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Leica M-E Typ 240 vs Nikon D80

The Leica M-E (Typ 240) and the Nikon D80 are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in June 2019 and August 2006. The M-E Typ 240 is a rangefinder-style mirrorless camera, while the D80 is a DSLR. The cameras are based on a full frame (M-E Typ 240) and an APS-C (D80) sensor. The Leica has a resolution of 23.7 megapixels, whereas the Nikon provides 10 MP.

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

Headline Specifications
Leica M-E Typ 240 versus Nikon D80
Leica M-E Typ 240 Nikon D80
Rangefinder camera Digital single lens reflex
Leica M mount lenses Nikon F mount lenses
23.7 MP, Full Frame Sensor 10 MP, APS-C Sensor
1080/25p Video no Video
ISO 200-6,400 ISO 100-1,600 (100 - 3,200)
Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
3.0 LCD, 920k dots 2.5 LCD, 230k dots
Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive) Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)
3 shutter flaps per second 3 shutter flaps per second
Weathersealed bodynot weather sealed
139 x 80 x 42 mm, 680 g 132 x 103 x 77 mm, 668 g

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Leica M-E (Typ 240) and the Nikon D80? 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 Leica M-E Typ 240 and the Nikon D80. 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 dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

Size Leica M-E Typ 240 vs Nikon D80
Compare M-E Typ 240 versus D80 top
Comparison M-E Typ 240 or D80 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Nikon D80 is notably larger (22 percent) than the Leica M-E Typ 240. However, the D80 is slightly lighter (2 percent) than the M-E Typ 240. It is worth mentioning in this context that the M-E Typ 240 is splash and dust resistant, while the D80 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 Leica M Lens Catalog (M-E Typ 240) and the Nikon Lens Catalog (D80).

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 M-E Typ 240 139 mm 80 mm 42 mm 680 g .. Y Jun 2019 3,999 i
2.
 
Nikon D80 132 mm 103 mm 77 mm 668 g 600 n Aug 2006 999i
3.
 
Leica M10-R 139 mm 80 mm 39 mm 660 g 210 Y Jul 2020 8,295 i
4.
 
Leica Q2 130 mm 80 mm 92 mm 718 g 370 Y Mar 2019 4,995 i
5.
 
Leica M10-P 139 mm 80 mm 39 mm 660 g 210 Y Aug 2018 7,995 i
6.
 
Leica M10 139 mm 80 mm 39 mm 660 g 210 Y Jan 2017 6,595 i
7.
 
Leica M Typ 262 139 mm 80 mm 42 mm 680 g .. Y Nov 2015 5,195i
8.
 
Leica Q Typ 116 130 mm 80 mm 93 mm 640 g 300 n Jun 2015 4,249i
9.
 
Leica M Typ 240 139 mm 80 mm 42 mm 680 g .. Y Sep 2012 6,950i
10.
 
Nikon Z6 134 mm 101 mm 67 mm 675 g 310 Y Aug 2018 1,999i
11.
 
Nikon D3000 126 mm 97 mm 64 mm 536 g 500 n Jul 2009 599i
12.
 
Nikon D90 132 mm 103 mm 77 mm 703 g 850 n Aug 2008 1,299i
13.
 
Nikon D300 147 mm 114 mm 74 mm 925 g 1000 Y Aug 2007 1,799i
14.
 
Nikon D2Xs 158 mm 150 mm 86 mm 1252 g 3800 Y Jun 2006 4,699i
15.
 
Nikon D70s 140 mm 111 mm 78 mm 679 g 500 n Apr 2005 899i
16.
 
Sony A9 II 129 mm 96 mm 76 mm 678 g 690 Y Oct 2019 4,499 i
17.
 
Sony A7 III 127 mm 96 mm 74 mm 650 g 610 Y Feb 2018 1,999 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 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 D80 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 75 percent) than the M-E Typ 240, 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.

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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 M-E Typ 240 features a full frame sensor and the Nikon D80 an APS-C sensor. The sensor area in the D80 is 56 percent smaller. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 1.0 and 1.5. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.

Leica M-E Typ 240 and Nikon D80 sensor measures

With 23.7MP, the M-E Typ 240 offers a higher resolution than the D80 (10MP), but the M-E Typ 240 has smaller individual pixels (pixel pitch of 6.01μm versus 6.11μm for the D80). However, the M-E Typ 240 is a much more recent model (by 12 years and 10 months) than the D80, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixels.

The resolution advantage of the Leica M-E Typ 240 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the M-E Typ 240 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 29.8 x 19.9 inches or 75.6 x 50.5 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 23.8 x 15.9 inches or 60.5 x 40.4 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 19.8 x 13.3 inches or 50.4 x 33.7 cm. The corresponding values for the Nikon D80 are 19.4 x 13 inches or 49.2 x 32.9 cm for good quality, 15.5 x 10.4 inches or 39.3 x 26.3 cm for very good quality, and 12.9 x 8.6 inches or 32.8 x 21.9 cm for excellent quality prints.

The Leica M-E (Typ 240) has a native sensitivity range from ISO 200 to ISO 6400, which can be extended to ISO 100-6400. The corresponding ISO settings for the Nikon D80 are ISO 100 to ISO 1600, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 100-3200.

M-E Typ 240 versus D80 MP

For many cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. This service assesses and scores the color depth ("DXO Portrait"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports") of camera sensors, and also publishes an overall camera score. 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 M-E Typ 240 Full Frame 23.7 5952 39761080/25p........
2.
 
Nikon D80 APS-C 10.0 3872 2592none22.111.252461
3.
 
Leica M10-R Full Frame 40.9 7864 5200none........
4.
 
Leica Q2 Full Frame 46.7 8368 55844K/30p26.413.5249196
5.
 
Leica M10-P Full Frame 23.8 5952 3992none........
6.
 
Leica M10 Full Frame 23.8 5952 3992none24.413.2213386
7.
 
Leica M Typ 262 Full Frame 23.7 5952 3976none........
8.
 
Leica Q Typ 116 Full Frame 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.312.7222185
9.
 
Leica M Typ 240 Full Frame 23.7 5952 39761080/25p24.013.3186084
10.
 
Nikon Z6 Full Frame 24.3 6048 40244K/30p25.314.3329995
11.
 
Nikon D3000 APS-C 10.0 3872 2592none22.311.156362
12.
 
Nikon D90 APS-C 12.2 4288 2848720/24p22.712.597773
13.
 
Nikon D300 APS-C 12.2 4288 2848none22.112.067967
14.
 
Nikon D2Xs APS-C 12.2 4288 2848none22.210.948959
15.
 
Nikon D70s APS-C 6.0 3008 2000none20.410.352950
16.
 
Sony A9 II Full Frame 24.0 6000 40004K/30p25.014.0343493
17.
 
Sony A7 III Full Frame 24.0 6000 40004K/30p25.014.7373096

Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. The M-E Typ 240 indeed provides movie recording capabilities, while the D80 does not. The highest resolution format that the M-E Typ 240 can use is 1080/25p.

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Feature comparison

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. The M-E Typ 240 and the D80 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 M-E Typ 240 offers a wider field of view (100%) than the one in the D80 (95%), so that a larger proportion of the captured image is visible in the finder. In addition, the viewfinder of the M-E Typ 240 has a higher magnification (0.68x vs 0.62x), so that the size of the image transmitted appears closer to the size seen with the naked human eye. The adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Leica M-E Typ 240 and Nikon D80 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.
 
Leica M-E Typ 240optical n 3.0 920 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 n n
2.
 
Nikon D80optical n 2.5 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
3.
 
Leica M10-Roptical n 3.0 1037 fixed Y 1/4000s 4.5 n n
4.
 
Leica Q23680 n 3.0 1040 fixed Y 1/2000s 20.0 n Y
5.
 
Leica M10-Poptical n 3.0 1037 fixed Y 1/4000s 5.0 n n
6.
 
Leica M10optical n 3.0 1037 fixed n 1/4000s 5.0 n n
7.
 
Leica M Typ 262optical n 3.0 921 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 n n
8.
 
Leica Q Typ 1163680 n 3.0 1040 fixed Y 1/2000s 10.0 n Y
9.
 
Leica M Typ 240optical n 3.0 920 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 n n
10.
 
Nikon Z63690 Y 3.2 2100 tilting Y 1/8000s 12.0 n Y
11.
 
Nikon D3000optical n 3.0 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
12.
 
Nikon D90optical Y 3.0 920 fixed n 1/4000s 4.5 Y n
13.
 
Nikon D300optical Y 3.0 922 fixed n 1/8000s 6.0 Y n
14.
 
Nikon D2Xsoptical Y 2.5 230 fixed n 1/8000s 5.0 n n
15.
 
Nikon D70soptical n 2.0 130 fixed n 1/8000s 3.0 Y n
16.
 
Sony A9 II3686 n 3.0 1440 tilting Y 1/8000s 10.0 n Y
17.
 
Sony A7 III2359 n 3.0 922 tilting Y 1/8000s 10.0 n Y

One difference between the cameras concerns the presence of an on-board flash. The D80 has one, while the M-E Typ 240 does not. While the built-in flash of the D80 is not very powerful, it can at times be useful as a fill-in light.

The M-E Typ 240 writes its imaging data to SDXC cards, while the D80 uses SDHC cards. The M-E Typ 240 supports UHS-I cards (Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 104 MB/s), while the D80 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 Leica M-E (Typ 240) and Nikon D80 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 M-E Typ 240Ymono----2.0---
2.
 
Nikon D80Y-----2.0---
3.
 
Leica M10-RY------Y--
4.
 
Leica Q2Ystereomono----Y-Y
5.
 
Leica M10-PY------Y--
6.
 
Leica M10Y------Y--
7.
 
Leica M Typ 262Y-----2.0---
8.
 
Leica Q Typ 116Ystereomono--micro2.0YY-
9.
 
Leica M Typ 240Ystereomono---2.0---
10.
 
Nikon Z6YstereomonoYYmicro3.1Y-Y
11.
 
Nikon D3000Y-----2.0---
12.
 
Nikon D90Ymonomono--mini2.0---
13.
 
Nikon D300Y----mini2.0---
14.
 
Nikon D2XsY-----2.0---
15.
 
Nikon D70sY-----2.0---
16.
 
Sony A9 IIYstereomonoYYmicro3.1YYY
17.
 
Sony A7 IIIYstereomonoYYmicro3.1YYY

The M-E Typ 240 is a recent model that features in the current product line-up of Leica. In contrast, the D80 has been discontinued (but can be found pre-owned on eBay). As a replacement in the same line of cameras, the D80 was succeeded by the Nikon D90. 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 is the bottom line? Is the Leica M-E Typ 240 better than the Nikon D80 or vice versa? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.

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Arguments in favor of the Leica M-E (Typ 240):

  • More detail: Offers more megapixels (23.7 vs 10MP) with a 54% higher linear resolution.
  • Better image quality: Features a larger and more technologically advanced imaging sensor.
  • Richer colors: The sensor size advantage translates into images with better, more accurate colors.
  • More dynamic range: Larger sensor captures a wider spectrum of light and dark details.
  • Better low-light sensitivity: Larger sensor produces good images even in poorly lit environments.
  • Broader imaging potential: Can record not only still images but also 1080/25p movies.
  • 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 (0.68x vs 0.62x).
  • 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).
  • More compact: Is smaller (139x80mm vs 132x103mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
  • Better sealing: Is weather sealed to enable shooting in dusty or wet environments.
  • Faster buffer clearing: Has an SD card interface that supports the UHS-I standard.
  • More prestigious: Has the Leica luxury appeal, which ensures a high resale price.
  • More modern: Reflects 12 years and 10 months of technical progress since the D80 launch.

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Advantages of the Nikon D80:

  • Easier fill-in: Has a small integrated flash to brighten shadows of backlit subjects.
  • More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (75 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More heavily discounted: Has been around for much longer (launched in August 2006).

If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the M-E Typ 240 is the clear winner of the match-up (15 : 3 points). However, the relevance of individual strengths will vary across photographers, so that you might want to apply your own weighing scheme to the summary points when reflecting and deciding on a new camera. 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.

M-E Typ 240 15:03 D80

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 M-E Typ 240 or the D80 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 (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 M-E Typ 240.......... Jun 2019 3,999 i
2.
 
Nikon D80..++ +o4.5/5 Aug 2006 999i
3.
 
Leica M10-R4.5/5......4/5 Jul 2020 8,295 i
4.
 
Leica Q2....84/1004.5/54/5 Mar 2019 4,995 i
5.
 
Leica M10-P........4/5 Aug 2018 7,995 i
6.
 
Leica M104.5/5....4/54.5/5 Jan 2017 6,595 i
7.
 
Leica M Typ 262.......... Nov 2015 5,195i
8.
 
Leica Q Typ 1165/5..80/1004.5/54.5/5 Jun 2015 4,249i
9.
 
Leica M Typ 2404/5....4/5.. Sep 2012 6,950i
10.
 
Nikon Z65/5....4.5/55/5 Aug 2018 1,999i
11.
 
Nikon D3000..+72/1004/54.5/5 Jul 2009 599i
12.
 
Nikon D90..+ ++ +4/54.5/5 Aug 2008 1,299i
13.
 
Nikon D300..+ ++ +5/54.5/5 Aug 2007 1,799i
14.
 
Nikon D2Xs.......... Jun 2006 4,699i
15.
 
Nikon D70s........5/5 Apr 2005 899i
16.
 
Sony A9 II....90/1005/55/5 Oct 2019 4,499 i
17.
 
Sony A7 III..+ +89/1005/55/5 Feb 2018 1,999 i
Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.

The review scores listed above should be treated with care, though. The assessments were made in relation to similar cameras of the same technological generation. Hence, a score should always be seen in the context of the camera's market launch date and its price, 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 M-E Typ 240:
Check Amazon price
Nikon D80:
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: Leica M-E Typ 240 vs Nikon D80

    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 M-E Typ 240 Nikon D80
    Camera Type Rangefinder camera Digital single lens reflex
    Camera Lens Leica M mount lenses Nikon F mount lenses
    Launch Date June 2019 August 2006
    Launch Price USD 3,999 USD 999
    Sensor Specs Leica M-E Typ 240 Nikon D80
    Sensor Technology CMOS CCD
    Sensor Format Full Frame Sensor APS-C Sensor
    Sensor Size 35.8 x 23.9 mm 23.6 x 15.8 mm
    Sensor Area 855.62 mm2 372.88 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 43 mm 28.4 mm
    Crop Factor 1.0x 1.5x
    Sensor Resolution 23.7 Megapixels 10 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 5952 x 3976 pixels 3872 x 2592 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 6.01 μm 6.11 μm
    Pixel Density 2.77 MP/cm2 2.69 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability 1080/25p Video no Video
    ISO Setting 200 - 6,400 ISO 100 - 1,600 ISO
    ISO Boost 100 - 6,400 ISO 100 - 3,200 ISO
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) .. 61
    DXO Color Depth (bits) .. 22.1
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) .. 11.2
    DXO Low Light (ISO) .. 524
    Screen Specs Leica M-E Typ 240 Nikon D80
    Viewfinder Type Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 100% 95%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.68x 0.62x
    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 Leica M-E Typ 240 Nikon D80
    Focus System Manual Focus Phase-detect AF
    Manual Focusing AidFocus Peakingno Peaking Feature
    Continuous Shooting 3 shutter flaps/s 3 shutter flaps/s
    Fill Flash no On-Board Flash Build-in Flash
    Storage Medium SDXC cards SDHC cards
    Second Storage Option Single card slot Single card slot
    UHS card support UHS-I no
    Connectivity Specs Leica M-E Typ 240 Nikon D80
    External Flash Hotshoe Hotshoe
    USB Connector USB 2.0 USB 2.0
    HDMI Port no HDMI no HDMI
    Wifi Support no Wifi no Wifi
    Body Specs Leica M-E Typ 240 Nikon D80
    Environmental SealingWeathersealed bodynot weather sealed
    Battery Type BP-SCL2 EN-EL3e
    Body Dimensions 139 x 80 x 42 mm
    (5.5 x 3.1 x 1.7 in)
    132 x 103 x 77 mm
    (5.2 x 4.1 x 3.0 in)
    Camera Weight 680 g (24.0 oz) 668 g (23.6 oz)

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