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Canon 30D vs Olympus E-30

The Canon EOS 30D and the Olympus E-30 are two enthusiast cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in February 2006 and November 2008. Both are DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras that are based on an APS-C (30D) and a Four Thirds (E-30) sensor. The Canon has a resolution of 8.2 megapixels, whereas the Olympus provides 12.2 MP.

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

Headline Specifications
Canon 30D versus Olympus E-30
Canon 30D Olympus E-30
Digital single lens reflex Digital single lens reflex
Canon EF mount lenses Four Thirds lenses
8.2 MP, APS-C Sensor 12.2 MP, Four Thirds Sensor
no Video no Video
ISO 100-1,600 (100 - 3,200) ISO 100-3,200
Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
2.5 LCD, 230k dots 2.7 LCD, 230k dots
Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive) Swivel screen (not touch-sensitive)
5 shutter flaps per second 5 shutter flaps per second
Lens stabilization onlyIn-body stabilization
750 shots per battery charge750 shots per battery charge
144 x 106 x 74 mm, 785 g 142 x 108 x 75 mm, 701 g

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Canon EOS 30D and the Olympus E-30? 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 30D and the Olympus E-30 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 dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

Size Canon 30D vs Olympus E-30
Compare 30D versus E-30 top
Comparison 30D or E-30 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Canon 30D and the Olympus E-30 are of equal size. However, the E-30 is markedly lighter (11 percent) than the 30D. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the 30D nor the E-30 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. 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 (30D) and the Four Thirds Lens Catalog (E-30).

The adjacent table lists the principal physical characteristics of the two cameras alongside a wider set of alternatives. If you want to switch the focus of the display and review another camera pair, you can move across to the CAM-parator tool and choose from the broad selection of possible camera comparisons 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 30D 144 mm 106 mm 74 mm 785 g 750 n Feb 2006 1,399i
2.
 
Olympus E-30 142 mm 108 mm 75 mm 701 g 750 n Nov 2008 1,299i
3.
 
Canon 70D 139 mm 104 mm 79 mm 755 g 920 Y Jul 2013 1,199i
4.
 
Canon 60D 145 mm 106 mm 79 mm 755 g 1100 Y Aug 2010 1,399i
5.
 
Canon 7D 148 mm 111 mm 74 mm 860 g 800 Y Sep 2009 1,699i
6.
 
Canon 50D 146 mm 108 mm 74 mm 822 g 800 Y Aug 2008 1,299i
7.
 
Canon 40D 146 mm 108 mm 74 mm 822 g 750 n Aug 2007 1,299i
8.
 
Canon XTi 127 mm 84 mm 65 mm 556 g 370 n Aug 2006 799i
9.
 
Canon XT 127 mm 94 mm 64 mm 540 g 400 n Feb 2005 899i
10.
 
Canon 20D 144 mm 106 mm 72 mm 770 g 700 n Aug 2004 1,499i
11.
 
Canon 10D 150 mm 107 mm 75 mm 850 g 500 n Feb 2003 1,999i
12.
 
Canon Rebel 142 mm 99 mm 72 mm 649 g 400 n Aug 2003 899i
13.
 
Olympus E-600 130 mm 94 mm 60 mm 535 g 500 n Aug 2009 449i
14.
 
Olympus E-620 130 mm 94 mm 60 mm 521 g 500 n Feb 2009 699i
15.
 
Olympus E-520 136 mm 92 mm 68 mm 535 g 750 n May 2008 699i
16.
 
Olympus E-410 130 mm 91 mm 53 mm 435 g 500 n Mar 2007 699i
17.
 
Olympus E-510 136 mm 92 mm 68 mm 538 g 750 n Mar 2007 799i
Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.

Any camera decision will naturally be influenced heavily by the price. 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 E-30 was somewhat cheaper (by 7 percent) than the 30D at launch, but both cameras fall into the same price category. 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.

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Sensor comparison

The size of the sensor inside a digital camera is one of the key determinants 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. 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 tend to be more expensive and lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.

Of the two cameras under consideration, the Canon 30D features an APS-C sensor and the Olympus E-30 a Four Thirds sensor. The sensor area in the E-30 is 33 percent smaller. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 1.6 and 2.0. The sensor in the 30D has a native 3:2 aspect ratio, while the one in the E-30 offers a 4:3 aspect.

In terms of underlying technology, both cameras are build around CMOS sensors.

Canon 30D and Olympus E-30 sensor measures

Despite having a smaller sensor, the E-30 offers a higher resolution of 12.2 megapixels, compared with 8.2 MP of the 30D. 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 4.29μm versus 6.42μm for the 30D). However, it should be noted that the E-30 is much more recent (by 2 years and 8 months) than the 30D, 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 Olympus E-30 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the E-30 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 20.2 x 15.1 inches or 51.2 x 38.4 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 16.1 x 12.1 inches or 41 x 30.7 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 13.4 x 10.1 inches or 34.1 x 25.6 cm. The corresponding values for the Canon 30D are 17.5 x 11.7 inches or 44.5 x 29.7 cm for good quality, 14 x 9.3 inches or 35.6 x 23.7 cm for very good quality, and 11.7 x 7.8 inches or 29.7 x 19.8 cm for excellent quality prints.

The Canon EOS 30D 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 Olympus E-30 are ISO 100 to ISO 3200 (no boost).

30D versus E-30 MP

Since 2007, DXO Mark has published sensor performance measurements that have been derived using a consistent methodology. 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 review, the 30D has a notably higher overall DXO score than the E-30 (overall score 4 points higher), which gives it an advantage in terms of imaging quality. This advantage is based on 0.2 bits higher color depth, 0.4 EV in additional dynamic range, and 0.5 stops in additional low light sensitivity. The adjacent table reports on the physical sensor characteristics and the outcomes of the DXO sensor quality tests for a sample of comparator-cameras.

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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 30D APS-C 8.2 3504 2336none21.510.873659
2.
 
Olympus E-30 Four Thirds 12.2 4032 3024none21.310.453055
3.
 
Canon 70D APS-C 20.0 5472 36481080/30p22.511.692668
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 XTi APS-C 10.1 3888 2592none22.111.066462
9.
 
Canon XT APS-C 8.0 3456 2304none21.810.863760
10.
 
Canon 20D APS-C 8.2 3504 2336none21.911.072162
11.
 
Canon 10D APS-C 6.3 3072 2048none21.110.957157
12.
 
Canon Rebel APS-C 6.3 3072 2048none21.010.854455
13.
 
Olympus E-600 Four Thirds 12.2 4032 3024none21.510.354155
14.
 
Olympus E-620 Four Thirds 12.2 4032 3024none21.310.353655
15.
 
Olympus E-520 Four Thirds 10.0 3648 2736none21.410.454855
16.
 
Olympus E-410 Four Thirds 10.0 3648 2736none21.110.049451
17.
 
Olympus E-510 Four Thirds 10.0 3648 2736none21.210.044252
The E-30 offers Live View, so that it can project the live image that the sensor receives onto the rear screen for framing. The 30D lacks this capability. Both cameras are still-image focused and cannot record videos.
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Feature comparison

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The 30D and the E-30 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 E-30 offers a wider field of view (98%) than the one in the 30D (95%), so that a larger proportion of the captured image is visible in the finder. On the other hand, the viewfinder of the 30D has a higher magnification (0.56x vs 0.51x), so that the size of the image transmitted appears closer to the size seen with the naked human eye. The adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Canon 30D and Olympus E-30 along with similar information for a selection of comparators.

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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)
Mech
Shutter
Speed
Shutter
Flaps
(1/sec)
Built-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Built-in
Image
Stab
1.
 
Canon 30Doptical Y 2.5 230 fixed n 1/8000s 5.0 Y n
2.
 
Olympus E-30optical Y 2.7 230 swivel n 1/8000s 5.0 Y Y
3.
 
Canon 70Doptical Y 3.0 1040 swivel Y 1/8000s 7.0 Y n
4.
 
Canon 60Doptical Y 3.0 1040 swivel n 1/8000s 5.3 Y n
5.
 
Canon 7Doptical Y 3.0 920 fixed n 1/8000s 8.0 Y n
6.
 
Canon 50Doptical Y 3.0 920 fixed n 1/8000s 6.3 Y n
7.
 
Canon 40Doptical Y 3.0 230 fixed n 1/8000s 6.5 Y n
8.
 
Canon XTioptical n 2.5 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
9.
 
Canon XToptical n 1.8 115 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
10.
 
Canon 20Doptical Y 1.8 118 fixed n 1/8000s 5.0 Y n
11.
 
Canon 10Doptical Y 1.8 118 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
12.
 
Canon Rebeloptical n 1.8 118 fixed n 1/4000s 2.5 Y n
13.
 
Olympus E-600optical n 2.7 230 swivel n 1/4000s 4.0 Y Y
14.
 
Olympus E-620optical n 2.7 230 swivel n 1/4000s 4.0 Y Y
15.
 
Olympus E-520optical n 2.7 215 fixed n 1/4000s 3.5 Y Y
16.
 
Olympus E-410optical n 2.5 215 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
17.
 
Olympus E-510optical n 2.5 215 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y Y

One feature that differentiates the E-30 and the 30D is in-body image stabilization (IBIS). The E-30 reduces the risk of handshake-induced blur with all attached lenses, while the 30D offers no blur reduction with lenses that themselves do not provide optical image stabilization.

The E-30 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 30D does not have a selfie-screen.

The 30D writes its imaging data to Compact Flash cards, while the E-30 uses Compact Flash or xD Picture cards. The E-30 features dual card slots, which can be very useful in case a memory card fails. In contrast, the 30D only has one slot.

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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 30D and Olympus E-30 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
Microphone
Internal
Speaker
Microphone
Port
Headphone
Port
HDMI
Port
USB
Port
WiFi
Support
NFC
Support
Bluetooth
Support
1.
 
Canon 30DY-----2.0---
2.
 
Olympus E-30Y-----2.0---
3.
 
Canon 70DYstereomonoY-mini2.0Y--
4.
 
Canon 60DYmonomonoY-mini2.0---
5.
 
Canon 7DYmono-Y-mini2.0---
6.
 
Canon 50DY----mini2.0---
7.
 
Canon 40DY-----2.0---
8.
 
Canon XTiY-----2.0---
9.
 
Canon XTY-----2.0---
10.
 
Canon 20DY-----1.1---
11.
 
Canon 10DY-----1.1---
12.
 
Canon RebelY-----1.1---
13.
 
Olympus E-600Y-----2.0---
14.
 
Olympus E-620Y-----2.0---
15.
 
Olympus E-520Y-----2.0---
16.
 
Olympus E-410Y-----2.0---
17.
 
Olympus E-510Y-----2.0---

Studio photographers will appreciate that the Canon 30D (unlike the E-30) features a PC Sync socket, so that professional strobe lights can be controlled by the camera.

Both the 30D and the E-30 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The 30D was replaced by the Canon 40D, while the E-30 does not have a direct successor. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Canon and Olympus websites.

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Review summary

So how do things add up? Which of the two cameras – the Canon 30D or the Olympus E-30 – has the upper hand? Is one clearly better than the other? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.

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Advantages of the Canon EOS 30D:

  • Better image quality: Scores markedly higher (4 points) in the DXO overall assessment.
  • Better low-light sensitivity: Requires less light for good images (0.5 stops ISO advantage).
  • Larger viewfinder image: Features a viewfinder with a higher magnification (0.56x vs 0.51x).
  • Better studio light control: Has a PC Sync socket to connect to professional strobe lights.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in February 2006).

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Arguments in favor of the Olympus E-30:

  • More detail: Has more megapixels (12.2 vs 8.2MP), which boosts linear resolution by 20%.
  • More complete view: Has a viewfinder with a larger field of view (98% vs 95%).
  • Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (2.7" vs 2.5") for image review and settings control.
  • More flexible LCD: Has a swivel screen for odd-angle shots in portrait or landscape orientation.
  • More selfie-friendly: Has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing.
  • Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 84g or 11 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
  • Sharper images: Has stabilization technology built-in to reduce the impact of hand-shake.
  • Greater peace of mind: Features a second card slot as a backup in case of memory card failure.
  • More modern: Reflects 2 years and 8 months of technical progress since the 30D launch.

If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the E-30 is the clear winner of the contest (9 : 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. A professional wildlife photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a family photog, and a person interested in architecture has distinct needs from a sports shooter. Hence, the decision which camera is best and worth buying is often a very personal one.

30D 05:09 E-30

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Canon 30D and the Olympus E-30 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 specs-based evaluation of cameras can be instructive in revealing their potential as photographic tools, it remains incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the 30D or the E-30 perform in practice. User reviews that are available, for instance, at amazon can sometimes shed light on these issues, but such feedback is all too often partial, inconsistent, and inaccurate.

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], 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 
 DPR 
 score 
 EPZ 
 score 
 PB 
 score 
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
1.
 
Canon 30D..+ ++ +o.. Feb 2006 1,399i
2.
 
Olympus E-30....71/1004.5/54/5 Nov 2008 1,299i
3.
 
Canon 70D5/5+ +83/1004.5/55/5 Jul 2013 1,199i
4.
 
Canon 60D5/5+79/1004/54.5/5 Aug 2010 1,399i
5.
 
Canon 7D5/5+ +84/1004.5/54.5/5 Sep 2009 1,699i
6.
 
Canon 50D..+ ++ +4.5/54.5/5 Aug 2008 1,299i
7.
 
Canon 40D..+ ++ +4.5/54.5/5 Aug 2007 1,299i
8.
 
Canon XTi..+ ++ +o4/5 Aug 2006 799i
9.
 
Canon XT..80/100+ +o.. Feb 2005 899i
10.
 
Canon 20D....+ +.... Aug 2004 1,499i
11.
 
Canon 10D....+ +.... Feb 2003 1,999i
12.
 
Canon Rebel....+ +.... Aug 2003 899i
13.
 
Olympus E-600........4.5/5 Aug 2009 449i
14.
 
Olympus E-6203/588/10072/1004.5/55/5 Feb 2009 699i
15.
 
Olympus E-520..87/100+ +4.5/54.5/5 May 2008 699i
16.
 
Olympus E-410..86/100+ +4/54.5/5 Mar 2007 699i
17.
 
Olympus E-510..89/100+ +3.5/54.5/5 Mar 2007 799i
Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.

Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, though. The ratings are only valid when referring to cameras in the same category and of the same age. Hence, a score should always be seen in the context of the camera's market launch date and its price, and rating-comparisons among cameras that span long time periods or concern very differently equipped models make little sense. Also, please note that some of the review sites have changed their methodology and reporting over time.

Canon 30D:
Check Ebay offers
Olympus E-30:
Check Ebay offers

Other camera comparisons

Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? If you would like to see a different side-by-side camera review, just make a corresponding selection in the search boxes below. As 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 30D vs Olympus E-30

    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 30D Olympus E-30
    Camera Type Digital single lens reflex Digital single lens reflex
    Camera Lens Canon EF mount lenses Four Thirds lenses
    Launch Date February 2006 November 2008
    Launch Price USD 1,399 USD 1,299
    Sensor Specs Canon 30D Olympus E-30
    Sensor Technology CMOS CMOS
    Sensor Format APS-C Sensor Four Thirds Sensor
    Sensor Size 22.5 x 15.0 mm 17.3 x 13.0 mm
    Sensor Area 337.5 mm2 224.9 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 27 mm 21.6 mm
    Crop Factor 1.6x 2.0x
    Sensor Resolution 8.2 Megapixels 12.2 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 3504 x 2336 pixels 4032 x 3024 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 6.42 μm 4.29 μm
    Pixel Density 2.43 MP/cm2 5.42 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability no Video no Video
    ISO Setting 100 - 1,600 ISO 100 - 3,200 ISO
    ISO Boost 100 - 3,200 ISO no Enhancement
    Image Processor DIGIC 2 TruePic III+
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) 59 55
    DXO Color Depth (bits) 21.5 21.3
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) 10.8 10.4
    DXO Low Light (ISO) 736 530
    Screen Specs Canon 30D Olympus E-30
    Viewfinder Type Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 95% 98%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.56x 0.51x
    Top-Level Screen Control Panel Control Panel
    LCD Framing Live View
    Rear LCD Size 2.5inch 2.7inch
    LCD Resolution 230k dots 230k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen Swivel screen
    Shooting Specs Canon 30D Olympus E-30
    Focus System Phase-detect AF Phase-detect AF
    Continuous Shooting 5 shutter flaps/s 5 shutter flaps/s
    Image StabilizationLens stabilization onlyIn-body stabilization
    Fill Flash Build-in Flash Build-in Flash
    Storage Medium CF cards CF or XD cards
    Second Storage Option Single card slot Dual card slots
    Connectivity Specs Canon 30D Olympus E-30
    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 Canon 30D Olympus E-30
    Battery Type BP-511A BLM-1
    Battery Life (CIPA)750 shots per charge750 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 144 x 106 x 74 mm
    (5.7 x 4.2 x 2.9 in)
    142 x 108 x 75 mm
    (5.6 x 4.3 x 3.0 in)
    Camera Weight 785 g (27.7 oz) 701 g (24.7 oz)

    Did you notice an error on this page? If so, please get in touch, so that we can correct the information.

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