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Canon SX610 vs Sony HX99

The Canon PowerShot SX610 HS and the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX99 are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in January 2015 and August 2018. Both the SX610 and the HX99 are fixed lens compact cameras that are equipped with a 1/2.3-inch sensor. The Canon has a resolution of 20.2 megapixels, whereas the Sony provides 18 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 Sony HX99
Canon SX610 Sony HX99
Fixed lens compact camera Fixed lens compact camera
25-450mm f/3.8-6.9 24-720mm f/3.5-6.4
20.2 MP, 1/2.3" Sensor 18 MP, 1/2.3" Sensor
1080/30p Video 4K/30p Video
ISO 80-3,200 ISO 80-3,200 (80 - 6,400)
No viewfinder, LCD framing Electronic viewfinder (638k dots)
3.0 LCD, 922k dots 3.0 LCD, 922k dots
Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive) Tilting touchscreen
2.5 shutter flaps per second 10 shutter flaps per second
270 shots per battery charge370 shots per battery charge
105 x 61 x 27 mm, 191 g 102 x 58 x 36 mm, 242 g

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Canon PowerShot SX610 HS and the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX99? 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 SX610 and the Sony HX99 are illustrated 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 dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

The SX610 can be obtained in three different colors (black, red, white), while the HX99 is only available in black.

Size Canon SX610 vs Sony HX99
Compare SX610 versus HX99 top
Comparison SX610 or HX99 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Sony HX99 is notably smaller (8 percent) than the Canon SX610. However, the HX99 is markedly heavier (27 percent) than the SX610. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the SX610 nor the HX99 are weather-sealed.

Concerning battery life, the SX610 gets 270 shots out of its NB-6LH battery, while the HX99 can take 370 images on a single charge of its NP-BX1 power pack. The power pack in the HX99 can be charged via the USB port, which can be very convenient when travelling.

The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the two cameras alongside a broader set of comparators. 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 SX610 105 mm 61 mm 27 mm 191 g 270 n Jan 2015 249i
2.
 
Sony HX99 102 mm 58 mm 36 mm 242 g 370 n Aug 2018 449 i
3.
 
Canon G9 X Mark II 98 mm 58 mm 31 mm 206 g 235 n Jan 2017 529 i
4.
 
Canon G7 X Mark II 106 mm 61 mm 42 mm 319 g 265 n Feb 2016 699i
5.
 
Canon SX420 104 mm 69 mm 85 mm 325 g 195 n Jan 2016 299i
6.
 
Canon SX540 120 mm 82 mm 92 mm 442 g 205 n Jan 2016 399 i
7.
 
Canon SX620 97 mm 57 mm 28 mm 182 g 295 n May 2016 279 i
8.
 
Canon G5 X 112 mm 76 mm 44 mm 353 g 210 n Oct 2015 799i
9.
 
Canon G9 X 98 mm 58 mm 31 mm 209 g 220 n Oct 2015 529i
10.
 
Canon SX410 104 mm 69 mm 85 mm 325 g 185 n Feb 2015 279i
11.
 
Canon SX710 113 mm 66 mm 35 mm 269 g 230 n Jan 2015 349i
12.
 
Canon SX600 104 mm 61 mm 26 mm 188 g 290 n Jan 2014 249i
13.
 
Sony HX95 102 mm 58 mm 36 mm 242 g 370 n Aug 2018 429 i
14.
 
Sony WX800 102 mm 58 mm 36 mm 233 g 370 n Oct 2018 399 i
15.
 
Sony HX90V 102 mm 58 mm 36 mm 245 g 360 n Apr 2015 429 i
16.
 
Sony HX400V 130 mm 93 mm 103 mm 660 g 300 n Feb 2014 499 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 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 markedly lower price (by 45 percent) than the HX99, which puts it into a different market segment. 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 imaging sensor is a crucial determinant 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 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 SX610 and Sony HX99 sensor measures

While the two cameras under review share the same sensor size, the SX610 offers a higher resolution of 20.2 megapixels, compared with 18 MP of the HX99. This megapixels advantage translates into a 6 percent gain in linear resolution. On the other hand, these sensor specs imply that the SX610 has a higher pixel density and a smaller size of the individual pixel (with a pixel pitch of 1.18μm versus 1.25μm for the HX99). Moreover, it should be noted that the HX99 is much more recent (by 3 years and 7 months) than the SX610, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that further enhance the light gathering capacity of individual pixels. Coming back to sensor resolution, it should be mentioned that neither of the two cameras has an anti-alias filter installed, so they are able to capture all the detail the 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 Sony HX99 are 24.5 x 18.4 inches or 62.2 x 46.6 cm for good quality, 19.6 x 14.7 inches or 49.7 x 37.3 cm for very good quality, and 16.3 x 12.2 inches or 41.5 x 31.1 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 Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX99 are ISO 80 to ISO 3200, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 80-6400.

SX610 versus HX99 MP

Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for many cameras. 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 SX610 1/2.3 20.2 5184 38881080/30p........
2.
 
Sony HX99 1/2.3 18.0 4896 36724K/30p........
3.
 
Canon G9 X Mark II 1-inch 20.0 5472 36481080/60p21.912.552265
4.
 
Canon G7 X Mark II 1-inch 20.0 5472 36481080/60p........
5.
 
Canon SX420 1/2.3 19.9 5152 3864720/25p........
6.
 
Canon SX540 1/2.3 20.2 5184 38881080/60p........
7.
 
Canon SX620 1/2.3 20.2 5184 38881080/30p........
8.
 
Canon G5 X 1-inch 20.0 5472 36481080/60p........
9.
 
Canon G9 X 1-inch 20.0 5472 36481080/60p21.512.349563
10.
 
Canon SX410 1/2.3 19.9 5152 3864720/30p........
11.
 
Canon SX710 1/2.3 20.2 5184 38881080/60p........
12.
 
Canon SX600 1/2.3 15.9 4608 34561080/30p........
13.
 
Sony HX95 1/2.3 18.0 4896 36724K/30p........
14.
 
Sony WX800 1/2.3 18.0 4896 36724K/30p........
15.
 
Sony HX90V 1/2.3 18.0 4896 36721080/60p........
16.
 
Sony HX400V 1/2.3 20.2 5184 38881080/60p........

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 HX99 provides a better video resolution than the SX610. It can shoot movie footage at 4K/30p, while the Canon is limited to 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 HX99 has an electronic viewfinder (638k dots), which can be very helpful when shooting in bright sunlight. In contrast, the SX610 relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. The adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Canon SX610 and Sony HX99 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 SX610none n 3.0 922 fixed n 1/2000s 2.5 Y Y
2.
 
Sony HX99638 n 3.0 922 tilting Y 1/2000s 10.0 Y Y
3.
 
Canon G9 X Mark IInone n 3.0 1040 fixed Y 1/2000s 8.2 Y Y
4.
 
Canon G7 X Mark IInone n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 1/2000s 8.0 Y Y
5.
 
Canon SX420none n 3.0 230 fixed n 1/4000s 0.5 Y Y
6.
 
Canon SX540none n 3.0 461 fixed n 1/2000s 5.9 Y Y
7.
 
Canon SX620none n 3.0 922 fixed n 1/2000s 2.5 Y Y
8.
 
Canon G5 X2360 n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 1/2000s 5.9 Y Y
9.
 
Canon G9 Xnone n 3.0 1040 fixed Y 1/2000s 6.0 Y Y
10.
 
Canon SX410none n 3.0 230 fixed n 1/4000s 0.5 Y Y
11.
 
Canon SX710none n 3.0 922 fixed n 1/3200s 6.0 Y Y
12.
 
Canon SX600none n 3.0 461 fixed n 1/2000s 3.9 Y Y
13.
 
Sony HX95638 n 3.0 922 tilting n 1/2000s 10.0 Y Y
14.
 
Sony WX800none n 3.0 922 tilting Y 1/2000s 10.0 Y Y
15.
 
Sony HX90V638 n 3.0 921 tilting n 1/2000s 10.0 Y Y
16.
 
Sony HX400V210 n 3.0 921 tilting n 1/4000s 10.0 Y Y

One differentiating feature between the two cameras concerns the touch sensitivity of the rear screen. The HX99 has a touchscreen, while the SX610 has a conventional panel. Touch control can be particularly helpful, for example, for setting the focus point.

The HX99 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 SX610 does not have a selfie-screen.

Both the SX610 and the HX99 have zoom lenses built in. The SX610 has a 25-450mm f/3.8-6.9 optic and the HX99 offers a 24-720mm f/3.5-6.4 (focal lengths in full frame equivalent terms). Hence, the Sony provides a wider angle of view at the short end, as well as more tele-photo reach at the long end than the Canon. The HX99 offers the faster maximum aperture.

The SX610 writes its imaging data to SDXC cards, while the HX99 uses SDXC or Memory Stick PRO Duo cards. The HX99 supports UHS-I cards (Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 104 MB/s), while the SX610 cannot take advantage of Ultra High Speed SD 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 SX610 HS and Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX99 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 SX610-----micro2.0YY-
2.
 
Sony HX99-stereomono--micro2.0YYY
3.
 
Canon G9 X Mark II-stereomono--micro2.0YYY
4.
 
Canon G7 X Mark II-stereomono--micro2.0YY-
5.
 
Canon SX420-monomono---2.0YY-
6.
 
Canon SX540-stereomono--mini2.0YY-
7.
 
Canon SX620-monomono--micro2.0YY-
8.
 
Canon G5 XYstereomono--mini2.0YY-
9.
 
Canon G9 X-stereomono--micro2.0YY-
10.
 
Canon SX410-stereomono---2.0---
11.
 
Canon SX710-stereomono--micro2.0YY-
12.
 
Canon SX600-monomono--micro2.0YY-
13.
 
Sony HX95-stereomono--micro2.0YYY
14.
 
Sony WX800-stereomono--micro2.0YY-
15.
 
Sony HX90V-stereomono--micro2.0YY-
16.
 
Sony HX400VYstereomono--micro2.0YY-

The HX99 is a recent model that features in the current product line-up of Sony. In contrast, the SX610 has been discontinued (but can be found pre-owned on eBay). As a replacement in the same line of cameras, the SX610 was succeeded 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 Sony websites.

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Review summary

So what conclusions can be drawn? Is the Canon SX610 better than the Sony HX99 or vice versa? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.

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Advantages of the Canon PowerShot SX610 HS:

  • More detail: Offers more megapixels (20.2 vs 18MP) with a 6% higher linear resolution.
  • Less heavy: Is lighter (by 51g or 21 percent) and hence easier to carry around.
  • More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (45 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in January 2015).

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Arguments in favor of the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX99:

  • Better video: Provides higher definition movie capture (4K/30p vs 1080/30p).
  • Easier framing: Has an electronic viewfinder for image composition and settings control.
  • More flexible LCD: Has a tilting screen for odd-angle shots in landscape orientation.
  • Fewer buttons to press: Has a touchscreen to facilitate handling and shooting adjustments.
  • More selfie-friendly: Has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (10 vs 2.5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • Better light gathering: Has a lens with a wider maximum aperture (f/3.5 vs f/3.8).
  • 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.
  • Longer lasting: Gets more shots (370 versus 270) out of a single battery charge.
  • Easier travel charging: Can be conveniently charged via its USB port.
  • Easier wireless transfer: Supports Bluetooth for image sharing without cables.
  • Faster buffer clearing: Has an SD card interface that supports the UHS-I standard.
  • More modern: Reflects 3 years and 7 months of technical progress since the SX610 launch.

If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the HX99 is the clear winner of the contest (14 : 4 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 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.

SX610 04:14 HX99

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Canon SX610 and the Sony HX99 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Superzoom Camera listing 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 SX610 or the HX99 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 following table reports the overall ratings of the cameras as published by some of the major 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 SX610......4/54/5 Jan 2015 249i
2.
 
Sony HX99......4/54.5/5 Aug 2018 449 i
3.
 
Canon G9 X Mark II4/5..75/1004.5/54.5/5 Jan 2017 529 i
4.
 
Canon G7 X Mark II4.5/5+ +81/1004.5/54.5/5 Feb 2016 699i
5.
 
Canon SX420........3/5 Jan 2016 299i
6.
 
Canon SX540.......... Jan 2016 399 i
7.
 
Canon SX620........4/5 May 2016 279 i
8.
 
Canon G5 X5/5+ +78/1004.5/54.5/5 Oct 2015 799i
9.
 
Canon G9 X3.5/5+ +..4.5/54.5/5 Oct 2015 529i
10.
 
Canon SX410..o...... Feb 2015 279i
11.
 
Canon SX710..+..4/53.5/5 Jan 2015 349i
12.
 
Canon SX600..+..4/54/5 Jan 2014 249i
13.
 
Sony HX95.......... Aug 2018 429 i
14.
 
Sony WX800.......... Oct 2018 399 i
15.
 
Sony HX90V4/5+ +..4/54.5/5 Apr 2015 429 i
16.
 
Sony HX400V4/5+ +..4/54/5 Feb 2014 499 i
Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.

The above review scores should be interpreted with care, though. The ratings were established in reference to similarly priced cameras that were available in the market at the time of the review. 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. It should also be noted that some of the review sites have over time altered the way they render their verdicts.

Canon SX610:
Check Ebay offers
Sony HX99:
Check Amazon price

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 SX610 vs Sony HX99

    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 Sony HX99
    Camera Type Fixed lens compact camera Fixed lens compact camera
    Camera Lens 25-450mm f/3.8-6.9 24-720mm f/3.5-6.4
    Launch Date January 2015 August 2018
    Launch Price USD 249 USD 449
    Sensor Specs Canon SX610 Sony HX99
    Sensor Technology BSI-CMOS 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 18 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 5184 x 3888 pixels 4896 x 3672 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 1.18 μm 1.25 μm
    Pixel Density 71.80 MP/cm2 64.04 MP/cm2
    Moiré control no AA filter no AA filter
    Movie Capability 1080/30p 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 4+ BIONZ X
    Screen Specs Canon SX610 Sony HX99
    Viewfinder Type no viewfinder Electronic viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 100%
    Viewfinder Magnification
    Viewfinder Resolution 638k dots
    LCD Framing Live View Live View
    Rear LCD Size 3.0inch 3.0inch
    LCD Resolution 922k dots 922k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen Tilting screen
    Touch Input no Touchscreen Touchscreen
    Shooting Specs Canon SX610 Sony HX99
    Focus System Contrast-detect AF Contrast-detect AF
    Continuous Shooting 2.5 shutter flaps/s 10 shutter flaps/s
    Fill Flash Build-in Flash Build-in Flash
    Storage Medium SDXC cards MS or SDXC cards
    Second Storage Option Single card slot Single card slot
    UHS card support no UHS-I
    Connectivity Specs Canon SX610 Sony HX99
    External Flash no Hotshoe no Hotshoe
    USB Connector USB 2.0 USB 2.0
    HDMI Port micro HDMI micro HDMI
    Wifi Support Wifi built-in Wifi built-in
    Near-Field Communication NFC built-in NFC built-in
    Bluetooth Support no Bluetooth Bluetooth built-in
    Body Specs Canon SX610 Sony HX99
    Battery Type NB-6LH NP-BX1
    Battery Life (CIPA)270 shots per charge370 shots per charge
    In-Camera Charging no USB charging USB charging
    Body Dimensions 105 x 61 x 27 mm
    (4.1 x 2.4 x 1.1 in)
    102 x 58 x 36 mm
    (4.0 x 2.3 x 1.4 in)
    Camera Weight 191 g (6.7 oz) 242 g (8.5 oz)

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