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Contax N Digital vs Fujifilm X10

The Contax N Digital and the Fujifilm X10 are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in February 2002 and September 2011. The N Digital is a DSLR, while the X10 is a fixed lens compact. The cameras are based on a full frame (N Digital) and a 2/3 (X10) sensor. The Contax has a resolution of 6.1 megapixels, whereas the Fujifilm provides 12 MP.

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

Headline Specifications
Contax N Digital versus Fujifilm X10
Contax N Digital Fujifilm X10
Digital single lens reflex Fixed lens compact camera
Contax N mount lenses 28-112mm f/2.0-2.8
6.1 MP, Full Frame Sensor 12 MP, Two Thirds Sensor
no Video 1080/30p Video
ISO 50-1,600 ISO 100-3,200 (100 - 12,800)
Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
2.0 LCD, 200k dots 2.8 LCD, 460k dots
Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive) Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)
4 shutter flaps per second 10 shutter flaps per second
100 shots per battery charge270 shots per battery charge
152 x 138 x 80 mm, 990 g 117 x 70 x 57 mm, 350 g

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Contax N Digital and the Fujifilm X10? 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 Contax N Digital and the Fujifilm X10 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 X10 can be obtained in two different colors (black, silver), while the N Digital is only available in black.

Size Contax N Digital vs Fujifilm X10
Compare N Digital versus X10 top
Comparison N Digital or X10 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Fujifilm X10 is considerably smaller (61 percent) than the Contax N Digital. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the N Digital nor the X10 are weather-sealed.

The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the X10 has a lens built in, whereas the N Digital is an interchangeable lens camera that requires a separate lens. Attaching the latter will add extra weight and bulk to the setup.

As can be seen in the images above, the N Digital has a battery grip built in. This facilitates image-taking in portrait orientation and gives it additional battery power.

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, you can 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
Weather
Sealing
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
1.
 
Contax N Digital 152 mm 138 mm 80 mm 990 g 100 n Feb 2002 7,399 i
2.
 
Fujifilm X10 117 mm 70 mm 57 mm 350 g 270 n Sep 2011 599 i
3.
 
Canon G16 109 mm 76 mm 40 mm 356 g 360 n Aug 2013 549 i
4.
 
Canon G15 107 mm 76 mm 40 mm 352 g 350 n Sep 2012 499 i
5.
 
Canon G12 112 mm 76 mm 48 mm 401 g 370 n Sep 2010 499 i
6.
 
Canon 10D 150 mm 107 mm 75 mm 850 g 500 n Feb 2003 1,999 i
7.
 
Canon Rebel 142 mm 99 mm 72 mm 649 g 400 n Aug 2003 899 i
8.
 
Canon 1Ds 156 mm 158 mm 80 mm 1265 g 600 Y Sep 2002 8,999 i
9.
 
Canon D60 150 mm 107 mm 75 mm 855 g 620 n Feb 2002 2,999 i
10.
 
Fujifilm X20 117 mm 70 mm 57 mm 353 g 270 n Jan 2013 599 i
11.
 
Leica M10-P 139 mm 80 mm 39 mm 660 g 210 Y Aug 2018 7,995 i
12.
 
Leica M10 139 mm 80 mm 39 mm 660 g 210 Y Jan 2017 6,595 i
13.
 
Leica SL 147 mm 104 mm 39 mm 847 g 400 Y Oct 2015 7,450 i
14.
 
Leica M9 139 mm 80 mm 37 mm 585 g .. n Sep 2009 7,999 i
15.
 
Nikon D100 144 mm 116 mm 81 mm 780 g 370 n Feb 2002 1,999 i
16.
 
Nikon D1X 157 mm 153 mm 85 mm 1100 g 1200 Y Feb 2001 5,999 i
17.
 
Panasonic LX7 111 mm 68 mm 46 mm 298 g 330 n Jul 2012 499 i
Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.

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 X10 was launched at a lower price than the N Digital, 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 more expensive and lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.

Of the two cameras under consideration, the Contax N Digital features a full frame sensor and the Fujifilm X10 a 2/3 sensor. The sensor area in the X10 is 93 percent smaller. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 1.0 and 3.9. The sensor in the N Digital has a native 3:2 aspect ratio, while the one in the X10 offers a 4:3 aspect.

Contax N Digital and Fujifilm X10 sensor measures

Despite having a smaller sensor, the X10 offers a higher resolution of 12 megapixels, compared with 6.1 MP of the N Digital. 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 2.20μm versus 11.90μm for the N Digital). However, it should be noted that the X10 is much more recent (by 9 years and 6 months) than the N Digital, 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 X10 has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.

The resolution advantage of the Fujifilm X10 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the X10 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 20 x 15 inches or 50.8 x 38.1 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 16 x 12 inches or 40.6 x 30.5 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 13.3 x 10 inches or 33.9 x 25.4 cm. The corresponding values for the Contax N Digital are 15.2 x 10 inches or 38.6 x 25.5 cm for good quality, 12.2 x 8 inches or 30.9 x 20.4 cm for very good quality, and 10.1 x 6.7 inches or 25.7 x 17 cm for excellent quality prints.

The Contax N Digital has a native sensitivity range from ISO 50 to ISO 1600. The corresponding ISO settings for the Fujifilm X10 are ISO 100 to ISO 3200, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 100-12800.

N Digital versus X10 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
1.
 
Contax N Digital Full Frame 6.1 3040 2008none...... ..
2.
 
Fujifilm X10 2/3 12.0 4000 30001080/30p20.511.3245 50
3.
 
Canon G16 1/1.7 12.0 4000 30001080/60p21.011.7230 54
4.
 
Canon G15 1/1.7 12.0 4000 30001080/24p19.911.5165 46
5.
 
Canon G12 1/1.7 10.0 3648 2736720/24p20.411.2161 47
6.
 
Canon 10D APS-C 6.3 3072 2048none21.110.9571 57
7.
 
Canon Rebel APS-C 6.3 3072 2048none21.010.8544 55
8.
 
Canon 1Ds Full Frame 11.0 4064 2704none21.811.0954 63
9.
 
Canon D60 APS-C 6.3 3072 2048none...... ..
10.
 
Fujifilm X20 2/3 12.0 4000 30001080/60p...... ..
11.
 
Leica M10-P Full Frame 23.8 5952 3992none...... ..
12.
 
Leica M10 Full Frame 23.8 5952 3992none24.413.22133 86
13.
 
Leica SL Full Frame 24.0 6000 40004K/30p25.013.41821 88
14.
 
Leica M9 Full Frame 18.1 5212 3472none22.511.7884 69
15.
 
Nikon D100 APS-C 6.0 3008 2000none...... ..
16.
 
Nikon D1X APS-C 5.9 3008 1960none...... ..
17.
 
Panasonic LX7 1/1.7 10.0 3648 27361080/60p20.711.7147 50

Many modern cameras cannot only take still pictures, but also record videos. The X10 indeed provides for movie recording, while the N Digital does not. The highest resolution format that the X10 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 N Digital and the X10 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 adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Contax N Digital and Fujifilm X10 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.
 
Contax N Digitaloptical Y 2.0 200 fixed n 1/8000s 4.0 n n
2.
 
Fujifilm X10optical n 2.8 460 fixed n 1/4000s 10.0 Y Y
3.
 
Canon G16optical n 3.0 922 fixed n 1/4000s 2.2 Y Y
4.
 
Canon G15optical n 3.0 922 fixed n 1/4000s 2.1 Y Y
5.
 
Canon G12optical n 2.8 461 swivel n 1/4000s 1.1 Y Y
6.
 
Canon 10Doptical Y 1.8 118 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
7.
 
Canon Rebeloptical n 1.8 118 fixed n 1/4000s 2.5 Y n
8.
 
Canon 1Dsoptical Y 2.0 120 fixed n 1/8000s 3.0 n n
9.
 
Canon D60optical Y 1.8 114 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
10.
 
Fujifilm X20optical n 2.8 460 fixed n 1/4000s 12.0 Y Y
11.
 
Leica M10-Poptical n 3.0 1037 fixed Y 1/4000s 5.0 n n
12.
 
Leica M10optical n 3.0 1037 fixed n 1/4000s 5.0 n n
13.
 
Leica SL4400 Y 3.0 1040 fixed Y 1/8000s 11.0 n n
14.
 
Leica M9optical n 2.5 230 fixed n 1/4000s 2.0 n n
15.
 
Nikon D100optical Y 1.8 118 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
16.
 
Nikon D1Xoptical Y 2.0 120 fixed n 1/16000s 3.0 n n
17.
 
Panasonic LX7optional n 3.0 920 fixed n 1/4000s 11.0 Y Y

One feature that is present on the N Digital, but is missing on the X10 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 N Digital writes its imaging data to Compact Flash cards, while the X10 uses SDXC 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 Contax N Digital and Fujifilm X10 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.
 
Contax N DigitalY-----FW---
2.
 
Fujifilm X10Ystereomono--mini2.0---
3.
 
Canon G16Ystereomono--mini2.0Y--
4.
 
Canon G15Ystereomono--mini2.0---
5.
 
Canon G12Ystereomono--mini2.0---
6.
 
Canon 10DY-----1.1---
7.
 
Canon RebelY-----1.1---
8.
 
Canon 1DsY-----FW---
9.
 
Canon D60Y-----1.1---
10.
 
Fujifilm X20Ystereomono--micro2.0---
11.
 
Leica M10-PY------Y--
12.
 
Leica M10Y------Y--
13.
 
Leica SLYstereomonoYYfull3.0Y--
14.
 
Leica M9Y-----2.0---
15.
 
Nikon D100Y-----1.1---
16.
 
Nikon D1XY-----FW---
17.
 
Panasonic LX7Ystereomono--mini2.0---

Studio photographers will appreciate that the Contax N Digital (unlike the X10) features a PC Sync socket, so that professional strobe lights can be controlled by the camera.

Both the N Digital and the X10 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The X10 was replaced by the Fujifilm X20, while the N Digital does not have a direct successor. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Contax and Fujifilm websites.

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Review summary

So what conclusions can be drawn? Is there a clear favorite between the Contax N Digital and the Fujifilm X10? Which camera is better? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.

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Arguments in favor of the Contax N Digital:

  • 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 setting verification: Features an LCD display on top to control shooting parameters.
  • Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/8000s vs 1/4000s) to freeze action.
  • More flexible: Can take a variety of interchangeable lenses, including specialty optics.
  • More portrait friendly: Features an integrated vertical grip for easier portrait shooting.
  • Better studio light control: Has a PC Sync socket to connect to professional strobe lights.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in February 2002).

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Advantages of the Fujifilm X10:

  • More detail: Has more megapixels (12 vs 6.1MP), which boosts linear resolution by 37%.
  • Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
  • Broader imaging potential: Can capture not only stills but also 1080/30p video.
  • Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (2.8" vs 2.0") for image review and settings control.
  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (460k vs 200k dots).
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (10 vs 4 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • Ready to shoot: Comes with an integrated lens, while the N Digital requires a separate lens.
  • More compact: Is smaller (117x70mm vs 152x138mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
  • Less heavy: Has a lower weight even though it has a lens built in (unlike the N Digital).
  • Longer lasting: Gets more shots (270 versus 100) out of a single battery charge.
  • Sharper images: Has stabilization technology built-in to reduce the impact of hand-shake.
  • Easier fill-in: Has a small integrated flash to brighten shadows of backlit subjects.
  • More affordable: Was introduced at a lower price, despite coming with a built-in lens.
  • More modern: Reflects 9 years and 6 months of technical progress since the N Digital launch.

If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the X10 emerges as the winner of the match-up (14 : 11 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.

N Digital 11:14 X10

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Contax N Digital and the Fujifilm X10 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best DSLR Camera and Best Travel-Zoom 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 says little about, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance of the N Digital and the X10 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 (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.
 
Contax N Digital.......... Feb 2002 7,399 i
2.
 
Fujifilm X10....76/1004/54.5/5 Sep 2011 599 i
3.
 
Canon G164/5+..4.5/54.5/5 Aug 2013 549 i
4.
 
Canon G154/5+76/1004.5/54.5/5 Sep 2012 499 i
5.
 
Canon G124/5+73/1004.5/54.5/5 Sep 2010 499 i
6.
 
Canon 10D....+ +.... Feb 2003 1,999 i
7.
 
Canon Rebel....+ +.... Aug 2003 899 i
8.
 
Canon 1Ds....+ +.... Sep 2002 8,999 i
9.
 
Canon D60....+ +o.. Feb 2002 2,999 i
10.
 
Fujifilm X204/5+ +77/1004.5/55/5 Jan 2013 599 i
11.
 
Leica M10-P........4/5 Aug 2018 7,995 i
12.
 
Leica M104.5/5....4/54.5/5 Jan 2017 6,595 i
13.
 
Leica SL4/5..84/1004.5/54/5 Oct 2015 7,450 i
14.
 
Leica M9......4.5/5.. Sep 2009 7,999 i
15.
 
Nikon D100....+ +o.. Feb 2002 1,999 i
16.
 
Nikon D1X....+ +.... Feb 2001 5,999 i
17.
 
Panasonic LX73/5+ +75/1004/54.5/5 Jul 2012 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.

Contax N Digital:
Check Ebay offers
Fujifilm X10:
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: Contax N Digital vs Fujifilm X10

    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 Contax N Digital Fujifilm X10
    Camera Type Digital single lens reflex Fixed lens compact camera
    Camera Lens Contax N mount lenses 28-112mm f/2.0-2.8
    Launch Date February 2002 September 2011
    Launch Price USD 7,399 USD 599
    Sensor Specs Contax N Digital Fujifilm X10
    Sensor Technology CCD CMOS
    Sensor Format Full Frame Sensor Two Thirds Sensor
    Sensor Size 36.0 x 24.0 mm 8.8 x 6.6 mm
    Sensor Area 864 mm2 58.08 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 43.3 mm 11 mm
    Crop Factor 1.0x 3.9x
    Sensor Resolution 6.1 Megapixels 12 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 3040 x 2008 pixels 4000 x 3000 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 11.90 μm 2.20 μm
    Pixel Density 0.71 MP/cm2 20.66 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter no AA filter
    Movie Capability no Video 1080/30p Video
    ISO Setting 50 - 1,600 ISO 100 - 3,200 ISO
    ISO Boost no Enhancement 100 - 12,800 ISO
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) .. 50
    DXO Color Depth (bits) .. 20.5
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) .. 11.3
    DXO Low Light (ISO) .. 245
    Screen Specs Contax N Digital Fujifilm X10
    Viewfinder Type Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 95% 85%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.73x
    Top-Level Screen Control Panel no Top Display
    LCD Framing Live View
    Rear LCD Size 2.0inch 2.8inch
    LCD Resolution 200k dots 460k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen Fixed screen
    Shooting Specs Contax N Digital Fujifilm X10
    Focus System Phase-detect AF Contrast-detect AF
    Continuous Shooting 4 shutter flaps/s 10 shutter flaps/s
    Fill Flash no On-Board Flash Build-in Flash
    Storage Medium CF cards SDXC cards
    Second Storage Option Single card slot Single card slot
    Connectivity Specs Contax N Digital Fujifilm X10
    External Flash Hotshoe Hotshoe
    Studio Flash PC Sync socket no PC Sync
    USB Connector Firewire USB 2.0
    HDMI Port no HDMI mini HDMI
    Wifi Support no Wifi no Wifi
    Body Specs Contax N Digital Fujifilm X10
    Battery Type 4xAA NP-50
    Battery Life (CIPA)100 shots per charge270 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 152 x 138 x 80 mm
    (6.0 x 5.4 x 3.1 in)
    117 x 70 x 57 mm
    (4.6 x 2.8 x 2.2 in)
    Camera Weight 990 g (34.9 oz) 350 g (12.3 oz)

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