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Canon M vs Olympus E-300

The Canon EOS M and the Olympus Evolt E-300 are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in July 2012 and September 2004. The Canon M is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera, while the E-300 is a DSLR. The cameras are based on an APS-C (Canon M) and a Four Thirds (E-300) sensor. The Canon has a resolution of 17.9 megapixels, whereas the Olympus provides 8 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 Olympus E-300
Canon M Olympus E-300
Mirrorless system camera Digital single lens reflex
Canon EF-M mount lenses Four Thirds lenses
17.9 MP, APS-C Sensor 8 MP, Four Thirds Sensor
1080/30p Video no Video
ISO 100-12,800 (100 - 25,600) ISO 100-400 (100 - 1,600)
No viewfinder, LCD framing Optical viewfinder
3.0 LCD, 1040k dots 1.8 LCD, 134k dots
Fixed touchscreen Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)
4.3 shutter flaps per second 2.5 shutter flaps per second
230 shots per battery charge750 shots per battery charge
109 x 66 x 32 mm, 298 g 147 x 85 x 64 mm, 624 g

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Canon EOS M and the Olympus Evolt E-300? 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 Olympus E-300. 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 dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

The Canon M can be obtained in two different colors (black, white), while the E-300 is only available in black.

Size Canon M vs Olympus E-300
Compare Canon M versus E-300 top
Comparison Canon M or E-300 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Olympus E-300 is considerably larger (74 percent) than the Canon M. Moreover, the E-300 is substantially heavier (109 percent) than the Canon M. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the Canon M nor the E-300 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 E-300 can take 750 images on a single charge of its BLM-1 power pack.

The adjacent table lists the principal physical characteristics of the two cameras alongside a wider set of alternatives. If you want to switch the focus of the display and review another camera pair, you can move across to the CAM-parator tool and choose from the broad selection of possible camera comparisons 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 599i
2.
 
Olympus E-300 147 mm 85 mm 64 mm 624 g 750 n Sep 2004 799i
3.
 
Canon M100 108 mm 67 mm 35 mm 302 g 295 n Aug 2017 499i
4.
 
Canon M10 108 mm 67 mm 35 mm 301 g 255 n Oct 2015 499i
5.
 
Canon G7 X 103 mm 60 mm 40 mm 304 g 210 n Sep 2014 699i
6.
 
Canon G16 109 mm 76 mm 40 mm 356 g 360 n Aug 2013 549 i
7.
 
Canon SL1 117 mm 91 mm 69 mm 407 g 380 n Mar 2013 549i
8.
 
Canon T5i 133 mm 100 mm 79 mm 580 g 440 n Mar 2013 649i
9.
 
Canon T3i 133 mm 100 mm 80 mm 570 g 440 n Feb 2011 599i
10.
 
Leica Digilux 3 146 mm 87 mm 77 mm 606 g 750 n Sep 2006 1,499i
11.
 
Olympus E-330 140 mm 87 mm 72 mm 637 g 750 n Jan 2006 999i
12.
 
Olympus E-400 130 mm 91 mm 53 mm 435 g 500 n Sep 2006 699i
13.
 
Olympus E-500 130 mm 95 mm 66 mm 479 g 750 n Sep 2005 599i
14.
 
Olympus E-1 141 mm 104 mm 81 mm 738 g 750 Y Jun 2003 1,699i
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.

The price is, of course, an important factor in any camera decision. The listed launch prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The Canon M was launched at a somewhat lower price (by 25 percent) than the E-300, which makes it more attractive for photographers on a tight budget. 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.

Of the two cameras under consideration, the Canon M features an APS-C sensor and the Olympus E-300 a Four Thirds sensor. The sensor area in the E-300 is 32 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 Canon M has a native 3:2 aspect ratio, while the one in the E-300 offers a 4:3 aspect.

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

Canon M and Olympus E-300 sensor measures

With 17.9MP, the Canon M offers a higher resolution than the E-300 (8MP), but the Canon M has smaller individual pixels (pixel pitch of 4.31μm versus 5.30μm for the E-300). However, the Canon M is a much more recent model (by 7 years and 9 months) than the E-300, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixels.

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 Olympus E-300 are 16.3 x 12.2 inches or 41.5 x 31.1 cm for good quality, 13.1 x 9.8 inches or 33.2 x 24.9 cm for very good quality, and 10.9 x 8.2 inches or 27.6 x 20.7 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 Olympus Evolt E-300 are ISO 100 to ISO 400, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 100-1600.

Canon M versus E-300 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"). The following table provides an overview of the physical sensor characteristics, as well as the sensor quality measurements for a selection of comparators.

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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.
 
Olympus E-300 Four Thirds 8.0 3264 2448none........
3.
 
Canon M100 APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p23.512.9127278
4.
 
Canon M10 APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p22.211.475365
5.
 
Canon G7 X 1-inch 20.0 5472 36481080/60p23.012.755671
6.
 
Canon G16 1/1.7 12.0 4000 30001080/60p21.011.723054
7.
 
Canon SL1 APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p21.811.384363
8.
 
Canon T5i APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p21.711.268161
9.
 
Canon T3i APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p22.111.579365
10.
 
Leica Digilux 3 Four Thirds 7.4 3136 2352none........
11.
 
Olympus E-330 Four Thirds 7.4 3136 2352none........
12.
 
Olympus E-400 Four Thirds 10.0 3648 2736none........
13.
 
Olympus E-500 Four Thirds 8.0 3264 2448none........
14.
 
Olympus E-1 Four Thirds 4.9 2560 1920none........
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 also of capturing video footage. The Canon M indeed provides movie recording capabilities, while the E-300 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 E-300 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 adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Canon M and Olympus E-300 along with similar information for a selection of comparators.

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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.
 
Olympus E-300optical n 1.8 134 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 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 G16optical n 3.0 922 fixed n 1/4000s 2.2 Y Y
7.
 
Canon SL1optical n 3.0 1040 fixed Y 1/4000s 4.9 Y n
8.
 
Canon T5ioptical n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 1/4000s 5.0 Y n
9.
 
Canon T3ioptical n 3.0 1040 swivel n 1/4000s 3.7 Y n
10.
 
Leica Digilux 3optical n 2.5 207 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
11.
 
Olympus E-330optical n 2.5 215 tilting n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
12.
 
Olympus E-400optical n 2.5 215 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
13.
 
Olympus E-500optical n 2.5 215 fixed n 1/4000s 2.5 Y n
14.
 
Olympus E-1optical Y 1.8 134 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 n 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 E-300 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 E-300 uses Compact Flash or xD Picture cards. The E-300 features dual card slots, which can be very useful in case a memory card fails. In contrast, the Canon M only has one slot.

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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 Olympus Evolt E-300 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.
 
Olympus E-300Y-----2.0---
3.
 
Canon M100-stereomono--micro2.0YYY
4.
 
Canon M10-stereomono--mini2.0YY-
5.
 
Canon G7 X-stereomono--micro2.0YY-
6.
 
Canon G16Ystereomono--mini2.0Y--
7.
 
Canon SL1YmonomonoY-mini2.0---
8.
 
Canon T5iYstereomonoY-mini2.0---
9.
 
Canon T3iYmonomonoY-mini2.0---
10.
 
Leica Digilux 3Ystereomono---2.0---
11.
 
Olympus E-330Y-----2.0---
12.
 
Olympus E-400Y-----2.0---
13.
 
Olympus E-500Y-----2.0---
14.
 
Olympus E-1Y-----2.0---
15.
 
Panasonic GF6-stereomono--mini2.0YY-
16.
 
Panasonic G3Ystereomono--mini2.0---
17.
 
Sony NEX-3N-stereomono--micro2.0---

Both the Canon M and the E-300 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The E-300 was replaced by the Olympus E-330, 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 Olympus websites.

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Review summary

So what conclusions can be drawn? Is the Canon M better than the Olympus E-300 or vice versa? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.

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Arguments in favor of the Canon EOS M:

  • More detail: Offers more megapixels (17.9 vs 8MP) with a 53% higher linear resolution.
  • Better image quality: Features a larger and more technologically advanced imaging sensor.
  • Richer colors: The sensor size advantage translates into images with better, more accurate colors.
  • More dynamic range: Larger sensor captures a wider spectrum of light and dark details.
  • Better low-light sensitivity: Larger sensor produces good images even in poorly lit environments.
  • 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 134k 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 147x85mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
  • Less heavy: Is lighter (by 326g or 52 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 segment (25 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More modern: Reflects 7 years and 9 months of technical progress since the E-300 launch.

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Advantages of the Olympus Evolt E-300:

  • Easier framing: Has an optical viewfinder for image composition and settings control.
  • Longer lasting: Gets more shots (750 versus 230) out of a single battery charge.
  • Easier fill-in: Has a small integrated flash to brighten shadows of backlit subjects.
  • Greater peace of mind: Features a second card slot as a backup in case of memory card failure.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been around for much longer (launched in September 2004).

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 : 5 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 sports photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a street photog, and a person interested in family portraits has distinct needs from a landscape shooter. Hence, the decision which camera is best and worth buying is often a very personal one.

Canon M 16:05 E-300

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Canon M and the Olympus E-300 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 E-300 in practical situations. 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 why expert reviews are important. The following table reports the overall ratings of the cameras as published by some of the major 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 599i
2.
 
Olympus E-300....+o4.5/5 Sep 2004 799i
3.
 
Canon M1003/5+..4/53.5/5 Aug 2017 499i
4.
 
Canon M10........4/5 Oct 2015 499i
5.
 
Canon G7 X4/5+ +77/1004.5/54.5/5 Sep 2014 699i
6.
 
Canon G164/5+..4.5/54.5/5 Aug 2013 549 i
7.
 
Canon SL14/5+78/1004/54/5 Mar 2013 549i
8.
 
Canon T5i....76/1004.5/54.5/5 Mar 2013 649i
9.
 
Canon T3i3/5o77/1004.5/54.5/5 Feb 2011 599i
10.
 
Leica Digilux 3.......... Sep 2006 1,499i
11.
 
Olympus E-330....+o.. Jan 2006 999i
12.
 
Olympus E-400..85/100..4/54/5 Sep 2006 699i
13.
 
Olympus E-500..76/100+ +.... Sep 2005 599i
14.
 
Olympus E-1....+o.. Jun 2003 1,699i
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.

Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, though. The assessments were made in relation to similar cameras of the same technological generation. A score, therefore, has to be seen in close connection to the price and market introduction time of the camera, and rating-comparisons among cameras that span long time periods or concern very differently equipped models make little sense. Also, please note that some of the review sites have changed their methodology and reporting over time.

Canon M:
Check Ebay offers
Olympus E-300:
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 M vs Olympus E-300

    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 Olympus E-300
    Camera Type Mirrorless system camera Digital single lens reflex
    Camera Lens Canon EF-M mount lenses Four Thirds lenses
    Launch Date July 2012 September 2004
    Launch Price USD 599 USD 799
    Sensor Specs Canon M Olympus E-300
    Sensor Technology CMOS CMOS
    Sensor Format APS-C Sensor Four Thirds Sensor
    Sensor Size 22.3 x 14.9 mm 17.3 x 13.0 mm
    Sensor Area 332.27 mm2 224.9 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 26.8 mm 21.6 mm
    Crop Factor 1.6x 2.0x
    Sensor Resolution 17.9 Megapixels 8 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 5184 x 3456 pixels 3264 x 2448 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 4.31 μm 5.30 μm
    Pixel Density 5.39 MP/cm2 3.55 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability 1080/30p Video no Video
    ISO Setting 100 - 12,800 ISO 100 - 400 ISO
    ISO Boost 100 - 25,600 ISO 100 - 1,600 ISO
    Image Processor DIGIC V TruePic
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) 65 ..
    DXO Color Depth (bits) 22.1 ..
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) 11.2 ..
    DXO Low Light (ISO) 827 ..
    Screen Specs Canon M Olympus E-300
    Viewfinder Type no viewfinder Optical viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 95%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.5x
    LCD Framing Live View
    Rear LCD Size 3.0inch 1.8inch
    LCD Resolution 1040k dots 134k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen Fixed screen
    Touch Input Touchscreen no Touchscreen
    Shooting Specs Canon M Olympus E-300
    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 or XD cards
    Second Storage Option Single card slot Dual card slots
    Connectivity Specs Canon M Olympus E-300
    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 Olympus E-300
    Battery Type LP-E12 BLM-1
    Battery Life (CIPA)230 shots per charge750 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 109 x 66 x 32 mm
    (4.3 x 2.6 x 1.3 in)
    147 x 85 x 64 mm
    (5.8 x 3.3 x 2.5 in)
    Camera Weight 298 g (10.5 oz) 624 g (22.0 oz)

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