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Canon SX540 vs Panasonic FT7

The Canon PowerShot SX540 HS and the Panasonic Lumix DC-FT7 (labelled Panasonic TS7 in some countries) are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in January 2016 and May 2018. Both the SX540 and the FT7 are fixed lens compact cameras that are equipped with a 1/2.3-inch sensor. Both cameras offer a resolution of 20.2 megapixels.

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

Headline Specifications
Canon SX540
versus
Panasonic FT7
Canon SX540   Panasonic FT7
Fixed lens compact camera Fixed lens compact camera
24-1200mm f/3.4-6.5 28-128mm f/3.3-5.9
20.2 MP – 1/2.3" sensor 20.2 MP – 1/2.3" sensor
1080/60p Video 4K/30p Video
ISO 80-3,200 ISO 80-3,200 (80 - 6,400)
No viewfinder, LCD framing Electronic viewfinder (1170k dots)
3.0" LCD – 461k dots 3.0" LCD – 1040k dots
Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive) Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)
5.9 shutter flaps per second 10 shutter flaps per second
not weather sealedWaterproof body (31m)
205 shots per battery charge300 shots per battery charge
120 x 82 x 92 mm, 442 g 117 x 76 x 37 mm, 319 g
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Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Canon PowerShot SX540 HS and the Panasonic Lumix DC-FT7? 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 SX540 and the Panasonic FT7 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 dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

The FT7 can be obtained in three different colors (black, blue, orange), while the SX540 is only available in black.

Size Canon SX540 vs Panasonic FT7
Compare SX540 versus FT7 top
Comparison SX540 or FT7 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Panasonic FT7 is notably smaller (10 percent) than the Canon SX540. Moreover, the FT7 is markedly lighter (28 percent) than the SX540. It is noteworthy in this context that the FT7 is splash and dust-proof, while the SX540 does not feature any corresponding weather-sealing. More than that, the FT7 is water-proof up to 31m and can, thus, be used for underwater photography.

Concerning battery life, the SX540 gets 205 shots out of its NB-6LH battery, while the FT7 can take 300 images on a single charge of its DMW-BCM13 power pack. The power pack in the FT7 can be charged via the USB port, which can be very convenient when travelling.

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 SX540 120 mm 82 mm 92 mm 442 g 205 n Jan 2016 399ebay.com
2.
 
Panasonic FT7 117 mm 76 mm 37 mm 319 g 300 Y May 2018 449ebay.com
3.
 
Canon SX740 110 mm 64 mm 40 mm 299 g 265 n Jul 2018 399 amazon.com
4.
 
Canon SX730 110 mm 64 mm 40 mm 300 g 250 n Apr 2017 399ebay.com
5.
 
Canon T6 129 mm 101 mm 78 mm 485 g 500 n Mar 2016 449ebay.com
6.
 
Canon SX420 104 mm 69 mm 85 mm 325 g 195 n Jan 2016 299ebay.com
7.
 
Canon SX720 110 mm 64 mm 36 mm 270 g 250 n Feb 2016 379ebay.com
8.
 
Canon SX410 104 mm 69 mm 85 mm 325 g 185 n Feb 2015 279ebay.com
9.
 
Canon SX530 120 mm 82 mm 92 mm 442 g 210 n Jan 2015 429ebay.com
10.
 
Canon SX710 113 mm 66 mm 35 mm 269 g 230 n Jan 2015 349ebay.com
11.
 
Fujifilm XF10 113 mm 64 mm 41 mm 279 g 330 n Jul 2018 499ebay.com
12.
 
Panasonic TZ95 112 mm 69 mm 42 mm 327 g 380 n Feb 2019 449 amazon.com
13.
 
Panasonic TZ90 112 mm 67 mm 41 mm 322 g 380 n Apr 2017 449ebay.com
14.
 
Panasonic ZS70 112 mm 67 mm 41 mm 322 g 380 n Apr 2017 449ebay.com
15.
 
Panasonic FZ80 130 mm 94 mm 119 mm 616 g 330 n Jan 2017 399 amazon.com
Note: 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 manufacturer’s suggested retail prices give an idea on the placement of the camera in the maker’s lineup and the broader market. The SX540 was launched at a somewhat lower price (by 11 percent) than the FT7, which makes it more attractive for photographers on a tight budget. 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.

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. 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 more expensive and lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.

Both cameras under consideration feature a 1/2.3-inch sensor and have a format factor (sometimes also referred to as "crop factor") of 5.6. Within the spectrum of camera sensors, this places the review cameras among the smaller-sensor digicams that favor affordability and compact design. Both cameras feature a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 4:3.

Canon SX540 and Panasonic FT7 sensor measures

The two cameras under review do not only share the same sensor size, but also offer an identical resolution of 20.2 megapixels. This similarity in sensor specs implies that both the SX540 and the FT7 have the same pixel density, as well as the same pixel size. It should, however, be noted that the FT7 is much more recent (by 2 years and 4 months) than the SX540, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time. Coming back to sensor resolution, it should be mentioned that the SX540 has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.

The Canon PowerShot SX540 HS has a native sensitivity range from ISO 80 to ISO 3200. The corresponding ISO settings for the Panasonic Lumix DC-FT7 are ISO 80 to ISO 3200, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 80-6400.

Technology-wise, both cameras are equipped with BSI-CMOS (Backside Illuminated Complementary Metal–Oxide–Semiconductor) sensors. Both cameras use a Bayer filter for capturing RGB colors on a square grid of photosensors. This arrangement is found in most digital cameras.

SX540 versus FT7 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
1.
 
Canon SX540 1/2.3 20.2 5184 38881080/60p20.311.780648
2.
 
Panasonic FT7 1/2.3 20.2 5184 38884K/30p20.612.1102851
3.
 
Canon SX740 1/2.3 20.2 5184 38884K/30p20.612.1105051
4.
 
Canon SX730 1/2.3 20.2 5184 38881080/60p20.511.992450
5.
 
Canon T6 APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p23.612.9149779
6.
 
Canon SX420 1/2.3 19.9 5152 3864720/25p20.311.780648
7.
 
Canon SX720 1/2.3 20.2 5184 38881080/60p20.311.881748
8.
 
Canon SX410 1/2.3 19.9 5152 3864720/30p20.211.672047
9.
 
Canon SX530 1/2.3 15.9 4608 34561080/30p20.211.671247
10.
 
Canon SX710 1/2.3 20.2 5184 38881080/60p20.211.671247
11.
 
Fujifilm XF10 APS-C 24.0 6000 40004K/15p24.013.4184483
12.
 
Panasonic TZ95 1/2.3 20.2 5184 38884K/30p20.712.2110352
13.
 
Panasonic TZ90 1/2.3 20.2 5184 38884K/30p19.110.610636
14.
 
Panasonic ZS70 1/2.3 20.2 5184 38884K/30p19.110.610636
15.
 
Panasonic FZ80 1/2.3 18.0 4896 36724K/30p20.511.990049
Note: DXO values in italics represent estimates based on sensor size and age.

Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. The two cameras under consideration both have sensors whose read-out speed is fast enough to capture moving pictures, but the FT7 provides a better video resolution than the SX540. It can shoot movie footage at 4K/30p, while the Canon is limited to 1080/60p.

Feature comparison

Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the FT7 has an electronic viewfinder (1170k dots), which can be very helpful when shooting in bright sunlight. In contrast, the SX540 relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. The adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Canon SX540 and Panasonic FT7 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
Specifications
(inch/000 dots)
LCD
Attach-
ment
Touch
Screen
(yes/no)
Max
Shutter
Speed *
Max
Shutter
Flaps *
Built-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Built-in
Image
Stab
1.
 
Canon SX540none n3.0 / 461 fixed n 1/2000s 5.9/s Y Y
2.
 
Panasonic FT71170 n3.0 / 1040 fixed n 1/1300s 10.0/s Y Y
3.
 
Canon SX740none n3.0 / 922 tilting n 1/3200s 10.0/s Y Y
4.
 
Canon SX730none n3.0 / 922 tilting n 1/3200s 5.9/s Y Y
5.
 
Canon T6optical n3.0 / 920 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0/s Y n
6.
 
Canon SX420none n3.0 / 230 fixed n 1/4000s 0.5/s Y Y
7.
 
Canon SX720none n3.0 / 922 fixed n 1/3200s 5.9/s Y Y
8.
 
Canon SX410none n3.0 / 230 fixed n 1/4000s 0.5/s Y Y
9.
 
Canon SX530none n3.0 / 461 fixed n 1/2000s 1.6/s Y Y
10.
 
Canon SX710none n3.0 / 922 fixed n 1/3200s 6.0/s Y Y
11.
 
Fujifilm XF10none n3.0 / 1040 fixed Y 1/4000s 6.0/s Y n
12.
 
Panasonic TZ952330 n3.0 / 1040 tilting Y 1/2000s 10.0/s Y Y
13.
 
Panasonic TZ901166 n3.0 / 1040 tilting Y 1/2000s 10.0/s Y Y
14.
 
Panasonic ZS701166 n3.0 / 1040 tilting Y 1/2000s 10.0/s Y Y
15.
 
Panasonic FZ801166 n3.0 / 1040 fixed Y 1/2000s 10.0/s Y Y
Notes: *) Information refers to the mechanical shutter, unless the camera only has an electronic one.

The reported shutter speed information refers to the use of the mechanical shutter. Yet, some cameras only have an electronic shutter, while others have an electronic shutter in addition to a mechanical one. In fact, the FT7 is one of those camera that have an additional electronic shutter, which makes completely silent shooting possible. However, this mode is less suitable for photographing moving objects (risk of rolling shutter) or shooting under artificial light sources (risk of flickering).

Both the SX540 and the FT7 have zoom lenses built in. The SX540 has a 24-1200mm f/3.4-6.5 optic and the FT7 offers a 28-128mm f/3.3-5.9 (focal lengths in full frame equivalent terms). Hence, the Canon provides a wider angle of view at the short end, as well as more tele-photo reach at the long end than the Panasonic. The FT7 offers the faster maximum aperture.

Concerning the storage of imaging data, both the SX540 and the FT7 write their files to SDXC cards. Both cameras can use UHS-I cards, which provide for Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 104 MB/s.

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 SX540 HS and Panasonic Lumix DC-FT7 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 SX540-stereo / mono--mini2.0YY-
2.
 
Panasonic FT7-stereo / mono--micro2.0Y--
3.
 
Canon SX740-stereo / mono--micro2.0Y-Y
4.
 
Canon SX730-stereo / mono--micro2.0YYY
5.
 
Canon T6Ymono / mono--mini2.0YY-
6.
 
Canon SX420-mono / mono---2.0YY-
7.
 
Canon SX720-stereo / mono--micro2.0YY-
8.
 
Canon SX410-stereo / mono---2.0---
9.
 
Canon SX530-stereo / mono--mini2.0YY-
10.
 
Canon SX710-stereo / mono--micro2.0YY-
11.
 
Fujifilm XF10-stereo / monoY-micro2.0Y-Y
12.
 
Panasonic TZ95-stereo / mono--micro2.0Y-Y
13.
 
Panasonic TZ90-stereo / mono--micro2.0Y--
14.
 
Panasonic ZS70-stereo / mono--micro2.0Y--
15.
 
Panasonic FZ80Ystereo / mono--micro2.0Y--

Both the SX540 and the FT7 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on ebay. Neither of the two has a direct successor, so they represent the end of the respective camera lines from Canon and Panasonic. 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.

Review summary

So what is the bottom line? Which of the two cameras – the Canon SX540 or the Panasonic FT7 – 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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Advantages of the Canon PowerShot SX540 HS:

  • Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
  • Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/2000s vs 1/1300s) to freeze action.
  • Wider view: Has a wider-angle lens that facilitates landscape or interior shots.
  • More tele-reach: Has a longer tele-lens for perspective compression and subject magnification.
  • Easier device pairing: Supports NFC for fast wireless image transfer over short distances.
  • More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced segment (11 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in January 2016).

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Arguments in favor of the Panasonic Lumix DC-FT7:

  • Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
  • Better video: Provides higher definition movie capture (4K/30p vs 1080/60p).
  • Easier framing: Has an electronic viewfinder for image composition and settings control.
  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1040k vs 461k dots).
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (10 vs 5.9 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • Less disturbing: Has an electronic shutter option for completely silent shooting.
  • Better light gathering: Has a lens with a wider maximum aperture (f/3.3 vs f/3.4).
  • Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 123g or 28 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
  • Longer lasting: Gets more shots (300 versus 205) out of a single battery charge.
  • Easier travel charging: Can be conveniently charged via its USB port.
  • Better sealing: Is splash and dust sealed for shooting in inclement weather conditions.
  • Water-proof: Is rugged and sealed and can thus be used for underwater photography (up to 31m).
  • More modern: Reflects 2 years and 4 months of technical progress since the SX540 launch.

If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the FT7 is the clear winner of the contest (13 : 7 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 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.

SX540 07:13 FT7

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Canon SX540 and the Panasonic FT7 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Superzoom 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 SX540 or the FT7. 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 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 SX540............ Jan 2016 399ebay.com
2.
 
Panasonic FT7..+....3.5/53.5/5 May 2018 449ebay.com
3.
 
Canon SX740..+3.5/5..4/54/5 Jul 2018 399 amazon.com
4.
 
Canon SX730..+....4/54/5 Apr 2017 399ebay.com
5.
 
Canon T64/5o4/573/1004/54/5 Mar 2016 449ebay.com
6.
 
Canon SX420..........3/5 Jan 2016 299ebay.com
7.
 
Canon SX720..+....4/54.5/5 Feb 2016 379ebay.com
8.
 
Canon SX410..o........ Feb 2015 279ebay.com
9.
 
Canon SX530..+ +....4/54/5 Jan 2015 429ebay.com
10.
 
Canon SX710..+....4/53.5/5 Jan 2015 349ebay.com
11.
 
Fujifilm XF10....4/575/1004/54.5/5 Jul 2018 499ebay.com
12.
 
Panasonic TZ95..+ +..4/54.5/5.. Feb 2019 449 amazon.com
13.
 
Panasonic TZ90..+ +..4/54/54/5 Apr 2017 449ebay.com
14.
 
Panasonic ZS70..+ +....4/54/5 Apr 2017 449ebay.com
15.
 
Panasonic FZ80..+ +....4.5/54.5/5 Jan 2017 399 amazon.com
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 rating-comparisons among cameras that span long time periods or concern very differently equipped models make little sense. Also, kindly note that some of the listed sites have over time developped their review approaches and their reporting style.

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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 a corresponding selection in the search boxes below. There is also a set of direct links to comparison reviews that other users of the CAM-parator app explored.

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    Specifications: Canon SX540 vs Panasonic FT7

    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 SX540 Panasonic FT7
    Camera Type Fixed lens compact camera Fixed lens compact camera
    Camera Lens 24-1200mm f/3.4-6.5 28-128mm f/3.3-5.9
    Launch Date January 2016 May 2018
    Launch Price USD 399 USD 449
    Sensor Specs Canon SX540 Panasonic FT7
    Sensor Technology BSI-CMOS BSI-CMOS
    Sensor Format 1/2.3" Sensor 1/2.3" Sensor
    Sensor Size 6.17 x 4.55 mm 6.17 x 4.55 mm
    Sensor Area 28.0735 mm2 28.0735 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 7.7 mm 7.7 mm
    Crop Factor 5.6x 5.6x
    Sensor Resolution 20.2 Megapixels 20.2 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 5184 x 3888 pixels 5184 x 3888 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 1.18 μm 1.18 μm
    Pixel Density 71.80 MP/cm2 71.80 MP/cm2
    Moiré control no AA filter Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability 1080/60p Video 4K/30p Video
    ISO Setting 80 - 3,200 ISO 80 - 3,200 ISO
    ISO Boost no Enhancement 80 - 6,400 ISO
    Image Processor DIGIC 6 Venus
    Screen Specs Canon SX540 Panasonic FT7
    Viewfinder Type no viewfinder Electronic viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 100%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.45x
    Viewfinder Resolution 1170k dots
    LCD Framing Live View Live View
    Rear LCD Size 3.0inch 3.0inch
    LCD Resolution 461k dots 1040k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen Fixed screen
    Shooting Specs Canon SX540 Panasonic FT7
    Focus System Contrast-detect AF Contrast-detect AF
    Continuous Shooting 5.9 shutter flaps/s 10 shutter flaps/s
    Electronic Shutterno E-Shutterup to 1/16000s
    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 UHS-I UHS-I
    Connectivity Specs Canon SX540 Panasonic FT7
    External Flash no Hotshoe no Hotshoe
    USB Connector USB 2.0 USB 2.0
    HDMI Port mini HDMI micro HDMI
    Wifi Support Wifi built-in Wifi built-in
    Near-Field Communication NFC built-in no NFC
    Body Specs Canon SX540 Panasonic FT7
    Environmental Sealingnot weather sealedWaterproof body (31m)
    Battery Type NB-6LH DMW-BCM13
    Battery Life (CIPA)205 shots per charge300 shots per charge
    In-Camera Charging no USB charging USB charging
    Body Dimensions 120 x 82 x 92 mm
    (4.7 x 3.2 x 3.6 in)
    117 x 76 x 37 mm
    (4.6 x 3.0 x 1.5 in)
    Camera Weight 442 g (15.6 oz) 319 g (11.3 oz)
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