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Canon Rebel vs S120

The Canon EOS Digital Rebel (called Canon 300D in some regions) and the Canon PowerShot S120 are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in August 2003 and August 2013. The Rebel is a DSLR, while the S120 is a fixed lens compact. The cameras are based on an APS-C (Rebel) and a 1/1.7-inch (S120) sensor. The Rebel has a resolution of 6.3 megapixels, whereas the S120 provides 12 MP.

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

Headline Specifications
Canon Rebel versus Canon S120
Canon Rebel Canon S120
Digital single lens reflex Fixed lens compact camera
Canon EF mount lenses 24-120mm f/1.8-5.7
6.3 MP, APS-C Sensor 12 MP, 1/1.7" Sensor
no Video 1080/60p Video
ISO 100-1,600 ISO 80-12,800
Optical viewfinder No viewfinder, LCD framing
1.8 LCD, 118k dots 3.0 LCD, 922k dots
Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive) Fixed touchscreen
2.5 shutter flaps per second 12.1 shutter flaps per second
400 shots per battery charge230 shots per battery charge
142 x 99 x 72 mm, 649 g 100 x 59 x 29 mm, 217 g

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Canon EOS Digital Rebel and the Canon PowerShot S120? 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 Rebel and the Canon S120 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 dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

Size Canon Rebel vs Canon S120
Compare Rebel versus S120 top
Comparison Rebel or S120 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Canon S120 is considerably smaller (58 percent) than the Canon Rebel. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the Rebel nor the S120 are weather-sealed.

The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the S120 has a lens built in, whereas the Rebel 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 Rebel and their specifications in the Canon EF Lens Catalog.

Concerning battery life, the Rebel gets 400 shots out of its BP-511 battery, while the S120 can take 230 images on a single charge of its NB-6LH power pack.

The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the two cameras alongside a broader set of comparators. 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 Rebel 142 mm 99 mm 72 mm 649 g 400 n Aug 2003 899i
2.
 
Canon S120 100 mm 59 mm 29 mm 217 g 230 n Aug 2013 449i
3.
 
Canon T7i 131 mm 100 mm 76 mm 532 g 600 n Feb 2017 749i
4.
 
Canon T6s 132 mm 101 mm 78 mm 565 g 440 n Feb 2015 649i
5.
 
Canon G1 X Mark II 116 mm 74 mm 66 mm 553 g 240 n Feb 2014 799i
6.
 
Canon G16 109 mm 76 mm 40 mm 356 g 360 n Aug 2013 549 i
7.
 
Canon G15 107 mm 76 mm 40 mm 352 g 350 n Sep 2012 499i
8.
 
Canon SX50 123 mm 87 mm 106 mm 595 g 315 n Sep 2012 429i
9.
 
Canon T4i 133 mm 100 mm 79 mm 575 g 440 n Jun 2012 849i
10.
 
Canon T3i 133 mm 100 mm 80 mm 570 g 440 n Feb 2011 599i
11.
 
Canon T1i 129 mm 98 mm 62 mm 520 g 400 n Mar 2009 799i
12.
 
Canon XTi 127 mm 84 mm 65 mm 556 g 370 n Aug 2006 799i
13.
 
Canon XT 127 mm 94 mm 64 mm 540 g 400 n Feb 2005 899i
14.
 
Canon 20D 144 mm 106 mm 72 mm 770 g 700 n Aug 2004 1,499i
15.
 
Canon 10D 150 mm 107 mm 75 mm 850 g 500 n Feb 2003 1,999i
16.
 
Nikon D70 140 mm 111 mm 78 mm 679 g 400 n Jan 2004 999i
17.
 
Panasonic LF1 103 mm 62 mm 28 mm 192 g 250 n Apr 2013 499 i
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 S120 was launched at a lower price than the Rebel, 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.

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Sensor comparison

The size of the sensor inside a digital camera is one of the key determinants 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.

Of the two cameras under consideration, the Canon Rebel features an APS-C sensor and the Canon S120 a 1/1.7-inch sensor. The sensor area in the S120 is 87 percent smaller. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 1.6 and 4.5. The sensor in the Rebel has a native 3:2 aspect ratio, while the one in the S120 offers a 4:3 aspect.

Canon Rebel and Canon S120 sensor measures

Despite having a smaller sensor, the S120 offers a higher resolution of 12 megapixels, compared with 6.3 MP of the 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 1.89μm versus 7.38μm for the Rebel). However, it should be noted that the S120 is much more recent (by 10 years) 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 S120 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the S120 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 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 EOS Digital Rebel has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 1600. The corresponding ISO settings for the Canon PowerShot S120 are ISO 80 to ISO 12800 (no boost).

Rebel versus S120 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"). The Overall DXO ratings for the two cameras under consideration are close, suggesting that they provide similar imaging performance. 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 Rebel APS-C 6.3 3072 2048none21.010.854455
2.
 
Canon S120 1/1.7 12.0 4000 30001080/60p21.311.924656
3.
 
Canon T7i APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p........
4.
 
Canon T6s APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/30p22.612.091570
5.
 
Canon G1 X Mark II 1.5-inch 13.0 4160 31201080/30p21.510.858158
6.
 
Canon G16 1/1.7 12.0 4000 30001080/60p21.011.723054
7.
 
Canon G15 1/1.7 12.0 4000 30001080/24p19.911.516546
8.
 
Canon SX50 1/2.3 12.0 4000 30001080/24p20.311.217947
9.
 
Canon T4i APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p21.711.272262
10.
 
Canon T3i APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p22.111.579365
11.
 
Canon T1i APS-C 15.1 4752 31681080/20p21.711.566363
12.
 
Canon XTi APS-C 10.1 3888 2592none22.111.066462
13.
 
Canon XT APS-C 8.0 3456 2304none21.810.863760
14.
 
Canon 20D APS-C 8.2 3504 2336none21.911.072162
15.
 
Canon 10D APS-C 6.3 3072 2048none21.110.957157
16.
 
Nikon D70 APS-C 6.0 3008 2000none20.410.352950
17.
 
Panasonic LF1 1/1.7 12.0 4000 30001080/60i20.811.621152

Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but also of capturing video footage. The S120 indeed provides for movie recording, while the Rebel does not. The highest resolution format that the S120 can use is 1080/60p.

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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 S120 relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. The following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Canon Rebel, the Canon S120, and comparable 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 Rebeloptical n 1.8 118 fixed n 1/4000s 2.5 Y n
2.
 
Canon S120none n 3.0 922 fixed Y 1/2000s 12.1 Y Y
3.
 
Canon T7ioptical n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 1/4000s 6.0 Y n
4.
 
Canon T6soptical Y 3.0 1040 swivel Y 1/4000s 5.0 Y n
5.
 
Canon G1 X Mark IIoptional n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 1/4000s 5.2 Y Y
6.
 
Canon G16optical n 3.0 922 fixed n 1/4000s 2.2 Y Y
7.
 
Canon G15optical n 3.0 922 fixed n 1/4000s 2.1 Y Y
8.
 
Canon SX50202 n 3.0 461 swivel n 1/2000s 2.2 Y Y
9.
 
Canon T4ioptical n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 1/4000s 5.0 Y n
10.
 
Canon T3ioptical n 3.0 1040 swivel n 1/4000s 3.7 Y n
11.
 
Canon T1ioptical n 3.0 920 fixed n 1/4000s 3.4 Y n
12.
 
Canon XTioptical n 2.5 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
13.
 
Canon XToptical n 1.8 115 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
14.
 
Canon 20Doptical Y 1.8 118 fixed n 1/8000s 5.0 Y n
15.
 
Canon 10Doptical Y 1.8 118 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
16.
 
Nikon D70optical n 1.8 130 fixed n 1/8000s 3.0 Y n
17.
 
Panasonic LF1200 n 3.0 920 fixed n 1/4000s 10.0 Y Y

One differentiating feature between the two cameras concerns the touch sensitivity of the rear screen. The S120 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 S120 has an intervalometer built-in. This enables the photographer to capture time lapse sequences, such as flower blooming, a sunset or moon rise, without purchasing an external camera trigger and related software.

The Rebel writes its imaging data to Compact Flash cards, while the S120 uses SDXC 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 Digital Rebel and Canon PowerShot S120 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 RebelY-----1.1---
2.
 
Canon S120-stereomono--mini2.0Y--
3.
 
Canon T7iYstereomonoY-mini2.0YYY
4.
 
Canon T6sYstereomonoY-mini2.0YY-
5.
 
Canon G1 X Mark IIYstereomono--mini2.0YY-
6.
 
Canon G16Ystereomono--mini2.0Y--
7.
 
Canon G15Ystereomono--mini2.0---
8.
 
Canon SX50Ystereomono--mini2.0---
9.
 
Canon T4iYstereomonoY-mini2.0---
10.
 
Canon T3iYmonomonoY-mini2.0---
11.
 
Canon T1iYmonomono--mini2.0---
12.
 
Canon XTiY-----2.0---
13.
 
Canon XTY-----2.0---
14.
 
Canon 20DY-----1.1---
15.
 
Canon 10DY-----1.1---
16.
 
Nikon D70Y-----1.0---
17.
 
Panasonic LF1-stereomono--mini2.0YY-

It is notable that the Rebel has a hotshoe, while the S120 does not. This socket makes it possible to easily attach optional accessories, such as an external flash gun.

Both the Rebel and the S120 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The Rebel was replaced by the Canon XT, while the S120 does not have a direct successor. 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 how do things add up? Is the Canon Rebel better than the Canon S120 or vice versa? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.


Reasons to prefer the Canon EOS Digital Rebel:

  • Better low-light sensitivity: Requires less light for good images (1.1 stops ISO advantage).
  • Easier framing: Has an optical viewfinder for image composition and settings control.
  • Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/4000s vs 1/2000s) to freeze action.
  • More flexible: Can take a variety of interchangeable lenses, including specialty optics.
  • Longer lasting: Can take more shots (400 versus 230) on a single battery charge.
  • Better lighting: Features a hotshoe and can thus hold and trigger an external flash gun.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in August 2003).


Arguments in favor of the Canon PowerShot S120:

  • More detail: Has more megapixels (12 vs 6.3MP), which boosts linear resolution by 35%.
  • More dynamic range: Captures a broader range of light and dark details (1.1 EV of extra DR).
  • Broader imaging potential: Can capture not only stills but also 1080/60p video.
  • 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 (922k vs 118k dots).
  • Fewer buttons to press: Has a touchscreen to facilitate handling and shooting adjustments.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (12.1 vs 2.5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • Easier time-lapse photography: Has an intervalometer built-in for low frequency shooting.
  • Ready to shoot: Comes with an integrated lens, while the Rebel requires a separate lens.
  • More compact: Is smaller (100x59mm vs 142x99mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
  • Less heavy: Has a lower weight even though it has a lens built in (unlike the Rebel).
  • Sharper images: Has stabilization technology built-in to reduce the impact of hand-shake.
  • Faster data transfer: Supports a more advanced USB protocol (2.0 vs 1.1).
  • Easier file upload: Has wifi built in for automatic backup or image transfer to the web.
  • More affordable: Was introduced at a lower price, despite coming with a built-in lens.
  • More modern: Reflects 10 years of technical progress since the Rebel launch.

If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the S120 is the clear winner of the contest (16 : 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 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.

Rebel 07:16 S120

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Canon Rebel and the Canon S120 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best DSLR Camera and Best Travel-Zoom 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 Rebel or the S120. 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 Rebel....+ +.... Aug 2003 899i
2.
 
Canon S120..+ +..4.5/54.5/5 Aug 2013 449i
3.
 
Canon T7i4.5/5..80/1004.5/54/5 Feb 2017 749i
4.
 
Canon T6s5/5+77/1004.5/54.5/5 Feb 2015 649i
5.
 
Canon G1 X Mark II3/5+77/1004/54.5/5 Feb 2014 799i
6.
 
Canon G164/5+..4.5/54.5/5 Aug 2013 549 i
7.
 
Canon G154/5+76/1004.5/54.5/5 Sep 2012 499i
8.
 
Canon SX503/5+ +72/1004.5/54.5/5 Sep 2012 429i
9.
 
Canon T4i4/5+ +77/1004.5/54.5/5 Jun 2012 849i
10.
 
Canon T3i3/5o77/1004.5/54.5/5 Feb 2011 599i
11.
 
Canon T1i..+ +74/1004.5/54.5/5 Mar 2009 799i
12.
 
Canon XTi..+ ++ +o4/5 Aug 2006 799i
13.
 
Canon XT..80/100+ +o.. Feb 2005 899i
14.
 
Canon 20D....+ +.... Aug 2004 1,499i
15.
 
Canon 10D....+ +.... Feb 2003 1,999i
16.
 
Nikon D70....+ +.... Jan 2004 999i
17.
 
Panasonic LF13/5+..4/54.5/5 Apr 2013 499 i
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 comparing ratings of very distinct cameras or ones that are far apart in terms of their release date 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 Rebel:
Check Ebay offers
Canon S120:
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 Rebel vs Canon S120

    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 Rebel Canon S120
    Camera Type Digital single lens reflex Fixed lens compact camera
    Camera Lens Canon EF mount lenses 24-120mm f/1.8-5.7
    Launch Date August 2003 August 2013
    Launch Price USD 899 USD 449
    Sensor Specs Canon Rebel Canon S120
    Sensor Technology CMOS BSI-CMOS
    Sensor Format APS-C Sensor 1/1.7" Sensor
    Sensor Size 22.7 x 15.1 mm 7.6 x 5.7 mm
    Sensor Area 342.77 mm2 43.32 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 27.3 mm 9.5 mm
    Crop Factor 1.6x 4.5x
    Sensor Resolution 6.3 Megapixels 12 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 3072 x 2048 pixels 4000 x 3000 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 7.38 μm 1.89 μm
    Pixel Density 1.84 MP/cm2 27.70 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability no Video 1080/60p Video
    ISO Setting 100 - 1,600 ISO 80 - 12,800 ISO
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) 55 56
    DXO Color Depth (bits) 21.0 21.3
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) 10.8 11.9
    DXO Low Light (ISO) 544 246
    Screen Specs Canon Rebel Canon S120
    Viewfinder Type Optical viewfinder no viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 95%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.55x
    LCD Framing Live View
    Rear LCD Size 1.8inch 3.0inch
    LCD Resolution 118k dots 922k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen Fixed screen
    Touch Input no Touchscreen Touchscreen
    Shooting Specs Canon Rebel Canon S120
    Focus System Phase-detect AF Contrast-detect AF
    Manual Focusing Aidno Peaking FeatureFocus Peaking
    Max Shutter Speed (mechanical) 1/4000s 1/2000s
    Continuous Shooting 2.5 shutter flaps/s 12.1 shutter flaps/s
    Time-Lapse Photographyno IntervalometerIntervalometer built-in
    Fill Flash Build-in Flash Build-in Flash
    Storage Medium CF cards SDXC cards
    Second Storage Option Single card slot Single card slot
    Connectivity Specs Canon Rebel Canon S120
    External Flash Hotshoe no Hotshoe
    USB Connector USB 1.1 USB 2.0
    HDMI Port no HDMI mini HDMI
    Wifi Support no Wifi Wifi built-in
    Body Specs Canon Rebel Canon S120
    Battery Type BP-511 NB-6LH
    Battery Life (CIPA)400 shots per charge230 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 142 x 99 x 72 mm
    (5.6 x 3.9 x 2.8 in)
    100 x 59 x 29 mm
    (3.9 x 2.3 x 1.1 in)
    Camera Weight 649 g (22.9 oz) 217 g (7.7 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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