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Canon M vs Rebel

The Canon EOS M and the Canon EOS Digital Rebel (labelled Canon 300D in some countries) are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in July 2012 and August 2003. The Canon M is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera, while the Rebel is a DSLR. Both cameras are equipped with an APS-C sensor. The Canon M has a resolution of 17.9 megapixels, whereas the Rebel provides 6.3 MP.

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

Headline Specifications
Canon M versus Canon Rebel
Canon M Canon Rebel
Mirrorless system camera Digital single lens reflex
Canon EF-M mount lenses Canon EF mount lenses
17.9 MP, APS-C Sensor 6.3 MP, APS-C Sensor
1080/30p Video no Video
ISO 100-12,800 (100 - 25,600) ISO 100-1,600
No viewfinder, LCD framing Optical viewfinder
3.0 LCD, 1040k dots 1.8 LCD, 118k dots
Fixed touchscreen Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)
4.3 shutter flaps per second 2.5 shutter flaps per second
230 shots per battery charge400 shots per battery charge
109 x 66 x 32 mm, 298 g 142 x 99 x 72 mm, 649 g

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Canon EOS M and the Canon EOS Digital Rebel? 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 M and the Canon Rebel. 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 Canon M can be obtained in two different colors (black, white), while the Rebel is only available in silver.

Size Canon M vs Canon Rebel
Compare Canon M versus Rebel top
Comparison Canon M or Rebel rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Canon Rebel is considerably larger (95 percent) than the Canon M. Moreover, the Rebel is substantially heavier (118 percent) than the Canon M. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the Canon M nor the Rebel 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. Hence, you might want to study and compare the specifications of available lenses in order to get the full picture of the size and weight of the two camera systems.

Concerning battery life, the Canon M gets 230 shots out of its LP-E12 battery, while the Rebel can take 400 images on a single charge of its BP-511 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 M 109 mm 66 mm 32 mm 298 g 230 n Jul 2012 599i
2.
 
Canon Rebel 142 mm 99 mm 72 mm 649 g 400 n Aug 2003 899i
3.
 
Canon M100 108 mm 67 mm 35 mm 302 g 295 n Aug 2017 499i
4.
 
Canon T7i 131 mm 100 mm 76 mm 532 g 600 n Feb 2017 749i
5.
 
Canon M10 108 mm 67 mm 35 mm 301 g 255 n Oct 2015 499i
6.
 
Canon T6s 132 mm 101 mm 78 mm 565 g 440 n Feb 2015 649i
7.
 
Canon G7 X 103 mm 60 mm 40 mm 304 g 210 n Sep 2014 699i
8.
 
Canon G16 109 mm 76 mm 40 mm 356 g 360 n Aug 2013 549 i
9.
 
Canon SL1 117 mm 91 mm 69 mm 407 g 380 n Mar 2013 549i
10.
 
Canon T5i 133 mm 100 mm 79 mm 580 g 440 n Mar 2013 649i
11.
 
Canon T3i 133 mm 100 mm 80 mm 570 g 440 n Feb 2011 599i
12.
 
Canon XT 127 mm 94 mm 64 mm 540 g 400 n Feb 2005 899i
13.
 
Canon 20D 144 mm 106 mm 72 mm 770 g 700 n Aug 2004 1,499i
14.
 
Canon 10D 150 mm 107 mm 75 mm 850 g 500 n Feb 2003 1,999i
15.
 
Panasonic GF6 111 mm 65 mm 38 mm 323 g 340 n Apr 2013 499i
16.
 
Panasonic G3 115 mm 84 mm 47 mm 336 g 270 n May 2011 599i
17.
 
Sony NEX-3N 110 mm 62 mm 35 mm 269 g 480 n Feb 2013 499i
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 manufacturer’s suggested retail prices give an idea on the placement of the camera in the maker’s lineup and the broader market. The Canon M was launched at a markedly lower price (by 33 percent) than the Rebel, which puts it into a different market segment. Normally, street prices remain initially close to the MSRP, but after a couple of months, the first discounts appear. 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. All other things equal, a large sensor will have larger individual pixel-units that offer better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and 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.

Both cameras under consideration feature an APS-C sensor, but their sensors differ slightly in size. The sensor area in the Rebel is 3 percent bigger. They nevertheless have the same format factor of 1.6. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.

Technology-wise, both cameras are equipped with CMOS (Complementary Metal–Oxide–Semiconductor) sensors.

Canon M and Canon Rebel sensor measures

Despite having a slightly smaller sensor, the Canon M offers a higher resolution of 17.9 megapixels, compared with 6.3 MP of the Canon Rebel. 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 4.31μm versus 7.38μm for the Rebel). However, it should be noted that the Canon M is much more recent (by 8 years and 11 months) than the Rebel, 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 M implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the Canon M for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 25.9 x 17.3 inches or 65.8 x 43.9 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 20.7 x 13.8 inches or 52.7 x 35.1 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 17.3 x 11.5 inches or 43.9 x 29.3 cm. The corresponding values for the Canon Rebel are 15.4 x 10.2 inches or 39 x 26 cm for good quality, 12.3 x 8.2 inches or 31.2 x 20.8 cm for very good quality, and 10.2 x 6.8 inches or 26 x 17.3 cm for excellent quality prints.

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

The Canon EOS M has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 12800, which can be extended to ISO 100-25600. The corresponding ISO settings for the Canon EOS Digital Rebel are ISO 100 to ISO 1600 (no boost).

Canon M versus Rebel 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 review, the Canon M has a notably higher overall DXO score than the Rebel (overall score 10 points higher), which gives it an advantage in terms of imaging quality. This advantage is based on 1.1 bits higher color depth, 0.4 EV in additional dynamic range, and 0.6 stops in additional low light sensitivity. 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 M APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p22.111.282765
2.
 
Canon Rebel APS-C 6.3 3072 2048none21.010.854455
3.
 
Canon M100 APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p23.512.9127278
4.
 
Canon T7i APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p........
5.
 
Canon M10 APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p22.211.475365
6.
 
Canon T6s APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/30p22.612.091570
7.
 
Canon G7 X 1-inch 20.0 5472 36481080/60p23.012.755671
8.
 
Canon G16 1/1.7 12.0 4000 30001080/60p21.011.723054
9.
 
Canon SL1 APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p21.811.384363
10.
 
Canon T5i APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p21.711.268161
11.
 
Canon T3i APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p22.111.579365
12.
 
Canon XT APS-C 8.0 3456 2304none21.810.863760
13.
 
Canon 20D APS-C 8.2 3504 2336none21.911.072162
14.
 
Canon 10D APS-C 6.3 3072 2048none21.110.957157
15.
 
Panasonic GF6 Four Thirds 15.8 4592 34481080/60i20.710.662254
16.
 
Panasonic G3 Four Thirds 15.8 4592 34481080/60i21.010.666756
17.
 
Sony NEX-3N APS-C 16.0 4912 32641080/60i22.812.5106774

Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. The Canon M indeed provides movie recording capabilities, while the Rebel does not. The highest resolution format that the Canon M can use is 1080/30p.

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Feature comparison

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. For example, the Rebel has an optical viewfinder, which can be very useful when shooting in bright sunlight. In contrast, the Canon M relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. The table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Canon M and Canon Rebel 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 Mnone n 3.0 1040 fixed Y 1/4000s 4.3 n n
2.
 
Canon Rebeloptical n 1.8 118 fixed n 1/4000s 2.5 Y n
3.
 
Canon M100none n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 1/4000s 6.1 Y n
4.
 
Canon T7ioptical n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 1/4000s 6.0 Y n
5.
 
Canon M10none n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 1/4000s 4.6 Y n
6.
 
Canon T6soptical Y 3.0 1040 swivel Y 1/4000s 5.0 Y n
7.
 
Canon G7 Xnone n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 1/2000s 6.5 Y Y
8.
 
Canon G16optical n 3.0 922 fixed n 1/4000s 2.2 Y Y
9.
 
Canon SL1optical n 3.0 1040 fixed Y 1/4000s 4.9 Y n
10.
 
Canon T5ioptical n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 1/4000s 5.0 Y n
11.
 
Canon T3ioptical n 3.0 1040 swivel n 1/4000s 3.7 Y n
12.
 
Canon XToptical n 1.8 115 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
13.
 
Canon 20Doptical Y 1.8 118 fixed n 1/8000s 5.0 Y n
14.
 
Canon 10Doptical Y 1.8 118 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
15.
 
Panasonic GF6none n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 1/4000s 4.2 Y n
16.
 
Panasonic G31440 n 3.0 460 swivel Y 1/4000s 4.0 Y n
17.
 
Sony NEX-3Noptional n 3.0 460 tilting n 1/4000s 4.0 Y n

One differentiating feature between the two cameras concerns the touch sensitivity of the rear screen. The Canon M has a touchscreen, while the Rebel has a conventional panel. Touch control can be particularly helpful, for example, for setting the focus point.

The Canon M writes its imaging data to SDXC cards, while the Rebel uses Compact Flash 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 M and Canon EOS Digital Rebel 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 MYstereomonoY-mini2.0---
2.
 
Canon RebelY-----1.1---
3.
 
Canon M100-stereomono--micro2.0YYY
4.
 
Canon T7iYstereomonoY-mini2.0YYY
5.
 
Canon M10-stereomono--mini2.0YY-
6.
 
Canon T6sYstereomonoY-mini2.0YY-
7.
 
Canon G7 X-stereomono--micro2.0YY-
8.
 
Canon G16Ystereomono--mini2.0Y--
9.
 
Canon SL1YmonomonoY-mini2.0---
10.
 
Canon T5iYstereomonoY-mini2.0---
11.
 
Canon T3iYmonomonoY-mini2.0---
12.
 
Canon XTY-----2.0---
13.
 
Canon 20DY-----1.1---
14.
 
Canon 10DY-----1.1---
15.
 
Panasonic GF6-stereomono--mini2.0YY-
16.
 
Panasonic G3Ystereomono--mini2.0---
17.
 
Sony NEX-3N-stereomono--micro2.0---

Both the Canon M and the Rebel have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The Rebel was replaced by the Canon XT, while the Canon M was followed by the Canon EOS M3. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Canon website.

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Review summary

So what conclusions can be drawn? Which of the two cameras – the Canon M or the Canon Rebel – has the upper hand? Is one clearly better than the other? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.


Advantages of the Canon EOS M:

  • More detail: Offers more megapixels (17.9 vs 6.3MP) with a 69% higher linear resolution.
  • Better image quality: Scores markedly higher (10 points) in the DXO overall assessment.
  • Richer colors: Generates images with noticeably better colors (1.1 bits more color depth).
  • Better low-light sensitivity: Requires less light for good images (0.6 stops ISO advantage).
  • Broader imaging potential: Can record not only still images but also 1080/30p movies.
  • Better live-view autofocus: Features on-sensor phase-detection for more confident autofocus.
  • 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 (1040k vs 118k dots).
  • Fewer buttons to press: Is equipped with a touch-sensitive rear screen to facilitate handling.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (4.3 vs 2.5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • More compact: Is smaller (109x66mm vs 142x99mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
  • Less heavy: Is lighter (by 351g or 54 percent) and hence easier to carry around.
  • More legacy lens friendly: Can take a broad range of non-native lenses via adapters.
  • Faster data transfer: Supports a more advanced USB protocol (2.0 vs 1.1).
  • More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (33 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More modern: Reflects 8 years and 11 months of technical progress since the Rebel launch.


Reasons to prefer the Canon EOS Digital Rebel:

  • Easier framing: Has an optical viewfinder for image composition and settings control.
  • Longer lasting: Gets more shots (400 versus 230) out of a single battery charge.
  • Easier fill-in: Has a small integrated flash to brighten shadows of backlit subjects.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been around for much longer (launched in August 2003).

If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the Canon M is the clear winner of the match-up (16 : 4 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 wedding photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a travel photog, and a person interested in cityscapes has distinct needs from a macro shooter. Hence, the decision which camera is best and worth buying is often a very personal one.

Canon M 16:04 Rebel

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Canon M and the Canon Rebel place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera and Best DSLR Camera listings whether the two cameras rank among the cream of the crop.

In any case, while the specs-based evaluation of cameras can be instructive in revealing their potential as photographic tools, it says little about, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance of the Canon M and the Rebel in practical situations. 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], 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 M3/5+..4/54/5 Jul 2012 599i
2.
 
Canon Rebel....+ +.... Aug 2003 899i
3.
 
Canon M1003/5+..4/53.5/5 Aug 2017 499i
4.
 
Canon T7i4.5/5..80/1004.5/54/5 Feb 2017 749i
5.
 
Canon M10........4/5 Oct 2015 499i
6.
 
Canon T6s5/5+77/1004.5/54.5/5 Feb 2015 649i
7.
 
Canon G7 X4/5+ +77/1004.5/54.5/5 Sep 2014 699i
8.
 
Canon G164/5+..4.5/54.5/5 Aug 2013 549 i
9.
 
Canon SL14/5+78/1004/54/5 Mar 2013 549i
10.
 
Canon T5i....76/1004.5/54.5/5 Mar 2013 649i
11.
 
Canon T3i3/5o77/1004.5/54.5/5 Feb 2011 599i
12.
 
Canon XT..80/100+ +o.. Feb 2005 899i
13.
 
Canon 20D....+ +.... Aug 2004 1,499i
14.
 
Canon 10D....+ +.... Feb 2003 1,999i
15.
 
Panasonic GF6..+ +..4.5/54.5/5 Apr 2013 499i
16.
 
Panasonic G33/5+ +75/1004.5/55/5 May 2011 599i
17.
 
Sony NEX-3N3/5....4.5/54.5/5 Feb 2013 499i
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 comparisons of ratings among very different cameras or across long time periods have little meaning. Also, please note that some of the review sites have changed their methodology and reporting over time.

Canon M:
Check Ebay offers
Canon Rebel:
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 use the search menu 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 M vs Canon Rebel

    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 M Canon Rebel
    Camera Type Mirrorless system camera Digital single lens reflex
    Camera Lens Canon EF-M mount lenses Canon EF mount lenses
    Launch Date July 2012 August 2003
    Launch Price USD 599 USD 899
    Sensor Specs Canon M Canon Rebel
    Sensor Technology CMOS CMOS
    Sensor Format APS-C Sensor APS-C Sensor
    Sensor Size 22.3 x 14.9 mm 22.7 x 15.1 mm
    Sensor Area 332.27 mm2 342.77 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 26.8 mm 27.3 mm
    Crop Factor 1.6x 1.6x
    Sensor Resolution 17.9 Megapixels 6.3 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 5184 x 3456 pixels 3072 x 2048 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 4.31 μm 7.38 μm
    Pixel Density 5.39 MP/cm2 1.84 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability 1080/30p Video no Video
    ISO Setting 100 - 12,800 ISO 100 - 1,600 ISO
    ISO Boost 100 - 25,600 ISO no Enhancement
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) 65 55
    DXO Color Depth (bits) 22.1 21.0
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) 11.2 10.8
    DXO Low Light (ISO) 827 544
    Screen Specs Canon M Canon Rebel
    Viewfinder Type no viewfinder Optical viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 95%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.55x
    LCD Framing Live View
    Rear LCD Size 3.0inch 1.8inch
    LCD Resolution 1040k dots 118k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen Fixed screen
    Touch Input Touchscreen no Touchscreen
    Shooting Specs Canon M Canon Rebel
    Focus System On-Sensor Phase-detect Phase-detect AF
    Continuous Shooting 4.3 shutter flaps/s 2.5 shutter flaps/s
    Fill Flash no On-Board Flash Build-in Flash
    Storage Medium SDXC cards CF cards
    Second Storage Option Single card slot Single card slot
    Connectivity Specs Canon M Canon Rebel
    External Flash Hotshoe Hotshoe
    USB Connector USB 2.0 USB 1.1
    HDMI Port mini HDMI no HDMI
    Microphone Port External MIC port no MIC socket
    Wifi Support no Wifi no Wifi
    Body Specs Canon M Canon Rebel
    Battery Type LP-E12 BP-511
    Battery Life (CIPA)230 shots per charge400 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 109 x 66 x 32 mm
    (4.3 x 2.6 x 1.3 in)
    142 x 99 x 72 mm
    (5.6 x 3.9 x 2.8 in)
    Camera Weight 298 g (10.5 oz) 649 g (22.9 oz)

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