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Canon G12 vs Leica X Vario

The Canon PowerShot G12 and the Leica X Vario (Typ 107) are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in September 2010 and June 2013. Both the G12 and the X Vario are fixed lens compact cameras that are based on a 1/1.7-inch (G12) and an APS-C (X Vario) sensor. The Canon has a resolution of 10 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 G12 versus Leica X Vario
Canon G12 Leica X Vario
Fixed lens compact camera Fixed lens compact camera
28-140mm f/2.8-4.5 28-70mm f/3.5-6.4
10 MP, 1/1.7" Sensor 16.1 MP, APS-C Sensor
720/24p Video 1080/30p Video
ISO 80-3,200 (80 - 12,800) ISO 100-12,500
Optical viewfinder Viewfinder optional
2.8 LCD, 461k dots 3.0 LCD, 920k dots
Swivel screen (not touch-sensitive) Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)
1.1 shutter flaps per second 5 shutter flaps per second
370 shots per battery charge450 shots per battery charge
112 x 76 x 48 mm, 401 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 PowerShot G12 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 physical size and weight of the Canon G12 and the Leica X Vario are illustrated in the side-by-side display below. 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.

The X Vario can be obtained in two different colors (black, silver), while the G12 is only available in black.

Size Canon G12 vs Leica X Vario
Compare G12 versus X Vario top
Comparison G12 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 notably larger (14 percent) than the Canon G12. Moreover, the X Vario is substantially heavier (70 percent) than the G12. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the G12 nor the X Vario are weather-sealed.

Concerning battery life, the G12 gets 370 shots out of its NB-7L battery, while the X Vario can take 450 images on a single charge of its BP-DC8 power pack.

The following table provides a synthesis of the main physical specifications of the two cameras and other similar ones. 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
 
Canon G12 4.4 in 3.0 in 1.9 in 14.1 oz 370 n Sep 2010 499i
 
Leica X Vario 5.2 in 2.9 in 3.7 in 24.0 oz 450 n Jun 2013 2,850i
 
Canon G16 4.3 in 3.0 in 1.6 in 12.6 oz 360 n Aug 2013 549 i
 
Canon G15 4.2 in 3.0 in 1.6 in 12.4 oz 350 n Sep 2012 499i
 
Canon SX50 4.8 in 3.4 in 4.2 in 21.0 oz 315 n Sep 2012 429i
 
Fujifilm X10 4.6 in 2.8 in 2.2 in 12.3 oz 270 n Sep 2011 599i
 
Leica Q Typ 116 5.1 in 3.1 in 3.7 in 22.6 oz 300 n Jun 2015 4,249i
 
Leica X Typ 113 5.2 in 2.9 in 3.1 in 17.1 oz 350 n Sep 2014 2,295i
 
Leica X2 4.9 in 2.7 in 2.0 in 12.2 oz 450 n May 2012 1,995i
 
Nikon Coolpix A 4.4 in 2.5 in 1.6 in 10.5 oz 230 n Mar 2013 1,099i
 
Nikon P7800 4.7 in 3.1 in 2.0 in 14.1 oz 350 n Sep 2013 549i
 
Olympus E-450 5.1 in 3.6 in 2.1 in 15.5 oz 500 n Mar 2009 499i
 
Panasonic FZ150 4.9 in 3.2 in 3.6 in 18.6 oz 410 n Aug 2011 499i
 
Panasonic G10 4.9 in 3.3 in 2.9 in 13.7 oz 380 n Mar 2010 499i
 
Panasonic G2 4.9 in 3.3 in 2.9 in 15.1 oz 360 n Mar 2010 599i
 
Panasonic LX5 4.3 in 2.6 in 1.7 in 9.6 oz 400 n Jul 2010 499i
 
Ricoh GR 4.6 in 2.4 in 1.4 in 8.6 oz 290 n Apr 2013 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 retail prices at the time of the camera’s release place the model in the market relative to other models in the producer’s line-up and the competition. The G12 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 82 percent) than the X Vario, 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 size of the imaging sensor is a crucial determinant 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. Moreover, a large sensor camera will give the photographer more control over depth-of-field in the image and, thus, the ability to better 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.

Of the two cameras under consideration, the Canon G12 features a 1/1.7-inch sensor and the Leica X Vario an APS-C sensor. The sensor area in the X Vario is 763 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 4.6 and 1.5. The sensor in the G12 has a native 4:3 aspect ratio, while the one in the X Vario offers a 3:2 aspect.

Canon G12 and Leica X Vario sensor measures

With 16.1MP, the X Vario offers a higher resolution than the G12 (10MP), but the X Vario nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 4.80μm versus 2.07μm for the G12) due to its larger sensor. Moreover, the X Vario is a much more recent model (by 2 years and 8 months) than the G12, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that further 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 G12 are 18.2 x 13.7 inches or 46.3 x 34.7 cm for good quality, 14.6 x 10.9 inches or 37.1 x 27.8 cm for very good quality, and 12.2 x 9.1 inches or 30.9 x 23.2 cm for excellent quality prints.

The Canon PowerShot G12 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 80 to ISO 3200, which can be extended to ISO 80-12800. The corresponding ISO settings for the Leica X Vario (Typ 107) are ISO 100 to ISO 12500 (no boost).

G12 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 G12 (overall score 31 points higher). The advantage is based on 3 bits higher color depth, 1.5 EV in additional dynamic range, and 3 stops in additional low light sensitivity. 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
 
Canon G12 1/1.7 10.0 3648 2736720/24p20.411.216147
 
Leica X Vario APS-C 16.1 4928 32721080/30p23.412.7132078
 
Canon G16 1/1.7 12.0 4000 30001080/60p21.011.723054
 
Canon G15 1/1.7 12.0 4000 30001080/24p19.911.516546
 
Canon SX50 1/2.3 12.0 4000 30001080/24p20.311.217947
 
Fujifilm X10 2/3 12.0 4000 30001080/30p20.511.324550
 
Leica Q Typ 116 Full Frame 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.312.7222185
 
Leica X Typ 113 APS-C 16.1 4928 32641080/30p........
 
Leica X2 APS-C 16.1 4928 3264none........
 
Nikon Coolpix A APS-C 16.1 4928 32641080/30p23.413.8116480
 
Nikon P7800 1/1.7 12.0 4000 30001080/30p21.211.720054
 
Olympus E-450 Four Thirds 10.0 3648 2736none21.510.551256
 
Panasonic FZ150 1/2.3 12.0 4000 30001080/60p19.410.913240
 
Panasonic G10 Four Thirds 12.0 4000 3000720/30p21.210.141152
 
Panasonic G2 Four Thirds 12.0 4000 3000720/30p21.210.349353
 
Panasonic LX5 1/1.7 10.0 3648 2736720/60p19.610.813241
 
Ricoh GR APS-C 16.1 4928 32641080/30p23.613.597278

Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. The two cameras under consideration both have sensors whose read-out speed is fast enough to capture moving pictures, but the X Vario provides a better video resolution than the G12. It can shoot movie footage at 1080/30p, while the Canon is limited to 720/24p.

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Feature comparison

Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the G12 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 following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Canon G12, the Leica X Vario, 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
 
Canon G12optical n 2.8 461 swivel n 1/4000s 1.1 Y Y
 
Leica X Variooptional n 3.0 920 fixed n 1/2000s 5.0 Y n
 
Canon G16optical n 3.0 922 fixed n 1/4000s 2.2 Y Y
 
Canon G15optical n 3.0 922 fixed n 1/4000s 2.1 Y Y
 
Canon SX50202 n 3.0 461 swivel n 1/2000s 2.2 Y Y
 
Fujifilm X10optical n 2.8 460 fixed n 1/4000s 10.0 Y Y
 
Leica Q Typ 1163680 n 3.0 1040 fixed Y 1/2000s 10.0 n Y
 
Leica X Typ 113optional n 3.0 920 fixed n 1/2000s 5.0 Y n
 
Leica X2optional n 2.7 230 fixed n 1/2000s 5.0 Y n
 
Nikon Coolpix Aoptional n 3.0 921 fixed n 1/2000s 4.0 Y n
 
Nikon P7800921 n 3.0 921 swivel n 1/4000s 8.0 Y Y
 
Olympus E-450optical n 2.7 215 fixed n 1/4000s 3.5 Y n
 
Panasonic FZ150202 n 3.0 460 swivel n 1/2000s 12.0 Y Y
 
Panasonic G10202 n 3.0 460 fixed n 1/4000s 2.6 Y n
 
Panasonic G21440 n 3.0 460 swivel Y 1/4000s 2.6 Y n
 
Panasonic LX5optional n 3.0 460 fixed n 1/4000s 2.5 Y Y
 
Ricoh GRoptional n 3.0 1230 fixed n 1/4000s 4.0 Y n

Both the G12 and the X Vario have zoom lenses built in. The G12 has a 28-140mm f/2.8-4.5 optic and the X Vario offers a 28-70mm f/3.5-6.4 (focal lengths in full frame equivalent terms). Hence, the Canon and Leica provide the same view at the wide-angle end, but the Leica has less tele-photo reach at the long end. The G12 offers the faster maximum aperture.

Concerning the storage of imaging data, both the G12 and the X Vario write their files to SDXC 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 PowerShot G12 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
Microphone
Internal
Speaker
Microphone
Port
Headphone
Port
HDMI
Port
USB
Port
WiFi
Support
NFC
Support
Bluetooth
Support
 
Canon G12Ystereomono--mini2.0---
 
Leica X VarioYstereomono--mini2.0---
 
Canon G16Ystereomono--mini2.0Y--
 
Canon G15Ystereomono--mini2.0---
 
Canon SX50Ystereomono--mini2.0---
 
Fujifilm X10Ystereomono--mini2.0---
 
Leica Q Typ 116Ystereomono--micro2.0YY-
 
Leica X Typ 113Ystereomono--mini2.0---
 
Leica X2Y----mini2.0---
 
Nikon Coolpix AYstereomono---2.0---
 
Nikon P7800YstereomonoY-mini2.0---
 
Olympus E-450Y-----2.0---
 
Panasonic FZ150Ystereo---mini2.0---
 
Panasonic G10Ymono---mini2.0---
 
Panasonic G2Ystereomono--mini2.0---
 
Panasonic LX5Ymonomono--mini2.0---
 
Ricoh GRYmonomono--micro2.0---

Both the G12 and the X Vario have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The G12 was replaced by the Canon G15, 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.

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Review summary

So what is the bottom line? Is the Canon G12 better than the Leica X Vario or vice versa? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.

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Arguments in favor of the Canon PowerShot G12:

  • Easier framing: Has an optical viewfinder for image composition and settings control.
  • More flexible LCD: Has a swivel screen for odd-angle shots in portrait or landscape orientation.
  • Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/4000s vs 1/2000s) to freeze action.
  • Better light gathering: Has a lens with a wider maximum aperture (f/2.8 vs f/3.5).
  • More tele-reach: Has a longer tele-lens for perspective compression and subject magnification.
  • More compact: Is smaller (112x76mm vs 133x73mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
  • Less heavy: Is lighter (by 279g or 41 percent) and hence easier to carry around.
  • Sharper images: Has hand-shake reducing image stabilization built-in.
  • More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (82 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in September 2010).

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Advantages of the Leica X Vario (Typ 107):

  • More detail: Has more megapixels (16.1 vs 10MP), which boosts linear resolution by 30%.
  • Better image quality: Scores substantially higher (31 points) in the DXO overall evaluation.
  • Richer colors: Generates noticeably more natural colors (3 bits more color depth).
  • More dynamic range: Captures a broader range of light and dark details (1.5 EV of extra DR).
  • Better low-light sensitivity: Can shoot in dim conditions (3 stops ISO advantage).
  • Better video: Provides higher definition movie capture (1080/30p vs 720/24p).
  • Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.0" vs 2.8") for image review and settings control.
  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (920k vs 461k dots).
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (5 vs 1.1 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • Longer lasting: Gets more shots (450 versus 370) out of a single battery charge.
  • More prestigious: Has the Leica luxury appeal, which ensures a high resale value.
  • More modern: Reflects 2 years and 8 months of technical progress since the G12 launch.

If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the X Vario emerges as the winner of the match-up (12 : 10 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.

G12 10:12 X Vario

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Canon G12 and the Leica X Vario place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Travel-Zoom 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 partial and cannot reveal, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance when actually working with the G12 or the X Vario. 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

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.

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Review Scores
  Camera
Model
camera
  labs  
dp
review  
ephoto
  zine  
imaging
resource
photography
  blog  
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
 
Canon G12+73/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Sep 2010 499i
 
Leica X Vario....4/54/54/5 Jun 2013 2,850i
 
Canon G16+..4.5/54.5/54.5/5 Aug 2013 549 i
 
Canon G15+76/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Sep 2012 499i
 
Canon SX50+ +72/1004.5/5..4.5/5 Sep 2012 429i
 
Fujifilm X10..76/1004/53.5/54.5/5 Sep 2011 599i
 
Leica Q Typ 116..80/1004.5/5..4.5/5 Jun 2015 4,249i
 
Leica X Typ 113....3.5/5..4/5 Sep 2014 2,295i
 
Leica X2....3/5..4/5 May 2012 1,995i
 
Nikon Coolpix A+75/1004/54.5/54/5 Mar 2013 1,099i
 
Nikon P7800....4/53.5/54.5/5 Sep 2013 549i
 
Olympus E-450....4/5..4/5 Mar 2009 499i
 
Panasonic FZ150+ +76/1004/55/54.5/5 Aug 2011 499i
 
Panasonic G10..70/1004/5..4/5 Mar 2010 499i
 
Panasonic G2..72/1004/54/54.5/5 Mar 2010 599i
 
Panasonic LX5+73/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Jul 2010 499i
 
Ricoh GR..79/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Apr 2013 799i
Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.

The above review scores should be interpreted with care, though. The ratings were established in reference to similarly priced cameras that were available in the market at the time of the review. 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. It should also be noted that some of the review sites have over time altered the way they render their verdicts.

Canon G12:
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. 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 G12 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 G12 Leica X Vario
    Camera Type Fixed lens compact camera Fixed lens compact camera
    Camera Lens 28-140mm f/2.8-4.5 28-70mm f/3.5-6.4
    Launch Date September 2010 June 2013
    Launch Price USD 499 USD 2,850
    Sensor Specs Canon G12 Leica X Vario
    Sensor Technology CCD CMOS
    Sensor Format 1/1.7" Sensor APS-C Sensor
    Sensor Size 7.6 x 5.7 mm 23.6 x 15.7 mm
    Sensor Area 43.32 mm2 370.52 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 9.5 mm 28.3 mm
    Crop Factor 4.6x 1.5x
    Sensor Resolution 10 Megapixels 16.1 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 3648 x 2736 pixels 4928 x 3272 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 2.07 μm 4.80 μm
    Pixel Density 23.04 MP/cm2 4.35 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability 720/24p Video 1080/30p Video
    ISO Setting 80 - 3,200 ISO 100 - 12,500 ISO
    ISO Boost 80 - 12,800 ISO no Enhancement
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) 47 78
    DXO Color Depth (bits) 20.4 23.4
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) 11.2 12.7
    DXO Low Light (ISO) 161 1320
    Screen Specs Canon G12 Leica X Vario
    Viewfinder Type Optical viewfinder Viewfinder optional
    Viewfinder Magnification
    LCD Framing Live View
    Rear LCD Size 2.8inch 3.0inch
    LCD Resolution 461k dots 920k dots
    LCD Attachment Swivel screen Fixed screen
    Shooting Specs Canon G12 Leica X Vario
    Focus System Contrast-detect AF Contrast-detect AF
    Continuous Shooting 1.1 shutter flaps/s 5 shutter flaps/s
    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 no no
    Connectivity Specs Canon G12 Leica X Vario
    External Flash Hotshoe Hotshoe
    USB Connector USB 2.0 USB 2.0
    HDMI Port mini HDMI mini HDMI
    Wifi Support no Wifi no Wifi
    Body Specs Canon G12 Leica X Vario
    Battery Type NB-7L BP-DC8
    Battery Life (CIPA)370 shots per charge450 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 112 x 76 x 48 mm
    (4.4 x 3.0 x 1.9 in)
    133 x 73 x 95 mm
    (5.2 x 2.9 x 3.7 in)
    Camera Weight 401 g (14.1 oz) 680 g (24.0 oz)

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