

Technology-wise, both cameras are equipped with CMOS (Complementary Metal–Oxide–Semiconductor) sensors.

Canon 1100D and Sony A5100 sensor measures

With 24MP, the A5100 offers a higher resolution than the 1100D (12.2MP), but the A5100 has smaller individual pixels (pixel pitch of 3.91μm versus 5.15μm for the 1100D). Yet, the A5100 is a much more recent model (by 3 years and 6 months) than the 1100D, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixel-units.

The A5100 has on-sensor phase detect pixels, which results in fast and reliable autofocus acquisition even during video recording.

The Canon EOS 1100D has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 6400 The corresponding ISO settings for the Sony Alpha A5100 are ISO 100 to ISO 25600 (no boost).

1100D versus A5100 MP

For many cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. This service assesses and scores the color depth ("DXO Portrait"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports") of camera sensors, and also publishes an overall camera score. Of the two cameras under consideration, the A5100 offers substantially better image quality than the 1100D (overall score 18 points higher). The advantage is based on 1.9 bits higher color depth, 1.7 EV in additional dynamic range, and 0.8 stops in additional low light sensitivity. The table below summarizes the physical sensor characteristics and sensor quality findings and compares them across a set of similar cameras.

Sensor Characteristics
  Camera
Model
Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
Camera
Model
Canon 1100D» APS-C 12.2 4272 2848720/30p21.911.075562Canon 1100D
Sony A5100« APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p23.812.7134780Sony A5100
Canon 2000D« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/30p22.611.9100971Canon 2000D
Canon 4000D« » APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p21.911.469563Canon 4000D
Canon 1200D« » APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p21.911.372463Canon 1200D
Canon 650D« » APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p21.711.272262Canon 650D
Canon G1 X« » 1.5-inch 14.2 4352 32641080/24p21.710.864460Canon G1 X
Canon SX50« » 1/2.3 12.0 4000 30001080/24p20.311.217947Canon SX50
Canon 600D« » APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p22.111.579365Canon 600D
Canon 550D« » APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p22.111.578466Canon 550D
Canon 450D« » APS-C 12.2 4272 2848-21.910.869261Canon 450D
Canon 1000D« » APS-C 10.1 3888 2592-----Canon 1000D
Sony RX100 IV« » 1-inch 20.0 5472 36484K/30p22.812.659170Sony RX100 IV
Sony A5000« » APS-C 19.8 5456 36321080/60i23.813.0108979Sony A5000
Sony A6000« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.113.1134782Sony A6000
Sony NEX-3N« » APS-C 16.0 4912 32641080/60i22.812.5106774Sony NEX-3N
Sony RX100« » 1-inch 20.0 5472 36481080/60p22.612.439066Sony RX100

Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but also of capturing video footage. Both cameras under consideration have a sensor with sufficiently fast read-out times for moving pictures, but the A5100 provides a better video resolution than the 1100D. It can shoot movie footage at 1080/60p, while the Canon is limited to 720/30p.

 

Feature comparison: Canon 1100D vs Sony A5100

Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the 1100D has an optical viewfinder, which can be very useful when shooting in bright sunlight. In contrast, the A5100 relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. The following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Canon 1100D, the Sony A5100, and comparable cameras.

Core Features
  Camera
Model
Viewfinder
(Type or
'000 dots)
Control
Panel
(yes/no)
LCD
Size
(inch)
LCD
Resolution
('000 dots)
LCD
Attach-
ment
Touch
Screen
(yes/no)
Shutter
speed
(1/sec)
Shutter
flaps
(1/sec)
Built-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Built-in
Image
Stab
Camera
Model
Canon 1100D»optical n 2.7 230 fixed n 4000 3.0 Y n Canon 1100D
Sony A5100«- n 3.0 922 tilting Y 4000 6.0 Y n Sony A5100
Canon 2000D« »optical n 3.0 920 fixed n 4000 3.0 Y n Canon 2000D
Canon 4000D« »optical n 2.7 230 fixed n 4000 3.0 Y n Canon 4000D
Canon 1200D« »optical n 3.0 460 fixed n 4000 3.0 Y n Canon 1200D
Canon 650D« »optical n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 4000 5.0 Y n Canon 650D
Canon G1 X« »optical n 3.0 922 Swivel n 4000 1.9 Y Y Canon G1 X
Canon SX50« »202 n 3.0 461 swivel n 2000 2.2 Y Y Canon SX50
Canon 600D« »optical n 3.0 1040 swivel n 4000 3.7 Y n Canon 600D
Canon 550D« »optical n 3.0 1040 fixed n 4000 3.7 Y n Canon 550D
Canon 450D« »optical n 3.0 230 fixed n 4000 3.5 Y n Canon 450D
Canon 1000D« »optical n 2.5 230 fixed n 4000 3.0 Y n Canon 1000D
Sony RX100 IV« »2359 n 3.0 1228 tilting n 2000 16.0 Y Y Sony RX100 IV
Sony A5000« »- n 3.0 461 tilting n 4000 3.5 Y n Sony A5000
Sony A6000« »1440 n 3.0 922 tilting n 4000 11.0 Y n Sony A6000
Sony NEX-3N« »- n 3.0 460 tilting n 4000 4.0 Y n Sony NEX-3N
Sony RX100« »- n 3.0 1229 fixed n 2000 10.0 Y Y Sony RX100

One differentiating feature between the two cameras concerns the touch sensitivity of the rear screen. The A5100 has a touchscreen, while the 1100D has a conventional panel. Touch control can be particularly helpful, for example, for setting the focus point.

The A5100 has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing. This characteristic will be appreciated by vloggers and photographers who are interested in taking selfies. In contrast, the 1100D does not have a selfie-screen.

The 1100D writes its imaging data to SDXC cards, while the A5100 uses SDXC or Memory Stick PRO Duo cards.

 

Connectivity comparison: Canon 1100D vs Sony A5100

For some imaging applications, the extent to which a camera can communicate with its environment can be an important aspect in the camera decision process. The table below provides an overview of the connectivity of the Canon EOS 1100D and Sony Alpha A5100 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.

Input-Output Connections
  Camera
Model
Hotshoe
Port
Internal
Microphone
Internal
Speaker
Microphone
Port
Headphone
Port
HDMI
Port
USB
Type
WiFi
Support
NFC
Support
Bluetooth
Support
Camera
Model
Canon 1100D»Ystereomono--mini2.0---Canon 1100D
Sony A5100«-stereomono--micro2.0YY-Sony A5100
Canon 2000D« »Ymonomono--mini2.0YY-Canon 2000D
Canon 4000D« »Ymonomono--mini2.0YY-Canon 4000D
Canon 1200D« »Ymonomono--mini2.0---Canon 1200D
Canon 650D« »YstereomonoY-mini2.0---Canon 650D
Canon G1 X« »Ystereomono--mini2.0---Canon G1 X
Canon SX50« »Ystereomono--mini2.0---Canon SX50
Canon 600D« »YmonomonoY-mini2.0---Canon 600D
Canon 550D« »Ystereo-Y-mini2.0---Canon 550D
Canon 450D« »Y----mini2.0---Canon 450D
Canon 1000D« »Y-----2.0---Canon 1000D
Sony RX100 IV« »-stereomono--micro2.0YY-Sony RX100 IV
Sony A5000« »-stereomono--micro2.0YY-Sony A5000
Sony A6000« »Ystereomono--micro2.0YY-Sony A6000
Sony NEX-3N« »-stereomono--micro2.0---Sony NEX-3N
Sony RX100« »-stereomono--micro2.0---Sony RX100

It is notable that the 1100D has a hotshoe, while the A5100 does not. This socket makes it possible to easily attach optional accessories, such as an external flash gun.

The A5100 is a recent model that features in the current product line-up of Sony. In contrast, the 1100D has been discontinued (but it can be found pre-owned on eBay). As a replacement in the same line of cameras, the 1100D was succeeded by the Canon 1200D.


Review summary: Canon 1100D vs Sony A5100

So what is the bottom line? Is there a clear favorite between the Canon 1100D and the Sony A5100? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.

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Arguments in favor of the Canon EOS 1100D:

  • Easier framing: Has an optical viewfinder for image framing and settings control.
  • Longer lasting: Can take more shots (700 versus 400) on a single battery charge.
  • Better lighting: Features a hotshoe and can thus hold and trigger an external flash gun.
  • More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced segment (18 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in February 2011).

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Reasons to prefer the Sony Alpha A5100:

  • More detail: Has more megapixels (24 vs 12.2MP), which boosts linear resolution by 40%.
  • Better image quality: Scores substantially higher (18 points) in the DXO overall evaluation.
  • Richer colors: Generates noticeably more natural colors (1.9 bits more color depth).
  • More dynamic range: Captures a broader range of light and dark details (1.7 EV of extra DR).
  • Better low-light sensitivity: Can shoot in dim conditions (0.8 stops ISO advantage).
  • Better video: Provides higher definition movie capture (1080/60p vs 720/30p).
  • Better video autofocus: Features on-sensor phase-detection for more confident movie autofocus.
  • Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.0" vs 2.7") for image review and settings control.
  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (922k vs 230k dots).
  • More flexible LCD: Has a tilting screen for odd-angle shots in landscape orientation.
  • Fewer buttons to press: Has a touchscreen to facilitate handling and shooting adjustments.
  • More selfie-friendly: Has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (6 vs 3 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • More compact: Is smaller (110x63mm vs 130x100mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
  • Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 212g or 43 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
  • Easier travel charging: Can be conveniently charged via its USB port.
  • More legacy lens friendly: Can use many non-native lenses via adapters.
  • Easier file upload: Has wifi built in for automatic backup or image transfer to the web.
  • Easier device pairing: Supports NFC for fast wireless image transfer over short distances.
  • More modern: Reflects 3 years and 6 months of technical progress since the 1100D launch.

If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the A5100 is the clear winner of the contest (19 : 5 points). However, the relative importance of the various individual camera aspects will vary according to personal preferences and needs, so that you might like to apply corresponding weights to the particular features before making a decision on a new camera.

1100D 05:19 A5100

In any case, while the comparison of technical specifications can provide a useful overview of the capabilities of different cameras, it remains partial and cannot reveal, for example, the handling experience and imaging performance when actually working with the 1100D or the A5100. At times, user reviews, such as those published at amazon, address these issues in a useful manner, but such feedback is on many occasions incomplete, inconsistent, and unreliable.

Expert reviews: Canon 1100D vs Sony A5100

This is where reviews by experts come in. The table below summarizes the assessments of some of the best known camera review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, photographyblog). The full reviews are available by clicking on the site logo in the table header.

Review Scores
  Camera
Model
cameralabs dpreview ephotozine imaging-resource photographyblog Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Used
Price
(USD)
Camera
Model
Canon 1100D»80/10069/1004/54/54.5/5 Feb 2011 449- i Canon 1100D
Sony A5100«Rec-4.5/54.5/55/5 Aug 2014 549 i i Sony A5100
Canon 2000D« »rev-3.5/5-3.5/5 Feb 2018 449 i i Canon 2000D
Canon 4000D« »rev-3.5/5-3.5/5 Feb 2018 399 i i Canon 4000D
Canon 1200D« »Rec-4/54/54.5/5 Feb 2014 449- i Canon 1200D
Canon 650D« »HiRec77/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Jun 2012 849- i Canon 650D
Canon G1 X« »Rec76/1004/54/54.5/5 Jan 2012 799- i Canon G1 X
Canon SX50« »HiRec72/1004.5/5-4.5/5 Sep 2012 429- i Canon SX50
Canon 600D« »rev77/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Feb 2011 599- i Canon 600D
Canon 550D« »HiRec77/1004/55/54.5/5 Feb 2010 699- i Canon 550D
Canon 450D« »HiRecHiRec4/55/54.5/5 Jan 2008 799- i Canon 450D
Canon 1000D« »82/100HiRec3.5/54/54.5/5 Jun 2008 449- i Canon 1000D
Sony RX100 IV« »HiRec85/1004/54.5/54.5/5 Jun 2015 999- i Sony RX100 IV
Sony A5000« »Rec-4.5/5rev4.5/5 Jan 2014 449- i Sony A5000
Sony A6000« »Rec80/1004.5/55/55/5 Feb 2014 599- i Sony A6000
Sony NEX-3N« »--4.5/54/54.5/5 Feb 2013 499- i Sony NEX-3N
Sony RX100« »HiRec78/1004/55/55/5 Jun 2012 649- i Sony RX100

The above review scores should be interpreted with care, though. The ratings are only valid when referring to cameras in the same category and of the same age. Thus, a score needs to be put into the context of the launch date and the launch price of the camera, and comparing ratings of very distinct cameras or ones that are far apart in terms of their release date have little meaning. Also, kindly note that some of the listed sites have over time developped their review approaches and their reporting style.

Canon 1100D:
Check Ebay offers
Sony A5100:
Check Amazon price

Other camera comparisons

Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? In case you are interested in seeing how other cameras pair up, just make a corresponding selection in the search boxes below. There is also a set of direct links to comparison reviews that other users of the CAM-parator app explored.

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    Specifications: Canon 1100D vs Sony A5100

    Camera Specifications
    Camera Model Canon 1100D Sony A5100
    Camera Type Digital single lens reflex Mirrorless system camera
    Camera Lens Canon EF mount lenses Sony E mount lenses
    Launch Date February 2011 August 2014
    Launch Price USD 449 USD 549
    Sensor Specs
    Sensor Technology CMOS CMOS
    Sensor Format APS-C Sensor APS-C Sensor
    Sensor Size 22.0 x 14.7 mm 23.5 x 14.7 mm
    Sensor Area 323.4 mm2 366.6 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 26.5 mm 28.2 mm
    Crop Factor 1.6x 1.5x
    Sensor Resolution 12.2 Megapixels 24 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 4272 x 2848 pixels 6000 x 4000 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 5.15 μm 3.91 μm
    Pixel Density 3.76 MP/cm2 6.55 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability 720/30p Video 1080/60p Video
    ISO Setting 100-6400 ISO 100-25600 ISO
    Image Processor DIGIC 4 BIONZ X
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) 62 80
    DXO Color Depth (bits) 21.9 23.8
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) 11.0 12.7
    DXO Low Light (ISO) 755 1347
    Screen Specs
    Viewfinder Type Optical viewfinder No viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 95% n/a
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.50x n/a
    LCD Framing Live View Live View
    Rear LCD Size 2.7 inch 3.0 inch
    LCD Resolution 230k dots 922k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen Tilting screen
    Touch Input no Touchscreen Touchscreen
    Shooting Specs
    Autofocus System Phase-detect AF Contrast-detect AF
    Maximum Shutter Speed 1/4000s 1/4000s
    Continuous Shooting 3 shutter flaps/s 6 shutter flaps/s
    Fill Flash Build-in Flash Build-in Flash
    Storage Medium SDXC cards MS or SDXC cards
    Second Storage Option Single card slot Single card slot
    Connectivity Specs
    External Flash Hotshoe no Hotshoe
    USB Connector USB 2.0 USB 2.0
    HDMI Port mini HDMI micro HDMI
    Wifi Support no Wifi Wifi built-in
    Near-Field Communication no NFC NFC built-in
    Body Specs
    Battery Type LP-E10 power pack NP-FW50 power pack
    Battery Life (CIPA)700 shots per charge400 shots per charge
    In-Camera Charging no USB charging USB charging
    Body Dimensions 130 x 100 x 78 mm
    (5.1 x 3.9 x 3.1 in)
    110 x 63 x 36 mm
    (4.3 x 2.5 x 1.4 in)
    Camera Weight 495 g (17.5 oz) 283 g (10.0 oz)

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