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Leica V-LUX 1 vs Nikon D50

The Leica V-LUX 1 and the Nikon D50 are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in September 2006 and April 2005. The V-LUX 1 is a fixed lens compact, while the D50 is a DSLR. The cameras are based on a 1/1.8-inch (V-LUX 1) and an APS-C (D50) sensor. The Leica has a resolution of 10 megapixels, whereas the Nikon provides 6 MP.

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

Headline Specifications
Leica V-LUX 1 versus Nikon D50
Leica V-LUX 1 Nikon D50
Fixed lens compact camera Digital single lens reflex
35-420mm f/2.8-3.7 Nikon F mount lenses
10 MP, 1/1.8" Sensor 6 MP, APS-C Sensor
480/30p Video no Video
ISO 100-1,600 (100 - 3,200) ISO 200-1,600
Electronic viewfinder (235k dots) Optical viewfinder
2.0 LCD, 207k dots 2.0 LCD, 130k dots
Swivel screen (not touch-sensitive) Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)
2 shutter flaps per second 2.5 shutter flaps per second
360 shots per battery charge400 shots per battery charge
141 x 86 x 142 mm, 734 g 133 x 102 x 76 mm, 620 g

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Leica V-LUX 1 and the Nikon D50? 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

An illustration of the physical size and weight of the Leica V-LUX 1 and the Nikon D50 is provided 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 size dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

Size Leica V-LUX 1 vs Nikon D50
Compare V-LUX 1 versus D50 top
Comparison V-LUX 1 or D50 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Nikon D50 is notably larger (12 percent) than the Leica V-LUX 1. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the V-LUX 1 nor the D50 are weather-sealed.

The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the V-LUX 1 has a lens built in, whereas the D50 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 D50 and their specifications in the Nikon Lens Catalog.

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 V-LUX 1 141 mm 86 mm 142 mm 734 g 360 n Sep 2006 849 i
2.
 
Nikon D50 133 mm 102 mm 76 mm 620 g 400 n Apr 2005 749 i
3.
 
Leica Q Typ 116 130 mm 80 mm 93 mm 640 g 300 n Jun 2015 4,249 i
4.
 
Leica X Vario 133 mm 73 mm 95 mm 680 g 450 n Jun 2013 2,850 i
5.
 
Leica D-LUX 6 111 mm 68 mm 46 mm 298 g 330 n Sep 2012 699 i
6.
 
Leica V-LUX 4 125 mm 87 mm 110 mm 588 g 540 n Sep 2012 949 i
7.
 
Leica V-LUX 3 124 mm 81 mm 95 mm 540 g 410 n Dec 2011 949 i
8.
 
Leica D-LUX 5 110 mm 65 mm 43 mm 271 g 400 n Sep 2010 699 i
9.
 
Leica V-LUX 2 124 mm 80 mm 95 mm 520 g 410 n Sep 2010 849 i
10.
 
Leica X1 124 mm 60 mm 32 mm 306 g 260 n Sep 2009 1,995 i
11.
 
Nikon D60 126 mm 94 mm 64 mm 522 g 500 n Jan 2008 629 i
12.
 
Nikon D40 124 mm 94 mm 64 mm 522 g 470 n Nov 2006 499 i
13.
 
Nikon D80 132 mm 103 mm 77 mm 668 g 600 n Aug 2006 999 i
14.
 
Nikon D70s 140 mm 111 mm 78 mm 679 g 500 n Apr 2005 899 i
15.
 
Nikon D70 140 mm 111 mm 78 mm 679 g 400 n Jan 2004 999 i
16.
 
Panasonic FZ1000 137 mm 99 mm 131 mm 831 g 360 n Jun 2014 899 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 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. 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. A large sensor will tend to have larger individual pixels that provide better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and richer color-depth than smaller pixel-units 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.

Of the two cameras under consideration, the Leica V-LUX 1 features a 1/1.8-inch sensor and the Nikon D50 an APS-C sensor. The sensor area in the D50 is 874 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 4.8 and 1.5. The sensor in the V-LUX 1 has a native 4:3 aspect ratio, while the one in the D50 offers a 3:2 aspect.

Leica V-LUX 1 and Nikon D50 sensor measures

Despite having a smaller sensor, the Leica V-LUX 1 offers a higher resolution of 10 megapixels, compared with 6 MP of the Nikon D50. This megapixels advantage comes at the cost of a higher pixel density and a smaller size of the individual pixel (with a pixel pitch of 1.95μm versus 7.85μm for the D50). However, it should be noted that the V-LUX 1 is a somewhat more recent model (by 1 year and 4 months) than the D50, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time that partly offset its pixel-size disadvantage. Coming back to sensor resolution, it should be mentioned that the V-LUX 1 has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.

The resolution advantage of the Leica V-LUX 1 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the V-LUX 1 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 18.2 x 13.7 inches or 46.3 x 34.7 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 14.6 x 10.9 inches or 37.1 x 27.8 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 12.2 x 9.1 inches or 30.9 x 23.2 cm. The corresponding values for the Nikon D50 are 15 x 10 inches or 38.2 x 25.4 cm for good quality, 12 x 8 inches or 30.6 x 20.3 cm for very good quality, and 10 x 6.7 inches or 25.5 x 16.9 cm for excellent quality prints.

The Leica V-LUX 1 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 1600, which can be extended to ISO 100-3200. The corresponding ISO settings for the Nikon D50 are ISO 200 to ISO 1600 (no boost).

V-LUX 1 versus D50 MP

Since 2007, DXO Mark has published sensor performance measurements that have been derived using a consistent methodology. 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 V-LUX 1 1/1.8 10.0 3648 2736480/30p...... ..
2.
 
Nikon D50 APS-C 6.0 3008 2000none20.910.8560 55
3.
 
Leica Q Typ 116 Full Frame 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.312.72221 85
4.
 
Leica X Vario APS-C 16.1 4928 32721080/30p23.412.71320 78
5.
 
Leica D-LUX 6 1/1.7 10.0 3648 27361080/60p...... ..
6.
 
Leica V-LUX 4 1/2.3 12.0 4000 30001080/60p...... ..
7.
 
Leica V-LUX 3 1/2.3 12.0 4000 30001080/60p...... ..
8.
 
Leica D-LUX 5 1/1.7 10.0 3648 2736720/60p...... ..
9.
 
Leica V-LUX 2 1/2.3 14.0 4320 32401080/60i...... ..
10.
 
Leica X1 APS-C 12.2 4272 2856none...... ..
11.
 
Nikon D60 APS-C 10.0 3872 2592none22.511.4562 65
12.
 
Nikon D40 APS-C 6.0 3008 2000none21.011.0561 56
13.
 
Nikon D80 APS-C 10.0 3872 2592none22.111.2524 61
14.
 
Nikon D70s APS-C 6.0 3008 2000none20.410.3529 50
15.
 
Nikon D70 APS-C 6.0 3008 2000none20.410.3529 50
16.
 
Panasonic FZ1000 1-inch 20.0 5472 36484K/30p22.111.7517 64

Many modern cameras cannot only take still pictures, but also record videos. The V-LUX 1 indeed provides movie recording capabilities, while the D50 does not. The highest resolution format that the V-LUX 1 can use is 480/30p.

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Feature comparison

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the V-LUX 1 has an electronic viewfinder (235k dots), while the D50 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 V-LUX 1 and Nikon D50 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 V-LUX 1235 n 2.0 207 swivel n 1/2000s 2.0 Y Y
2.
 
Nikon D50optical n 2.0 130 fixed n 1/4000s 2.5 Y n
3.
 
Leica Q Typ 1163680 n 3.0 1040 fixed Y 1/2000s 10.0 n Y
4.
 
Leica X Variooptional n 3.0 920 fixed n 1/2000s 5.0 Y n
5.
 
Leica D-LUX 6optional n 3.0 920 fixed n 1/4000s 11.0 Y Y
6.
 
Leica V-LUX 41312 n 3.0 460 swivel n 1/4000s 12.0 Y Y
7.
 
Leica V-LUX 3202 n 3.0 460 swivel n 1/2000s 12.0 Y Y
8.
 
Leica D-LUX 5optional n 3.0 460 fixed n 1/4000s 2.5 Y Y
9.
 
Leica V-LUX 2202 n 3.0 460 swivel n 1/2000s 11.0 Y Y
10.
 
Leica X1none n 2.7 230 fixed n 1/2000s 3.0 Y n
11.
 
Nikon D60optical n 2.5 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
12.
 
Nikon D40optical n 2.5 230 fixed n 1/4000s 2.5 Y n
13.
 
Nikon D80optical n 2.5 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
14.
 
Nikon D70soptical n 2.0 130 fixed n 1/8000s 3.0 Y n
15.
 
Nikon D70optical n 1.8 130 fixed n 1/8000s 3.0 Y n
16.
 
Panasonic FZ10002359 n 3.0 921 swivel n 1/4000s 12.0 Y Y
The V-LUX 1 has an articulated LCD that can be turned to be front-facing. This characteristic will be appreciated by vloggers and photographers who are interested in snapping selfies. In contrast, the D50 does not have a selfie-screen.

The V-LUX 1 writes its imaging data to SDHC cards, while the D50 uses SD cards.

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Connectivity comparison

For some imaging applications, the extent to which a camera can communicate with its environment can be an important aspect in the camera decision process. The table below provides an overview of the connectivity of the Leica V-LUX 1 and Nikon D50 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 V-LUX 1Ymonomono---2.0---
2.
 
Nikon D50Y-----2.0---
3.
 
Leica Q Typ 116Ystereomono--micro2.0YY-
4.
 
Leica X VarioYstereomono--mini2.0---
5.
 
Leica D-LUX 6Ystereomono--mini2.0---
6.
 
Leica V-LUX 4YstereomonoY-mini2.0---
7.
 
Leica V-LUX 3Ystereo---mini2.0---
8.
 
Leica D-LUX 5Ymonomono--mini2.0---
9.
 
Leica V-LUX 2Ystereomono--mini2.0---
10.
 
Leica X1Y----mini2.0---
11.
 
Nikon D60Y-----2.0---
12.
 
Nikon D40Y-----2.0---
13.
 
Nikon D80Y-----2.0---
14.
 
Nikon D70sY-----2.0---
15.
 
Nikon D70Y-----1.0---
16.
 
Panasonic FZ1000YstereomonoY-micro2.0YY-

Both the V-LUX 1 and the D50 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The D50 was replaced by the Nikon D40, while the V-LUX 1 was followed by the Leica V-LUX 2. 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 V-LUX 1 and the Nikon D50? Which camera is better? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.

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Arguments in favor of the Leica V-LUX 1:

  • More detail: Offers more megapixels (10 vs 6MP) with a 26% higher linear resolution.
  • Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
  • Broader imaging potential: Can record not only still images but also 480/30p movies.
  • More framing info: Has an electronic viewfinder that displays shooting data.
  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (207k vs 130k dots).
  • More flexible LCD: Has a swivel screen for odd-angle shots in portrait or landscape orientation.
  • More selfie-friendly: Has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing.
  • Ready to shoot: Comes with a built-in lens, while the D50 requires a separate lens.
  • More compact: Is smaller (141x86mm vs 133x102mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
  • Sharper images: Has hand-shake reducing image stabilization built-in.
  • More prestigious: Has the Leica luxury appeal, which ensures a high resale price.
  • More modern: Is somewhat more recent (announced 1 year and 4 months after the D50).

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Advantages of the Nikon D50:

  • Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
  • 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.
  • Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/4000s vs 1/2000s) to freeze action.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (2.5 vs 2 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • More flexible: Makes it possible to change lenses and thus to use specialty optics.
  • Longer lasting: Gets more shots (400 versus 360) out of a single battery charge.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in April 2005).

If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the V-LUX 1 comes out slightly ahead of the D50 (12 : 11 points). However, the relevance of individual strengths will vary across photographers, so that you might want to apply your own weighing scheme to the summary points when reflecting and deciding on a new camera. A professional sports photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a street photog, and a person interested in family portraits has distinct needs from a landscape shooter. Hence, the decision which camera is best and worth buying is often a very personal one.

V-LUX 1 12:11 D50

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Leica V-LUX 1 and the Nikon D50 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Superzoom Camera and Best DSLR Camera listings whether the two cameras rank among the cream of the crop.

In any case, while the comparison of the spec-sheets of cameras can offer a general idea of their imaging potential, it says little about, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance of the V-LUX 1 and the D50 in practical situations. 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 where reviews by experts come in. The adjacent summary-table relays the overall verdicts of several of the most popular camera 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 V-LUX 1.......... Sep 2006 849 i
2.
 
Nikon D50..78/100+ +4/54.5/5 Apr 2005 749 i
3.
 
Leica Q Typ 1165/5..80/1004.5/54.5/5 Jun 2015 4,249 i
4.
 
Leica X Vario3/5....4/54/5 Jun 2013 2,850 i
5.
 
Leica D-LUX 6......4/54/5 Sep 2012 699 i
6.
 
Leica V-LUX 4.......... Sep 2012 949 i
7.
 
Leica V-LUX 3.......... Dec 2011 949 i
8.
 
Leica D-LUX 5......4.5/54/5 Sep 2010 699 i
9.
 
Leica V-LUX 2.......... Sep 2010 849 i
10.
 
Leica X13/5..+..4/5 Sep 2009 1,995 i
11.
 
Nikon D60..80/100+ +4/54.5/5 Jan 2008 629 i
12.
 
Nikon D40..81/100+ +o4.5/5 Nov 2006 499 i
13.
 
Nikon D80..++ +o4.5/5 Aug 2006 999 i
14.
 
Nikon D70s........5/5 Apr 2005 899 i
15.
 
Nikon D70....+ +.... Jan 2004 999 i
16.
 
Panasonic FZ10004/5+ +82/1004.5/54.5/5 Jun 2014 899 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. A score, therefore, has to be seen in close connection to the price and market introduction time 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.

Leica V-LUX 1:
Check Ebay offers
Nikon D50:
Check Ebay offers

Other camera comparisons

Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? If you would like to see a different side-by-side camera review, 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 V-LUX 1 vs Nikon D50

    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 V-LUX 1 Nikon D50
    Camera Type Fixed lens compact camera Digital single lens reflex
    Camera Lens 35-420mm f/2.8-3.7 Nikon F mount lenses
    Launch Date September 2006 April 2005
    Launch Price USD 849 USD 749
    Sensor Specs Leica V-LUX 1 Nikon D50
    Sensor Technology CMOS CCD
    Sensor Format 1/1.8" Sensor APS-C Sensor
    Sensor Size 7.14 x 5.36 mm 23.7 x 15.6 mm
    Sensor Area 38.2704 mm2 369.72 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 8.9 mm 28.4 mm
    Crop Factor 4.8x 1.5x
    Sensor Resolution 10 Megapixels 6 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 3648 x 2736 pixels 3008 x 2000 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 1.95 μm 7.85 μm
    Pixel Density 26.08 MP/cm2 1.63 MP/cm2
    Moiré control no AA filter Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability 480/30p Video no Video
    ISO Setting 100 - 1,600 ISO 200 - 1,600 ISO
    ISO Boost 100 - 3,200 ISO no Enhancement
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) .. 55
    DXO Color Depth (bits) .. 20.9
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) .. 10.8
    DXO Low Light (ISO) .. 560
    Screen Specs Leica V-LUX 1 Nikon D50
    Viewfinder Type Electronic viewfinder Optical viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 100% 95%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.50x
    Viewfinder Resolution 235k dots
    LCD Framing Live View
    Rear LCD Size 2.0inch 2.0inch
    LCD Resolution 207k dots 130k dots
    LCD Attachment Swivel screen Fixed screen
    Shooting Specs Leica V-LUX 1 Nikon D50
    Focus System Contrast-detect AF Phase-detect AF
    Continuous Shooting 2 shutter flaps/s 2.5 shutter flaps/s
    Fill Flash Build-in Flash Build-in Flash
    Storage Medium SDHC cards SD cards
    Second Storage Option Single card slot Single card slot
    UHS card support no no
    Connectivity Specs Leica V-LUX 1 Nikon D50
    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 V-LUX 1 Nikon D50
    Battery Type BP-DC5 EN-EL3
    Battery Life (CIPA)360 shots per charge400 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 141 x 86 x 142 mm
    (5.6 x 3.4 x 5.6 in)
    133 x 102 x 76 mm
    (5.2 x 4.0 x 3.0 in)
    Camera Weight 734 g (25.9 oz) 620 g (21.9 oz)

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