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Canon D30 vs Olympus E-PL2

The Canon EOS-D30 and the Olympus PEN E-PL2 are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in May 2000 and January 2011. The D30 is a DSLR, while the E-PL2 is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera. The cameras are based on an APS-C (D30) and a Four Thirds (E-PL2) sensor. The Canon has a resolution of 3.1 megapixels, whereas the Olympus 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 D30
versus
Olympus E-PL2
Canon D30 Olympus E-PL2
Digital single lens reflex Mirrorless system camera
Canon EF mount lenses Micro Four Thirds lenses
3.1 MP, APS-C Sensor 12.2 MP, Four Thirds Sensor
no Video 720/30p Video
ISO 100-1,600 ISO 200-6,400
Optical viewfinder Viewfinder optional
1.8 LCD, 114k dots 3.0 LCD, 460k dots
Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive) Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)
3 shutter flaps per second 3 shutter flaps per second
Lens stabilization onlyIn-body stabilization
540 shots per battery charge280 shots per battery charge
150 x 107 x 75 mm, 750 g 114 x 72 x 42 mm, 362 g

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Canon EOS-D30 and the Olympus PEN E-PL2? 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 D30 and the Olympus E-PL2. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three consecutive perspectives from the front, the top, and the back are available. All width, height and depth measures are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

The E-PL2 can be obtained in four different colors (black, silver, red, white), while the D30 is only available in black.

Size Canon D30 vs Olympus E-PL2
Compare D30 versus E-PL2 top
Comparison D30 or E-PL2 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Olympus E-PL2 is considerably smaller (49 percent) than the Canon D30. Moreover, the E-PL2 is substantially lighter (52 percent) than the D30. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the D30 nor the E-PL2 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. 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 (D30) and the Micro Four Thirds Lens Catalog (E-PL2). Mirrorless cameras, such as the E-PL2, have moreover the advantage that they can use many lenses from other systems via adapters, as they have a relatively short flange to focal plane distance.

Concerning battery life, the D30 gets 540 shots out of its BP-511 battery, while the E-PL2 can take 280 images on a single charge of its BLS-5 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 D30 150 mm 107 mm 75 mm 750 g 540 n May 2000 2,999 i
2.
 
Olympus E-PL2 114 mm 72 mm 42 mm 362 g 280 n Jan 2011 599 i
3.
 
Canon T7 129 mm 101 mm 78 mm 475 g 500 n Feb 2018 449 i
4.
 
Canon SL2 122 mm 93 mm 70 mm 453 g 650 n Jun 2017 549 i
5.
 
Canon T7i 131 mm 100 mm 76 mm 532 g 600 n Feb 2017 749 i
6.
 
Canon 80D 139 mm 105 mm 79 mm 730 g 960 Y Feb 2016 1,199 i
7.
 
Canon 40D 146 mm 108 mm 74 mm 822 g 750 n Aug 2007 1,299 i
8.
 
Canon 30D 144 mm 106 mm 74 mm 785 g 750 n Feb 2006 1,399 i
9.
 
Canon 20D 144 mm 106 mm 72 mm 770 g 700 n Aug 2004 1,499 i
10.
 
Canon 10D 150 mm 107 mm 75 mm 850 g 500 n Feb 2003 1,999 i
11.
 
Canon Rebel 142 mm 99 mm 72 mm 649 g 400 n Aug 2003 899 i
12.
 
Canon D60 150 mm 107 mm 75 mm 855 g 620 n Feb 2002 2,999 i
13.
 
Olympus E-P3 122 mm 69 mm 34 mm 369 g 330 n Jun 2011 799 i
14.
 
Olympus E-PL3 110 mm 64 mm 37 mm 313 g 300 n Jun 2011 599 i
15.
 
Olympus E-PL1 115 mm 72 mm 42 mm 334 g 290 n Feb 2010 599 i
16.
 
Olympus E-P2 121 mm 70 mm 36 mm 355 g 300 n Nov 2009 799 i
17.
 
Panasonic G10 124 mm 84 mm 74 mm 388 g 380 n Mar 2010 499 i
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. The E-PL2 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 80 percent) than the D30, 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. 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 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. 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 are more costly to manufacture and tend to lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.

Of the two cameras under consideration, the Canon D30 features an APS-C sensor and the Olympus E-PL2 a Four Thirds sensor. The sensor area in the E-PL2 is 31 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 D30 has a native 3:2 aspect ratio, while the one in the E-PL2 offers a 4:3 aspect.

Canon D30 and Olympus E-PL2 sensor measures

Despite having a smaller sensor, the E-PL2 offers a higher resolution of 12.2 megapixels, compared with 3.1 MP of the D30. 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 4.29μm versus 10.29μm for the D30). However, it should be noted that the E-PL2 is much more recent (by 10 years and 7 months) than the D30, 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 Olympus E-PL2 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the E-PL2 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 20.2 x 15.1 inches or 51.2 x 38.4 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 16.1 x 12.1 inches or 41 x 30.7 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 13.4 x 10.1 inches or 34.1 x 25.6 cm. The corresponding values for the Canon D30 are 10.8 x 7.2 inches or 27.4 x 18.3 cm for good quality, 8.6 x 5.8 inches or 21.9 x 14.6 cm for very good quality, and 7.2 x 4.8 inches or 18.3 x 12.2 cm for excellent quality prints.

The Canon EOS-D30 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 1600. The corresponding ISO settings for the Olympus PEN E-PL2 are ISO 200 to ISO 6400 (no boost).

D30 versus E-PL2 MP

Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for many cameras. 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 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 D30 APS-C 3.1 2160 1440none...... ..
2.
 
Olympus E-PL2 Four Thirds 12.2 4032 3024720/30p21.410.2573 55
3.
 
Canon T7 APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/30p...... ..
4.
 
Canon SL2 APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p23.613.41041 79
5.
 
Canon T7i APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p...... ..
6.
 
Canon 80D APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p23.613.21135 79
7.
 
Canon 40D APS-C 10.1 3888 2592none22.111.3703 64
8.
 
Canon 30D APS-C 8.2 3504 2336none21.510.8736 59
9.
 
Canon 20D APS-C 8.2 3504 2336none21.911.0721 62
10.
 
Canon 10D APS-C 6.3 3072 2048none21.110.9571 57
11.
 
Canon Rebel APS-C 6.3 3072 2048none21.010.8544 55
12.
 
Canon D60 APS-C 6.3 3072 2048none...... ..
13.
 
Olympus E-P3 Four Thirds 12.2 4032 30241080/60i20.810.1536 51
14.
 
Olympus E-PL3 Four Thirds 12.2 4032 30241080/60i20.910.3499 52
15.
 
Olympus E-PL1 Four Thirds 12.2 4032 3024720/30p21.510.1487 54
16.
 
Olympus E-P2 Four Thirds 12.2 4032 3024720/30p21.510.4505 56
17.
 
Panasonic G10 Four Thirds 12.0 4000 3000720/30p21.210.1411 52

Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but also of capturing video footage. The E-PL2 indeed provides for movie recording, while the D30 does not. The highest resolution format that the E-PL2 can use is 720/30p.

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Feature comparison

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the D30 has an optical viewfinder, which can be very useful when shooting in bright sunlight. In contrast, the E-PL2 relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. That said, the E-PL2 can be equipped with an optional viewfinder – the VF-2. The following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Canon D30, the Olympus E-PL2, and comparable 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 D30optical Y 1.8 114 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
2.
 
Olympus E-PL2optional n 3.0 460 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y Y
3.
 
Canon T7optical n 3.0 920 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
4.
 
Canon SL2optical n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 1/4000s 5.0 Y n
5.
 
Canon T7ioptical n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 1/4000s 6.0 Y n
6.
 
Canon 80Doptical Y 3.0 1040 swivel Y 1/8000s 7.0 Y n
7.
 
Canon 40Doptical Y 3.0 230 fixed n 1/8000s 6.5 Y n
8.
 
Canon 30Doptical Y 2.5 230 fixed n 1/8000s 5.0 Y n
9.
 
Canon 20Doptical Y 1.8 118 fixed n 1/8000s 5.0 Y n
10.
 
Canon 10Doptical Y 1.8 118 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
11.
 
Canon Rebeloptical n 1.8 118 fixed n 1/4000s 2.5 Y n
12.
 
Canon D60optical Y 1.8 114 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
13.
 
Olympus E-P3optional n 3.0 614 fixed Y 1/4000s 3.0 Y Y
14.
 
Olympus E-PL3optional n 3.0 460 tilting n 1/4000s 5.5 n Y
15.
 
Olympus E-PL1optional n 2.7 230 fixed n 1/2000s 3.0 Y Y
16.
 
Olympus E-P2optional n 3.0 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 n Y
17.
 
Panasonic G10202 n 3.0 460 fixed n 1/4000s 2.6 Y n

One feature that is present on the D30, but is missing on the E-PL2 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 D30 writes its imaging data to Compact Flash cards, while the E-PL2 uses SDHC cards.

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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-D30 and Olympus PEN E-PL2 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 D30Y-----1.0---
2.
 
Olympus E-PL2Ystereo---mini2.0---
3.
 
Canon T7Ymonomono--mini2.0YY-
4.
 
Canon SL2YstereomonoY-mini2.0YYY
5.
 
Canon T7iYstereomonoY-mini2.0YYY
6.
 
Canon 80DYstereomonoYYmini2.0YY-
7.
 
Canon 40DY-----2.0---
8.
 
Canon 30DY-----2.0---
9.
 
Canon 20DY-----1.1---
10.
 
Canon 10DY-----1.1---
11.
 
Canon RebelY-----1.1---
12.
 
Canon D60Y-----1.1---
13.
 
Olympus E-P3Ystereo---mini2.0---
14.
 
Olympus E-PL3Ystereo---mini2.0---
15.
 
Olympus E-PL1Ystereo---mini2.0---
16.
 
Olympus E-P2Ystereo---mini2.0---
17.
 
Panasonic G10Ymono---mini2.0---

Studio photographers will appreciate that the Canon D30 (unlike the E-PL2) features a PC Sync socket, so that professional strobe lights can be controlled by the camera.

Both the D30 and the E-PL2 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The D30 was replaced by the Canon D60, while the E-PL2 was followed by the Olympus E-PL3. 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 what is the bottom line? Is there a clear favorite between the Canon D30 and the Olympus E-PL2? Which camera is better? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.

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Arguments in favor of the Canon EOS-D30:

  • 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.
  • Longer lasting: Can take more shots (540 versus 280) 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 May 2000).

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Reasons to prefer the Olympus PEN E-PL2:

  • More detail: Has more megapixels (12.2 vs 3.1MP), which boosts linear resolution by 94%.
  • Broader imaging potential: Can capture not only stills but also 720/30p video.
  • Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.0" vs 1.8") for image review and settings control.
  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (460k vs 114k dots).
  • More compact: Is smaller (114x72mm vs 150x107mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
  • Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 388g or 52 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
  • Sharper images: Has stabilization technology built-in to reduce the impact of hand-shake.
  • More legacy lens friendly: Can use many non-native lenses via adapters.
  • Faster data transfer: Supports a more advanced USB protocol (2.0 vs 1.0).
  • More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (80 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More modern: Reflects 10 years and 7 months of technical progress since the D30 launch.

If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the E-PL2 is the clear winner of the contest (11 : 5 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.

D30 05:11 E-PL2

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Canon D30 and the Olympus E-PL2 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best DSLR Camera and Best Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera listings 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 partial and cannot reveal, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance when actually working with the D30 or the E-PL2. 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 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 D30....+ +.... May 2000 2,999 i
2.
 
Olympus E-PL23/583/10071/1004.5/54.5/5 Jan 2011 599 i
3.
 
Canon T7..o..3.5/53.5/5 Feb 2018 449 i
4.
 
Canon SL24/5+ +78/1004.5/54.5/5 Jun 2017 549 i
5.
 
Canon T7i4.5/5..80/1004.5/54/5 Feb 2017 749 i
6.
 
Canon 80D4/5+ +84/1004.5/54.5/5 Feb 2016 1,199 i
7.
 
Canon 40D..+ ++ +4.5/54.5/5 Aug 2007 1,299 i
8.
 
Canon 30D..+ ++ +o.. Feb 2006 1,399 i
9.
 
Canon 20D....+ +.... Aug 2004 1,499 i
10.
 
Canon 10D....+ +.... Feb 2003 1,999 i
11.
 
Canon Rebel....+ +.... Aug 2003 899 i
12.
 
Canon D60....+ +o.. Feb 2002 2,999 i
13.
 
Olympus E-P3..83/10074/1004.5/54.5/5 Jun 2011 799 i
14.
 
Olympus E-PL33/5+ +72/1004.5/54/5 Jun 2011 599 i
15.
 
Olympus E-PL1..86/10069/1004/54.5/5 Feb 2010 599 i
16.
 
Olympus E-P23/5+69/1004/54.5/5 Nov 2009 799 i
17.
 
Panasonic G103/5..70/1004/54/5 Mar 2010 499 i
Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.

The review scores listed above should be treated 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 rating-comparisons among cameras that span long time periods or concern very differently equipped models make little sense. Also, kindly note that some of the listed sites have over time developped their review approaches and their reporting style.

Canon D30:
Check Ebay offers
Olympus E-PL2:
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. 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 D30 vs Olympus E-PL2

    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 D30 Olympus E-PL2
    Camera Type Digital single lens reflex Mirrorless system camera
    Camera Lens Canon EF mount lenses Micro Four Thirds lenses
    Launch Date May 2000 January 2011
    Launch Price USD 2,999 USD 599
    Sensor Specs Canon D30 Olympus E-PL2
    Sensor Technology CMOS CMOS
    Sensor Format APS-C Sensor Four Thirds Sensor
    Sensor Size 22.0 x 14.9 mm 17.3 x 13.0 mm
    Sensor Area 327.8 mm2 224.9 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 26.6 mm 21.6 mm
    Crop Factor 1.6x 2.0x
    Sensor Resolution 3.1 Megapixels 12.2 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 2160 x 1440 pixels 4032 x 3024 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 10.29 μm 4.29 μm
    Pixel Density 0.95 MP/cm2 5.42 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability no Video 720/30p Video
    ISO Setting 100 - 1,600 ISO 200 - 6,400 ISO
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) .. 55
    DXO Color Depth (bits) .. 21.4
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) .. 10.2
    DXO Low Light (ISO) .. 573
    Screen Specs Canon D30 Olympus E-PL2
    Viewfinder Type Optical viewfinder Viewfinder optional
    Viewfinder Field of View 95%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.54x
    Top-Level Screen Control Panel no Top Display
    LCD Framing Live View
    Rear LCD Size 1.8inch 3.0inch
    LCD Resolution 114k dots 460k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen Fixed screen
    Shooting Specs Canon D30 Olympus E-PL2
    Focus System Phase-detect AF Contrast-detect AF
    Continuous Shooting 3 shutter flaps/s 3 shutter flaps/s
    Image StabilizationLens stabilization onlyIn-body stabilization
    Fill Flash Built-in Flash Built-in Flash
    Storage Medium CF cards SDHC cards
    Second Storage Option Single card slot Single card slot
    Connectivity Specs Canon D30 Olympus E-PL2
    External Flash Hotshoe Hotshoe
    Studio Flash PC Sync socket no PC Sync
    USB Connector USB 1.0 USB 2.0
    HDMI Port no HDMI mini HDMI
    Wifi Support no Wifi no Wifi
    Body Specs Canon D30 Olympus E-PL2
    Battery Type BP-511 BLS-5
    Battery Life (CIPA)540 shots per charge280 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 150 x 107 x 75 mm
    (5.9 x 4.2 x 3.0 in)
    114 x 72 x 42 mm
    (4.5 x 2.8 x 1.7 in)
    Camera Weight 750 g (26.5 oz) 362 g (12.8 oz)

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