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Canon M50 vs Sony A5100

The Canon EOS M50 and the Sony Alpha A5100 are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in February 2018 and August 2014. Both the M50 and the A5100 are mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras that are equipped with an APS-C sensor. Both cameras offer a resolution of 24 megapixels.

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

Headline Specifications
Canon M50   Sony A5100
Canon M50 Sony A5100
Mirrorless system camera Mirrorless system camera
Canon EF-M mount lenses Sony E mount lenses
24 MP, APS-C Sensor 24 MP, APS-C Sensor
4K/24p Video 1080/60p Video
ISO 100-25600 (100-51200) ISO 100-25600
Electronic viewfinder (2360k dots) No viewfinder, LCD framing
3.0" LCD, 1040k dots 3.0" LCD, 922k dots
Swivel touchscreen Tilting touchscreen
10 shutter flaps per second 6 shutter flaps per second
235 shots per battery charge400 shots per battery charge
116 x 88 x 59 mm, 390 g 110 x 63 x 36 mm, 283 g

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Canon EOS M50 and the Sony Alpha A5100? 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

An illustration of the physical size and weight of the Canon M50 and the Sony A5100 is provided in the side-by-side display below. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three successive views from the front, the top, and the rear are shown. All width, height and depth measures are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

Both cameras are available in two different colors (black, white).

Size Canon M50 vs Sony A5100
Compare M50 versus A5100 top
Comparison M50 or A5100 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Sony A5100 is considerably smaller (32 percent) than the Canon M50. Moreover, the A5100 is markedly lighter (27 percent) than the M50. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the M50 nor the A5100 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 M50 gets 235 shots out of its LP-E12 battery, while the A5100 can take 400 images on a single charge of its NP-FW50 power pack. The power pack in the A5100 can be charged via the USB port, which can be very convenient when travelling.

The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the two cameras alongside a broader set of comparators. In case you want to display and compare another camera duo, just click on the right or left arrow next to the camera that you would like to inspect. Alternatively, you can also use the CAM-parator to select your camera combination among a larger number of options.

Camera Body Specifications
  Camera
Model
Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life
(CIPA)
Weather
Sealing
(yes/no)
Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Used
Price
(USD)
Camera
Model
 
Canon M50» 116 mm 88 mm 59 mm 390 g 235 n Feb 2018 779 i i Canon M50
 
Sony A5100« 110 mm 63 mm 36 mm 283 g 400 n Aug 2014 549 i i Sony A5100
 
Canon G5 X Mark II« » 111 mm 61 mm 46 mm 340 g 230 n Jul 2019 899 i i Canon G5 X Mark II
 
Canon M6 Mark II« » 120 mm 70 mm 49 mm 408 g 305 n Aug 2019 849 i i Canon M6 Mark II
 
Canon 77D« » 131 mm 100 mm 76 mm 540 g 600 n Feb 2017 899 i i Canon 77D
 
Canon M6« » 112 mm 68 mm 45 mm 390 g 295 n Feb 2017 779- i Canon M6
 
Canon M100« » 108 mm 67 mm 35 mm 302 g 295 n Aug 2017 499 i i Canon M100
 
Canon M5« » 116 mm 89 mm 61 mm 427 g 295 n Sep 2016 979 i i Canon M5
 
Canon G5 X« » 112 mm 76 mm 44 mm 353 g 210 n Oct 2015 799- i Canon G5 X
 
Canon M3« » 111 mm 68 mm 44 mm 366 g 250 n Feb 2015 679- i Canon M3
 
Fujifilm X-E3« » 121 mm 74 mm 43 mm 337 g 350 n Sep 2017 899 i i Fujifilm X-E3
 
Fujifilm X-T20« » 118 mm 83 mm 41 mm 383 g 350 n Jan 2017 899 i i Fujifilm X-T20
 
Sony RX100 IV« » 102 mm 58 mm 41 mm 298 g 280 n Jun 2015 999- i Sony RX100 IV
 
Sony A5000« » 110 mm 63 mm 36 mm 269 g 420 n Jan 2014 449- i Sony A5000
 
Sony A6000« » 120 mm 67 mm 45 mm 344 g 360 n Feb 2014 599- i Sony A6000
 
Sony NEX-3N« » 110 mm 62 mm 35 mm 269 g 480 n Feb 2013 499- i Sony NEX-3N
 
Sony RX100« » 102 mm 58 mm 36 mm 240 g 330 n Jun 2012 649- i Sony RX100
Note: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as 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 A5100 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 30 percent) than the M50, 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.

 

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 tend to be more expensive and 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 A5100 is 11 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have format factors, respectively, of 1.6 (M50) and 1.5. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.

In terms of underlying technology, both cameras are build around CMOS sensors.

Canon M50 and Sony A5100 sensor measures

Even though the A5100 has a larger sensor, both cameras offer the same resolution of 24 megapixels. This implies that the A5100 has a lower pixel density and larger individual pixels (with a pixel pitch of 3.91μm versus 3.72μm for the M50), which gives it a potential advantage in terms of light gathering capacity. It should, however, be noted that the M50 is much more recent (by 3 years and 6 months) than the A5100, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that at least partly compensate for the smaller pixel size.

The Canon EOS M50 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 25600, which can be extended to ISO 100-51200. The corresponding ISO settings for the Sony Alpha A5100 are ISO 100 to ISO 25600 (no boost).

M50 versus A5100 MP

For many cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. 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 table below summarizes the physical sensor characteristics and sensor quality findings and compares them across a set of similar cameras.

Sensor Characteristics
  Camera
Model
Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
Camera
Model
 
Canon M50» APS-C 24.0 6000 40004K/24p----Canon M50
 
Sony A5100« APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p23.812.7134780Sony A5100
 
Canon G5 X Mark II« » 1-inch 20.0 5472 36484K/30p----Canon G5 X Mark II
 
Canon M6 Mark II« » APS-C 32.3 6960 46404K/30p----Canon M6 Mark II
 
Canon 77D« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p23.613.397178Canon 77D
 
Canon M6« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p----Canon M6
 
Canon M100« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p23.512.9127278Canon M100
 
Canon M5« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p23.412.4126277Canon M5
 
Canon G5 X« » 1-inch 20.0 5472 36481080/60p----Canon G5 X
 
Canon M3« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/30p22.811.8116972Canon M3
 
Fujifilm X-E3« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40004K/30p----Fujifilm X-E3
 
Fujifilm X-T20« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40004K/30p----Fujifilm X-T20
 
Sony RX100 IV« » 1-inch 20.0 5472 36484K/30p22.812.659170Sony RX100 IV
 
Sony A5000« » APS-C 19.8 5456 36321080/60i23.813.0108979Sony A5000
 
Sony A6000« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.113.1134782Sony A6000
 
Sony NEX-3N« » APS-C 16.0 4912 32641080/60i22.812.5106774Sony NEX-3N
 
Sony RX100« » 1-inch 20.0 5472 36481080/60p22.612.439066Sony RX100

Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. Both cameras under consideration are equipped with sensors that have a sufficiently high read-out speed for moving images, but the M50 provides a higher video resolution than the A5100. It can shoot video footage at 4K/24p, while the Sony is limited to 1080/60p.

 

Feature comparison

Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the M50 has an electronic viewfinder (2360k dots), which can be very helpful when shooting in bright sunlight. In contrast, the A5100 relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. The table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Canon M50 and Sony A5100 in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras.

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
Camera
Model
 
Canon M50»2360 n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 1/4000s 10.0 Y n Canon M50
 
Sony A5100«- n 3.0 922 tilting Y 1/4000s 6.0 Y n Sony A5100
 
Canon G5 X Mark II« »2360 n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 1/2000s 30 Y Y Canon G5 X Mark II
 
Canon M6 Mark II« »- n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 1/4000s 14.0 Y n Canon M6 Mark II
 
Canon 77D« »optical Y 3.0 1040 swivel Y 1/4000s 6.0 Y n Canon 77D
 
Canon M6« »- n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 1/4000s 9.0 Y n Canon M6
 
Canon M100« »- n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 1/4000s 6.1 Y n Canon M100
 
Canon M5« »2360 n 3.2 1620 tilting Y 1/4000s 9.0 Y n Canon M5
 
Canon G5 X« »2360 n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 1/2000s 5.9 Y Y Canon G5 X
 
Canon M3« »- n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 1/4000s 4.2 Y n Canon M3
 
Fujifilm X-E3« »2360 n 3.0 1040 fixed Y 1/4000s 8.0 n n Fujifilm X-E3
 
Fujifilm X-T20« »2360 n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 1/4000s 8.0 Y n Fujifilm X-T20
 
Sony RX100 IV« »2359 n 3.0 1228 tilting n 1/2000s 16.0 Y Y Sony RX100 IV
 
Sony A5000« »- n 3.0 461 tilting n 1/4000s 3.5 Y n Sony A5000
 
Sony A6000« »1440 n 3.0 922 tilting n 1/4000s 11.0 Y n Sony A6000
 
Sony NEX-3N« »- n 3.0 460 tilting n 1/4000s 4.0 Y n Sony NEX-3N
 
Sony RX100« »- n 3.0 1229 fixed n 1/2000s 10.0 Y Y Sony RX100
Both cameras have an articulated rear screen that can be turned to be front-facing. This feature will be particularly appreciated by vloggers and photographers who are interested in taking selfies.

The M50 writes its imaging data to SDXC cards, while the A5100 uses SDXC or Memory Stick PRO Duo cards. Both cameras can use UHS-I cards, which provide for Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 104 MB/s.

 

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 M50 and Sony Alpha A5100 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.

Input-Output Connections
  Camera
Model
Hotshoe
Port
Internal
Microphone
Internal
Speaker
Microphone
Port
Headphone
Port
HDMI
Port
USB
Type
WiFi
Support
NFC
Support
Bluetooth
Support
Camera
Model
 
Canon M50»YstereomonoY-micro2.0YYYCanon M50
 
Sony A5100«-stereomono--micro2.0YY-Sony A5100
 
Canon G5 X Mark II« »-stereomono--micro3.1Y-YCanon G5 X Mark II
 
Canon M6 Mark II« »YstereomonoY-micro2.0Y-YCanon M6 Mark II
 
Canon 77D« »YstereomonoY-mini2.0YYYCanon 77D
 
Canon M6« »YstereomonoY-mini2.0YYYCanon M6
 
Canon M100« »-stereomono--mini2.0YYYCanon M100
 
Canon M5« »YstereomonoY-mini2.0YYYCanon M5
 
Canon G5 X« »Ystereomono--mini2.0YY-Canon G5 X
 
Canon M3« »YstereomonoY-mini2.0YY-Canon M3
 
Fujifilm X-E3« »YstereomonoY-micro2.0Y-YFujifilm X-E3
 
Fujifilm X-T20« »YstereomonoY-micro2.0Y--Fujifilm X-T20
 
Sony RX100 IV« »-stereomono--micro2.0YY-Sony RX100 IV
 
Sony A5000« »-stereomono--micro2.0YY-Sony A5000
 
Sony A6000« »Ystereomono--micro2.0YY-Sony A6000
 
Sony NEX-3N« »-stereomono--micro2.0---Sony NEX-3N
 
Sony RX100« »-stereomono--micro2.0---Sony RX100

It is notable that the M50 has a hotshoe, while the A5100 does not. This socket makes it possible to easily attach optional accessories, such as an external flash gun.

Both the M50 and the A5100 are recent models that are part of the current product line-up. The A5100 replaced the earlier Sony A5000, while the M50 does not have a direct predecessor. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Canon and Sony websites.


Review summary

So what is the bottom line? Which of the two cameras – the Canon M50 or the Sony A5100 – has the upper hand? Is one clearly better than the other? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.

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Reasons to prefer the Canon EOS M50:

  • Better video: Provides higher definition movie capture (4K/24p vs 1080/60p).
  • Better sound: Can connect to an external microphone for higher quality sound recording.
  • Easier framing: Has an electronic viewfinder for image framing and settings control.
  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1040k vs 922k dots).
  • More flexible LCD: Has a swivel screen for odd-angle shots in portrait or landscape orientation.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (10 vs 6 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • Better lighting: Features a hotshoe and can thus hold and trigger an external flash gun.
  • Easier wireless transfer: Supports Bluetooth for image sharing without cables.
  • More modern: Reflects 3 years and 6 months of technical progress since the A5100 launch.

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Advantages of the Sony Alpha A5100:

  • More compact: Is smaller (110x63mm vs 116x88mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
  • Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 107g or 27 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
  • Longer lasting: Gets more shots (400 versus 235) out of a single battery charge.
  • Easier travel charging: Can be conveniently charged via its USB port.
  • More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (30 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More heavily discounted: Has been around for much longer (launched in August 2014).

If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the M50 is the clear winner of the match-up (9 : 5 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.

M50 09:05 A5100

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Canon M50 and the Sony A5100 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera listing 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 remains incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the M50 or the A5100 perform in practice. 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 (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.

Review Scores
  Camera
Model
cameralabs dpreview ephotozine imaging-resource photographyblog Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Used
Price
(USD)
Camera
Model
 
Canon M50»+79/100-4/53.5/5 Feb 2018 779 i i Canon M50
 
Sony A5100«+-4.5/54.5/55/5 Aug 2014 549 i i Sony A5100
 
Canon G5 X Mark II« »+82/100--4/5 Jul 2019 899 i i Canon G5 X Mark II
 
Canon M6 Mark II« »----- Aug 2019 849 i i Canon M6 Mark II
 
Canon 77D« »-82/1004.5/54.5/54/5 Feb 2017 899 i i Canon 77D
 
Canon M6« »-80/1004/54.5/54/5 Feb 2017 779- i Canon M6
 
Canon M100« »+-4/5-3.5/5 Aug 2017 499 i i Canon M100
 
Canon M5« »+82/1004/54.5/54/5 Sep 2016 979 i i Canon M5
 
Canon G5 X« »+ +78/1004.5/54/54.5/5 Oct 2015 799- i Canon G5 X
 
Canon M3« »o75/1004.5/54.5/54/5 Feb 2015 679- i Canon M3
 
Fujifilm X-E3« »+84/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Sep 2017 899 i i Fujifilm X-E3
 
Fujifilm X-T20« »+ +82/1005/5-4.5/5 Jan 2017 899 i i Fujifilm X-T20
 
Sony RX100 IV« »+ +85/1004/54.5/54.5/5 Jun 2015 999- i Sony RX100 IV
 
Sony A5000« »+-4.5/5o4.5/5 Jan 2014 449- i Sony A5000
 
Sony A6000« »+80/1004.5/55/55/5 Feb 2014 599- i Sony A6000
 
Sony NEX-3N« »--4.5/54/54.5/5 Feb 2013 499- i Sony NEX-3N
 
Sony RX100« »+ +78/1004/55/55/5 Jun 2012 649- i Sony RX100
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. Hence, a score should always be seen in the context of the camera's market launch date and its price, and rating-comparisons among cameras that span long time periods or concern very differently equipped models make little sense. It should also be noted that some of the review sites have over time altered the way they render their verdicts.

Canon M50:
Check Amazon price
Sony A5100:
Check Amazon price

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 make your choice using the following search menu. 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 M50 vs Sony A5100

    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 M50 Sony A5100
    Camera Type Mirrorless system camera Mirrorless system camera
    Camera Lens Canon EF-M mount lenses Sony E mount lenses
    Launch Date February 2018 August 2014
    Launch Price USD 779 USD 549
    Sensor Specs Canon M50 Sony A5100
    Sensor Technology CMOS CMOS
    Sensor Format APS-C Sensor APS-C Sensor
    Sensor Size 22.3 x 14.9 mm 23.5 x 15.6 mm
    Sensor Area 332.27 mm2 366.6 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 26.8 mm 28.2 mm
    Crop Factor 1.6x 1.5x
    Sensor Resolution 24 Megapixels 24 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 6000 x 4000 pixels 6000 x 4000 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 3.72 μm 3.91 μm
    Pixel Density 7.22 MP/cm2 6.55 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability 4K/24p Video 1080/60p Video
    ISO Setting 100-25600 ISO 100-25600 ISO
    ISO Boost 100-51200 ISO no Enhancement
    Image Processor DIGIC 8 BIONZ X
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) .. 80
    DXO Color Depth (bits) .. 23.8
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) .. 12.7
    DXO Low Light (ISO) .. 1347
    Screen Specs Canon M50 Sony A5100
    Viewfinder Type Electronic viewfinder No viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 100%
    Viewfinder Magnification ..x
    Viewfinder Resolution 2360k dots
    LCD Framing Live View Live View
    Rear LCD Size 3.0 inch 3.0 inch
    LCD Resolution 1040k dots 922k dots
    LCD Attachment Swivel screen Tilting screen
    Touch Input Touchscreen Touchscreen
    Shooting Specs Canon M50 Sony A5100
    Autofocus System On-Sensor Phase-detect On-Sensor Phase-detect
    Manual Focusing AidFocus PeakingFocus Peaking
    Max Shutter Speed (mechanical) 1/4000/s 1/4000/s
    Continuous Shooting 10 shutter flaps/s 6 shutter flaps/s
    Fill Flash Build-in Flash Build-in Flash
    Storage Medium SDXC cards MS or SDXC cards
    Second Storage Option Single card slot Single card slot
    UHS card support UHS-I UHS-I
    Connectivity Specs Canon M50 Sony A5100
    External Flash Hotshoe no Hotshoe
    USB Connector USB 2.0 USB 2.0
    HDMI Port micro HDMI micro HDMI
    Microphone Port External MIC port no MIC socket
    Wifi Support Wifi built-in Wifi built-in
    Near-Field Communication NFC built-in NFC built-in
    Bluetooth Support Bluetooth built-in no Bluetooth
    Body Specs Canon M50 Sony A5100
    Battery Type LP-E12 NP-FW50
    Battery Life (CIPA)235 shots per charge400 shots per charge
    In-Camera Charging no USB charging USB charging
    Body Dimensions 116 x 88 x 59 mm
    (4.6 x 3.5 x 2.3 in)
    110 x 63 x 36 mm
    (4.3 x 2.5 x 1.4 in)
    Camera Weight 390 g (13.8 oz) 283 g (10.0 oz)

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