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Canon M vs Nikon D70s

The Canon EOS M and the Nikon D70s are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in July 2012 and April 2005. The Canon M is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera, while the D70s is a DSLR. Both cameras are equipped with an APS-C sensor. The Canon has a resolution of 17.9 megapixels, whereas the Nikon provides 6 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
Nikon D70s
Canon M Nikon D70s
Mirrorless system camera Digital single lens reflex
Canon EF-M mount lenses Nikon F mount lenses
17.9 MP, APS-C Sensor 6 MP, APS-C Sensor
1080/30p Video no Video
ISO 100-12,800 (100 - 25,600) ISO 200-1,600
No viewfinder, LCD framing Optical viewfinder
3.0 LCD, 1040k dots 2.0 LCD, 130k dots
Fixed touchscreen Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)
4.3 shutter flaps per second 3 shutter flaps per second
230 shots per battery charge500 shots per battery charge
109 x 66 x 32 mm, 298 g 140 x 111 x 78 mm, 679 g

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Canon EOS M and the Nikon D70s? 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 M and the Nikon D70s 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 Canon M can be obtained in two different colors (black, white), while the D70s is only available in black.

Size Canon M vs Nikon D70s
Compare Canon M versus D70s top
Comparison Canon M or D70s rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Nikon D70s is considerably larger (116 percent) than the Canon M. Moreover, the D70s is substantially heavier (128 percent) than the Canon M. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the Canon M nor the D70s 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 D70s can take 500 images on a single charge of its EN-EL3a power pack.

The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the two cameras alongside a broader set of comparators. 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
1.
 
Canon M 109 mm 66 mm 32 mm 298 g 230 n Jul 2012 599 i
2.
 
Nikon D70s 140 mm 111 mm 78 mm 679 g 500 n Apr 2005 899 i
3.
 
Canon M100 108 mm 67 mm 35 mm 302 g 295 n Aug 2017 499 i
4.
 
Canon M10 108 mm 67 mm 35 mm 301 g 255 n Oct 2015 499 i
5.
 
Canon G7 X 103 mm 60 mm 40 mm 304 g 210 n Sep 2014 699 i
6.
 
Canon 100D 117 mm 91 mm 69 mm 407 g 380 n Mar 2013 549 i
7.
 
Canon 700D 133 mm 100 mm 79 mm 580 g 440 n Mar 2013 649 i
8.
 
Canon G16 109 mm 76 mm 40 mm 356 g 360 n Aug 2013 549 i
9.
 
Nikon D40 124 mm 94 mm 64 mm 522 g 470 n Nov 2006 499 i
10.
 
Nikon D80 132 mm 103 mm 77 mm 668 g 600 n Aug 2006 999 i
11.
 
Nikon D50 133 mm 102 mm 76 mm 620 g 400 n Apr 2005 749 i
12.
 
Nikon D70 140 mm 111 mm 78 mm 679 g 400 n Jan 2004 999 i
13.
 
Nikon D100 144 mm 116 mm 81 mm 780 g 370 n Feb 2002 1,999 i
14.
 
Panasonic GF6 111 mm 65 mm 38 mm 323 g 340 n Apr 2013 499 i
15.
 
Panasonic G3 115 mm 84 mm 47 mm 336 g 270 n May 2011 599 i
16.
 
Sony NEX-3N 110 mm 62 mm 35 mm 269 g 480 n Feb 2013 499 i
17.
 
Sony NEX-F3 117 mm 67 mm 42 mm 314 g 470 n May 2012 599 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 obviously take relative prices into account. 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 Canon M was launched at a markedly lower price (by 33 percent) than the D70s, 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. 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.

Both cameras under consideration feature an APS-C sensor, but their sensors differ slightly in size. The sensor area in the D70s is 11 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have format factors, respectively, of 1.6 (Canon M) and 1.5. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.

Canon M and Nikon D70s sensor measures

Despite having a smaller sensor, the Canon M offers a higher resolution of 17.9 megapixels, compared with 6 MP of the Nikon D70s. 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 7.85μm for the D70s). However, it should be noted that the Canon M is much more recent (by 7 years and 3 months) than the D70s, 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 Nikon D70s are 15 x 10 inches or 38.2 x 25.4 cm for good quality, 12 x 8 inches or 30.6 x 20.3 cm for very good quality, and 10 x 6.7 inches or 25.5 x 16.9 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 Nikon D70s are ISO 200 to ISO 1600 (no boost).

Canon M versus D70s MP

Since 2007, DXO Mark has published sensor performance measurements that have been derived using a consistent methodology. This service determines an overall sensor rating, as well as sub-scores for low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and color depth ("DXO Portrait"). Of the two cameras under review, the Canon M provides substantially higher image quality than the D70s, with an overall score that is 15 points higher. This advantage is based on 1.7 bits higher color depth, 0.9 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 34561080/30p22.111.2827 65
2.
 
Nikon D70s APS-C 6.0 3008 2000none20.410.3529 50
3.
 
Canon M100 APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p23.512.91272 78
4.
 
Canon M10 APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p22.211.4753 65
5.
 
Canon G7 X 1-inch 20.0 5472 36481080/60p23.012.7556 71
6.
 
Canon 100D APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p21.811.3843 63
7.
 
Canon 700D APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p21.711.2681 61
8.
 
Canon G16 1/1.7 12.0 4000 30001080/60p21.011.7230 54
9.
 
Nikon D40 APS-C 6.0 3008 2000none21.011.0561 56
10.
 
Nikon D80 APS-C 10.0 3872 2592none22.111.2524 61
11.
 
Nikon D50 APS-C 6.0 3008 2000none20.910.8560 55
12.
 
Nikon D70 APS-C 6.0 3008 2000none20.410.3529 50
13.
 
Nikon D100 APS-C 6.0 3008 2000none...... ..
14.
 
Panasonic GF6 Four Thirds 15.8 4592 34481080/60i20.710.6622 54
15.
 
Panasonic G3 Four Thirds 15.8 4592 34481080/60i21.010.6667 56
16.
 
Sony NEX-3N APS-C 16.0 4912 32641080/60i22.812.51067 74
17.
 
Sony NEX-F3 APS-C 16.0 4912 32641080/60i22.712.31114 73

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 D70s 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 D70s 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 Nikon D70s 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.
 
Nikon D70soptical n 2.0 130 fixed n 1/8000s 3.0 Y n
3.
 
Canon M100none n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 1/4000s 6.1 Y n
4.
 
Canon M10none n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 1/4000s 4.6 Y n
5.
 
Canon G7 Xnone n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 1/2000s 6.5 Y Y
6.
 
Canon 100Doptical n 3.0 1040 fixed Y 1/4000s 4.9 Y n
7.
 
Canon 700Doptical n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 1/4000s 5.0 Y n
8.
 
Canon G16optical n 3.0 922 fixed n 1/4000s 2.2 Y Y
9.
 
Nikon D40optical n 2.5 230 fixed n 1/4000s 2.5 Y n
10.
 
Nikon D80optical n 2.5 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
11.
 
Nikon D50optical n 2.0 130 fixed n 1/4000s 2.5 Y n
12.
 
Nikon D70optical n 1.8 130 fixed n 1/8000s 3.0 Y n
13.
 
Nikon D100optical Y 1.8 118 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
14.
 
Panasonic GF6none n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 1/4000s 4.2 Y n
15.
 
Panasonic G31440 n 3.0 460 swivel Y 1/4000s 4.0 Y n
16.
 
Sony NEX-3Noptional n 3.0 460 tilting n 1/4000s 4.0 Y n
17.
 
Sony NEX-F3optional n 3.0 920 tilting n 1/4000s 5.5 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 D70s 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 D70s 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 Nikon D70s 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.
 
Nikon D70sY-----2.0---
3.
 
Canon M100-stereomono--micro2.0YYY
4.
 
Canon M10-stereomono--mini2.0YY-
5.
 
Canon G7 X-stereomono--micro2.0YY-
6.
 
Canon 100DYmonomonoY-mini2.0---
7.
 
Canon 700DYstereomonoY-mini2.0---
8.
 
Canon G16Ystereomono--mini2.0Y--
9.
 
Nikon D40Y-----2.0---
10.
 
Nikon D80Y-----2.0---
11.
 
Nikon D50Y-----2.0---
12.
 
Nikon D70Y-----1.0---
13.
 
Nikon D100Y-----1.1---
14.
 
Panasonic GF6-stereomono--mini2.0YY-
15.
 
Panasonic G3Ystereomono--mini2.0---
16.
 
Sony NEX-3N-stereomono--micro2.0---
17.
 
Sony NEX-F3Ystereomono--mini2.0---

Both the Canon M and the D70s have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The D70s was replaced by the Nikon D80, 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 and Nikon websites.

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Review summary

So how do things add up? Is there a clear favorite between the Canon M and the Nikon D70s? Which camera is better? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.

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Advantages of the Canon EOS M:

  • More detail: Offers more megapixels (17.9 vs 6MP) with a 72% higher linear resolution.
  • Better image quality: Scores substantially higher (15 points) in the DXO overall assessment.
  • Richer colors: Generates images with noticeably better colors (1.7 bits more color depth).
  • More dynamic range: Captures a larger spectrum of light and dark details (0.9 EV of extra DR).
  • 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 2.0") for image review and settings control.
  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1040k vs 130k 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 3 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • More compact: Is smaller (109x66mm vs 140x111mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
  • Less heavy: Is lighter (by 381g or 56 percent) and hence easier to carry around.
  • More legacy lens friendly: Can take a broad range of non-native lenses via adapters.
  • More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (33 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More modern: Reflects 7 years and 3 months of technical progress since the D70s launch.

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Reasons to prefer the Nikon D70s:

  • Easier framing: Has an optical viewfinder for image composition and settings control.
  • Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/8000s vs 1/4000s) to freeze action.
  • Longer lasting: Gets more shots (500 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 April 2005).

If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the Canon M is the clear winner of the match-up (16 : 5 points). However, the pertinence of the various camera strengths will differ across photographers, so that you might want to weigh individual camera traits according to their importance for your own imaging needs before making a camera decision. 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.

Canon M 16:05 D70s

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Canon M and the Nikon D70s 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 comparison of the spec-sheets of cameras can offer a general idea of their imaging potential, it remains incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the Canon M or the D70s perform in practice. User reviews that are available, for instance, at amazon can sometimes shed light on these issues, but such feedback is all too often partial, inconsistent, and inaccurate.

Expert reviews

This is why hands-on reviews by experts are important. The adjacent summary-table relays the overall verdicts of several of the most popular 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 M3/5+..4/54/5 Jul 2012 599 i
2.
 
Nikon D70s........5/5 Apr 2005 899 i
3.
 
Canon M1003/5+..4/53.5/5 Aug 2017 499 i
4.
 
Canon M10........4/5 Oct 2015 499 i
5.
 
Canon G7 X4/5+ +77/1004.5/54.5/5 Sep 2014 699 i
6.
 
Canon 100D4/5+78/1004/54/5 Mar 2013 549 i
7.
 
Canon 700D....76/1004.5/54.5/5 Mar 2013 649 i
8.
 
Canon G164/5+..4.5/54.5/5 Aug 2013 549 i
9.
 
Nikon D40..81/100+ +o4.5/5 Nov 2006 499 i
10.
 
Nikon D80..++ +o4.5/5 Aug 2006 999 i
11.
 
Nikon D50..78/100+ +4/54.5/5 Apr 2005 749 i
12.
 
Nikon D70....+ +.... Jan 2004 999 i
13.
 
Nikon D100....+ +o.. Feb 2002 1,999 i
14.
 
Panasonic GF6..+ +..4.5/54.5/5 Apr 2013 499 i
15.
 
Panasonic G33/5+ +75/1004.5/55/5 May 2011 599 i
16.
 
Sony NEX-3N3/5....4.5/54.5/5 Feb 2013 499 i
17.
 
Sony NEX-F34/5..74/1004.5/54.5/5 May 2012 599 i
Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.

Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, though. The ratings were established in reference to similarly priced cameras that were available in the market at the time of the review. Hence, a score should always be seen in the context of the camera's market launch date and its price, and comparisons of ratings among very different cameras or across long time periods 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 M:
Check Ebay offers
Nikon D70s:
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. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting.

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    Specifications: Canon M vs Nikon D70s

    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 Nikon D70s
    Camera Type Mirrorless system camera Digital single lens reflex
    Camera Lens Canon EF-M mount lenses Nikon F mount lenses
    Launch Date July 2012 April 2005
    Launch Price USD 599 USD 899
    Sensor Specs Canon M Nikon D70s
    Sensor Technology CMOS CCD
    Sensor Format APS-C Sensor APS-C Sensor
    Sensor Size 22.3 x 14.9 mm 23.7 x 15.6 mm
    Sensor Area 332.27 mm2 369.72 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 26.8 mm 28.4 mm
    Crop Factor 1.6x 1.5x
    Sensor Resolution 17.9 Megapixels 6 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 5184 x 3456 pixels 3008 x 2000 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 4.31 μm 7.85 μm
    Pixel Density 5.39 MP/cm2 1.63 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability 1080/30p Video no Video
    ISO Setting 100 - 12,800 ISO 200 - 1,600 ISO
    ISO Boost 100 - 25,600 ISO no Enhancement
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) 65 50
    DXO Color Depth (bits) 22.1 20.4
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) 11.2 10.3
    DXO Low Light (ISO) 827 529
    Screen Specs Canon M Nikon D70s
    Viewfinder Type no viewfinder Optical viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 95%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.50x
    LCD Framing Live View
    Rear LCD Size 3.0inch 2.0inch
    LCD Resolution 1040k dots 130k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen Fixed screen
    Touch Input Touchscreen no Touchscreen
    Shooting Specs Canon M Nikon D70s
    Focus System On-Sensor Phase-detect Phase-detect AF
    Continuous Shooting 4.3 shutter flaps/s 3 shutter flaps/s
    Shutter Life Expectancy100 000 actuations50 000 actuations
    Fill Flash no On-Board Flash Built-in Flash
    Storage Medium SDXC cards CF cards
    Second Storage Option Single card slot Single card slot
    Connectivity Specs Canon M Nikon D70s
    External Flash Hotshoe Hotshoe
    USB Connector USB 2.0 USB 2.0
    HDMI Port mini HDMI no HDMI
    Microphone Port External MIC port no MIC socket
    Wifi Support no Wifi no Wifi
    Body Specs Canon M Nikon D70s
    Battery Type LP-E12 EN-EL3a
    Battery Life (CIPA)230 shots per charge500 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 109 x 66 x 32 mm
    (4.3 x 2.6 x 1.3 in)
    140 x 111 x 78 mm
    (5.5 x 4.4 x 3.1 in)
    Camera Weight 298 g (10.5 oz) 679 g (24.0 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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