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Canon 50D vs Nikon D200

The Canon EOS 50D and the Nikon D200 are two enthusiast cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in August 2008 and November 2005. Both are DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras that are equipped with an APS-C sensor. The Canon has a resolution of 15.1 megapixels, whereas the Nikon 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 50D
versus
Nikon D200
Canon 50D   Nikon D200
Digital single lens reflex Digital single lens reflex
Canon EF mount lenses Nikon F mount lenses
15.1 MP – APS-C sensor 10 MP – APS-C sensor
no Video no Video
ISO 100-3,200 (100 - 12,800) ISO 100-1,600 (100 - 3,200)
Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
3.0" LCD – 920k dots 2.5" LCD – 230k dots
Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive) Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)
6.3 shutter flaps per second 5 shutter flaps per second
Weathersealed bodyWeathersealed body
800 shots per battery charge400 shots per battery charge
146 x 108 x 74 mm, 822 g 147 x 113 x 74 mm, 920 g
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Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Canon EOS 50D and the Nikon D200? 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 50D and the Nikon D200 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 size dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

Size Canon 50D vs Nikon D200
Compare 50D versus D200 top
Comparison 50D or D200 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Nikon D200 is notably larger (5 percent) than the Canon 50D. Moreover, the D200 is markedly heavier (12 percent) than the 50D. In this context, it is worth noting that both cameras are splash and dust-proof and can, hence, be used in inclement weather conditions or harsh environments.

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 (50D) and the Nikon Lens Catalog (D200).

Concerning battery life, the 50D gets 800 shots out of its BP-511A battery, while the D200 can take 400 images on a single charge of its EN-EL3e power pack.

The adjacent table lists the principal physical characteristics of the two cameras alongside a wider set of alternatives. If you would like to visualize and compare a different camera combination, you can navigate to the CAM-parator app and make your selection from a broad list of cameras 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 50D 146 mm 108 mm 74 mm 822 g 800 Y Aug 2008 1,299ebay.com
2.
 
Nikon D200 147 mm 113 mm 74 mm 920 g 400 Y Nov 2005 1,699ebay.com
3.
 
Canon 90D 141 mm 105 mm 77 mm 701 g 1300 Y Aug 2019 1,199 amazon.com
4.
 
Canon 80D 139 mm 105 mm 79 mm 730 g 960 Y Feb 2016 1,199ebay.com
5.
 
Canon 7D II 149 mm 112 mm 78 mm 910 g 670 Y Sep 2014 1,799ebay.com
6.
 
Canon 70D 139 mm 104 mm 79 mm 755 g 920 Y Jul 2013 1,199ebay.com
7.
 
Canon 60D 145 mm 106 mm 79 mm 755 g 1100 Y Aug 2010 1,399ebay.com
8.
 
Canon 7D 148 mm 111 mm 74 mm 860 g 800 Y Sep 2009 1,699ebay.com
9.
 
Canon T1i 129 mm 98 mm 62 mm 520 g 400 n Mar 2009 799ebay.com
10.
 
Canon 40D 146 mm 108 mm 74 mm 822 g 750 n Aug 2007 1,299ebay.com
11.
 
Canon 30D 144 mm 106 mm 74 mm 785 g 750 n Feb 2006 1,399ebay.com
12.
 
Canon 20D 144 mm 106 mm 72 mm 770 g 700 n Aug 2004 1,499ebay.com
13.
 
Nikon D300S 147 mm 115 mm 81 mm 938 g 950 Y Jul 2009 1,799ebay.com
14.
 
Nikon D300 147 mm 114 mm 74 mm 925 g 1000 Y Aug 2007 1,799ebay.com
15.
 
Nikon D2Xs 158 mm 150 mm 86 mm 1252 g 3800 Y Jun 2006 4,699ebay.com
16.
 
Nikon D2X 158 mm 150 mm 86 mm 1252 g 3800 Y Sep 2004 4,999ebay.com
17.
 
Nikon D100 144 mm 116 mm 81 mm 780 g 370 n Feb 2002 1,999ebay.com
Note: 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 manufacturer’s suggested retail prices give an idea on the placement of the camera in the maker’s lineup and the broader market. The 50D was launched at a somewhat lower price (by 24 percent) than the D200, which makes it more attractive for photographers on a tight budget. 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.

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. 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 are more costly to manufacture and tend to 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 D200 is 12 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have format factors, respectively, of 1.6 (50D) and 1.5. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.

Canon 50D and Nikon D200 sensor measures

Despite having a smaller sensor, the Canon 50D offers a higher resolution of 15.1 megapixels, compared with 10 MP of the Nikon D200. 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 4.69μm versus 6.11μm for the D200). However, it should be noted that the 50D is much more recent (by 2 years and 9 months) than the D200, 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 Canon 50D implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the 50D for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 23.8 x 15.8 inches or 60.4 x 40.2 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 19 x 12.7 inches or 48.3 x 32.2 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 15.8 x 10.6 inches or 40.2 x 26.8 cm. The corresponding values for the Nikon D200 are 19.4 x 13 inches or 49.2 x 32.9 cm for good quality, 15.5 x 10.4 inches or 39.3 x 26.3 cm for very good quality, and 12.9 x 8.6 inches or 32.8 x 21.9 cm for excellent quality prints.

The Canon EOS 50D has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 3200, which can be extended to ISO 100-12800. The corresponding ISO settings for the Nikon D200 are ISO 100 to ISO 1600, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 100-3200.

In terms of underlying technology, the 50D is build around a CMOS sensor, while the D200 uses a CCD imager. Both cameras use a Bayer filter for capturing RGB colors on a square grid of photosensors. This arrangement is found in most digital cameras.

50D versus D200 MP

For many cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. 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 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 50D APS-C 15.1 4752 3168none21.811.469663
2.
 
Nikon D200 APS-C 10.0 3872 2592none22.311.558364
3.
 
Canon 90D APS-C 32.3 6960 46404K/30p24.013.5184883
4.
 
Canon 80D APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p23.613.2113579
5.
 
Canon 7D II APS-C 20.0 5472 36481080/60p22.411.8108270
6.
 
Canon 70D APS-C 20.0 5472 36481080/30p22.511.692668
7.
 
Canon 60D APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p22.211.581366
8.
 
Canon 7D APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p22.011.785466
9.
 
Canon T1i APS-C 15.1 4752 31681080/20p21.711.566363
10.
 
Canon 40D APS-C 10.1 3888 2592none22.111.370364
11.
 
Canon 30D APS-C 8.2 3504 2336none21.510.873659
12.
 
Canon 20D APS-C 8.2 3504 2336none21.911.072162
13.
 
Nikon D300S APS-C 12.2 4288 2848720/24p22.512.278770
14.
 
Nikon D300 APS-C 12.2 4288 2848none22.112.067967
15.
 
Nikon D2Xs APS-C 12.2 4288 2848none22.210.948959
16.
 
Nikon D2X APS-C 12.2 4288 2848none22.110.947659
17.
 
Nikon D100 APS-C 6.0 3008 2000none20.49.939448
Note: DXO values in italics represent estimates based on sensor size and age.
The 50D offers Live View, so that it can project the live image that the sensor receives onto the rear screen for framing. The D200 lacks this capability. Both cameras are still-image focused and cannot record videos.

Feature comparison

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The 50D and the D200 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 viewfinders of both cameras offer the same field of view (95%), but the viewfinder of the D200 has a higher magnification than the one of the 50D (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 adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Canon 50D and Nikon D200 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)
Max
Shutter
Speed *
Max
Shutter
Flaps *
Built-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Built-in
Image
Stab
1.
 
Canon 50Doptical Y3.0 / 920 fixed n 1/8000s 6.3/s Y n
2.
 
Nikon D200optical Y2.5 / 230 fixed n 1/8000s 5.0/s Y n
3.
 
Canon 90Doptical Y3.0 / 1040 swivel Y 1/8000s 11.0/s Y n
4.
 
Canon 80Doptical Y3.0 / 1040 swivel Y 1/8000s 7.0/s Y n
5.
 
Canon 7D IIoptical Y3.0 / 1040 fixed n 1/8000s 10.0/s Y n
6.
 
Canon 70Doptical Y3.0 / 1040 swivel Y 1/8000s 7.0/s Y n
7.
 
Canon 60Doptical Y3.0 / 1040 swivel n 1/8000s 5.3/s Y n
8.
 
Canon 7Doptical Y3.0 / 920 fixed n 1/8000s 8.0/s Y n
9.
 
Canon T1ioptical n3.0 / 920 fixed n 1/4000s 3.4/s Y n
10.
 
Canon 40Doptical Y3.0 / 230 fixed n 1/8000s 6.5/s Y n
11.
 
Canon 30Doptical Y2.5 / 230 fixed n 1/8000s 5.0/s Y n
12.
 
Canon 20Doptical Y1.8 / 118 fixed n 1/8000s 5.0/s Y n
13.
 
Nikon D300Soptical Y3.0 / 920 fixed n 1/8000s 7.0/s Y n
14.
 
Nikon D300optical Y3.0 / 922 fixed n 1/8000s 6.0/s Y n
15.
 
Nikon D2Xsoptical Y2.5 / 230 fixed n 1/8000s 5.0/s n n
16.
 
Nikon D2Xoptical Y2.5 / 235 fixed n 1/8000s 5.0/s n n
17.
 
Nikon D100optical Y1.8 / 118 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0/s Y n
Notes: *) Information refers to the mechanical shutter, unless the camera only has an electronic one.

The Nikon D200 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 50D and the D200 write their files to Compact Flash 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 50D and Nikon D200 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 50DY- / ---mini2.0---
2.
 
Nikon D200Y- / ----2.0---
3.
 
Canon 90DYstereo / monoYYmini2.0Y-Y
4.
 
Canon 80DYstereo / monoYYmini2.0YY-
5.
 
Canon 7D IIYstereo / monoYYmini3.0---
6.
 
Canon 70DYstereo / monoY-mini2.0Y--
7.
 
Canon 60DYmono / monoY-mini2.0---
8.
 
Canon 7DYmono / -Y-mini2.0---
9.
 
Canon T1iYmono / mono--mini2.0---
10.
 
Canon 40DY- / ----2.0---
11.
 
Canon 30DY- / ----2.0---
12.
 
Canon 20DY- / ----1.1---
13.
 
Nikon D300SYstereo / monoY-mini2.0---
14.
 
Nikon D300Y- / ---mini2.0---
15.
 
Nikon D2XsY- / ----2.0---
16.
 
Nikon D2XY- / ----2.0---
17.
 
Nikon D100Y- / ----1.1---

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

Both the 50D and the D200 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on ebay. The D200 was replaced by the Nikon D300, while the 50D was followed by the Canon 60D. Further information on the features and operation of the 50D and D200 can be found, respectively, in the Canon 50D Manual (free pdf) or the online Nikon D200 Manual.

Review summary

So how do things add up? Which of the two cameras – the Canon 50D or the Nikon D200 – has the upper hand? Is one clearly better than the other? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.

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Advantages of the Canon EOS 50D:

  • More detail: Offers more megapixels (15.1 vs 10MP) with a 23% higher linear resolution.
  • 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).
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (6.3 vs 5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • Less heavy: Is lighter (by 98g or 11 percent) and hence easier to carry around.
  • Longer lasting: Can take more shots (800 versus 400) on a single battery charge.
  • More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced segment (24 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More modern: Reflects 2 years and 9 months of technical progress since the D200 launch.

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Arguments in favor of the Nikon D200:

  • Larger viewfinder image: Features a viewfinder with a higher magnification (0.63x vs 0.59x).
  • Easier time-lapse photography: Has an intervalometer built-in for low frequency shooting.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been around for much longer (launched in November 2005).

If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the 50D is the clear winner of the match-up (8 : 3 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.

50D 08:03 D200

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Canon 50D and the Nikon D200 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 50D or the D200 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], 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 50D..+ +..+ +4.5/54.5/5 Aug 2008 1,299ebay.com
2.
 
Nikon D200..+ +..+ +o.. Nov 2005 1,699ebay.com
3.
 
Canon 90D4/5+4.5/585/1004.5/54.5/5 Aug 2019 1,199 amazon.com
4.
 
Canon 80D4/5+ +4.5/584/1004.5/54.5/5 Feb 2016 1,199ebay.com
5.
 
Canon 7D II4.5/5+3.5/584/1004/54.5/5 Sep 2014 1,799ebay.com
6.
 
Canon 70D5/5+ +..83/1004.5/55/5 Jul 2013 1,199ebay.com
7.
 
Canon 60D5/5+..79/1004/54.5/5 Aug 2010 1,399ebay.com
8.
 
Canon 7D5/5+ +..84/1004.5/54.5/5 Sep 2009 1,699ebay.com
9.
 
Canon T1i..+ +..74/1004.5/54.5/5 Mar 2009 799ebay.com
10.
 
Canon 40D..+ +..+ +4.5/54.5/5 Aug 2007 1,299ebay.com
11.
 
Canon 30D..+ +..+ +o.. Feb 2006 1,399ebay.com
12.
 
Canon 20D......+ +.... Aug 2004 1,499ebay.com
13.
 
Nikon D300S5/5+ +..82/1004/54.5/5 Jul 2009 1,799ebay.com
14.
 
Nikon D300..+ +..+ +5/54.5/5 Aug 2007 1,799ebay.com
15.
 
Nikon D2Xs............ Jun 2006 4,699ebay.com
16.
 
Nikon D2X......+ +.... Sep 2004 4,999ebay.com
17.
 
Nikon D100......+ +o.. Feb 2002 1,999ebay.com
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 rating-comparisons among cameras that span long time periods or concern very differently equipped models make little sense. It should also be noted that some of the review sites have over time altered the way they render their verdicts.

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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 50D vs Nikon D200

    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 50D Nikon D200
    Camera Type Digital single lens reflex Digital single lens reflex
    Camera Lens Canon EF mount lenses Nikon F mount lenses
    Launch Date August 2008 November 2005
    Launch Price USD 1,299 USD 1,699
    Sensor Specs Canon 50D Nikon D200
    Sensor Technology CMOS CCD
    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 15.1 Megapixels 10 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 4752 x 3168 pixels 3872 x 2592 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 4.69 μm 6.11 μm
    Pixel Density 4.53 MP/cm2 2.69 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability no Video no Video
    ISO Setting 100 - 3,200 ISO 100 - 1,600 ISO
    ISO Boost 100 - 12,800 ISO 100 - 3,200 ISO
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) 63 64
    DXO Color Depth (bits) 21.8 22.3
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) 11.4 11.5
    DXO Low Light (ISO) 696 583
    Screen Specs Canon 50D Nikon D200
    Viewfinder Type Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 95% 95%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.59x 0.63x
    Top-Level Screen Control Panel Control Panel
    LCD Framing Live View
    Rear LCD Size 3.0inch 2.5inch
    LCD Resolution 920k dots 230k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen Fixed screen
    Shooting Specs Canon 50D Nikon D200
    Focus System Phase-detect AF Phase-detect AF
    Continuous Shooting 6.3 shutter flaps/s 5 shutter flaps/s
    Shutter Life Expectancy100 000 actuations100 000 actuations
    Time-Lapse Photographyno IntervalometerIntervalometer built-in
    Fill Flash Built-in Flash Built-in Flash
    Storage Medium CF cards CF cards
    Single or Dual Card Slots Single card slot Single card slot
    Connectivity Specs Canon 50D Nikon D200
    External Flash Hotshoe Hotshoe
    Studio Flash PC Sync socket PC Sync socket
    USB Connector USB 2.0 USB 2.0
    HDMI Port mini HDMI no HDMI
    Wifi Support no Wifi no Wifi
    Body Specs Canon 50D Nikon D200
    Environmental SealingWeathersealed bodyWeathersealed body
    Battery Type BP-511A EN-EL3e
    Battery Life (CIPA)800 shots per charge400 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 146 x 108 x 74 mm
    (5.7 x 4.3 x 2.9 in)
    147 x 113 x 74 mm
    (5.8 x 4.4 x 2.9 in)
    Camera Weight 822 g (29.0 oz) 920 g (32.5 oz)
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