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Leica M Typ 240 vs Olympus E-P1

The Leica M (Typ 240) and the Olympus PEN E-P1 are two enthusiast cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in September 2012 and June 2009. The M Typ 240 is a fixed lens compact, while the E-P1 is a rangefinder-style mirrorless. The cameras are based on a full frame (M Typ 240) and a Four Thirds (E-P1) sensor. The Leica has a resolution of 23.7 megapixels, whereas the Olympus 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 M Typ 240 versus Olympus E-P1
Leica M Typ 240 Olympus E-P1
Rangefinder camera Mirrorless system camera
Leica M mount lenses Micro Four Thirds lenses
23.7 MP, Full Frame Sensor 12.2 MP, Four Thirds Sensor
1080/25p Video 720/30p Video
ISO 200-6,400 ISO 100-6,400
Optical viewfinder No viewfinder, LCD framing
3.0 LCD, 920k dots 3.0 LCD, 230k dots
Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive) Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)
3 shutter flaps per second 3 shutter flaps per second
no shake reductionIn-body stabilization
Weathersealed bodynot weather sealed
139 x 80 x 42 mm, 680 g 121 x 70 x 36 mm, 355 g

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Leica M (Typ 240) and the Olympus PEN E-P1? 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 Typ 240 and the Olympus E-P1. 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.

The M Typ 240 can be obtained in two different colors (black, silver), while the E-P1 is available in three color-versions (black, silver, white).

Size Leica M Typ 240 vs Olympus E-P1
Compare M Typ 240 versus E-P1 top
Comparison M Typ 240 or E-P1 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Olympus E-P1 is notably smaller (24 percent) than the Leica M Typ 240. Moreover, the E-P1 is substantially lighter (48 percent) than the M Typ 240. It is worth mentioning in this context that the M Typ 240 is splash and dust resistant, while the E-P1 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 Typ 240) and the Micro Four Thirds Lens Catalog (E-P1).

The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the two cameras alongside a broader set of comparators. 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
 
Leica M Typ 240 5.5 in 3.1 in 1.7 in 24.0 oz .. Y Sep 2012 6,950i
 
Olympus E-P1 4.8 in 2.8 in 1.4 in 12.5 oz 300 n Jun 2009 799i
 
Canon 6D Mark II 5.7 in 4.4 in 3.0 in 27.0 oz 1200 Y Jun 2017 1,999 i
 
Canon 1D X Mark II 6.2 in 6.6 in 3.3 in 54.0 oz 1210 Y Feb 2016 5,999i
 
Canon 6D 5.7 in 4.4 in 2.8 in 27.2 oz 1090 Y Sep 2012 2,099i
 
Leica M10-R 5.5 in 3.1 in 1.5 in 23.3 oz 210 Y Jul 2020 8,295 i
 
Leica M-E Typ 240 5.5 in 3.1 in 1.7 in 24.0 oz .. Y Jun 2019 3,999 i
 
Leica M10-P 5.5 in 3.1 in 1.5 in 23.3 oz 210 Y Aug 2018 7,995 i
 
Leica M10 5.5 in 3.1 in 1.5 in 23.3 oz 210 Y Jan 2017 6,595 i
 
Leica M Typ 262 5.5 in 3.1 in 1.7 in 24.0 oz .. Y Nov 2015 5,195i
 
Leica SL 5.8 in 4.1 in 1.5 in 29.9 oz 400 Y Oct 2015 7,450i
 
Leica M9 5.5 in 3.1 in 1.5 in 20.6 oz .. n Sep 2009 7,999i
 
Olympus E-P3 4.8 in 2.7 in 1.3 in 13.0 oz 330 n Jun 2011 799i
 
Olympus E-PL2 4.5 in 2.8 in 1.7 in 12.8 oz 280 n Jan 2011 599i
 
Olympus E-PL3 4.3 in 2.5 in 1.5 in 11.0 oz 300 n Jun 2011 599i
 
Olympus E-P2 4.8 in 2.8 in 1.4 in 12.5 oz 300 n Nov 2009 799i
 
Panasonic GH1 4.9 in 3.5 in 1.8 in 13.6 oz 300 n Mar 2009 899i
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 listed launch prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The E-P1 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 89 percent) than the M Typ 240, 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.

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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. 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. 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 M Typ 240 features a full frame sensor and the Olympus E-P1 a Four Thirds sensor. The sensor area in the E-P1 is 74 percent smaller. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 1.0 and 2.0. The sensor in the M Typ 240 has a native 3:2 aspect ratio, while the one in the E-P1 offers a 4:3 aspect.

Technology-wise, both cameras are equipped with CMOS (Complementary Metal–Oxide–Semiconductor) sensors.

Leica M Typ 240 and Olympus E-P1 sensor measures

With 23.7MP, the M Typ 240 offers a higher resolution than the E-P1 (12.2MP), but the M Typ 240 nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 6.01μm versus 4.29μm for the E-P1) due to its larger sensor. Moreover, the M Typ 240 is a much more recent model (by 3 years and 3 months) than the E-P1, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that further enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixels.

The resolution advantage of the Leica M Typ 240 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the M 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 Olympus E-P1 are 20.2 x 15.1 inches or 51.2 x 38.4 cm for good quality, 16.1 x 12.1 inches or 41 x 30.7 cm for very good quality, and 13.4 x 10.1 inches or 34.1 x 25.6 cm for excellent quality prints.

The Leica M (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 Olympus PEN E-P1 are ISO 100 to ISO 6400 (no boost).

M Typ 240 versus E-P1 MP

Since 2007, DXO Mark has published sensor performance measurements that have been derived using a consistent methodology. 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"). Of the two cameras under review, the M Typ 240 provides substantially higher image quality than the E-P1, with an overall score that is 29 points higher. This advantage is based on 2.6 bits higher color depth, 2.9 EV in additional dynamic range, and 1.8 stops in additional low light sensitivity. 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 M Typ 240 Full Frame 23.7 5952 39761080/25p24.013.3186084
 
Olympus E-P1 Four Thirds 12.2 4032 3024720/30p21.410.453655
 
Canon 6D Mark II Full Frame 26.0 6240 41601080/60p24.411.9286285
 
Canon 1D X Mark II Full Frame 20.0 5472 36484K/60p24.113.5320788
 
Canon 6D Full Frame 20.0 5472 36481080/30p23.812.1234082
 
Leica M10-R Full Frame 40.9 7864 5200none........
 
Leica M-E Typ 240 Full Frame 23.7 5952 39761080/25p........
 
Leica M10-P Full Frame 23.8 5952 3992none........
 
Leica M10 Full Frame 23.8 5952 3992none24.413.2213386
 
Leica M Typ 262 Full Frame 23.7 5952 3976none........
 
Leica SL Full Frame 24.0 6000 40004K/30p25.013.4182188
 
Leica M9 Full Frame 18.1 5212 3472none22.511.788469
 
Olympus E-P3 Four Thirds 12.2 4032 30241080/60i20.810.153651
 
Olympus E-PL2 Four Thirds 12.2 4032 3024720/30p21.410.257355
 
Olympus E-PL3 Four Thirds 12.2 4032 30241080/60i20.910.349952
 
Olympus E-P2 Four Thirds 12.2 4032 3024720/30p21.510.450556
 
Panasonic GH1 Four Thirds 12.0 4000 30001080/24p21.611.677264

Many modern cameras cannot only take still pictures, but also record videos. Both cameras under consideration are equipped with sensors that have a sufficiently high read-out speed for moving images, but the M Typ 240 provides a higher video resolution than the E-P1. It can shoot video footage at 1080/25p, while the Olympus is limited to 720/30p.

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Feature comparison

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. For example, the M Typ 240 has an optical viewfinder, which can be very useful when shooting in bright sunlight. In contrast, the E-P1 relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. The adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Leica M Typ 240 and Olympus E-P1 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
 
Leica M Typ 240optical n 3.0 920 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 n n
 
Olympus E-P1none n 3.0 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 n Y
 
Canon 6D Mark IIoptical Y 3.0 1040 swivel Y 1/4000s 6.5 n n
 
Canon 1D X Mark IIoptical Y 3.2 1620 fixed Y 1/8000s 16.0 n n
 
Canon 6Doptical Y 3.0 1040 fixed n 1/4000s 4.5 n n
 
Leica M10-Roptical n 3.0 1037 fixed Y 1/4000s 4.5 n n
 
Leica M-E Typ 240optical n 3.0 920 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 n n
 
Leica M10-Poptical n 3.0 1037 fixed Y 1/4000s 5.0 n n
 
Leica M10optical n 3.0 1037 fixed n 1/4000s 5.0 n n
 
Leica M Typ 262optical n 3.0 921 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 n n
 
Leica SL4400 Y 3.0 1040 fixed Y 1/8000s 11.0 n n
 
Leica M9optical n 2.5 230 fixed n 1/4000s 2.0 n n
 
Olympus E-P3optional n 3.0 614 fixed Y 1/4000s 3.0 Y Y
 
Olympus E-PL2optional n 3.0 460 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y Y
 
Olympus E-PL3optional n 3.0 460 tilting n 1/4000s 5.5 n Y
 
Olympus E-P2optional n 3.0 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 n Y
 
Panasonic GH11440 n 3.0 460 swivel n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n

The M Typ 240 writes its imaging data to SDXC cards, while the E-P1 uses SDHC cards. The M Typ 240 supports UHS-I cards (Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 104 MB/s), while the E-P1 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 (Typ 240) and Olympus PEN E-P1 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 M Typ 240Ystereomono---2.0---
 
Olympus E-P1Ystereo---mini2.0---
 
Canon 6D Mark IIYstereomonoY-mini2.0YYY
 
Canon 1D X Mark IIYmonomonoYYmini3.0---
 
Canon 6DYmonomonoY-mini2.0Y--
 
Leica M10-RY------Y--
 
Leica M-E Typ 240Ymono----2.0---
 
Leica M10-PY------Y--
 
Leica M10Y------Y--
 
Leica M Typ 262Y-----2.0---
 
Leica SLYstereomonoYYfull3.0Y--
 
Leica M9Y-----2.0---
 
Olympus E-P3Ystereo---mini2.0---
 
Olympus E-PL2Ystereo---mini2.0---
 
Olympus E-PL3Ystereo---mini2.0---
 
Olympus E-P2Ystereo---mini2.0---
 
Panasonic GH1Ystereo-Y-mini2.0---

Both the M Typ 240 and the E-P1 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The E-P1 was replaced by the Olympus E-P2, while the M Typ 240 was followed by the Leica M Typ 262. 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 what conclusions can be drawn? Is the Leica M Typ 240 better than the Olympus E-P1 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 (Typ 240):

  • More detail: Offers more megapixels (23.7 vs 12.2MP) with a 42% higher linear resolution.
  • Better image quality: Scores substantially higher (29 points) in the DXO overall assessment.
  • Richer colors: Generates images with noticeably better colors (2.6 bits more color depth).
  • More dynamic range: Captures a larger spectrum of light and dark details (2.9 EV of extra DR).
  • Better low-light sensitivity: Requires less light for good images (1.8 stops ISO advantage).
  • Better video: Provides higher definition movie capture (1080/25p vs 720/30p).
  • Easier framing: Has an optical viewfinder for image composition and settings control.
  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (920k vs 230k dots).
  • 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 3 years and 3 months of technical progress since the E-P1 launch.

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Advantages of the Olympus PEN E-P1:

  • More compact: Is smaller (121x70mm vs 139x80mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
  • Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 325g or 48 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
  • Sharper images: Has stabilization technology built-in to reduce the impact of hand-shake.
  • More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (89 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More heavily discounted: Has been around for much longer (launched in June 2009).

If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the M Typ 240 is the clear winner of the match-up (12 : 5 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 sports photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a street photog, and a person interested in family portraits has distinct needs from a landscape shooter. Hence, the decision which camera is best and worth buying is often a very personal one.

M Typ 240 12:05 E-P1

In any case, while the specs-based evaluation of cameras can be instructive in revealing their potential as photographic tools, it remains partial and cannot reveal, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance when actually working with the M Typ 240 or the E-P1. 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 why expert reviews are important. The following table reports the overall ratings of the cameras as published by some of the major 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 M Typ 240....4/5.... Sep 2012 6,950i
 
Olympus E-P1+66/1004/54/54.5/5 Jun 2009 799i
 
Canon 6D Mark II+80/1004.5/54/54/5 Jun 2017 1,999 i
 
Canon 1D X Mark II..89/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Feb 2016 5,999i
 
Canon 6D+ +83/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Sep 2012 2,099i
 
Leica M10-R........4/5 Jul 2020 8,295 i
 
Leica M-E Typ 240.......... Jun 2019 3,999 i
 
Leica M10-P........4/5 Aug 2018 7,995 i
 
Leica M10....4/5..4.5/5 Jan 2017 6,595 i
 
Leica M Typ 262.......... Nov 2015 5,195i
 
Leica SL..84/1004.5/54/54/5 Oct 2015 7,450i
 
Leica M9....4.5/54.5/5.. Sep 2009 7,999i
 
Olympus E-P383/10074/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Jun 2011 799i
 
Olympus E-PL283/10071/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Jan 2011 599i
 
Olympus E-PL3+ +72/1004.5/5..4/5 Jun 2011 599i
 
Olympus E-P2+69/1004/54.5/54.5/5 Nov 2009 799i
 
Panasonic GH1+ +72/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Mar 2009 899i
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. 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. Also, please note that some of the review sites have changed their methodology and reporting over time.

Leica M Typ 240:
Check Ebay offers
Olympus E-P1:
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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 a corresponding selection in the search boxes below. There is also a set of direct links to comparison reviews that other users of the CAM-parator app explored.

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    Specifications: Leica M Typ 240 vs Olympus E-P1

    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 Typ 240 Olympus E-P1
    Camera Type Rangefinder camera Mirrorless system camera
    Camera Lens Leica M mount lenses Micro Four Thirds lenses
    Launch Date September 2012 June 2009
    Launch Price USD 6,950 USD 799
    Sensor Specs Leica M Typ 240 Olympus E-P1
    Sensor Technology CMOS CMOS
    Sensor Format Full Frame Sensor Four Thirds Sensor
    Sensor Size 35.8 x 23.9 mm 17.3 x 13.0 mm
    Sensor Area 855.62 mm2 224.9 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 43 mm 21.6 mm
    Crop Factor 1.0x 2.0x
    Sensor Resolution 23.7 Megapixels 12.2 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 5952 x 3976 pixels 4032 x 3024 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 6.01 μm 4.29 μm
    Pixel Density 2.77 MP/cm2 5.42 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability 1080/25p Video 720/30p Video
    ISO Setting 200 - 6,400 ISO 100 - 6,400 ISO
    ISO Boost 100 - 6,400 ISO no Enhancement
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) 84 55
    DXO Color Depth (bits) 24.0 21.4
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) 13.3 10.4
    DXO Low Light (ISO) 1860 536
    Screen Specs Leica M Typ 240 Olympus E-P1
    Viewfinder Type Optical viewfinder no viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 100%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.68x
    LCD Framing Live View Live View
    Rear LCD Size 3.0inch 3.0inch
    LCD Resolution 920k dots 230k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen Fixed screen
    Shooting Specs Leica M Typ 240 Olympus E-P1
    Focus System Manual Focus Contrast-detect AF
    Manual Focusing AidFocus Peakingno Peaking Feature
    Continuous Shooting 3 shutter flaps/s 3 shutter flaps/s
    Image Stabilizationno shake reductionIn-body stabilization
    Fill Flash no On-Board Flash no On-Board 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 Typ 240 Olympus E-P1
    External Flash Hotshoe Hotshoe
    USB Connector USB 2.0 USB 2.0
    HDMI Port no HDMI mini HDMI
    Wifi Support no Wifi no Wifi
    Body Specs Leica M Typ 240 Olympus E-P1
    Environmental SealingWeathersealed bodynot weather sealed
    Battery Type BP-SCL2 BLS-1
    Body Dimensions 139 x 80 x 42 mm
    (5.5 x 3.1 x 1.7 in)
    121 x 70 x 36 mm
    (4.8 x 2.8 x 1.4 in)
    Camera Weight 680 g (24.0 oz) 355 g (12.5 oz)

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