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Leica Digilux 3 vs Nikon D2Xs

The Leica Digilux 3 and the Nikon D2Xs are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in September 2006 and June 2006. Both are DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras that are based on a Four Thirds (Digilux 3) and an APS-C (D2Xs) sensor. The Leica has a resolution of 7.4 megapixels, whereas the Nikon provides 12.2 MP.

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

Headline Specifications
Leica Digilux 3 versus Nikon D2Xs
Leica Digilux 3 Nikon D2Xs
Digital single lens reflex Digital single lens reflex
Four Thirds lenses Nikon F mount lenses
7.4 MP, Four Thirds Sensor 12.2 MP, APS-C Sensor
no Video no Video
ISO 100-1,600 ISO 100-800 (800 - 3,200)
Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
2.5 LCD, 207k dots 2.5 LCD, 230k dots
Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive) Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)
3 shutter flaps per second 5 shutter flaps per second
not weather sealedWeathersealed body
750 shots per battery charge3800 shots per battery charge
146 x 87 x 77 mm, 606 g 158 x 150 x 86 mm, 1252 g

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Leica Digilux 3 and the Nikon D2Xs? 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 Digilux 3 and the Nikon D2Xs 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 measures are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

Size Leica Digilux 3 vs Nikon D2Xs
Compare Digilux 3 versus D2Xs top
Comparison Digilux 3 or D2Xs rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Nikon D2Xs is considerably larger (87 percent) than the Leica Digilux 3. Moreover, the D2Xs is substantially heavier (107 percent) than the Digilux 3. It is noteworthy in this context that the D2Xs is splash and dust-proof, while the Digilux 3 does not feature any corresponding weather-sealing.

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. A larger imaging sensor will tend to go along with bigger and heavier lenses, although exceptions exist. You can compare the optics available for the two cameras in the Four Thirds Lens Catalog (Digilux 3) and the Nikon Lens Catalog (D2Xs).

As can be seen in the images above, the D2Xs has a battery grip built in. This facilitates image-taking in portrait orientation and gives it additional battery power.

The following table provides a synthesis of the main physical specifications of the two cameras and other similar ones. In case you want to display and compare another camera duo, just click on the right or left arrow next to the camera that you would like to inspect. Alternatively, you can also use the CAM-parator to select your camera combination among a larger number of options.

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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
 
Leica Digilux 3 5.7 in 3.4 in 3.0 in 21.4 oz 750 n Sep 2006 1,499i
 
Nikon D2Xs 6.2 in 5.9 in 3.4 in 44.2 oz 3800 Y Jun 2006 4,699i
 
Canon 30D 5.7 in 4.2 in 2.9 in 27.7 oz 750 n Feb 2006 1,399i
 
Canon XT 5.0 in 3.7 in 2.5 in 19.0 oz 400 n Feb 2005 899i
 
Leica M8 5.5 in 3.1 in 1.5 in 20.8 oz .. n Sep 2006 5,499i
 
Leica V-LUX 1 5.6 in 3.4 in 5.6 in 25.9 oz 360 n Sep 2006 849i
 
Nikon D300S 5.8 in 4.5 in 3.2 in 33.1 oz 950 Y Jul 2009 1,799i
 
Nikon D3 6.3 in 6.2 in 3.5 in 45.9 oz 4300 Y Aug 2007 4,999i
 
Nikon D300 5.8 in 4.5 in 2.9 in 32.6 oz 1000 Y Aug 2007 1,799i
 
Nikon D200 5.8 in 4.4 in 2.9 in 32.5 oz 400 Y Nov 2005 1,699i
 
Nikon D2X 6.2 in 5.9 in 3.4 in 44.2 oz 3800 Y Sep 2004 4,999i
 
Olympus E-30 5.6 in 4.3 in 3.0 in 24.7 oz 750 n Nov 2008 1,299i
 
Olympus E-330 5.5 in 3.4 in 2.8 in 22.5 oz 750 n Jan 2006 999i
 
Olympus E-500 5.1 in 3.7 in 2.6 in 16.9 oz 750 n Sep 2005 599i
 
Olympus E-300 5.8 in 3.3 in 2.5 in 22.0 oz 750 n Sep 2004 799i
 
Panasonic L10 5.3 in 3.8 in 3.1 in 19.6 oz 450 n Aug 2007 599i
 
Panasonic L1 5.7 in 3.4 in 2.5 in 21.4 oz 750 n Feb 2006 999i
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.

Any camera decision will naturally be influenced heavily by the price. The listed launch prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The Digilux 3 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 68 percent) than the D2Xs, which puts it into a different market segment. Normally, street prices remain initially close to the MSRP, but after a couple of months, the first discounts appear. 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. 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 Leica Digilux 3 features a Four Thirds sensor and the Nikon D2Xs an APS-C sensor. The sensor area in the D2Xs is 65 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 2.0 and 1.5. The sensor in the Digilux 3 has a native 4:3 aspect ratio, while the one in the D2Xs offers a 3:2 aspect.

Leica Digilux 3 and Nikon D2Xs sensor measures

With 12.2MP, the D2Xs offers a higher resolution than the Digilux 3 (7.4MP), but the D2Xs nevertheless has marginally larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 5.52μm versus 5.51μm for the Digilux 3) due to its larger sensor. However, the Digilux 3 is a somewhat more recent model (by 3 months) than the D2Xs, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time that enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixel-units.

The resolution advantage of the Nikon D2Xs implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the D2Xs for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 21.4 x 14.2 inches or 54.5 x 36.2 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 17.2 x 11.4 inches or 43.6 x 28.9 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 14.3 x 9.5 inches or 36.3 x 24.1 cm. The corresponding values for the Leica Digilux 3 are 15.7 x 11.8 inches or 39.8 x 29.9 cm for good quality, 12.5 x 9.4 inches or 31.9 x 23.9 cm for very good quality, and 10.5 x 7.8 inches or 26.6 x 19.9 cm for excellent quality prints.

The Leica Digilux 3 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 1600. The corresponding ISO settings for the Nikon D2Xs are ISO 100 to ISO 800, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 800-3200.

Digilux 3 versus D2Xs 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 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
 
Leica Digilux 3 Four Thirds 7.4 3136 2352none........
 
Nikon D2Xs APS-C 12.2 4288 2848none22.210.948959
 
Canon 30D APS-C 8.2 3504 2336none21.510.873659
 
Canon XT APS-C 8.0 3456 2304none21.810.863760
 
Leica M8 APS-H 10.4 3936 2630none21.111.366359
 
Leica V-LUX 1 1/1.8 10.0 3648 2736480/30p........
 
Nikon D300S APS-C 12.2 4288 2848720/24p22.512.278770
 
Nikon D3 Full Frame 12.1 4256 2832none23.512.2229081
 
Nikon D300 APS-C 12.2 4288 2848none22.112.067967
 
Nikon D200 APS-C 10.0 3872 2592none22.311.558364
 
Nikon D2X APS-C 12.2 4288 2848none22.110.947659
 
Olympus E-30 Four Thirds 12.2 4032 3024none21.310.453055
 
Olympus E-330 Four Thirds 7.4 3136 2352none........
 
Olympus E-500 Four Thirds 8.0 3264 2448none........
 
Olympus E-300 Four Thirds 8.0 3264 2448none........
 
Panasonic L10 Four Thirds 10.0 3648 2736none21.310.842955
 
Panasonic L1 Four Thirds 7.4 3136 2352none........
The Digilux 3 offers Live View, so that it can project the live image that the sensor receives onto the rear screen for framing. The D2Xs lacks this capability. Both cameras are still-image focused and cannot record videos.
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Feature comparison

Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The Digilux 3 and the D2Xs 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 viewfinder in the D2Xs offers a wider field of view (100%) than the one in the Digilux 3 (95%), so that a larger proportion of the captured image is visible in the finder. In addition, the viewfinder of the D2Xs has a higher magnification (0.57x vs 0.47x), so that the size of the image transmitted appears closer to the size seen with the naked human eye. The following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Leica Digilux 3, the Nikon D2Xs, and comparable 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
 
Leica Digilux 3optical n 2.5 207 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
 
Nikon D2Xsoptical Y 2.5 230 fixed n 1/8000s 5.0 n n
 
Canon 30Doptical Y 2.5 230 fixed n 1/8000s 5.0 Y n
 
Canon XToptical n 1.8 115 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
 
Leica M8optical n 2.5 230 fixed n 1/8000s 2.0 n n
 
Leica V-LUX 1235 n 2.0 207 swivel n 1/2000s 2.0 Y Y
 
Nikon D300Soptical Y 3.0 920 fixed n 1/8000s 7.0 Y n
 
Nikon D3optical Y 3.0 922 fixed n 1/8000s 11.0 n n
 
Nikon D300optical Y 3.0 922 fixed n 1/8000s 6.0 Y n
 
Nikon D200optical Y 2.5 230 fixed n 1/8000s 5.0 Y n
 
Nikon D2Xoptical Y 2.5 235 fixed n 1/8000s 5.0 n n
 
Olympus E-30optical Y 2.7 230 swivel n 1/8000s 5.0 Y Y
 
Olympus E-330optical n 2.5 215 tilting n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
 
Olympus E-500optical n 2.5 215 fixed n 1/4000s 2.5 Y n
 
Olympus E-300optical n 1.8 134 fixed n 1/4000s 2.5 Y n
 
Panasonic L10optical n 2.5 207 swivel n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
 
Panasonic L1optical n 2.5 207 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n

One difference between the cameras concerns the presence of an on-board flash. The Digilux 3 has one, while the D2Xs does not. While the built-in flash of the Digilux 3 is not very powerful, it can at times be useful as a fill-in light.

The Digilux 3 writes its imaging data to SDXC cards, while the D2Xs uses Compact Flash 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 Leica Digilux 3 and Nikon D2Xs 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
 
Leica Digilux 3Ystereomono---2.0---
 
Nikon D2XsY-----2.0---
 
Canon 30DY-----2.0---
 
Canon XTY-----2.0---
 
Leica M8Y-----2.0---
 
Leica V-LUX 1Ymonomono---2.0---
 
Nikon D300SYstereomonoY-mini2.0---
 
Nikon D3Y----mini2.0---
 
Nikon D300Y----mini2.0---
 
Nikon D200Y-----2.0---
 
Nikon D2XY-----2.0---
 
Olympus E-30Y-----2.0---
 
Olympus E-330Y-----2.0---
 
Olympus E-500Y-----2.0---
 
Olympus E-300Y-----2.0---
 
Panasonic L10Y-----2.0---
 
Panasonic L1Y-----2.0---

Studio photographers will appreciate that the Nikon D2Xs (unlike the Digilux 3) features a PC Sync socket, so that professional strobe lights can be controlled by the camera.

Both the Digilux 3 and the D2Xs have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The D2Xs was replaced by the Nikon D3X, while the Digilux 3 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 Leica and Nikon websites.

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Review summary

So what conclusions can be drawn? Is there a clear favorite between the Leica Digilux 3 and the Nikon D2Xs? Which camera is better? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.

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Reasons to prefer the Leica Digilux 3:

  • More compact: Is smaller (146x87mm vs 158x150mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
  • Less heavy: Is lighter (by 646g or 52 percent) and hence easier to carry around.
  • Easier fill-in: Is equipped with a small onboard flash to brighten deep shadow areas.
  • More prestigious: Has the Leica luxury appeal, which ensures a high resale price.
  • More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (68 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More modern: Is somewhat more recent (announced 3 months after the D2Xs).

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Arguments in favor of the Nikon D2Xs:

  • More detail: Has more megapixels (12.2 vs 7.4MP), which boosts linear resolution by 31%.
  • 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.
  • More complete view: Has a viewfinder with a larger field of view (100% vs 95%).
  • Larger viewfinder image: Features a viewfinder with a higher magnification (0.57x vs 0.47x).
  • Easier setting verification: Features a control panel on top to check shooting parameters.
  • Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/8000s vs 1/4000s) to freeze action.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (5 vs 3 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • More portrait friendly: Features an integrated vertical grip for easier portrait shooting.
  • Longer lasting: Gets more shots (3800 versus 750) out of a single battery charge.
  • Better sealing: Is splash and dust sealed for shooting in inclement weather conditions.
  • Better studio light control: Has a PC Sync socket to connect to professional strobe lights.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in June 2006).

If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the D2Xs is the clear winner of the contest (15 : 6 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.

Digilux 3 06:15 D2Xs

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Leica Digilux 3 and the Nikon D2Xs place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best DSLR Camera listing whether the two cameras rank among the cream of the crop.

In any case, while the comparison of technical specifications can provide a useful overview of the capabilities of different cameras, it remains incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the Digilux 3 or the D2Xs perform in practice. 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 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 (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
 
Leica Digilux 3.......... Sep 2006 1,499i
 
Nikon D2Xs......o.. Jun 2006 4,699i
 
Canon 30D+ ++ +oo.. Feb 2006 1,399i
 
Canon XT80/100+ +oo.. Feb 2005 899i
 
Leica M8..+ +...... Sep 2006 5,499i
 
Leica V-LUX 1.......... Sep 2006 849i
 
Nikon D300S+ +82/1004/55/54.5/5 Jul 2009 1,799i
 
Nikon D3..+ +5/5o4.5/5 Aug 2007 4,999i
 
Nikon D300+ ++ +5/5o4.5/5 Aug 2007 1,799i
 
Nikon D200+ ++ +o5/5.. Nov 2005 1,699i
 
Nikon D2X..+ +..o.. Sep 2004 4,999i
 
Olympus E-30..71/1004.5/5..4/5 Nov 2008 1,299i
 
Olympus E-330..+o3.5/5.. Jan 2006 999i
 
Olympus E-50076/100+ +...... Sep 2005 599i
 
Olympus E-300..+oo4.5/5 Sep 2004 799i
 
Panasonic L1085/100+3.5/5o4/5 Aug 2007 599i
 
Panasonic L185/100+..o3.5/5 Feb 2006 999i
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. A score, therefore, has to be seen in close connection to the price and market introduction time of the camera, and comparisons of ratings among very different cameras or across long time periods have little meaning. It should also be noted that some of the review sites have over time altered the way they render their verdicts.

Leica Digilux 3:
Check Ebay offers
Nikon D2Xs:
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. 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: Leica Digilux 3 vs Nikon D2Xs

    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 Digilux 3 Nikon D2Xs
    Camera Type Digital single lens reflex Digital single lens reflex
    Camera Lens Four Thirds lenses Nikon F mount lenses
    Launch Date September 2006 June 2006
    Launch Price USD 1,499 USD 4,699
    Sensor Specs Leica Digilux 3 Nikon D2Xs
    Sensor Technology CMOS CMOS
    Sensor Format Four Thirds Sensor APS-C Sensor
    Sensor Size 17.3 x 13.0 mm 23.7 x 15.7 mm
    Sensor Area 224.9 mm2 372.09 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 21.6 mm 28.4 mm
    Crop Factor 2.0x 1.5x
    Sensor Resolution 7.4 Megapixels 12.2 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 3136 x 2352 pixels 4288 x 2848 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 5.51 μm 5.52 μm
    Pixel Density 3.28 MP/cm2 3.28 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability no Video no Video
    ISO Setting 100 - 1,600 ISO 100 - 800 ISO
    ISO Boost no Enhancement 800 - 3,200 ISO
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) .. 59
    DXO Color Depth (bits) .. 22.2
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) .. 10.9
    DXO Low Light (ISO) .. 489
    Screen Specs Leica Digilux 3 Nikon D2Xs
    Viewfinder Type Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 95% 100%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.47x 0.57x
    Top-Level Screen no Top Display Control Panel
    LCD Framing Live View
    Rear LCD Size 2.5inch 2.5inch
    LCD Resolution 207k dots 230k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen Fixed screen
    Shooting Specs Leica Digilux 3 Nikon D2Xs
    Focus System Phase-detect AF Phase-detect AF
    Continuous Shooting 3 shutter flaps/s 5 shutter flaps/s
    Fill Flash Build-in Flash no On-Board Flash
    Storage Medium SDXC cards CF cards
    Second Storage Option Single card slot Single card slot
    Connectivity Specs Leica Digilux 3 Nikon D2Xs
    External Flash Hotshoe Hotshoe
    Studio Flash no PC Sync PC Sync socket
    USB Connector USB 2.0 USB 2.0
    HDMI Port no HDMI no HDMI
    Wifi Support no Wifi no Wifi
    Body Specs Leica Digilux 3 Nikon D2Xs
    Environmental Sealingnot weather sealedWeathersealed body
    Battery Type BP-DC3 EN-EL4a
    Battery Life (CIPA)750 shots per charge3800 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 146 x 87 x 77 mm
    (5.7 x 3.4 x 3.0 in)
    158 x 150 x 86 mm
    (6.2 x 5.9 x 3.4 in)
    Camera Weight 606 g (21.4 oz) 1252 g (44.2 oz)

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