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Canon SL3 vs Leica M8

The Canon EOS Rebel SL3 (called Canon 250D in some regions) and the Leica M8 are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in April 2019 and September 2006. The SL3 is a DSLR, while the M8 is a rangefinder-style mirrorless camera. The cameras are based on an APS-C (SL3) and an APS-H (M8) sensor. The Canon has a resolution of 24 megapixels, whereas the Leica provides 10.4 MP.

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

Headline Specifications
Canon SL3 versus Leica M8
Canon SL3 Leica M8
Digital single lens reflex Rangefinder camera
Canon EF mount lenses Leica M mount lenses
24 MP, APS-C Sensor 10.4 MP, APS-H Sensor
4K/25p Video no Video
ISO 100-25,600 (100 - 51,200) ISO 160-2,500
Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
3.0 LCD, 1040k dots 2.5 LCD, 230k dots
Swivel touchscreen Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)
5 shutter flaps per second 2 shutter flaps per second
122 x 93 x 70 mm, 449 g 139 x 80 x 37 mm, 591 g

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Canon EOS Rebel SL3 and the Leica M8? 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 SL3 and the Leica M8 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.

The SL3 can be obtained in two different colors (black, white), while the M8 is also available in two color-versions, but different ones (black, silver).

Size Canon SL3 vs Leica M8
Compare SL3 versus M8 top
Comparison SL3 or M8 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Leica M8 is somewhat smaller (2 percent) than the Canon SL3. However, the M8 is markedly heavier (32 percent) than the SL3. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the SL3 nor the M8 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. A larger imaging sensor will tend to go along with bigger and heavier lenses, although exceptions exist. You can compare the optics available for the two cameras in the Canon EF Lens Catalog (SL3) and the Leica M Lens Catalog (M8).

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
 
Canon SL3 4.8 in 3.7 in 2.8 in 15.8 oz 1070 n Apr 2019 599 i
 
Leica M8 5.5 in 3.1 in 1.5 in 20.8 oz .. n Sep 2006 5,499i
 
Canon T8i 5.2 in 4.1 in 3.0 in 18.2 oz 800 n Feb 2020 749 i
 
Canon M50 Mark II 4.6 in 3.5 in 2.3 in 13.7 oz 305 n Oct 2020 599 i
 
Canon M50 4.6 in 3.5 in 2.3 in 13.8 oz 235 n Feb 2018 779i
 
Canon T7 5.1 in 4.0 in 3.1 in 16.8 oz 500 n Feb 2018 449 i
 
Canon 77D 5.2 in 3.9 in 3.0 in 19.0 oz 600 n Feb 2017 899 i
 
Canon SL2 4.8 in 3.7 in 2.8 in 16.0 oz 650 n Jun 2017 549i
 
Canon T7i 5.2 in 3.9 in 3.0 in 18.8 oz 600 n Feb 2017 749i
 
Canon T6s 5.2 in 4.0 in 3.1 in 19.9 oz 440 n Feb 2015 649i
 
Canon SL1 4.6 in 3.6 in 2.7 in 14.4 oz 380 n Mar 2013 549i
 
Canon T2i 5.1 in 3.9 in 2.4 in 18.7 oz 440 n Feb 2010 699i
 
Canon XTi 5.0 in 3.3 in 2.6 in 19.6 oz 370 n Aug 2006 799i
 
Leica M10 5.5 in 3.1 in 1.5 in 23.3 oz 210 Y Jan 2017 6,595 i
 
Leica M9 5.5 in 3.1 in 1.5 in 20.6 oz .. n Sep 2009 7,999i
 
Nikon D80 5.2 in 4.1 in 3.0 in 23.6 oz 600 n Aug 2006 999i
 
Panasonic L10 5.3 in 3.8 in 3.1 in 19.6 oz 450 n Aug 2007 599i
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 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 SL3 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 89 percent) than the M8, 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.

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Sensor comparison

The size of the imaging sensor is a crucial determinant of image quality. A large sensor will tend to have larger individual pixels that provide better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and richer color-depth than smaller pixel-units 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 SL3 features an APS-C sensor and the Leica M8 an APS-H sensor. The sensor area in the M8 is 46 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 1.6 and 1.3. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.

Canon SL3 and Leica M8 sensor measures

Despite having a smaller sensor, the Canon SL3 offers a higher resolution of 24 megapixels, compared with 10.4 MP of the Leica M8. 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 3.72μm versus 6.84μm for the M8). However, it should be noted that the SL3 is much more recent (by 12 years and 6 months) than the M8, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that make it possible to gather light more efficiently. Coming back to sensor resolution, it should be mentioned that the M8 has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.

The resolution advantage of the Canon SL3 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the SL3 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 30 x 20 inches or 76.2 x 50.8 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 24 x 16 inches or 61 x 40.6 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 20 x 13.3 inches or 50.8 x 33.9 cm. The corresponding values for the Leica M8 are 19.7 x 13.2 inches or 50 x 33.4 cm for good quality, 15.7 x 10.5 inches or 40 x 26.7 cm for very good quality, and 13.1 x 8.8 inches or 33.3 x 22.3 cm for excellent quality prints.

The SL3 has on-sensor phase detect pixels, which results in fast and reliable autofocus acquisition even during live view operation.

The Canon EOS Rebel SL3 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 Leica M8 are ISO 160 to ISO 2500 (no boost).

SL3 versus M8 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
 
Canon SL3 APS-C 24.0 6000 40004K/25p........
 
Leica M8 APS-H 10.4 3936 2630none21.111.366359
 
Canon T8i APS-C 24.0 6000 40004K/24p........
 
Canon M50 Mark II APS-C 24.0 6000 40004K/24p........
 
Canon M50 APS-C 24.0 6000 40004K/24p........
 
Canon T7 APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/30p........
 
Canon 77D APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p23.613.397178
 
Canon SL2 APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p23.613.4104179
 
Canon T7i APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p........
 
Canon T6s APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/30p22.612.091570
 
Canon SL1 APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p21.811.384363
 
Canon T2i APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p22.111.578466
 
Canon XTi APS-C 10.1 3888 2592none22.111.066462
 
Leica M10 Full Frame 23.8 5952 3992none24.413.2213386
 
Leica M9 Full Frame 18.1 5212 3472none22.511.788469
 
Nikon D80 APS-C 10.0 3872 2592none22.111.252461
 
Panasonic L10 Four Thirds 10.0 3648 2736none21.310.842955

Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but also of capturing video footage. The SL3 indeed provides movie recording capabilities, while the M8 does not. The highest resolution format that the SL3 can use is 4K/25p.

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Feature comparison

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The SL3 and the M8 are similar in the sense that both have an optical viewfinder. The latter is useful for getting a clear image for framing even in brightly lit environments. The following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Canon SL3, the Leica M8, 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
 
Canon SL3optical n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 1/4000s 5.0 Y n
 
Leica M8optical n 2.5 230 fixed n 1/8000s 2.0 n n
 
Canon T8ioptical n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 1/4000s 7.5 Y n
 
Canon M50 Mark II2360 n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 1/4000s 10.0 Y n
 
Canon M502360 n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 1/4000s 10.0 Y n
 
Canon T7optical n 3.0 920 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
 
Canon 77Doptical Y 3.0 1040 swivel Y 1/4000s 6.0 Y n
 
Canon SL2optical n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 1/4000s 5.0 Y n
 
Canon T7ioptical n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 1/4000s 6.0 Y n
 
Canon T6soptical Y 3.0 1040 swivel Y 1/4000s 5.0 Y n
 
Canon SL1optical n 3.0 1040 fixed Y 1/4000s 4.9 Y n
 
Canon T2ioptical n 3.0 1040 fixed n 1/4000s 3.7 Y n
 
Canon XTioptical n 2.5 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
 
Leica M10optical n 3.0 1037 fixed n 1/4000s 5.0 n n
 
Leica M9optical n 2.5 230 fixed n 1/4000s 2.0 n n
 
Nikon D80optical n 2.5 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
 
Panasonic L10optical n 2.5 207 swivel n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n

One difference between the cameras concerns the presence of an on-board flash. The SL3 has one, while the M8 does not. While the built-in flash of the SL3 is not very powerful, it can at times be useful as a fill-in light.

The SL3 has an articulated LCD that can be turned to be front-facing. This characteristic will be appreciated by vloggers and photographers who are interested in snapping selfies. In contrast, the M8 does not have a selfie-screen.

The Canon SL3 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.

Concerning the storage of imaging data, both the SL3 and the M8 write their files to SDXC cards. The SL3 supports UHS-I cards (Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 104 MB/s), while the M8 cannot take advantage of Ultra High Speed SD 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 Rebel SL3 and Leica M8 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
 
Canon SL3YstereomonoY-mini2.0Y-Y
 
Leica M8Y-----2.0---
 
Canon T8iYstereomonoY-mini2.0Y-Y
 
Canon M50 Mark IIYstereomonoY-micro2.0Y-Y
 
Canon M50YstereomonoY-micro2.0Y-Y
 
Canon T7Ymonomono--mini2.0YY-
 
Canon 77DYstereomonoY-mini2.0YYY
 
Canon SL2YstereomonoY-mini2.0YYY
 
Canon T7iYstereomonoY-mini2.0YYY
 
Canon T6sYstereomonoY-mini2.0YY-
 
Canon SL1YmonomonoY-mini2.0---
 
Canon T2iYstereo-Y-mini2.0---
 
Canon XTiY-----2.0---
 
Leica M10Y------Y--
 
Leica M9Y-----2.0---
 
Nikon D80Y-----2.0---
 
Panasonic L10Y-----2.0---

It is notable that the SL3 offers wifi support, while the M8 does not. Wifi can be a very convenient means to transfer image data to an off-camera location.

The SL3 is a recent model that features in the current product line-up of Canon. In contrast, the M8 has been discontinued (but can be found pre-owned on eBay). As a replacement in the same line of cameras, the M8 was succeeded by the Leica M9. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Canon and Leica websites.

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Review summary

So what conclusions can be drawn? Which of the two cameras – the Canon SL3 or the Leica M8 – 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.

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Arguments in favor of the Canon EOS Rebel SL3:

  • More detail: Offers more megapixels (24 vs 10.4MP) with a 52% higher linear resolution.
  • Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
  • Broader imaging potential: Can record not only still images but also 4K/25p movies.
  • Better live-view autofocus: Features on-sensor phase-detection for more confident autofocus.
  • Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.0" vs 2.5") for image review and settings control.
  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1040k vs 230k dots).
  • More flexible LCD: Has a swivel screen for odd-angle shots in portrait or landscape orientation.
  • Fewer buttons to press: Is equipped with a touch-sensitive rear screen to facilitate handling.
  • More selfie-friendly: Has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (5 vs 2 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • Easier time-lapse photography: Has an intervalometer built-in for low frequency shooting.
  • Less heavy: Is lighter (by 142g or 24 percent) and hence easier to carry around.
  • Easier fill-in: Is equipped with a small onboard flash to brighten deep shadow areas.
  • Easier file upload: Has wifi built in for automatic backup or image transfer to the web.
  • Easier wireless transfer: Supports Bluetooth for image sharing without cables.
  • Faster buffer clearing: Has an SD card interface that supports the UHS-I standard.
  • More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (89 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More modern: Reflects 12 years and 6 months of technical progress since the M8 launch.

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Reasons to prefer the Leica M8:

  • Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
  • Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/8000s vs 1/4000s) to freeze action.
  • More prestigious: Has the Leica luxury appeal, which ensures a high resale value.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been around for much longer (launched in September 2006).

If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the SL3 is the clear winner of the match-up (18 : 4 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 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.

SL3 18:04 M8

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 SL3 or the M8 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 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.

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Review Scores
  Camera
Model
camera
  labs  
dp
review  
ephoto
  zine  
imaging
resource
photography
  blog  
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
 
Canon SL3o79/1004/5..4/5 Apr 2019 599 i
 
Leica M8..+ +...... Sep 2006 5,499i
 
Canon T8i+80/1004/5..3.5/5 Feb 2020 749 i
 
Canon M50 Mark II.......... Oct 2020 599 i
 
Canon M50+79/100..4/53.5/5 Feb 2018 779i
 
Canon T7o..3.5/5..3.5/5 Feb 2018 449 i
 
Canon 77D..82/1004.5/54.5/54/5 Feb 2017 899 i
 
Canon SL2+ +78/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Jun 2017 549i
 
Canon T7i..80/1004.5/54/54/5 Feb 2017 749i
 
Canon T6s+77/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Feb 2015 649i
 
Canon SL1+78/1004/54/54/5 Mar 2013 549i
 
Canon T2i+ +77/1004/55/54.5/5 Feb 2010 699i
 
Canon XTi+ ++ +o4.5/54/5 Aug 2006 799i
 
Leica M10....4/5..4.5/5 Jan 2017 6,595 i
 
Leica M9....4.5/54.5/5.. Sep 2009 7,999i
 
Nikon D80++ +o4.5/54.5/5 Aug 2006 999i
 
Panasonic L1085/100+3.5/5o4/5 Aug 2007 599i
Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.

The above review scores should be interpreted with care, 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. It should also be noted that some of the review sites have over time altered the way they render their verdicts.

Canon SL3:
Check Amazon price
Leica M8:
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. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting.

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    Specifications: Canon SL3 vs Leica M8

    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 SL3 Leica M8
    Camera Type Digital single lens reflex Rangefinder camera
    Camera Lens Canon EF mount lenses Leica M mount lenses
    Launch Date April 2019 September 2006
    Launch Price USD 599 USD 5,499
    Sensor Specs Canon SL3 Leica M8
    Sensor Technology CMOS CCD
    Sensor Format APS-C Sensor APS-H Sensor
    Sensor Size 22.3 x 14.9 mm 27.0 x 18.0 mm
    Sensor Area 332.27 mm2 486 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 26.8 mm 32.4 mm
    Crop Factor 1.6x 1.3x
    Sensor Resolution 24 Megapixels 10.4 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 6000 x 4000 pixels 3936 x 2630 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 3.72 μm 6.84 μm
    Pixel Density 7.22 MP/cm2 2.13 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter no AA filter
    Movie Capability 4K/25p Video no Video
    ISO Setting 100 - 25,600 ISO 160 - 2,500 ISO
    ISO Boost 100 - 51,200 ISO no Enhancement
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) .. 59
    DXO Color Depth (bits) .. 21.1
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) .. 11.3
    DXO Low Light (ISO) .. 663
    Screen Specs Canon SL3 Leica M8
    Viewfinder Type Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 95% 100%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.54x
    LCD Framing Live View
    Rear LCD Size 3.0inch 2.5inch
    LCD Resolution 1040k dots 230k dots
    LCD Attachment Swivel screen Fixed screen
    Touch Input Touchscreen no Touchscreen
    Shooting Specs Canon SL3 Leica M8
    Focus System Phase-detect AF Manual Focus
    Manual Focusing AidFocus Peakingno Peaking Feature
    Continuous Shooting 5 shutter flaps/s 2 shutter flaps/s
    Time-Lapse PhotographyIntervalometer built-inno Intervalometer
    Fill Flash Build-in Flash no On-Board Flash
    Storage Medium SDXC cards SDXC cards
    Second Storage Option Single card slot Single card slot
    UHS card support UHS-I no
    Connectivity Specs Canon SL3 Leica M8
    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 Wifi built-in no Wifi
    Bluetooth Support Bluetooth built-in no Bluetooth
    Body Specs Canon SL3 Leica M8
    Battery Type LP-E17 BLI-312
    Body Dimensions 122 x 93 x 70 mm
    (4.8 x 3.7 x 2.8 in)
    139 x 80 x 37 mm
    (5.5 x 3.1 x 1.5 in)
    Camera Weight 449 g (15.8 oz) 591 g (20.8 oz)

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