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Canon 40D vs Nikon D300

The Canon EOS 40D and the Nikon D300 are two enthusiast cameras that were officially introduced in August 2007. Both are DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras that are equipped with an APS-C sensor. The Canon has a resolution of 10.1 megapixels, whereas the Nikon 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 40D   Nikon D300
Canon 40D Nikon D300
Digital single lens reflex Digital single lens reflex
Canon EF mount lenses Nikon F mount lenses
10.1 MP, APS-C Sensor 12.2 MP, APS-C Sensor
no Video no Video
ISO 100-1600 (100-3200) ISO 200-3200 (100-6400)
Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
3.0" LCD, 230k dots 3.0" LCD, 922k dots
Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive) Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)
6.5 shutter flaps per second 6 shutter flaps per second
Not weather sealedWeathersealed body
750 shots per battery charge1000 shots per battery charge
146 x 108 x 74 mm, 822 g 147 x 114 x 74 mm, 925 g

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Canon EOS 40D and the Nikon D300? 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: Canon 40D vs Nikon D300

The side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size and weight of the Canon 40D and the Nikon D300. 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 40D vs Nikon D300
Compare 40D versus D300 top
Comparison 40D or D300 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Nikon D300 is notably larger (6 percent) than the Canon 40D. Moreover, the D300 is markedly heavier (13 percent) than the 40D. It is noteworthy in this context that the D300 is splash and dust-proof, while the 40D 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 (40D) and the Nikon Lens Catalog (D300).

Concerning battery life, the 40D gets 750 shots out of its BP-511A battery, while the D300 can take 1000 images on a single charge of its EN-EL3e power pack.

The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the two cameras alongside a broader set of comparators. In case you want to display and compare another camera duo, just click on the right or left arrow next to the camera that you would like to inspect. Alternatively, you can also use the CAM-parator to select your camera combination among a larger number of options.

Camera Body Specifications
  Camera
Model
Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life
(CIPA)
Weather
Sealing
(yes/no)
Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Used
Price
(USD)
Camera
Model
 
Canon 40D» 5.7 in 4.3 in 2.9 in 29.0 oz 750 n Aug 2007 1,299- i Canon 40D
 
Nikon D300« 5.8 in 4.5 in 2.9 in 32.6 oz 1000 Y Aug 2007 1,799- i Nikon D300
 
Canon T3« » 5.1 in 3.9 in 3.1 in 17.5 oz 700 n Feb 2011 449- i Canon T3
 
Canon 60D« » 5.7 in 4.2 in 3.1 in 26.6 oz 1100 Y Aug 2010 1,399- i Canon 60D
 
Canon 50D« » 5.7 in 4.3 in 2.9 in 29.0 oz 800 Y Aug 2008 1,299- i Canon 50D
 
Canon XS« » 5.0 in 3.9 in 2.6 in 17.7 oz 500 n Jun 2008 449- i Canon XS
 
Canon XSi« » 5.1 in 3.9 in 2.4 in 18.5 oz 500 n Jan 2008 799- i Canon XSi
 
Canon 30D« » 5.7 in 4.2 in 2.9 in 27.7 oz 750 n Feb 2006 1,399- i Canon 30D
 
Canon XTi« » 5.0 in 3.3 in 2.6 in 19.6 oz 370 n Aug 2006 799- i Canon XTi
 
Canon 20D« » 5.7 in 4.2 in 2.8 in 27.2 oz 700 n Aug 2004 1,499- i Canon 20D
 
Canon 10D« » 5.9 in 4.2 in 3.0 in 30.0 oz 500 n Feb 2003 1,999- i Canon 10D
 
Nikon D7000« » 5.2 in 4.1 in 3.0 in 27.5 oz 1050 Y Sep 2010 1,499- i Nikon D7000
 
Nikon D300S« » 5.8 in 4.5 in 3.2 in 33.1 oz 950 Y Jul 2009 1,799- i Nikon D300S
 
Nikon D90« » 5.2 in 4.1 in 3.0 in 24.8 oz 850 n Aug 2008 1,299- i Nikon D90
 
Nikon D700« » 5.8 in 4.8 in 3.0 in 37.9 oz 1000 Y Jul 2008 2,999- i Nikon D700
 
Nikon D2Xs« » 6.2 in 5.9 in 3.4 in 44.2 oz 3800 Y Jun 2006 4,699- i Nikon D2Xs
 
Nikon D200« » 5.8 in 4.4 in 2.9 in 32.5 oz 400 Y Nov 2005 1,699- i Nikon D200
Note: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.

The price is, of course, an important factor in any camera decision. 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 40D was launched at a markedly lower price (by 28 percent) than the D300, 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.

 

Sensor comparison: Canon 40D vs Nikon D300

The imaging sensor is at the core of digital cameras and its size is one of the main determining factors 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. 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 D300 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.

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

Canon 40D and Nikon D300 sensor measures

With 12.2MP, the D300 offers a higher resolution than the 40D (10.1MP), but the D300 has smaller individual pixels (pixel pitch of 5.53μm versus 5.73μm for the 40D). It is noteworthy in this context that the two cameras were released in close succession, so that their sensors are from the same technological generation.

The resolution advantage of the Nikon D300 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the D300 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 21.4 x 14.2 inch or 54.5 x 36.2 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 17.2 x 11.4 inch or 43.6 x 28.9 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 14.3 x 9.5 inch or 36.3 x 24.1 cm. The corresponding values for the Canon 40D are 19.4 x 13 inch or 49.4 x 32.9 cm for good quality, 15.6 x 10.4 inch or 39.5 x 26.3 cm for very good quality, and 13 x 8.6 inch 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 Nikon D300 are ISO 200 to ISO 3200, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 100-6400.

40D versus D300 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. The Overall DXO ratings for the two cameras under consideration are close, suggesting that they provide similar imaging performance. The following table provides an overview of the physical sensor characteristics, as well as the sensor quality measurements for a selection of comparators.

Sensor Characteristics
  Camera
Model
Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
Camera
Model
 
Canon 40D» APS-C 10.1 3888 2592-22.111.370364Canon 40D
 
Nikon D300« APS-C 12.2 4288 2848-22.112.067967Nikon D300
 
Canon T3« » APS-C 12.2 4272 2848720/30p21.911.075562Canon T3
 
Canon 60D« » APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p22.211.581366Canon 60D
 
Canon 50D« » APS-C 15.1 4752 3168-21.811.469663Canon 50D
 
Canon XS« » APS-C 10.1 3888 2592-----Canon XS
 
Canon XSi« » APS-C 12.2 4272 2848-21.910.869261Canon XSi
 
Canon 30D« » APS-C 8.2 3504 2336-21.510.873659Canon 30D
 
Canon XTi« » APS-C 10.1 3888 2592-22.111.066462Canon XTi
 
Canon 20D« » APS-C 8.2 3504 2336-21.911.072162Canon 20D
 
Canon 10D« » APS-C 6.3 3072 2048-21.110.957157Canon 10D
 
Nikon D7000« » APS-C 16.1 4928 326410800/24p23.513.9116780Nikon D7000
 
Nikon D300S« » APS-C 12.2 4288 2848720/24p22.512.278770Nikon D300S
 
Nikon D90« » APS-C 12.2 4288 2848720/24p22.712.597773Nikon D90
 
Nikon D700« » Full Frame 12.1 4256 2832-23.512.2230380Nikon D700
 
Nikon D2Xs« » APS-C 12.2 4288 2848-22.210.948959Nikon D2Xs
 
Nikon D200« » APS-C 10.0 3872 2592-22.311.558364Nikon D200
Both the 40D and the D300 offer Live View, so that they make it possible to use the rear screen for framing. Both cameras are still-image focused and cannot record videos.
 

Feature comparison: Canon 40D vs Nikon D300

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. The 40D and the D300 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 D300 offers a wider field of view (100%) than the one in the 40D (95%), so that a larger proportion of the captured image is visible in the finder. In addition, the viewfinder of the D300 has a higher magnification (0.63x vs 0.59x), so that the size of the image transmitted appears closer to the size seen with the naked human eye. The following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Canon 40D, the Nikon D300, and comparable cameras.

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
Camera
Model
 
Canon 40D»optical Y 3.0 230 fixed n 1/8000s 6.5 Y n Canon 40D
 
Nikon D300«optical Y 3.0 922 fixed n 1/8000s 6.0 Y n Nikon D300
 
Canon T3« »optical n 2.7 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n Canon T3
 
Canon 60D« »optical Y 3.0 1040 swivel n 1/8000s 5.3 Y n Canon 60D
 
Canon 50D« »optical Y 3.0 920 fixed n 1/8000s 6.3 Y n Canon 50D
 
Canon XS« »optical n 2.5 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n Canon XS
 
Canon XSi« »optical n 3.0 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.5 Y n Canon XSi
 
Canon 30D« »optical Y 2.5 230 fixed n 1/8000s 5.0 Y n Canon 30D
 
Canon XTi« »optical n 2.5 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n Canon XTi
 
Canon 20D« »optical Y 1.8 118 fixed n 1/8000s 5.0 Y n Canon 20D
 
Canon 10D« »optical Y 1.8 118 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n Canon 10D
 
Nikon D7000« »optical Y 3.0 921 fixed n 1/8000s 6.0 Y n Nikon D7000
 
Nikon D300S« »optical Y 3.0 920 fixed n 1/8000s 7.0 Y n Nikon D300S
 
Nikon D90« »optical Y 3.0 920 fixed n 1/4000s 4.5 Y n Nikon D90
 
Nikon D700« »optical Y 3.0 922 fixed n 1/8000s 8.0 Y n Nikon D700
 
Nikon D2Xs« »optical Y 2.5 230 fixed n 1/8000s 5.0 n n Nikon D2Xs
 
Nikon D200« »optical Y 2.5 230 fixed n 1/8000s 5.0 Y n Nikon D200

The Nikon D300 has an intervalometer built-in. This enables the photographer to capture time lapse sequences, such as flower blooming, a sunset or moon rise, without purchasing an external camera trigger and related software.

Concerning the storage of imaging data, both the 40D and the D300 write their files to Compact Flash cards.

 

Connectivity comparison: Canon 40D vs Nikon D300

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 Nikon D300 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.

Input-Output Connections
  Camera
Model
Hotshoe
Port
Internal
Microphone
Internal
Speaker
Microphone
Port
Headphone
Port
HDMI
Port
USB
Type
WiFi
Support
NFC
Support
Bluetooth
Support
Camera
Model
 
Canon 40D»Y-----2.0---Canon 40D
 
Nikon D300«Y----mini2.0---Nikon D300
 
Canon T3« »Ystereomono--mini2.0---Canon T3
 
Canon 60D« »YmonomonoY-mini2.0---Canon 60D
 
Canon 50D« »Y----mini2.0---Canon 50D
 
Canon XS« »Y-----2.0---Canon XS
 
Canon XSi« »Y----mini2.0---Canon XSi
 
Canon 30D« »Y-----2.0---Canon 30D
 
Canon XTi« »Y-----2.0---Canon XTi
 
Canon 20D« »Y-----1.1---Canon 20D
 
Canon 10D« »Y-----1.1---Canon 10D
 
Nikon D7000« »YmonomonoY-mini2.0---Nikon D7000
 
Nikon D300S« »YstereomonoY-mini2.0---Nikon D300S
 
Nikon D90« »Ymonomono--mini2.0---Nikon D90
 
Nikon D700« »Y----mini2.0---Nikon D700
 
Nikon D2Xs« »Y-----2.0---Nikon D2Xs
 
Nikon D200« »Y-----2.0---Nikon D200

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

Both the 40D and the D300 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The 40D was replaced by the Canon 50D, while the D300 was followed by the Nikon D300S. 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: Canon 40D vs Nikon D300

So what conclusions can be drawn? Which of the two cameras – the Canon 40D or the Nikon D300 – 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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Arguments in favor of the Canon EOS 40D:

  • Less heavy: Is lighter (by 103g or 11 percent) and hence easier to carry around.
  • More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (28 percent cheaper at launch).

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Reasons to prefer the Nikon D300:

  • More detail: Has more megapixels (12.2 vs 10.1MP), which boosts linear resolution by 10%.
  • More dynamic range: Captures a broader range of light and dark details (0.7 EV of extra DR).
  • 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 (0.63x vs 0.59x).
  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (922k vs 230k dots).
  • Easier time-lapse photography: Has an intervalometer built-in for low frequency shooting.
  • Longer lasting: Gets more shots (1000 versus 750) out of a single battery charge.
  • Better sealing: Is splash and dust sealed for shooting in inclement weather conditions.

If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the D300 is the clear winner of the contest (8 : 2 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 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.

40D 02:08 D300

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Canon 40D and the Nikon D300 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 technical specifications can provide a useful overview of the capabilities of different cameras, it remains incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the 40D or the D300 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: Canon 40D vs Nikon D300

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 (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, and photographyblog). 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.

Review Scores
  Camera
Model
cameralabs dpreview ephotozine imaging-resource photographyblog Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Used
Price
(USD)
Camera
Model
 
Canon 40D»+ ++ +4.5/5o4.5/5 Aug 2007 1,299- i Canon 40D
 
Nikon D300«+ ++ +5/5o4.5/5 Aug 2007 1,799- i Nikon D300
 
Canon T3« »80/10069/1004/54/54.5/5 Feb 2011 449- i Canon T3
 
Canon 60D« »+79/1004/55/54.5/5 Aug 2010 1,399- i Canon 60D
 
Canon 50D« »+ ++ +4.5/55/54.5/5 Aug 2008 1,299- i Canon 50D
 
Canon XS« »82/100+ +3.5/54/54.5/5 Jun 2008 449- i Canon XS
 
Canon XSi« »+ ++ +4/55/54.5/5 Jan 2008 799- i Canon XSi
 
Canon 30D« »+ ++ +oo- Feb 2006 1,399- i Canon 30D
 
Canon XTi« »+ ++ +o4.5/54/5 Aug 2006 799- i Canon XTi
 
Canon 20D« »-+ +-o- Aug 2004 1,499- i Canon 20D
 
Canon 10D« »-+ +-o- Feb 2003 1,999- i Canon 10D
 
Nikon D7000« »-80/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Sep 2010 1,499- i Nikon D7000
 
Nikon D300S« »+ +82/1004/55/54.5/5 Jul 2009 1,799- i Nikon D300S
 
Nikon D90« »+ ++ +4/55/54.5/5 Aug 2008 1,299- i Nikon D90
 
Nikon D700« »89/100+ +4.5/55/54.5/5 Jul 2008 2,999- i Nikon D700
 
Nikon D2Xs« »---o- Jun 2006 4,699- i Nikon D2Xs
 
Nikon D200« »+ ++ +o5/5- Nov 2005 1,699- i Nikon D200
Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (-) not available.

The above review scores should be interpreted 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 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.

Canon 40D:
Check Ebay offers
Nikon D300:
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 use the search menu below. There is also a set of direct links to comparison reviews that other users of the CAM-parator app explored.

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    Specifications: Canon 40D vs Nikon D300

    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 Nikon D300
    Camera Type Digital single lens reflex Digital single lens reflex
    Camera Lens Canon EF mount lenses Nikon F mount lenses
    Launch Date August 2007 August 2007
    Launch Price USD 1299 USD 1799
    Sensor Specs Canon 40D Nikon D300
    Sensor Technology CMOS CMOS
    Sensor Format APS-C Sensor APS-C Sensor
    Sensor Size 22.3 x 14.9 mm 23.6 x 15.8 mm
    Sensor Area 332.27 mm2 372.88 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 26.8 mm 28.4 mm
    Crop Factor 1.6x 1.5x
    Sensor Resolution 10.1 Megapixels 12.2 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 3888 x 2592 pixels 4288 x 2848 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 5.73 μm 5.53 μm
    Pixel Density 3.03 MP/cm2 3.28 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability no Video no Video
    ISO Setting 100-1600 ISO 200-3200 ISO
    ISO Boost 100-3200 ISO 100-6400 ISO
    Image Processor DIGIC 3 EXPEED
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) 64 67
    DXO Color Depth (bits) 22.1 22.1
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) 11.3 12.0
    DXO Low Light (ISO) 703 679
    Screen Specs Canon 40D Nikon D300
    Viewfinder Type Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 95% 100%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.59x 0.63x
    Top-Level Screen Control Panel Control Panel
    LCD Framing Live View Live View
    Rear LCD Size 3.0 inch 3.0 inch
    LCD Resolution 230k dots 922k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen Fixed screen
    Shooting Specs Canon 40D Nikon D300
    Autofocus System Phase-detect AF Phase-detect AF
    Continuous Shooting 6.5 shutter flaps/s 6 shutter flaps/s
    Shutter Life Expectancy100 000 actuations150 000 actuations
    Time-Lapse Photographyno IntervalometerIntervalometer built-in
    Fill Flash Build-in Flash Build-in Flash
    Storage Medium CF cards CF cards
    Second Storage Option Single card slot Single card slot
    Connectivity Specs Canon 40D Nikon D300
    External Flash Hotshoe Hotshoe
    Studio Flash PC Sync socket PC Sync socket
    USB Connector USB 2.0 USB 2.0
    HDMI Port no HDMI mini HDMI
    Wifi Support no Wifi no Wifi
    Body Specs Canon 40D Nikon D300
    Environmental SealingNot weather sealedWeathersealed body
    Battery Type BP-511A power pack EN-EL3e power pack
    Battery Life (CIPA)750 shots per charge1000 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 146 x 108 x 74 mm
    (5.7 x 4.3 x 2.9 in)
    147 x 114 x 74 mm
    (5.8 x 4.5 x 2.9 in)
    Camera Weight 822 g (29.0 oz) 925 g (32.6 oz)

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