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Canon 40D vs Leica X Vario

The Canon EOS 40D and the Leica X Vario (Typ 107) are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in August 2007 and June 2013. The 40D is a DSLR, while the X Vario is a fixed lens compact. Both cameras are equipped with an APS-C sensor. The Canon has a resolution of 10.1 megapixels, whereas the Leica provides 16.1 MP.

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

Headline Specifications
Canon 40D
versus
Leica X Vario
Canon 40D   Leica X Vario
Digital single lens reflex Fixed lens compact camera
Canon EF mount lenses 28-70mm f/3.5-6.4
10.1 MP, APS-C Sensor 16.1 MP, APS-C Sensor
no Video 1080/30p Video
ISO 100-1,600 (100 - 3,200) ISO 100-12,500
Optical viewfinder Viewfinder optional
3.0 LCD, 230k dots 3.0 LCD, 920k dots
Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive) Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)
6.5 shutter flaps per second 5 shutter flaps per second
750 shots per battery charge450 shots per battery charge
146 x 108 x 74 mm, 822 g 133 x 73 x 95 mm, 680 g

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Canon EOS 40D and the Leica X Vario (Typ 107)? 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

The side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size and weight of the Canon 40D and the Leica X Vario. 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.

The X Vario can be obtained in two different colors (black, silver), while the 40D is only available in black.

Size Canon 40D vs Leica X Vario
Compare 40D versus X Vario top
Comparison 40D or X Vario rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Leica X Vario is considerably smaller (38 percent) than the Canon 40D. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the 40D nor the X Vario are weather-sealed.

The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the X Vario has a lens built in, whereas the 40D 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 40D and their specifications in the Canon EF Lens Catalog.

Concerning battery life, the 40D gets 750 shots out of its BP-511A battery, while the X Vario can take 450 images on a single charge of its BP-DC8 power pack.

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 40D 146 mm 108 mm 74 mm 822 g 750 n Aug 2007 1,299i
2.
 
Leica X Vario 133 mm 73 mm 95 mm 680 g 450 n Jun 2013 2,850i
3.
 
Canon 70D 139 mm 104 mm 79 mm 755 g 920 Y Jul 2013 1,199i
4.
 
Canon 1100D 130 mm 100 mm 78 mm 495 g 700 n Feb 2011 449i
5.
 
Canon 60D 145 mm 106 mm 79 mm 755 g 1100 Y Aug 2010 1,399i
6.
 
Canon 50D 146 mm 108 mm 74 mm 822 g 800 Y Aug 2008 1,299i
7.
 
Canon 450D 129 mm 98 mm 62 mm 524 g 500 n Jan 2008 799i
8.
 
Canon 30D 144 mm 106 mm 74 mm 785 g 750 n Feb 2006 1,399i
9.
 
Canon 400D 127 mm 84 mm 65 mm 556 g 370 n Aug 2006 799i
10.
 
Canon 20D 144 mm 106 mm 72 mm 770 g 700 n Aug 2004 1,499i
11.
 
Leica Q Typ 116 130 mm 80 mm 93 mm 640 g 300 n Jun 2015 4,249i
12.
 
Leica X Typ 113 133 mm 73 mm 78 mm 486 g 350 n Sep 2014 2,295i
13.
 
Nikon Df 144 mm 110 mm 67 mm 760 g 1400 Y Nov 2013 2,749i
14.
 
Nikon D90 132 mm 103 mm 77 mm 703 g 850 n Aug 2008 1,299i
15.
 
Olympus E-30 142 mm 108 mm 75 mm 701 g 750 n Nov 2008 1,299i
16.
 
Panasonic FZ1000 137 mm 99 mm 131 mm 831 g 360 n Jun 2014 899i
17.
 
Sony RX1R 113 mm 65 mm 70 mm 482 g 270 n Jun 2013 2,799i
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 listed launch prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. 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. 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 tend to be more expensive and 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 X Vario is 12 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have format factors, respectively, of 1.6 (40D) and 1.5. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.

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

Canon 40D and Leica X Vario sensor measures

With 16.1MP, the X Vario offers a higher resolution than the 40D (10.1MP), but the X Vario has smaller individual pixels (pixel pitch of 4.80μm versus 5.73μm for the 40D). Yet, the X Vario is a much more recent model (by 5 years and 9 months) than the 40D, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixel-units.

The resolution advantage of the Leica X Vario implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the X Vario for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 24.6 x 16.4 inches or 62.6 x 41.6 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 19.7 x 13.1 inches or 50.1 x 33.2 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 16.4 x 10.9 inches or 41.7 x 27.7 cm. The corresponding values for the Canon 40D are 19.4 x 13 inches or 49.4 x 32.9 cm for good quality, 15.6 x 10.4 inches or 39.5 x 26.3 cm for very good quality, and 13 x 8.6 inches or 32.9 x 21.9 cm for excellent quality prints.

The Canon EOS 40D 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 Leica X Vario (Typ 107) are ISO 100 to ISO 12500 (no boost).

40D versus X Vario MP

For many cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. 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 consideration, the X Vario offers substantially better image quality than the 40D (overall score 14 points higher). The advantage is based on 1.3 bits higher color depth, 1.4 EV in additional dynamic range, and 0.9 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 40D APS-C 10.1 3888 2592none22.111.370364
2.
 
Leica X Vario APS-C 16.1 4928 32721080/30p23.412.7132078
3.
 
Canon 70D APS-C 20.0 5472 36481080/30p22.511.692668
4.
 
Canon 1100D APS-C 12.2 4272 2848720/30p21.911.075562
5.
 
Canon 60D APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p22.211.581366
6.
 
Canon 50D APS-C 15.1 4752 3168none21.811.469663
7.
 
Canon 450D APS-C 12.2 4272 2848none21.910.869261
8.
 
Canon 30D APS-C 8.2 3504 2336none21.510.873659
9.
 
Canon 400D APS-C 10.1 3888 2592none22.111.066462
10.
 
Canon 20D APS-C 8.2 3504 2336none21.911.072162
11.
 
Leica Q Typ 116 Full Frame 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.312.7222185
12.
 
Leica X Typ 113 APS-C 16.1 4928 32641080/30p23.612.8149178
13.
 
Nikon Df Full Frame 16.2 4928 3280none24.613.1327989
14.
 
Nikon D90 APS-C 12.2 4288 2848720/24p22.712.597773
15.
 
Olympus E-30 Four Thirds 12.2 4032 3024none21.310.453055
16.
 
Panasonic FZ1000 1-inch 20.0 5472 36484K/30p22.111.751764
17.
 
Sony RX1R Full Frame 24.0 6000 40001080/60p25.013.6253791
Note: DXO values in italics represent estimates based on sensor size and age.

Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but also of capturing video footage. The X Vario indeed provides for movie recording, while the 40D does not. The highest resolution format that the X Vario can use is 1080/30p.

Feature comparison

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. For example, the 40D has an optical viewfinder, which can be very useful when shooting in bright sunlight. In contrast, the X Vario relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. That said, the X Vario can be equipped with an optional viewfinder – the EVF 2. The adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Canon 40D and Leica X Vario 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 40Doptical Y3.0 / 230 fixed n 1/8000s 6.5 Y n
2.
 
Leica X Variooptional n3.0 / 920 fixed n 1/2000s 5.0 Y n
3.
 
Canon 70Doptical Y3.0 / 1040 swivel Y 1/8000s 7.0 Y n
4.
 
Canon 1100Doptical n2.7 / 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
5.
 
Canon 60Doptical Y3.0 / 1040 swivel n 1/8000s 5.3 Y n
6.
 
Canon 50Doptical Y3.0 / 920 fixed n 1/8000s 6.3 Y n
7.
 
Canon 450Doptical n3.0 / 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.5 Y n
8.
 
Canon 30Doptical Y2.5 / 230 fixed n 1/8000s 5.0 Y n
9.
 
Canon 400Doptical n2.5 / 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
10.
 
Canon 20Doptical Y1.8 / 118 fixed n 1/8000s 5.0 Y n
11.
 
Leica Q Typ 1163680 n3.0 / 1040 fixed Y 1/2000s 10.0 n Y
12.
 
Leica X Typ 113optional n3.0 / 920 fixed n 1/2000s 5.0 Y n
13.
 
Nikon Dfoptical Y3.2 / 921 fixed n 1/4000s 5.5 n n
14.
 
Nikon D90optical Y3.0 / 920 fixed n 1/4000s 4.5 Y n
15.
 
Olympus E-30optical Y2.7 / 230 swivel n 1/8000s 5.0 Y Y
16.
 
Panasonic FZ10002359 n3.0 / 921 swivel n 1/4000s 12.0 Y Y
17.
 
Sony RX1Roptional n3.0 / 1229 fixed n 1/4000s 5.0 Y n

One feature that is present on the 40D, but is missing on the X Vario 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 40D writes its imaging data to Compact Flash cards, while the X Vario 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 40D and Leica X Vario (Typ 107) 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 40DY- / ----2.0---
2.
 
Leica X VarioYstereo / mono--mini2.0---
3.
 
Canon 70DYstereo / monoY-mini2.0Y--
4.
 
Canon 1100DYstereo / mono--mini2.0---
5.
 
Canon 60DYmono / monoY-mini2.0---
6.
 
Canon 50DY- / ---mini2.0---
7.
 
Canon 450DY- / ---mini2.0---
8.
 
Canon 30DY- / ----2.0---
9.
 
Canon 400DY- / ----2.0---
10.
 
Canon 20DY- / ----1.1---
11.
 
Leica Q Typ 116Ystereo / mono--micro2.0YY-
12.
 
Leica X Typ 113Ystereo / mono--mini2.0---
13.
 
Nikon DfY- / ---mini2.0---
14.
 
Nikon D90Ymono / mono--mini2.0---
15.
 
Olympus E-30Y- / ----2.0---
16.
 
Panasonic FZ1000Ystereo / monoY-micro2.0YY-
17.
 
Sony RX1RYstereo / monoY-mini2.0---

Studio photographers will appreciate that the Canon 40D (unlike the X Vario) features a PC Sync socket, so that professional strobe lights can be controlled by the camera.

Both the 40D and the X Vario have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The 40D was replaced by the Canon 50D, while the X Vario 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 Leica websites.

Review summary

So how do things add up? Is there a clear favorite between the Canon 40D and the Leica X Vario? Which camera is better? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.

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Advantages of the Canon EOS 40D:

  • 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 shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/8000s vs 1/2000s) to freeze action.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (6.5 vs 5 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 450) on a single battery charge.
  • 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 August 2007).

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Arguments in favor of the Leica X Vario (Typ 107):

  • More detail: Has more megapixels (16.1 vs 10.1MP), which boosts linear resolution by 27%.
  • Better image quality: Scores substantially higher (14 points) in the DXO overall evaluation.
  • Richer colors: Generates noticeably more natural colors (1.3 bits more color depth).
  • More dynamic range: Captures a broader range of light and dark details (1.4 EV of extra DR).
  • Better low-light sensitivity: Can shoot in dim conditions (0.9 stops ISO advantage).
  • Broader imaging potential: Can capture not only stills but also 1080/30p video.
  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (920k vs 230k dots).
  • Ready to shoot: Comes with an integrated lens, while the 40D requires a separate lens.
  • More compact: Is smaller (133x73mm vs 146x108mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
  • Less heavy: Has a lower weight even though it has a lens built in (unlike the 40D).
  • More prestigious: Has the Leica luxury appeal, which ensures a high resale value.
  • More modern: Reflects 5 years and 9 months of technical progress since the 40D launch.

If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the X Vario is the clear winner of the contest (12 : 8 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. 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.

40D 08:12 X Vario

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Canon 40D and the Leica X Vario 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 says little about, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance of the 40D and the X Vario in practical situations. User reviews, such as those found at amazon, can sometimes inform about these issues, but such feedback is often incomplete, inconsistent, and biased.

Expert reviews

This is why hands-on reviews by experts are important. The following table reports the overall ratings of the cameras as published by some of the major 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 40D..+ +..+ +4.5/54.5/5 Aug 2007 1,299i
2.
 
Leica X Vario3/5......4/54/5 Jun 2013 2,850i
3.
 
Canon 70D5/5+ +..83/1004.5/55/5 Jul 2013 1,199i
4.
 
Canon 1100D..80/100..69/1004/54.5/5 Feb 2011 449i
5.
 
Canon 60D5/5+..79/1004/54.5/5 Aug 2010 1,399i
6.
 
Canon 50D..+ +..+ +4.5/54.5/5 Aug 2008 1,299i
7.
 
Canon 450D..+ +..+ +4/54.5/5 Jan 2008 799i
8.
 
Canon 30D..+ +..+ +o.. Feb 2006 1,399i
9.
 
Canon 400D..+ +..+ +o4/5 Aug 2006 799i
10.
 
Canon 20D......+ +.... Aug 2004 1,499i
11.
 
Leica Q Typ 1165/5....80/1004.5/54.5/5 Jun 2015 4,249i
12.
 
Leica X Typ 1133.5/5......3.5/54/5 Sep 2014 2,295i
13.
 
Nikon Df4/5....81/1004/54/5 Nov 2013 2,749i
14.
 
Nikon D90..+ +..+ +4/54.5/5 Aug 2008 1,299i
15.
 
Olympus E-30......71/1004.5/54/5 Nov 2008 1,299i
16.
 
Panasonic FZ10004/5+ +..82/1004.5/54.5/5 Jun 2014 899i
17.
 
Sony RX1R5/5......4/54.5/5 Jun 2013 2,799i
Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.

The above review scores should be interpreted with care, though. The ratings are only valid when referring to cameras in the same category and of the same age. 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, kindly note that some of the listed sites have over time developped their review approaches and their reporting style.

Canon 40D:
Check Ebay offers
Leica X Vario:
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 a corresponding selection in the search boxes below. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting.

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    Specifications: Canon 40D vs Leica X Vario

    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 40D Leica X Vario
    Camera Type Digital single lens reflex Fixed lens compact camera
    Camera Lens Canon EF mount lenses 28-70mm f/3.5-6.4
    Launch Date August 2007 June 2013
    Launch Price USD 1,299 USD 2,850
    Sensor Specs Canon 40D Leica X Vario
    Sensor Technology CMOS CMOS
    Sensor Format APS-C Sensor APS-C Sensor
    Sensor Size 22.3 x 14.9 mm 23.6 x 15.7 mm
    Sensor Area 332.27 mm2 370.52 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 26.8 mm 28.3 mm
    Crop Factor 1.6x 1.5x
    Sensor Resolution 10.1 Megapixels 16.1 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 3888 x 2592 pixels 4928 x 3272 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 5.73 μm 4.80 μm
    Pixel Density 3.03 MP/cm2 4.35 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability no Video 1080/30p Video
    ISO Setting 100 - 1,600 ISO 100 - 12,500 ISO
    ISO Boost 100 - 3,200 ISO no Enhancement
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) 64 78
    DXO Color Depth (bits) 22.1 23.4
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) 11.3 12.7
    DXO Low Light (ISO) 703 1320
    Screen Specs Canon 40D Leica X Vario
    Viewfinder Type Optical viewfinder Viewfinder optional
    Viewfinder Field of View 95%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.59x
    Top-Level Screen Control Panel no Top Display
    LCD Framing Live View
    Rear LCD Size 3.0inch 3.0inch
    LCD Resolution 230k dots 920k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen Fixed screen
    Shooting Specs Canon 40D Leica X Vario
    Focus System Phase-detect AF Contrast-detect AF
    Continuous Shooting 6.5 shutter flaps/s 5 shutter flaps/s
    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 40D Leica X Vario
    External Flash Hotshoe 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 40D Leica X Vario
    Battery Type BP-511A BP-DC8
    Battery Life (CIPA)750 shots per charge450 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 146 x 108 x 74 mm
    (5.7 x 4.3 x 2.9 in)
    133 x 73 x 95 mm
    (5.2 x 2.9 x 3.7 in)
    Camera Weight 822 g (29.0 oz) 680 g (24.0 oz)

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