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Canon SX70 vs Leica M8

The Canon PowerShot SX70 HS and the Leica M8 are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in September 2018 and September 2006. The SX70 is a fixed lens compact, while the M8 is a rangefinder-style mirrorless. The cameras are based on a 1/2.3-inch (SX70) and an APS-H (M8) sensor. The Canon has a resolution of 20.2 megapixels, whereas the Leica provides 10.4 MP.

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

Headline Specifications
Canon SX70 versus Leica M8
Canon SX70 Leica M8
Fixed lens compact camera Rangefinder camera
21-1365mm f/3.4-6.5 Leica M mount lenses
20.2 MP, 1/2.3" Sensor 10.4 MP, APS-H Sensor
4K/30p Video no Video
ISO 100-3,200 ISO 160-2,500
Electronic viewfinder (2360k dots) Optical viewfinder
3.0 LCD, 922k dots 2.5 LCD, 230k dots
Swivel screen (not touch-sensitive) Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)
10 shutter flaps per second 2 shutter flaps per second
127 x 91 x 117 mm, 608 g 139 x 80 x 37 mm, 591 g

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Canon PowerShot SX70 HS and the Leica M8? 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 SX70 and the Leica M8 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 size dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

The M8 can be obtained in two different colors (black, silver), while the SX70 is only available in black.

Size Canon SX70 vs Leica M8
Compare SX70 versus M8 top
Comparison SX70 or M8 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Leica M8 is somewhat smaller (4 percent) than the Canon SX70. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the SX70 nor the M8 are weather-sealed.

The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the SX70 has a lens built in, whereas the M8 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 M8 and their specifications in the Leica M Lens Catalog.

The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the two cameras alongside a broader set of comparators. 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 SX70 5.0 in 3.6 in 4.6 in 21.4 oz 325 n Sep 2018 549 i
 
Leica M8 5.5 in 3.1 in 1.5 in 20.8 oz .. n Sep 2006 5,499i
 
Canon SX740 4.3 in 2.5 in 1.6 in 10.5 oz 265 n Jul 2018 399 i
 
Canon 77D 5.2 in 3.9 in 3.0 in 19.0 oz 600 n Feb 2017 899 i
 
Canon G9 X Mark II 3.9 in 2.3 in 1.2 in 7.3 oz 235 n Jan 2017 529 i
 
Canon M100 4.3 in 2.6 in 1.4 in 10.7 oz 295 n Aug 2017 499i
 
Canon SX730 4.3 in 2.5 in 1.6 in 10.6 oz 250 n Apr 2017 399i
 
Canon SX60 5.0 in 3.7 in 4.5 in 22.9 oz 340 n Sep 2014 549i
 
Canon SX1 5.0 in 3.5 in 3.5 in 21.7 oz .. n Sep 2008 599i
 
Canon XTi 5.0 in 3.3 in 2.6 in 19.6 oz 370 n Aug 2006 799i
 
Leica M10 5.5 in 3.1 in 1.5 in 23.3 oz 210 Y Jan 2017 6,595 i
 
Leica M9 5.5 in 3.1 in 1.5 in 20.6 oz .. n Sep 2009 7,999i
 
Nikon B700 4.9 in 3.3 in 4.2 in 19.9 oz 350 n Feb 2016 499 i
 
Nikon D80 5.2 in 4.1 in 3.0 in 23.6 oz 600 n Aug 2006 999i
 
Panasonic FZ80 5.1 in 3.7 in 4.7 in 21.7 oz 330 n Jan 2017 399 i
 
Panasonic L10 5.3 in 3.8 in 3.1 in 19.6 oz 450 n Aug 2007 599i
 
Sony HX400V 5.1 in 3.7 in 4.1 in 23.3 oz 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.
(1) Number of images that can be taken on a full battery charge according to the CIPA-standard; (2) Official announcement.

The price is, of course, an important factor in any camera decision. The listed launch prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The SX70 was launched at a lower price than the M8, despite having a lens built in. 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. 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 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 associated with larger, more expensive camera bodies and lenses.

Of the two cameras under consideration, the Canon SX70 features a 1/2.3-inch sensor and the Leica M8 an APS-H sensor. The sensor area in the M8 is 1636 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 5.6 and 1.3. The sensor in the SX70 has a native 4:3 aspect ratio, while the one in the M8 offers a 3:2 aspect.

Canon SX70 and Leica M8 sensor measures

Despite having a smaller sensor, the Canon SX70 offers a higher resolution of 20.2 megapixels, compared with 10.4 MP of the Leica M8. 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 6.84μm for the M8). However, it should be noted that the SX70 is much more recent (by 12 years) than the M8, 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 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 SX70 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the SX70 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 Leica M8 are 19.7 x 13.2 inches or 50 x 33.4 cm for good quality, 15.7 x 10.5 inches or 40 x 26.7 cm for very good quality, and 13.1 x 8.8 inches or 33.3 x 22.3 cm for excellent quality prints.

The Canon PowerShot SX70 HS has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 3200. The corresponding ISO settings for the Leica M8 are ISO 160 to ISO 2500 (no boost).

SX70 versus M8 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
 
Canon SX70 1/2.3 20.2 5184 38884K/30p........
 
Leica M8 APS-H 10.4 3936 2630none21.111.366359
 
Canon SX740 1/2.3 20.2 5184 38884K/30p........
 
Canon 77D APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p23.613.397178
 
Canon G9 X Mark II 1-inch 20.0 5472 36481080/60p21.912.552265
 
Canon M100 APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p23.512.9127278
 
Canon SX730 1/2.3 20.2 5184 38881080/60p........
 
Canon SX60 1/2.3 14.2 4608 30721080/60p19.210.812739
 
Canon SX1 1/2.3 10.0 3648 27361080/30p........
 
Canon XTi APS-C 10.1 3888 2592none22.111.066462
 
Leica M10 Full Frame 23.8 5952 3992none24.413.2213386
 
Leica M9 Full Frame 18.1 5212 3472none22.511.788469
 
Nikon B700 1/2.3 20.2 5184 38884K/30p........
 
Nikon D80 APS-C 10.0 3872 2592none22.111.252461
 
Panasonic FZ80 1/2.3 18.0 4896 36724K/30p........
 
Panasonic L10 Four Thirds 10.0 3648 2736none21.310.842955
 
Sony HX400V 1/2.3 20.2 5184 38881080/60p........

Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but also of capturing video footage. The SX70 indeed provides movie recording capabilities, while the M8 does not. The highest resolution format that the SX70 can use is 4K/30p.

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Feature comparison

Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the SX70 has an electronic viewfinder (2360k dots), while the M8 has an optical one. Both systems have their advantages, with the electronic viewfinder making it possible to project supplementary shooting information into the framing view, whereas the optical viewfinder offers lag-free viewing and a very clear framing image. The adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Canon SX70 and Leica M8 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 SX702360 n 3.0 922 swivel n 1/2000s 10.0 Y Y
 
Leica M8optical n 2.5 230 fixed n 1/8000s 2.0 n n
 
Canon SX740none n 3.0 922 tilting n 1/3200s 10.0 Y Y
 
Canon 77Doptical Y 3.0 1040 swivel Y 1/4000s 6.0 Y n
 
Canon G9 X Mark IInone n 3.0 1040 fixed Y 1/2000s 8.2 Y Y
 
Canon M100none n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 1/4000s 6.1 Y n
 
Canon SX730none n 3.0 922 tilting n 1/3200s 5.9 Y Y
 
Canon SX60922 n 3.0 922 swivel n 1/2000s 6.4 Y Y
 
Canon SX1202 n 2.8 230 swivel n 1/3200s 4.0 Y Y
 
Canon XTioptical n 2.5 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
 
Leica M10optical n 3.0 1037 fixed n 1/4000s 5.0 n n
 
Leica M9optical n 2.5 230 fixed n 1/4000s 2.0 n n
 
Nikon B700921 n 3.0 921 swivel n 1/4000s 5.0 Y Y
 
Nikon D80optical n 2.5 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
 
Panasonic FZ801166 n 3.0 1040 fixed Y 1/2000s 10.0 Y Y
 
Panasonic L10optical n 2.5 207 swivel n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
 
Sony HX400V210 n 3.0 921 tilting n 1/4000s 10.0 Y Y

One difference between the cameras concerns the presence of an on-board flash. The SX70 has one, while the M8 does not. While the built-in flash of the SX70 is not very powerful, it can at times be useful as a fill-in light.

The SX70 has an articulated LCD that can be turned to be front-facing. This characteristic will be appreciated by vloggers and photographers who are interested in snapping selfies. In contrast, the M8 does not have a selfie-screen.

Concerning the storage of imaging data, both the SX70 and the M8 write their files to SDXC cards. The SX70 supports UHS-I cards (Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 104 MB/s), while the M8 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 SX70 HS and Leica M8 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 SX70-stereomonoY-micro2.0Y-Y
 
Leica M8Y-----2.0---
 
Canon SX740-stereomono--micro2.0Y-Y
 
Canon 77DYstereomonoY-mini2.0YYY
 
Canon G9 X Mark II-stereomono--micro2.0YYY
 
Canon M100-stereomono--micro2.0YYY
 
Canon SX730-stereomono--micro2.0YYY
 
Canon SX60YstereomonoY-mini2.0YY-
 
Canon SX1Ystereomono--YES2.0---
 
Canon XTiY-----2.0---
 
Leica M10Y------Y--
 
Leica M9Y-----2.0---
 
Nikon B700-stereomono--micro2.0YYY
 
Nikon D80Y-----2.0---
 
Panasonic FZ80Ystereomono--micro2.0Y--
 
Panasonic L10Y-----2.0---
 
Sony HX400VYstereomono--micro2.0YY-

It is notable that the SX70 offers wifi support, while the M8 does not. Wifi can be a very convenient means to transfer image data to an off-camera location.

The SX70 is a recent model that features in the current product line-up of Canon. In contrast, the M8 has been discontinued (but can be found pre-owned on eBay). As a replacement in the same line of cameras, the M8 was succeeded by the Leica M9. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Canon and Leica websites.

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Review summary

So what conclusions can be drawn? Is there a clear favorite between the Canon SX70 and the Leica M8? Which camera is better? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.

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Arguments in favor of the Canon PowerShot SX70 HS:

  • More detail: Offers more megapixels (20.2 vs 10.4MP) with a 37% higher linear resolution.
  • Broader imaging potential: Can record not only still images but also 4K/30p movies.
  • More framing info: Has an electronic viewfinder that displays shooting data.
  • 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).
  • More flexible LCD: Has a swivel screen for odd-angle shots in portrait or landscape orientation.
  • More selfie-friendly: Has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (10 vs 2 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • Ready to shoot: Has a lens built-in, whereas the M8 requires a separate lens.
  • Sharper images: Has hand-shake reducing image stabilization built-in.
  • Easier fill-in: Is equipped with a small onboard flash to brighten deep shadow areas.
  • Easier file upload: Has wifi built in for automatic backup or image transfer to the web.
  • 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 affordable: Was introduced at a lower price, despite coming with a built-in lens.
  • More modern: Reflects 12 years of technical progress since the M8 launch.

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Advantages of the Leica M8:

  • 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.
  • Brighter framing: Features an optical viewfinder for clear, lag-free composition.
  • Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/8000s vs 1/2000s) to freeze action.
  • More flexible: Takes interchangeable lenses and can thus be used with different optics.
  • Better lighting: Features a hotshoe and can thus hold and trigger an external flash gun.
  • More prestigious: Has the Leica luxury appeal, which ensures a high resale value.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been around for much longer (launched in September 2006).

If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the SX70 is the clear winner of the match-up (16 : 10 points). However, the relative importance of the various individual camera aspects will vary according to personal preferences and needs, so that you might like to apply corresponding weights to the particular features before making a decision 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.

SX70 16:10 M8

In any case, while the specs-based evaluation of cameras can be instructive in revealing their potential as photographic tools, it says little about, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance of the SX70 and the M8 in practical situations. User reviews that are available, for instance, at amazon can sometimes shed light on these issues, but such feedback is all too often partial, inconsistent, and inaccurate.

Expert reviews

This is why hands-on reviews by experts are important. The adjacent summary-table relays the overall verdicts of several of the most popular 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 SX70+ +..3.5/5..3.5/5 Sep 2018 549 i
 
Leica M8..+ +...... Sep 2006 5,499i
 
Canon SX740+..4/5..4/5 Jul 2018 399 i
 
Canon 77D..82/1004.5/54.5/54/5 Feb 2017 899 i
 
Canon G9 X Mark II..75/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Jan 2017 529 i
 
Canon M100+..4/5..3.5/5 Aug 2017 499i
 
Canon SX730+..4/5..4/5 Apr 2017 399i
 
Canon SX60+ +75/1004/5..4.5/5 Sep 2014 549i
 
Canon SX1+ ++..o3.5/5 Sep 2008 599i
 
Canon XTi+ ++ +o4.5/54/5 Aug 2006 799i
 
Leica M10....4/5..4.5/5 Jan 2017 6,595 i
 
Leica M9....4.5/54.5/5.. Sep 2009 7,999i
 
Nikon B700+..4/5..4/5 Feb 2016 499 i
 
Nikon D80++ +o4.5/54.5/5 Aug 2006 999i
 
Panasonic FZ80+ +..4.5/5..4.5/5 Jan 2017 399 i
 
Panasonic L1085/100+3.5/5o4/5 Aug 2007 599i
 
Sony HX400V+ +..4/5..4/5 Feb 2014 499 i
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 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 SX70:
Check Amazon price
Leica M8:
Check Ebay offers

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 use the search menu below. As an alternative, you can also directly jump to any one of the listed comparisons that were previously generated by the CAM-parator tool.

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    Specifications: Canon SX70 vs Leica M8

    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 SX70 Leica M8
    Camera Type Fixed lens compact camera Rangefinder camera
    Camera Lens 21-1365mm f/3.4-6.5 Leica M mount lenses
    Launch Date September 2018 September 2006
    Launch Price USD 549 USD 5,499
    Sensor Specs Canon SX70 Leica M8
    Sensor Technology BSI-CMOS CCD
    Sensor Format 1/2.3" Sensor APS-H Sensor
    Sensor Size 6.17 x 4.55 mm 27.0 x 18.0 mm
    Sensor Area 28.0735 mm2 486 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 7.7 mm 32.4 mm
    Crop Factor 5.6x 1.3x
    Sensor Resolution 20.2 Megapixels 10.4 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 5184 x 3888 pixels 3936 x 2630 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 1.18 μm 6.84 μm
    Pixel Density 71.80 MP/cm2 2.13 MP/cm2
    Moiré control no AA filter no AA filter
    Movie Capability 4K/30p Video no Video
    ISO Setting 100 - 3,200 ISO 160 - 2,500 ISO
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) .. 59
    DXO Color Depth (bits) .. 21.1
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) .. 11.3
    DXO Low Light (ISO) .. 663
    Screen Specs Canon SX70 Leica M8
    Viewfinder Type Electronic viewfinder Optical viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 100% 100%
    Viewfinder Magnification
    Viewfinder Resolution 2360k dots
    LCD Framing Live View
    Rear LCD Size 3.0inch 2.5inch
    LCD Resolution 922k dots 230k dots
    LCD Attachment Swivel screen Fixed screen
    Shooting Specs Canon SX70 Leica M8
    Focus System Contrast-detect AF Manual Focus
    Manual Focusing AidFocus Peakingno Peaking Feature
    Continuous Shooting 10 shutter flaps/s 2 shutter flaps/s
    Fill Flash Build-in Flash no On-Board Flash
    Storage Medium SDXC cards SDXC cards
    Second Storage Option Single card slot Single card slot
    UHS card support UHS-I no
    Connectivity Specs Canon SX70 Leica M8
    External Flash no Hotshoe Hotshoe
    USB Connector USB 2.0 USB 2.0
    HDMI Port micro HDMI no HDMI
    Microphone Port External MIC port no MIC socket
    Wifi Support Wifi built-in no Wifi
    Bluetooth Support Bluetooth built-in no Bluetooth
    Body Specs Canon SX70 Leica M8
    Battery Type LP-E12 BLI-312
    Body Dimensions 127 x 91 x 117 mm
    (5.0 x 3.6 x 4.6 in)
    139 x 80 x 37 mm
    (5.5 x 3.1 x 1.5 in)
    Camera Weight 608 g (21.4 oz) 591 g (20.8 oz)

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