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Canon 850D vs Nikon D5500

The Canon EOS 850D (called Canon T8i in some regions) and the Nikon D5500 are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in February 2020 and January 2015. Both are DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras that are equipped with an APS-C sensor. Both cameras offer a resolution of 24 megapixels.

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

Headline Specifications
Canon 850D versus Nikon D5500
Canon 850D Nikon D5500
Digital single lens reflex Digital single lens reflex
Canon EF mount lenses Nikon F mount lenses
24 MP, APS-C Sensor 24 MP, APS-C Sensor
4K/24p Video 1080/60p Video
ISO 100-25,600 (100 - 51,200) ISO 100-25,600
Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
3.0 LCD, 1040k dots 3.2 LCD, 1037k dots
Swivel touchscreen Swivel touchscreen
7.5 shutter flaps per second 5 shutter flaps per second
800 shots per battery charge820 shots per battery charge
131 x 103 x 76 mm, 515 g 124 x 97 x 70 mm, 420 g

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Canon EOS 850D and the Nikon D5500? 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 850D and the Nikon D5500 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.

The D5500 can be obtained in two different colors (black, red), while the 850D is only available in black.

Size Canon 850D vs Nikon D5500
Compare 850D versus D5500 top
Comparison 850D or D5500 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Nikon D5500 is notably smaller (11 percent) than the Canon 850D. Moreover, the D5500 is markedly lighter (18 percent) than the 850D. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the 850D nor the D5500 are weather-sealed.

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 (850D) and the Nikon Lens Catalog (D5500).

Concerning battery life, the 850D gets 800 shots out of its LP-E17 battery, while the D5500 can take 820 images on a single charge of its EN-EL14a 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, 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 850D 131 mm 103 mm 76 mm 515 g 800 n Feb 2020 749 i
2.
 
Nikon D5500 124 mm 97 mm 70 mm 420 g 820 n Jan 2015 899i
3.
 
Canon RP 133 mm 85 mm 70 mm 485 g 250 n Feb 2019 1,299 i
4.
 
Canon 250D 122 mm 93 mm 70 mm 449 g 1070 n Apr 2019 599 i
5.
 
Canon G5 X Mark II 111 mm 61 mm 46 mm 340 g 230 n Jul 2019 899 i
6.
 
Canon G7 X Mark III 105 mm 61 mm 41 mm 304 g 235 n Jul 2019 749 i
7.
 
Canon 2000D 129 mm 101 mm 78 mm 475 g 500 n Feb 2018 449 i
8.
 
Canon 77D 131 mm 100 mm 76 mm 540 g 600 n Feb 2017 899 i
9.
 
Canon 200D 122 mm 93 mm 70 mm 453 g 650 n Jun 2017 549i
10.
 
Canon 800D 131 mm 100 mm 76 mm 532 g 600 n Feb 2017 749i
11.
 
Canon 750D 132 mm 101 mm 78 mm 555 g 440 n Feb 2015 749i
12.
 
Canon 760D 132 mm 101 mm 78 mm 565 g 440 n Feb 2015 649i
13.
 
Nikon D5600 124 mm 97 mm 70 mm 465 g 970 n Nov 2016 699 i
14.
 
Nikon D3400 124 mm 98 mm 76 mm 445 g 1200 n Aug 2016 499i
15.
 
Nikon D3300 124 mm 98 mm 76 mm 430 g 700 n Jan 2014 499i
16.
 
Nikon D5300 125 mm 98 mm 76 mm 480 g 600 n Oct 2013 799i
17.
 
Samsung NX30 127 mm 96 mm 58 mm 375 g 360 n Jan 2014 999i
Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.

Any camera decision will obviously take relative prices into account. The listed launch prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The 850D was launched at a somewhat lower price (by 17 percent) than the D5500, 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.

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Sensor comparison

The imaging sensor is at the core of digital cameras and its size is one of the main determining factors 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. 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 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 D5500 is 11 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have format factors, respectively, of 1.6 (850D) 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 850D and Nikon D5500 sensor measures

Even though the D5500 has a larger sensor, both cameras offer the same resolution of 24 megapixels. This implies that the D5500 has a lower pixel density and larger individual pixels (with a pixel pitch of 3.91μm versus 3.72μm for the 850D), which gives it a potential advantage in terms of light gathering capacity. It should, however, be noted that the 850D is much more recent (by 5 years and 1 month) than the D5500, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that at least partly compensate for the smaller pixel size. Coming back to sensor resolution, it should be mentioned that the D5500 has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.

The 850D has on-sensor phase detect pixels, which results in fast and reliable autofocus acquisition even during live view operation.

The Canon EOS 850D has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 25600, which can be extended to ISO 100-51200. The corresponding ISO settings for the Nikon D5500 are ISO 100 to ISO 25600 (no boost).

850D versus D5500 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 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 850D APS-C 24.0 6000 40004K/24p........
2.
 
Nikon D5500 APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.114.0143884
3.
 
Canon RP Full Frame 26.2 6240 41604K/30p........
4.
 
Canon 250D APS-C 24.0 6000 40004K/25p........
5.
 
Canon G5 X Mark II 1-inch 20.0 5472 36484K/30p........
6.
 
Canon G7 X Mark III 1-inch 20.0 5472 36484K/30p........
7.
 
Canon 2000D APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/30p22.611.9100971
8.
 
Canon 77D APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p23.613.397178
9.
 
Canon 200D APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p23.613.4104179
10.
 
Canon 800D APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p........
11.
 
Canon 750D APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/30p22.712.091971
12.
 
Canon 760D APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/30p22.612.091570
13.
 
Nikon D5600 APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.114.0130684
14.
 
Nikon D3400 APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.813.9119286
15.
 
Nikon D3300 APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.312.8138582
16.
 
Nikon D5300 APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.013.9133883
17.
 
Samsung NX30 APS-C 20.0 5472 36481080/60p23.512.4101476

Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. Both cameras under consideration are equipped with sensors that have a sufficiently high read-out speed for moving images, but the 850D provides a higher video resolution than the D5500. It can shoot video footage at 4K/24p, while the Nikon is limited to 1080/60p.

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Feature comparison

Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The 850D and the D5500 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 D5500 has a higher magnification than the one of the 850D (0.57x vs 0.51x), 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 850D and Nikon D5500 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 850Doptical n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 1/4000s 7.5 Y n
2.
 
Nikon D5500optical n 3.2 1037 swivel Y 1/4000s 5.0 Y n
3.
 
Canon RP2360 n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 1/4000s 5.0 n n
4.
 
Canon 250Doptical n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 1/4000s 5.0 Y n
5.
 
Canon G5 X Mark II2360 n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 1/2000s 30 Y Y
6.
 
Canon G7 X Mark IIInone n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 1/2000s 30 Y Y
7.
 
Canon 2000Doptical n 3.0 920 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
8.
 
Canon 77Doptical Y 3.0 1040 swivel Y 1/4000s 6.0 Y n
9.
 
Canon 200Doptical n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 1/4000s 5.0 Y n
10.
 
Canon 800Doptical n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 1/4000s 6.0 Y n
11.
 
Canon 750Doptical n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 1/4000s 5.0 Y n
12.
 
Canon 760Doptical Y 3.0 1040 swivel Y 1/4000s 5.0 Y n
13.
 
Nikon D5600optical n 3.2 1037 swivel Y 1/4000s 5.0 Y n
14.
 
Nikon D3400optical n 3.0 921 fixed n 1/4000s 5.0 Y n
15.
 
Nikon D3300optical n 3.0 921 fixed n 1/4000s 5.0 Y n
16.
 
Nikon D5300optical n 3.2 1037 swivel n 1/4000s 5.0 Y n
17.
 
Samsung NX302359 n 3.0 1036 swivel Y 1/8000s 9.0 Y n
Both cameras have an articulated rear screen that can be turned to be front-facing. This feature will be particularly appreciated by vloggers and photographers who are interested in taking selfies.

The Canon 850D and the Nikon D5500 both have 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 850D and the D5500 write their files to SDXC cards. Both cameras can use UHS-I cards, which provide for Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 104 MB/s.

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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 850D and Nikon D5500 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 850DYstereomonoY-mini2.0Y-Y
2.
 
Nikon D5500YstereomonoY-mini2.0Y--
3.
 
Canon RPYstereomonoYYmicro2.0Y-Y
4.
 
Canon 250DYstereomonoY-mini2.0Y-Y
5.
 
Canon G5 X Mark II-stereomono--micro3.1Y-Y
6.
 
Canon G7 X Mark III-stereomonoY-micro3.1Y-Y
7.
 
Canon 2000DYmonomono--mini2.0YY-
8.
 
Canon 77DYstereomonoY-mini2.0YYY
9.
 
Canon 200DYstereomonoY-mini2.0YYY
10.
 
Canon 800DYstereomonoY-mini2.0YYY
11.
 
Canon 750DYstereomonoY-mini2.0YY-
12.
 
Canon 760DYstereomonoY-mini2.0YY-
13.
 
Nikon D5600YstereomonoY-mini2.0YYY
14.
 
Nikon D3400Ymonomono--mini2.0--Y
15.
 
Nikon D3300YmonomonoY-mini2.0---
16.
 
Nikon D5300YstereomonoY-mini2.0Y--
17.
 
Samsung NX30Ystereomono--micro2.0YY-

The 850D is a recent model that features in the current product line-up of Canon. In contrast, the D5500 has been discontinued (but can be found pre-owned on eBay). As a replacement in the same line of cameras, the D5500 was succeeded by the Nikon D5600. 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.

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Review summary

So how do things add up? Is there a clear favorite between the Canon 850D and the Nikon D5500? Which camera is better? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.

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Advantages of the Canon EOS 850D:

  • Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
  • Better video: Provides higher definition movie capture (4K/24p vs 1080/60p).
  • Better live-view autofocus: Features on-sensor phase-detection for more confident autofocus.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (7.5 vs 5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • Easier wireless transfer: Supports Bluetooth for image sharing without cables.
  • More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced segment (17 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More modern: Reflects 5 years and 1 month of technical progress since the D5500 launch.

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Reasons to prefer the Nikon D5500:

  • Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
  • Larger viewfinder image: Features a viewfinder with a higher magnification (0.57x vs 0.51x).
  • Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.2" vs 3.0") for image review and settings control.
  • More compact: Is smaller (124x97mm vs 131x103mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
  • Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 95g or 18 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been around for much longer (launched in January 2015).

If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the 850D comes out slightly ahead of the D5500 (7 : 6 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 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.

850D 07:06 D5500

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Canon 850D and the Nikon D5500 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 says little about, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance of the 850D and the D5500 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 where reviews by experts come in. The following table reports the overall ratings of the cameras as published by some of the major camera 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 850D4/5+80/1004/53.5/5 Feb 2020 749 i
2.
 
Nikon D55005/5+79/1004.5/54.5/5 Jan 2015 899i
3.
 
Canon RP4/5+..4.5/54/5 Feb 2019 1,299 i
4.
 
Canon 250D..o79/1004/54/5 Apr 2019 599 i
5.
 
Canon G5 X Mark II4/5+82/100..4/5 Jul 2019 899 i
6.
 
Canon G7 X Mark III..+ +81/1004/5.. Jul 2019 749 i
7.
 
Canon 2000D..o..3.5/53.5/5 Feb 2018 449 i
8.
 
Canon 77D4.5/5..82/1004.5/54/5 Feb 2017 899 i
9.
 
Canon 200D4/5+ +78/1004.5/54.5/5 Jun 2017 549i
10.
 
Canon 800D4.5/5..80/1004.5/54/5 Feb 2017 749i
11.
 
Canon 750D5/5..75/1004.5/54.5/5 Feb 2015 749i
12.
 
Canon 760D5/5+77/1004.5/54.5/5 Feb 2015 649i
13.
 
Nikon D56004/5..79/1004.5/54/5 Nov 2016 699 i
14.
 
Nikon D34004/5+76/1004/54.5/5 Aug 2016 499i
15.
 
Nikon D33003/5+77/1004.5/54.5/5 Jan 2014 499i
16.
 
Nikon D53004/5+ +79/1004.5/54.5/5 Oct 2013 799i
17.
 
Samsung NX303/5..77/1004.5/54.5/5 Jan 2014 999i
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. Thus, a score needs to be put into the context of the launch date and the launch price of the camera, and comparisons of ratings among very different cameras or across long time periods have little meaning. Also, kindly note that some of the listed sites have over time developped their review approaches and their reporting style.

Canon 850D:
Check Amazon price
Nikon D5500:
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 make your choice using the following search menu. 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 850D vs Nikon D5500

    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 850D Nikon D5500
    Camera Type Digital single lens reflex Digital single lens reflex
    Camera Lens Canon EF mount lenses Nikon F mount lenses
    Launch Date February 2020 January 2015
    Launch Price USD 749 USD 899
    Sensor Specs Canon 850D Nikon D5500
    Sensor Technology CMOS CMOS
    Sensor Format APS-C Sensor APS-C Sensor
    Sensor Size 22.3 x 14.9 mm 23.5 x 15.6 mm
    Sensor Area 332.27 mm2 366.6 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 26.8 mm 28.2 mm
    Crop Factor 1.6x 1.5x
    Sensor Resolution 24 Megapixels 24 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 6000 x 4000 pixels 6000 x 4000 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 3.72 μm 3.91 μm
    Pixel Density 7.22 MP/cm2 6.55 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter no AA filter
    Movie Capability 4K/24p Video 1080/60p Video
    ISO Setting 100 - 25,600 ISO 100 - 25,600 ISO
    ISO Boost 100 - 51,200 ISO no Enhancement
    Image Processor DIGIC 8 EXPEED 4
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) .. 84
    DXO Color Depth (bits) .. 24.1
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) .. 14.0
    DXO Low Light (ISO) .. 1438
    Screen Specs Canon 850D Nikon D5500
    Viewfinder Type Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 95% 95%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.51x 0.57x
    LCD Framing Live View Live View
    Rear LCD Size 3.0inch 3.2inch
    LCD Resolution 1040k dots 1037k dots
    LCD Attachment Swivel screen Swivel screen
    Touch Input Touchscreen Touchscreen
    Shooting Specs Canon 850D Nikon D5500
    Focus System Phase-detect AF Phase-detect AF
    Manual Focusing AidFocus Peakingno Peaking Feature
    Continuous Shooting 7.5 shutter flaps/s 5 shutter flaps/s
    Shutter Life Expectancy100 000 actuations100 000 actuations
    Time-Lapse PhotographyIntervalometer built-inIntervalometer built-in
    Fill Flash Build-in Flash Build-in Flash
    Storage Medium SDXC cards SDXC cards
    Second Storage Option Single card slot Single card slot
    UHS card support UHS-I UHS-I
    Connectivity Specs Canon 850D Nikon D5500
    External Flash Hotshoe Hotshoe
    USB Connector USB 2.0 USB 2.0
    HDMI Port mini HDMI mini HDMI
    Microphone Port External MIC port External MIC port
    Wifi Support Wifi built-in Wifi built-in
    Bluetooth Support Bluetooth built-in no Bluetooth
    Body Specs Canon 850D Nikon D5500
    Battery Type LP-E17 EN-EL14a
    Battery Life (CIPA)800 shots per charge820 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 131 x 103 x 76 mm
    (5.2 x 4.1 x 3.0 in)
    124 x 97 x 70 mm
    (4.9 x 3.8 x 2.8 in)
    Camera Weight 515 g (18.2 oz) 420 g (14.8 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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