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Leica M11 vs M9

The Leica M11 (Typ 2416) and the Leica M9 are two enthusiast cameras that were announced, respectively, in January 2022 and September 2009. Both the M11 and the M9 are rangefinder-focusing mirrorless cameras that are equipped with a full frame sensor. The M11 has a resolution of 60.3 megapixels, whereas the M9 provides 18.1 MP.

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

Headline Specifications
Leica M11
versus
Leica M9
Leica M11   Leica M9
Rangefinder camera Rangefinder camera
Leica M mount lenses Leica M mount lenses
60.3 MP – Full Frame sensor 18.1 MP – Full Frame sensor
no Video no Video
ISO 64-50,000 ISO 80-2,500
Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
3.0" LCD – 2333k dots 2.5" LCD – 230k dots
Fixed touchscreen Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)
4.5 shutter flaps per second 2 shutter flaps per second
Weathersealed bodynot weather sealed
139 x 80 x 39 mm, 640 g 139 x 80 x 37 mm, 585 g
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Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Leica M11 (Typ 2416) and the Leica M9? 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 physical size and weight of the Leica M11 and the Leica M9 are illustrated in the side-by-side display below. 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 measures are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

Both cameras are available in two different colors (black, silver).

Size Leica M11 vs Leica M9
Compare M11 versus M9 top
Comparison M11 or M9 rear

In this particular case, the Leica M11 and the Leica M9 have exactly the same width and height, and, thus, have identically-sized bodies. However, the M9 is markedly lighter (9 percent) than the M11. It is worth mentioning in this context that the M11 is splash and dust resistant, while the M9 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. In this particular case, both cameras feature the same lens mount, so that they can use the same lenses. You can compare the optics available in the Leica M Lens Catalog.

The power pack in the M11 can be charged via the USB port, so that it is not always necessary to take the battery charger along when travelling.

The following table provides a synthesis of the main physical specifications of the two cameras and other similar ones. If you want to switch the focus of the display and review another camera pair, you can 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
Weather
Sealing
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
1.
 
Leica M11 139 mm 80 mm 39 mm 640 g 700 Y Jan 2022 8,995 amazon.com
2.
 
Leica M9 139 mm 80 mm 37 mm 585 g .. n Sep 2009 7,999ebay.com
3.
 
Canon 550D 129 mm 98 mm 62 mm 530 g 440 n Feb 2010 699ebay.com
4.
 
Hasselblad X1D 150 mm 98 mm 71 mm 725 g .. Y Jun 2016 8,995ebay.com
5.
 
Leica M10-R 139 mm 80 mm 39 mm 660 g 210 Y Jul 2020 8,295 amazon.com
6.
 
Leica Q2 130 mm 80 mm 92 mm 718 g 370 Y Mar 2019 4,995 amazon.com
7.
 
Leica M-E Typ 240 139 mm 80 mm 42 mm 680 g .. Y Jun 2019 3,999 amazon.com
8.
 
Leica M10-P 139 mm 80 mm 39 mm 660 g 210 Y Aug 2018 7,995 amazon.com
9.
 
Leica M10 139 mm 80 mm 39 mm 660 g 210 Y Jan 2017 6,595ebay.com
10.
 
Leica M Typ 262 139 mm 80 mm 42 mm 680 g .. Y Nov 2015 5,195ebay.com
11.
 
Leica X Vario 133 mm 73 mm 95 mm 680 g 450 n Jun 2013 2,850ebay.com
12.
 
Leica M Typ 240 139 mm 80 mm 42 mm 680 g .. Y Sep 2012 6,950ebay.com
13.
 
Leica M8 139 mm 80 mm 37 mm 591 g .. n Sep 2006 5,499ebay.com
14.
 
Sony A1 129 mm 97 mm 81 mm 737 g 530 Y Jan 2021 6,499 amazon.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 naturally be influenced heavily by the price. The manufacturer’s suggested retail prices give an idea on the placement of the camera in the maker’s lineup and the broader market. The M9 was launched at a somewhat lower price (by 11 percent) than the M11, which makes it more attractive for photographers on a tight budget. 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.

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 and have a format factor (sometimes also referred to as "crop factor") of 1.0. Within the spectrum of camera sensors, this places the review cameras among the large-sensor cameras that aim for top notch image quality. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.

Leica M11 and Leica M9 sensor measures

While the two cameras under review share the same sensor size, the M11 offers a higher resolution of 60.3 megapixels, compared with 18.1 MP of the M9. This megapixels advantage translates into a 83 percent gain in linear resolution. On the other hand, these sensor specs imply that the M11 has a higher pixel density and a smaller size of the individual pixel (with a pixel pitch of 3.79μm versus 6.91μm for the M9). In this context, it should be noted, however, that the M11 is much more recent (by 12 years and 4 months) than the M9, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that compensate for the smaller pixel size. Coming back to sensor resolution, it should be mentioned that neither of the two cameras has an anti-alias filter installed, so they are able to capture all the detail the sensor resolves.

The resolution advantage of the Leica M11 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the M11 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 47.6 x 31.6 inches or 121 x 80.4 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 38.1 x 25.3 inches or 96.8 x 64.3 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 31.8 x 21.1 inches or 80.7 x 53.6 cm. The corresponding values for the Leica M9 are 26.1 x 17.4 inches or 66.2 x 44.1 cm for good quality, 20.8 x 13.9 inches or 53 x 35.3 cm for very good quality, and 17.4 x 11.6 inches or 44.1 x 29.4 cm for excellent quality prints.

The Leica M11 (Typ 2416) has a native sensitivity range from ISO 64 to ISO 50000. The corresponding ISO settings for the Leica M9 are ISO 80 to ISO 2500 (no boost).

In terms of underlying technology, the M11 is build around a BSI-CMOS sensor, while the M9 uses a CCD imager. Both cameras use a Bayer filter for capturing RGB colors on a square grid of photosensors. This arrangement is found in most digital cameras.

M11 versus M9 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"). Of the two cameras under review, the M11 provides substantially higher image quality than the M9, with an overall score that is 31 points higher. This advantage is based on 3.8 bits higher color depth, 3.1 EV in additional dynamic range, and 1.9 stops in additional low light sensitivity. 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 M11 Full Frame 60.3 9528 6328none26.314.83376100
2.
 
Leica M9 Full Frame 18.1 5212 3472none22.511.788469
3.
 
Canon 550D APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p22.111.578466
4.
 
Hasselblad X1D Medium Format 51.3 8272 62001080/25p26.214.84489102
5.
 
Leica M10-R Full Frame 40.9 7864 5200none25.314.3292495
6.
 
Leica Q2 Full Frame 46.7 8368 55844K/30p26.413.5249196
7.
 
Leica M-E Typ 240 Full Frame 23.7 5952 39761080/25p25.214.2282194
8.
 
Leica M10-P Full Frame 23.8 5952 3992none25.114.1273993
9.
 
Leica M10 Full Frame 23.8 5952 3992none24.413.2213386
10.
 
Leica M Typ 262 Full Frame 23.7 5952 3976none24.813.7247890
11.
 
Leica X Vario APS-C 16.1 4928 32721080/30p23.412.7132078
12.
 
Leica M Typ 240 Full Frame 23.7 5952 39761080/25p24.013.3186084
13.
 
Leica M8 APS-H 10.4 3936 2630none21.111.366359
14.
 
Sony A1 Full Frame 49.8 8640 57608k/30p25.914.5316398
Note: DXO values in italics represent estimates based on sensor size and age.
The M11 offers Live View, so that it can project the live image that the sensor receives onto the rear screen for framing. The M9 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 M11 and the M9 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 M11 has a higher magnification than the one of the M9 (0.73x 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 M11, the Leica M9, 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 M11optical n3.0 / 2333 fixed Y 1/4000s 4.5/s n n
2.
 
Leica M9optical n2.5 / 230 fixed n 1/4000s 2.0/s n n
3.
 
Canon 550Doptical n3.0 / 1040 fixed n 1/4000s 3.7/s Y n
4.
 
Hasselblad X1D2360 n3.0 / 920 fixed Y 1/2000s 2.3/s n n
5.
 
Leica M10-Roptical n3.0 / 1037 fixed Y 1/4000s 4.5/s n n
6.
 
Leica Q23680 n3.0 / 1040 fixed Y 1/2000s 20.0/s n Y
7.
 
Leica M-E Typ 240optical n3.0 / 920 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0/s n n
8.
 
Leica M10-Poptical n3.0 / 1037 fixed Y 1/4000s 5.0/s n n
9.
 
Leica M10optical n3.0 / 1037 fixed n 1/4000s 5.0/s n n
10.
 
Leica M Typ 262optical n3.0 / 921 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0/s n n
11.
 
Leica X Variooptional n3.0 / 920 fixed n 1/2000s 5.0/s Y n
12.
 
Leica M Typ 240optical n3.0 / 920 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0/s n n
13.
 
Leica M8optical n2.5 / 230 fixed n 1/8000s 2.0/s n n
14.
 
Sony A19437 n3.0 / 1440 tilting Y 1/8000s 10.0/s n Y
Notes: *) Information refers to the mechanical shutter, unless the camera only has an electronic one.

One differentiating feature between the two cameras concerns the touch sensitivity of the rear screen. The M11 has a touchscreen, while the M9 has a conventional panel. Touch control can be particularly helpful, for example, for setting the focus point.

The reported shutter speed information refers to the use of the mechanical shutter. Yet, some cameras only have an electronic shutter, while others have an electronic shutter in addition to a mechanical one. In fact, the M11 is one of those camera that have an additional electronic shutter, which makes completely silent shooting possible. However, this mode is less suitable for photographing moving objects (risk of rolling shutter) or shooting under artificial light sources (risk of flickering).

The Leica M11 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.

Concerning the storage of imaging data, both the M11 and the M9 write their files to SDXC cards. The M11 supports UHS-II cards (Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 312 MB/s), while the M9 cannot take advantage of Ultra High Speed SD cards.

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 M11 (Typ 2416) and Leica M9 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 M11Y- / ----3.2Y-Y
2.
 
Leica M9Y- / ----2.0---
3.
 
Canon 550DYstereo / -Y-mini2.0---
4.
 
Hasselblad X1DYstereo / monoYYmini3.0Y--
5.
 
Leica M10-RY- / -----Y--
6.
 
Leica Q2Ystereo / mono----Y-Y
7.
 
Leica M-E Typ 240Ymono / ----2.0---
8.
 
Leica M10-PY- / -----Y--
9.
 
Leica M10Y- / -----Y--
10.
 
Leica M Typ 262Y- / ----2.0---
11.
 
Leica X VarioYstereo / mono--mini2.0---
12.
 
Leica M Typ 240Ystereo / mono---2.0---
13.
 
Leica M8Y- / ----2.0---
14.
 
Sony A1Ystereo / monoYYfull3.2Y-Y

It is notable that the M11 offers wifi support, while the M9 does not. Wifi can be a very convenient means to transfer image data to an off-camera location.

The M11 is a recent model that features in the current product line-up of Leica. In contrast, the M9 has been discontinued (but can be found pre-owned on ebay). As a replacement in the same line of cameras, the M9 was succeeded by the Leica M Typ 240. Further information on the features and operation of the M11 and M9 can be found, respectively, in the Leica M11 Manual (free pdf) or the online Leica M9 Manual.

Review summary

So what conclusions can be drawn? Is there a clear favorite between the Leica M11 and the Leica M9? Which camera is better? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.


Reasons to prefer the Leica M11 (Typ 2416):

  • More detail: Offers more megapixels (60.3 vs 18.1MP) with a 83% higher linear resolution.
  • Better image quality: Scores substantially higher (31 points) in the DXO overall assessment.
  • Richer colors: Generates images with noticeably better colors (3.8 bits more color depth).
  • More dynamic range: Captures a larger spectrum of light and dark details (3.1 EV of extra DR).
  • Better low-light sensitivity: Requires less light for good images (1.9 stops ISO advantage).
  • Larger viewfinder image: Features a viewfinder with a higher magnification (0.73x vs 0.68x).
  • 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 (2333k vs 230k dots).
  • Fewer buttons to press: Is equipped with a touch-sensitive rear screen to facilitate handling.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (4.5 vs 2 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • Less disturbing: Has an electronic shutter option for completely silent shooting.
  • Easier time-lapse photography: Has an intervalometer built-in for low frequency shooting.
  • Easier travel charging: Can be conveniently charged via its USB port.
  • Better sealing: Is weather sealed to enable shooting in dusty or wet environments.
  • Faster data transfer: Supports a more advanced USB protocol (3.2 vs 2.0).
  • Easier file upload: Has wifi built in for automatic backup or image transfer to the web.
  • Easier wireless transfer: Supports Bluetooth for image sharing without cables.
  • Faster buffer clearing: Supports Ultra High Speed (UHS-II) SDXC cards.
  • More modern: Reflects 12 years and 4 months of technical progress since the M9 launch.


Arguments in favor of the Leica M9:

  • More affordable: Was released into a lower priced segment (11 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More heavily discounted: Has been around for much longer (launched in September 2009).

If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the M11 is the clear winner of the match-up (19 : 2 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.

M11 19:02 M9

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 M11 or the M9. 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 hands-on reviews by experts are important. The table below provides a synthesis of the camera assessments of some of the best known photo-gear 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 M114.5/5..4.5/5..4.5/54.5/5 Jan 2022 8,995 amazon.com
2.
 
Leica M9........4.5/5.. Sep 2009 7,999ebay.com
3.
 
Canon 550D..+ +..77/1004/54.5/5 Feb 2010 699ebay.com
4.
 
Hasselblad X1D..o..81/100..4/5 Jun 2016 8,995ebay.com
5.
 
Leica M10-R4.5/5..4/5....4/5 Jul 2020 8,295 amazon.com
6.
 
Leica Q2....4.5/584/1004.5/54/5 Mar 2019 4,995 amazon.com
7.
 
Leica M-E Typ 240............ Jun 2019 3,999 amazon.com
8.
 
Leica M10-P....3/5....4/5 Aug 2018 7,995 amazon.com
9.
 
Leica M104.5/5......4/54.5/5 Jan 2017 6,595ebay.com
10.
 
Leica M Typ 262............ Nov 2015 5,195ebay.com
11.
 
Leica X Vario3/5......4/54/5 Jun 2013 2,850ebay.com
12.
 
Leica M Typ 2404/5......4/5.. Sep 2012 6,950ebay.com
13.
 
Leica M8......+ +.... Sep 2006 5,499ebay.com
14.
 
Sony A15/5o4.5/593/1004.5/55/5 Jan 2021 6,499 amazon.com
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, kindly note that some of the listed sites have over time developped their review approaches and their reporting style.

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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 your choice using the following search menu. 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 M11 vs Leica M9

    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 M11 Leica M9
    Camera Type Rangefinder camera Rangefinder camera
    Camera Lens Leica M mount lenses Leica M mount lenses
    Launch Date January 2022 September 2009
    Launch Price USD 8,995 USD 7,999
    Sensor Specs Leica M11 Leica M9
    Sensor Technology BSI-CMOS CCD
    Sensor Format Full Frame Sensor Full Frame Sensor
    Sensor Size 36.0 x 24.0 mm 36.0 x 24.0 mm
    Sensor Area 864 mm2 864 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 43.3 mm 43.3 mm
    Crop Factor 1.0x 1.0x
    Sensor Resolution 60.3 Megapixels 18.1 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 9528 x 6328 pixels 5212 x 3472 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 3.79 μm 6.91 μm
    Pixel Density 6.98 MP/cm2 2.09 MP/cm2
    Moiré control no AA filter no AA filter
    Movie Capability no Video no Video
    ISO Setting 64 - 50,000 ISO 80 - 2,500 ISO
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) 100 69
    DXO Color Depth (bits) 26.3 22.5
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) 14.8 11.7
    DXO Low Light (ISO) 3376 884
    Screen Specs Leica M11 Leica M9
    Viewfinder Type Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 100% 100%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.73x 0.68x
    LCD Framing Live View
    Rear LCD Size 3.0inch 2.5inch
    LCD Resolution 2333k dots 230k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen Fixed screen
    Touch Input Touchscreen no Touchscreen
    Shooting Specs Leica M11 Leica M9
    Focus System Manual Focus Manual Focus
    Manual Focusing AidFocus Peakingno Peaking Feature
    Continuous Shooting 4.5 shutter flaps/s 2 shutter flaps/s
    Electronic Shutterup to 1/16000sno E-Shutter
    Time-Lapse PhotographyIntervalometer built-inno Intervalometer
    Fill Flash no On-Board Flash no On-Board Flash
    Storage Medium SDXC cards SDXC cards
    Single or Dual Card Slots Single card slot Single card slot
    UHS card support UHS-II no
    Connectivity Specs Leica M11 Leica M9
    External Flash Hotshoe Hotshoe
    USB Connector USB 3.2 USB 2.0
    HDMI Port no HDMI no HDMI
    Wifi Support Wifi built-in no Wifi
    Bluetooth Support Bluetooth built-in no Bluetooth
    Body Specs Leica M11 Leica M9
    Environmental SealingWeathersealed bodynot weather sealed
    Battery Type BC-SCL7 BLI-312
    In-Camera Charging USB charging no USB charging
    Body Dimensions 139 x 80 x 39 mm
    (5.5 x 3.1 x 1.5 in)
    139 x 80 x 37 mm
    (5.5 x 3.1 x 1.5 in)
    Camera Weight 640 g (22.6 oz) 585 g (20.6 oz)
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