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Leica S1 vs Nikon A1000

The Leica S1 Pro and the Nikon Coolpix A1000 are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in August 1996 and January 2019. The S1 is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera, while the A1000 is a fixed lens compact. The cameras are based on a medium format (S1) and a 1/2.3-inch (A1000) sensor. The Leica has a resolution of 26.4 megapixels, whereas the Nikon provides 15.9 MP.

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

Headline Specifications
Leica S1
versus
Nikon A1000
Leica S1 Nikon A1000
Mirrorless system camera Fixed lens compact camera
Leica R mount lenses 24-840mm f/3.4-6.9
26.4 MP, Medium Format Sensor 15.9 MP, 1/2.3" Sensor
no Video 4K/30p Video
ISO 50-1,600 ISO 100-6,400
Optical viewfinder Electronic viewfinder (1166k dots)
no LCD 3.0 LCD, 1036k dots
no rear screen Tilting touchscreen
0.01 shutter flaps per second 7 shutter flaps per second
339 x 214 x 119 mm, 2500 g 114 x 72 x 41 mm, 330 g

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Leica S1 Pro and the Nikon Coolpix A1000? 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 S1 and the Nikon A1000 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 dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

The A1000 can be obtained in two different colors (black, silver), while the S1 is only available in black.

Size Leica S1 vs Nikon A1000
Compare S1 versus A1000 top
Comparison S1 or A1000 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Nikon A1000 is considerably smaller (89 percent) than the Leica S1. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the S1 nor the A1000 are weather-sealed.

The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the A1000 has a lens built in, whereas the S1 is an interchangeable lens camera that requires a separate lens. Attaching the latter will add extra weight and bulk to the setup. You can compare the optics available for the S1 and their specifications in the Leica R Lens Catalog.

The adjacent table lists the principal physical characteristics of the two cameras alongside a wider set of alternatives. 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 S1 339 mm 214 mm 119 mm 2500 g .. n Aug 1996 21,490 i
2.
 
Nikon A1000 114 mm 72 mm 41 mm 330 g 250 n Jan 2019 429 i
3.
 
Canon RP 133 mm 85 mm 70 mm 485 g 250 n Feb 2019 1,299 i
4.
 
Canon SL3 122 mm 93 mm 70 mm 449 g 1070 n Apr 2019 599 i
5.
 
Canon SX740 110 mm 64 mm 40 mm 299 g 265 n Jul 2018 399 i
6.
 
Fujifilm X-T30 118 mm 83 mm 47 mm 383 g 380 n Feb 2019 899 i
7.
 
Leica M-E Typ 240 139 mm 80 mm 42 mm 680 g .. Y Jun 2019 3,999 i
8.
 
Leica CL 131 mm 78 mm 45 mm 403 g 220 n Nov 2017 2,795 i
9.
 
Leica TL2 134 mm 69 mm 33 mm 399 g 250 n Jul 2017 1,950 i
10.
 
Leica Q Typ 116 130 mm 80 mm 93 mm 640 g 300 n Jun 2015 4,249 i
11.
 
Leica S2 160 mm 120 mm 80 mm 1410 g .. Y Sep 2008 22,995 i
12.
 
Nikon P1000 146 mm 119 mm 181 mm 1415 g 250 n Jul 2018 999 i
13.
 
Sony A6400 120 mm 67 mm 50 mm 403 g 410 Y Jan 2019 899 i
14.
 
Sony A6100 120 mm 67 mm 59 mm 396 g 420 n Aug 2019 749 i
15.
 
Sony HX99 102 mm 58 mm 36 mm 242 g 370 n Aug 2018 449 i
16.
 
Sony HX95 102 mm 58 mm 36 mm 242 g 370 n Aug 2018 429 i
17.
 
Sony WX800 102 mm 58 mm 36 mm 233 g 370 n Oct 2018 399 i
Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.

The price is, of course, an important factor in any camera decision. 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 A1000 was launched at a lower price than the S1, despite having a lens built in. 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.

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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 tend to be associated with larger, more expensive camera bodies and lenses.

Of the two cameras under consideration, the Leica S1 features a medium format sensor and the Nikon A1000 a 1/2.3-inch sensor. The sensor area in the A1000 is 98 percent smaller. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 0.85 and 5.6. The sensor in the S1 has a native 1:1 aspect ratio, while the one in the A1000 offers a 4:3 aspect.

Leica S1 and Nikon A1000 sensor measures

With 26.4MP, the S1 offers a higher resolution than the A1000 (15.9MP), but the S1 nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 7.01μm versus 1.33μm for the A1000) due to its larger sensor. However, the A1000 is a much more recent model (by 22 years and 4 months) than the S1, 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 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 S1 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the S1 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 25.7 x 25.7 inches or 65.3 x 65.3 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 20.6 x 20.6 inches or 52.2 x 52.2 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 17.1 x 17.1 inches or 43.5 x 43.5 cm. The corresponding values for the Nikon A1000 are 23 x 17.3 inches or 58.5 x 43.9 cm for good quality, 18.4 x 13.8 inches or 46.8 x 35.1 cm for very good quality, and 15.4 x 11.5 inches or 39 x 29.3 cm for excellent quality prints.

The Leica S1 Pro has a native sensitivity range from ISO 50 to ISO 1600. The corresponding ISO settings for the Nikon Coolpix A1000 are ISO 100 to ISO 6400 (no boost).

S1 versus A1000 MP

For many cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. This service assesses and scores the color depth ("DXO Portrait"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports") of camera sensors, and also publishes an overall camera score. The 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 S1 Medium Format 26.4 5140 5140none...... ..
2.
 
Nikon A1000 1/2.3 15.9 4608 34564K/30p...... ..
3.
 
Canon RP Full Frame 26.2 6240 41604K/30p...... ..
4.
 
Canon SL3 APS-C 24.0 6000 40004K/25p...... ..
5.
 
Canon SX740 1/2.3 20.2 5184 38884K/30p...... ..
6.
 
Fujifilm X-T30 APS-C 26.0 6240 41604K/30p...... ..
7.
 
Leica M-E Typ 240 Full Frame 23.7 5952 39761080/25p...... ..
8.
 
Leica CL APS-C 24.1 6014 40144K/30p...... ..
9.
 
Leica TL2 APS-C 24.1 6014 40144K/30p...... ..
10.
 
Leica Q Typ 116 Full Frame 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.312.72221 85
11.
 
Leica S2 Medium Format 37.5 7500 5000none...... ..
12.
 
Nikon P1000 1/2.3 15.9 4608 34564K/30p...... ..
13.
 
Sony A6400 APS-C 24.0 6000 40004K/30p2413.61431 83
14.
 
Sony A6100 APS-C 24.0 6000 40004K/30p...... ..
15.
 
Sony HX99 1/2.3 18.0 4896 36724K/30p...... ..
16.
 
Sony HX95 1/2.3 18.0 4896 36724K/30p...... ..
17.
 
Sony WX800 1/2.3 18.0 4896 36724K/30p...... ..

Many modern cameras cannot only take still pictures, but also record videos. The A1000 indeed provides for movie recording, while the S1 does not. The highest resolution format that the A1000 can use is 4K/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 A1000 has an electronic viewfinder (1166k dots), while the S1 has an optical one. Both systems have their advantages, with the electronic viewfinder making it possible to project supplementary shooting information into the framing view, whereas the optical viewfinder offers lag-free viewing and a very clear framing image. The adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Leica S1 and Nikon A1000 along with similar information for a selection of comparators.

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Core Features
    Camera
Model
Viewfinder
(Type or
000 dots)
Control
Panel
(yes/no)
LCD
Size
(inch)
LCD
Resolution
(000 dots)
LCD
Attach-
ment
Touch
Screen
(yes/no)
Mech
Shutter
Speed
Shutter
Flaps
(1/sec)
Built-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Built-in
Image
Stab
1.
 
Leica S1optical n none none none n .. 0.01 n n
2.
 
Nikon A10001166 n 3.0 1036 tilting Y 1/4000s 7.0 Y Y
3.
 
Canon RP2360 n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 1/4000s 5.0 n n
4.
 
Canon SL3optical n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 1/4000s 5.0 Y n
5.
 
Canon SX740none n 3.0 922 tilting n 1/3200s 10.0 Y Y
6.
 
Fujifilm X-T302360 n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 1/4000s 8.0 Y n
7.
 
Leica M-E Typ 240optical n 3.0 920 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 n n
8.
 
Leica CL2360 Y 3.0 1040 fixed Y 1/8000s 10.0 n n
9.
 
Leica TL2optional n 3.7 1230 fixed Y 1/4000s 7.0 n n
10.
 
Leica Q Typ 1163680 n 3.0 1040 fixed Y 1/2000s 10.0 n Y
11.
 
Leica S2optical Y 3.0 460 fixed n 1/4000s 1.5 n n
12.
 
Nikon P10002359 n 3.2 921 swivel n 1/4000s 7.0 Y Y
13.
 
Sony A64002359 n 3.0 922 tilting Y 1/4000s 11.0 Y n
14.
 
Sony A61001440 n 3.0 922 tilting Y 1/4000s 11.0 Y n
15.
 
Sony HX99638 n 3.0 922 tilting Y 1/2000s 10.0 Y Y
16.
 
Sony HX95638 n 3.0 922 tilting n 1/2000s 10.0 Y Y
17.
 
Sony WX800none n 3.0 922 tilting Y 1/2000s 10.0 Y Y

One difference between the cameras concerns the presence of an on-board flash. The A1000 has one, while the S1 does not. While the built-in flash of the A1000 is not very powerful, it can at times be useful as a fill-in light.

The A1000 has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing. This characteristic will be appreciated by vloggers and photographers who are interested in taking selfies. In contrast, the S1 does not have a selfie-screen.

The S1 writes its imaging data to external storage, while the A1000 uses SDXC 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 S1 Pro and Nikon Coolpix A1000 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.

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Input-Output Connections
    Camera
Model
Hotshoe
Port
Internal
Microphone
Internal
Speaker
Microphone
Port
Headphone
Port
HDMI
Port
USB
Port
WiFi
Support
NFC
Support
Bluetooth
Support
1.
 
Leica S1----------
2.
 
Nikon A1000-stereomono--micro2.0Y-Y
3.
 
Canon RPYstereomonoYYmicro2.0Y-Y
4.
 
Canon SL3YstereomonoY-mini2.0Y-Y
5.
 
Canon SX740-stereomono--micro2.0Y-Y
6.
 
Fujifilm X-T30YstereomonoY-micro3.1Y-Y
7.
 
Leica M-E Typ 240Ymono----2.0---
8.
 
Leica CLYstereomono----Y--
9.
 
Leica TL2Ystereomono--micro3.0Y--
10.
 
Leica Q Typ 116Ystereomono--micro2.0YY-
11.
 
Leica S2Y----mini2.0---
12.
 
Nikon P1000YstereomonoY-micro2.0Y-Y
13.
 
Sony A6400YstereomonoY-micro2.0YYY
14.
 
Sony A6100YstereomonoY-micro2.0YYY
15.
 
Sony HX99-stereomono--micro2.0YYY
16.
 
Sony HX95-stereomono--micro2.0YYY
17.
 
Sony WX800-stereomono--micro2.0YY-

It is notable that the A1000 offers wifi support, which can be a very convenient means to transfer image data to an off-camera location. In contrast, the S1 does not provide wifi capability.

The A1000 is a recent model that features in the current product line-up of Nikon. In contrast, the S1 has been discontinued (but can be found pre-owned on eBay). As a replacement in the same line of cameras, the S1 was succeeded by the Leica S2. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Leica and Nikon websites.

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Review summary

So what conclusions can be drawn? Is there a clear favorite between the Leica S1 and the Nikon A1000? Which camera is better? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.

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Advantages of the Leica S1 Pro:

  • More detail: Offers more megapixels (26.4 vs 15.9MP) with a 26% higher linear resolution.
  • Better image quality: Features bigger pixels on a larger sensor for higher quality imaging.
  • Richer colors: The pixel size advantage translates into images with better, more accurate colors.
  • More dynamic range: Larger pixels capture a wider spectrum of light and dark details.
  • Better low-light sensitivity: Larger pixels means good image quality even under poor lighting.
  • Brighter framing: Features an optical viewfinder for clear, lag-free composition.
  • More flexible: Accepts interchangeable lenses, so that lens characteristics can be altered.
  • More prestigious: Has the Leica luxury appeal, which ensures a high resale price.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in August 1996).

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Arguments in favor of the Nikon Coolpix A1000:

  • Broader imaging potential: Can capture not only stills but also 4K/30p video.
  • More framing info: Has an electronic viewfinder that displays shooting data.
  • Rear screen: Has a backside LCD (3.0") for image review and settings control.
  • Fewer buttons to press: Has a touchscreen to facilitate handling and shooting adjustments.
  • More selfie-friendly: Has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (7 vs 0.01 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • Ready to shoot: Has an integrated lens, whereas the S1 necessitates an extra lens.
  • More compact: Is smaller (114x72mm vs 339x214mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
  • Less heavy: Has a lower weight even though it has a lens built in (unlike the S1).
  • Sharper images: Has stabilization technology built-in to reduce the impact of hand-shake.
  • Easier fill-in: Has a small integrated flash to brighten shadows of backlit subjects.
  • 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.
  • More affordable: Was introduced at a lower price, despite coming with a built-in lens.
  • More modern: Reflects 22 years and 4 months of technical progress since the S1 launch.

If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the A1000 is the clear winner of the contest (15 : 9 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.

S1 09:15 A1000

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Leica S1 and the Nikon A1000 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera and Best Superzoom Camera listings whether the two cameras rank among the cream of the crop.

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 S1 or the A1000. 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 where reviews by experts come in. The table below provides a synthesis of the camera assessments of some of the best known photo-gear review sites (amateurphotographer [AP], cameralabs [CL], dpreview [DPR], ephotozine [EPZ], photographyblog [PB]). As can be seen, the professional reviewers agree in many cases on the quality of different cameras, but sometimes their assessments diverge, reinforcing the earlier point that a camera decision is often a very personal choice.

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Expert Camera Reviews
     Camera 
 Model 
 AP 
 score 
 CL 
 score 
 DPR 
 score 
 EPZ 
 score 
 PB 
 score 
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
1.
 
Leica S1.......... Aug 1996 21,490 i
2.
 
Nikon A1000..+ +..3.5/53/5 Jan 2019 429 i
3.
 
Canon RP4/5+..4.5/54/5 Feb 2019 1,299 i
4.
 
Canon SL3..o79/1004/54/5 Apr 2019 599 i
5.
 
Canon SX740..+..4/54/5 Jul 2018 399 i
6.
 
Fujifilm X-T305/5+ +84/1004.5/54.5/5 Feb 2019 899 i
7.
 
Leica M-E Typ 240.......... Jun 2019 3,999 i
8.
 
Leica CL........4/5 Nov 2017 2,795 i
9.
 
Leica TL23.5/5....4/54/5 Jul 2017 1,950 i
10.
 
Leica Q Typ 1165/5..80/1004.5/54.5/5 Jun 2015 4,249 i
11.
 
Leica S2.......... Sep 2008 22,995 i
12.
 
Nikon P1000..+73/1003.5/53.5/5 Jul 2018 999 i
13.
 
Sony A64004/5+85/1004.5/54/5 Jan 2019 899 i
14.
 
Sony A6100....82/1004/55/5 Aug 2019 749 i
15.
 
Sony HX99......4/54.5/5 Aug 2018 449 i
16.
 
Sony HX95.......... Aug 2018 429 i
17.
 
Sony WX800.......... Oct 2018 399 i
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. Also, kindly note that some of the listed sites have over time developped their review approaches and their reporting style.

Leica S1:
Check Ebay offers
Nikon A1000:
Check Amazon price

Other camera comparisons

Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? In case you are interested in seeing how other cameras pair up, just make your choice using the following search menu. 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 S1 vs Nikon A1000

    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 S1 Nikon A1000
    Camera Type Mirrorless system camera Fixed lens compact camera
    Camera Lens Leica R mount lenses 24-840mm f/3.4-6.9
    Launch Date August 1996 January 2019
    Launch Price USD 21,490 USD 429
    Sensor Specs Leica S1 Nikon A1000
    Sensor Technology CCD CMOS
    Sensor Format Medium Format Sensor 1/2.3" Sensor
    Sensor Size 36.0 x 36.0 mm 6.17 x 4.55 mm
    Sensor Area 1296 mm2 28.0735 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 50.9 mm 7.7 mm
    Crop Factor 0.85x 5.6x
    Sensor Resolution 26.4 Megapixels 15.9 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 5140 x 5140 pixels 4608 x 3456 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 7.01 μm 1.33 μm
    Pixel Density 2.04 MP/cm2 56.73 MP/cm2
    Moiré control no AA filter no AA filter
    Movie Capability no Video 4K/30p Video
    ISO Setting 50 - 1,600 ISO 100 - 6,400 ISO
    Screen Specs Leica S1 Nikon A1000
    Viewfinder Type Optical viewfinder Electronic viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 100% 98%
    Viewfinder Magnification
    Viewfinder Resolution 1166k dots
    LCD Framing Live View
    Rear LCD Size 3.0inch
    LCD Resolution no LCD 1036k dots
    LCD Attachment Tilting screen
    Touch Input no Touchscreen Touchscreen
    Shooting Specs Leica S1 Nikon A1000
    Focus System Manual Focus Contrast-detect AF
    Continuous Shooting 0.01 shutter flaps/s 7 shutter flaps/s
    Fill Flash no On-Board Flash Built-in Flash
    Storage Medium external SDXC cards
    Second Storage Option Single card slot
    Connectivity Specs Leica S1 Nikon A1000
    External Flash no Hotshoe no Hotshoe
    USB Connector no USB USB 2.0
    HDMI Port no HDMI micro HDMI
    Wifi Support no Wifi Wifi built-in
    Bluetooth Support no Bluetooth Bluetooth built-in
    Body Specs Leica S1 Nikon A1000
    Battery Type external EN-EL12
    Body Dimensions 339 x 214 x 119 mm
    (13.3 x 8.4 x 4.7 in)
    114 x 72 x 41 mm
    (4.5 x 2.8 x 1.6 in)
    Camera Weight 2500 g (88.2 oz) 330 g (11.6 oz)

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