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Canon SX520 vs Panasonic G1

The Canon PowerShot SX520 HS and the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G1 are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in July 2014 and September 2008. The SX520 is a fixed lens compact, while the G1 is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera. The cameras are based on a 1/2.3-inch (SX520) and a Four Thirds (G1) sensor. The Canon has a resolution of 15.9 megapixels, whereas the Panasonic 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 SX520 versus Panasonic G1
Canon SX520 Panasonic G1
Fixed lens compact camera Mirrorless system camera
24-1008mm f/3.4-6 Micro Four Thirds lenses
15.9 MP, 1/2.3" Sensor 12 MP, Four Thirds Sensor
1080/30p Video no Video
ISO 100-3,200 ISO 100-1,600 (100 - 3,200)
No viewfinder, LCD framing Electronic viewfinder (1440k dots)
3.0 LCD, 461k dots 3.0 LCD, 460k dots
Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive) Swivel screen (not touch-sensitive)
1.6 shutter flaps per second 3 shutter flaps per second
210 shots per battery charge410 shots per battery charge
120 x 82 x 92 mm, 441 g 124 x 84 x 45 mm, 360 g

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Canon PowerShot SX520 HS and the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G1? 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 SX520 and the Panasonic G1 is provided 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 measures are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

Size Canon SX520 vs Panasonic G1
Compare SX520 versus G1 top
Comparison SX520 or G1 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Panasonic G1 is notably larger (6 percent) than the Canon SX520. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the SX520 nor the G1 are weather-sealed.

The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the SX520 has a lens built in, whereas the G1 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 G1 and their specifications in the Micro Four Thirds Lens Catalog.

Concerning battery life, the SX520 gets 210 shots out of its NB-6LH battery, while the G1 can take 410 images on a single charge of its DMW-BLB13 power pack.

The following table provides a synthesis of the main physical specifications of the two cameras and other similar ones. If you would like to visualize and compare a different camera combination, you can navigate to the CAM-parator app and make your selection from a broad list of cameras 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 SX520 120 mm 82 mm 92 mm 441 g 210 n Jul 2014 399i
2.
 
Panasonic G1 124 mm 84 mm 45 mm 360 g 410 n Sep 2008 599i
3.
 
Canon SX540 120 mm 82 mm 92 mm 442 g 205 n Jan 2016 399 i
4.
 
Canon SX530 120 mm 82 mm 92 mm 442 g 210 n Jan 2015 429i
5.
 
Canon SX710 113 mm 66 mm 35 mm 269 g 230 n Jan 2015 349i
6.
 
Canon SX700 113 mm 66 mm 35 mm 269 g 250 n Feb 2014 349i
7.
 
Canon SX60 128 mm 93 mm 114 mm 650 g 340 n Sep 2014 549i
8.
 
Canon T5 130 mm 100 mm 78 mm 480 g 500 n Feb 2014 449i
9.
 
Canon SX510 104 mm 70 mm 80 mm 349 g 250 n Aug 2013 249i
10.
 
Nikon B600 122 mm 82 mm 99 mm 500 g 280 n Jan 2019 349 i
11.
 
Olympus E-410 130 mm 91 mm 53 mm 435 g 500 n Mar 2007 699i
12.
 
Panasonic G10 124 mm 84 mm 74 mm 388 g 380 n Mar 2010 499i
13.
 
Panasonic G2 124 mm 84 mm 74 mm 428 g 360 n Mar 2010 599i
14.
 
Panasonic GH1 124 mm 90 mm 45 mm 385 g 300 n Mar 2009 899i
15.
 
Panasonic L10 135 mm 96 mm 78 mm 556 g 450 n Aug 2007 599i
16.
 
Sony HX90V 102 mm 58 mm 36 mm 245 g 360 n Apr 2015 429 i
17.
 
Sony H200 123 mm 83 mm 87 mm 530 g 240 n Jan 2013 249 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 naturally be influenced heavily by the price. The listed launch prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The SX520 was launched at a lower price than the G1, despite having a lens built in. Normally, street prices remain initially close to the MSRP, but after a couple of months, the first discounts appear. 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 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. 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 associated with larger, more expensive camera bodies and lenses.

Of the two cameras under consideration, the Canon SX520 features a 1/2.3-inch sensor and the Panasonic G1 a Four Thirds sensor. The sensor area in the G1 is 704 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 5.6 and 2.0. Both cameras feature a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 4:3.

Canon SX520 and Panasonic G1 sensor measures

Despite having a smaller sensor, the Canon SX520 offers a higher resolution of 15.9 megapixels, compared with 12 MP of the Panasonic G1. 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 1.33μm versus 4.33μm for the G1). However, it should be noted that the SX520 is much more recent (by 5 years and 10 months) than the G1, 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 SX520 has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.

The resolution advantage of the Canon SX520 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the SX520 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 23 x 17.3 inches or 58.5 x 43.9 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 18.4 x 13.8 inches or 46.8 x 35.1 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 15.4 x 11.5 inches or 39 x 29.3 cm. The corresponding values for the Panasonic G1 are 20 x 15 inches or 50.8 x 38.1 cm for good quality, 16 x 12 inches or 40.6 x 30.5 cm for very good quality, and 13.3 x 10 inches or 33.9 x 25.4 cm for excellent quality prints.

The Canon PowerShot SX520 HS has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 3200. The corresponding ISO settings for the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G1 are ISO 100 to ISO 1600, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 100-3200.

SX520 versus G1 MP

Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for many cameras. 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 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 SX520 1/2.3 15.9 4608 34561080/30p........
2.
 
Panasonic G1 Four Thirds 12.0 4000 3000none21.110.346353
3.
 
Canon SX540 1/2.3 20.2 5184 38881080/60p........
4.
 
Canon SX530 1/2.3 15.9 4608 34561080/30p........
5.
 
Canon SX710 1/2.3 20.2 5184 38881080/60p........
6.
 
Canon SX700 1/2.3 15.9 4608 34561080/60p........
7.
 
Canon SX60 1/2.3 14.2 4608 30721080/60p19.210.812739
8.
 
Canon T5 APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p21.911.372463
9.
 
Canon SX510 1/2.3 15.9 4608 34561080/24p........
10.
 
Nikon B600 1/2.3 15.9 4608 34561080/30p........
11.
 
Olympus E-410 Four Thirds 10.0 3648 2736none21.110.049451
12.
 
Panasonic G10 Four Thirds 12.0 4000 3000720/30p21.210.141152
13.
 
Panasonic G2 Four Thirds 12.0 4000 3000720/30p21.210.349353
14.
 
Panasonic GH1 Four Thirds 12.0 4000 30001080/24p21.611.677264
15.
 
Panasonic L10 Four Thirds 10.0 3648 2736none21.310.842955
16.
 
Sony HX90V 1/2.3 18.0 4896 36721080/60p........
17.
 
Sony H200 1/2.3 15.2 5184 2930720/30p........

Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but also of capturing video footage. The SX520 indeed provides movie recording capabilities, while the G1 does not. The highest resolution format that the SX520 can use is 1080/30p.

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Feature comparison

Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the G1 has an electronic viewfinder (1440k dots), which can be very helpful when shooting in bright sunlight. In contrast, the SX520 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 SX520, the Panasonic G1, 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 SX520none n 3.0 461 fixed n 1/2000s 1.6 Y Y
2.
 
Panasonic G11440 n 3.0 460 swivel n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
3.
 
Canon SX540none n 3.0 461 fixed n 1/2000s 5.9 Y Y
4.
 
Canon SX530none n 3.0 461 fixed n 1/2000s 1.6 Y Y
5.
 
Canon SX710none n 3.0 922 fixed n 1/3200s 6.0 Y Y
6.
 
Canon SX700none n 3.0 922 fixed n 1/3200s 8.5 Y Y
7.
 
Canon SX60922 n 3.0 922 swivel n 1/2000s 6.4 Y Y
8.
 
Canon T5optical n 3.0 460 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
9.
 
Canon SX510none n 3.0 461 fixed n 1/1600s 3.8 Y Y
10.
 
Nikon B600none n 3.0 921 fixed n 1/4000s 7.4 Y Y
11.
 
Olympus E-410optical n 2.5 215 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
12.
 
Panasonic G10202 n 3.0 460 fixed n 1/4000s 2.6 Y n
13.
 
Panasonic G21440 n 3.0 460 swivel Y 1/4000s 2.6 Y n
14.
 
Panasonic GH11440 n 3.0 460 swivel n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
15.
 
Panasonic L10optical n 2.5 207 swivel n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
16.
 
Sony HX90V638 n 3.0 921 tilting n 1/2000s 10.0 Y Y
17.
 
Sony H200none n 3.0 460 fixed n 1/1500s 0.8 Y Y
The G1 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 SX520 does not have a selfie-screen.

The SX520 writes its imaging data to SDXC cards, while the G1 uses SDHC 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 SX520 HS and Panasonic Lumix DMC-G1 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 SX520-stereomono--mini2.0---
2.
 
Panasonic G1Y----mini2.0---
3.
 
Canon SX540-stereomono--mini2.0YY-
4.
 
Canon SX530-stereomono--mini2.0YY-
5.
 
Canon SX710-stereomono--micro2.0YY-
6.
 
Canon SX700-stereomono--micro2.0YY-
7.
 
Canon SX60YstereomonoY-mini2.0YY-
8.
 
Canon T5Ymonomono--mini2.0---
9.
 
Canon SX510-stereomono--mini2.0Y--
10.
 
Nikon B600-stereomono--micro2.0Y-Y
11.
 
Olympus E-410Y-----2.0---
12.
 
Panasonic G10Ymono---mini2.0---
13.
 
Panasonic G2Ystereomono--mini2.0---
14.
 
Panasonic GH1Ystereo-Y-mini2.0---
15.
 
Panasonic L10Y-----2.0---
16.
 
Sony HX90V-stereomono--micro2.0YY-
17.
 
Sony H200-monomono---2.0---

It is notable that the G1 has a hotshoe, which makes it possible to easily attach optional accessories, such as an external flash gun. The SX520 does not feature such an accessory-socket.

Both the SX520 and the G1 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The G1 was replaced by the Panasonic G2, while the SX520 was followed by the Canon SX530. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Canon and Panasonic websites.

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Review summary

So what conclusions can be drawn? Is there a clear favorite between the Canon SX520 and the Panasonic G1? Which camera is better? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.

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Reasons to prefer the Canon PowerShot SX520 HS:

  • More detail: Offers more megapixels (15.9 vs 12MP) with a 15% higher linear resolution.
  • Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
  • Broader imaging potential: Can record not only still images but also 1080/30p movies.
  • Ready to shoot: Has a lens built-in, whereas the G1 requires a separate lens.
  • Sharper images: Has hand-shake reducing image stabilization built-in.
  • More affordable: Was introduced at a lower price, despite coming with a built-in lens.
  • More modern: Reflects 5 years and 10 months of technical progress since the G1 launch.

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Arguments in favor of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G1:

  • 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.
  • Easier framing: Has an electronic viewfinder for image composition and settings control.
  • 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 shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/4000s vs 1/2000s) to freeze action.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (3 vs 1.6 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • More flexible: Takes interchangeable lenses and can thus be used with specialty optics.
  • Longer lasting: Gets more shots (410 versus 210) 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 September 2008).

If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the G1 is the clear winner of the contest (14 : 7 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 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.

SX520 07:14 G1

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Canon SX520 and the Panasonic G1 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Superzoom Camera and Best Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens 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 incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the SX520 or the G1 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 where reviews by experts come in. 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 SX520..+..3.5/53.5/5 Jul 2014 399i
2.
 
Panasonic G1..+ +70/1004/54.5/5 Sep 2008 599i
3.
 
Canon SX540.......... Jan 2016 399 i
4.
 
Canon SX530..+ +..4/54/5 Jan 2015 429i
5.
 
Canon SX710..+..4/53.5/5 Jan 2015 349i
6.
 
Canon SX700..+ +..4/54/5 Feb 2014 349i
7.
 
Canon SX603/5+ +75/1004/54.5/5 Sep 2014 549i
8.
 
Canon T53/5+..4/54.5/5 Feb 2014 449i
9.
 
Canon SX510..+ +..4.5/54/5 Aug 2013 249i
10.
 
Nikon B600..+..3.5/53/5 Jan 2019 349 i
11.
 
Olympus E-410..86/100+ +4/54.5/5 Mar 2007 699i
12.
 
Panasonic G103/5..70/1004/54/5 Mar 2010 499i
13.
 
Panasonic G2....72/1004/54.5/5 Mar 2010 599i
14.
 
Panasonic GH1..+ +72/1004.5/54.5/5 Mar 2009 899i
15.
 
Panasonic L10..85/100+3.5/54/5 Aug 2007 599i
16.
 
Sony HX90V4/5+ +..4/54.5/5 Apr 2015 429 i
17.
 
Sony H200......3.5/53.5/5 Jan 2013 249 i
Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.

The above review scores should be interpreted with care, though. The ratings are only valid when referring to cameras in the same category and of the same age. A score, therefore, has to be seen in close connection to the price and market introduction time of the camera, and comparisons of ratings among very different cameras or across long time periods have little meaning. Also, please note that some of the review sites have changed their methodology and reporting over time.

Canon SX520:
Check Ebay offers
Panasonic G1:
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 your choice using the following search menu. 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 SX520 vs Panasonic G1

    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 SX520 Panasonic G1
    Camera Type Fixed lens compact camera Mirrorless system camera
    Camera Lens 24-1008mm f/3.4-6 Micro Four Thirds lenses
    Launch Date July 2014 September 2008
    Launch Price USD 399 USD 599
    Sensor Specs Canon SX520 Panasonic G1
    Sensor Technology BSI-CMOS CMOS
    Sensor Format 1/2.3" Sensor Four Thirds Sensor
    Sensor Size 6.17 x 4.55 mm 17.3 x 13.0 mm
    Sensor Area 28.0735 mm2 224.9 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 7.7 mm 21.6 mm
    Crop Factor 5.6x 2.0x
    Sensor Resolution 15.9 Megapixels 12 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 4608 x 3456 pixels 4000 x 3000 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 1.33 μm 4.33 μm
    Pixel Density 56.73 MP/cm2 5.34 MP/cm2
    Moiré control no AA filter Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability 1080/30p Video no Video
    ISO Setting 100 - 3,200 ISO 100 - 1,600 ISO
    ISO Boost no Enhancement 100 - 3,200 ISO
    Image Processor DIGIC 4+ Venus HD
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) .. 53
    DXO Color Depth (bits) .. 21.1
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) .. 10.3
    DXO Low Light (ISO) .. 463
    Screen Specs Canon SX520 Panasonic G1
    Viewfinder Type no viewfinder Electronic viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 100%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.70x
    Viewfinder Resolution 1440k dots
    LCD Framing Live View Live View
    Rear LCD Size 3.0inch 3.0inch
    LCD Resolution 461k dots 460k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen Swivel screen
    Shooting Specs Canon SX520 Panasonic G1
    Focus System Contrast-detect AF Contrast-detect AF
    Continuous Shooting 1.6 shutter flaps/s 3 shutter flaps/s
    Fill Flash Build-in Flash Build-in Flash
    Storage Medium SDXC cards SDHC cards
    Second Storage Option Single card slot Single card slot
    UHS card support no no
    Connectivity Specs Canon SX520 Panasonic G1
    External Flash no Hotshoe Hotshoe
    USB Connector USB 2.0 USB 2.0
    HDMI Port mini HDMI mini HDMI
    Wifi Support no Wifi no Wifi
    Body Specs Canon SX520 Panasonic G1
    Battery Type NB-6LH DMW-BLB13
    Battery Life (CIPA)210 shots per charge410 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 120 x 82 x 92 mm
    (4.7 x 3.2 x 3.6 in)
    124 x 84 x 45 mm
    (4.9 x 3.3 x 1.8 in)
    Camera Weight 441 g (15.6 oz) 360 g (12.7 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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