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Epson R-D1 vs Nikon B500

The Epson R-D1 and the Nikon Coolpix B500 are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in March 2004 and January 2016. The R-D1 is a rangefinder-style mirrorless camera, while the B500 is a fixed lens compact. The cameras are based on an APS-C (R-D1) and a 1/2.3-inch (B500) sensor. The Epson has a resolution of 6 megapixels, whereas the Nikon provides 15.9 MP.

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

Headline Specifications
Epson R-D1
versus
Nikon B500
Epson R-D1 Nikon B500
Rangefinder camera Fixed lens compact camera
Leica M mount lenses 22.5-900mm f/3.0-6.5
6 MP, APS-C Sensor 15.9 MP, 1/2.3" Sensor
no Video 1080/60i Video
ISO 200-1,600 ISO 80-6,400
Optical viewfinder No viewfinder, LCD framing
2.0 LCD, 235k dots 3.0 LCD, 921k dots
Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive) Tilting screen (not touch-sensitive)
1 shutter flaps per second 7.4 shutter flaps per second
142 x 89 x 40 mm, 620 g 114 x 78 x 95 mm, 541 g

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Epson R-D1 and the Nikon Coolpix B500? 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 Epson R-D1 and the Nikon B500. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three successive views from the front, the top, and the rear are shown. All width, height and depth measures are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

The B500 can be obtained in two different colors (black, red), while the R-D1 is only available in black.

Size Epson R-D1 vs Nikon B500
Compare R-D1 versus B500 top
Comparison R-D1 or B500 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Nikon B500 is notably smaller (30 percent) than the Epson R-D1. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the R-D1 nor the B500 are weather-sealed.

The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the B500 has a lens built in, whereas the R-D1 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 R-D1 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 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.
 
Epson R-D1 142 mm 89 mm 40 mm 620 g .. n Mar 2004 2,999 i
2.
 
Nikon B500 114 mm 78 mm 95 mm 541 g 600 n Jan 2016 299 i
3.
 
Canon Rebel 142 mm 99 mm 72 mm 649 g 400 n Aug 2003 899 i
4.
 
Leica CL 131 mm 78 mm 45 mm 403 g 220 n Nov 2017 2,795 i
5.
 
Leica M10 139 mm 80 mm 39 mm 660 g 210 Y Jan 2017 6,595 i
6.
 
Leica X-U Typ 113 140 mm 79 mm 88 mm 635 g 450 Y Jan 2016 2,950 i
7.
 
Leica X Vario 133 mm 73 mm 95 mm 680 g 450 n Jun 2013 2,850 i
8.
 
Leica M9 139 mm 80 mm 37 mm 585 g .. n Sep 2009 7,999 i
9.
 
Nikon B600 122 mm 82 mm 99 mm 500 g 280 n Jan 2019 349 i
10.
 
Nikon P900 140 mm 103 mm 137 mm 899 g 360 n Mar 2015 599 i
11.
 
Nikon L840 113 mm 78 mm 96 mm 538 g 590 n Feb 2015 299 i
12.
 
Nikon D40 124 mm 94 mm 64 mm 522 g 470 n Nov 2006 499 i
13.
 
Nikon D50 133 mm 102 mm 76 mm 620 g 400 n Apr 2005 749 i
14.
 
Nikon D70s 140 mm 111 mm 78 mm 679 g 500 n Apr 2005 899 i
15.
 
Nikon D70 140 mm 111 mm 78 mm 679 g 400 n Jan 2004 999 i
16.
 
Panasonic FZ80 130 mm 94 mm 119 mm 616 g 330 n Jan 2017 399 i
17.
 
Sony HX80 102 mm 58 mm 36 mm 245 g 390 n Mar 2016 349 i
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 B500 was launched at a lower price than the R-D1, 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.

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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. 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. 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 are more costly to manufacture and tend to lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.

Of the two cameras under consideration, the Epson R-D1 features an APS-C sensor and the Nikon B500 a 1/2.3-inch sensor. The sensor area in the B500 is 92 percent smaller. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 1.5 and 5.6. The sensor in the R-D1 has a native 3:2 aspect ratio, while the one in the B500 offers a 4:3 aspect.

Epson R-D1 and Nikon B500 sensor measures

Despite having a smaller sensor, the B500 offers a higher resolution of 15.9 megapixels, compared with 6 MP of the R-D1. 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 1.33μm versus 7.85μm for the R-D1). However, it should be noted that the B500 is much more recent (by 11 years and 10 months) than the R-D1, 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 B500 has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.

The resolution advantage of the Nikon B500 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the B500 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 23 x 17.3 inches or 58.5 x 43.9 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 18.4 x 13.8 inches or 46.8 x 35.1 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 15.4 x 11.5 inches or 39 x 29.3 cm. The corresponding values for the Epson R-D1 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 Epson R-D1 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 200 to ISO 1600. The corresponding ISO settings for the Nikon Coolpix B500 are ISO 80 to ISO 6400 (no boost).

R-D1 versus B500 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"). 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.
 
Epson R-D1 APS-C 6.0 3008 2000none...... ..
2.
 
Nikon B500 1/2.3 15.9 4608 34561080/60i...... ..
3.
 
Canon Rebel APS-C 6.3 3072 2048none21.010.8544 55
4.
 
Leica CL APS-C 24.1 6014 40144K/30p...... ..
5.
 
Leica M10 Full Frame 23.8 5952 3992none24.413.22133 86
6.
 
Leica X-U Typ 113 APS-C 16.1 4928 32641080/30p...... ..
7.
 
Leica X Vario APS-C 16.1 4928 32721080/30p23.412.71320 78
8.
 
Leica M9 Full Frame 18.1 5212 3472none22.511.7884 69
9.
 
Nikon B600 1/2.3 15.9 4608 34561080/30p...... ..
10.
 
Nikon P900 1/2.3 15.9 4608 34561080/60p...... ..
11.
 
Nikon L840 1/2.3 15.9 4608 34561080/60i...... ..
12.
 
Nikon D40 APS-C 6.0 3008 2000none21.011.0561 56
13.
 
Nikon D50 APS-C 6.0 3008 2000none20.910.8560 55
14.
 
Nikon D70s APS-C 6.0 3008 2000none20.410.3529 50
15.
 
Nikon D70 APS-C 6.0 3008 2000none20.410.3529 50
16.
 
Panasonic FZ80 1/2.3 18.0 4896 36724K/30p...... ..
17.
 
Sony HX80 1/2.3 18.0 4896 36721080/60p...... ..

Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but also of capturing video footage. The B500 indeed provides for movie recording, while the R-D1 does not. The highest resolution format that the B500 can use is 1080/60i.

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Feature comparison

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the R-D1 has an optical viewfinder, which can be very useful when shooting in bright sunlight. In contrast, the B500 relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. The table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Epson R-D1 and Nikon B500 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
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.
 
Epson R-D1optical n 2.0 235 fixed n 1/2000s 1.0 n n
2.
 
Nikon B500none n 3.0 921 tilting n 1/4000s 7.4 Y Y
3.
 
Canon Rebeloptical n 1.8 118 fixed n 1/4000s 2.5 Y n
4.
 
Leica CL2360 Y 3.0 1040 fixed Y 1/8000s 10.0 n n
5.
 
Leica M10optical n 3.0 1037 fixed n 1/4000s 5.0 n n
6.
 
Leica X-U Typ 113optional n 3.0 920 fixed n 1/2000s 5.0 Y n
7.
 
Leica X Variooptional n 3.0 920 fixed n 1/2000s 5.0 Y n
8.
 
Leica M9optical n 2.5 230 fixed n 1/4000s 2.0 n n
9.
 
Nikon B600none n 3.0 921 fixed n 1/4000s 7.4 Y Y
10.
 
Nikon P900921 n 3.0 921 swivel n 1/4000s 7.0 Y Y
11.
 
Nikon L840none n 3.0 921 tilting n 1/4000s 7.4 Y Y
12.
 
Nikon D40optical n 2.5 230 fixed n 1/4000s 2.5 Y n
13.
 
Nikon D50optical n 2.0 130 fixed n 1/4000s 2.5 Y n
14.
 
Nikon D70soptical n 2.0 130 fixed n 1/8000s 3.0 Y n
15.
 
Nikon D70optical n 1.8 130 fixed n 1/8000s 3.0 Y n
16.
 
Panasonic FZ801166 n 3.0 1040 fixed Y 1/2000s 10.0 Y Y
17.
 
Sony HX80638 n 3.0 922 tilting n 1/2000s 10.0 Y Y

One difference between the cameras concerns the presence of an on-board flash. The B500 has one, while the R-D1 does not. While the built-in flash of the B500 is not very powerful, it can at times be useful as a fill-in light.

The R-D1 writes its imaging data to SDHC cards, while the B500 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 Epson R-D1 and Nikon Coolpix B500 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.
 
Epson R-D1Y---------
2.
 
Nikon B500-stereomono--micro2.0YYY
3.
 
Canon RebelY-----1.1---
4.
 
Leica CLYstereomono----Y--
5.
 
Leica M10Y------Y--
6.
 
Leica X-U Typ 113Ystereomono---2.0---
7.
 
Leica X VarioYstereomono--mini2.0---
8.
 
Leica M9Y-----2.0---
9.
 
Nikon B600-stereomono--micro2.0Y-Y
10.
 
Nikon P900-stereomono--micro2.0YY-
11.
 
Nikon L840-stereomono--micro2.0YY-
12.
 
Nikon D40Y-----2.0---
13.
 
Nikon D50Y-----2.0---
14.
 
Nikon D70sY-----2.0---
15.
 
Nikon D70Y-----1.0---
16.
 
Panasonic FZ80Ystereomono--micro2.0Y--
17.
 
Sony HX80-stereomono--micro2.0YY-

It is notable that the R-D1 has a hotshoe, while the B500 does not. This socket makes it possible to easily attach optional accessories, such as an external flash gun.

Studio photographers will appreciate that the Epson R-D1 (unlike the B500) features a PC Sync socket, so that professional strobe lights can be controlled by the camera.

Both the R-D1 and the B500 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The B500 was replaced by the Nikon B600, while the R-D1 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 Epson and Nikon websites.

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Review summary

So what is the bottom line? Which of the two cameras – the Epson R-D1 or the Nikon B500 – has the upper hand? Is one clearly better than the other? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.

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Advantages of the Epson R-D1:

  • 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.
  • More flexible: Accepts interchangeable lenses, so that lens characteristics can be altered.
  • Better lighting: Features a hotshoe and can thus hold and trigger an external flash gun.
  • 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 March 2004).

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Reasons to prefer the Nikon Coolpix B500:

  • More detail: Has more megapixels (15.9 vs 6MP), which boosts linear resolution by 59%.
  • 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 1080/60i video.
  • Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.0" vs 2.0") for image review and settings control.
  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (921k vs 235k dots).
  • More flexible LCD: Has a tilting screen for odd-angle shots in landscape orientation.
  • Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/4000s vs 1/2000s) to freeze action.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (7.4 vs 1 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • Ready to shoot: Has an integrated lens, whereas the R-D1 necessitates an extra lens.
  • More compact: Is smaller (114x78mm vs 142x89mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
  • Less heavy: Has a lower weight even though it has a lens built in (unlike the R-D1).
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Easier wireless transfer: Supports Bluetooth for image sharing without cables.
  • More affordable: Was introduced at a lower price, despite coming with a built-in lens.
  • More modern: Reflects 11 years and 10 months of technical progress since the R-D1 launch.

If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the B500 is the clear winner of the contest (18 : 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.

R-D1 10:18 B500

In any case, while the comparison of the spec-sheets of cameras can offer a general idea of their imaging potential, it says little about, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance of the R-D1 and the B500 in practical situations. 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 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.
 
Epson R-D1.......... Mar 2004 2,999 i
2.
 
Nikon B500..+..4/53.5/5 Jan 2016 299 i
3.
 
Canon Rebel....+ +.... Aug 2003 899 i
4.
 
Leica CL........4/5 Nov 2017 2,795 i
5.
 
Leica M104.5/5....4/54.5/5 Jan 2017 6,595 i
6.
 
Leica X-U Typ 1133.5/5......3.5/5 Jan 2016 2,950 i
7.
 
Leica X Vario3/5....4/54/5 Jun 2013 2,850 i
8.
 
Leica M9......4.5/5.. Sep 2009 7,999 i
9.
 
Nikon B600..+..3.5/53/5 Jan 2019 349 i
10.
 
Nikon P900....77/1004/54/5 Mar 2015 599 i
11.
 
Nikon L840..+ +..3.5/54/5 Feb 2015 299 i
12.
 
Nikon D40..81/100+ +o4.5/5 Nov 2006 499 i
13.
 
Nikon D50..78/100+ +4/54.5/5 Apr 2005 749 i
14.
 
Nikon D70s........5/5 Apr 2005 899 i
15.
 
Nikon D70....+ +.... Jan 2004 999 i
16.
 
Panasonic FZ80..+ +..4.5/54.5/5 Jan 2017 399 i
17.
 
Sony HX80.......... Mar 2016 349 i
Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.

Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, though. The ratings are only valid when referring to cameras in the same category and of the same age. A score, therefore, has to be seen in close connection to the price and market introduction time 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. Also, kindly note that some of the listed sites have over time developped their review approaches and their reporting style.

Epson R-D1:
Check Ebay offers
Nikon B500:
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: Epson R-D1 vs Nikon B500

    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 Epson R-D1 Nikon B500
    Camera Type Rangefinder camera Fixed lens compact camera
    Camera Lens Leica M mount lenses 22.5-900mm f/3.0-6.5
    Launch Date March 2004 January 2016
    Launch Price USD 2,999 USD 299
    Sensor Specs Epson R-D1 Nikon B500
    Sensor Technology CCD BSI-CMOS
    Sensor Format APS-C Sensor 1/2.3" Sensor
    Sensor Size 23.7 x 15.6 mm 6.17 x 4.55 mm
    Sensor Area 369.72 mm2 28.0735 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 28.4 mm 7.7 mm
    Crop Factor 1.5x 5.6x
    Sensor Resolution 6 Megapixels 15.9 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 3008 x 2000 pixels 4608 x 3456 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 7.85 μm 1.33 μm
    Pixel Density 1.63 MP/cm2 56.73 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter no AA filter
    Movie Capability no Video 1080/60i Video
    ISO Setting 200 - 1,600 ISO 80 - 6,400 ISO
    Screen Specs Epson R-D1 Nikon B500
    Viewfinder Type Optical viewfinder no viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 100%
    Viewfinder Magnification
    LCD Framing Live View
    Rear LCD Size 2.0inch 3.0inch
    LCD Resolution 235k dots 921k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen Tilting screen
    Shooting Specs Epson R-D1 Nikon B500
    Focus System Manual Focus Contrast-detect AF
    Continuous Shooting 1 shutter flaps/s 7.4 shutter flaps/s
    Fill Flash no On-Board Flash Built-in Flash
    Storage Medium SDHC cards SDXC cards
    Second Storage Option Single card slot Single card slot
    UHS card support no no
    Connectivity Specs Epson R-D1 Nikon B500
    External Flash Hotshoe no Hotshoe
    Studio Flash PC Sync socket no PC Sync
    USB Connector no USB USB 2.0
    HDMI Port no HDMI micro HDMI
    Wifi Support no Wifi Wifi built-in
    Near-Field Communication no NFC NFC built-in
    Bluetooth Support no Bluetooth Bluetooth built-in
    Body Specs Epson R-D1 Nikon B500
    Battery Type EU-85 4xAA
    Body Dimensions 142 x 89 x 40 mm
    (5.6 x 3.5 x 1.6 in)
    114 x 78 x 95 mm
    (4.5 x 3.1 x 3.7 in)
    Camera Weight 620 g (21.9 oz) 541 g (19.1 oz)

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