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Fujifilm XQ1 vs Leica M9

The Fujifilm XQ1 and the Leica M9 are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in October 2013 and September 2009. The XQ1 is a fixed lens compact, while the M9 is a rangefinder-style mirrorless. The cameras are based on a 2/3 (XQ1) and a full frame (M9) sensor. The Fujifilm has a resolution of 12 megapixels, whereas the Leica provides 18.1 MP.

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

Headline Specifications
Fujifilm XQ1 versus Leica M9
Fujifilm XQ1 Leica M9
Fixed lens compact camera Rangefinder camera
25-100mm f/1.8-4.9 Leica M mount lenses
12 MP, Two Thirds Sensor 18.1 MP, Full Frame Sensor
1080/60p Video no Video
ISO 100-12,800 ISO 80-2,500
No viewfinder, LCD framing Optical viewfinder
3.0 LCD, 920k dots 2.5 LCD, 230k dots
Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive) Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)
12 shutter flaps per second 2 shutter flaps per second
100 x 59 x 33 mm, 206 g 139 x 80 x 37 mm, 585 g

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Fujifilm XQ1 and the Leica M9? 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 Fujifilm XQ1 and the Leica M9 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.

Both cameras are available in two different colors (black, silver).

Size Fujifilm XQ1 vs Leica M9
Compare XQ1 versus M9 top
Comparison XQ1 or M9 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Leica M9 is considerably larger (88 percent) than the Fujifilm XQ1. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the XQ1 nor the M9 are weather-sealed.

The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the XQ1 has a lens built in, whereas the M9 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 M9 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. In case you want to display and compare another camera duo, you can use the CAM-parator app to select your camera combination among a large number of options.

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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.
 
Fujifilm XQ1 100 mm 59 mm 33 mm 206 g 240 n Oct 2013 499i
2.
 
Leica M9 139 mm 80 mm 37 mm 585 g .. n Sep 2009 7,999i
3.
 
Canon SX60 128 mm 93 mm 114 mm 650 g 340 n Sep 2014 549i
4.
 
Canon G16 109 mm 76 mm 40 mm 356 g 360 n Aug 2013 549 i
5.
 
Canon S120 100 mm 59 mm 29 mm 217 g 230 n Aug 2013 449i
6.
 
Canon 550D 129 mm 98 mm 62 mm 530 g 440 n Feb 2010 699i
7.
 
Fujifilm XQ2 100 mm 59 mm 33 mm 206 g 240 n Jan 2015 399 i
8.
 
Fujifilm X30 119 mm 72 mm 60 mm 423 g 470 n Aug 2014 599 i
9.
 
Fujifilm X20 117 mm 70 mm 57 mm 353 g 270 n Jan 2013 599i
10.
 
Leica M10 139 mm 80 mm 39 mm 660 g 210 Y Jan 2017 6,595 i
11.
 
Leica X Vario 133 mm 73 mm 95 mm 680 g 450 n Jun 2013 2,850i
12.
 
Leica M Typ 240 139 mm 80 mm 42 mm 680 g .. Y Sep 2012 6,950i
13.
 
Leica M8 139 mm 80 mm 37 mm 591 g .. n Sep 2006 5,499i
14.
 
Nikon P7800 119 mm 78 mm 50 mm 399 g 350 n Sep 2013 549i
15.
 
Panasonic LF1 103 mm 62 mm 28 mm 192 g 250 n Apr 2013 499 i
16.
 
Panasonic FZ200 125 mm 87 mm 110 mm 588 g 540 n Jul 2012 599i
17.
 
Panasonic LX7 111 mm 68 mm 46 mm 298 g 330 n Jul 2012 499i
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 retail prices at the time of the camera’s release place the model in the market relative to other models in the producer’s line-up and the competition. The XQ1 was launched at a lower price than the M9, 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 size of the sensor inside a digital camera is one of the key determinants 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. 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 associated with larger, more expensive camera bodies and lenses.

Of the two cameras under consideration, the Fujifilm XQ1 features a 2/3 sensor and the Leica M9 a full frame sensor. The sensor area in the M9 is 1390 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 3.9 and 1.0. The sensor in the XQ1 has a native 4:3 aspect ratio, while the one in the M9 offers a 3:2 aspect.

Fujifilm XQ1 and Leica M9 sensor measures

With 18.1MP, the M9 offers a higher resolution than the XQ1 (12MP), but the M9 nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 6.91μm versus 2.20μm for the XQ1) due to its larger sensor. However, the XQ1 is a much more recent model (by 4 years and 1 month) than the M9, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixel-units. Coming back to sensor resolution, it should be mentioned that neither of the two cameras has an anti-alias filter installed, so they are able to capture all the detail the sensor resolves.

The resolution advantage of the Leica M9 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the M9 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 26.1 x 17.4 inches or 66.2 x 44.1 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 20.8 x 13.9 inches or 53 x 35.3 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 17.4 x 11.6 inches or 44.1 x 29.4 cm. The corresponding values for the Fujifilm XQ1 are 20 x 15 inches or 50.8 x 38.1 cm for good quality, 16 x 12 inches or 40.6 x 30.5 cm for very good quality, and 13.3 x 10 inches or 33.9 x 25.4 cm for excellent quality prints.

The XQ1 has on-sensor phase detect pixels, which results in fast and reliable autofocus acquisition even during live view operation.

The Fujifilm XQ1 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 12800. The corresponding ISO settings for the Leica M9 are ISO 80 to ISO 2500 (no boost).

XQ1 versus M9 MP

Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for many cameras. 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 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.
 
Fujifilm XQ1 2/3 12.0 4000 30001080/60p........
2.
 
Leica M9 Full Frame 18.1 5212 3472none22.511.788469
3.
 
Canon SX60 1/2.3 14.2 4608 30721080/60p19.210.812739
4.
 
Canon G16 1/1.7 12.0 4000 30001080/60p21.011.723054
5.
 
Canon S120 1/1.7 12.0 4000 30001080/60p21.311.924656
6.
 
Canon 550D APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p22.111.578466
7.
 
Fujifilm XQ2 2/3 12.0 4000 30001080/60p........
8.
 
Fujifilm X30 2/3 12.0 4000 30001080/60p........
9.
 
Fujifilm X20 2/3 12.0 4000 30001080/60p........
10.
 
Leica M10 Full Frame 23.8 5952 3992none24.413.2213386
11.
 
Leica X Vario APS-C 16.1 4928 32721080/30p23.412.7132078
12.
 
Leica M Typ 240 Full Frame 23.7 5952 39761080/25p24.013.3186084
13.
 
Leica M8 APS-H 10.4 3936 2630none21.111.366359
14.
 
Nikon P7800 1/1.7 12.0 4000 30001080/30p21.211.720054
15.
 
Panasonic LF1 1/1.7 12.0 4000 30001080/60i20.811.621152
16.
 
Panasonic FZ200 1/2.3 12.0 4000 30001080/60p19.110.811437
17.
 
Panasonic LX7 1/1.7 10.0 3648 27361080/60p20.711.714750

Many modern cameras cannot only take still pictures, but also record videos. The XQ1 indeed provides movie recording capabilities, while the M9 does not. The highest resolution format that the XQ1 can use is 1080/60p.

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Feature comparison

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the M9 has an optical viewfinder, which can be very useful when shooting in bright sunlight. In contrast, the XQ1 relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. The adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Fujifilm XQ1 and Leica M9 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.
 
Fujifilm XQ1none n 3.0 920 fixed n 1/4000s 12.0 Y Y
2.
 
Leica M9optical n 2.5 230 fixed n 1/4000s 2.0 n n
3.
 
Canon SX60922 n 3.0 922 swivel n 1/2000s 6.4 Y Y
4.
 
Canon G16optical n 3.0 922 fixed n 1/4000s 2.2 Y Y
5.
 
Canon S120none n 3.0 922 fixed Y 1/2000s 12.1 Y Y
6.
 
Canon 550Doptical n 3.0 1040 fixed n 1/4000s 3.7 Y n
7.
 
Fujifilm XQ2none n 3.0 920 fixed n 1/4000s 12.0 Y Y
8.
 
Fujifilm X302360 n 3.0 920 tilting n 1/4000s 12.0 Y Y
9.
 
Fujifilm X20optical n 2.8 460 fixed n 1/4000s 12.0 Y Y
10.
 
Leica M10optical n 3.0 1037 fixed n 1/4000s 5.0 n n
11.
 
Leica X Variooptional n 3.0 920 fixed n 1/2000s 5.0 Y n
12.
 
Leica M Typ 240optical n 3.0 920 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 n n
13.
 
Leica M8optical n 2.5 230 fixed n 1/8000s 2.0 n n
14.
 
Nikon P7800921 n 3.0 921 swivel n 1/4000s 8.0 Y Y
15.
 
Panasonic LF1200 n 3.0 920 fixed n 1/4000s 10.0 Y Y
16.
 
Panasonic FZ2001312 n 3.0 460 swivel n 1/4000s 12.0 Y Y
17.
 
Panasonic LX7optional n 3.0 920 fixed n 1/4000s 11.0 Y Y

One difference between the cameras concerns the presence of an on-board flash. The XQ1 has one, while the M9 does not. While the built-in flash of the XQ1 is not very powerful, it can at times be useful as a fill-in light.

Concerning the storage of imaging data, both the XQ1 and the M9 write their files to SDXC cards. The XQ1 supports UHS-I cards (Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 104 MB/s), while the M9 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 Fujifilm XQ1 and Leica M9 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.
 
Fujifilm XQ1-stereomono--micro2.0Y--
2.
 
Leica M9Y-----2.0---
3.
 
Canon SX60YstereomonoY-mini2.0YY-
4.
 
Canon G16Ystereomono--mini2.0Y--
5.
 
Canon S120-stereomono--mini2.0Y--
6.
 
Canon 550DYstereo-Y-mini2.0---
7.
 
Fujifilm XQ2-stereomono--micro2.0Y--
8.
 
Fujifilm X30Ystereomono--micro2.0Y--
9.
 
Fujifilm X20Ystereomono--micro2.0---
10.
 
Leica M10Y------Y--
11.
 
Leica X VarioYstereomono--mini2.0---
12.
 
Leica M Typ 240Ystereomono---2.0---
13.
 
Leica M8Y-----2.0---
14.
 
Nikon P7800YstereomonoY-mini2.0---
15.
 
Panasonic LF1-stereomono--mini2.0YY-
16.
 
Panasonic FZ200YstereomonoY-mini2.0---
17.
 
Panasonic LX7Ystereomono--mini2.0---

It is notable that the XQ1 offers wifi support, while the M9 does not. Wifi can be a very convenient means to transfer image data to an off-camera location.

Both the XQ1 and the M9 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The M9 was replaced by the Leica M Typ 240, while the XQ1 was followed by the Fujifilm XQ2. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Fujifilm and Leica websites.

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Review summary

So what is the bottom line? Which of the two cameras – the Fujifilm XQ1 or the Leica M9 – has the upper hand? Is one clearly better than the other? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.

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Advantages of the Fujifilm XQ1:

  • Broader imaging potential: Can record not only still images but also 1080/60p 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 (920k vs 230k dots).
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (12 vs 2 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • Ready to shoot: Has a lens built-in, whereas the M9 requires a separate lens.
  • More compact: Is smaller (100x59mm vs 139x80mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
  • Less heavy: Is lighter even though it comes with a built-in lens (unlike the M9).
  • Sharper images: Has hand-shake reducing image stabilization built-in.
  • Easier fill-in: Is equipped with a small onboard flash to brighten deep shadow areas.
  • Easier file upload: Has wifi built in for automatic backup or image transfer to the web.
  • Faster buffer clearing: Has an SD card interface that supports the UHS-I standard.
  • More affordable: Was introduced at a lower price, despite coming with a built-in lens.
  • More modern: Reflects 4 years and 1 month of technical progress since the M9 launch.

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Arguments in favor of the Leica M9:

  • More detail: Has more megapixels (18.1 vs 12MP), which boosts linear resolution by 25%.
  • 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: Takes interchangeable lenses and can thus be used with different optics.
  • Better lighting: Features a hotshoe and can thus hold and trigger an external flash gun.
  • More prestigious: Has the Leica luxury appeal, which ensures a high resale value.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been around for much longer (launched in September 2009).

If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the XQ1 is the clear winner of the match-up (14 : 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.

XQ1 14:10 M9

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 XQ1 or the M9. 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.
 
Fujifilm XQ1......4.5/54.5/5 Oct 2013 499i
2.
 
Leica M9......4.5/5.. Sep 2009 7,999i
3.
 
Canon SX603/5+ +75/1004/54.5/5 Sep 2014 549i
4.
 
Canon G164/5+..4.5/54.5/5 Aug 2013 549 i
5.
 
Canon S120..+ +..4.5/54.5/5 Aug 2013 449i
6.
 
Canon 550D..+ +77/1004/54.5/5 Feb 2010 699i
7.
 
Fujifilm XQ2......4/54/5 Jan 2015 399 i
8.
 
Fujifilm X304/5..76/1004.5/54.5/5 Aug 2014 599 i
9.
 
Fujifilm X204/5+ +77/1004.5/55/5 Jan 2013 599i
10.
 
Leica M104.5/5....4/54.5/5 Jan 2017 6,595 i
11.
 
Leica X Vario3/5....4/54/5 Jun 2013 2,850i
12.
 
Leica M Typ 2404/5....4/5.. Sep 2012 6,950i
13.
 
Leica M8....+ +.... Sep 2006 5,499i
14.
 
Nikon P78003/5....4/54.5/5 Sep 2013 549i
15.
 
Panasonic LF13/5+..4/54.5/5 Apr 2013 499 i
16.
 
Panasonic FZ2003/5+ +80/1004.5/54.5/5 Jul 2012 599i
17.
 
Panasonic LX73/5+ +75/1004/54.5/5 Jul 2012 499i
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. Hence, a score should always be seen in the context of the camera's market launch date and its price, and comparing ratings of very distinct cameras or ones that are far apart in terms of their release date have little meaning. Also, please note that some of the review sites have changed their methodology and reporting over time.

Fujifilm XQ1:
Check Ebay offers
Leica M9:
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: Fujifilm XQ1 vs Leica M9

    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 Fujifilm XQ1 Leica M9
    Camera Type Fixed lens compact camera Rangefinder camera
    Camera Lens 25-100mm f/1.8-4.9 Leica M mount lenses
    Launch Date October 2013 September 2009
    Launch Price USD 499 USD 7,999
    Sensor Specs Fujifilm XQ1 Leica M9
    Sensor Technology CMOS CCD
    Sensor Format Two Thirds Sensor Full Frame Sensor
    Sensor Size 8.8 x 6.6 mm 36.0 x 24.0 mm
    Sensor Area 58.08 mm2 864 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 11 mm 43.3 mm
    Crop Factor 3.9x 1.0x
    Sensor Resolution 12 Megapixels 18.1 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 4000 x 3000 pixels 5212 x 3472 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 2.20 μm 6.91 μm
    Pixel Density 20.66 MP/cm2 2.09 MP/cm2
    Moiré control no AA filter no AA filter
    Movie Capability 1080/60p Video no Video
    ISO Setting 100 - 12,800 ISO 80 - 2,500 ISO
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) .. 69
    DXO Color Depth (bits) .. 22.5
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) .. 11.7
    DXO Low Light (ISO) .. 884
    Screen Specs Fujifilm XQ1 Leica M9
    Viewfinder Type no viewfinder Optical viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 100%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.68x
    LCD Framing Live View
    Rear LCD Size 3.0inch 2.5inch
    LCD Resolution 920k dots 230k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen Fixed screen
    Shooting Specs Fujifilm XQ1 Leica M9
    Focus System On-Sensor Phase-detect Manual Focus
    Manual Focusing AidFocus Peakingno Peaking Feature
    Continuous Shooting 12 shutter flaps/s 2 shutter flaps/s
    Fill Flash Build-in Flash no On-Board Flash
    Storage Medium SDXC cards SDXC cards
    Second Storage Option Single card slot Single card slot
    UHS card support UHS-I no
    Connectivity Specs Fujifilm XQ1 Leica M9
    External Flash no Hotshoe Hotshoe
    USB Connector USB 2.0 USB 2.0
    HDMI Port micro HDMI no HDMI
    Wifi Support Wifi built-in no Wifi
    Body Specs Fujifilm XQ1 Leica M9
    Battery Type NP-48 BLI-312
    Body Dimensions 100 x 59 x 33 mm
    (3.9 x 2.3 x 1.3 in)
    139 x 80 x 37 mm
    (5.5 x 3.1 x 1.5 in)
    Camera Weight 206 g (7.3 oz) 585 g (20.6 oz)

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