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Canon SX530 vs Nikon D40

The Canon PowerShot SX530 HS and the Nikon D40 are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in January 2015 and November 2006. The SX530 is a fixed lens compact, while the D40 is a DSLR. The cameras are based on a 1/2.3-inch (SX530) and an APS-C (D40) sensor. The Canon has a resolution of 15.9 megapixels, whereas the Nikon provides 6 MP.

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

Headline Specifications
Canon SX530
versus
Nikon D40
Canon SX530   Nikon D40
Fixed lens compact camera Digital single lens reflex
24-1200mm f/3.4-6.5 Nikon F mount lenses
15.9 MP, 1/2.3" Sensor 6 MP, APS-C Sensor
1080/30p Video no Video
ISO 100-3,200 ISO 200-1,600 (200 - 3,200)
No viewfinder, LCD framing Optical viewfinder
3.0 LCD, 461k dots 2.5 LCD, 230k dots
Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive) Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)
1.6 shutter flaps per second 2.5 shutter flaps per second
210 shots per battery charge470 shots per battery charge
120 x 82 x 92 mm, 442 g 124 x 94 x 64 mm, 522 g

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Canon PowerShot SX530 HS and the Nikon D40? 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 SX530 and the Nikon D40 are illustrated in the side-by-side display below. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three consecutive perspectives from the front, the top, and the back are available. All size dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

Size Canon SX530 vs Nikon D40
Compare SX530 versus D40 top
Comparison SX530 or D40 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Nikon D40 is notably larger (18 percent) than the Canon SX530. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the SX530 nor the D40 are weather-sealed.

The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the SX530 has a lens built in, whereas the D40 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 D40 and their specifications in the Nikon Lens Catalog.

Concerning battery life, the SX530 gets 210 shots out of its NB-6LH battery, while the D40 can take 470 images on a single charge of its EN-EL9 power pack.

The following table provides a synthesis of the main physical specifications of the two cameras and other similar ones. 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 SX530 120 mm 82 mm 92 mm 442 g 210 n Jan 2015 429i
2.
 
Nikon D40 124 mm 94 mm 64 mm 522 g 470 n Nov 2006 499i
3.
 
Canon T6 129 mm 101 mm 78 mm 485 g 500 n Mar 2016 449i
4.
 
Canon SX540 120 mm 82 mm 92 mm 442 g 205 n Jan 2016 399 i
5.
 
Canon SX720 110 mm 64 mm 36 mm 270 g 250 n Feb 2016 379i
6.
 
Canon SX520 120 mm 82 mm 92 mm 441 g 210 n Jul 2014 399i
7.
 
Canon SX700 113 mm 66 mm 35 mm 269 g 250 n Feb 2014 349i
8.
 
Canon SX60 128 mm 93 mm 114 mm 650 g 340 n Sep 2014 549i
9.
 
Canon T5 130 mm 100 mm 78 mm 480 g 500 n Feb 2014 449i
10.
 
Nikon D3400 124 mm 98 mm 76 mm 445 g 1200 n Aug 2016 499i
11.
 
Nikon L840 113 mm 78 mm 96 mm 538 g 590 n Feb 2015 299i
12.
 
Nikon D3300 124 mm 98 mm 76 mm 430 g 700 n Jan 2014 499i
13.
 
Nikon D3100 124 mm 96 mm 75 mm 505 g 550 n Aug 2010 599i
14.
 
Nikon D40X 124 mm 94 mm 64 mm 522 g 520 n Mar 2007 729i
15.
 
Nikon D50 133 mm 102 mm 76 mm 620 g 400 n Apr 2005 749i
16.
 
Panasonic FZ100 124 mm 82 mm 92 mm 540 g 410 n Jul 2010 499i
17.
 
Sony HX90V 102 mm 58 mm 36 mm 245 g 360 n Apr 2015 429 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 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 SX530 was launched at a lower price than the D40, 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. Then, after the new model is out, very good deals can frequently be found on the pre-owned market.

Sensor comparison

The imaging sensor is at the core of digital cameras and its size is one of the main determining factors 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. 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 are more costly to manufacture and tend to lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.

Of the two cameras under consideration, the Canon SX530 features a 1/2.3-inch sensor and the Nikon D40 an APS-C sensor. The sensor area in the D40 is 1221 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 5.6 and 1.5. The sensor in the SX530 has a native 4:3 aspect ratio, while the one in the D40 offers a 3:2 aspect.

Canon SX530 and Nikon D40 sensor measures

Despite having a smaller sensor, the Canon SX530 offers a higher resolution of 15.9 megapixels, compared with 6 MP of the Nikon D40. 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 7.85μm for the D40). However, it should be noted that the SX530 is much more recent (by 8 years and 1 month) than the D40, 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 SX530 has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.

The resolution advantage of the Canon SX530 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the SX530 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 Nikon D40 are 15 x 10 inches or 38.2 x 25.4 cm for good quality, 12 x 8 inches or 30.6 x 20.3 cm for very good quality, and 10 x 6.7 inches or 25.5 x 16.9 cm for excellent quality prints.

The Canon PowerShot SX530 HS has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 3200. The corresponding ISO settings for the Nikon D40 are ISO 200 to ISO 1600, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 200-3200.

SX530 versus D40 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 table below summarizes the physical sensor characteristics and sensor quality findings and compares them across a set of similar 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 SX530 1/2.3 15.9 4608 34561080/30p20.211.671247
2.
 
Nikon D40 APS-C 6.0 3008 2000none21.011.056156
3.
 
Canon T6 APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p23.612.9149779
4.
 
Canon SX540 1/2.3 20.2 5184 38881080/60p20.311.780648
5.
 
Canon SX720 1/2.3 20.2 5184 38881080/60p20.311.881748
6.
 
Canon SX520 1/2.3 15.9 4608 34561080/30p20.111.567246
7.
 
Canon SX700 1/2.3 15.9 4608 34561080/60p20.111.462945
8.
 
Canon SX60 1/2.3 14.2 4608 30721080/60p19.210.812739
9.
 
Canon T5 APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p21.911.372463
10.
 
Nikon D3400 APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.813.9119286
11.
 
Nikon L840 1/2.3 15.9 4608 34561080/60i20.211.672147
12.
 
Nikon D3300 APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.312.8138582
13.
 
Nikon D3100 APS-C 14.2 4608 30721080/24p22.511.391967
14.
 
Nikon D40X APS-C 10.0 3872 2592none22.411.451663
15.
 
Nikon D50 APS-C 6.0 3008 2000none20.910.856055
16.
 
Panasonic FZ100 1/2.3 14.0 4320 32401080/60i19.410.730639
17.
 
Sony HX90V 1/2.3 18.0 4896 36721080/60p20.211.673847
Note: DXO values in italics represent estimates based on sensor size and age.

Many modern cameras cannot only take still pictures, but also record videos. The SX530 indeed provides movie recording capabilities, while the D40 does not. The highest resolution format that the SX530 can use is 1080/30p.

Feature comparison

Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the D40 has an optical viewfinder, which can be very useful when shooting in bright sunlight. In contrast, the SX530 relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. The table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Canon SX530 and Nikon D40 in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras.

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Core Features
    Camera
Model
Viewfinder
(Type or
000 dots)
Control
Panel
(yes/no)
LCD
Specifications
(inch/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 SX530none n3.0 / 461 fixed n 1/2000s 1.6 Y Y
2.
 
Nikon D40optical n2.5 / 230 fixed n 1/4000s 2.5 Y n
3.
 
Canon T6optical n3.0 / 920 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
4.
 
Canon SX540none n3.0 / 461 fixed n 1/2000s 5.9 Y Y
5.
 
Canon SX720none n3.0 / 922 fixed n 1/3200s 5.9 Y Y
6.
 
Canon SX520none n3.0 / 461 fixed n 1/2000s 1.6 Y Y
7.
 
Canon SX700none n3.0 / 922 fixed n 1/3200s 8.5 Y Y
8.
 
Canon SX60922 n3.0 / 922 swivel n 1/2000s 6.4 Y Y
9.
 
Canon T5optical n3.0 / 460 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
10.
 
Nikon D3400optical n3.0 / 921 fixed n 1/4000s 5.0 Y n
11.
 
Nikon L840none n3.0 / 921 tilting n 1/4000s 7.4 Y Y
12.
 
Nikon D3300optical n3.0 / 921 fixed n 1/4000s 5.0 Y n
13.
 
Nikon D3100optical n3.0 / 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
14.
 
Nikon D40Xoptical n2.5 / 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
15.
 
Nikon D50optical n2.0 / 130 fixed n 1/4000s 2.5 Y n
16.
 
Panasonic FZ100202 n3.0 / 460 swivel n 1/2000s 11.0 Y Y
17.
 
Sony HX90V638 n3.0 / 921 tilting n 1/2000s 10.0 Y Y

The SX530 writes its imaging data to SDXC cards, while the D40 uses SDHC cards.

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 SX530 HS and Nikon D40 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
Mic / Speaker
Microphone
Port
Headphone
Port
HDMI
Port
USB
Port
WiFi
Support
NFC
Support
Bluetooth
Support
1.
 
Canon SX530-stereo / mono--mini2.0YY-
2.
 
Nikon D40Y- / ----2.0---
3.
 
Canon T6Ymono / mono--mini2.0YY-
4.
 
Canon SX540-stereo / mono--mini2.0YY-
5.
 
Canon SX720-stereo / mono--micro2.0YY-
6.
 
Canon SX520-stereo / mono--mini2.0---
7.
 
Canon SX700-stereo / mono--micro2.0YY-
8.
 
Canon SX60Ystereo / monoY-mini2.0YY-
9.
 
Canon T5Ymono / mono--mini2.0---
10.
 
Nikon D3400Ymono / mono--mini2.0--Y
11.
 
Nikon L840-stereo / mono--micro2.0YY-
12.
 
Nikon D3300Ymono / monoY-mini2.0---
13.
 
Nikon D3100Ymono / mono--mini2.0---
14.
 
Nikon D40XY- / ----2.0---
15.
 
Nikon D50Y- / ----2.0---
16.
 
Panasonic FZ100Ystereo / mono--mini2.0---
17.
 
Sony HX90V-stereo / mono--micro2.0YY-

It is notable that the SX530 offers wifi support, while the D40 does not. Wifi can be a very convenient means to transfer image data to an off-camera location.

Both the SX530 and the D40 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The D40 was replaced by the Nikon D40X, while the SX530 was followed by the Canon SX540. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Canon and Nikon websites.

Review summary

So how do things add up? Is the Canon SX530 better than the Nikon D40 or vice versa? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.

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Reasons to prefer the Canon PowerShot SX530 HS:

  • More detail: Offers more megapixels (15.9 vs 6MP) with a 59% 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.
  • 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 (461k vs 230k dots).
  • Ready to shoot: Comes with a built-in lens, while the D40 requires a separate lens.
  • More compact: Is smaller (120x82mm vs 124x94mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
  • Less heavy: Is lighter even though it comes with a built-in lens (unlike the D40).
  • 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 8 years and 1 month of technical progress since the D40 launch.

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Advantages of the Nikon D40:

  • 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 optical viewfinder for image composition and settings control.
  • Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/4000s vs 1/2000s) to freeze action.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (2.5 vs 1.6 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 (470 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 November 2006).

If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the SX530 comes out slightly ahead of the D40 (13 : 12 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 sports photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a street photog, and a person interested in family portraits has distinct needs from a landscape shooter. Hence, the decision which camera is best and worth buying is often a very personal one.

SX530 13:12 D40

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Canon SX530 and the Nikon D40 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 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 SX530 or the D40 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 table below provides a synthesis of the camera assessments of some of the best known photo-gear review sites (amateurphotographer [AP], cameralabs [CL], digitalcameraworld [DCW], 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 
 DCW 
 score 
 DPR 
 score 
 EPZ 
 score 
 PB 
 score 
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
1.
 
Canon SX530..+ +....4/54/5 Jan 2015 429i
2.
 
Nikon D40..81/100..+ +o4.5/5 Nov 2006 499i
3.
 
Canon T64/5o4/573/1004/54/5 Mar 2016 449i
4.
 
Canon SX540............ Jan 2016 399 i
5.
 
Canon SX720..+....4/54.5/5 Feb 2016 379i
6.
 
Canon SX520..+....3.5/53.5/5 Jul 2014 399i
7.
 
Canon SX700..+ +....4/54/5 Feb 2014 349i
8.
 
Canon SX603/5+ +..75/1004/54.5/5 Sep 2014 549i
9.
 
Canon T53/5+....4/54.5/5 Feb 2014 449i
10.
 
Nikon D34004/5+4/576/1004/54.5/5 Aug 2016 499i
11.
 
Nikon L840..+ +....3.5/54/5 Feb 2015 299i
12.
 
Nikon D33003/5+..77/1004.5/54.5/5 Jan 2014 499i
13.
 
Nikon D31005/5+ +..72/1004.5/54.5/5 Aug 2010 599i
14.
 
Nikon D40X..79/100..+ +4/54/5 Mar 2007 729i
15.
 
Nikon D50..78/100..+ +4/54.5/5 Apr 2005 749i
16.
 
Panasonic FZ100..+....4.5/54.5/5 Jul 2010 499i
17.
 
Sony HX90V4/5+ +....4/54.5/5 Apr 2015 429 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. Hence, a score should always be seen in the context of the camera's market launch date and its price, 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 SX530:
Check Ebay offers
Nikon D40:
Check Ebay offers

Other camera comparisons

Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? If you would like to see a different side-by-side camera review, just make a corresponding selection in the search boxes below. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting.

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    Specifications: Canon SX530 vs Nikon D40

    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 SX530 Nikon D40
    Camera Type Fixed lens compact camera Digital single lens reflex
    Camera Lens 24-1200mm f/3.4-6.5 Nikon F mount lenses
    Launch Date January 2015 November 2006
    Launch Price USD 429 USD 499
    Sensor Specs Canon SX530 Nikon D40
    Sensor Technology BSI-CMOS CCD
    Sensor Format 1/2.3" Sensor APS-C Sensor
    Sensor Size 6.17 x 4.55 mm 23.7 x 15.6 mm
    Sensor Area 28.0735 mm2 369.72 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 7.7 mm 28.4 mm
    Crop Factor 5.6x 1.5x
    Sensor Resolution 15.9 Megapixels 6 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 4608 x 3456 pixels 3008 x 2000 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 1.33 μm 7.85 μm
    Pixel Density 56.73 MP/cm2 1.63 MP/cm2
    Moiré control no AA filter Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability 1080/30p Video no Video
    ISO Setting 100 - 3,200 ISO 200 - 1,600 ISO
    ISO Boost no Enhancement 200 - 3,200 ISO
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) .. 56
    DXO Color Depth (bits) .. 21.0
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) .. 11.0
    DXO Low Light (ISO) .. 561
    Screen Specs Canon SX530 Nikon D40
    Viewfinder Type no viewfinder Optical viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 95%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.53x
    LCD Framing Live View
    Rear LCD Size 3.0inch 2.5inch
    LCD Resolution 461k dots 230k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen Fixed screen
    Shooting Specs Canon SX530 Nikon D40
    Focus System Contrast-detect AF Phase-detect AF
    Continuous Shooting 1.6 shutter flaps/s 2.5 shutter flaps/s
    Fill Flash Built-in Flash Built-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 SX530 Nikon D40
    External Flash no Hotshoe Hotshoe
    USB Connector USB 2.0 USB 2.0
    HDMI Port mini HDMI no HDMI
    Wifi Support Wifi built-in no Wifi
    Near-Field Communication NFC built-in no NFC
    Body Specs Canon SX530 Nikon D40
    Battery Type NB-6LH EN-EL9
    Battery Life (CIPA)210 shots per charge470 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 120 x 82 x 92 mm
    (4.7 x 3.2 x 3.6 in)
    124 x 94 x 64 mm
    (4.9 x 3.7 x 2.5 in)
    Camera Weight 442 g (15.6 oz) 522 g (18.4 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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