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Canon T3i vs Leica TL

The Canon EOS Rebel T3i (called Canon 600D in some regions) and the Leica TL are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in February 2011 and November 2016. The T3i is a DSLR, while the TL is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera. Both cameras are equipped with an APS-C sensor. The Canon has a resolution of 17.9 megapixels, whereas the Leica provides 16.1 MP.

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

Headline Specifications
Canon T3i
versus
Leica TL
Canon T3i   Leica TL
Digital single lens reflex Mirrorless system camera
Canon EF mount lenses Leica T mount lenses
17.9 MP – APS-C sensor 16.1 MP – APS-C sensor
1080/30p Video 1080/30p Video
ISO 100-6,400 (100 - 12,800) ISO 100-12,500
Optical viewfinder Viewfinder optional
3.0" LCD – 1040k dots 3.0" LCD – 1230k dots
Swivel screen (not touch-sensitive) Fixed touchscreen
3.7 shutter flaps per second 5 shutter flaps per second
440 shots per battery charge400 shots per battery charge
133 x 100 x 80 mm, 570 g 134 x 69 x 33 mm, 384 g
Canon T3i:
Check Ebay offers
Leica TL:
Check Ebay offers

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Canon EOS Rebel T3i and the Leica TL? 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 side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size and weight of the Canon T3i and the Leica TL. 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 TL can be obtained in three different colors (black, silver, titanium), while the T3i is only available in black.

Size Canon T3i vs Leica TL
Compare T3i versus TL top
Comparison T3i or TL rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Leica TL is considerably smaller (30 percent) than the Canon T3i. Moreover, the TL is markedly lighter (33 percent) than the T3i. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the T3i nor the TL are weather-sealed.

The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete since they do not consider the interchangeable lenses that both of these cameras require. Hence, you might want to study and compare the specifications of available lenses in order to get the full picture of the size and weight of the two camera systems.

The power pack in the TL can be charged via the USB port, which can be very convenient when travelling.

The adjacent table lists the principal physical characteristics of the two cameras alongside a wider set of alternatives. 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 T3i 133 mm 100 mm 80 mm 570 g 440 n Feb 2011 599i
2.
 
Leica TL 134 mm 69 mm 33 mm 384 g 400 n Nov 2016 1,695i
3.
 
Canon SL2 122 mm 93 mm 70 mm 453 g 650 n Jun 2017 549i
4.
 
Canon T6s 132 mm 101 mm 78 mm 565 g 440 n Feb 2015 649i
5.
 
Canon T5 130 mm 100 mm 78 mm 480 g 500 n Feb 2014 449i
6.
 
Canon SL1 117 mm 91 mm 69 mm 407 g 380 n Mar 2013 549i
7.
 
Canon T5i 133 mm 100 mm 79 mm 580 g 440 n Mar 2013 649i
8.
 
Canon M 109 mm 66 mm 32 mm 298 g 230 n Jul 2012 599i
9.
 
Canon T4i 133 mm 100 mm 79 mm 575 g 440 n Jun 2012 849i
10.
 
Canon T3 130 mm 100 mm 78 mm 495 g 700 n Feb 2011 449i
11.
 
Canon T2i 129 mm 98 mm 62 mm 530 g 440 n Feb 2010 699i
12.
 
Canon T1i 129 mm 98 mm 62 mm 520 g 400 n Mar 2009 799i
13.
 
Fujifilm X70 113 mm 64 mm 44 mm 340 g 330 n Jan 2016 799i
14.
 
Leica CL 131 mm 78 mm 45 mm 403 g 220 n Nov 2017 2,795 i
15.
 
Leica TL2 134 mm 69 mm 33 mm 399 g 250 n Jul 2017 1,950 i
16.
 
Leica T 134 mm 69 mm 33 mm 384 g 400 n Apr 2014 1,850i
17.
 
Leica X2 124 mm 69 mm 52 mm 345 g 450 n May 2012 1,995i
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 T3i was launched at a markedly lower price (by 65 percent) than the TL, which puts it into a different market segment. 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.

Sensor comparison

The size of the sensor inside a digital camera is one of the key determinants 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 more expensive and lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.

Both cameras under consideration feature an APS-C sensor, but their sensors differ slightly in size. The sensor area in the TL is 12 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have format factors, respectively, of 1.6 (T3i) and 1.5. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.

In terms of underlying technology, both cameras are build around CMOS sensors.

Canon T3i and Leica TL sensor measures

Despite having a smaller sensor, the Canon T3i offers a higher resolution of 17.9 megapixels, compared with 16.1 MP of the Leica TL. 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 4.31μm versus 4.80μm for the TL). Moreover, it should be noted that the TL is much more recent (by 5 years and 9 months) than the T3i, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that further enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixel-units. Coming back to sensor resolution, it should be mentioned that the TL has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.

The resolution advantage of the Canon T3i implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the T3i for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 25.9 x 17.3 inches or 65.8 x 43.9 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 20.7 x 13.8 inches or 52.7 x 35.1 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 17.3 x 11.5 inches or 43.9 x 29.3 cm. The corresponding values for the Leica TL are 24.6 x 16.3 inches or 62.6 x 41.5 cm for good quality, 19.7 x 13.1 inches or 50.1 x 33.2 cm for very good quality, and 16.4 x 10.9 inches or 41.7 x 27.6 cm for excellent quality prints.

The Canon EOS Rebel T3i has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 6400, which can be extended to ISO 100-12800. The corresponding ISO settings for the Leica TL are ISO 100 to ISO 12500 (no boost).

T3i versus TL MP

For many cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. 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 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 T3i APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p22.111.579365
2.
 
Leica TL APS-C 16.1 4928 32641080/30p23.913.2169081
3.
 
Canon SL2 APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p23.613.4104179
4.
 
Canon T6s APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/30p22.612.091570
5.
 
Canon T5 APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p21.911.372463
6.
 
Canon SL1 APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p21.811.384363
7.
 
Canon T5i APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p21.711.268161
8.
 
Canon M APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p22.111.282765
9.
 
Canon T4i APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p21.711.272262
10.
 
Canon T3 APS-C 12.2 4272 2848720/30p21.911.075562
11.
 
Canon T2i APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p22.111.578466
12.
 
Canon T1i APS-C 15.1 4752 31681080/20p21.711.566363
13.
 
Fujifilm X70 APS-C 16.0 4896 32641080/60p23.713.0160880
14.
 
Leica CL APS-C 24.1 6014 40144K/30p24.013.3178882
15.
 
Leica TL2 APS-C 24.1 6014 40144K/30p23.913.3175382
16.
 
Leica T APS-C 16.2 4944 32781080/30p23.012.7108275
17.
 
Leica X2 APS-C 16.1 4928 3264none23.212.4127574
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. Both cameras under consideration are equipped with sensors that have a sufficiently high read-out speed for moving images, and both provide the same movie specifications (1080/30p).

Feature comparison

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. For example, the T3i has an optical viewfinder, which can be very useful when shooting in bright sunlight. In contrast, the TL relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. That said, the TL can be equipped with an optional viewfinder – the Visoflex (Typ 020). The table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Canon T3i and Leica TL 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 T3ioptical n3.0 / 1040 swivel n 1/4000s 3.7/s Y n
2.
 
Leica TLoptional n3.7 / 1230 fixed Y 1/4000s 5.0/s Y n
3.
 
Canon SL2optical n3.0 / 1040 swivel Y 1/4000s 5.0/s Y n
4.
 
Canon T6soptical Y3.0 / 1040 swivel Y 1/4000s 5.0/s Y n
5.
 
Canon T5optical n3.0 / 460 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0/s Y n
6.
 
Canon SL1optical n3.0 / 1040 fixed Y 1/4000s 4.9/s Y n
7.
 
Canon T5ioptical n3.0 / 1040 swivel Y 1/4000s 5.0/s Y n
8.
 
Canon Mnone n3.0 / 1040 fixed Y 1/4000s 4.3/s n n
9.
 
Canon T4ioptical n3.0 / 1040 swivel Y 1/4000s 5.0/s Y n
10.
 
Canon T3optical n2.7 / 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0/s Y n
11.
 
Canon T2ioptical n3.0 / 1040 fixed n 1/4000s 3.7/s Y n
12.
 
Canon T1ioptical n3.0 / 920 fixed n 1/4000s 3.4/s Y n
13.
 
Fujifilm X70optional n3.0 / 1040 tilting Y 1/4000s 8.0/s Y n
14.
 
Leica CL2360 Y3.0 / 1040 fixed Y 1/8000s 10.0/s n n
15.
 
Leica TL2optional n3.7 / 1230 fixed Y 1/4000s 7.0/s n n
16.
 
Leica Toptional n3.7 / 1230 fixed Y 1/4000s 5.0/s Y n
17.
 
Leica X2optional n2.7 / 230 fixed n 1/2000s 5.0/s Y n
Notes: *) Information refers to the mechanical shutter, unless the camera only has an electronic one.

One differentiating feature between the two cameras concerns the touch sensitivity of the rear screen. The TL has a touchscreen, while the T3i has a conventional panel. Touch control can be particularly helpful, for example, for setting the focus point.

The T3i 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 TL does not have a selfie-screen.

Concerning the storage of imaging data, both the T3i and the TL write their files to SDXC 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 EOS Rebel T3i and Leica TL 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 T3iYmono / monoY-mini2.0---
2.
 
Leica TLYstereo / mono--micro2.0Y--
3.
 
Canon SL2Ystereo / monoY-mini2.0YYY
4.
 
Canon T6sYstereo / monoY-mini2.0YY-
5.
 
Canon T5Ymono / mono--mini2.0---
6.
 
Canon SL1Ymono / monoY-mini2.0---
7.
 
Canon T5iYstereo / monoY-mini2.0---
8.
 
Canon MYstereo / monoY-mini2.0---
9.
 
Canon T4iYstereo / monoY-mini2.0---
10.
 
Canon T3Ystereo / mono--mini2.0---
11.
 
Canon T2iYstereo / -Y-mini2.0---
12.
 
Canon T1iYmono / mono--mini2.0---
13.
 
Fujifilm X70Ystereo / monoY-micro2.0Y--
14.
 
Leica CLYstereo / mono----Y--
15.
 
Leica TL2Ystereo / mono--micro3.0Y--
16.
 
Leica TYstereo / mono---2.0Y--
17.
 
Leica X2Y- / ---mini2.0---

It is notable that the T3i has a microphone port, which is missing on the TL. Such an external microphone input can help to substantially improve the quality of audio recordings when a good external microphone is used.

Both the T3i and the TL have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The T3i was replaced by the Canon T4i, while the TL was followed by the Leica TL2. 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.

Review summary

So what conclusions can be drawn? Which of the two cameras – the Canon T3i or the Leica TL – 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 EOS Rebel T3i:

  • More detail: Offers more megapixels (17.9 vs 16.1MP) with a 5% higher linear resolution.
  • Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
  • Better sound: Can connect to an external microphone for higher quality sound recording.
  • Easier framing: Has an optical viewfinder for image composition and settings control.
  • 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.
  • More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (65 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in February 2011).

ilogo

Reasons to prefer the Leica TL:

  • Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
  • Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.7" vs 3.0") for image review and settings control.
  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1230k vs 1040k dots).
  • Fewer buttons to press: Has a touchscreen to facilitate handling and shooting adjustments.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (5 vs 3.7 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • More compact: Is smaller (134x69mm vs 133x100mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
  • Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 186g or 33 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
  • Easier travel charging: Can be conveniently charged via its USB port.
  • More legacy lens friendly: Can use many non-native lenses via adapters.
  • Easier file upload: Has wifi built in for automatic backup or image transfer to the web.
  • More prestigious: Has the Leica luxury appeal, which ensures a high resale value.
  • More modern: Reflects 5 years and 9 months of technical progress since the T3i launch.

If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the TL is the clear winner of the contest (12 : 8 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.

T3i 08:12 TL

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Canon T3i and the Leica TL place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best DSLR Camera and Best Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens 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 incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the T3i or the TL perform in practice. 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 T3i3/5o..77/1004.5/54.5/5 Feb 2011 599i
2.
 
Leica TL..........4/5 Nov 2016 1,695i
3.
 
Canon SL24/5+ +4/578/1004.5/54.5/5 Jun 2017 549i
4.
 
Canon T6s5/5+..77/1004.5/54.5/5 Feb 2015 649i
5.
 
Canon T53/5+....4/54.5/5 Feb 2014 449i
6.
 
Canon SL14/5+..78/1004/54/5 Mar 2013 549i
7.
 
Canon T5i......76/1004.5/54.5/5 Mar 2013 649i
8.
 
Canon M3/5+....4/54/5 Jul 2012 599i
9.
 
Canon T4i4/5+ +..77/1004.5/54.5/5 Jun 2012 849i
10.
 
Canon T3..80/100..69/1004/54.5/5 Feb 2011 449i
11.
 
Canon T2i..+ +..77/1004/54.5/5 Feb 2010 699i
12.
 
Canon T1i..+ +..74/1004.5/54.5/5 Mar 2009 799i
13.
 
Fujifilm X704.5/5....76/1004.5/54.5/5 Jan 2016 799i
14.
 
Leica CL....4.2/5....4/5 Nov 2017 2,795 i
15.
 
Leica TL23.5/5..3/5..4/54/5 Jul 2017 1,950 i
16.
 
Leica T3/5......4/54/5 Apr 2014 1,850i
17.
 
Leica X23/5......3/54/5 May 2012 1,995i
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. Hence, a score should always be seen in the context of the camera's market launch date and its price, and comparisons of ratings among very different cameras or across long time periods have little meaning. Also, please note that some of the review sites have changed their methodology and reporting over time.

Canon T3i:
Check Ebay offers
Leica TL:
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 T3i vs Leica TL

    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 T3i Leica TL
    Camera Type Digital single lens reflex Mirrorless system camera
    Camera Lens Canon EF mount lenses Leica T mount lenses
    Launch Date February 2011 November 2016
    Launch Price USD 599 USD 1,695
    Sensor Specs Canon T3i Leica TL
    Sensor Technology CMOS CMOS
    Sensor Format APS-C Sensor APS-C Sensor
    Sensor Size 22.3 x 14.9 mm 23.6 x 15.7 mm
    Sensor Area 332.27 mm2 370.52 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 26.8 mm 28.3 mm
    Crop Factor 1.6x 1.5x
    Sensor Resolution 17.9 Megapixels 16.1 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 5184 x 3456 pixels 4928 x 3264 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 4.31 μm 4.80 μm
    Pixel Density 5.39 MP/cm2 4.34 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter no AA filter
    Movie Capability 1080/30p Video 1080/30p Video
    ISO Setting 100 - 6,400 ISO 100 - 12,500 ISO
    ISO Boost 100 - 12,800 ISO no Enhancement
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) 65 ..
    DXO Color Depth (bits) 22.1 ..
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) 11.5 ..
    DXO Low Light (ISO) 793 ..
    Screen Specs Canon T3i Leica TL
    Viewfinder Type Optical viewfinder Viewfinder optional
    Viewfinder Field of View 95%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.53x
    LCD Framing Live View Live View
    Rear LCD Size 3.0inch 3.7inch
    LCD Resolution 1040k dots 1230k dots
    LCD Attachment Swivel screen Fixed screen
    Touch Input no Touchscreen Touchscreen
    Shooting Specs Canon T3i Leica TL
    Focus System Phase-detect AF Contrast-detect AF
    Continuous Shooting 3.7 shutter flaps/s 5 shutter flaps/s
    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 no no
    Connectivity Specs Canon T3i Leica TL
    External Flash Hotshoe Hotshoe
    USB Connector USB 2.0 USB 2.0
    HDMI Port mini HDMI micro HDMI
    Microphone Port External MIC port no MIC socket
    Wifi Support no Wifi Wifi built-in
    Body Specs Canon T3i Leica TL
    Battery Type LP-E8 BP-DC13
    Battery Life (CIPA)440 shots per charge400 shots per charge
    In-Camera Charging no USB charging USB charging
    Body Dimensions 133 x 100 x 80 mm
    (5.2 x 3.9 x 3.1 in)
    134 x 69 x 33 mm
    (5.3 x 2.7 x 1.3 in)
    Camera Weight 570 g (20.1 oz) 384 g (13.5 oz)
    Canon T3i:
    Check Ebay offers
    Leica TL:
    Check Ebay offers

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