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Leica V-LUX 1 vs Olympus E-400

The Leica V-LUX 1 and the Olympus E-400 are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public in September 2006. The V-LUX 1 is a fixed lens compact, while the E-400 is a DSLR. The cameras are based on a 1/1.8-inch (V-LUX 1) and a Four Thirds (E-400) sensor. Both cameras offer a resolution of 10 megapixels.

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
Olympus E-400
Leica V-LUX 1   Olympus E-400
Fixed lens compact camera Digital single lens reflex
35-420mm f/2.8-3.7 Four Thirds lenses
10 MP – 1/1.8" sensor 10 MP – Four Thirds sensor
480/30p Video no Video
ISO 100-1,600 (100 - 3,200) ISO 100-1,600
Electronic viewfinder (235k dots) Optical viewfinder
2.0" LCD – 207k dots 2.5" LCD – 215k dots
Tilting screen (no touchscreen) Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)
2 shutter flaps per second 3 shutter flaps per second
360 shots per battery charge500 shots per battery charge
141 x 86 x 142 mm, 734 g 130 x 91 x 53 mm, 435 g
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Check V-LUX 1 offers at
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Check E-400 offers at
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Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Leica V-LUX 1 and the Olympus E-400? 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 Olympus E-400 is provided in the side-by-side display below. 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 size dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

Size Leica V-LUX 1 vs Olympus E-400
Compare V-LUX 1 versus E-400 top
Comparison V-LUX 1 or E-400 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Olympus E-400 is somewhat smaller (2 percent) than the Leica V-LUX 1. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the V-LUX 1 nor the E-400 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 E-400 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 E-400 and their specifications in the Four Thirds Lens Catalog.

The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the two cameras alongside a broader set of comparators. 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 V-LUX 1 141 mm 86 mm 142 mm 734 g 360 n Sep 2006 849ebay.com
2.
 
Olympus E-400 130 mm 91 mm 53 mm 435 g 500 n Sep 2006 699ebay.com
3.
 
Leica Q Typ 116 130 mm 80 mm 93 mm 640 g 300 n Jun 2015 4,249ebay.com
4.
 
Leica X Vario 133 mm 73 mm 95 mm 680 g 450 n Jun 2013 2,850ebay.com
5.
 
Leica D-LUX 6 111 mm 68 mm 46 mm 298 g 330 n Sep 2012 699ebay.com
6.
 
Leica V-LUX 4 125 mm 87 mm 110 mm 588 g 540 n Sep 2012 949ebay.com
7.
 
Leica V-LUX 3 124 mm 81 mm 95 mm 540 g 410 n Dec 2011 949ebay.com
8.
 
Leica D-LUX 5 110 mm 65 mm 43 mm 271 g 400 n Sep 2010 699ebay.com
9.
 
Leica V-LUX 2 124 mm 80 mm 95 mm 520 g 410 n Sep 2010 849ebay.com
10.
 
Leica X1 124 mm 60 mm 32 mm 306 g 260 n Sep 2009 1,995ebay.com
11.
 
Nikon D80 132 mm 103 mm 77 mm 668 g 600 n Aug 2006 999ebay.com
12.
 
Olympus E-420 130 mm 91 mm 53 mm 440 g 500 n Mar 2008 599ebay.com
13.
 
Olympus E-410 130 mm 91 mm 53 mm 435 g 500 n Mar 2007 699ebay.com
14.
 
Olympus E-510 136 mm 92 mm 68 mm 538 g 750 n Mar 2007 799ebay.com
15.
 
Olympus E-500 130 mm 95 mm 66 mm 479 g 750 n Sep 2005 599ebay.com
16.
 
Panasonic FZ1000 137 mm 99 mm 131 mm 831 g 360 n Jun 2014 899ebay.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 obviously take relative prices into account. The manufacturer’s suggested retail prices give an idea on the placement of the camera in the maker’s lineup and the broader market. Normally, street prices remain initially close to the MSRP, but after a couple of months, the first discounts appear. 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 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 generally have larger individual pixels that offer better low-light sensitivity, provide wider dynamic range, and have 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 V-LUX 1 features a 1/1.8-inch sensor and the Olympus E-400 a Four Thirds sensor. The sensor area in the E-400 is 492 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 4.8 and 2.0. Both cameras feature a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 4:3.

Leica V-LUX 1 and Olympus E-400 sensor measures

Even though the E-400 has a larger sensor, both cameras offer the same resolution of 10 megapixels. This implies that the E-400 has a lower pixel density and larger individual pixels (with a pixel pitch of 4.74μm versus 1.95μm for the V-LUX 1), which gives it a potential advantage in terms of light gathering capacity. The two cameras were released in close succession, so that their sensors are from the same technological generation. 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 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 Olympus E-400 are ISO 100 to ISO 1600 (no boost).

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.

V-LUX 1 versus E-400 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 table below summarizes the physical sensor characteristics and sensor quality findings and compares them across a set of similar 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 V-LUX 1 1/1.8 10.0 3648 2736480/30p18.49.5-72729
2.
 
Olympus E-400 Four Thirds 10.0 3648 2736none21.010.612753
3.
 
Leica Q Typ 116 Full Frame 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.312.7222185
4.
 
Leica X Vario APS-C 16.1 4928 32721080/30p23.412.7132078
5.
 
Leica D-LUX 6 1/1.7 10.0 3648 27361080/60p19.810.8-30343
6.
 
Leica V-LUX 4 1/2.3 12.0 4000 30001080/60p19.811.150143
7.
 
Leica V-LUX 3 1/2.3 12.0 4000 30001080/60p19.711.043042
8.
 
Leica D-LUX 5 1/1.7 10.0 3648 2736720/60p19.510.4-58339
9.
 
Leica V-LUX 2 1/2.3 14.0 4320 32401080/60i19.410.732139
10.
 
Leica X1 APS-C 12.2 4272 2856none22.611.8103769
11.
 
Nikon D80 APS-C 10.0 3872 2592none22.111.252461
12.
 
Olympus E-420 Four Thirds 10.0 3648 2736none21.510.452756
13.
 
Olympus E-410 Four Thirds 10.0 3648 2736none21.110.049451
14.
 
Olympus E-510 Four Thirds 10.0 3648 2736none21.210.044252
15.
 
Olympus E-500 Four Thirds 8.0 3264 2448none20.710.34551
16.
 
Panasonic FZ1000 1-inch 20.0 5472 36484K/30p22.111.751764
17.
 
Panasonic L10 Four Thirds 10.0 3648 2736none21.310.842955
Note: DXO values in italics represent estimates based on sensor size and age.

Many modern cameras cannot only take still pictures, but also record videos. The V-LUX 1 indeed provides movie recording capabilities, while the E-400 does not. The highest resolution format that the V-LUX 1 can use is 480/30p.

Feature comparison

Beyond 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 E-400 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 Olympus E-400 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
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 V-LUX 1235 n2.0 / 207 tilting n 1/2000s 2.0/s Y Y
2.
 
Olympus E-400optical n2.5 / 215 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0/s Y n
3.
 
Leica Q Typ 1163680 n3.0 / 1040 fixed Y 1/2000s 10.0/s n Y
4.
 
Leica X Variooptional n3.0 / 920 fixed n 1/2000s 5.0/s Y n
5.
 
Leica D-LUX 6optional n3.0 / 920 fixed n 1/4000s 11.0/s Y Y
6.
 
Leica V-LUX 41312 n3.0 / 460 swivel n 1/4000s 12.0/s Y Y
7.
 
Leica V-LUX 3202 n3.0 / 460 swivel n 1/2000s 12.0/s Y Y
8.
 
Leica D-LUX 5optional n3.0 / 460 fixed n 1/4000s 2.5/s Y Y
9.
 
Leica V-LUX 2202 n3.0 / 460 swivel n 1/2000s 11.0/s Y Y
10.
 
Leica X1none n2.7 / 230 fixed n 1/2000s 3.0/s Y n
11.
 
Nikon D80optical n2.5 / 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0/s Y n
12.
 
Olympus E-420optical n2.7 / 215 fixed n 1/4000s 3.5/s Y n
13.
 
Olympus E-410optical n2.5 / 215 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0/s Y n
14.
 
Olympus E-510optical n2.5 / 215 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0/s Y Y
15.
 
Olympus E-500optical n2.5 / 215 fixed n 1/4000s 2.5/s Y n
16.
 
Panasonic FZ10002359 n3.0 / 921 swivel n 1/4000s 12.0/s Y Y
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.
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 E-400 does not have a selfie-screen.

The V-LUX 1 writes its imaging data to SDHC cards, while the E-400 uses Compact Flash or xD Picture cards. The E-400 features dual card slots, which can be very useful in case a memory card fails. In contrast, the V-LUX 1 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 V-LUX 1 and Olympus E-400 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 V-LUX 1Ymono / mono---2.0---
2.
 
Olympus E-400Y- / ----2.0---
3.
 
Leica Q Typ 116Ystereo / mono--micro2.0YY-
4.
 
Leica X VarioYstereo / mono--mini2.0---
5.
 
Leica D-LUX 6Ystereo / mono--mini2.0---
6.
 
Leica V-LUX 4Ystereo / monoY-mini2.0---
7.
 
Leica V-LUX 3Ystereo / ---mini2.0---
8.
 
Leica D-LUX 5Ymono / mono--mini2.0---
9.
 
Leica V-LUX 2Ystereo / mono--mini2.0---
10.
 
Leica X1Y- / ---mini2.0---
11.
 
Nikon D80Y- / ----2.0---
12.
 
Olympus E-420Y- / ----2.0---
13.
 
Olympus E-410Y- / ----2.0---
14.
 
Olympus E-510Y- / ----2.0---
15.
 
Olympus E-500Y- / ----2.0---
16.
 
Panasonic FZ1000Ystereo / monoY-micro2.0YY-
17.
 
Panasonic L10Y- / ----2.0---

Both the V-LUX 1 and the E-400 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on ebay. The V-LUX 1 was replaced by the Leica V-LUX 2, while the E-400 was followed by the Olympus E-410. 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? Which of the two cameras – the Leica V-LUX 1 or the Olympus E-400 – has the upper hand? Is one clearly better than the other? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.

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Advantages of the Leica V-LUX 1:

  • 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 flexible LCD: Has a tilting screen for odd-angle shots in 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 E-400 requires a separate lens.
  • Sharper images: Has hand-shake reducing image stabilization built-in.
  • More prestigious: Has the Leica luxury appeal, which ensures a high resale price.

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Arguments in favor of the Olympus E-400:

  • 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.
  • Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (2.5" vs 2.0") for image review and settings control.
  • Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/4000s vs 1/2000s) to freeze action.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (3 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 (500 versus 360) out of a single battery charge.
  • Greater peace of mind: Features a second card slot as a backup in case of memory card failure.

If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the E-400 is the clear winner of the contest (12 : 8 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.

V-LUX 1 08:12 E-400

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Leica V-LUX 1 and the Olympus E-400 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 specs-based evaluation of cameras can be instructive in revealing their potential as photographic tools, it says little about, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance of the V-LUX 1 and the E-400 in practical situations. User reviews that are available, for instance, at amazon can sometimes shed light on these issues, but such feedback is all too often partial, inconsistent, and inaccurate.

Expert reviews

This is why expert reviews are important. The following table reports the overall ratings of the cameras as published by some of the major 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 V-LUX 1............ Sep 2006 849ebay.com
2.
 
Olympus E-400..85/100....4/54/5 Sep 2006 699ebay.com
3.
 
Leica Q Typ 1165/5....80/1004.5/54.5/5 Jun 2015 4,249ebay.com
4.
 
Leica X Vario3/5......4/54/5 Jun 2013 2,850ebay.com
5.
 
Leica D-LUX 6........4/54/5 Sep 2012 699ebay.com
6.
 
Leica V-LUX 4............ Sep 2012 949ebay.com
7.
 
Leica V-LUX 3............ Dec 2011 949ebay.com
8.
 
Leica D-LUX 5........4.5/54/5 Sep 2010 699ebay.com
9.
 
Leica V-LUX 2............ Sep 2010 849ebay.com
10.
 
Leica X13/5....+..4/5 Sep 2009 1,995ebay.com
11.
 
Nikon D80..+..+ +o4.5/5 Aug 2006 999ebay.com
12.
 
Olympus E-420..85/100..+ +4/54.5/5 Mar 2008 599ebay.com
13.
 
Olympus E-410..86/100..+ +4/54.5/5 Mar 2007 699ebay.com
14.
 
Olympus E-510..89/100..+ +3.5/54.5/5 Mar 2007 799ebay.com
15.
 
Olympus E-500..76/100..+ +.... Sep 2005 599ebay.com
16.
 
Panasonic FZ10004/5+ +..82/1004.5/54.5/5 Jun 2014 899ebay.com
17.
 
Panasonic L10..85/100..+3.5/54/5 Aug 2007 599ebay.com
Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.

The review scores listed above should be treated with care, though. The ratings are only valid when referring to cameras in the same category and of the same age. A score, therefore, has to be seen in close connection to the price and market introduction time of the camera, and rating-comparisons among cameras that span long time periods or concern very differently equipped models make little sense. Also, please note that some of the review sites have changed their methodology and reporting over time.

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Check E-400 offers at
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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 V-LUX 1 vs Olympus E-400

    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 Olympus E-400
    Camera Type Fixed lens compact camera Digital single lens reflex
    Camera Lens 35-420mm f/2.8-3.7 Four Thirds lenses
    Launch Date September 2006 September 2006
    Launch Price USD 849 USD 699
    Sensor Specs Leica V-LUX 1 Olympus E-400
    Sensor Technology CMOS CMOS
    Sensor Format 1/1.8" Sensor Four Thirds Sensor
    Sensor Size 7.14 x 5.36 mm 17.3 x 13.0 mm
    Sensor Area 38.2704 mm2 224.9 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 8.9 mm 21.6 mm
    Crop Factor 4.8x 2.0x
    Sensor Resolution 10 Megapixels 10 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 3648 x 2736 pixels 3648 x 2736 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 1.95 μm 4.74 μm
    Pixel Density 26.08 MP/cm2 4.44 MP/cm2
    Moiré control no AA filter Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability 480/30p Video no Video
    ISO Setting 100 - 1,600 ISO 100 - 1,600 ISO
    ISO Boost 100 - 3,200 ISO no Enhancement
    Screen Specs Leica V-LUX 1 Olympus E-400
    Viewfinder Type Electronic viewfinder Optical viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 100% 95%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.46x
    Viewfinder Resolution 235k dots
    LCD Framing Live View
    Rear LCD Size 2.0inch 2.5inch
    LCD Resolution 207k dots 215k dots
    LCD Attachment Tilting screen Fixed screen
    Shooting Specs Leica V-LUX 1 Olympus E-400
    Focus System Contrast-detect AF Phase-detect AF
    Continuous Shooting 2 shutter flaps/s 3 shutter flaps/s
    Fill Flash Built-in Flash Built-in Flash
    Storage Medium SDHC cards CF or XD cards
    Second Storage Option Single card slot Dual card slots
    Connectivity Specs Leica V-LUX 1 Olympus E-400
    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 Olympus E-400
    Battery Type BP-DC5 BLS-1
    Battery Life (CIPA)360 shots per charge500 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 141 x 86 x 142 mm
    (5.6 x 3.4 x 5.6 in)
    130 x 91 x 53 mm
    (5.1 x 3.6 x 2.1 in)
    Camera Weight 734 g (25.9 oz) 435 g (15.3 oz)
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    Check V-LUX 1 offers at
    ebay.com
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    Check E-400 offers at
    ebay.com

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