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Canon SX620 vs Nikon D90

The Canon PowerShot SX620 HS and the Nikon D90 are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in May 2016 and August 2008. The SX620 is a fixed lens compact, while the D90 is a DSLR. The cameras are based on a 1/2.3-inch (SX620) and an APS-C (D90) sensor. The Canon has a resolution of 20.2 megapixels, whereas the Nikon provides 12.2 MP.

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

Headline Specifications
Canon SX620 versus Nikon D90
Canon SX620 Nikon D90
Fixed lens compact camera Digital single lens reflex
25-625mm f/3.2-6.6 Nikon F mount lenses
20.2 MP, 1/2.3" Sensor 12.2 MP, APS-C Sensor
1080/30p Video 720/24p Video
ISO 80-3,200 ISO 200-3,200 (200 - 6,400)
No viewfinder, LCD framing Optical viewfinder
3.0 LCD, 922k dots 3.0 LCD, 920k dots
Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive) Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)
2.5 shutter flaps per second 4.5 shutter flaps per second
295 shots per battery charge850 shots per battery charge
97 x 57 x 28 mm, 182 g 132 x 103 x 77 mm, 703 g

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Canon PowerShot SX620 HS and the Nikon D90? 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 SX620 and the Nikon D90 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.

The SX620 can be obtained in three different colors (black, silver, red), while the D90 is only available in black.

Size Canon SX620 vs Nikon D90
Compare SX620 versus D90 top
Comparison SX620 or D90 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Nikon D90 is considerably larger (146 percent) than the Canon SX620. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the SX620 nor the D90 are weather-sealed.

The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the SX620 has a lens built in, whereas the D90 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 D90 and their specifications in the Nikon Lens Catalog.

Concerning battery life, the SX620 gets 295 shots out of its NB-13L battery, while the D90 can take 850 images on a single charge of its EN-EL3e power pack.

The following table provides a synthesis of the main physical specifications of the two cameras and other similar ones. If you want to switch the focus of the display and review another camera pair, just select a new right or left comparator from among the camera models in the table. Alternatively, you can also 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 1
Weather
Sealing
Camera
Launch 2
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
 
Canon SX620 3.8 in 2.2 in 1.1 in 6.4 oz 295 n May 2016 279 i
 
Nikon D90 5.2 in 4.1 in 3.0 in 24.8 oz 850 n Aug 2008 1,299i
 
Canon G9 X Mark II 3.9 in 2.3 in 1.2 in 7.3 oz 235 n Jan 2017 529 i
 
Canon SX730 4.3 in 2.5 in 1.6 in 10.6 oz 250 n Apr 2017 399i
 
Canon SX420 4.1 in 2.7 in 3.3 in 11.5 oz 195 n Jan 2016 299 i
 
Canon SX540 4.7 in 3.2 in 3.6 in 15.6 oz 205 n Jan 2016 399 i
 
Canon SX720 4.3 in 2.5 in 1.4 in 9.5 oz 250 n Feb 2016 379i
 
Canon G9 X 3.9 in 2.3 in 1.2 in 7.4 oz 220 n Oct 2015 529i
 
Canon SX410 4.1 in 2.7 in 3.3 in 11.5 oz 185 n Feb 2015 279i
 
Canon SX610 4.1 in 2.4 in 1.1 in 6.7 oz 270 n Jan 2015 249i
 
Canon SX710 4.4 in 2.6 in 1.4 in 9.5 oz 230 n Jan 2015 349i
 
Canon SX600 4.1 in 2.4 in 1.0 in 6.6 oz 290 n Jan 2014 249i
 
Canon 40D 5.7 in 4.3 in 2.9 in 29.0 oz 750 n Aug 2007 1,299i
 
Nikon D7000 5.2 in 4.1 in 3.0 in 27.5 oz 1050 Y Sep 2010 1,499i
 
Nikon D300S 5.8 in 4.5 in 3.2 in 33.1 oz 950 Y Jul 2009 1,799i
 
Nikon D5000 5.0 in 4.1 in 3.1 in 20.8 oz 510 n Apr 2009 749i
 
Nikon D80 5.2 in 4.1 in 3.0 in 23.6 oz 600 n Aug 2006 999i
Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.
(1) Number of images that can be taken on a full battery charge according to the CIPA-standard; (2) Official announcement.

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 SX620 was launched at a lower price than the D90, 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.

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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. Further, a large sensor camera will give the photographer additional creative options when using shallow depth-of-field to isolate a subject from its background. On the downside, larger sensors tend to be more expensive and lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.

Of the two cameras under consideration, the Canon SX620 features a 1/2.3-inch sensor and the Nikon D90 an APS-C sensor. The sensor area in the D90 is 1232 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 SX620 has a native 4:3 aspect ratio, while the one in the D90 offers a 3:2 aspect.

Canon SX620 and Nikon D90 sensor measures

Despite having a smaller sensor, the Canon SX620 offers a higher resolution of 20.2 megapixels, compared with 12.2 MP of the Nikon D90. 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 5.53μm for the D90). However, it should be noted that the SX620 is much more recent (by 7 years and 8 months) than the D90, 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 SX620 has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.

The resolution advantage of the Canon SX620 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the SX620 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 D90 are 21.4 x 14.2 inches or 54.5 x 36.2 cm for good quality, 17.2 x 11.4 inches or 43.6 x 28.9 cm for very good quality, and 14.3 x 9.5 inches or 36.3 x 24.1 cm for excellent quality prints.

The Canon PowerShot SX620 HS has a native sensitivity range from ISO 80 to ISO 3200. The corresponding ISO settings for the Nikon D90 are ISO 200 to ISO 3200, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 200-6400.

SX620 versus D90 MP

Since 2007, DXO Mark has published sensor performance measurements that have been derived using a consistent methodology. 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
 
Canon SX620 1/2.3 20.2 5184 38881080/30p........
 
Nikon D90 APS-C 12.2 4288 2848720/24p22.712.597773
 
Canon G9 X Mark II 1-inch 20.0 5472 36481080/60p21.912.552265
 
Canon SX730 1/2.3 20.2 5184 38881080/60p........
 
Canon SX420 1/2.3 19.9 5152 3864720/25p........
 
Canon SX540 1/2.3 20.2 5184 38881080/60p........
 
Canon SX720 1/2.3 20.2 5184 38881080/60p........
 
Canon G9 X 1-inch 20.0 5472 36481080/60p21.512.349563
 
Canon SX410 1/2.3 19.9 5152 3864720/30p........
 
Canon SX610 1/2.3 20.2 5184 38881080/30p........
 
Canon SX710 1/2.3 20.2 5184 38881080/60p........
 
Canon SX600 1/2.3 15.9 4608 34561080/30p........
 
Canon 40D APS-C 10.1 3888 2592none22.111.370364
 
Nikon D7000 APS-C 16.1 4928 326410800/24p23.513.9116780
 
Nikon D300S APS-C 12.2 4288 2848720/24p22.512.278770
 
Nikon D5000 APS-C 12.2 4288 2848720/24p22.712.586872
 
Nikon D80 APS-C 10.0 3872 2592none22.111.252461

Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. Both cameras under consideration have a sensor with sufficiently fast read-out times for moving pictures, but the SX620 provides a higher video resolution than the D90. It can shoot video footage at 1080/30p, while the Nikon is limited to 720/24p.

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Feature comparison

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. For example, the D90 has an optical viewfinder, which can be very useful when shooting in bright sunlight. In contrast, the SX620 relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. The adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Canon SX620 and Nikon D90 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
 
Canon SX620none n 3.0 922 fixed n 1/2000s 2.5 Y Y
 
Nikon D90optical Y 3.0 920 fixed n 1/4000s 4.5 Y n
 
Canon G9 X Mark IInone n 3.0 1040 fixed Y 1/2000s 8.2 Y Y
 
Canon SX730none n 3.0 922 tilting n 1/3200s 5.9 Y Y
 
Canon SX420none n 3.0 230 fixed n 1/4000s 0.5 Y Y
 
Canon SX540none n 3.0 461 fixed n 1/2000s 5.9 Y Y
 
Canon SX720none n 3.0 922 fixed n 1/3200s 5.9 Y Y
 
Canon G9 Xnone n 3.0 1040 fixed Y 1/2000s 6.0 Y Y
 
Canon SX410none n 3.0 230 fixed n 1/4000s 0.5 Y Y
 
Canon SX610none n 3.0 922 fixed n 1/2000s 2.5 Y Y
 
Canon SX710none n 3.0 922 fixed n 1/3200s 6.0 Y Y
 
Canon SX600none n 3.0 461 fixed n 1/2000s 3.9 Y Y
 
Canon 40Doptical Y 3.0 230 fixed n 1/8000s 6.5 Y n
 
Nikon D7000optical Y 3.0 921 fixed n 1/8000s 6.0 Y n
 
Nikon D300Soptical Y 3.0 920 fixed n 1/8000s 7.0 Y n
 
Nikon D5000optical n 2.7 230 full-flex n 1/4000s 4.0 Y n
 
Nikon D80optical n 2.5 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n

One feature that is present on the D90, but is missing on the SX620 is a top-level LCD. While being, of course, smaller than the rear screen, the control panel conveys some of the essential shooting information and can be convenient for quick and easy settings verification.

The SX620 writes its imaging data to SDXC cards, while the D90 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 SX620 HS and Nikon D90 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
 
Canon SX620-monomono--micro2.0YY-
 
Nikon D90Ymonomono--mini2.0---
 
Canon G9 X Mark II-stereomono--micro2.0YYY
 
Canon SX730-stereomono--micro2.0YYY
 
Canon SX420-monomono---2.0YY-
 
Canon SX540-stereomono--mini2.0YY-
 
Canon SX720-stereomono--micro2.0YY-
 
Canon G9 X-stereomono--micro2.0YY-
 
Canon SX410-stereomono---2.0---
 
Canon SX610-----micro2.0YY-
 
Canon SX710-stereomono--micro2.0YY-
 
Canon SX600-monomono--micro2.0YY-
 
Canon 40DY-----2.0---
 
Nikon D7000YmonomonoY-mini2.0---
 
Nikon D300SYstereomonoY-mini2.0---
 
Nikon D5000Ymonomono--mini2.0---
 
Nikon D80Y-----2.0---

It is notable that the SX620 offers wifi support, while the D90 does not. Wifi can be a very convenient means to transfer image data to an off-camera location.

The SX620 is a recent model that features in the current product line-up of Canon. In contrast, the D90 has been discontinued (but can be found pre-owned on eBay). As a replacement in the same line of cameras, the D90 was succeeded by the Nikon D7000. 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.

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Review summary

So what is the bottom line? Which of the two cameras – the Canon SX620 or the Nikon D90 – has the upper hand? Is one clearly better than the other? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.

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Advantages of the Canon PowerShot SX620 HS:

  • More detail: Offers more megapixels (20.2 vs 12.2MP) with a 26% higher linear resolution.
  • Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
  • Better video: Provides higher definition movie capture (1080/30p vs 720/24p).
  • Ready to shoot: Comes with a built-in lens, while the D90 requires a separate lens.
  • More compact: Is smaller (97x57mm vs 132x103mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
  • Less heavy: Is lighter even though it comes with a built-in lens (unlike the D90).
  • 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 7 years and 8 months of technical progress since the D90 launch.

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Arguments in favor of the Nikon D90:

  • 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.
  • Easier setting verification: Features a control panel on top to check shooting parameters.
  • Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/4000s vs 1/2000s) to freeze action.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (4.5 vs 2.5 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 (850 versus 295) 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 August 2008).

If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the D90 emerges as the winner of the match-up (13 : 11 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.

SX620 11:13 D90

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Canon SX620 and the Nikon D90 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 specs-based evaluation of cameras can be instructive in revealing their potential as photographic tools, it remains partial and cannot reveal, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance when actually working with the SX620 or the D90. 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 following table reports the overall ratings of the cameras as published by some of the major camera review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, and photographyblog). 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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Review Scores
  Camera
Model
camera
  labs  
dp
review  
ephoto
  zine  
imaging
resource
photography
  blog  
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
 
Canon SX620........4/5 May 2016 279 i
 
Nikon D90+ ++ +4/55/54.5/5 Aug 2008 1,299i
 
Canon G9 X Mark II..75/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Jan 2017 529 i
 
Canon SX730+..4/5..4/5 Apr 2017 399i
 
Canon SX420........3/5 Jan 2016 299 i
 
Canon SX540.......... Jan 2016 399 i
 
Canon SX720+..4/5..4.5/5 Feb 2016 379i
 
Canon G9 X+ +..4.5/54/54.5/5 Oct 2015 529i
 
Canon SX410o........ Feb 2015 279i
 
Canon SX610....4/5..4/5 Jan 2015 249i
 
Canon SX710+..4/5..3.5/5 Jan 2015 349i
 
Canon SX600+..4/5..4/5 Jan 2014 249i
 
Canon 40D+ ++ +4.5/5o4.5/5 Aug 2007 1,299i
 
Nikon D7000..80/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Sep 2010 1,499i
 
Nikon D300S+ +82/1004/55/54.5/5 Jul 2009 1,799i
 
Nikon D5000+ +75/1004/55/54.5/5 Apr 2009 749i
 
Nikon D80++ +o4.5/54.5/5 Aug 2006 999i
Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.

The review scores listed above should be treated with care, though. The assessments were made in relation to similar cameras of the same technological generation. Hence, a score should always be seen in the context of the camera's market launch date and its price, and rating-comparisons among cameras that span long time periods or concern very differently equipped models make little sense. Also, please note that some of the review sites have changed their methodology and reporting over time.

Canon SX620:
Check Amazon price
Nikon D90:
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 use the search menu below. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting.

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    Specifications: Canon SX620 vs Nikon D90

    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 SX620 Nikon D90
    Camera Type Fixed lens compact camera Digital single lens reflex
    Camera Lens 25-625mm f/3.2-6.6 Nikon F mount lenses
    Launch Date May 2016 August 2008
    Launch Price USD 279 USD 1,299
    Sensor Specs Canon SX620 Nikon D90
    Sensor Technology BSI-CMOS CMOS
    Sensor Format 1/2.3" Sensor APS-C Sensor
    Sensor Size 6.17 x 4.55 mm 23.6 x 15.8 mm
    Sensor Area 28.0735 mm2 372.88 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 7.7 mm 28.4 mm
    Crop Factor 5.6x 1.5x
    Sensor Resolution 20.2 Megapixels 12.2 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 5184 x 3888 pixels 4288 x 2848 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 1.18 μm 5.53 μm
    Pixel Density 71.80 MP/cm2 3.28 MP/cm2
    Moiré control no AA filter Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability 1080/30p Video 720/24p Video
    ISO Setting 80 - 3,200 ISO 200 - 3,200 ISO
    ISO Boost no Enhancement 200 - 6,400 ISO
    Image Processor DIGIC 4+ EXPEED
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) .. 73
    DXO Color Depth (bits) .. 22.7
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) .. 12.5
    DXO Low Light (ISO) .. 977
    Screen Specs Canon SX620 Nikon D90
    Viewfinder Type no viewfinder Optical viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 96%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.63x
    Top-Level Screen no Top Display Control Panel
    LCD Framing Live View Live View
    Rear LCD Size 3.0inch 3.0inch
    LCD Resolution 922k dots 920k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen Fixed screen
    Shooting Specs Canon SX620 Nikon D90
    Focus System Contrast-detect AF Phase-detect AF
    Continuous Shooting 2.5 shutter flaps/s 4.5 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 SX620 Nikon D90
    External Flash no Hotshoe Hotshoe
    USB Connector USB 2.0 USB 2.0
    HDMI Port micro HDMI mini HDMI
    Wifi Support Wifi built-in no Wifi
    Near-Field Communication NFC built-in no NFC
    Body Specs Canon SX620 Nikon D90
    Battery Type NB-13L EN-EL3e
    Battery Life (CIPA)295 shots per charge850 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 97 x 57 x 28 mm
    (3.8 x 2.2 x 1.1 in)
    132 x 103 x 77 mm
    (5.2 x 4.1 x 3.0 in)
    Camera Weight 182 g (6.4 oz) 703 g (24.8 oz)

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