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Leica V-LUX 3 vs Pentax Q

The Leica V-LUX 3 and the Pentax Q are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in December 2011 and June 2011. The V-LUX 3 is a fixed lens compact, while the Pentax Q is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera. Both cameras are equipped with a 1/2.3-inch sensor. Both cameras offer a resolution of 12 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 3
versus
Pentax Q
Leica V-LUX 3   Pentax Q
Fixed lens compact camera Mirrorless system camera
25-600mm f/2.8-5.2 Pentax Q mount lenses
12 MP – 1/2.3" sensor 12 MP – 1/2.3" sensor
1080/60p Video 1080/30p Video
ISO 100-3,200 (100 - 6,400) ISO 125-6,400
Electronic viewfinder (202k dots) Viewfinder optional
3.0" LCD – 460k dots 3.0" LCD – 460k dots
Swivel screen (not touch-sensitive) Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)
12 shutter flaps per second 1.5 shutter flaps per second
Lens-based stabilizationIn-body stabilization
410 shots per battery charge230 shots per battery charge
124 x 81 x 95 mm, 540 g 98 x 57 x 31 mm, 180 g
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Check Pentax Q offers at
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Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Leica V-LUX 3 and the Pentax Q? 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 side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size and weight of the Leica V-LUX 3 and the Pentax Q. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three successive views from the front, the top, and the rear are shown. All size dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

The Pentax Q can be obtained in two different colors (black, white), while the V-LUX 3 is only available in black.

Size Leica V-LUX 3 vs Pentax Q
Compare V-LUX 3 versus Pentax Q top
Comparison V-LUX 3 or Pentax Q rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Pentax Q is considerably smaller (44 percent) than the Leica V-LUX 3. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the V-LUX 3 nor the Pentax Q are weather-sealed.

The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the V-LUX 3 has a lens built in, whereas the Pentax Q is an interchangeable lens camera that requires a separate lens. Attaching the latter will add extra weight and bulk to the setup.

The following table provides a synthesis of the main physical specifications of the two cameras and other similar ones. 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 3 124 mm 81 mm 95 mm 540 g 410 n Dec 2011 949ebay.com
2.
 
Pentax Q 98 mm 57 mm 31 mm 180 g 230 n Jun 2011 649ebay.com
3.
 
Canon G1 X Mark II 116 mm 74 mm 66 mm 553 g 240 n Feb 2014 799ebay.com
4.
 
Canon G1 X 117 mm 81 mm 65 mm 534 g 250 n Jan 2012 799ebay.com
5.
 
Canon SX50 123 mm 87 mm 106 mm 595 g 315 n Sep 2012 429ebay.com
6.
 
Canon SX40 123 mm 92 mm 108 mm 600 g 380 n Sep 2011 429ebay.com
7.
 
Canon SX30 123 mm 92 mm 108 mm 601 g 370 n Sep 2010 429ebay.com
8.
 
Leica V-LUX 4 125 mm 87 mm 110 mm 588 g 540 n Sep 2012 949ebay.com
9.
 
Leica V-LUX 2 124 mm 80 mm 95 mm 520 g 410 n Sep 2010 849ebay.com
10.
 
Olympus XZ-2 113 mm 65 mm 48 mm 346 g 340 n Sep 2012 599ebay.com
11.
 
Olympus E-PL2 114 mm 72 mm 42 mm 362 g 280 n Jan 2011 599ebay.com
12.
 
Olympus E-PL3 110 mm 64 mm 37 mm 313 g 300 n Jun 2011 599ebay.com
13.
 
Olympus E-PL1 115 mm 72 mm 42 mm 334 g 290 n Feb 2010 599ebay.com
14.
 
Olympus E-620 130 mm 94 mm 60 mm 521 g 500 n Feb 2009 699ebay.com
15.
 
Panasonic FZ200 125 mm 87 mm 110 mm 588 g 540 n Jul 2012 599ebay.com
16.
 
Panasonic FZ150 124 mm 82 mm 92 mm 528 g 410 n Aug 2011 499ebay.com
17.
 
Panasonic FZ100 124 mm 82 mm 92 mm 540 g 410 n Jul 2010 499ebay.com
Note: 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. 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 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. Further, a large sensor camera will give the photographer additional creative options when using shallow depth-of-field to isolate a subject from its background. On the downside, larger sensors tend to be more expensive and lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.

Both cameras under consideration feature a 1/2.3-inch sensor and have a format factor (sometimes also referred to as "crop factor") of 5.6. Within the spectrum of camera sensors, this places the review cameras among the smaller-sensor digicams that favor affordability and compact design. Both cameras feature a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 4:3.

Leica V-LUX 3 and Pentax Q sensor measures

The two cameras under review do not only share the same sensor size, but also offer an identical resolution of 12 megapixels. This similarity in sensor specs implies that both the V-LUX 3 and the Pentax Q have the same pixel density, as well as the same pixel size. It should, however, be noted that the V-LUX 3 is a somewhat more recent model (by 5 months) than the Pentax Q, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time. Coming back to sensor resolution, it should be mentioned that the V-LUX 3 has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.

The Leica V-LUX 3 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 3200, which can be extended to ISO 100-6400. The corresponding ISO settings for the Pentax Q are ISO 125 to ISO 6400 (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 3 versus Pentax Q 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 V-LUX 3 1/2.3 12.0 4000 30001080/60p19.711.043042
2.
 
Pentax Q 1/2.3 12.0 4000 30001080/30p20.211.118947
3.
 
Canon G1 X Mark II 1.5-inch 13.0 4160 31201080/30p21.510.858158
4.
 
Canon G1 X 1.5-inch 14.2 4352 32641080/24p21.710.864460
5.
 
Canon SX50 1/2.3 12.0 4000 30001080/24p20.311.217947
6.
 
Canon SX40 1/2.3 12.0 4000 30001080/24p19.610.940941
7.
 
Canon SX30 1/2.3 14.0 4320 3240720/30p19.410.732039
8.
 
Leica V-LUX 4 1/2.3 12.0 4000 30001080/60p19.811.150143
9.
 
Leica V-LUX 2 1/2.3 14.0 4320 32401080/60i19.410.732139
10.
 
Olympus XZ-2 1/1.7 11.8 3968 29761080/30p20.411.321649
11.
 
Olympus E-PL2 Four Thirds 12.2 4032 3024720/30p21.410.257355
12.
 
Olympus E-PL3 Four Thirds 12.2 4032 30241080/60i20.910.349952
13.
 
Olympus E-PL1 Four Thirds 12.2 4032 3024720/30p21.510.148754
14.
 
Olympus E-620 Four Thirds 12.2 4032 3024none21.310.353655
15.
 
Panasonic FZ200 1/2.3 12.0 4000 30001080/60p19.110.811437
16.
 
Panasonic FZ150 1/2.3 12.0 4000 30001080/60p19.410.913240
17.
 
Panasonic FZ100 1/2.3 14.0 4320 32401080/60i19.410.730639
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 two cameras under consideration both have sensors whose read-out speed is fast enough to capture moving pictures, but the V-LUX 3 provides a higher frame rate than the Pentax Q. It can shoot video footage at 1080/60p, while the Pentax is limited to 1080/30p.

Feature comparison

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the V-LUX 3 has an electronic viewfinder (202k dots), which can be very helpful when shooting in bright sunlight. In contrast, the Pentax Q relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. That said, the Pentax Q can be equipped with an optional viewfinder – the O-VF1. The table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Leica V-LUX 3 and Pentax Q 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 V-LUX 3202 n3.0 / 460 swivel n 1/2000s 12.0/s Y Y
2.
 
Pentax Qoptional n3.0 / 460 fixed n 1/2000s 1.5/s Y Y
3.
 
Canon G1 X Mark IIoptional n3.0 / 1040 tilting Y 1/4000s 5.2/s Y Y
4.
 
Canon G1 Xoptical n3.0 / 922 swivel n 1/4000s 1.9/s Y Y
5.
 
Canon SX50202 n3.0 / 461 swivel n 1/2000s 2.2/s Y Y
6.
 
Canon SX40202 n2.7 / 230 swivel n 1/3200s 10.3/s Y Y
7.
 
Canon SX30202 n2.7 / 230 swivel n 1/3200s 0.6/s Y Y
8.
 
Leica V-LUX 41312 n3.0 / 460 swivel n 1/4000s 12.0/s Y Y
9.
 
Leica V-LUX 2202 n3.0 / 460 swivel n 1/2000s 11.0/s Y Y
10.
 
Olympus XZ-2optional n3.0 / 920 tilting Y 1/2000s 5.0/s Y Y
11.
 
Olympus E-PL2optional n3.0 / 460 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0/s Y Y
12.
 
Olympus E-PL3optional n3.0 / 460 tilting n 1/4000s 5.5/s n Y
13.
 
Olympus E-PL1optional n2.7 / 230 fixed n 1/2000s 3.0/s Y Y
14.
 
Olympus E-620optical n2.7 / 230 swivel n 1/4000s 4.0/s Y Y
15.
 
Panasonic FZ2001312 n3.0 / 460 swivel n 1/4000s 12.0/s Y Y
16.
 
Panasonic FZ150202 n3.0 / 460 swivel n 1/2000s 12.0/s Y Y
17.
 
Panasonic FZ100202 n3.0 / 460 swivel n 1/2000s 11.0/s Y Y
Notes: *) Information refers to the mechanical shutter, unless the camera only has an electronic one.
The V-LUX 3 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 Pentax Q does not have a selfie-screen.

The Pentax Q 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 V-LUX 3 and the Pentax Q write their files to SDXC 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 V-LUX 3 and Pentax Q 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 3Ystereo / ---mini2.0---
2.
 
Pentax QYmono / mono--mini2.0---
3.
 
Canon G1 X Mark IIYstereo / mono--mini2.0YY-
4.
 
Canon G1 XYstereo / mono--mini2.0---
5.
 
Canon SX50Ystereo / mono--mini2.0---
6.
 
Canon SX40Ystereo / mono--YES2.0---
7.
 
Canon SX30Ystereo / mono--YES2.0---
8.
 
Leica V-LUX 4Ystereo / monoY-mini2.0---
9.
 
Leica V-LUX 2Ystereo / mono--mini2.0---
10.
 
Olympus XZ-2Ystereo / mono--mini2.0---
11.
 
Olympus E-PL2Ystereo / ---mini2.0---
12.
 
Olympus E-PL3Ystereo / ---mini2.0---
13.
 
Olympus E-PL1Ystereo / ---mini2.0---
14.
 
Olympus E-620Y- / ----2.0---
15.
 
Panasonic FZ200Ystereo / monoY-mini2.0---
16.
 
Panasonic FZ150Ystereo / ---mini2.0---
17.
 
Panasonic FZ100Ystereo / mono--mini2.0---

Both the V-LUX 3 and the Pentax Q have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on ebay. The Pentax Q was replaced by the Pentax Q10, while the V-LUX 3 was followed by the Leica V-LUX 4. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Leica and Pentax websites.

Review summary

So what conclusions can be drawn? Is the Leica V-LUX 3 better than the Pentax Q or vice versa? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.

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Advantages of the Leica V-LUX 3:

  • Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
  • Better video: Provides higher movie framerates (1080/60p versus 1080/30p).
  • Easier framing: Has an electronic viewfinder for image composition and settings control.
  • 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.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (12 vs 1.5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • Ready to shoot: Has a lens built-in, whereas the Pentax Q requires a separate lens.
  • Longer lasting: Can take more shots (410 versus 230) on a single battery charge.
  • More prestigious: Has the Leica luxury appeal, which ensures a high resale price.
  • More modern: Is somewhat more recent (announced 5 months after the Pentax Q).

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Reasons to prefer the Pentax Q:

  • Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
  • Easier time-lapse photography: Has an intervalometer built-in for low frequency shooting.
  • More flexible: Takes interchangeable lenses and can thus be used with specialty optics.
  • More compact: Is smaller (98x57mm vs 124x81mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in June 2011).

If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the V-LUX 3 is the clear winner of the match-up (10 : 5 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 wedding photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a travel photog, and a person interested in cityscapes has distinct needs from a macro shooter. Hence, the decision which camera is best and worth buying is often a very personal one.

V-LUX 3 10:05 Pentax Q

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Leica V-LUX 3 and the Pentax Q place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Superzoom Camera and Best Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera listings whether the two cameras rank among the cream of the crop.

In any case, while the comparison of technical specifications can provide a useful overview of the capabilities of different cameras, it remains incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the V-LUX 3 or the Pentax Q perform in practice. 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 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 3............ Dec 2011 949ebay.com
2.
 
Pentax Q3/5......4/53.5/5 Jun 2011 649ebay.com
3.
 
Canon G1 X Mark II3/5+..77/1004/54.5/5 Feb 2014 799ebay.com
4.
 
Canon G1 X5/5+..76/1004/54.5/5 Jan 2012 799ebay.com
5.
 
Canon SX503/5+ +..72/1004.5/54.5/5 Sep 2012 429ebay.com
6.
 
Canon SX40..+....4.5/54/5 Sep 2011 429ebay.com
7.
 
Canon SX303/5+ +....3.5/54/5 Sep 2010 429ebay.com
8.
 
Leica V-LUX 4............ Sep 2012 949ebay.com
9.
 
Leica V-LUX 2............ Sep 2010 849ebay.com
10.
 
Olympus XZ-24/5+....4.5/54.5/5 Sep 2012 599ebay.com
11.
 
Olympus E-PL23/583/100..71/1004.5/54.5/5 Jan 2011 599ebay.com
12.
 
Olympus E-PL33/5+ +..72/1004.5/54/5 Jun 2011 599ebay.com
13.
 
Olympus E-PL1..86/100..69/1004/54.5/5 Feb 2010 599ebay.com
14.
 
Olympus E-6203/588/100..72/1004.5/55/5 Feb 2009 699ebay.com
15.
 
Panasonic FZ2003/5+ +..80/1004.5/54.5/5 Jul 2012 599ebay.com
16.
 
Panasonic FZ1503/5+ +..76/1004/54.5/5 Aug 2011 499ebay.com
17.
 
Panasonic FZ100..+....4.5/54.5/5 Jul 2010 499ebay.com
Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.

The above review scores should be interpreted 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 comparisons of ratings among very different cameras or across long time periods 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? If you would like to see a different side-by-side camera review, just use the search menu below. 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 V-LUX 3 vs Pentax Q

    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 3 Pentax Q
    Camera Type Fixed lens compact camera Mirrorless system camera
    Camera Lens 25-600mm f/2.8-5.2 Pentax Q mount lenses
    Launch Date December 2011 June 2011
    Launch Price USD 949 USD 649
    Sensor Specs Leica V-LUX 3 Pentax Q
    Sensor Technology CMOS CMOS
    Sensor Format 1/2.3" Sensor 1/2.3" Sensor
    Sensor Size 6.17 x 4.55 mm 6.17 x 4.55 mm
    Sensor Area 28.0735 mm2 28.0735 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 7.7 mm 7.7 mm
    Crop Factor 5.6x 5.6x
    Sensor Resolution 12 Megapixels 12 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 4000 x 3000 pixels 4000 x 3000 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 1.53 μm 1.53 μm
    Pixel Density 42.74 MP/cm2 42.74 MP/cm2
    Moiré control no AA filter Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability 1080/60p Video 1080/30p Video
    ISO Setting 100 - 3,200 ISO 125 - 6,400 ISO
    ISO Boost 100 - 6,400 ISO no Enhancement
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) .. 47
    DXO Color Depth (bits) .. 20.2
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) .. 11.1
    DXO Low Light (ISO) .. 189
    Screen Specs Leica V-LUX 3 Pentax Q
    Viewfinder Type Electronic viewfinder Viewfinder optional
    Viewfinder Field of View 100%
    Viewfinder Resolution 202k dots
    LCD Framing Live View Live View
    Rear LCD Size 3.0inch 3.0inch
    LCD Resolution 460k dots 460k dots
    LCD Attachment Swivel screen Fixed screen
    Shooting Specs Leica V-LUX 3 Pentax Q
    Focus System Contrast-detect AF Contrast-detect AF
    Continuous Shooting 12 shutter flaps/s 1.5 shutter flaps/s
    Time-Lapse Photographyno IntervalometerIntervalometer built-in
    Image StabilizationLens-based stabilizationIn-body stabilization
    Fill Flash Built-in Flash Built-in Flash
    Storage Medium SDXC cards SDXC cards
    Second Storage Option Single card slot Single card slot
    UHS card support no no
    Connectivity Specs Leica V-LUX 3 Pentax Q
    External Flash Hotshoe Hotshoe
    USB Connector USB 2.0 USB 2.0
    HDMI Port mini HDMI mini HDMI
    Wifi Support no Wifi no Wifi
    Body Specs Leica V-LUX 3 Pentax Q
    Battery Type BP-DC9 D-LI68
    Battery Life (CIPA)410 shots per charge230 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 124 x 81 x 95 mm
    (4.9 x 3.2 x 3.7 in)
    98 x 57 x 31 mm
    (3.9 x 2.2 x 1.2 in)
    Camera Weight 540 g (19.0 oz) 180 g (6.3 oz)
    logo
    Check V-LUX 3 offers at
    ebay.com
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    Check Pentax Q offers at
    ebay.com

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