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Canon T4i vs Nikon D40

The Canon EOS Rebel T4i (called Canon 650D in some regions) and the Nikon D40 are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in June 2012 and November 2006. Both are DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras that are equipped with an APS-C sensor. The Canon has a resolution of 17.9 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 T4i versus Nikon D40
Canon T4i Nikon D40
Digital single lens reflex Digital single lens reflex
Canon EF mount lenses Nikon F mount lenses
17.9 MP, APS-C Sensor 6 MP, APS-C Sensor
1080/30p Video no Video
ISO 100-12,800 (100 - 25,600) ISO 200-1,600 (200 - 3,200)
Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
3.0 LCD, 1040k dots 2.5 LCD, 230k dots
Swivel touchscreen Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)
5 shutter flaps per second 2.5 shutter flaps per second
440 shots per battery charge470 shots per battery charge
133 x 100 x 79 mm, 575 g 124 x 94 x 64 mm, 522 g

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Canon EOS Rebel T4i 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 T4i 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 width, height and depth dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

Size Canon T4i vs Nikon D40
Compare T4i versus D40 top
Comparison T4i 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 notably smaller (12 percent) than the Canon T4i. Moreover, the D40 is markedly lighter (9 percent) than the T4i. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the T4i nor the D40 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. Yet, since both cameras are based around an APS-C sensor, their respective lenses will tend to have similar dimensions and heft. You can compare the optics available for the two cameras in the Canon EF Lens Catalog (T4i) and the Nikon Lens Catalog (D40).

Concerning battery life, the T4i gets 440 shots out of its LP-E8 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 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 T4i 133 mm 100 mm 79 mm 575 g 440 n Jun 2012 849i
2.
 
Nikon D40 124 mm 94 mm 64 mm 522 g 470 n Nov 2006 499i
3.
 
Canon T6s 132 mm 101 mm 78 mm 565 g 440 n Feb 2015 649i
4.
 
Canon T5 130 mm 100 mm 78 mm 480 g 500 n Feb 2014 449i
5.
 
Canon T5i 133 mm 100 mm 79 mm 580 g 440 n Mar 2013 649i
6.
 
Canon T3i 133 mm 100 mm 80 mm 570 g 440 n Feb 2011 599i
7.
 
Canon T2i 129 mm 98 mm 62 mm 530 g 440 n Feb 2010 699i
8.
 
Canon T1i 129 mm 98 mm 62 mm 520 g 400 n Mar 2009 799i
9.
 
Canon XSi 129 mm 98 mm 62 mm 524 g 500 n Jan 2008 799i
10.
 
Canon XTi 127 mm 84 mm 65 mm 556 g 370 n Aug 2006 799i
11.
 
Canon XT 127 mm 94 mm 64 mm 540 g 400 n Feb 2005 899i
12.
 
Canon Rebel 142 mm 99 mm 72 mm 649 g 400 n Aug 2003 899i
13.
 
Nikon D3100 124 mm 96 mm 75 mm 505 g 550 n Aug 2010 599i
14.
 
Nikon D3000 126 mm 97 mm 64 mm 536 g 500 n Jul 2009 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.
 
Nikon D70s 140 mm 111 mm 78 mm 679 g 500 n Apr 2005 899i
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 D40 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 41 percent) than the T4i, 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. 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 tend to have larger individual pixels that provide better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and richer color-depth than smaller pixel-units 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.

Both cameras under consideration feature an APS-C sensor, but their sensors differ slightly in size. The sensor area in the D40 is 11 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have format factors, respectively, of 1.6 (T4i) and 1.5. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.

Canon T4i and Nikon D40 sensor measures

Despite having a smaller sensor, the Canon T4i offers a higher resolution of 17.9 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 4.31μm versus 7.85μm for the D40). However, it should be noted that the T4i is much more recent (by 5 years and 6 months) than the D40, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that make it possible to gather light more efficiently.

The resolution advantage of the Canon T4i implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the T4i 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 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 T4i has on-sensor phase detect pixels, which results in fast and reliable autofocus acquisition even during live view operation.

The Canon EOS Rebel T4i has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 12800, which can be extended to ISO 100-25600. 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.

T4i versus D40 MP

Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for many cameras. 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"). Of the two cameras under review, the T4i has a notably higher overall DXO score than the D40 (overall score 6 points higher), which gives it an advantage in terms of imaging quality. This advantage is based on 0.7 bits higher color depth, 0.2 EV in additional dynamic range, and 0.4 stops in additional low light sensitivity. The table below summarizes the physical sensor characteristics and sensor quality findings and compares them across a set of similar 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 T4i APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p21.711.272262
2.
 
Nikon D40 APS-C 6.0 3008 2000none21.011.056156
3.
 
Canon T6s APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/30p22.612.091570
4.
 
Canon T5 APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p21.911.372463
5.
 
Canon T5i APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p21.711.268161
6.
 
Canon T3i APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p22.111.579365
7.
 
Canon T2i APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p22.111.578466
8.
 
Canon T1i APS-C 15.1 4752 31681080/20p21.711.566363
9.
 
Canon XSi APS-C 12.2 4272 2848none21.910.869261
10.
 
Canon XTi APS-C 10.1 3888 2592none22.111.066462
11.
 
Canon XT APS-C 8.0 3456 2304none21.810.863760
12.
 
Canon Rebel APS-C 6.3 3072 2048none21.010.854455
13.
 
Nikon D3100 APS-C 14.2 4608 30721080/24p22.511.391967
14.
 
Nikon D3000 APS-C 10.0 3872 2592none22.311.156362
15.
 
Nikon D40X APS-C 10.0 3872 2592none22.411.451663
16.
 
Nikon D50 APS-C 6.0 3008 2000none20.910.856055
17.
 
Nikon D70s APS-C 6.0 3008 2000none20.410.352950

Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but also of capturing video footage. The T4i indeed provides movie recording capabilities, while the D40 does not. The highest resolution format that the T4i can use is 1080/30p.

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Feature comparison

Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The T4i and the D40 are similar in the sense that both have an optical viewfinder. The latter is useful for getting a clear image for framing even in brightly lit environments. The viewfinders of both cameras offer the same field of view (95%), as well as the same magnification (0.53x). The following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Canon T4i, the Nikon D40, and comparable cameras.

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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 T4ioptical n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 1/4000s 5.0 Y n
2.
 
Nikon D40optical n 2.5 230 fixed n 1/4000s 2.5 Y n
3.
 
Canon T6soptical Y 3.0 1040 swivel Y 1/4000s 5.0 Y n
4.
 
Canon T5optical n 3.0 460 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
5.
 
Canon T5ioptical n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 1/4000s 5.0 Y n
6.
 
Canon T3ioptical n 3.0 1040 swivel n 1/4000s 3.7 Y n
7.
 
Canon T2ioptical n 3.0 1040 fixed n 1/4000s 3.7 Y n
8.
 
Canon T1ioptical n 3.0 920 fixed n 1/4000s 3.4 Y n
9.
 
Canon XSioptical n 3.0 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.5 Y n
10.
 
Canon XTioptical n 2.5 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
11.
 
Canon XToptical n 1.8 115 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
12.
 
Canon Rebeloptical n 1.8 118 fixed n 1/4000s 2.5 Y n
13.
 
Nikon D3100optical n 3.0 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
14.
 
Nikon D3000optical n 3.0 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
15.
 
Nikon D40Xoptical n 2.5 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
16.
 
Nikon D50optical n 2.0 130 fixed n 1/4000s 2.5 Y n
17.
 
Nikon D70soptical n 2.0 130 fixed n 1/8000s 3.0 Y n

One differentiating feature between the two cameras concerns the touch sensitivity of the rear screen. The T4i has a touchscreen, while the D40 has a conventional panel. Touch control can be particularly helpful, for example, for setting the focus point.

The T4i 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 D40 does not have a selfie-screen.

The T4i writes its imaging data to SDXC cards, while the D40 uses SDHC cards. The T4i supports UHS-I cards (Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 104 MB/s), while the D40 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 EOS Rebel T4i 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
Microphone
Internal
Speaker
Microphone
Port
Headphone
Port
HDMI
Port
USB
Port
WiFi
Support
NFC
Support
Bluetooth
Support
1.
 
Canon T4iYstereomonoY-mini2.0---
2.
 
Nikon D40Y-----2.0---
3.
 
Canon T6sYstereomonoY-mini2.0YY-
4.
 
Canon T5Ymonomono--mini2.0---
5.
 
Canon T5iYstereomonoY-mini2.0---
6.
 
Canon T3iYmonomonoY-mini2.0---
7.
 
Canon T2iYstereo-Y-mini2.0---
8.
 
Canon T1iYmonomono--mini2.0---
9.
 
Canon XSiY----mini2.0---
10.
 
Canon XTiY-----2.0---
11.
 
Canon XTY-----2.0---
12.
 
Canon RebelY-----1.1---
13.
 
Nikon D3100Ymonomono--mini2.0---
14.
 
Nikon D3000Y-----2.0---
15.
 
Nikon D40XY-----2.0---
16.
 
Nikon D50Y-----2.0---
17.
 
Nikon D70sY-----2.0---

Both the T4i and the D40 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The D40 was replaced by the Nikon D40X, while the T4i was followed by the Canon T5i. 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? Is there a clear favorite between the Canon T4i and the Nikon D40? Which camera is better? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.

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Arguments in favor of the Canon EOS Rebel T4i:

  • More detail: Offers more megapixels (17.9 vs 6MP) with a 72% higher linear resolution.
  • Better image quality: Scores markedly higher (6 points) in the DXO overall assessment.
  • Better low-light sensitivity: Requires less light for good images (0.4 stops ISO advantage).
  • Broader imaging potential: Can record not only still images but also 1080/30p movies.
  • Better live-view autofocus: Features on-sensor phase-detection for more confident autofocus.
  • 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 (1040k vs 230k dots).
  • More flexible LCD: Has a swivel screen for odd-angle shots in portrait or landscape orientation.
  • Fewer buttons to press: Is equipped with a touch-sensitive rear screen to facilitate handling.
  • More selfie-friendly: Has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (5 vs 2.5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • Faster buffer clearing: Has an SD card interface that supports the UHS-I standard.
  • More modern: Reflects 5 years and 6 months of technical progress since the D40 launch.

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Reasons to prefer the Nikon D40:

  • More compact: Is smaller (124x94mm vs 133x100mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
  • More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (41 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More heavily discounted: Has been around for much longer (launched in November 2006).

If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the T4i is the clear winner of the match-up (13 : 3 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 sports photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a street photog, and a person interested in family portraits has distinct needs from a landscape shooter. Hence, the decision which camera is best and worth buying is often a very personal one.

T4i 13:03 D40

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Canon T4i and the Nikon D40 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best DSLR 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 partial and cannot reveal, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance when actually working with the T4i or the D40. 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 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 T4i4/5+ +77/1004.5/54.5/5 Jun 2012 849i
2.
 
Nikon D40..81/100+ +o4.5/5 Nov 2006 499i
3.
 
Canon T6s5/5+77/1004.5/54.5/5 Feb 2015 649i
4.
 
Canon T53/5+..4/54.5/5 Feb 2014 449i
5.
 
Canon T5i....76/1004.5/54.5/5 Mar 2013 649i
6.
 
Canon T3i3/5o77/1004.5/54.5/5 Feb 2011 599i
7.
 
Canon T2i..+ +77/1004/54.5/5 Feb 2010 699i
8.
 
Canon T1i..+ +74/1004.5/54.5/5 Mar 2009 799i
9.
 
Canon XSi..+ ++ +4/54.5/5 Jan 2008 799i
10.
 
Canon XTi..+ ++ +o4/5 Aug 2006 799i
11.
 
Canon XT..80/100+ +o.. Feb 2005 899i
12.
 
Canon Rebel....+ +.... Aug 2003 899i
13.
 
Nikon D31005/5+ +72/1004.5/54.5/5 Aug 2010 599i
14.
 
Nikon D3000..+72/1004/54.5/5 Jul 2009 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.
 
Nikon D70s........5/5 Apr 2005 899i
Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.

The above review scores should be interpreted with care, though. The assessments were made in relation to similar cameras of the same technological generation. 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. It should also be noted that some of the review sites have over time altered the way they render their verdicts.

Canon T4i:
Check Ebay offers
Nikon D40:
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 make a corresponding selection in the search boxes below. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting.

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    Specifications: Canon T4i 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 T4i Nikon D40
    Camera Type Digital single lens reflex Digital single lens reflex
    Camera Lens Canon EF mount lenses Nikon F mount lenses
    Launch Date June 2012 November 2006
    Launch Price USD 849 USD 499
    Sensor Specs Canon T4i Nikon D40
    Sensor Technology CMOS CCD
    Sensor Format APS-C Sensor APS-C Sensor
    Sensor Size 22.3 x 14.9 mm 23.7 x 15.6 mm
    Sensor Area 332.27 mm2 369.72 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 26.8 mm 28.4 mm
    Crop Factor 1.6x 1.5x
    Sensor Resolution 17.9 Megapixels 6 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 5184 x 3456 pixels 3008 x 2000 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 4.31 μm 7.85 μm
    Pixel Density 5.39 MP/cm2 1.63 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability 1080/30p Video no Video
    ISO Setting 100 - 12,800 ISO 200 - 1,600 ISO
    ISO Boost 100 - 25,600 ISO 200 - 3,200 ISO
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) 62 56
    DXO Color Depth (bits) 21.7 21.0
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) 11.2 11.0
    DXO Low Light (ISO) 722 561
    Screen Specs Canon T4i Nikon D40
    Viewfinder Type Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 95% 95%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.53x 0.53x
    LCD Framing Live View
    Rear LCD Size 3.0inch 2.5inch
    LCD Resolution 1040k dots 230k dots
    LCD Attachment Swivel screen Fixed screen
    Touch Input Touchscreen no Touchscreen
    Shooting Specs Canon T4i Nikon D40
    Focus System Phase-detect AF Phase-detect AF
    Continuous Shooting 5 shutter flaps/s 2.5 shutter flaps/s
    Shutter Life Expectancy100 000 actuations50 000 actuations
    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 UHS-I no
    Connectivity Specs Canon T4i Nikon D40
    External Flash Hotshoe Hotshoe
    USB Connector USB 2.0 USB 2.0
    HDMI Port mini HDMI no HDMI
    Microphone Port External MIC port no MIC socket
    Wifi Support no Wifi no Wifi
    Body Specs Canon T4i Nikon D40
    Battery Type LP-E8 EN-EL9
    Battery Life (CIPA)440 shots per charge470 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 133 x 100 x 79 mm
    (5.2 x 3.9 x 3.1 in)
    124 x 94 x 64 mm
    (4.9 x 3.7 x 2.5 in)
    Camera Weight 575 g (20.3 oz) 522 g (18.4 oz)

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