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Canon SX610 vs Nikon D40

The Canon PowerShot SX610 HS and the Nikon D40 are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in January 2015 and November 2006. The SX610 is a fixed lens compact, while the D40 is a DSLR. The cameras are based on a 1/2.3-inch (SX610) and an APS-C (D40) sensor. The Canon has a resolution of 20.2 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 SX610
versus
Nikon D40
Canon SX610   Nikon D40
Fixed lens compact camera Digital single lens reflex
25-450mm f/3.8-6.9 Nikon F mount lenses
20.2 MP – 1/2.3" sensor 6 MP – APS-C sensor
1080/30p Video no Video
ISO 80-3,200 ISO 200-1,600 (200 - 3,200)
No viewfinder, LCD framing Optical viewfinder
3.0" LCD – 922k dots 3.0" LCD – 230k dots
Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive) Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)
2.5 shutter flaps per second 2.5 shutter flaps per second
270 shots per battery charge470 shots per battery charge
105 x 61 x 27 mm, 191 g 124 x 94 x 64 mm, 522 g
Canon SX610:
Check Ebay offers
Nikon D40:
Check Ebay offers

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Canon PowerShot SX610 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

An illustration of the physical size and weight of the Canon SX610 and the Nikon D40 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 size dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

The SX610 can be obtained in three different colors (black, red, white), while the D40 is only available in black.

Size Canon SX610 vs Nikon D40
Compare SX610 versus D40 top
Comparison SX610 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 considerably larger (82 percent) than the Canon SX610. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the SX610 nor the D40 are weather-sealed.

The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the SX610 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 SX610 gets 270 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 adjacent table lists the principal physical characteristics of the two cameras alongside a wider set of alternatives. 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
1.
 
Canon SX610 105 mm 61 mm 27 mm 191 g 270 n Jan 2015 249i
2.
 
Nikon D40 124 mm 94 mm 64 mm 522 g 470 n Nov 2006 499i
3.
 
Canon SX420 104 mm 69 mm 85 mm 325 g 195 n Jan 2016 299i
4.
 
Canon SX540 120 mm 82 mm 92 mm 442 g 205 n Jan 2016 399 i
5.
 
Canon SX620 97 mm 57 mm 28 mm 182 g 295 n May 2016 279 i
6.
 
Canon SX720 110 mm 64 mm 36 mm 270 g 250 n Feb 2016 379i
7.
 
Canon G9 X 98 mm 58 mm 31 mm 209 g 220 n Oct 2015 529i
8.
 
Canon SX410 104 mm 69 mm 85 mm 325 g 185 n Feb 2015 279i
9.
 
Canon SX710 113 mm 66 mm 35 mm 269 g 230 n Jan 2015 349i
10.
 
Canon SX600 104 mm 61 mm 26 mm 188 g 290 n Jan 2014 249i
11.
 
Canon SX400 104 mm 69 mm 80 mm 313 g 190 n Jul 2014 249i
12.
 
Nikon D3400 124 mm 98 mm 76 mm 445 g 1200 n Aug 2016 499i
13.
 
Nikon D3300 124 mm 98 mm 76 mm 430 g 700 n Jan 2014 499i
14.
 
Nikon D3100 124 mm 96 mm 75 mm 505 g 550 n Aug 2010 599i
15.
 
Nikon D40X 124 mm 94 mm 64 mm 522 g 520 n Mar 2007 729i
16.
 
Nikon D50 133 mm 102 mm 76 mm 620 g 400 n Apr 2005 749i
17.
 
Sony H300 128 mm 89 mm 92 mm 590 g 350 n Feb 2014 219 i
Note: 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 manufacturer’s suggested retail prices give an idea on the placement of the camera in the maker’s lineup and the broader market. The SX610 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.

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. 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 SX610 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 SX610 has a native 4:3 aspect ratio, while the one in the D40 offers a 3:2 aspect.

Canon SX610 and Nikon D40 sensor measures

Despite having a smaller sensor, the Canon SX610 offers a higher resolution of 20.2 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 1.18μm versus 7.85μm for the D40). However, it should be noted that the SX610 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 SX610 has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.

The resolution advantage of the Canon SX610 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the SX610 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 25.9 x 19.4 inches or 65.8 x 49.4 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 20.7 x 15.6 inches or 52.7 x 39.5 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 17.3 x 13 inches or 43.9 x 32.9 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 SX610 HS has a native sensitivity range from ISO 80 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.

SX610 versus D40 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 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 SX610 1/2.3 20.2 5184 38881080/30p20.211.671247
2.
 
Nikon D40 APS-C 6.0 3008 2000none21.011.056156
3.
 
Canon SX420 1/2.3 19.9 5152 3864720/25p20.311.780648
4.
 
Canon SX540 1/2.3 20.2 5184 38881080/60p20.311.780648
5.
 
Canon SX620 1/2.3 20.2 5184 38881080/30p20.411.883849
6.
 
Canon SX720 1/2.3 20.2 5184 38881080/60p20.311.881748
7.
 
Canon G9 X 1-inch 20.0 5472 36481080/60p21.512.349563
8.
 
Canon SX410 1/2.3 19.9 5152 3864720/30p20.211.672047
9.
 
Canon SX710 1/2.3 20.2 5184 38881080/60p20.211.671247
10.
 
Canon SX600 1/2.3 15.9 4608 34561080/30p20.011.462045
11.
 
Canon SX400 1/2.3 15.9 4608 3456720/30p20.111.567246
12.
 
Nikon D3400 APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.813.9119286
13.
 
Nikon D3300 APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.312.8138582
14.
 
Nikon D3100 APS-C 14.2 4608 30721080/24p22.511.391967
15.
 
Nikon D40X APS-C 10.0 3872 2592none22.411.451663
16.
 
Nikon D50 APS-C 6.0 3008 2000none20.910.856055
17.
 
Sony H300 1/2.3 19.9 5152 3864720/30p20.111.463045
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 SX610 indeed provides movie recording capabilities, while the D40 does not. The highest resolution format that the SX610 can use is 1080/30p.

Feature comparison

Apart from 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 SX610 relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. The table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Canon SX610 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)
Max
Shutter
Speed *
Max
Shutter
Flaps *
Built-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Built-in
Image
Stab
1.
 
Canon SX610none n3.0 / 922 fixed n 1/2000s 2.5/s Y Y
2.
 
Nikon D40optical n2.5 / 230 fixed n 1/4000s 2.5/s Y n
3.
 
Canon SX420none n3.0 / 230 fixed n 1/4000s 0.5/s Y Y
4.
 
Canon SX540none n3.0 / 461 fixed n 1/2000s 5.9/s Y Y
5.
 
Canon SX620none n3.0 / 922 fixed n 1/2000s 2.5/s Y Y
6.
 
Canon SX720none n3.0 / 922 fixed n 1/3200s 5.9/s Y Y
7.
 
Canon G9 Xnone n3.0 / 1040 fixed Y 1/2000s 6.0/s Y Y
8.
 
Canon SX410none n3.0 / 230 fixed n 1/4000s 0.5/s Y Y
9.
 
Canon SX710none n3.0 / 922 fixed n 1/3200s 6.0/s Y Y
10.
 
Canon SX600none n3.0 / 461 fixed n 1/2000s 3.9/s Y Y
11.
 
Canon SX400none n3.0 / 230 fixed n 1/1600s 0.8/s Y Y
12.
 
Nikon D3400optical n3.0 / 921 fixed n 1/4000s 5.0/s Y n
13.
 
Nikon D3300optical n3.0 / 921 fixed n 1/4000s 5.0/s Y n
14.
 
Nikon D3100optical n3.0 / 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0/s Y n
15.
 
Nikon D40Xoptical n2.5 / 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0/s Y n
16.
 
Nikon D50optical n2.0 / 130 fixed n 1/4000s 2.5/s Y n
17.
 
Sony H300none n3.0 / 460 fixed n 1/1500s 0.8/s Y Y
Notes: *) Information refers to the mechanical shutter, unless the camera only has an electronic one.

The SX610 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 SX610 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 SX610-- / ---micro2.0YY-
2.
 
Nikon D40Y- / ----2.0---
3.
 
Canon SX420-mono / mono---2.0YY-
4.
 
Canon SX540-stereo / mono--mini2.0YY-
5.
 
Canon SX620-mono / mono--micro2.0YY-
6.
 
Canon SX720-stereo / mono--micro2.0YY-
7.
 
Canon G9 X-stereo / mono--micro2.0YY-
8.
 
Canon SX410-stereo / mono---2.0---
9.
 
Canon SX710-stereo / mono--micro2.0YY-
10.
 
Canon SX600-mono / mono--micro2.0YY-
11.
 
Canon SX400-stereo / mono---2.0---
12.
 
Nikon D3400Ymono / mono--mini2.0--Y
13.
 
Nikon D3300Ymono / monoY-mini2.0---
14.
 
Nikon D3100Ymono / mono--mini2.0---
15.
 
Nikon D40XY- / ----2.0---
16.
 
Nikon D50Y- / ----2.0---
17.
 
Sony H300-mono / mono--micro2.0Y--

It is notable that the SX610 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 SX610 and the D40 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The D40 was replaced by the Nikon D40X, while the SX610 was followed by the Canon SX620. 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 what conclusions can be drawn? Which of the two cameras – the Canon SX610 or the Nikon D40 – has the upper hand? Is one clearly better than the other? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.

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Reasons to prefer the Canon PowerShot SX610 HS:

  • More detail: Offers more megapixels (20.2 vs 6MP) with a 79% 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 (922k vs 230k dots).
  • Ready to shoot: Comes with a built-in lens, while the D40 requires a separate lens.
  • More compact: Is smaller (105x61mm 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.
  • More flexible: Makes it possible to change lenses and thus to use specialty optics.
  • Longer lasting: Gets more shots (470 versus 270) 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 relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the SX610 emerges as the winner of the contest (13 : 11 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 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.

SX610 13:11 D40

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Canon SX610 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 partial and cannot reveal, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance when actually working with the SX610 or the D40. 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 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 SX610........4/54/5 Jan 2015 249i
2.
 
Nikon D40..81/100..+ +o4.5/5 Nov 2006 499i
3.
 
Canon SX420..........3/5 Jan 2016 299i
4.
 
Canon SX540............ Jan 2016 399 i
5.
 
Canon SX620..........4/5 May 2016 279 i
6.
 
Canon SX720..+....4/54.5/5 Feb 2016 379i
7.
 
Canon G9 X3.5/5+ +....4.5/54.5/5 Oct 2015 529i
8.
 
Canon SX410..o........ Feb 2015 279i
9.
 
Canon SX710..+....4/53.5/5 Jan 2015 349i
10.
 
Canon SX600..+....4/54/5 Jan 2014 249i
11.
 
Canon SX400..+........ Jul 2014 249i
12.
 
Nikon D34004/5+4/576/1004/54.5/5 Aug 2016 499i
13.
 
Nikon D33003/5+..77/1004.5/54.5/5 Jan 2014 499i
14.
 
Nikon D31005/5+ +..72/1004.5/54.5/5 Aug 2010 599i
15.
 
Nikon D40X..79/100..+ +4/54/5 Mar 2007 729i
16.
 
Nikon D50..78/100..+ +4/54.5/5 Apr 2005 749i
17.
 
Sony H300..+....4.5/54/5 Feb 2014 219 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. 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.

Canon SX610:
Check Ebay offers
Nikon D40:
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. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting.

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    Specifications: Canon SX610 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 SX610 Nikon D40
    Camera Type Fixed lens compact camera Digital single lens reflex
    Camera Lens 25-450mm f/3.8-6.9 Nikon F mount lenses
    Launch Date January 2015 November 2006
    Launch Price USD 249 USD 499
    Sensor Specs Canon SX610 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 20.2 Megapixels 6 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 5184 x 3888 pixels 3008 x 2000 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 1.18 μm 7.85 μm
    Pixel Density 71.80 MP/cm2 1.63 MP/cm2
    Moiré control no AA filter Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability 1080/30p Video no Video
    ISO Setting 80 - 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 SX610 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 922k dots 230k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen Fixed screen
    Shooting Specs Canon SX610 Nikon D40
    Focus System Contrast-detect AF Phase-detect AF
    Continuous Shooting 2.5 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 SX610 Nikon D40
    External Flash no Hotshoe Hotshoe
    USB Connector USB 2.0 USB 2.0
    HDMI Port micro HDMI no HDMI
    Wifi Support Wifi built-in no Wifi
    Near-Field Communication NFC built-in no NFC
    Body Specs Canon SX610 Nikon D40
    Battery Type NB-6LH EN-EL9
    Battery Life (CIPA)270 shots per charge470 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 105 x 61 x 27 mm
    (4.1 x 2.4 x 1.1 in)
    124 x 94 x 64 mm
    (4.9 x 3.7 x 2.5 in)
    Camera Weight 191 g (6.7 oz) 522 g (18.4 oz)
    Canon SX610:
    Check Ebay offers
    Nikon D40:
    Check Ebay offers

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