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Canon SX420 vs T3i

The Canon PowerShot SX420 IS and the Canon EOS Rebel T3i (labelled Canon 600D in some countries) are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in January 2016 and February 2011. The SX420 is a fixed lens compact, while the T3i is a DSLR. The cameras are based on a 1/2.3-inch (SX420) and an APS-C (T3i) sensor. The SX420 has a resolution of 19.9 megapixels, whereas the T3i provides 17.9 MP.

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

Headline Specifications
Canon SX420
versus
Canon T3i
Canon SX420 Canon T3i
Fixed lens compact camera Digital single lens reflex
24-1008mm f/3.5-6.6 Canon EF mount lenses
19.9 MP, 1/2.3" Sensor 17.9 MP, APS-C Sensor
720/25p Video 1080/30p Video
ISO 100-1,600 ISO 100-6,400 (100 - 12,800)
No viewfinder, LCD framing Optical viewfinder
3.0 LCD, 230k dots 3.0 LCD, 1040k dots
Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive) Swivel screen (not touch-sensitive)
0.5 shutter flaps per second 3.7 shutter flaps per second
195 shots per battery charge440 shots per battery charge
104 x 69 x 85 mm, 325 g 133 x 100 x 80 mm, 570 g

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Canon PowerShot SX420 IS and the Canon EOS Rebel T3i? 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 SX420 and the Canon T3i are illustrated 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 dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

The SX420 can be obtained in two different colors (black, red), while the T3i is only available in black.

Size Canon SX420 vs Canon T3i
Compare SX420 versus T3i top
Comparison SX420 or T3i rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Canon T3i is considerably larger (85 percent) than the Canon SX420. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the SX420 nor the T3i are weather-sealed.

The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the SX420 has a lens built in, whereas the T3i 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 T3i and their specifications in the Canon EF Lens Catalog.

Concerning battery life, the SX420 gets 195 shots out of its NB-11LH battery, while the T3i can take 440 images on a single charge of its LP-E8 power pack.

The adjacent table lists the principal physical characteristics of the two cameras alongside a wider set of alternatives. In case you want to display and compare another camera duo, you can use the CAM-parator app to select your camera combination among a large number of options.

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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 SX420 104 mm 69 mm 85 mm 325 g 195 n Jan 2016 299 i
2.
 
Canon T3i 133 mm 100 mm 80 mm 570 g 440 n Feb 2011 599 i
3.
 
Canon SX430 104 mm 69 mm 85 mm 323 g 195 n Jan 2017 299 i
4.
 
Canon SX730 110 mm 64 mm 40 mm 300 g 250 n Apr 2017 399 i
5.
 
Canon G7 X Mark II 106 mm 61 mm 42 mm 319 g 265 n Feb 2016 699 i
6.
 
Canon SX620 97 mm 57 mm 28 mm 182 g 295 n May 2016 279 i
7.
 
Canon SX720 110 mm 64 mm 36 mm 270 g 250 n Feb 2016 379 i
8.
 
Canon G5 X 112 mm 76 mm 44 mm 353 g 210 n Oct 2015 799 i
9.
 
Canon T6s 132 mm 101 mm 78 mm 565 g 440 n Feb 2015 649 i
10.
 
Canon SX410 104 mm 69 mm 85 mm 325 g 185 n Feb 2015 279 i
11.
 
Canon SX610 105 mm 61 mm 27 mm 191 g 270 n Jan 2015 249 i
12.
 
Canon SX710 113 mm 66 mm 35 mm 269 g 230 n Jan 2015 349 i
13.
 
Canon T5i 133 mm 100 mm 79 mm 580 g 440 n Mar 2013 649 i
14.
 
Canon M 109 mm 66 mm 32 mm 298 g 230 n Jul 2012 599 i
15.
 
Canon T4i 133 mm 100 mm 79 mm 575 g 440 n Jun 2012 849 i
16.
 
Canon T2i 129 mm 98 mm 62 mm 530 g 440 n Feb 2010 699 i
17.
 
Panasonic ZS70 112 mm 67 mm 41 mm 322 g 380 n Apr 2017 449 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 listed launch prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The SX420 was launched at a lower price than the T3i, 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. 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 tend to be associated with larger, more expensive camera bodies and lenses.

Of the two cameras under consideration, the Canon SX420 features a 1/2.3-inch sensor and the Canon T3i an APS-C sensor. The sensor area in the T3i is 1086 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 5.6 and 1.6. The sensor in the SX420 has a native 4:3 aspect ratio, while the one in the T3i offers a 3:2 aspect.

In terms of chip-set technology, the SX420 uses a more advanced image processing engine (DIGIC 4+) than the T3i (DIGIC 4), with benefits for noise reduction, color accuracy, and processing speed.

Canon SX420 and Canon T3i sensor measures

Despite having a smaller sensor, the Canon SX420 offers a higher resolution of 19.9 megapixels, compared with 17.9 MP of the Canon T3i. 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 1.19μm versus 4.31μm for the T3i). However, it should be noted that the SX420 is much more recent (by 4 years and 10 months) than the T3i, 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 SX420 has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.

The Canon PowerShot SX420 IS has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 1600. The corresponding ISO settings for the Canon EOS Rebel T3i are ISO 100 to ISO 6400, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 100-12800.

SX420 versus T3i 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 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 SX420 1/2.3 19.9 5152 3864720/25p...... ..
2.
 
Canon T3i APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p22.111.5793 65
3.
 
Canon SX430 1/2.3 19.9 5152 3864720/25p...... ..
4.
 
Canon SX730 1/2.3 20.2 5184 38881080/60p...... ..
5.
 
Canon G7 X Mark II 1-inch 20.0 5472 36481080/60p...... ..
6.
 
Canon SX620 1/2.3 20.2 5184 38881080/30p...... ..
7.
 
Canon SX720 1/2.3 20.2 5184 38881080/60p...... ..
8.
 
Canon G5 X 1-inch 20.0 5472 36481080/60p...... ..
9.
 
Canon T6s APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/30p22.612.0915 70
10.
 
Canon SX410 1/2.3 19.9 5152 3864720/30p...... ..
11.
 
Canon SX610 1/2.3 20.2 5184 38881080/30p...... ..
12.
 
Canon SX710 1/2.3 20.2 5184 38881080/60p...... ..
13.
 
Canon T5i APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p21.711.2681 61
14.
 
Canon M APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p22.111.2827 65
15.
 
Canon T4i APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p21.711.2722 62
16.
 
Canon T2i APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p22.111.5784 66
17.
 
Panasonic ZS70 1/2.3 20.2 5184 38884K/30p19.110.6106 36

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 T3i provides a better video resolution than the SX420. It can shoot movie footage at 1080/30p, while the SX420 is limited to 720/25p.

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Feature comparison

Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the T3i has an optical viewfinder, which can be very useful when shooting in bright sunlight. In contrast, the SX420 relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. The adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Canon SX420 and Canon T3i 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 SX420none n 3.0 230 fixed n 1/4000s 0.5 Y Y
2.
 
Canon T3ioptical n 3.0 1040 swivel n 1/4000s 3.7 Y n
3.
 
Canon SX430none n 3.0 230 fixed n 1/4000s 0.5 Y Y
4.
 
Canon SX730none n 3.0 922 tilting n 1/3200s 5.9 Y Y
5.
 
Canon G7 X Mark IInone n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 1/2000s 8.0 Y Y
6.
 
Canon SX620none n 3.0 922 fixed n 1/2000s 2.5 Y Y
7.
 
Canon SX720none n 3.0 922 fixed n 1/3200s 5.9 Y Y
8.
 
Canon G5 X2360 n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 1/2000s 5.9 Y Y
9.
 
Canon T6soptical Y 3.0 1040 swivel Y 1/4000s 5.0 Y n
10.
 
Canon SX410none n 3.0 230 fixed n 1/4000s 0.5 Y Y
11.
 
Canon SX610none n 3.0 922 fixed n 1/2000s 2.5 Y Y
12.
 
Canon SX710none n 3.0 922 fixed n 1/3200s 6.0 Y Y
13.
 
Canon T5ioptical n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 1/4000s 5.0 Y n
14.
 
Canon Mnone n 3.0 1040 fixed Y 1/4000s 4.3 n n
15.
 
Canon T4ioptical n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 1/4000s 5.0 Y n
16.
 
Canon T2ioptical n 3.0 1040 fixed n 1/4000s 3.7 Y n
17.
 
Panasonic ZS701166 n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 1/2000s 10.0 Y Y
The T3i has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing. This characteristic will be appreciated by vloggers and photographers who are interested in taking selfies. In contrast, the SX420 does not have a selfie-screen.

Concerning the storage of imaging data, both the SX420 and the T3i write their files to 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 PowerShot SX420 IS and Canon EOS Rebel T3i 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 SX420-monomono---2.0YY-
2.
 
Canon T3iYmonomonoY-mini2.0---
3.
 
Canon SX430-monomono---2.0YY-
4.
 
Canon SX730-stereomono--micro2.0YYY
5.
 
Canon G7 X Mark II-stereomono--micro2.0YY-
6.
 
Canon SX620-monomono--micro2.0YY-
7.
 
Canon SX720-stereomono--micro2.0YY-
8.
 
Canon G5 XYstereomono--mini2.0YY-
9.
 
Canon T6sYstereomonoY-mini2.0YY-
10.
 
Canon SX410-stereomono---2.0---
11.
 
Canon SX610-----micro2.0YY-
12.
 
Canon SX710-stereomono--micro2.0YY-
13.
 
Canon T5iYstereomonoY-mini2.0---
14.
 
Canon MYstereomonoY-mini2.0---
15.
 
Canon T4iYstereomonoY-mini2.0---
16.
 
Canon T2iYstereo-Y-mini2.0---
17.
 
Panasonic ZS70-stereomono--micro2.0Y--

It is notable that the SX420 offers wifi support, while the T3i does not. Wifi can be a very convenient means to transfer image data to an off-camera location.

Both the SX420 and the T3i have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The T3i was replaced by the Canon T4i, while the SX420 was followed by the Canon SX430. 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 what conclusions can be drawn? Is the Canon SX420 better than the Canon T3i or vice versa? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.


Advantages of the Canon PowerShot SX420 IS:

  • Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
  • Better jpgs: Has a more modern image processing engine (DIGIC 4+ vs DIGIC 4).
  • Ready to shoot: Comes with a built-in lens, while the T3i requires a separate lens.
  • More compact: Is smaller (104x69mm vs 133x100mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
  • Less heavy: Is lighter even though it comes with a built-in lens (unlike the T3i).
  • Sharper images: Has hand-shake reducing image stabilization built-in.
  • Easier file upload: Has wifi built in for automatic backup or image transfer to the web.
  • Easier device pairing: Supports NFC for fast wireless image transfer over short distances.
  • More affordable: Was introduced at a lower price, despite coming with a built-in lens.
  • More modern: Reflects 4 years and 10 months of technical progress since the T3i launch.


Arguments in favor of the Canon EOS Rebel T3i:

  • Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
  • Better image quality: Features bigger pixels on a larger sensor for higher quality imaging.
  • Richer colors: The pixel size advantage translates into images with better, more accurate colors.
  • More dynamic range: Larger pixels capture a wider spectrum of light and dark details.
  • Better low-light sensitivity: Larger pixels means good image quality even under poor lighting.
  • Better video: Provides higher definition movie capture (1080/30p vs 720/25p).
  • Better sound: Can connect to an external microphone for higher quality sound recording.
  • Easier framing: Has an optical viewfinder for image composition 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.
  • More selfie-friendly: Has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (3.7 vs 0.5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • More flexible: Makes it possible to change lenses and thus to use specialty optics.
  • Longer lasting: Gets more shots (440 versus 195) out of a single battery charge.
  • Better lighting: Features a hotshoe and can thus hold and trigger an external flash gun.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been around for much longer (launched in February 2011).

If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the T3i is the clear winner of the contest (16 : 10 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.

SX420 10:16 T3i

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Canon SX420 and the Canon T3i place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Superzoom 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 SX420 or the T3i perform in practice. At times, user reviews, such as those published at amazon, address these issues in a useful manner, but such feedback is on many occasions incomplete, inconsistent, and unreliable.

Expert reviews

This is why expert reviews 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 SX420........3/5 Jan 2016 299 i
2.
 
Canon T3i3/5o77/1004.5/54.5/5 Feb 2011 599 i
3.
 
Canon SX430......3.5/53.5/5 Jan 2017 299 i
4.
 
Canon SX730..+..4/54/5 Apr 2017 399 i
5.
 
Canon G7 X Mark II4.5/5+ +81/1004.5/54.5/5 Feb 2016 699 i
6.
 
Canon SX620........4/5 May 2016 279 i
7.
 
Canon SX720..+..4/54.5/5 Feb 2016 379 i
8.
 
Canon G5 X5/5+ +78/1004.5/54.5/5 Oct 2015 799 i
9.
 
Canon T6s5/5+77/1004.5/54.5/5 Feb 2015 649 i
10.
 
Canon SX410..o...... Feb 2015 279 i
11.
 
Canon SX610......4/54/5 Jan 2015 249 i
12.
 
Canon SX710..+..4/53.5/5 Jan 2015 349 i
13.
 
Canon T5i....76/1004.5/54.5/5 Mar 2013 649 i
14.
 
Canon M3/5+..4/54/5 Jul 2012 599 i
15.
 
Canon T4i4/5+ +77/1004.5/54.5/5 Jun 2012 849 i
16.
 
Canon T2i..+ +77/1004/54.5/5 Feb 2010 699 i
17.
 
Panasonic ZS70..+ +..4/54/5 Apr 2017 449 i
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 comparing ratings of very distinct cameras or ones that are far apart in terms of their release date have little meaning. Also, please note that some of the review sites have changed their methodology and reporting over time.

Canon SX420:
Check Ebay offers
Canon T3i:
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 make your choice using the following search menu. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting.

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    Specifications: Canon SX420 vs Canon T3i

    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 SX420 Canon T3i
    Camera Type Fixed lens compact camera Digital single lens reflex
    Camera Lens 24-1008mm f/3.5-6.6 Canon EF mount lenses
    Launch Date January 2016 February 2011
    Launch Price USD 299 USD 599
    Sensor Specs Canon SX420 Canon T3i
    Sensor Technology CCD CMOS
    Sensor Format 1/2.3" Sensor APS-C Sensor
    Sensor Size 6.17 x 4.55 mm 22.3 x 14.9 mm
    Sensor Area 28.0735 mm2 332.27 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 7.7 mm 26.8 mm
    Crop Factor 5.6x 1.6x
    Sensor Resolution 19.9 Megapixels 17.9 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 5152 x 3864 pixels 5184 x 3456 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 1.19 μm 4.31 μm
    Pixel Density 70.91 MP/cm2 5.39 MP/cm2
    Moiré control no AA filter Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability 720/25p Video 1080/30p Video
    ISO Setting 100 - 1,600 ISO 100 - 6,400 ISO
    ISO Boost no Enhancement 100 - 12,800 ISO
    Image Processor DIGIC 4+ DIGIC 4
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) .. 65
    DXO Color Depth (bits) .. 22.1
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) .. 11.5
    DXO Low Light (ISO) .. 793
    Screen Specs Canon SX420 Canon T3i
    Viewfinder Type no viewfinder Optical viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 95%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.53x
    LCD Framing Live View Live View
    Rear LCD Size 3.0inch 3.0inch
    LCD Resolution 230k dots 1040k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen Swivel screen
    Shooting Specs Canon SX420 Canon T3i
    Focus System Contrast-detect AF Phase-detect AF
    Continuous Shooting 0.5 shutter flaps/s 3.7 shutter flaps/s
    Fill Flash Built-in Flash Built-in Flash
    Storage Medium SDXC cards SDXC cards
    Second Storage Option Single card slot Single card slot
    UHS card support no no
    Connectivity Specs Canon SX420 Canon T3i
    External Flash no Hotshoe Hotshoe
    USB Connector USB 2.0 USB 2.0
    HDMI Port no HDMI mini HDMI
    Microphone Port no MIC socket External MIC port
    Wifi Support Wifi built-in no Wifi
    Near-Field Communication NFC built-in no NFC
    Body Specs Canon SX420 Canon T3i
    Battery Type NB-11LH LP-E8
    Battery Life (CIPA)195 shots per charge440 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 104 x 69 x 85 mm
    (4.1 x 2.7 x 3.3 in)
    133 x 100 x 80 mm
    (5.2 x 3.9 x 3.1 in)
    Camera Weight 325 g (11.5 oz) 570 g (20.1 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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