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Leica D-LUX 5 vs Olympus E-500

The Leica D-LUX 5 and the Olympus Evolt E-500 are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in September 2010 and September 2005. The D-LUX 5 is a fixed lens compact, while the E-500 is a DSLR. The cameras are based on a 1/1.7-inch (D-LUX 5) and a Four Thirds (E-500) sensor. The Leica has a resolution of 10 megapixels, whereas the Olympus provides 8 MP.

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

Headline Specifications
Leica D-LUX 5 versus Olympus E-500
Leica D-LUX 5 Olympus E-500
Fixed lens compact camera Digital single lens reflex
24-90mm f/2.0-3.3 Four Thirds lenses
10 MP, 1/1.7" Sensor 8 MP, Four Thirds Sensor
720/60p Video no Video
ISO 80-3,200 (80 - 12,800) ISO 100-400 (100 - 1,600)
Viewfinder optional Optical viewfinder
3.0 LCD, 460k dots 2.5 LCD, 215k dots
Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive) Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)
2.5 shutter flaps per second 2.5 shutter flaps per second
400 shots per battery charge750 shots per battery charge
110 x 65 x 43 mm, 271 g 130 x 95 x 66 mm, 479 g

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Leica D-LUX 5 and the Olympus Evolt E-500? 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 Leica D-LUX 5 and the Olympus E-500 is provided in the side-by-side display below. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three consecutive perspectives from the front, the top, and the back are available. All width, height and depth measures are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

Size Leica D-LUX 5 vs Olympus E-500
Compare D-LUX 5 versus E-500 top
Comparison D-LUX 5 or E-500 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Olympus E-500 is considerably larger (73 percent) than the Leica D-LUX 5. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the D-LUX 5 nor the E-500 are weather-sealed.

The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the D-LUX 5 has a lens built in, whereas the E-500 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 E-500 and their specifications in the Four Thirds Lens Catalog.

Concerning battery life, the D-LUX 5 gets 400 shots out of its BP-DC10 battery, while the E-500 can take 750 images on a single charge of its BLM-1 power pack.

The following table provides a synthesis of the main physical specifications of the two cameras and other similar ones. 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.
 
Leica D-LUX 5 110 mm 65 mm 43 mm 271 g 400 n Sep 2010 699i
2.
 
Olympus E-500 130 mm 95 mm 66 mm 479 g 750 n Sep 2005 599i
3.
 
Canon G7 X Mark II 106 mm 61 mm 42 mm 319 g 265 n Feb 2016 699i
4.
 
Canon G7 X 103 mm 60 mm 40 mm 304 g 210 n Sep 2014 699i
5.
 
Fujifilm X20 117 mm 70 mm 57 mm 353 g 270 n Jan 2013 599i
6.
 
Fujifilm X10 117 mm 70 mm 57 mm 350 g 270 n Sep 2011 599i
7.
 
Leica D-LUX 6 111 mm 68 mm 46 mm 298 g 330 n Sep 2012 699i
8.
 
Leica V-LUX 3 124 mm 81 mm 95 mm 540 g 410 n Dec 2011 949i
9.
 
Leica V-LUX 2 124 mm 80 mm 95 mm 520 g 410 n Sep 2010 849i
10.
 
Leica X1 124 mm 60 mm 32 mm 306 g 260 n Sep 2009 1,995i
11.
 
Leica V-LUX 1 141 mm 86 mm 142 mm 734 g 360 n Sep 2006 849i
12.
 
Olympus E-410 130 mm 91 mm 53 mm 435 g 500 n Mar 2007 699i
13.
 
Olympus E-510 136 mm 92 mm 68 mm 538 g 750 n Mar 2007 799i
14.
 
Olympus E-330 140 mm 87 mm 72 mm 637 g 750 n Jan 2006 999i
15.
 
Olympus E-400 130 mm 91 mm 53 mm 435 g 500 n Sep 2006 699i
16.
 
Olympus E-300 147 mm 85 mm 64 mm 624 g 750 n Sep 2004 799i
17.
 
Panasonic LX5 110 mm 65 mm 43 mm 271 g 400 n Jul 2010 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 listed launch prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. 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. 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 are more costly to manufacture and tend to lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.

Of the two cameras under consideration, the Leica D-LUX 5 features a 1/1.7-inch sensor and the Olympus E-500 a Four Thirds sensor. The sensor area in the E-500 is 389 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 4.4 and 2.0. Both cameras feature a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 4:3. The D-LUX 5 has the particularity of featuring a switch that allows to toggle between multiple aspect ratios, while maintaining the same field of view and full image resolution.

Technology-wise, both cameras are equipped with CCD (Charged Coupled Device) sensors.

Leica D-LUX 5 and Olympus E-500 sensor measures

Despite having a smaller sensor, the Leica D-LUX 5 offers a higher resolution of 10 megapixels, compared with 8 MP of the Olympus E-500. 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 2.14μm versus 5.30μm for the E-500). However, it should be noted that the D-LUX 5 is much more recent (by 4 years and 11 months) than the E-500, 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 Leica D-LUX 5 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the D-LUX 5 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 18.2 x 13.7 inches or 46.3 x 34.7 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 14.6 x 10.9 inches or 37.1 x 27.8 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 12.2 x 9.1 inches or 30.9 x 23.2 cm. The corresponding values for the Olympus E-500 are 16.3 x 12.2 inches or 41.5 x 31.1 cm for good quality, 13.1 x 9.8 inches or 33.2 x 24.9 cm for very good quality, and 10.9 x 8.2 inches or 27.6 x 20.7 cm for excellent quality prints.

The Leica D-LUX 5 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 80 to ISO 3200, which can be extended to ISO 80-12800. The corresponding ISO settings for the Olympus Evolt E-500 are ISO 100 to ISO 400, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 100-1600.

D-LUX 5 versus E-500 MP

For many cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. 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.
 
Leica D-LUX 5 1/1.7 10.0 3648 2736720/60p........
2.
 
Olympus E-500 Four Thirds 8.0 3264 2448none........
3.
 
Canon G7 X Mark II 1-inch 20.0 5472 36481080/60p........
4.
 
Canon G7 X 1-inch 20.0 5472 36481080/60p23.012.755671
5.
 
Fujifilm X20 2/3 12.0 4000 30001080/60p........
6.
 
Fujifilm X10 2/3 12.0 4000 30001080/30p20.511.324550
7.
 
Leica D-LUX 6 1/1.7 10.0 3648 27361080/60p........
8.
 
Leica V-LUX 3 1/2.3 12.0 4000 30001080/60p........
9.
 
Leica V-LUX 2 1/2.3 14.0 4320 32401080/60i........
10.
 
Leica X1 APS-C 12.2 4272 2856none........
11.
 
Leica V-LUX 1 1/1.8 10.0 3648 2736480/30p........
12.
 
Olympus E-410 Four Thirds 10.0 3648 2736none21.110.049451
13.
 
Olympus E-510 Four Thirds 10.0 3648 2736none21.210.044252
14.
 
Olympus E-330 Four Thirds 7.4 3136 2352none........
15.
 
Olympus E-400 Four Thirds 10.0 3648 2736none........
16.
 
Olympus E-300 Four Thirds 8.0 3264 2448none........
17.
 
Panasonic LX5 1/1.7 10.0 3648 2736720/60p19.610.813241

Many modern cameras cannot only take still pictures, but also record videos. The D-LUX 5 indeed provides movie recording capabilities, while the E-500 does not. The highest resolution format that the D-LUX 5 can use is 720/60p.

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Feature comparison

Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the E-500 has an optical viewfinder, which can be very useful when shooting in bright sunlight. In contrast, the D-LUX 5 relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. That said, the D-LUX 5 can be equipped with an optional viewfinder – the EVF1. The table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Leica D-LUX 5 and Olympus E-500 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.
 
Leica D-LUX 5optional n 3.0 460 fixed n 1/4000s 2.5 Y Y
2.
 
Olympus E-500optical n 2.5 215 fixed n 1/4000s 2.5 Y n
3.
 
Canon G7 X Mark IInone n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 1/2000s 8.0 Y Y
4.
 
Canon G7 Xnone n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 1/2000s 6.5 Y Y
5.
 
Fujifilm X20optical n 2.8 460 fixed n 1/4000s 12.0 Y Y
6.
 
Fujifilm X10optical n 2.8 460 fixed n 1/4000s 10.0 Y Y
7.
 
Leica D-LUX 6optional n 3.0 920 fixed n 1/4000s 11.0 Y Y
8.
 
Leica V-LUX 3202 n 3.0 460 swivel n 1/2000s 12.0 Y Y
9.
 
Leica V-LUX 2202 n 3.0 460 swivel n 1/2000s 11.0 Y Y
10.
 
Leica X1none n 2.7 230 fixed n 1/2000s 3.0 Y n
11.
 
Leica V-LUX 1235 n 2.0 207 swivel n 1/2000s 2.0 Y Y
12.
 
Olympus E-410optical n 2.5 215 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
13.
 
Olympus E-510optical n 2.5 215 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y Y
14.
 
Olympus E-330optical n 2.5 215 tilting n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
15.
 
Olympus E-400optical n 2.5 215 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
16.
 
Olympus E-300optical n 1.8 134 fixed n 1/4000s 2.5 Y n
17.
 
Panasonic LX5optional n 3.0 460 fixed n 1/4000s 2.5 Y Y

The D-LUX 5 writes its imaging data to SDXC cards, while the E-500 uses Compact Flash or xD Picture cards. The E-500 features dual card slots, which can be very useful in case a memory card fails. In contrast, the D-LUX 5 only has one slot.

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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 Leica D-LUX 5 and Olympus Evolt E-500 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.
 
Leica D-LUX 5Ymonomono--mini2.0---
2.
 
Olympus E-500Y-----2.0---
3.
 
Canon G7 X Mark II-stereomono--micro2.0YY-
4.
 
Canon G7 X-stereomono--micro2.0YY-
5.
 
Fujifilm X20Ystereomono--micro2.0---
6.
 
Fujifilm X10Ystereomono--mini2.0---
7.
 
Leica D-LUX 6Ystereomono--mini2.0---
8.
 
Leica V-LUX 3Ystereo---mini2.0---
9.
 
Leica V-LUX 2Ystereomono--mini2.0---
10.
 
Leica X1Y----mini2.0---
11.
 
Leica V-LUX 1Ymonomono---2.0---
12.
 
Olympus E-410Y-----2.0---
13.
 
Olympus E-510Y-----2.0---
14.
 
Olympus E-330Y-----2.0---
15.
 
Olympus E-400Y-----2.0---
16.
 
Olympus E-300Y-----2.0---
17.
 
Panasonic LX5Ymonomono--mini2.0---

Both the D-LUX 5 and the E-500 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The E-500 was replaced by the Olympus E-510, while the D-LUX 5 was followed by the Leica D-LUX 6. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Leica and Olympus websites.

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Review summary

So how do things add up? Is the Leica D-LUX 5 better than the Olympus E-500 or vice versa? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.

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Advantages of the Leica D-LUX 5:

  • More detail: Offers more megapixels (10 vs 8MP) with a 12% higher linear resolution.
  • Flexible image proportions: Has a multi-aspect sensor that allows for alternative image shapes.
  • Broader imaging potential: Can record not only still images but also 720/60p movies.
  • 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 (460k vs 215k dots).
  • Ready to shoot: Comes with a built-in lens, while the E-500 requires a separate lens.
  • More compact: Is smaller (110x65mm vs 130x95mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
  • Less heavy: Is lighter even though it comes with a built-in lens (unlike the E-500).
  • Sharper images: Has hand-shake reducing image stabilization built-in.
  • More prestigious: Has the Leica luxury appeal, which ensures a high resale price.
  • More modern: Reflects 4 years and 11 months of technical progress since the E-500 launch.

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Reasons to prefer the Olympus Evolt E-500:

  • 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: Makes it possible to change lenses and thus to use specialty optics.
  • Longer lasting: Gets more shots (750 versus 400) out of a single battery charge.
  • Greater peace of mind: Features a second card slot as a backup in case of memory card failure.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been around for much longer (launched in September 2005).

If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the D-LUX 5 emerges as the winner of the contest (11 : 9 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.

D-LUX 5 11:09 E-500

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Leica D-LUX 5 and the Olympus E-500 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Travel-Zoom Camera and Best DSLR Camera listings 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 D-LUX 5 or the E-500. 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 expert reviews 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.
 
Leica D-LUX 5......4.5/54/5 Sep 2010 699i
2.
 
Olympus E-500..76/100+ +.... Sep 2005 599i
3.
 
Canon G7 X Mark II4.5/5+ +81/1004.5/54.5/5 Feb 2016 699i
4.
 
Canon G7 X4/5+ +77/1004.5/54.5/5 Sep 2014 699i
5.
 
Fujifilm X204/5+ +77/1004.5/55/5 Jan 2013 599i
6.
 
Fujifilm X10....76/1004/54.5/5 Sep 2011 599i
7.
 
Leica D-LUX 6......4/54/5 Sep 2012 699i
8.
 
Leica V-LUX 3.......... Dec 2011 949i
9.
 
Leica V-LUX 2.......... Sep 2010 849i
10.
 
Leica X13/5..+..4/5 Sep 2009 1,995i
11.
 
Leica V-LUX 1.......... Sep 2006 849i
12.
 
Olympus E-410..86/100+ +4/54.5/5 Mar 2007 699i
13.
 
Olympus E-510..89/100+ +3.5/54.5/5 Mar 2007 799i
14.
 
Olympus E-330....+o.. Jan 2006 999i
15.
 
Olympus E-400..85/100..4/54/5 Sep 2006 699i
16.
 
Olympus E-300....+o4.5/5 Sep 2004 799i
17.
 
Panasonic LX54/5+73/1004.5/54.5/5 Jul 2010 499i
Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.

Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, 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 comparisons of ratings among very different cameras or across long time periods have little meaning. Also, please note that some of the review sites have changed their methodology and reporting over time.

Leica D-LUX 5:
Check Ebay offers
Olympus E-500:
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 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: Leica D-LUX 5 vs Olympus E-500

    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 Leica D-LUX 5 Olympus E-500
    Camera Type Fixed lens compact camera Digital single lens reflex
    Camera Lens 24-90mm f/2.0-3.3 Four Thirds lenses
    Launch Date September 2010 September 2005
    Launch Price USD 699 USD 599
    Sensor Specs Leica D-LUX 5 Olympus E-500
    Sensor Technology CCD CCD
    Sensor Format 1/1.7" Sensor Four Thirds Sensor
    Sensor Size 7.85 x 5.89 mm 17.3 x 13.0 mm
    Sensor Area 46.2365 mm2 224.9 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 9.8 mm 21.6 mm
    Crop Factor 4.4x 2.0x
    Sensor Resolution 10 Megapixels 8 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 3648 x 2736 pixels 3264 x 2448 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 2.14 μm 5.30 μm
    Pixel Density 21.59 MP/cm2 3.55 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability 720/60p Video no Video
    ISO Setting 80 - 3,200 ISO 100 - 400 ISO
    ISO Boost 80 - 12,800 ISO 100 - 1,600 ISO
    Screen Specs Leica D-LUX 5 Olympus E-500
    Viewfinder Type Viewfinder optional Optical viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 95%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.45x
    LCD Framing Live View
    Rear LCD Size 3.0inch 2.5inch
    LCD Resolution 460k dots 215k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen Fixed screen
    Shooting Specs Leica D-LUX 5 Olympus E-500
    Focus System Contrast-detect AF Phase-detect AF
    Continuous Shooting 2.5 shutter flaps/s 2.5 shutter flaps/s
    Fill Flash Build-in Flash Build-in Flash
    Storage Medium SDXC cards CF or XD cards
    Second Storage Option Single card slot Dual card slots
    Connectivity Specs Leica D-LUX 5 Olympus E-500
    External Flash Hotshoe Hotshoe
    USB Connector USB 2.0 USB 2.0
    HDMI Port mini HDMI no HDMI
    Wifi Support no Wifi no Wifi
    Body Specs Leica D-LUX 5 Olympus E-500
    Battery Type BP-DC10 BLM-1
    Battery Life (CIPA)400 shots per charge750 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 110 x 65 x 43 mm
    (4.3 x 2.6 x 1.7 in)
    130 x 95 x 66 mm
    (5.1 x 3.7 x 2.6 in)
    Camera Weight 271 g (9.6 oz) 479 g (16.9 oz)

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