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Canon G15 vs Nikon D40X

The Canon PowerShot G15 and the Nikon D40X are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in September 2012 and March 2007. The G15 is a fixed lens compact, while the D40X is a DSLR. The cameras are based on a 1/1.7-inch (G15) and an APS-C (D40X) sensor. The Canon has a resolution of 12 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 G15
versus
Nikon D40X
Canon G15   Nikon D40X
Fixed lens compact camera Digital single lens reflex
28-140mm f/1.8-2.8 Nikon F mount lenses
12 MP – 1/1.7" sensor 10 MP – APS-C sensor
1080/24p Video no Video
ISO 80-12,800 ISO 100-1,600 (100 - 3,200)
Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
3.0" LCD – 922k dots 2.5" LCD – 230k dots
Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive) Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)
2.1 shutter flaps per second 3 shutter flaps per second
350 shots per battery charge520 shots per battery charge
107 x 76 x 40 mm, 352 g 124 x 94 x 64 mm, 522 g
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Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Canon PowerShot G15 and the Nikon D40X? 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 G15 and the Nikon D40X are illustrated 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 width, height and depth measures are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

The D40X can be obtained in two different colors (black, silver), while the G15 is only available in black.

Size Canon G15 vs Nikon D40X
Compare G15 versus D40X top
Comparison G15 or D40X rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Nikon D40X is considerably larger (43 percent) than the Canon G15. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the G15 nor the D40X are weather-sealed.

The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the G15 has a lens built in, whereas the D40X is an interchangeable lens camera that requires a separate lens. Attaching the latter will add extra weight and bulk to the setup. You can compare the optics available for the D40X and their specifications in the Nikon Lens Catalog.

Concerning battery life, the G15 gets 350 shots out of its NB-10L battery, while the D40X can take 520 images on a single charge of its EN-EL9 power pack.

The following table provides a synthesis of the main physical specifications of the two cameras and other similar ones. 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 G15 107 mm 76 mm 40 mm 352 g 350 n Sep 2012 499ebay.com
2.
 
Nikon D40X 124 mm 94 mm 64 mm 522 g 520 n Mar 2007 729ebay.com
3.
 
Canon SX60 128 mm 93 mm 114 mm 650 g 340 n Sep 2014 549ebay.com
4.
 
Canon G16 109 mm 76 mm 40 mm 356 g 360 n Aug 2013 549ebay.com
5.
 
Canon S120 100 mm 59 mm 29 mm 217 g 230 n Aug 2013 449ebay.com
6.
 
Canon SX50 123 mm 87 mm 106 mm 595 g 315 n Sep 2012 429ebay.com
7.
 
Canon G12 112 mm 76 mm 48 mm 401 g 370 n Sep 2010 499ebay.com
8.
 
Fujifilm X20 117 mm 70 mm 57 mm 353 g 270 n Jan 2013 599ebay.com
9.
 
Fujifilm X10 117 mm 70 mm 57 mm 350 g 270 n Sep 2011 599ebay.com
10.
 
Nikon P7800 119 mm 78 mm 50 mm 399 g 350 n Sep 2013 549ebay.com
11.
 
Nikon D3000 126 mm 97 mm 64 mm 536 g 500 n Jul 2009 599ebay.com
12.
 
Nikon D5000 127 mm 104 mm 80 mm 590 g 510 n Apr 2009 749ebay.com
13.
 
Nikon D60 126 mm 94 mm 64 mm 522 g 500 n Jan 2008 629ebay.com
14.
 
Nikon D40 124 mm 94 mm 64 mm 522 g 470 n Nov 2006 499ebay.com
15.
 
Panasonic LX7 111 mm 68 mm 46 mm 298 g 330 n Jul 2012 499ebay.com
16.
 
Panasonic FZ150 124 mm 82 mm 92 mm 528 g 410 n Aug 2011 499ebay.com
17.
 
Panasonic L10 135 mm 96 mm 78 mm 556 g 450 n Aug 2007 599ebay.com
Note: 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 G15 was launched at a lower price than the D40X, despite having a lens built in. 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 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. 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 are more costly to manufacture and tend to lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.

Of the two cameras under consideration, the Canon G15 features a 1/1.7-inch sensor and the Nikon D40X an APS-C sensor. The sensor area in the D40X is 767 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 G15 has a native 4:3 aspect ratio, while the one in the D40X offers a 3:2 aspect.

Canon G15 and Nikon D40X sensor measures

Despite having a smaller sensor, the Canon G15 offers a higher resolution of 12 megapixels, compared with 10 MP of the Nikon D40X. 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 1.89μm versus 6.11μm for the D40X). However, it should be noted that the G15 is much more recent (by 5 years and 6 months) than the D40X, 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 G15 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the G15 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 20 x 15 inches or 50.8 x 38.1 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 16 x 12 inches or 40.6 x 30.5 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 13.3 x 10 inches or 33.9 x 25.4 cm. The corresponding values for the Nikon D40X 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 PowerShot G15 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 80 to ISO 12800. The corresponding ISO settings for the Nikon D40X are ISO 100 to ISO 1600, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 100-3200.

In terms of underlying technology, the G15 is build around a CMOS sensor, while the D40X 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.

G15 versus D40X 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. Of the two cameras under consideration, the D40X offers substantially better image quality than the G15 (overall score 17 points higher). The advantage is based on 2.5 bits higher color depth, 0.1 EV of lower dynamic range, and 1.6 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
1.
 
Canon G15 1/1.7 12.0 4000 30001080/24p19.911.516546
2.
 
Nikon D40X APS-C 10.0 3872 2592none22.411.451663
3.
 
Canon SX60 1/2.3 14.2 4608 30721080/60p19.210.812739
4.
 
Canon G16 1/1.7 12.0 4000 30001080/60p21.011.723054
5.
 
Canon S120 1/1.7 12.0 4000 30001080/60p21.311.924656
6.
 
Canon SX50 1/2.3 12.0 4000 30001080/24p20.311.217947
7.
 
Canon G12 1/1.7 10.0 3648 2736720/24p20.411.216147
8.
 
Fujifilm X20 2/3 12.0 4000 30001080/60p20.110.9-46246
9.
 
Fujifilm X10 2/3 12.0 4000 30001080/30p20.511.324550
10.
 
Nikon P7800 1/1.7 12.0 4000 30001080/30p21.211.720054
11.
 
Nikon D3000 APS-C 10.0 3872 2592none22.311.156362
12.
 
Nikon D5000 APS-C 12.2 4288 2848720/24p22.712.586872
13.
 
Nikon D60 APS-C 10.0 3872 2592none22.511.456265
14.
 
Nikon D40 APS-C 6.0 3008 2000none21.011.056156
15.
 
Panasonic LX7 1/1.7 10.0 3648 27361080/60p20.711.714750
16.
 
Panasonic FZ150 1/2.3 12.0 4000 30001080/60p19.410.913240
17.
 
Panasonic L10 Four Thirds 10.0 3648 2736none21.310.842955
Note: DXO values in italics represent estimates based on sensor size and age.

Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. The G15 indeed provides movie recording capabilities, while the D40X does not. The highest resolution format that the G15 can use is 1080/24p.

Feature comparison

Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The G15 and the D40X 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 following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Canon G15, the Nikon D40X, and comparable cameras.

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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 G15optical n3.0 / 922 fixed n 1/4000s 2.1/s Y Y
2.
 
Nikon D40Xoptical n2.5 / 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0/s Y n
3.
 
Canon SX60922 n3.0 / 922 swivel n 1/2000s 6.4/s Y Y
4.
 
Canon G16optical n3.0 / 922 fixed n 1/4000s 2.2/s Y Y
5.
 
Canon S120none n3.0 / 922 fixed Y 1/2000s 12.1/s Y Y
6.
 
Canon SX50202 n3.0 / 461 swivel n 1/2000s 2.2/s Y Y
7.
 
Canon G12optical n2.8 / 461 swivel n 1/4000s 1.1/s Y Y
8.
 
Fujifilm X20optical n2.8 / 460 fixed n 1/4000s 12.0/s Y Y
9.
 
Fujifilm X10optical n2.8 / 460 fixed n 1/4000s 10.0/s Y Y
10.
 
Nikon P7800921 n3.0 / 921 swivel n 1/4000s 8.0/s Y Y
11.
 
Nikon D3000optical n3.0 / 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0/s Y n
12.
 
Nikon D5000optical n2.7 / 230 full-flex n 1/4000s 4.0/s Y n
13.
 
Nikon D60optical n2.5 / 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0/s Y n
14.
 
Nikon D40optical n2.5 / 230 fixed n 1/4000s 2.5/s Y n
15.
 
Panasonic LX7optional n3.0 / 920 fixed n 1/4000s 11.0/s Y Y
16.
 
Panasonic FZ150202 n3.0 / 460 swivel n 1/2000s 12.0/s Y Y
17.
 
Panasonic L10optical n2.5 / 207 swivel n 1/4000s 3.0/s Y n
Notes: *) Information refers to the mechanical shutter, unless the camera only has an electronic one.

The G15 writes its imaging data to SDXC cards, while the D40X uses SDHC 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 PowerShot G15 and Nikon D40X 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 G15Ystereo / mono--mini2.0---
2.
 
Nikon D40XY- / ----2.0---
3.
 
Canon SX60Ystereo / monoY-mini2.0YY-
4.
 
Canon G16Ystereo / mono--mini2.0Y--
5.
 
Canon S120-stereo / mono--mini2.0Y--
6.
 
Canon SX50Ystereo / mono--mini2.0---
7.
 
Canon G12Ystereo / mono--mini2.0---
8.
 
Fujifilm X20Ystereo / mono--micro2.0---
9.
 
Fujifilm X10Ystereo / mono--mini2.0---
10.
 
Nikon P7800Ystereo / monoY-mini2.0---
11.
 
Nikon D3000Y- / ----2.0---
12.
 
Nikon D5000Ymono / mono--mini2.0---
13.
 
Nikon D60Y- / ----2.0---
14.
 
Nikon D40Y- / ----2.0---
15.
 
Panasonic LX7Ystereo / mono--mini2.0---
16.
 
Panasonic FZ150Ystereo / ---mini2.0---
17.
 
Panasonic L10Y- / ----2.0---

Both the G15 and the D40X have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on ebay. The D40X was replaced by the Nikon D60 , while the G15 was followed by the Canon G16. Further information on the features and operation of the G15 and D40X can be found, respectively, in the Canon G15 Manual (free pdf) or the online Nikon D40X Manual.

Review summary

So what is the bottom line? Is there a clear favorite between the Canon G15 and the Nikon D40X? 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 PowerShot G15:

  • More detail: Offers more megapixels (12 vs 10MP) with a 7% higher linear resolution.
  • Broader imaging potential: Can record not only still images but also 1080/24p movies.
  • 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 (922k vs 230k dots).
  • Ready to shoot: Comes with a built-in lens, while the D40X requires a separate lens.
  • More compact: Is smaller (107x76mm vs 124x94mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
  • Less heavy: Is lighter even though it comes with a built-in lens (unlike the D40X).
  • Sharper images: Has hand-shake reducing image stabilization built-in.
  • More affordable: Was introduced at a lower price, despite coming with a built-in lens.
  • More modern: Reflects 5 years and 6 months of technical progress since the D40X launch.

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Reasons to prefer the Nikon D40X:

  • Better image quality: Scores substantially higher (17 points) in the DXO overall evaluation.
  • Richer colors: Generates noticeably more natural colors (2.5 bits more color depth).
  • Better low-light sensitivity: Can shoot in dim conditions (1.6 stops ISO advantage).
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (3 vs 2.1 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • More flexible: Makes it possible to change lenses and thus to use specialty optics.
  • Longer lasting: Gets more shots (520 versus 350) out of a single battery charge.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been around for much longer (launched in March 2007).

If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the G15 emerges as the winner of the contest (10 : 7 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.

G15 10:07 D40X

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Canon G15 and the Nikon D40X place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Travel-Zoom Camera and Best DSLR 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 G15 or the D40X. 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 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], 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 G154/5+..76/1004.5/54.5/5 Sep 2012 499ebay.com
2.
 
Nikon D40X..79/100..+ +4/54/5 Mar 2007 729ebay.com
3.
 
Canon SX603/5+ +..75/1004/54.5/5 Sep 2014 549ebay.com
4.
 
Canon G164/5+....4.5/54.5/5 Aug 2013 549ebay.com
5.
 
Canon S120..+ +....4.5/54.5/5 Aug 2013 449ebay.com
6.
 
Canon SX503/5+ +..72/1004.5/54.5/5 Sep 2012 429ebay.com
7.
 
Canon G124/5+..73/1004.5/54.5/5 Sep 2010 499ebay.com
8.
 
Fujifilm X204/5+ +..77/1004.5/55/5 Jan 2013 599ebay.com
9.
 
Fujifilm X10......76/1004/54.5/5 Sep 2011 599ebay.com
10.
 
Nikon P78003/5......4/54.5/5 Sep 2013 549ebay.com
11.
 
Nikon D3000..+..72/1004/54.5/5 Jul 2009 599ebay.com
12.
 
Nikon D5000..+ +..75/1004/54.5/5 Apr 2009 749ebay.com
13.
 
Nikon D60..80/100..+ +4/54.5/5 Jan 2008 629ebay.com
14.
 
Nikon D40..81/100..+ +o4.5/5 Nov 2006 499ebay.com
15.
 
Panasonic LX73/5+ +..75/1004/54.5/5 Jul 2012 499ebay.com
16.
 
Panasonic FZ1503/5+ +..76/1004/54.5/5 Aug 2011 499ebay.com
17.
 
Panasonic L10..85/100..+3.5/54/5 Aug 2007 599ebay.com
Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.

The above review scores should be interpreted 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 comparing ratings of very distinct cameras or ones that are far apart in terms of their release date have little meaning. Also, kindly note that some of the listed sites have over time developped their review approaches and their reporting style.

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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 G15 vs Nikon D40X

    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 G15 Nikon D40X
    Camera Type Fixed lens compact camera Digital single lens reflex
    Camera Lens 28-140mm f/1.8-2.8 Nikon F mount lenses
    Launch Date September 2012 March 2007
    Launch Price USD 499 USD 729
    Sensor Specs Canon G15 Nikon D40X
    Sensor Technology CMOS CCD
    Sensor Format 1/1.7" Sensor APS-C Sensor
    Sensor Size 7.6 x 5.7 mm 23.6 x 15.8 mm
    Sensor Area 43.32 mm2 372.88 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 9.5 mm 28.4 mm
    Crop Factor 4.6x 1.5x
    Sensor Resolution 12 Megapixels 10 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 4000 x 3000 pixels 3872 x 2592 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 1.89 μm 6.11 μm
    Pixel Density 27.70 MP/cm2 2.69 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability 1080/24p Video no Video
    ISO Setting 80 - 12,800 ISO 100 - 1,600 ISO
    ISO Boost no Enhancement 100 - 3,200 ISO
    Image Processor DIGIC 5 EXPEED
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) 46 63
    DXO Color Depth (bits) 19.9 22.4
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) 11.5 11.4
    DXO Low Light (ISO) 165 516
    Screen Specs Canon G15 Nikon D40X
    Viewfinder Type Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 80% 95%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.53x
    LCD Framing Live View
    Rear LCD Size 3.0inch 2.5inch
    LCD Resolution 922k dots 230k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen Fixed screen
    Shooting Specs Canon G15 Nikon D40X
    Focus System Contrast-detect AF Phase-detect AF
    Continuous Shooting 2.1 shutter flaps/s 3 shutter flaps/s
    Fill Flash Built-in Flash Built-in Flash
    Storage Medium SDXC cards SDHC cards
    Single or Dual Card Slots Single card slot Single card slot
    UHS card support no no
    Connectivity Specs Canon G15 Nikon D40X
    External Flash Hotshoe Hotshoe
    USB Connector USB 2.0 USB 2.0
    HDMI Port mini HDMI no HDMI
    Wifi Support no Wifi no Wifi
    Body Specs Canon G15 Nikon D40X
    Battery Type NB-10L EN-EL9
    Battery Life (CIPA)350 shots per charge520 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 107 x 76 x 40 mm
    (4.2 x 3.0 x 1.6 in)
    124 x 94 x 64 mm
    (4.9 x 3.7 x 2.5 in)
    Camera Weight 352 g (12.4 oz) 522 g (18.4 oz)
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