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Leica M Typ 262 vs Nikon D3X

The Leica M (Typ 262) and the Nikon D3X are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in November 2015 and December 2008. The M Typ 262 is a rangefinder-focusing mirrorless camera, while the D3X is a DSLR. Both cameras are equipped with a full frame sensor. The Leica has a resolution of 23.7 megapixels, whereas the Nikon provides 24.4 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 262
versus
Nikon D3X
Leica M Typ 262   Nikon D3X
Rangefinder camera Digital single lens reflex
Leica M mount lenses Nikon F mount lenses
23.7 MP – Full Frame sensor 24.4 MP – Full Frame sensor
no Video no Video
ISO 200-6,400 ISO 100-1,600 (50 - 6,400)
Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
3.0" LCD – 921k dots 3.0" LCD – 922k dots
Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive) Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)
3 shutter flaps per second 5 shutter flaps per second
Weathersealed bodyWeathersealed body
139 x 80 x 42 mm, 680 g 160 x 157 x 88 mm, 1260 g
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Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Leica M (Typ 262) and the Nikon D3X? 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 262 and the Nikon D3X. 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.

The M Typ 262 can be obtained in two different colors (black, silver), while the D3X is only available in black.

Size Leica M Typ 262 vs Nikon D3X
Compare M Typ 262 versus D3X top
Comparison M Typ 262 or D3X rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Nikon D3X is considerably larger (126 percent) than the Leica M Typ 262. Moreover, the D3X is substantially heavier (85 percent) than the M Typ 262. In this context, it is worth noting that both cameras are splash and dust-proof and can, hence, be used in inclement weather conditions or harsh environments.

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. Both cameras have similarly sized sensors, but DSLRs have a larger flange-to-focal plane distance than mirrorless cameras, which imposes contraints on the optical engineering process and generally leads to bigger and heavier lenses. You can compare the optics available for the two cameras in the Leica M Lens Catalog (M Typ 262) and the Nikon Lens Catalog (D3X).

As can be seen in the images above, the D3X has a battery grip built in. This facilitates image-taking in portrait orientation and gives it additional battery power.

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.
 
Leica M Typ 262 139 mm 80 mm 42 mm 680 g .. Y Nov 2015 5,195ebay.com
2.
 
Nikon D3X 160 mm 157 mm 88 mm 1260 g 4400 Y Dec 2008 7,999ebay.com
3.
 
Canon 1D X Mark II 158 mm 168 mm 83 mm 1530 g 1210 Y Feb 2016 5,999ebay.com
4.
 
Leica M10-R 139 mm 80 mm 39 mm 660 g 210 Y Jul 2020 8,295 amazon.com
5.
 
Leica Q2 130 mm 80 mm 92 mm 718 g 370 Y Mar 2019 4,995 amazon.com
6.
 
Leica M-E Typ 240 139 mm 80 mm 42 mm 680 g .. Y Jun 2019 3,999 amazon.com
7.
 
Leica M10-P 139 mm 80 mm 39 mm 660 g 210 Y Aug 2018 7,995 amazon.com
8.
 
Leica M10 139 mm 80 mm 39 mm 660 g 210 Y Jan 2017 6,595ebay.com
9.
 
Leica Q Typ 116 130 mm 80 mm 93 mm 640 g 300 n Jun 2015 4,249ebay.com
10.
 
Leica SL 147 mm 104 mm 39 mm 847 g 400 Y Oct 2015 7,450ebay.com
11.
 
Leica M Typ 240 139 mm 80 mm 42 mm 680 g .. Y Sep 2012 6,950ebay.com
12.
 
Nikon D5 160 mm 159 mm 92 mm 1415 g 3780 Y Jan 2016 6,499ebay.com
13.
 
Nikon D4S 160 mm 157 mm 91 mm 1350 g 3020 Y Feb 2014 6,499ebay.com
14.
 
Nikon D750 141 mm 113 mm 78 mm 750 g 1230 Y Sep 2014 2,299ebay.com
15.
 
Nikon D4 160 mm 157 mm 91 mm 1340 g 2600 Y Jan 2012 5,999ebay.com
16.
 
Nikon D3 160 mm 157 mm 88 mm 1300 g 4300 Y Aug 2007 4,999ebay.com
Note: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.

Any camera decision will obviously take relative prices into account. The listed launch prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The M Typ 262 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 35 percent) than the D3X, 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. Then, after the new model is out, very good deals can frequently be found on the pre-owned market.

Sensor comparison

The size of the imaging sensor is a crucial determinant 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. Moreover, a large sensor camera will give the photographer more control over depth-of-field in the image and, thus, the ability to better isolate a subject from the background. On the downside, larger sensors tend to be associated with larger, more expensive camera bodies and lenses.

Both cameras under consideration feature a full frame sensor, but their sensors differ slightly in size. The sensor area in the D3X is 1 percent bigger. They nevertheless have the same format factor of 1.0. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.

Leica M Typ 262 and Nikon D3X sensor measures

With 24.4MP, the D3X offers a higher resolution than the M Typ 262 (23.7MP), but the D3X has marginally smaller individual pixels (pixel pitch of 5.94μm versus 6.01μm for the M Typ 262). Yet, the M Typ 262 is a much more recent model (by 6 years and 11 months) than the D3X, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that further enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixel-units. Coming back to sensor resolution, it should be mentioned that the M Typ 262 has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.

The Leica M (Typ 262) 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 D3X are ISO 100 to ISO 1600, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 50-6400.

Technology-wise, both cameras are equipped with CMOS (Complementary Metal–Oxide–Semiconductor) sensors. Both cameras use a Bayer filter for capturing RGB colors on a square grid of photosensors. This arrangement is found in most digital cameras.

M Typ 262 versus D3X 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 following table provides an overview of the physical sensor characteristics, as well as the sensor quality measurements for a selection of comparators.

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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 Typ 262 Full Frame 23.7 5952 3976none24.813.7247890
2.
 
Nikon D3X Full Frame 24.4 6048 4032none24.713.7199288
3.
 
Canon 1D X Mark II Full Frame 20.0 5472 36484K/60p24.113.5320788
4.
 
Leica M10-R Full Frame 40.9 7864 5200none25.314.3292495
5.
 
Leica Q2 Full Frame 46.7 8368 55844K/30p26.413.5249196
6.
 
Leica M-E Typ 240 Full Frame 23.7 5952 39761080/25p25.214.2282194
7.
 
Leica M10-P Full Frame 23.8 5952 3992none25.114.1273993
8.
 
Leica M10 Full Frame 23.8 5952 3992none24.413.2213386
9.
 
Leica Q Typ 116 Full Frame 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.312.7222185
10.
 
Leica SL Full Frame 24.0 6000 40004K/30p25.013.4182188
11.
 
Leica M Typ 240 Full Frame 23.7 5952 39761080/25p24.013.3186084
12.
 
Nikon D5 Full Frame 20.7 5588 37124K/30p25.112.3234388
13.
 
Nikon D4S Full Frame 16.2 4928 32801080/60p24.413.3307489
14.
 
Nikon D750 Full Frame 24.2 6016 40161080/60p24.814.5295693
15.
 
Nikon D4 Full Frame 16.2 4928 32801080/30p24.713.1296589
16.
 
Nikon D3 Full Frame 12.1 4256 2832none23.512.2229081
Note: DXO values in italics represent estimates based on sensor size and age.
The D3X offers Live View, so that it can project the live image that the sensor receives onto the rear screen for framing. The M Typ 262 lacks this capability. Both cameras are still-image focused and cannot record videos.

Feature comparison

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. The M Typ 262 and the D3X 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 viewfinders of both cameras offer the same field of view (100%), but the viewfinder of the D3X has a higher magnification than the one of the M Typ 262 (0.70x vs 0.68x), 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 M Typ 262, the Nikon D3X, and comparable cameras.

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Core Features
    Camera
Model
Viewfinder
(Type or
000 dots)
Control
Panel
(yes/no)
LCD
Specifications
(inch/000 dots)
LCD
Attach-
ment
Touch
Screen
(yes/no)
Max
Shutter
Speed *
Max
Shutter
Flaps *
Built-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Built-in
Image
Stab
1.
 
Leica M Typ 262optical n3.0 / 921 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0/s n n
2.
 
Nikon D3Xoptical Y3.0 / 922 fixed n 1/8000s 5.0/s n n
3.
 
Canon 1D X Mark IIoptical Y3.2 / 1620 fixed Y 1/8000s 16.0/s n n
4.
 
Leica M10-Roptical n3.0 / 1037 fixed Y 1/4000s 4.5/s n n
5.
 
Leica Q23680 n3.0 / 1040 fixed Y 1/2000s 20.0/s n Y
6.
 
Leica M-E Typ 240optical n3.0 / 920 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0/s n n
7.
 
Leica M10-Poptical n3.0 / 1037 fixed Y 1/4000s 5.0/s n n
8.
 
Leica M10optical n3.0 / 1037 fixed n 1/4000s 5.0/s n n
9.
 
Leica Q Typ 1163680 n3.0 / 1040 fixed Y 1/2000s 10.0/s n Y
10.
 
Leica SL4400 Y3.0 / 1040 fixed Y 1/8000s 11.0/s n n
11.
 
Leica M Typ 240optical n3.0 / 920 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0/s n n
12.
 
Nikon D5optical Y3.2 / 2359 fixed Y 1/8000s 14.0/s n n
13.
 
Nikon D4Soptical Y3.2 / 921 fixed n 1/8000s 11.0/s n n
14.
 
Nikon D750optical Y3.2 / 1229 tilting n 1/4000s 6.0/s Y n
15.
 
Nikon D4optical Y3.2 / 921 fixed n 1/8000s 11.0/s n n
16.
 
Nikon D3optical Y3.0 / 922 fixed n 1/8000s 11.0/s n n
Notes: *) Information refers to the mechanical shutter, unless the camera only has an electronic one.

One feature that is present on the D3X, but is missing on the M Typ 262 is a top-level LCD. While being, of course, smaller than the rear screen, the control panel conveys some of the essential shooting information and can be convenient for quick and easy settings verification.

The Nikon D3X has an intervalometer built-in. This enables the photographer to capture time lapse sequences, such as flower blooming, a sunset or moon rise, without purchasing an external camera trigger and related software.

The M Typ 262 writes its imaging data to SDXC cards, while the D3X uses Compact Flash cards. The D3X features dual card slots, which can be very useful in case a memory card fails. In contrast, the M Typ 262 only has one slot.

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 262) and Nikon D3X 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
Mic / Speaker
Microphone
Port
Headphone
Port
HDMI
Port
USB
Port
WiFi
Support
NFC
Support
Bluetooth
Support
1.
 
Leica M Typ 262Y- / ----2.0---
2.
 
Nikon D3XY- / ---mini2.0---
3.
 
Canon 1D X Mark IIYmono / monoYYmini3.0---
4.
 
Leica M10-RY- / -----Y--
5.
 
Leica Q2Ystereo / mono----Y-Y
6.
 
Leica M-E Typ 240Ymono / ----2.0---
7.
 
Leica M10-PY- / -----Y--
8.
 
Leica M10Y- / -----Y--
9.
 
Leica Q Typ 116Ystereo / mono--micro2.0YY-
10.
 
Leica SLYstereo / monoYYfull3.0Y--
11.
 
Leica M Typ 240Ystereo / mono---2.0---
12.
 
Nikon D5Ystereo / monoYYmini3.0---
13.
 
Nikon D4SYmono / monoYYmini2.0---
14.
 
Nikon D750Ystereo / monoYYmini2.0Y--
15.
 
Nikon D4Ymono / monoYYmicro2.0---
16.
 
Nikon D3Y- / ---mini2.0---

Studio photographers will appreciate that the Nikon D3X (unlike the M Typ 262) features a PC Sync socket, so that professional strobe lights can be controlled by the camera.

Both the M Typ 262 and the D3X have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on ebay. The M Typ 262 was replaced by the Leica M10, while the D3X does not have a direct successor. Further information on the features and operation of the M Typ 262 and D3X can be found, respectively, in the Leica M Typ 262 Manual (free pdf) or the online Nikon D3X Manual.

Review summary

So what is the bottom line? Is the Leica M Typ 262 better than the Nikon D3X or vice versa? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.

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Arguments in favor of the Leica M (Typ 262):

  • Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
  • More compact: Is smaller (139x80mm vs 160x157mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
  • Less heavy: Is lighter (by 580g or 46 percent) and hence easier to carry around.
  • More prestigious: Has the Leica luxury appeal, which ensures a high resale price.
  • More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (35 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More modern: Reflects 6 years and 11 months of technical progress since the D3X launch.

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Reasons to prefer the Nikon D3X:

  • Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
  • Larger viewfinder image: Features a viewfinder with a higher magnification (0.70x vs 0.68x).
  • 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.
  • Easier time-lapse photography: Has an intervalometer built-in for low frequency shooting.
  • More portrait friendly: Features an integrated vertical grip for easier portrait shooting.
  • Better studio light control: Has a PC Sync socket to connect to professional strobe lights.
  • 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 December 2008).

If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the D3X is the clear winner of the contest (10 : 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.

M Typ 262 06:10 D3X

In any case, while the specs-based evaluation of cameras can be instructive in revealing their potential as photographic tools, it remains incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the M Typ 262 or the D3X 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 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], digitalcameraworld [DCW], 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 
 DCW 
 score 
 DPR 
 score 
 EPZ 
 score 
 PB 
 score 
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
1.
 
Leica M Typ 262............ Nov 2015 5,195ebay.com
2.
 
Nikon D3X......86/1004/55/5 Dec 2008 7,999ebay.com
3.
 
Canon 1D X Mark II....4.5/589/1004.5/54.5/5 Feb 2016 5,999ebay.com
4.
 
Leica M10-R4.5/5..4/5....4/5 Jul 2020 8,295 amazon.com
5.
 
Leica Q2....4.5/584/1004.5/54/5 Mar 2019 4,995 amazon.com
6.
 
Leica M-E Typ 240............ Jun 2019 3,999 amazon.com
7.
 
Leica M10-P....3/5....4/5 Aug 2018 7,995 amazon.com
8.
 
Leica M104.5/5......4/54.5/5 Jan 2017 6,595ebay.com
9.
 
Leica Q Typ 1165/5....80/1004.5/54.5/5 Jun 2015 4,249ebay.com
10.
 
Leica SL4/5..4/584/1004.5/54/5 Oct 2015 7,450ebay.com
11.
 
Leica M Typ 2404/5......4/5.. Sep 2012 6,950ebay.com
12.
 
Nikon D5....4/589/1004.5/55/5 Jan 2016 6,499ebay.com
13.
 
Nikon D4S5/5......4.5/54.5/5 Feb 2014 6,499ebay.com
14.
 
Nikon D7505/5+ +4/590/1004.5/54.5/5 Sep 2014 2,299ebay.com
15.
 
Nikon D4........4.5/54.5/5 Jan 2012 5,999ebay.com
16.
 
Nikon D3......+ +5/54.5/5 Aug 2007 4,999ebay.com
Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.

Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, 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 rating-comparisons among cameras that span long time periods or concern very differently equipped models make little sense. It should also be noted that some of the review sites have over time altered the way they render their verdicts.

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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 a corresponding selection in the search boxes below. 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 M Typ 262 vs Nikon D3X

    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 262 Nikon D3X
    Camera Type Rangefinder camera Digital single lens reflex
    Camera Lens Leica M mount lenses Nikon F mount lenses
    Launch Date November 2015 December 2008
    Launch Price USD 5,195 USD 7,999
    Sensor Specs Leica M Typ 262 Nikon D3X
    Sensor Technology CMOS CMOS
    Sensor Format Full Frame Sensor Full Frame Sensor
    Sensor Size 35.8 x 23.9 mm 35.9 x 24.0 mm
    Sensor Area 855.62 mm2 861.6 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 43 mm 43.2 mm
    Crop Factor 1.0x 1.0x
    Sensor Resolution 23.7 Megapixels 24.4 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 5952 x 3976 pixels 6048 x 4032 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 6.01 μm 5.94 μm
    Pixel Density 2.77 MP/cm2 2.83 MP/cm2
    Moiré control no AA filter Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability no Video no Video
    ISO Setting 200 - 6,400 ISO 100 - 1,600 ISO
    ISO Boost 100 - 6,400 ISO 50 - 6,400 ISO
    Image Processor Maestro EXPEED
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) .. 88
    DXO Color Depth (bits) .. 24.7
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) .. 13.7
    DXO Low Light (ISO) .. 1992
    Screen Specs Leica M Typ 262 Nikon D3X
    Viewfinder Type Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 100% 100%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.68x 0.70x
    Top-Level Screen no Top Display Control Panel
    LCD Framing Live View
    Rear LCD Size 3.0inch 3.0inch
    LCD Resolution 921k dots 922k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen Fixed screen
    Shooting Specs Leica M Typ 262 Nikon D3X
    Focus System Manual Focus Phase-detect AF
    Manual Focusing AidFocus Peakingno Peaking Feature
    Continuous Shooting 3 shutter flaps/s 5 shutter flaps/s
    Time-Lapse Photographyno IntervalometerIntervalometer built-in
    Fill Flash no On-Board Flash no On-Board Flash
    Storage Medium SDXC cards CF cards
    Single or Dual Card Slots Single card slot Dual card slots
    Connectivity Specs Leica M Typ 262 Nikon D3X
    External Flash Hotshoe Hotshoe
    Studio Flash no PC Sync PC Sync socket
    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 262 Nikon D3X
    Environmental SealingWeathersealed bodyWeathersealed body
    Battery Type BP-SCL2 EN-EL4a
    Body Dimensions 139 x 80 x 42 mm
    (5.5 x 3.1 x 1.7 in)
    160 x 157 x 88 mm
    (6.3 x 6.2 x 3.5 in)
    Camera Weight 680 g (24.0 oz) 1260 g (44.4 oz)
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    Check M Typ 262 offers at
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    Check D3X offers at
    ebay.com

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