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Leica M9 vs Olympus E-410

The Leica M9 and the Olympus E-410 are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in September 2009 and March 2007. The M9 is a rangefinder-focusing mirrorless camera, while the E-410 is a DSLR. The cameras are based on a full frame (M9) and a Four Thirds (E-410) sensor. The Leica has a resolution of 18.1 megapixels, whereas the Olympus 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 M9
versus
Olympus E-410
Leica M9   Olympus E-410
Rangefinder camera Digital single lens reflex
Leica M mount lenses Four Thirds lenses
18.1 MP – Full Frame sensor 10 MP – Four Thirds sensor
no Video no Video
ISO 80-2,500 ISO 100-1,600
Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
2.5" LCD – 230k dots 2.5" LCD – 215k dots
Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive) Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)
2 shutter flaps per second 3 shutter flaps per second
139 x 80 x 37 mm, 585 g 130 x 91 x 53 mm, 435 g
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Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Leica M9 and the Olympus E-410? 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 M9 and the Olympus E-410 are illustrated in the side-by-side display below. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three consecutive perspectives from the front, the top, and the back are available. All width, height and depth measures are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

The M9 can be obtained in two different colors (black, silver), while the E-410 is only available in black.

Size Leica M9 vs Olympus E-410
Compare M9 versus E-410 top
Comparison M9 or E-410 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Olympus E-410 is notably larger (6 percent) than the Leica M9. However, the E-410 is markedly lighter (26 percent) than the M9. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the M9 nor the E-410 are weather-sealed.

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 (M9) and the Four Thirds Lens Catalog (E-410).

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 M9 139 mm 80 mm 37 mm 585 g .. n Sep 2009 7,999ebay.com
2.
 
Olympus E-410 130 mm 91 mm 53 mm 435 g 500 n Mar 2007 699ebay.com
3.
 
Canon T2i 129 mm 98 mm 62 mm 530 g 440 n Feb 2010 699ebay.com
4.
 
Canon T1i 129 mm 98 mm 62 mm 520 g 400 n Mar 2009 799ebay.com
5.
 
Leica M11 139 mm 80 mm 39 mm 640 g 700 Y Jan 2022 8,995 amazon.com
6.
 
Leica M10-R 139 mm 80 mm 39 mm 660 g 210 Y Jul 2020 8,295 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 X Typ 113 133 mm 73 mm 78 mm 486 g 350 n Sep 2014 2,295ebay.com
10.
 
Leica X Vario 133 mm 73 mm 95 mm 680 g 450 n Jun 2013 2,850ebay.com
11.
 
Leica M Typ 240 139 mm 80 mm 42 mm 680 g .. Y Sep 2012 6,950ebay.com
12.
 
Leica M8 139 mm 80 mm 37 mm 591 g .. n Sep 2006 5,499ebay.com
13.
 
Olympus E-420 130 mm 91 mm 53 mm 440 g 500 n Mar 2008 599ebay.com
14.
 
Olympus E-520 136 mm 92 mm 68 mm 535 g 750 n May 2008 699ebay.com
15.
 
Olympus E-510 136 mm 92 mm 68 mm 538 g 750 n Mar 2007 799ebay.com
16.
 
Olympus E-400 130 mm 91 mm 53 mm 435 g 500 n Sep 2006 699ebay.com
17.
 
Panasonic L10 135 mm 96 mm 78 mm 556 g 450 n Aug 2007 599ebay.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 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 E-410 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 91 percent) than the M9, 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 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 M9 features a full frame sensor and the Olympus E-410 a Four Thirds sensor. The sensor area in the E-410 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 M9 has a native 3:2 aspect ratio, while the one in the E-410 offers a 4:3 aspect.

Leica M9 and Olympus E-410 sensor measures

With 18.1MP, the M9 offers a higher resolution than the E-410 (10MP), but the M9 nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 6.91μm versus 4.74μm for the E-410) due to its larger sensor. Moreover, the M9 is a much more recent model (by 2 years and 6 months) than the E-410, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that further enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixels. Coming back to sensor resolution, it should be mentioned that the M9 has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.

The resolution advantage of the Leica M9 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the M9 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 26.1 x 17.4 inches or 66.2 x 44.1 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 20.8 x 13.9 inches or 53 x 35.3 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 17.4 x 11.6 inches or 44.1 x 29.4 cm. The corresponding values for the Olympus E-410 are 18.2 x 13.7 inches or 46.3 x 34.7 cm for good quality, 14.6 x 10.9 inches or 37.1 x 27.8 cm for very good quality, and 12.2 x 9.1 inches or 30.9 x 23.2 cm for excellent quality prints.

The Leica M9 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 80 to ISO 2500. The corresponding ISO settings for the Olympus E-410 are ISO 100 to ISO 1600 (no boost).

In terms of underlying technology, the M9 is build around a CCD sensor, while the E-410 uses a CMOS 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.

M9 versus E-410 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 M9 provides substantially higher image quality than the E-410, with an overall score that is 18 points higher. This advantage is based on 1.4 bits higher color depth, 1.7 EV in additional dynamic range, and 0.8 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
1.
 
Leica M9 Full Frame 18.1 5212 3472none22.511.788469
2.
 
Olympus E-410 Four Thirds 10.0 3648 2736none21.110.049451
3.
 
Canon T2i APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p22.111.578466
4.
 
Canon T1i APS-C 15.1 4752 31681080/20p21.711.566363
5.
 
Leica M11 Full Frame 60.3 9528 6328none26.314.83376100
6.
 
Leica M10-R Full Frame 40.9 7864 5200none25.314.3292495
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 X Typ 113 APS-C 16.1 4928 32641080/30p23.612.8149178
10.
 
Leica X Vario APS-C 16.1 4928 32721080/30p23.412.7132078
11.
 
Leica M Typ 240 Full Frame 23.7 5952 39761080/25p24.013.3186084
12.
 
Leica M8 APS-H 10.4 3936 2630none21.111.366359
13.
 
Olympus E-420 Four Thirds 10.0 3648 2736none21.510.452756
14.
 
Olympus E-520 Four Thirds 10.0 3648 2736none21.410.454855
15.
 
Olympus E-510 Four Thirds 10.0 3648 2736none21.210.044252
16.
 
Olympus E-400 Four Thirds 10.0 3648 2736none21.010.612753
17.
 
Panasonic L10 Four Thirds 10.0 3648 2736none21.310.842955
Note: DXO values in italics represent estimates based on sensor size and age.
The E-410 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 M9 and the E-410 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 M9 offers a wider field of view (100%) than the one in the E-410 (95%), so that a larger proportion of the captured image is visible in the finder. In addition, the viewfinder of the M9 has a higher magnification (0.68x vs 0.46x), so that the size of the image transmitted appears closer to the size seen with the naked human eye. The table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Leica M9 and Olympus E-410 in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar 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 M9optical n2.5 / 230 fixed n 1/4000s 2.0/s n n
2.
 
Olympus E-410optical n2.5 / 215 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0/s Y n
3.
 
Canon T2ioptical n3.0 / 1040 fixed n 1/4000s 3.7/s Y n
4.
 
Canon T1ioptical n3.0 / 920 fixed n 1/4000s 3.4/s Y n
5.
 
Leica M11optical n3.0 / 2333 fixed Y 1/4000s 4.5/s n n
6.
 
Leica M10-Roptical n3.0 / 1037 fixed Y 1/4000s 4.5/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 X Typ 113optional n3.0 / 920 fixed n 1/2000s 5.0/s Y n
10.
 
Leica X Variooptional n3.0 / 920 fixed n 1/2000s 5.0/s Y n
11.
 
Leica M Typ 240optical n3.0 / 920 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0/s n n
12.
 
Leica M8optical n2.5 / 230 fixed n 1/8000s 2.0/s n n
13.
 
Olympus E-420optical n2.7 / 215 fixed n 1/4000s 3.5/s Y n
14.
 
Olympus E-520optical n2.7 / 215 fixed n 1/4000s 3.5/s Y Y
15.
 
Olympus E-510optical n2.5 / 215 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0/s Y Y
16.
 
Olympus E-400optical n2.5 / 215 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0/s Y n
17.
 
Panasonic L10optical n2.5 / 207 swivel n 1/4000s 3.0/s Y n
Notes: *) Information refers to the mechanical shutter, unless the camera only has an electronic one.

One difference between the cameras concerns the presence of an on-board flash. The E-410 has one, while the M9 does not. While the built-in flash of the E-410 is not very powerful, it can at times be useful as a fill-in light.

The M9 writes its imaging data to SDXC cards, while the E-410 uses Compact Flash or xD Picture cards. The E-410 features dual card slots, which can be very useful in case a memory card fails. In contrast, the M9 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 M9 and Olympus E-410 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 M9Y- / ----2.0---
2.
 
Olympus E-410Y- / ----2.0---
3.
 
Canon T2iYstereo / -Y-mini2.0---
4.
 
Canon T1iYmono / mono--mini2.0---
5.
 
Leica M11Y- / ----3.2Y-Y
6.
 
Leica M10-RY- / -----Y--
7.
 
Leica M10-PY- / -----Y--
8.
 
Leica M10Y- / -----Y--
9.
 
Leica X Typ 113Ystereo / mono--mini2.0---
10.
 
Leica X VarioYstereo / mono--mini2.0---
11.
 
Leica M Typ 240Ystereo / mono---2.0---
12.
 
Leica M8Y- / ----2.0---
13.
 
Olympus E-420Y- / ----2.0---
14.
 
Olympus E-520Y- / ----2.0---
15.
 
Olympus E-510Y- / ----2.0---
16.
 
Olympus E-400Y- / ----2.0---
17.
 
Panasonic L10Y- / ----2.0---

Both the M9 and the E-410 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on ebay. The E-410 was replaced by the Olympus E-420, while the M9 was followed by the Leica M Typ 240. 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.

Review summary

So how do things add up? Is there a clear favorite between the Leica M9 and the Olympus E-410? Which camera is better? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.

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Advantages of the Leica M9:

  • More detail: Offers more megapixels (18.1 vs 10MP) with a 37% higher linear resolution.
  • Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
  • Better image quality: Scores substantially higher (18 points) in the DXO overall assessment.
  • Richer colors: Generates images with noticeably better colors (1.4 bits more color depth).
  • More dynamic range: Captures a larger spectrum of light and dark details (1.7 EV of extra DR).
  • Better low-light sensitivity: Requires less light for good images (0.8 stops ISO advantage).
  • 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 0.46x).
  • More prestigious: Has the Leica luxury appeal, which ensures a high resale price.
  • More modern: Reflects 2 years and 6 months of technical progress since the E-410 launch.

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Reasons to prefer the Olympus E-410:

  • Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (3 vs 2 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 150g or 26 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
  • Easier fill-in: Has a small integrated flash to brighten shadows of backlit subjects.
  • Greater peace of mind: Features a second card slot as a backup in case of memory card failure.
  • More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (91 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More heavily discounted: Has been around for much longer (launched in March 2007).

If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the M9 emerges as the winner of the contest (10 : 7 points). However, the relative importance of the various individual camera aspects will vary according to personal preferences and needs, so that you might like to apply corresponding weights to the particular features before making a decision 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.

M9 10:07 E-410

In any case, while the comparison of the spec-sheets of cameras can offer a general idea of their imaging potential, it remains incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the M9 or the E-410 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], 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 M9........4.5/5.. Sep 2009 7,999ebay.com
2.
 
Olympus E-410..86/100..+ +4/54.5/5 Mar 2007 699ebay.com
3.
 
Canon T2i..+ +..77/1004/54.5/5 Feb 2010 699ebay.com
4.
 
Canon T1i..+ +..74/1004.5/54.5/5 Mar 2009 799ebay.com
5.
 
Leica M114.5/5..4.5/5..4.5/54.5/5 Jan 2022 8,995 amazon.com
6.
 
Leica M10-R4.5/5..4/5....4/5 Jul 2020 8,295 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 X Typ 1133.5/5......3.5/54/5 Sep 2014 2,295ebay.com
10.
 
Leica X Vario3/5......4/54/5 Jun 2013 2,850ebay.com
11.
 
Leica M Typ 2404/5......4/5.. Sep 2012 6,950ebay.com
12.
 
Leica M8......+ +.... Sep 2006 5,499ebay.com
13.
 
Olympus E-420..85/100..+ +4/54.5/5 Mar 2008 599ebay.com
14.
 
Olympus E-520..87/100..+ +4.5/54.5/5 May 2008 699ebay.com
15.
 
Olympus E-510..89/100..+ +3.5/54.5/5 Mar 2007 799ebay.com
16.
 
Olympus E-400..85/100....4/54/5 Sep 2006 699ebay.com
17.
 
Panasonic L10..85/100..+3.5/54/5 Aug 2007 599ebay.com
Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.

Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, though. The ratings were established in reference to similarly priced cameras that were available in the market at the time of the review. Hence, a score should always be seen in the context of the camera's market launch date and its price, and comparing ratings of very distinct cameras or ones that are far apart in terms of their release date have little meaning. 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 are interested in seeing how other cameras pair up, just make a corresponding selection in the search boxes below. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting.

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    Specifications: Leica M9 vs Olympus E-410

    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 M9 Olympus E-410
    Camera Type Rangefinder camera Digital single lens reflex
    Camera Lens Leica M mount lenses Four Thirds lenses
    Launch Date September 2009 March 2007
    Launch Price USD 7,999 USD 699
    Sensor Specs Leica M9 Olympus E-410
    Sensor Technology CCD CMOS
    Sensor Format Full Frame Sensor Four Thirds Sensor
    Sensor Size 36.0 x 24.0 mm 17.3 x 13.0 mm
    Sensor Area 864 mm2 224.9 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 43.3 mm 21.6 mm
    Crop Factor 1.0x 2.0x
    Sensor Resolution 18.1 Megapixels 10 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 5212 x 3472 pixels 3648 x 2736 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 6.91 μm 4.74 μm
    Pixel Density 2.09 MP/cm2 4.44 MP/cm2
    Moiré control no AA filter Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability no Video no Video
    ISO Setting 80 - 2,500 ISO 100 - 1,600 ISO
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) 69 51
    DXO Color Depth (bits) 22.5 21.1
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) 11.7 10.0
    DXO Low Light (ISO) 884 494
    Screen Specs Leica M9 Olympus E-410
    Viewfinder Type Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 100% 95%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.68x 0.46x
    LCD Framing Live View
    Rear LCD Size 2.5inch 2.5inch
    LCD Resolution 230k dots 215k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen Fixed screen
    Shooting Specs Leica M9 Olympus E-410
    Focus System Manual Focus Phase-detect AF
    Continuous Shooting 2 shutter flaps/s 3 shutter flaps/s
    Fill Flash no On-Board Flash Built-in Flash
    Storage Medium SDXC cards CF or XD cards
    Second Storage Option Single card slot Dual card slots
    Connectivity Specs Leica M9 Olympus E-410
    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 M9 Olympus E-410
    Battery Type BLI-312 BLS-1
    Body Dimensions 139 x 80 x 37 mm
    (5.5 x 3.1 x 1.5 in)
    130 x 91 x 53 mm
    (5.1 x 3.6 x 2.1 in)
    Camera Weight 585 g (20.6 oz) 435 g (15.3 oz)
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    Check E-410 offers at
    ebay.com

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