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Epson R-D1 vs Sony A6000

The Epson R-D1 and the Sony Alpha A6000 are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in March 2004 and February 2014. The R-D1 is a fixed lens compact, while the A6000 is a rangefinder-style mirrorless. Both cameras are equipped with an APS-C sensor. The Epson has a resolution of 6 megapixels, whereas the Sony provides 24 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 Sony A6000
Epson R-D1 Sony A6000
Rangefinder camera Mirrorless system camera
Leica M mount lenses Sony E mount lenses
6 MP, APS-C Sensor 24 MP, APS-C Sensor
no Video 1080/60p Video
ISO 200-1,600 ISO 100-25,600 (100 - 51,200)
Optical viewfinder Electronic viewfinder (1440k dots)
2.0 LCD, 235k dots 3.0 LCD, 922k dots
Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive) Tilting screen (not touch-sensitive)
1 shutter flaps per second 11 shutter flaps per second
142 x 89 x 40 mm, 620 g 120 x 67 x 45 mm, 344 g

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Epson R-D1 and the Sony Alpha A6000? 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 Epson R-D1 and the Sony A6000 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 width, height and depth measures are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

The A6000 can be obtained in three different colors (black, silver, white), while the R-D1 is only available in black.

Size Epson R-D1 vs Sony A6000
Compare R-D1 versus A6000 top
Comparison R-D1 or A6000 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Sony A6000 is considerably smaller (36 percent) than the Epson R-D1. Moreover, the A6000 is substantially lighter (45 percent) than the R-D1. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the R-D1 nor the A6000 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. Both cameras have similarly sized sensors, but DSLRs have a larger flange-to-focal plane distance than mirrorless cameras, which imposes contraints on the optical engineering process and generally leads to bigger and heavier lenses. You can compare the optics available for the two cameras in the Leica M Lens Catalog (R-D1) and the Sony E-Mount Lens Catalog (A6000).

The power pack in the A6000 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 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
 
Epson R-D1 5.6 in 3.5 in 1.6 in 21.9 oz .. n Mar 2004 2,999i
 
Sony A6000 4.7 in 2.6 in 1.8 in 12.1 oz 360 n Feb 2014 599i
 
Canon Rebel 5.6 in 3.9 in 2.8 in 22.9 oz 400 n Aug 2003 899i
 
Leica CL 5.2 in 3.1 in 1.8 in 14.2 oz 220 n Nov 2017 2,795 i
 
Leica M10 5.5 in 3.1 in 1.5 in 23.3 oz 210 Y Jan 2017 6,595 i
 
Leica X-U Typ 113 5.5 in 3.1 in 3.5 in 22.4 oz 450 Y Jan 2016 2,950i
 
Leica X Vario 5.2 in 2.9 in 3.7 in 24.0 oz 450 n Jun 2013 2,850i
 
Leica M9 5.5 in 3.1 in 1.5 in 20.6 oz .. n Sep 2009 7,999i
 
Nikon D40 4.9 in 3.7 in 2.5 in 18.4 oz 470 n Nov 2006 499i
 
Nikon D50 5.2 in 4.0 in 3.0 in 21.9 oz 400 n Apr 2005 749i
 
Nikon D70s 5.5 in 4.4 in 3.1 in 24.0 oz 500 n Apr 2005 899i
 
Nikon D70 5.5 in 4.4 in 3.1 in 24.0 oz 400 n Jan 2004 999i
 
Sony A6300 4.7 in 2.6 in 1.9 in 14.3 oz 400 Y Feb 2016 999i
 
Sony A5000 4.3 in 2.5 in 1.4 in 9.5 oz 420 n Jan 2014 449i
 
Sony A5100 4.3 in 2.5 in 1.4 in 10.0 oz 400 n Aug 2014 549 i
 
Sony A3000 5.0 in 3.6 in 3.3 in 14.5 oz 470 n Aug 2013 329i
 
Sony NEX-3 4.6 in 2.4 in 1.3 in 10.5 oz 330 n May 2010 599i
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 manufacturer’s suggested retail prices give an idea on the placement of the camera in the maker’s lineup and the broader market. The A6000 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 80 percent) than the R-D1, 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 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. Further, a large sensor camera will give the photographer additional creative options when using shallow depth-of-field to isolate a subject from its 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 A6000 is 1 percent smaller. They nevertheless have the same format factor of 1.5. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.

Epson R-D1 and Sony A6000 sensor measures

Despite having a slightly smaller sensor, the A6000 offers a higher resolution of 24 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 3.91μm versus 7.85μm for the R-D1). However, it should be noted that the A6000 is much more recent (by 9 years and 11 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.

The resolution advantage of the Sony A6000 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the A6000 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 30 x 20 inches or 76.2 x 50.8 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 24 x 16 inches or 61 x 40.6 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 20 x 13.3 inches or 50.8 x 33.9 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 A6000 has on-sensor phase detect pixels, which results in fast and reliable autofocus acquisition even during live view operation.

The Epson R-D1 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 200 to ISO 1600. The corresponding ISO settings for the Sony Alpha A6000 are ISO 100 to ISO 25600, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 100-51200.

R-D1 versus A6000 MP

Since 2007, DXO Mark has published sensor performance measurements that have been derived using a consistent methodology. 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
 
Epson R-D1 APS-C 6.0 3008 2000none........
 
Sony A6000 APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.113.1134782
 
Canon Rebel APS-C 6.3 3072 2048none21.010.854455
 
Leica CL APS-C 24.1 6014 40144K/30p........
 
Leica M10 Full Frame 23.8 5952 3992none24.413.2213386
 
Leica X-U Typ 113 APS-C 16.1 4928 32641080/30p........
 
Leica X Vario APS-C 16.1 4928 32721080/30p23.412.7132078
 
Leica M9 Full Frame 18.1 5212 3472none22.511.788469
 
Nikon D40 APS-C 6.0 3008 2000none21.011.056156
 
Nikon D50 APS-C 6.0 3008 2000none20.910.856055
 
Nikon D70s APS-C 6.0 3008 2000none20.410.352950
 
Nikon D70 APS-C 6.0 3008 2000none20.410.352950
 
Sony A6300 APS-C 24.0 6000 40004K/30p24.413.7143785
 
Sony A5000 APS-C 19.8 5456 36321080/60i23.813.0108979
 
Sony A5100 APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p23.812.7134780
 
Sony A3000 APS-C 19.8 5456 36321080/60i23.712.8106878
 
Sony NEX-3 APS-C 14.0 4592 3056720/30p22.112.083068

Many modern cameras cannot only take still pictures, but also record videos. The A6000 indeed provides for movie recording, while the R-D1 does not. The highest resolution format that the A6000 can use is 1080/60p.

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Feature comparison

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. For example, the A6000 has an electronic viewfinder (1440k dots), while the R-D1 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 table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Epson R-D1 and Sony A6000 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
 
Epson R-D1optical n 2.0 235 fixed n 1/2000s 1.0 n n
 
Sony A60001440 n 3.0 922 tilting n 1/4000s 11.0 Y n
 
Canon Rebeloptical n 1.8 118 fixed n 1/4000s 2.5 Y n
 
Leica CL2360 Y 3.0 1040 fixed Y 1/8000s 10.0 n n
 
Leica M10optical n 3.0 1037 fixed n 1/4000s 5.0 n n
 
Leica X-U Typ 113optional n 3.0 920 fixed n 1/2000s 5.0 Y n
 
Leica X Variooptional n 3.0 920 fixed n 1/2000s 5.0 Y n
 
Leica M9optical n 2.5 230 fixed n 1/4000s 2.0 n n
 
Nikon D40optical n 2.5 230 fixed n 1/4000s 2.5 Y n
 
Nikon D50optical n 2.0 130 fixed n 1/4000s 2.5 Y n
 
Nikon D70soptical n 2.0 130 fixed n 1/8000s 3.0 Y n
 
Nikon D70optical n 1.8 130 fixed n 1/8000s 3.0 Y n
 
Sony A63002359 n 3.0 922 tilting n 1/4000s 11.0 Y n
 
Sony A5000none n 3.0 461 tilting n 1/4000s 3.5 Y n
 
Sony A5100none n 3.0 922 tilting Y 1/4000s 6.0 Y n
 
Sony A3000202 n 3.0 230 fixed n 1/4000s 2.5 Y n
 
Sony NEX-3optional n 3.0 920 tilting n 1/4000s 7.0 n n

One difference between the cameras concerns the presence of an on-board flash. The A6000 has one, while the R-D1 does not. While the built-in flash of the A6000 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 A6000 uses SDXC or Memory Stick PRO Duo cards. The A6000 supports UHS-I cards (Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 104 MB/s), while the R-D1 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 Epson R-D1 and Sony Alpha A6000 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
 
Epson R-D1Y---------
 
Sony A6000Ystereomono--micro2.0YY-
 
Canon RebelY-----1.1---
 
Leica CLYstereomono----Y--
 
Leica M10Y------Y--
 
Leica X-U Typ 113Ystereomono---2.0---
 
Leica X VarioYstereomono--mini2.0---
 
Leica M9Y-----2.0---
 
Nikon D40Y-----2.0---
 
Nikon D50Y-----2.0---
 
Nikon D70sY-----2.0---
 
Nikon D70Y-----1.0---
 
Sony A6300YstereomonoY-micro2.0YY-
 
Sony A5000-stereomono--micro2.0YY-
 
Sony A5100-stereomono--micro2.0YY-
 
Sony A3000Ystereomono--mini2.0---
 
Sony NEX-3Ystereomono--mini2.0---

It is notable that the A6000 offers wifi support, which can be a very convenient means to transfer image data to an off-camera location. In contrast, the R-D1 does not provide wifi capability.

Studio photographers will appreciate that the Epson R-D1 (unlike the A6000) features a PC Sync socket, so that professional strobe lights can be controlled by the camera.

Both the R-D1 and the A6000 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The A6000 was replaced by the Sony A6300, 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 Sony websites.

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Review summary

So what conclusions can be drawn? Which of the two cameras – the Epson R-D1 or the Sony A6000 – 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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Reasons to prefer the Epson R-D1:

  • Brighter framing: Features an optical viewfinder for clear, lag-free composition.
  • 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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Advantages of the Sony Alpha A6000:

  • More detail: Has more megapixels (24 vs 6MP), which boosts linear resolution by 100%.
  • Broader imaging potential: Can capture not only stills but also 1080/60p video.
  • Better live-view autofocus: Features on-sensor phase-detection for more confident autofocus.
  • More framing info: Has an electronic viewfinder that displays shooting data.
  • 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 (922k 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 (11 vs 1 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • More compact: Is smaller (120x67mm vs 142x89mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
  • Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 276g or 45 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
  • Easier travel charging: Can be conveniently charged via its USB port.
  • 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.
  • Faster buffer clearing: Has an SD card interface that supports the UHS-I standard.
  • More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (80 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More modern: Reflects 9 years and 11 months of technical progress since the R-D1 launch.

If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the A6000 is the clear winner of the contest (18 : 3 points). However, the pertinence of the various camera strengths will differ across photographers, so that you might want to weigh individual camera traits according to their importance for your own imaging needs before making a camera decision. A professional wildlife photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a family photog, and a person interested in architecture has distinct needs from a sports shooter. Hence, the decision which camera is best and worth buying is often a very personal one.

R-D1 03:18 A6000

In any case, while the comparison of technical specifications can provide a useful overview of the capabilities of different cameras, it remains partial and cannot reveal, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance when actually working with the R-D1 or the A6000. User reviews, such as those found at amazon, can sometimes inform about these issues, but such feedback is often incomplete, inconsistent, and biased.

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 (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
 
Epson R-D1.......... Mar 2004 2,999i
 
Sony A6000+80/1004.5/55/55/5 Feb 2014 599i
 
Canon Rebel..+ +..o.. Aug 2003 899i
 
Leica CL........4/5 Nov 2017 2,795 i
 
Leica M10....4/5..4.5/5 Jan 2017 6,595 i
 
Leica X-U Typ 113........3.5/5 Jan 2016 2,950i
 
Leica X Vario....4/54/54/5 Jun 2013 2,850i
 
Leica M9....4.5/54.5/5.. Sep 2009 7,999i
 
Nikon D4081/100+ +o5/54.5/5 Nov 2006 499i
 
Nikon D5078/100+ +4/5o4.5/5 Apr 2005 749i
 
Nikon D70s......o5/5 Apr 2005 899i
 
Nikon D70..+ +..o.. Jan 2004 999i
 
Sony A6300+85/1005/55/55/5 Feb 2016 999i
 
Sony A5000+..4.5/5o4.5/5 Jan 2014 449i
 
Sony A5100+..4.5/54.5/55/5 Aug 2014 549 i
 
Sony A3000+..4/54.5/54/5 Aug 2013 329i
 
Sony NEX-3..70/1004.5/55/54/5 May 2010 599i
Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.

The above review scores should be interpreted 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 rating-comparisons among cameras that span long time periods or concern very differently equipped models make little sense. 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
Sony A6000:
Check Ebay offers

Other camera comparisons

Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? In case you are interested in seeing how other cameras pair up, just make your choice using the following search menu. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting.

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    Specifications: Epson R-D1 vs Sony A6000

    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 Sony A6000
    Camera Type Rangefinder camera Mirrorless system camera
    Camera Lens Leica M mount lenses Sony E mount lenses
    Launch Date March 2004 February 2014
    Launch Price USD 2,999 USD 599
    Sensor Specs Epson R-D1 Sony A6000
    Sensor Technology CCD CMOS
    Sensor Format APS-C Sensor APS-C Sensor
    Sensor Size 23.7 x 15.6 mm 23.5 x 15.6 mm
    Sensor Area 369.72 mm2 366.6 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 28.4 mm 28.2 mm
    Crop Factor 1.5x 1.5x
    Sensor Resolution 6 Megapixels 24 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 3008 x 2000 pixels 6000 x 4000 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 7.85 μm 3.91 μm
    Pixel Density 1.63 MP/cm2 6.55 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability no Video 1080/60p Video
    ISO Setting 200 - 1,600 ISO 100 - 25,600 ISO
    ISO Boost no Enhancement 100 - 51,200 ISO
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) .. 82
    DXO Color Depth (bits) .. 24.1
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) .. 13.1
    DXO Low Light (ISO) .. 1347
    Screen Specs Epson R-D1 Sony A6000
    Viewfinder Type Optical viewfinder Electronic viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 100% 100%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.70x
    Viewfinder Resolution 1440k dots
    LCD Framing Live View
    Rear LCD Size 2.0inch 3.0inch
    LCD Resolution 235k dots 922k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen Tilting screen
    Shooting Specs Epson R-D1 Sony A6000
    Focus System Manual Focus On-Sensor Phase-detect
    Manual Focusing Aidno Peaking FeatureFocus Peaking
    Max Shutter Speed (mechanical) 1/2000s 1/4000s
    Continuous Shooting 1 shutter flaps/s 11 shutter flaps/s
    Fill Flash no On-Board Flash Build-in Flash
    Storage Medium SDHC cards MS or SDXC cards
    Second Storage Option Single card slot Single card slot
    UHS card support no UHS-I
    Connectivity Specs Epson R-D1 Sony A6000
    External Flash Hotshoe 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
    Body Specs Epson R-D1 Sony A6000
    Battery Type EU-85 NP-FW50
    In-Camera Charging no USB charging USB charging
    Body Dimensions 142 x 89 x 40 mm
    (5.6 x 3.5 x 1.6 in)
    120 x 67 x 45 mm
    (4.7 x 2.6 x 1.8 in)
    Camera Weight 620 g (21.9 oz) 344 g (12.1 oz)

    Did you notice an error on this page? If so, please get in touch, so that we can correct the information.

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