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Canon 400D vs Olympus E-3

The Canon EOS 400D (called Canon XTi in some regions) and the Olympus E-3 are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in August 2006 and October 2007. Both are DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras that are based on an APS-C (400D) and a Four Thirds (E-3) sensor. The Canon has a resolution of 10.1 megapixels, whereas the Olympus provides 10 MP.

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

Headline Specifications
Canon 400D versus Olympus E-3
Canon 400D Olympus E-3
Digital single lens reflex Digital single lens reflex
Canon EF mount lenses Four Thirds lenses
10.1 MP, APS-C Sensor 10 MP, Four Thirds Sensor
no Video no Video
ISO 100-1,600 ISO 100-3,200
Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
2.5 LCD, 230k dots 2.5 LCD, 230k dots
Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive) Swivel screen (not touch-sensitive)
3 shutter flaps per second 5 shutter flaps per second
Lens stabilization onlyIn-body stabilization
not weather sealedWeathersealed body
370 shots per battery charge750 shots per battery charge
127 x 84 x 65 mm, 556 g 142 x 116 x 75 mm, 876 g

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Canon EOS 400D and the Olympus E-3? 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 400D and the Olympus E-3 is provided in the side-by-side display below. 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 width, height and depth measures are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

Size Canon 400D vs Olympus E-3
Compare 400D versus E-3 top
Comparison 400D or E-3 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Olympus E-3 is considerably larger (54 percent) than the Canon 400D. Moreover, the E-3 is substantially heavier (58 percent) than the 400D. It is noteworthy in this context that the E-3 is splash and dust-proof, while the 400D 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 (400D) and the Four Thirds Lens Catalog (E-3).

Concerning battery life, the 400D gets 370 shots out of its NB-2LH battery, while the E-3 can take 750 images on a single charge of its BLM-1 power pack.

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, 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 400D 127 mm 84 mm 65 mm 556 g 370 n Aug 2006 799i
2.
 
Olympus E-3 142 mm 116 mm 75 mm 876 g 750 Y Oct 2007 1,699i
3.
 
Canon 750D 132 mm 101 mm 78 mm 555 g 440 n Feb 2015 749i
4.
 
Canon 760D 132 mm 101 mm 78 mm 565 g 440 n Feb 2015 649i
5.
 
Canon 650D 133 mm 100 mm 79 mm 575 g 440 n Jun 2012 849i
6.
 
Canon 1100D 130 mm 100 mm 78 mm 495 g 700 n Feb 2011 449i
7.
 
Canon 550D 129 mm 98 mm 62 mm 530 g 440 n Feb 2010 699i
8.
 
Canon 500D 129 mm 98 mm 62 mm 520 g 400 n Mar 2009 799i
9.
 
Canon 450D 129 mm 98 mm 62 mm 524 g 500 n Jan 2008 799i
10.
 
Canon 40D 146 mm 108 mm 74 mm 822 g 750 n Aug 2007 1,299i
11.
 
Canon 350D 127 mm 94 mm 64 mm 540 g 400 n Feb 2005 899i
12.
 
Nikon D40X 124 mm 94 mm 64 mm 522 g 520 n Mar 2007 729i
13.
 
Olympus E-5 142 mm 117 mm 75 mm 873 g 750 Y Sep 2010 1,699i
14.
 
Olympus E-30 142 mm 108 mm 75 mm 701 g 750 n Nov 2008 1,299i
15.
 
Olympus E-520 136 mm 92 mm 68 mm 535 g 750 n May 2008 699i
16.
 
Olympus E-510 136 mm 92 mm 68 mm 538 g 750 n Mar 2007 799i
17.
 
Olympus E-1 141 mm 104 mm 81 mm 738 g 750 Y Jun 2003 1,699i
Notes: 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 400D was launched at a markedly lower price (by 53 percent) than the E-3, which puts it into a different market segment. Normally, street prices remain initially close to the MSRP, but after a couple of months, the first discounts appear. 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.

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Sensor comparison

The size of the imaging sensor is a crucial determinant 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.

Of the two cameras under consideration, the Canon 400D features an APS-C sensor and the Olympus E-3 a Four Thirds sensor. The sensor area in the E-3 is 32 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 400D has a native 3:2 aspect ratio, while the one in the E-3 offers a 4:3 aspect.

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

Canon 400D and Olympus E-3 sensor measures

With 10.1MP, the 400D offers a slightly higher resolution than the E-3 (10MP), but the 400D nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 5.71μm versus 4.74μm for the E-3) due to its larger sensor. However, the E-3 is a somewhat more recent model (by 1 year and 1 month) than the 400D, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time that enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixels.

The Canon EOS 400D has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 1600. The corresponding ISO settings for the Olympus E-3 are ISO 100 to ISO 3200 (no boost).

400D versus E-3 MP

Since 2007, DXO Mark has published sensor performance measurements that have been derived using a consistent methodology. This service is based on lab testing and assigns an overall score to each camera sensor, as well as ratings for dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), color depth ("DXO Portrait"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"). Of the two cameras under review, the 400D has a notably higher overall DXO score than the E-3 (overall score 6 points higher), which gives it an advantage in terms of imaging quality. This advantage is based on 0.5 bits higher color depth, 0.5 EV in additional dynamic range, and 0.2 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 400D APS-C 10.1 3888 2592none22.111.066462
2.
 
Olympus E-3 Four Thirds 10.0 3648 2736none21.610.557156
3.
 
Canon 750D APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/30p22.712.091971
4.
 
Canon 760D APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/30p22.612.091570
5.
 
Canon 650D APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p21.711.272262
6.
 
Canon 1100D APS-C 12.2 4272 2848720/30p21.911.075562
7.
 
Canon 550D APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p22.111.578466
8.
 
Canon 500D APS-C 15.1 4752 31681080/20p21.711.566363
9.
 
Canon 450D APS-C 12.2 4272 2848none21.910.869261
10.
 
Canon 40D APS-C 10.1 3888 2592none22.111.370364
11.
 
Canon 350D APS-C 8.0 3456 2304none21.810.863760
12.
 
Nikon D40X APS-C 10.0 3872 2592none22.411.451663
13.
 
Olympus E-5 Four Thirds 12.2 4032 3024720/30p21.610.551956
14.
 
Olympus E-30 Four Thirds 12.2 4032 3024none21.310.453055
15.
 
Olympus E-520 Four Thirds 10.0 3648 2736none21.410.454855
16.
 
Olympus E-510 Four Thirds 10.0 3648 2736none21.210.044252
17.
 
Olympus E-1 Four Thirds 4.9 2560 1920none........
The E-3 offers Live View, so that it can project the live image that the sensor receives onto the rear screen for framing. The 400D 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 400D and the E-3 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-3 offers a wider field of view (100%) than the one in the 400D (95%), so that a larger proportion of the captured image is visible in the finder. In addition, the viewfinder of the E-3 has a higher magnification (0.58x vs 0.49x), 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 400D and Olympus E-3 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
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 400Doptical n 2.5 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
2.
 
Olympus E-3optical Y 2.5 230 swivel n 1/8000s 5.0 Y Y
3.
 
Canon 750Doptical n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 1/4000s 5.0 Y n
4.
 
Canon 760Doptical Y 3.0 1040 swivel Y 1/4000s 5.0 Y n
5.
 
Canon 650Doptical n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 1/4000s 5.0 Y n
6.
 
Canon 1100Doptical n 2.7 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
7.
 
Canon 550Doptical n 3.0 1040 fixed n 1/4000s 3.7 Y n
8.
 
Canon 500Doptical n 3.0 920 fixed n 1/4000s 3.4 Y n
9.
 
Canon 450Doptical n 3.0 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.5 Y n
10.
 
Canon 40Doptical Y 3.0 230 fixed n 1/8000s 6.5 Y n
11.
 
Canon 350Doptical n 1.8 115 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
12.
 
Nikon D40Xoptical n 2.5 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
13.
 
Olympus E-5optical Y 3.0 920 swivel n 1/8000s 5.0 Y Y
14.
 
Olympus E-30optical Y 2.7 230 swivel n 1/8000s 5.0 Y Y
15.
 
Olympus E-520optical n 2.7 215 fixed n 1/4000s 3.5 Y Y
16.
 
Olympus E-510optical n 2.5 215 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y Y
17.
 
Olympus E-1optical Y 1.8 134 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 n n

One feature that differentiates the E-3 and the 400D is in-body image stabilization (IBIS). The E-3 reduces the risk of handshake-induced blur with all attached lenses, while the 400D offers no blur reduction with lenses that themselves do not provide optical image stabilization.

The E-3 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 400D does not have a selfie-screen.

The 400D writes its imaging data to Compact Flash cards, while the E-3 uses Compact Flash or xD Picture cards. The E-3 features dual card slots, which can be very useful in case a memory card fails. In contrast, the 400D 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 400D and Olympus E-3 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 400DY-----2.0---
2.
 
Olympus E-3Y-----2.0---
3.
 
Canon 750DYstereomonoY-mini2.0YY-
4.
 
Canon 760DYstereomonoY-mini2.0YY-
5.
 
Canon 650DYstereomonoY-mini2.0---
6.
 
Canon 1100DYstereomono--mini2.0---
7.
 
Canon 550DYstereo-Y-mini2.0---
8.
 
Canon 500DYmonomono--mini2.0---
9.
 
Canon 450DY----mini2.0---
10.
 
Canon 40DY-----2.0---
11.
 
Canon 350DY-----2.0---
12.
 
Nikon D40XY-----2.0---
13.
 
Olympus E-5Ystereo---mini2.0---
14.
 
Olympus E-30Y-----2.0---
15.
 
Olympus E-520Y-----2.0---
16.
 
Olympus E-510Y-----2.0---
17.
 
Olympus E-1Y-----2.0---

Studio photographers will appreciate that the Olympus E-3 (unlike the 400D) features a PC Sync socket, so that professional strobe lights can be controlled by the camera.

Both the 400D and the E-3 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The 400D was replaced by the Canon 450D, while the E-3 was followed by the Olympus E-5. 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? Is the Canon 400D better than the Olympus E-3 or vice versa? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.

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Advantages of the Canon EOS 400D:

  • Better image quality: Scores markedly higher (6 points) in the DXO overall assessment.
  • More compact: Is smaller (127x84mm vs 142x116mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
  • Less heavy: Is lighter (by 320g or 37 percent) and hence easier to carry around.
  • More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (53 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in August 2006).

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Reasons to prefer the Olympus E-3:

  • More complete view: Has a viewfinder with a larger field of view (100% vs 95%).
  • Larger viewfinder image: Features a viewfinder with a higher magnification (0.58x vs 0.49x).
  • Easier setting verification: Features a control panel on top to check shooting parameters.
  • 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.
  • Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/8000s vs 1/4000s) to freeze action.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (5 vs 3 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • Longer lasting: Gets more shots (750 versus 370) out of a single battery charge.
  • Better sealing: Is splash and dust sealed for shooting in inclement weather conditions.
  • Sharper images: Has stabilization technology built-in to reduce the impact of hand-shake.
  • 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: Was introduced somewhat (1 year and 1 month) more recently.

If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the E-3 is the clear winner of the contest (13 : 5 points). 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 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.

400D 05:13 E-3

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Canon 400D and the Olympus E-3 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 partial and cannot reveal, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance when actually working with the 400D or the E-3. 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 table below provides a synthesis of the camera assessments of some of the best known photo-gear 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 400D..+ ++ +o4/5 Aug 2006 799i
2.
 
Olympus E-3..88/100+ +o4/5 Oct 2007 1,699i
3.
 
Canon 750D5/5..75/1004.5/54.5/5 Feb 2015 749i
4.
 
Canon 760D5/5+77/1004.5/54.5/5 Feb 2015 649i
5.
 
Canon 650D4/5+ +77/1004.5/54.5/5 Jun 2012 849i
6.
 
Canon 1100D..80/10069/1004/54.5/5 Feb 2011 449i
7.
 
Canon 550D..+ +77/1004/54.5/5 Feb 2010 699i
8.
 
Canon 500D..+ +74/1004.5/54.5/5 Mar 2009 799i
9.
 
Canon 450D..+ ++ +4/54.5/5 Jan 2008 799i
10.
 
Canon 40D..+ ++ +4.5/54.5/5 Aug 2007 1,299i
11.
 
Canon 350D..80/100+ +o.. Feb 2005 899i
12.
 
Nikon D40X..79/100+ +4/54/5 Mar 2007 729i
13.
 
Olympus E-54/5..75/1004/54.5/5 Sep 2010 1,699i
14.
 
Olympus E-30....71/1004.5/54/5 Nov 2008 1,299i
15.
 
Olympus E-520..87/100+ +4.5/54.5/5 May 2008 699i
16.
 
Olympus E-510..89/100+ +3.5/54.5/5 Mar 2007 799i
17.
 
Olympus E-1....+o.. Jun 2003 1,699i
Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.

The review scores listed above should be treated with care, though. The assessments were made in relation to similar cameras of the same technological generation. 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. It should also be noted that some of the review sites have over time altered the way they render their verdicts.

Canon 400D:
Check Ebay offers
Olympus E-3:
Check Ebay offers

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 your choice using the following search menu. 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 400D vs Olympus E-3

    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 400D Olympus E-3
    Camera Type Digital single lens reflex Digital single lens reflex
    Camera Lens Canon EF mount lenses Four Thirds lenses
    Launch Date August 2006 October 2007
    Launch Price USD 799 USD 1,699
    Sensor Specs Canon 400D Olympus E-3
    Sensor Technology CMOS CMOS
    Sensor Format APS-C Sensor Four Thirds Sensor
    Sensor Size 22.2 x 14.8 mm 17.3 x 13.0 mm
    Sensor Area 328.56 mm2 224.9 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 26.7 mm 21.6 mm
    Crop Factor 1.6x 2.0x
    Sensor Resolution 10.1 Megapixels 10 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 3888 x 2592 pixels 3648 x 2736 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 5.71 μm 4.74 μm
    Pixel Density 3.07 MP/cm2 4.44 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
    Image Processor DIGIC II TruePic III
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) 62 56
    DXO Color Depth (bits) 22.1 21.6
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) 11.0 10.5
    DXO Low Light (ISO) 664 571
    Screen Specs Canon 400D Olympus E-3
    Viewfinder Type Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 95% 100%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.49x 0.58x
    Top-Level Screen no Top Display Control Panel
    LCD Framing Live View
    Rear LCD Size 2.5inch 2.5inch
    LCD Resolution 230k dots 230k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen Swivel screen
    Shooting Specs Canon 400D Olympus E-3
    Focus System Phase-detect AF Phase-detect AF
    Continuous Shooting 3 shutter flaps/s 5 shutter flaps/s
    Shutter Life Expectancy50 000 actuations150 000 actuations
    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 400D Olympus E-3
    External Flash Hotshoe Hotshoe
    Studio Flash no PC Sync PC Sync socket
    USB Connector USB 2.0 USB 2.0
    HDMI Port no HDMI no HDMI
    Wifi Support no Wifi no Wifi
    Body Specs Canon 400D Olympus E-3
    Environmental Sealingnot weather sealedWeathersealed body
    Battery Type NB-2LH BLM-1
    Battery Life (CIPA)370 shots per charge750 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 127 x 84 x 65 mm
    (5.0 x 3.3 x 2.6 in)
    142 x 116 x 75 mm
    (5.6 x 4.6 x 3.0 in)
    Camera Weight 556 g (19.6 oz) 876 g (30.9 oz)

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