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Canon 20D vs Nikon D1H

The Canon EOS 20D and the Nikon D1H are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in August 2004 and February 2001. Both are DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras that are equipped with an APS-C sensor. The Canon has a resolution of 8.2 megapixels, whereas the Nikon provides 2.6 MP.

Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.

Headline Specifications
Canon 20D
versus
Nikon D1H
Canon 20D   Nikon D1H
Digital single lens reflex Digital single lens reflex
Canon EF mount lenses Nikon F mount lenses
8.2 MP – APS-C sensor 2.6 MP – APS-C sensor
no Video no Video
ISO 100-1,600 (100 - 3,200) ISO 200-800 (200 - 3,200)
Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
1.8" LCD – 118k dots 2.0" LCD – 120k dots
Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive) Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)
5 shutter flaps per second 5 shutter flaps per second
not weather sealedWeathersealed body
700 shots per battery charge1200 shots per battery charge
144 x 106 x 72 mm, 770 g 157 x 153 x 85 mm, 1100 g
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Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Canon EOS 20D and the Nikon D1H? Which one should you buy? Read on to find out how these two cameras compare with respect to their body size, their imaging sensors, their shooting features, their input-output connections, and their reception by expert reviewers.

Body comparison

An illustration of the physical size and weight of the Canon 20D and the Nikon D1H is provided 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.

Size Canon 20D vs Nikon D1H
Compare 20D versus D1H top
Comparison 20D or D1H rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Nikon D1H is considerably larger (57 percent) than the Canon 20D. Moreover, the D1H is substantially heavier (43 percent) than the 20D. It is noteworthy in this context that the D1H is splash and dust-proof, while the 20D 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. Yet, since both cameras are based around an APS-C sensor, their respective lenses will tend to have similar dimensions and heft. You can compare the optics available for the two cameras in the Canon EF Lens Catalog (20D) and the Nikon Lens Catalog (D1H).

Concerning battery life, the 20D gets 700 shots out of its BP-511A battery, while the D1H can take 1200 images on a single charge of its EN-4 power pack. As can be seen in the images above, the D1H 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 20D, Canon provides the BG-E2N vertical grip as an optional accessory (see here on ebay).

The adjacent table lists the principal physical characteristics of the two cameras alongside a wider set of alternatives. If you would like to visualize and compare a different camera combination, you can navigate to the CAM-parator app and make your selection from a broad list of cameras there.

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Body Specifications
    Camera
Model
Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life
Weather
Sealing
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
1.
 
Canon 20D 144 mm 106 mm 72 mm 770 g 700 n Aug 2004 1,499ebay.com
2.
 
Nikon D1H 157 mm 153 mm 85 mm 1100 g 1200 Y Feb 2001 4,499ebay.com
3.
 
Canon 7D II 149 mm 112 mm 78 mm 910 g 670 Y Sep 2014 1,799ebay.com
4.
 
Canon 60D 145 mm 106 mm 79 mm 755 g 1100 Y Aug 2010 1,399ebay.com
5.
 
Canon 7D 148 mm 111 mm 74 mm 860 g 800 Y Sep 2009 1,699ebay.com
6.
 
Canon 50D 146 mm 108 mm 74 mm 822 g 800 Y Aug 2008 1,299ebay.com
7.
 
Canon 40D 146 mm 108 mm 74 mm 822 g 750 n Aug 2007 1,299ebay.com
8.
 
Canon 30D 144 mm 106 mm 74 mm 785 g 750 n Feb 2006 1,399ebay.com
9.
 
Canon 350D 127 mm 94 mm 64 mm 540 g 400 n Feb 2005 899ebay.com
10.
 
Canon 10D 150 mm 107 mm 75 mm 850 g 500 n Feb 2003 1,999ebay.com
11.
 
Canon 300D 142 mm 99 mm 72 mm 649 g 400 n Aug 2003 899ebay.com
12.
 
Nikon D2Xs 158 mm 150 mm 86 mm 1252 g 3800 Y Jun 2006 4,699ebay.com
13.
 
Nikon D200 147 mm 113 mm 74 mm 920 g 400 Y Nov 2005 1,699ebay.com
14.
 
Nikon D2X 158 mm 150 mm 86 mm 1252 g 3800 Y Sep 2004 4,999ebay.com
15.
 
Nikon D2H 158 mm 150 mm 86 mm 1070 g 2900 Y Jul 2003 3,499ebay.com
16.
 
Nikon D1X 157 mm 153 mm 85 mm 1100 g 1200 Y Feb 2001 5,999ebay.com
17.
 
Nikon D1 157 mm 153 mm 85 mm 1100 g .. Y Jun 1999 5,499ebay.com
Note: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.

The price is, of course, an important factor in any camera decision. The listed launch prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The 20D was launched at a markedly lower price (by 67 percent) than the D1H, 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

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 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. Further, a large sensor camera will give the photographer additional creative options when using shallow depth-of-field to isolate a subject from its 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 D1H is 9 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have format factors, respectively, of 1.6 (20D) and 1.5. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.

Canon 20D and Nikon D1H sensor measures

Despite having a smaller sensor, the Canon 20D offers a higher resolution of 8.2 megapixels, compared with 2.6 MP of the Nikon D1H. This megapixels advantage comes at the cost of a higher pixel density and a smaller size of the individual pixel (with a pixel pitch of 6.42μm versus 11.93μm for the D1H). However, it should be noted that the 20D is much more recent (by 3 years and 6 months) than the D1H, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that make it possible to gather light more efficiently.

The resolution advantage of the Canon 20D implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the 20D for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 17.5 x 11.7 inches or 44.5 x 29.7 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 14 x 9.3 inches or 35.6 x 23.7 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 11.7 x 7.8 inches or 29.7 x 19.8 cm. The corresponding values for the Nikon D1H are 10 x 6.6 inches or 25.4 x 16.7 cm for good quality, 8 x 5.2 inches or 20.3 x 13.3 cm for very good quality, and 6.7 x 4.4 inches or 16.9 x 11.1 cm for excellent quality prints.

The Canon EOS 20D has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 1600, which can be extended to ISO 100-3200. The corresponding ISO settings for the Nikon D1H are ISO 200 to ISO 800, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 200-3200.

In terms of underlying technology, the 20D is build around a CMOS sensor, while the D1H uses a CCD imager. Both cameras use a Bayer filter for capturing RGB colors on a square grid of photosensors. This arrangement is found in most digital cameras.

20D versus D1H MP

For many cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. 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"). The following table provides an overview of the physical sensor characteristics, as well as the sensor quality measurements for a selection of comparators.

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Sensor Characteristics
    Camera
Model
Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
1.
 
Canon 20D APS-C 8.2 3504 2336none21.911.072162
2.
 
Nikon D1H APS-C 2.6 2000 1312none........
3.
 
Canon 7D II APS-C 20.0 5472 36481080/60p22.411.8108270
4.
 
Canon 60D APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p22.211.581366
5.
 
Canon 7D APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p22.011.785466
6.
 
Canon 50D APS-C 15.1 4752 3168none21.811.469663
7.
 
Canon 40D APS-C 10.1 3888 2592none22.111.370364
8.
 
Canon 30D APS-C 8.2 3504 2336none21.510.873659
9.
 
Canon 350D APS-C 8.0 3456 2304none21.810.863760
10.
 
Canon 10D APS-C 6.3 3072 2048none21.110.957157
11.
 
Canon 300D APS-C 6.3 3072 2048none21.010.854455
12.
 
Nikon D2Xs APS-C 12.2 4288 2848none22.210.948959
13.
 
Nikon D200 APS-C 10.0 3872 2592none22.311.558364
14.
 
Nikon D2X APS-C 12.2 4288 2848none22.110.947659
15.
 
Nikon D2H APS-C 4.0 2464 1632none18.910.035240
16.
 
Nikon D1X APS-C 5.9 3008 1960none........
17.
 
Nikon D1 APS-C 2.6 2000 1312none........
Neither the 20D nor the D1H offer Live View, so that they cannot project the live image that the sensor receives onto the rear screen. Moreover, both cameras are still-image focused and cannot record videos.

Feature comparison

Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The 20D and the D1H 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 viewfinder in the D1H offers a wider field of view (96%) than the one in the 20D (95%), so that a larger proportion of the captured image is visible in the finder. On the other hand, the viewfinder of the 20D has a higher magnification (0.56x vs 0.53x), so that the size of the image transmitted appears closer to the size seen with the naked human eye. The table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Canon 20D and Nikon D1H in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras.

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Core Features
    Camera
Model
Viewfinder
(Type or
000 dots)
Control
Panel
(yes/no)
LCD
Specifications
(inch/000 dots)
LCD
Attach-
ment
Touch
Screen
(yes/no)
Max
Shutter
Speed *
Max
Shutter
Flaps *
Built-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Built-in
Image
Stab
1.
 
Canon 20Doptical Y1.8 / 118 fixed n 1/8000s 5.0/s Y n
2.
 
Nikon D1Hoptical Y2.0 / 120 fixed n 1/16000s 5.0/s n n
3.
 
Canon 7D IIoptical Y3.0 / 1040 fixed n 1/8000s 10.0/s Y n
4.
 
Canon 60Doptical Y3.0 / 1040 swivel n 1/8000s 5.3/s Y n
5.
 
Canon 7Doptical Y3.0 / 920 fixed n 1/8000s 8.0/s Y n
6.
 
Canon 50Doptical Y3.0 / 920 fixed n 1/8000s 6.3/s Y n
7.
 
Canon 40Doptical Y3.0 / 230 fixed n 1/8000s 6.5/s Y n
8.
 
Canon 30Doptical Y2.5 / 230 fixed n 1/8000s 5.0/s Y n
9.
 
Canon 350Doptical n1.8 / 115 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0/s Y n
10.
 
Canon 10Doptical Y1.8 / 118 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0/s Y n
11.
 
Canon 300Doptical n1.8 / 118 fixed n 1/4000s 2.5/s Y n
12.
 
Nikon D2Xsoptical Y2.5 / 230 fixed n 1/8000s 5.0/s n n
13.
 
Nikon D200optical Y2.5 / 230 fixed n 1/8000s 5.0/s Y n
14.
 
Nikon D2Xoptical Y2.5 / 235 fixed n 1/8000s 5.0/s n n
15.
 
Nikon D2Hoptical Y2.5 / 211 fixed n 1/8000s 8.0/s n n
16.
 
Nikon D1Xoptical Y2.0 / 120 fixed n 1/16000s 3.0/s n n
17.
 
Nikon D1optical Y2.0 / 120 fixed n 1/16000s 1.5/s n n
Notes: *) Information refers to the mechanical shutter, unless the camera only has an electronic one.

One difference between the cameras concerns the presence of an on-board flash. The 20D has one, while the D1H does not. While the built-in flash of the 20D is not very powerful, it can at times be useful as a fill-in light.

Concerning the storage of imaging data, both the 20D and the D1H write their files to Compact Flash cards.

Connectivity comparison

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 20D and Nikon D1H and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.

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Input-Output Connections
    Camera
Model
Hotshoe
Port
Internal
Mic / Speaker
Microphone
Port
Headphone
Port
HDMI
Port
USB
Port
WiFi
Support
NFC
Support
Bluetooth
Support
1.
 
Canon 20DY- / ----1.1---
2.
 
Nikon D1HY- / ----FW---
3.
 
Canon 7D IIYstereo / monoYYmini3.0---
4.
 
Canon 60DYmono / monoY-mini2.0---
5.
 
Canon 7DYmono / -Y-mini2.0---
6.
 
Canon 50DY- / ---mini2.0---
7.
 
Canon 40DY- / ----2.0---
8.
 
Canon 30DY- / ----2.0---
9.
 
Canon 350DY- / ----2.0---
10.
 
Canon 10DY- / ----1.1---
11.
 
Canon 300DY- / ----1.1---
12.
 
Nikon D2XsY- / ----2.0---
13.
 
Nikon D200Y- / ----2.0---
14.
 
Nikon D2XY- / ----2.0---
15.
 
Nikon D2HY- / ----2.0---
16.
 
Nikon D1XY- / ----FW---
17.
 
Nikon D1Y- / ----FW---

Both cameras feature a PC Sync terminal to control professional strobe lights, which will be appreciated by studio photographers.

Both the 20D and the D1H have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on ebay. The D1H was replaced by the Nikon D2H, while the 20D was followed by the Canon 30D. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Canon and Nikon websites.

Review summary

So what conclusions can be drawn? Is the Canon 20D better than the Nikon D1H or vice versa? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.

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Advantages of the Canon EOS 20D:

  • More detail: Offers more megapixels (8.2 vs 2.6MP) with a 76% higher linear resolution.
  • Larger viewfinder image: Features a viewfinder with a higher magnification (0.56x vs 0.53x).
  • More compact: Is smaller (144x106mm vs 157x153mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
  • Less heavy: Is lighter (by 330g or 30 percent) and hence easier to carry around.
  • Easier fill-in: Is equipped with a small onboard flash to brighten deep shadow areas.
  • More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (67 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More modern: Reflects 3 years and 6 months of technical progress since the D1H launch.

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Reasons to prefer the Nikon D1H:

  • More complete view: Has a viewfinder with a larger field of view (96% vs 95%).
  • Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (2.0" vs 1.8") for image review and settings control.
  • Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/16000s vs 1/8000s) to freeze action.
  • More portrait friendly: Features an integrated vertical grip for easier portrait shooting.
  • Longer lasting: Gets more shots (1200 versus 700) out of a single battery charge.
  • Better sealing: Is splash and dust sealed for shooting in inclement weather conditions.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been around for much longer (launched in February 2001).

If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the match-up finishes in a tie (7 points each). 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. A professional wedding photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a travel photog, and a person interested in cityscapes has distinct needs from a macro shooter. Hence, the decision which camera is best and worth buying is often a very personal one.

20D 07:07 D1H

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Canon 20D and the Nikon D1H place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best DSLR Camera listing whether the two cameras rank among the cream of the crop.

In any case, while the comparison of the spec-sheets of cameras can offer a general idea of their imaging potential, it remains partial and cannot reveal, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance when actually working with the 20D or the D1H. 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

This is why expert reviews are important. The adjacent summary-table relays the overall verdicts of several of the most popular camera review sites (amateurphotographer [AP], cameralabs [CL], digitalcameraworld [DCW], dpreview [DPR], ephotozine [EPZ], photographyblog [PB]). As can be seen, the professional reviewers agree in many cases on the quality of different cameras, but sometimes their assessments diverge, reinforcing the earlier point that a camera decision is often a very personal choice.

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Expert Camera Reviews
     Camera 
 Model 
 AP 
 score 
 CL 
 score 
 DCW 
 score 
 DPR 
 score 
 EPZ 
 score 
 PB 
 score 
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
1.
 
Canon 20D......+ +.... Aug 2004 1,499ebay.com
2.
 
Nikon D1H......+ +.... Feb 2001 4,499ebay.com
3.
 
Canon 7D II4.5/5+3.5/584/1004/54.5/5 Sep 2014 1,799ebay.com
4.
 
Canon 60D5/5+..79/1004/54.5/5 Aug 2010 1,399ebay.com
5.
 
Canon 7D5/5+ +..84/1004.5/54.5/5 Sep 2009 1,699ebay.com
6.
 
Canon 50D..+ +..+ +4.5/54.5/5 Aug 2008 1,299ebay.com
7.
 
Canon 40D..+ +..+ +4.5/54.5/5 Aug 2007 1,299ebay.com
8.
 
Canon 30D..+ +..+ +o.. Feb 2006 1,399ebay.com
9.
 
Canon 350D..80/100..+ +o.. Feb 2005 899ebay.com
10.
 
Canon 10D......+ +.... Feb 2003 1,999ebay.com
11.
 
Canon 300D......+ +.... Aug 2003 899ebay.com
12.
 
Nikon D2Xs............ Jun 2006 4,699ebay.com
13.
 
Nikon D200..+ +..+ +o.. Nov 2005 1,699ebay.com
14.
 
Nikon D2X......+ +.... Sep 2004 4,999ebay.com
15.
 
Nikon D2H......+ +.... Jul 2003 3,499ebay.com
16.
 
Nikon D1X......+ +.... Feb 2001 5,999ebay.com
17.
 
Nikon D1......+ +.... Jun 1999 5,499ebay.com
Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.

Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, though. The assessments were made in relation to similar cameras of the same technological generation. 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, please note that some of the review sites have changed their methodology and reporting over time.

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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 make your choice using the following search menu. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting.

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    Specifications: Canon 20D vs Nikon D1H

    Below is a side-by-side comparison of the specs of the two cameras to facilitate a quick review of their differences and common features.

    Camera Specifications
    Camera Model Canon 20D Nikon D1H
    Camera Type Digital single lens reflex Digital single lens reflex
    Camera Lens Canon EF mount lenses Nikon F mount lenses
    Launch Date August 2004 February 2001
    Launch Price USD 1,499 USD 4,499
    Sensor Specs Canon 20D Nikon D1H
    Sensor Technology CMOS CCD
    Sensor Format APS-C Sensor APS-C Sensor
    Sensor Size 22.5 x 15.0 mm 23.7 x 15.6 mm
    Sensor Area 337.5 mm2 369.72 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 27 mm 28.4 mm
    Crop Factor 1.6x 1.5x
    Sensor Resolution 8.2 Megapixels 2.6 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 3504 x 2336 pixels 2000 x 1312 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 6.42 μm 11.93 μm
    Pixel Density 2.43 MP/cm2 0.71 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability no Video no Video
    ISO Setting 100 - 1,600 ISO 200 - 800 ISO
    ISO Boost 100 - 3,200 ISO 200 - 3,200 ISO
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) 62 ..
    DXO Color Depth (bits) 21.9 ..
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) 11.0 ..
    DXO Low Light (ISO) 721 ..
    Screen Specs Canon 20D Nikon D1H
    Viewfinder Type Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 95% 96%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.56x 0.53x
    Top-Level Screen Control Panel Control Panel
    Rear LCD Size 1.8inch 2.0inch
    LCD Resolution 118k dots 120k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen Fixed screen
    Shooting Specs Canon 20D Nikon D1H
    Focus System Phase-detect AF Phase-detect AF
    Continuous Shooting 5 shutter flaps/s 5 shutter flaps/s
    Fill Flash Built-in Flash no On-Board Flash
    Storage Medium CF cards CF cards
    Second Storage Option Single card slot Single card slot
    Connectivity Specs Canon 20D Nikon D1H
    External Flash Hotshoe Hotshoe
    Studio Flash PC Sync socket PC Sync socket
    USB Connector USB 1.1 Firewire
    HDMI Port no HDMI no HDMI
    Wifi Support no Wifi no Wifi
    Body Specs Canon 20D Nikon D1H
    Environmental Sealingnot weather sealedWeathersealed body
    Battery Type BP-511A EN-4
    Battery Life (CIPA)700 shots per charge1200 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 144 x 106 x 72 mm
    (5.7 x 4.2 x 2.8 in)
    157 x 153 x 85 mm
    (6.2 x 6.0 x 3.3 in)
    Camera Weight 770 g (27.2 oz) 1100 g (38.8 oz)
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    Check D1H offers at
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