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Canon 30D vs Pentax MX-1

The Canon EOS 30D and the Pentax MX-1 are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in February 2006 and January 2013. The 30D is a DSLR, while the MX-1 is a fixed lens compact. The cameras are based on an APS-C (30D) and a 1/1.7-inch (MX-1) sensor. The Canon has a resolution of 8.2 megapixels, whereas the Pentax provides 12 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
Pentax MX-1
Canon 30D   Pentax MX-1
Digital single lens reflex Fixed lens compact camera
Canon EF mount lenses 28-112mm f/1.8-2.5
8.2 MP, APS-C Sensor 12 MP, 1/1.7" Sensor
no Video 1080/30p Video
ISO 100-1,600 (100 - 3,200) ISO 100-12,800
Optical viewfinder No viewfinder, LCD framing
2.5 LCD, 230k dots 3.0 LCD, 920k dots
Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive) Tilting screen (not touch-sensitive)
5 shutter flaps per second 1 shutter flaps per second
Lens stabilization onlyIn-body stabilization
750 shots per battery charge290 shots per battery charge
144 x 106 x 74 mm, 785 g 122 x 61 x 51 mm, 391 g

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Canon EOS 30D and the Pentax MX-1? 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 Pentax MX-1 is provided in the side-by-side display below. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three successive views from the front, the top, and the rear are shown. All width, height and depth dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

Size Canon 30D vs Pentax MX-1
Compare 30D versus MX-1 top
Comparison 30D or MX-1 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Pentax MX-1 is considerably smaller (51 percent) than the Canon 30D. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the 30D nor the MX-1 are weather-sealed.

The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the MX-1 has a lens built in, whereas the 30D is an interchangeable lens camera that requires a separate lens. Attaching the latter will add extra weight and bulk to the setup. You can compare the optics available for the 30D and their specifications in the Canon EF Lens Catalog.

The adjacent table lists the principal physical characteristics of the two cameras alongside a wider set of alternatives. In case you want to display and compare another camera duo, you can use the CAM-parator app to select your camera combination among a large number of options.

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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.
 
Pentax MX-1 122 mm 61 mm 51 mm 391 g 290 n Jan 2013 499i
3.
 
Canon 70D 139 mm 104 mm 79 mm 755 g 920 Y Jul 2013 1,199i
4.
 
Canon G16 109 mm 76 mm 40 mm 356 g 360 n Aug 2013 549 i
5.
 
Canon G15 107 mm 76 mm 40 mm 352 g 350 n Sep 2012 499i
6.
 
Canon 60D 145 mm 106 mm 79 mm 755 g 1100 Y Aug 2010 1,399i
7.
 
Canon 7D 148 mm 111 mm 74 mm 860 g 800 Y Sep 2009 1,699i
8.
 
Canon 50D 146 mm 108 mm 74 mm 822 g 800 Y Aug 2008 1,299i
9.
 
Canon 40D 146 mm 108 mm 74 mm 822 g 750 n Aug 2007 1,299i
10.
 
Canon XTi 127 mm 84 mm 65 mm 556 g 370 n Aug 2006 799i
11.
 
Canon XT 127 mm 94 mm 64 mm 540 g 400 n Feb 2005 899i
12.
 
Canon 20D 144 mm 106 mm 72 mm 770 g 700 n Aug 2004 1,499i
13.
 
Canon 10D 150 mm 107 mm 75 mm 850 g 500 n Feb 2003 1,999i
14.
 
Canon Rebel 142 mm 99 mm 72 mm 649 g 400 n Aug 2003 899i
15.
 
Nikon P7800 119 mm 78 mm 50 mm 399 g 350 n Sep 2013 549i
16.
 
Olympus XZ-2 113 mm 65 mm 48 mm 346 g 340 n Sep 2012 599i
17.
 
Panasonic LF1 103 mm 62 mm 28 mm 192 g 250 n Apr 2013 499 i
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 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 MX-1 was launched at a lower price than the 30D, despite having a lens built in. 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.

Sensor comparison

The size of the sensor inside a digital camera is one of the key determinants of image quality. All other things equal, a large sensor will have larger individual pixel-units that offer better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and 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 are more costly to manufacture and tend to lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.

Of the two cameras under consideration, the Canon 30D features an APS-C sensor and the Pentax MX-1 a 1/1.7-inch sensor. The sensor area in the MX-1 is 87 percent smaller. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 1.6 and 4.5. The sensor in the 30D has a native 3:2 aspect ratio, while the one in the MX-1 offers a 4:3 aspect.

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

Canon 30D and Pentax MX-1 sensor measures

Despite having a smaller sensor, the MX-1 offers a higher resolution of 12 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 1.89μm versus 6.42μm for the 30D). However, it should be noted that the MX-1 is much more recent (by 6 years and 10 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 Pentax MX-1 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the MX-1 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 20 x 15 inches or 50.8 x 38.1 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 16 x 12 inches or 40.6 x 30.5 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 13.3 x 10 inches or 33.9 x 25.4 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 Pentax MX-1 are ISO 100 to ISO 12800 (no boost).

30D versus MX-1 MP

Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for many cameras. 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 MX-1 (overall score 10 points higher), which gives it an advantage in terms of imaging quality. This advantage is based on 1.1 bits higher color depth, 0.5 EV of lower dynamic range, and 1.8 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.

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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.
 
Pentax MX-1 1/1.7 12.0 4000 30001080/30p20.411.320849
3.
 
Canon 70D APS-C 20.0 5472 36481080/30p22.511.692668
4.
 
Canon G16 1/1.7 12.0 4000 30001080/60p21.011.723054
5.
 
Canon G15 1/1.7 12.0 4000 30001080/24p19.911.516546
6.
 
Canon 60D APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p22.211.581366
7.
 
Canon 7D APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p22.011.785466
8.
 
Canon 50D APS-C 15.1 4752 3168none21.811.469663
9.
 
Canon 40D APS-C 10.1 3888 2592none22.111.370364
10.
 
Canon XTi APS-C 10.1 3888 2592none22.111.066462
11.
 
Canon XT APS-C 8.0 3456 2304none21.810.863760
12.
 
Canon 20D APS-C 8.2 3504 2336none21.911.072162
13.
 
Canon 10D APS-C 6.3 3072 2048none21.110.957157
14.
 
Canon Rebel APS-C 6.3 3072 2048none21.010.854455
15.
 
Nikon P7800 1/1.7 12.0 4000 30001080/30p21.211.720054
16.
 
Olympus XZ-2 1/1.7 11.8 3968 29761080/30p20.411.321649
17.
 
Panasonic LF1 1/1.7 12.0 4000 30001080/60i20.811.621152

Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. The MX-1 indeed provides for movie recording, while the 30D does not. The highest resolution format that the MX-1 can use is 1080/30p.

Feature comparison

Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the 30D has an optical viewfinder, which can be very useful when shooting in bright sunlight. In contrast, the MX-1 relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. The adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Canon 30D and Pentax MX-1 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
Specifications
(inch/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 Y2.5 / 230 fixed n 1/8000s 5.0 Y n
2.
 
Pentax MX-1none n3.0 / 920 tilting n 1/8000s 1.0 Y Y
3.
 
Canon 70Doptical Y3.0 / 1040 swivel Y 1/8000s 7.0 Y n
4.
 
Canon G16optical n3.0 / 922 fixed n 1/4000s 2.2 Y Y
5.
 
Canon G15optical n3.0 / 922 fixed n 1/4000s 2.1 Y Y
6.
 
Canon 60Doptical Y3.0 / 1040 swivel n 1/8000s 5.3 Y n
7.
 
Canon 7Doptical Y3.0 / 920 fixed n 1/8000s 8.0 Y n
8.
 
Canon 50Doptical Y3.0 / 920 fixed n 1/8000s 6.3 Y n
9.
 
Canon 40Doptical Y3.0 / 230 fixed n 1/8000s 6.5 Y n
10.
 
Canon XTioptical n2.5 / 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
11.
 
Canon XToptical n1.8 / 115 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
12.
 
Canon 20Doptical Y1.8 / 118 fixed n 1/8000s 5.0 Y n
13.
 
Canon 10Doptical Y1.8 / 118 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
14.
 
Canon Rebeloptical n1.8 / 118 fixed n 1/4000s 2.5 Y n
15.
 
Nikon P7800921 n3.0 / 921 swivel n 1/4000s 8.0 Y Y
16.
 
Olympus XZ-2optional n3.0 / 920 tilting Y 1/2000s 5.0 Y Y
17.
 
Panasonic LF1200 n3.0 / 920 fixed n 1/4000s 10.0 Y Y

One feature that is present on the 30D, but is missing on the MX-1 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 30D writes its imaging data to Compact Flash cards, while the MX-1 uses SDXC 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 30D and Pentax MX-1 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 30DY- / ----2.0---
2.
 
Pentax MX-1-stereo / mono--mini2.0---
3.
 
Canon 70DYstereo / monoY-mini2.0Y--
4.
 
Canon G16Ystereo / mono--mini2.0Y--
5.
 
Canon G15Ystereo / mono--mini2.0---
6.
 
Canon 60DYmono / monoY-mini2.0---
7.
 
Canon 7DYmono / -Y-mini2.0---
8.
 
Canon 50DY- / ---mini2.0---
9.
 
Canon 40DY- / ----2.0---
10.
 
Canon XTiY- / ----2.0---
11.
 
Canon XTY- / ----2.0---
12.
 
Canon 20DY- / ----1.1---
13.
 
Canon 10DY- / ----1.1---
14.
 
Canon RebelY- / ----1.1---
15.
 
Nikon P7800Ystereo / monoY-mini2.0---
16.
 
Olympus XZ-2Ystereo / mono--mini2.0---
17.
 
Panasonic LF1-stereo / mono--mini2.0YY-

It is notable that the 30D has a hotshoe, while the MX-1 does not. This socket makes it possible to easily attach optional accessories, such as an external flash gun.

Studio photographers will appreciate that the Canon 30D (unlike the MX-1) features a PC Sync socket, so that professional strobe lights can be controlled by the camera.

Both the 30D and the MX-1 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The 30D was replaced by the Canon 40D, while the MX-1 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 Pentax websites.

Review summary

So how do things add up? Is there a clear favorite between the Canon 30D and the Pentax MX-1? Which camera is better? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.

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Arguments in favor of the Canon EOS 30D:

  • Better image quality: Scores markedly higher (10 points) in the DXO overall assessment.
  • Richer colors: Generates images with noticeably better colors (1.1 bits more color depth).
  • Better low-light sensitivity: Requires less light for good images (1.8 stops ISO advantage).
  • Easier framing: Has an optical viewfinder for image composition and settings control.
  • Easier setting verification: Features an LCD display on top to control shooting parameters.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (5 vs 1 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • More flexible: Can take a variety of interchangeable lenses, including specialty optics.
  • Longer lasting: Can take more shots (750 versus 290) on a single battery charge.
  • Better lighting: Features a hotshoe and can thus hold and trigger an external flash gun.
  • 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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Advantages of the Pentax MX-1:

  • More detail: Has more megapixels (12 vs 8.2MP), which boosts linear resolution by 19%.
  • Broader imaging potential: Can capture not only stills but also 1080/30p video.
  • Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.0" vs 2.5") for image review and settings control.
  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (920k vs 230k dots).
  • More flexible LCD: Has a tilting screen for odd-angle shots in landscape orientation.
  • Ready to shoot: Comes with an integrated lens, while the 30D requires a separate lens.
  • More compact: Is smaller (122x61mm vs 144x106mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
  • Less heavy: Has a lower weight even though it has a lens built in (unlike the 30D).
  • Sharper images: Has stabilization technology built-in to reduce the impact of hand-shake.
  • More affordable: Was introduced at a lower price, despite coming with a built-in lens.
  • More modern: Reflects 6 years and 10 months of technical progress since the 30D launch.

If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the match-up finishes in a tie (11 points each). However, the pertinence of the various camera strengths will differ across photographers, so that you might want to weigh individual camera traits according to their importance for your own imaging needs before making a camera decision. 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.

30D 11:11 MX-1

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Canon 30D and the Pentax MX-1 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best DSLR Camera and Best Travel-Zoom Camera listings 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 incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the 30D or the MX-1 perform in practice. 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 where reviews by experts come in. The table below provides a synthesis of the camera assessments of some of the best known photo-gear 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 30D..+ +..+ +o.. Feb 2006 1,399i
2.
 
Pentax MX-13/5....74/1004/54/5 Jan 2013 499i
3.
 
Canon 70D5/5+ +..83/1004.5/55/5 Jul 2013 1,199i
4.
 
Canon G164/5+....4.5/54.5/5 Aug 2013 549 i
5.
 
Canon G154/5+..76/1004.5/54.5/5 Sep 2012 499i
6.
 
Canon 60D5/5+..79/1004/54.5/5 Aug 2010 1,399i
7.
 
Canon 7D5/5+ +..84/1004.5/54.5/5 Sep 2009 1,699i
8.
 
Canon 50D..+ +..+ +4.5/54.5/5 Aug 2008 1,299i
9.
 
Canon 40D..+ +..+ +4.5/54.5/5 Aug 2007 1,299i
10.
 
Canon XTi..+ +..+ +o4/5 Aug 2006 799i
11.
 
Canon XT..80/100..+ +o.. Feb 2005 899i
12.
 
Canon 20D......+ +.... Aug 2004 1,499i
13.
 
Canon 10D......+ +.... Feb 2003 1,999i
14.
 
Canon Rebel......+ +.... Aug 2003 899i
15.
 
Nikon P78003/5......4/54.5/5 Sep 2013 549i
16.
 
Olympus XZ-24/5+....4.5/54.5/5 Sep 2012 599i
17.
 
Panasonic LF13/5+....4/54.5/5 Apr 2013 499 i
Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.

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. Hence, a score should always be seen in the context of the camera's market launch date and its price, and comparisons of ratings among very different cameras or across long time periods have little meaning. Also, please note that some of the review sites have changed their methodology and reporting over time.

Canon 30D:
Check Ebay offers
Pentax MX-1:
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. 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 Pentax MX-1

    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 Pentax MX-1
    Camera Type Digital single lens reflex Fixed lens compact camera
    Camera Lens Canon EF mount lenses 28-112mm f/1.8-2.5
    Launch Date February 2006 January 2013
    Launch Price USD 1,399 USD 499
    Sensor Specs Canon 30D Pentax MX-1
    Sensor Technology CMOS CMOS
    Sensor Format APS-C Sensor 1/1.7" Sensor
    Sensor Size 22.5 x 15.0 mm 7.6 x 5.7 mm
    Sensor Area 337.5 mm2 43.32 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 27 mm 9.5 mm
    Crop Factor 1.6x 4.5x
    Sensor Resolution 8.2 Megapixels 12 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 3504 x 2336 pixels 4000 x 3000 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 6.42 μm 1.89 μm
    Pixel Density 2.43 MP/cm2 27.70 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability no Video 1080/30p Video
    ISO Setting 100 - 1,600 ISO 100 - 12,800 ISO
    ISO Boost 100 - 3,200 ISO no Enhancement
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) 59 49
    DXO Color Depth (bits) 21.5 20.4
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) 10.8 11.3
    DXO Low Light (ISO) 736 208
    Screen Specs Canon 30D Pentax MX-1
    Viewfinder Type Optical viewfinder no viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 95%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.56x
    Top-Level Screen Control Panel no Top Display
    LCD Framing Live View
    Rear LCD Size 2.5inch 3.0inch
    LCD Resolution 230k dots 920k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen Tilting screen
    Shooting Specs Canon 30D Pentax MX-1
    Focus System Phase-detect AF Contrast-detect AF
    Continuous Shooting 5 shutter flaps/s 1 shutter flaps/s
    Image StabilizationLens stabilization onlyIn-body stabilization
    Fill Flash Built-in Flash Built-in Flash
    Storage Medium CF cards SDXC cards
    Second Storage Option Single card slot Single card slot
    Connectivity Specs Canon 30D Pentax MX-1
    External Flash Hotshoe no Hotshoe
    Studio Flash PC Sync socket no PC Sync
    USB Connector USB 2.0 USB 2.0
    HDMI Port no HDMI mini HDMI
    Wifi Support no Wifi no Wifi
    Body Specs Canon 30D Pentax MX-1
    Battery Type BP-511A D-LI106
    Battery Life (CIPA)750 shots per charge290 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 144 x 106 x 74 mm
    (5.7 x 4.2 x 2.9 in)
    122 x 61 x 51 mm
    (4.8 x 2.4 x 2.0 in)
    Camera Weight 785 g (27.7 oz) 391 g (13.8 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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