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Canon 1D Mark III vs Nikon D40

The Canon EOS-1D Mark III and the Nikon D40 are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in February 2007 and November 2006. Both are DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras that are based on an APS-H (1D Mark III) and an APS-C (D40) sensor. The Canon has a resolution of 10.1 megapixels, whereas the Nikon provides 6 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 1D Mark III   Nikon D40
Canon 1D Mark III Nikon D40
Digital single lens reflex Digital single lens reflex
Canon EF mount lenses Nikon F mount lenses
10.1 MP, APS-H Sensor 6 MP, APS-C Sensor
no Video no Video
ISO 100-3200 (50-6400) ISO 200-1600 (200-3200)
Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
3.0" LCD, 230k dots 2.5" LCD, 230k dots
Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive) Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)
10 shutter flaps per second 2.5 shutter flaps per second
Weathersealed bodyNot weather sealed
2200 shots per battery charge470 shots per battery charge
156 x 157 x 80 mm, 1155 g 124 x 94 x 64 mm, 522 g

Body comparison: Canon 1D Mark III vs Nikon D40

The side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size and weight of the Canon 1D Mark III and the Nikon D40. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three consecutive views from the front, the top, and the rear side are shown. All size dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

Compare Canon 1D Mark III and Nikon D40
Compare 1D Mark III versus D40 top
Compare 1D Mark III or D40 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Nikon D40 is considerably smaller (52 percent) than the Canon 1D Mark III. Moreover, the D40 is substantially lighter (55 percent) than the 1D Mark III. It is worth mentioning in this context that the 1D Mark III is splash and dust resistant, while the D40 does not feature any corresponding weather-sealing.

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. A larger imaging sensor will tend to go along with bigger and heavier lenses, although exceptions exist. You can compare the optics available for the two cameras in the Canon EF Lens Catalog (1D Mark III) and the Nikon Lens Catalog (D40).

Concerning battery life, the 1D Mark III gets 2200 shots out of its LP-E4 battery, while the D40 can take 470 images on a single charge of its EN-EL9 power pack. As can be seen in the images above, the 1D Mark III has a battery grip built in. This facilitates image-taking in portrait orientation and gives it additional battery power. In order to provide similar functionality for the D40, there are third party battery grips available as optional accessories (see here on eBay).

The following table provides a synthesis of the main physical specifications of the two cameras and other similar ones. If you would like to visualize and compare a different camera combination, just use the right or left arrows in the table to switch to the respective camera. Alternatively, you can also navigate to the CAM-parator app and make your selection from the full list of cameras there.

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 1D Mark III» 6.1 in 6.2 in 3.1 in 40.7 oz 2200 Y Feb 2007 4,499- i Canon 1D Mark III
Nikon D40« 4.9 in 3.7 in 2.5 in 18.4 oz 470 n Nov 2006 499- i Nikon D40
Canon 5DS R« » 6.0 in 4.6 in 3.0 in 32.8 oz 700 Y Feb 2015 3,699 i i Canon 5DS R
Canon 5D Mark III« » 6.0 in 4.6 in 3.0 in 33.5 oz 950 Y Mar 2012 3,499- i Canon 5D Mark III
Canon 1D Mark IV« » 6.1 in 6.2 in 3.1 in 43.4 oz 1500 Y Oct 2009 4,999- i Canon 1D Mark IV
Canon 5D Mark II« » 6.0 in 4.5 in 3.0 in 30.0 oz 850 Y Sep 2008 3,499- i Canon 5D Mark II
Canon 1Ds Mark III« » 5.9 in 6.3 in 3.1 in 48.9 oz 1800 Y Aug 2007 7,999- i Canon 1Ds Mark III
Canon 1D Mark II N« » 6.1 in 6.2 in 3.1 in 55.2 oz 1200 Y Aug 2005 3,999- i Canon 1D Mark II N
Canon 1D Mark II« » 6.1 in 6.2 in 3.1 in 54.1 oz 1200 Y Jan 2004 4,499- i Canon 1D Mark II
Canon 1Ds« » 6.1 in 6.2 in 3.1 in 44.6 oz 600 Y Sep 2002 8,999- i Canon 1Ds
Nikon D3400« » 4.9 in 3.9 in 3.0 in 15.7 oz 1200 n Aug 2016 499- i Nikon D3400
Nikon D3300« » 4.9 in 3.9 in 3.0 in 15.2 oz 700 n Jan 2014 499- i Nikon D3300
Nikon D3100« » 4.9 in 3.8 in 3.0 in 17.8 oz 550 n Aug 2010 599- i Nikon D3100
Nikon D3« » 6.3 in 6.2 in 3.5 in 45.9 oz 4300 Y Aug 2007 4,999- i Nikon D3
Nikon D40X« » 4.9 in 3.7 in 2.5 in 18.4 oz 520 n Mar 2007 729- i Nikon D40X
Nikon D2Xs« » 6.2 in 5.9 in 3.4 in 44.2 oz 3800 Y Jun 2006 4,699- i Nikon D2Xs
Nikon D50« » 5.2 in 4.0 in 3.0 in 21.9 oz 400 n Apr 2005 749- i Nikon D50

Any camera decision will obviously take relative prices into account. The manufacturer’s suggested retail prices give an idea on the placement of the camera in the maker’s lineup and the broader market. The D40 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 89 percent) than the 1D Mark III, which puts it into a different market segment. 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 1D Mark III vs Nikon D40

The size of the imaging sensor is a crucial determinant of image quality. A large sensor will tend to have larger individual pixels that provide better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and richer color-depth than smaller pixel-units in a sensor of the same technological generation. Furthermore, a large sensor camera will give the photographer more possibilities to use shallow depth-of-field in order to 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.

Of the two cameras under consideration, the Canon 1D Mark III features an APS-H sensor and the Nikon D40 an APS-C sensor. The sensor area in the D40 is 30 percent smaller. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 1.3 and 1.5. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.

Canon 1D Mark III and Nikon D40 sensor measures

With 10.1MP, the 1D Mark III offers a higher resolution than the D40 (6MP), but the 1D Mark III has smaller individual pixels (pixel pitch of 7.21μm versus 7.85μm for the D40). However, the 1D Mark III is a somewhat more recent model (by 3 months) than the D40, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time that enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixels.

The Canon EOS-1D Mark III has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 3200, which can be extended to ISO 50-6400. The corresponding ISO settings for the Nikon D40 are ISO 200 to ISO 1600, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 200-3200..

1D Mark III versus D40 MP

Since 2007, DXO Mark has published sensor performance measurements that have been derived using a consistent methodology. This service determines an overall sensor rating, as well as sub-scores for low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and color depth ("DXO Portrait"). Of the two cameras under review, the 1D Mark III provides substantially higher image quality than the D40, with an overall score that is 15 points higher. This advantage is based on 1.7 bits higher color depth, 0.7 EV in additional dynamic range, and 0.9 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 1D Mark III» APS-H 10.1 3888 2592-22.711.7107871Canon 1D Mark III
Nikon D40« APS-C 6.0 3008 2000-21.011.056156Nikon D40
Canon 5DS R« » Full Frame 50.3 8688 57921080/60p24.612.4230886Canon 5DS R
Canon 5D Mark III« » Full Frame 22.1 5760 38401080/30p24.011.7229381Canon 5D Mark III
Canon 1D Mark IV« » APS-H 16.0 4896 32641080/30p22.812.0132074Canon 1D Mark IV
Canon 5D Mark II« » Full Frame 21.0 5616 37441080/30p23.711.9181579Canon 5D Mark II
Canon 1Ds Mark III« » Full Frame 21.0 5616 3744-24.012.0166380Canon 1Ds Mark III
Canon 1D Mark II N« » APS-H 8.2 3504 2336-22.311.297566Canon 1D Mark II N
Canon 1D Mark II« » APS-H 8.2 3504 2336-22.311.1100366Canon 1D Mark II
Canon 1Ds« » Full Frame 11.0 4064 2704-21.811.095463Canon 1Ds
Nikon D3400« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.813.9119286Nikon D3400
Nikon D3300« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.312.8138582Nikon D3300
Nikon D3100« » APS-C 14.2 4608 30721080/24p22.511.391967Nikon D3100
Nikon D3« » Full Frame 12.1 4256 2832-23.512.2229081Nikon D3
Nikon D40X« » APS-C 10.0 3872 2592-22.411.451663Nikon D40X
Nikon D2Xs« » APS-C 12.2 4288 2848-22.210.948959Nikon D2Xs
Nikon D50« » APS-C 6.0 3008 2000-20.910.856055Nikon D50
The 1D Mark III offers Live View, so that it can project the live image that the sensor receives onto the rear screen for framing. The D40 lacks this capability. Both cameras are still-image focused and cannot record videos.
 

Feature comparison: Canon 1D Mark III vs Nikon D40

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The 1D Mark III and the D40 are similar in the sense that both have an optical viewfinder. The latter is useful for getting a clear image for framing even in brightly lit environments. The adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Canon 1D Mark III and Nikon D40 along with similar information for a selection of comparators.

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 1D Mark III»optical Y 3.0 230 fixed n 8000 10.0 n n Canon 1D Mark III
Nikon D40«optical n 2.5 230 fixed n 4000 2.5 Y n Nikon D40
Canon 5DS R« »optical Y 3.2 1040 fixed n 8000 5.0 n n Canon 5DS R
Canon 5D Mark III« »optical Y 3.2 1040 fixed n 8000 6.0 n n Canon 5D Mark III
Canon 1D Mark IV« »optical Y 3.0 920 fixed n 8000 10.0 n n Canon 1D Mark IV
Canon 5D Mark II« »optical Y 3.0 920 fixed n 8000 3.9 n n Canon 5D Mark II
Canon 1Ds Mark III« »optical Y 3.0 230 fixed n 8000 5.0 n n Canon 1Ds Mark III
Canon 1D Mark II N« »optical Y 2.5 230 fixed n 8000 8.5 n n Canon 1D Mark II N
Canon 1D Mark II« »optical Y 2.0 230 fixed n 8000 8.3 n n Canon 1D Mark II
Canon 1Ds« »optical Y 2.0 120 fixed n 8000 3.0 n n Canon 1Ds
Nikon D3400« »optical n 3.0 921 fixed n 4000 5.0 Y n Nikon D3400
Nikon D3300« »optical n 3.0 921 fixed n 4000 5.0 Y n Nikon D3300
Nikon D3100« »optical n 3.0 230 fixed n 4000 3.0 Y n Nikon D3100
Nikon D3« »optical Y 3.0 922 fixed n 8000 11.0 n n Nikon D3
Nikon D40X« »optical n 2.5 230 fixed n 4000 3.0 Y n Nikon D40X
Nikon D2Xs« »optical Y 2.5 230 fixed n 8000 5.0 n n Nikon D2Xs
Nikon D50« »optical n 2.0 130 fixed n 4000 2.5 Y n Nikon D50

One feature that is present on the 1D Mark III, but is missing on the D40 is a top-level LCD. While being, of course, smaller than the rear screen, the control panel conveys some of the essential shooting information and can be convenient for quick and easy settings verification.

The 1D Mark III writes its imaging data to Compact Flash or SDHC cards, while the D40 uses SDHC cards. The 1D Mark III features dual card slots, which can be very useful in case a memory card fails. In contrast, the D40 only has one slot.

 

Connectivity comparison: Canon 1D Mark III vs Nikon D40

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-1D Mark III and Nikon D40 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 1D Mark III»Y-----2.0---Canon 1D Mark III
Nikon D40«Y-----2.0---Nikon D40
Canon 5DS R« »YmonomonoY-mini3.0---Canon 5DS R
Canon 5D Mark III« »YmonomonoYYmini2.0---Canon 5D Mark III
Canon 1D Mark IV« »Ystereo-Y-mini2.0---Canon 1D Mark IV
Canon 5D Mark II« »YmonomonoY-mini2.0---Canon 5D Mark II
Canon 1Ds Mark III« »Y-----2.0---Canon 1Ds Mark III
Canon 1D Mark II N« »Y-----1.1---Canon 1D Mark II N
Canon 1D Mark II« »Y-----1.1---Canon 1D Mark II
Canon 1Ds« »Y-----FW---Canon 1Ds
Nikon D3400« »Ymonomono--mini2.0Y-YNikon D3400
Nikon D3300« »YmonomonoY-mini2.0---Nikon D3300
Nikon D3100« »Ymonomono--mini2.0---Nikon D3100
Nikon D3« »Y----mini2.0---Nikon D3
Nikon D40X« »Y-----2.0---Nikon D40X
Nikon D2Xs« »Y-----2.0---Nikon D2Xs
Nikon D50« »Y-----2.0---Nikon D50

Studio photographers will appreciate that the Canon 1D Mark III (unlike the D40) features a PC Sync socket, so that professional strobe lights can be controlled by the camera.

Both the 1D Mark III and the D40 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The D40 was replaced by the Nikon D40X, while the 1D Mark III was followed by the Canon 1D Mark IV.


Review summary: Canon 1D Mark III vs Nikon D40

So what is the bottom line? Is the Canon 1D Mark III better than the Nikon D40 or vice versa? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.

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Advantages of the Canon EOS-1D Mark III:

  • More detail: Offers more megapixels (10.1 vs 6MP) with a 29% higher linear resolution.
  • Better image quality: Scores substantially higher (15 points) in the DXO overall assessment.
  • Richer colors: Generates images with noticeably better colors (1.7 bits more color depth).
  • More dynamic range: Captures a larger spectrum of light and dark details (0.7 EV of extra DR).
  • Better low-light sensitivity: Requires less light for good images (0.9 stops ISO advantage).
  • Easier setting verification: Features an LCD display on top to control shooting parameters.
  • Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.0" vs 2.5") for image review and settings control.
  • Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (8000/sec vs 4000/sec) to freeze action.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (10 vs 2.5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • More portrait friendly: Features an integrated vertical grip for easier portrait shooting.
  • Longer lasting: Can take more shots (2200 versus 470) on a single battery charge.
  • Better sealing: Is weather sealed to enable shooting in dusty or wet environments.
  • Better studio light control: Has a PC Sync socket to connect to professional strobe lights.
  • Greater peace of mind: Features a second card slot as a backup in case of memory card failure.
  • More modern: Is somewhat more recent (announced 3 months after the D40).

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Arguments in favor of the Nikon D40:

  • More compact: Is smaller (124x94mm vs 156x157mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
  • Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 633g or 55 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
  • Easier fill-in: Has a small integrated flash to brighten shadows of backlit subjects.
  • More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (89 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in November 2006).

If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the 1D Mark III is the clear winner of the match-up (15 : 5 points). However, the relevance of individual strengths will vary across photographers, so that you might want to apply your own weighing scheme to the summary points when reflecting and deciding on a new camera.

1D Mark III 15:05 D40

In any case, while the comparison of technical specifications can provide a useful overview of the capabilities of different cameras, it says nothing about, for example, the handling, responsiveness, and overall imaging quality of the 1D Mark III and the D40 in practical situations. 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 1D Mark III vs Nikon D40

This is why hands-on reviews by experts are important. The adjacent table relays the overall verdicts of several of the most popular camera review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, photographyblog). The detailed reviews can be accessed 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 1D Mark III»---rev- Feb 2007 4,499- i Canon 1D Mark III
Nikon D40«81/100HiRecrev5/54.5/5 Nov 2006 499- i Nikon D40
Canon 5DS R« »Rec83/1005/55/54.5/5 Feb 2015 3,699 i i Canon 5DS R
Canon 5D Mark III« »HiRec82/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Mar 2012 3,499- i Canon 5D Mark III
Canon 1D Mark IV« »-89/100-5/5- Oct 2009 4,999- i Canon 1D Mark IV
Canon 5D Mark II« »91/10079/1004/55/5- Sep 2008 3,499- i Canon 5D Mark II
Canon 1Ds Mark III« »-HiRec4.5/5-- Aug 2007 7,999- i Canon 1Ds Mark III
Canon 1D Mark II N« »----- Aug 2005 3,999- i Canon 1D Mark II N
Canon 1D Mark II« »-HiRec-rev- Jan 2004 4,499- i Canon 1D Mark II
Canon 1Ds« »-HiRec--- Sep 2002 8,999- i Canon 1Ds
Nikon D3400« »Rec76/1004/54.5/54.5/5 Aug 2016 499- i Nikon D3400
Nikon D3300« »Rec77/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Jan 2014 499- i Nikon D3300
Nikon D3100« »HiRec72/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Aug 2010 599- i Nikon D3100
Nikon D3« »-HiRec5/5rev4.5/5 Aug 2007 4,999- i Nikon D3
Nikon D40X« »79/100HiRec4/5rev4/5 Mar 2007 729- i Nikon D40X
Nikon D2Xs« »---rev- Jun 2006 4,699- i Nikon D2Xs
Nikon D50« »78/100HiRec4/5rev4.5/5 Apr 2005 749- i Nikon D50

The above review scores should be interpreted with care, though. The ratings were established in reference to similarly priced cameras that were available in the market at the time of the review. A score, therefore, has to be seen in close connection to the price and market introduction time of the camera, and rating-comparisons among cameras that span long time periods or concern very differently equipped models make little sense. Also, kindly note that some of the listed sites have over time developped their review approaches and their reporting style.

Canon 1D Mark III:
Check Ebay offers
Nikon D40:
Check Ebay offers

Other camera comparisons

Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? In case you would like to check on the differences and similarities of other camera models, just use the search menu below. An an alternative, you can also directly jump to any one of the listed comparisons that were previously generated by the CAM-parator tool.

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    Specifications: Canon 1D Mark III vs Nikon D40

    Camera Specifications
    Camera Model Canon 1D Mark III Nikon D40
    Camera Type Digital single lens reflex Digital single lens reflex
    Camera Lens Canon EF mount lenses Nikon F mount lenses
    Launch Date February 2007 November 2006
    Launch Price USD 4499 USD 499
    Sensor Specs
    Sensor Technology CMOS CCD
    Sensor Format APS-H Sensor APS-C Sensor
    Sensor Size 28.1 x 18.7 mm 23.7 x 18.7 mm
    Sensor Area 525.47 mm2 369.72 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 33.8 mm 28.4 mm
    Crop Factor 1.3x 1.5x
    Sensor Resolution 10.1 Megapixels 6 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 3888 x 2592 pixels 3008 x 2000 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 7.21 μm 7.85 μm
    Pixel Density 1.92 MP/cm2 1.63 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability no Video no Video
    ISO Setting 100-3200 ISO 200-1600 ISO
    ISO Boost 50-6400 ISO 200-3200 ISO
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) 71 56
    DXO Color Depth (bits) 22.7 21.0
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) 11.7 11.0
    DXO Low Light (ISO) 1078 561
    Screen Specs
    Viewfinder Type Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 100% 95%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.58x 0.53x
    Top-Level Screen Control Panel no Top Display
    LCD Framing Live View n/a
    Rear LCD Size 3.0 inch 2.5 inch
    LCD Resolution 230k dots 230k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen Fixed screen
    Shooting Specs
    Autofocus System Phase-detect AF Phase-detect AF
    Maximum Shutter Speed 1/8000s 1/4000s
    Continuous Shooting 10 shutter flaps/s 2.5 shutter flaps/s
    Fill Flash no On-Board Flash Build-in Flash
    Storage Medium CF or SDHC cards SDHC cards
    Second Storage Option Dual card slots Single card slot
    Connectivity Specs
    External Flash Hotshoe Hotshoe
    Studio Flash PC Sync socket no PC Sync
    USB Connector USB 2.0 USB 2.0
    HDMI Port no HDMI no HDMI
    Wifi Support no Wifi no Wifi
    Body Specs
    Environmental SealingWeathersealed bodyNot weather sealed
    Battery Type LP-E4 power pack EN-EL9 power pack
    Battery Life (CIPA)2200 shots per charge470 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 156 x 157 x 80 mm
    (6.1 x 6.2 x 3.1 in)
    124 x 94 x 64 mm
    (4.9 x 3.7 x 2.5 in)
    Camera Weight 1155 g (40.7 oz) 522 g (18.4 oz)

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