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Leica X Vario vs Sony A3000

The Leica X Vario (Typ 107) and the Sony Alpha A3000 are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in June 2013 and August 2013. The X Vario is a fixed lens compact, while the A3000 is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera. Both cameras are equipped with an APS-C sensor. The Leica has a resolution of 16.1 megapixels, whereas the Sony provides 19.8 MP.

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

Headline Specifications
Leica X Vario
versus
Sony A3000
Leica X Vario   Sony A3000
Fixed lens compact camera Mirrorless system camera
28-70mm f/3.5-6.4 Sony E mount lenses
16.1 MP – APS-C sensor 19.8 MP – APS-C sensor
1080/30p Video 1080/60i Video
ISO 100-12,500 ISO 100-16,000
Viewfinder optional Electronic viewfinder (202k dots)
3.0" LCD – 920k dots 3.0" LCD – 230k dots
Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive) Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)
5 shutter flaps per second 2.5 shutter flaps per second
450 shots per battery charge470 shots per battery charge
133 x 73 x 95 mm, 680 g 128 x 91 x 85 mm, 411 g
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Check X Vario offers at
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Check A3000 offers at
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Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Leica X Vario (Typ 107) and the Sony Alpha A3000? 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 X Vario and the Sony A3000 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 size dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

The X Vario can be obtained in two different colors (black, silver), while the A3000 is only available in black.

Size Leica X Vario vs Sony A3000
Compare X Vario versus A3000 top
Comparison X Vario or A3000 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Sony A3000 is notably larger (20 percent) than the Leica X Vario. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the X Vario nor the A3000 are weather-sealed.

The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the X Vario has a lens built in, whereas the A3000 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 A3000 and their specifications in the Sony E-Mount Lens Catalog.

Concerning battery life, the X Vario gets 450 shots out of its BP-DC8 battery, while the A3000 can take 470 images on a single charge of its NP-FW50 power pack. The power pack in the A3000 can be charged via the USB port, which can be very convenient when travelling.

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 X Vario 133 mm 73 mm 95 mm 680 g 450 n Jun 2013 2,850ebay.com
2.
 
Sony A3000 128 mm 91 mm 85 mm 411 g 470 n Aug 2013 329ebay.com
3.
 
Leica X-U Typ 113 140 mm 79 mm 88 mm 635 g 450 Y Jan 2016 2,950ebay.com
4.
 
Leica Q Typ 116 130 mm 80 mm 93 mm 640 g 300 n Jun 2015 4,249ebay.com
5.
 
Leica T 134 mm 69 mm 33 mm 384 g 400 n Apr 2014 1,850ebay.com
6.
 
Leica X Typ 113 133 mm 73 mm 78 mm 486 g 350 n Sep 2014 2,295ebay.com
7.
 
Leica X2 124 mm 69 mm 52 mm 345 g 450 n May 2012 1,995ebay.com
8.
 
Nikon Df 144 mm 110 mm 67 mm 760 g 1400 Y Nov 2013 2,749ebay.com
9.
 
Nikon Coolpix A 111 mm 64 mm 40 mm 299 g 230 n Mar 2013 1,099ebay.com
10.
 
Panasonic FZ1000 137 mm 99 mm 131 mm 831 g 360 n Jun 2014 899ebay.com
11.
 
Ricoh GR 117 mm 61 mm 35 mm 245 g 290 n Apr 2013 799ebay.com
12.
 
Sony A6400 120 mm 67 mm 50 mm 403 g 410 Y Jan 2019 899 amazon.com
13.
 
Sony A6000 120 mm 67 mm 45 mm 344 g 360 n Feb 2014 599ebay.com
14.
 
Sony RX1R 113 mm 65 mm 70 mm 482 g 270 n Jun 2013 2,799ebay.com
15.
 
Sony NEX-6 120 mm 67 mm 43 mm 345 g 360 n Sep 2012 999ebay.com
16.
 
Sony NEX-7 120 mm 67 mm 43 mm 400 g 430 n Aug 2011 1,349ebay.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 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.

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. 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 are more costly to manufacture and tend to lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.

Both cameras under consideration feature an APS-C sensor, but their sensors differ slightly in size. The sensor area in the A3000 is 4 percent smaller. They nevertheless have the same format factor of 1.5. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.

Leica X Vario and Sony A3000 sensor measures

Despite having a slightly smaller sensor, the A3000 offers a higher resolution of 19.8 megapixels, compared with 16.1 MP of the X Vario. 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 4.25μm versus 4.80μm for the X Vario). It is noteworthy in this context that the two cameras were released in close succession, so that their sensors are from the same technological generation.

The resolution advantage of the Sony A3000 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the A3000 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 27.3 x 18.2 inches or 69.3 x 46.1 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 21.8 x 14.5 inches or 55.4 x 36.9 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 18.2 x 12.1 inches or 46.2 x 30.8 cm. The corresponding values for the Leica X Vario are 24.6 x 16.4 inches or 62.6 x 41.6 cm for good quality, 19.7 x 13.1 inches or 50.1 x 33.2 cm for very good quality, and 16.4 x 10.9 inches or 41.7 x 27.7 cm for excellent quality prints.

The Leica X Vario (Typ 107) has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 12500. The corresponding ISO settings for the Sony Alpha A3000 are ISO 100 to ISO 16000 (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.

X Vario versus A3000 MP

Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for many cameras. 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"). The Overall DXO ratings for the two cameras under consideration are close, suggesting that they provide similar imaging performance. 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 X Vario APS-C 16.1 4928 32721080/30p23.412.7132078
2.
 
Sony A3000 APS-C 19.8 5456 36321080/60i23.712.8106878
3.
 
Leica X-U Typ 113 APS-C 16.1 4928 32641080/30p23.813.0161480
4.
 
Leica Q Typ 116 Full Frame 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.312.7222185
5.
 
Leica T APS-C 16.2 4944 32781080/30p23.012.7108275
6.
 
Leica X Typ 113 APS-C 16.1 4928 32641080/30p23.612.8149178
7.
 
Leica X2 APS-C 16.1 4928 3264none23.212.4127574
8.
 
Nikon Df Full Frame 16.2 4928 3280none24.613.1327989
9.
 
Nikon Coolpix A APS-C 16.1 4928 32641080/30p23.413.8116480
10.
 
Panasonic FZ1000 1-inch 20.0 5472 36484K/30p22.111.751764
11.
 
Ricoh GR APS-C 16.1 4928 32641080/30p23.613.597278
12.
 
Sony A6400 APS-C 24.0 6000 40004K/30p24.013.6143183
13.
 
Sony A6000 APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.113.1134782
14.
 
Sony RX1R Full Frame 24.0 6000 40001080/60p25.013.6253791
15.
 
Sony NEX-6 APS-C 16.0 4912 32641080/60i23.713.1101878
16.
 
Sony NEX-7 APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60i24.113.4101681
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. Both cameras under consideration have a sensor with sufficiently fast read-out times for moving pictures, but the A3000 provides a faster frame rate than the X Vario. It can shoot movie footage at 1080/60i, while the Leica is limited to 1080/30p.

Feature comparison

Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the A3000 has an electronic viewfinder (202k dots), which can be very helpful when shooting in bright sunlight. In contrast, the X Vario relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. That said, the X Vario can be equipped with an optional viewfinder – the EVF 2. The table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Leica X Vario and Sony A3000 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 X Variooptional n3.0 / 920 fixed n 1/2000s 5.0/s Y n
2.
 
Sony A3000202 n3.0 / 230 fixed n 1/4000s 2.5/s Y n
3.
 
Leica X-U Typ 113optional n3.0 / 920 fixed n 1/2000s 5.0/s Y n
4.
 
Leica Q Typ 1163680 n3.0 / 1040 fixed Y 1/2000s 10.0/s n Y
5.
 
Leica Toptional n3.7 / 1230 fixed Y 1/4000s 5.0/s Y n
6.
 
Leica X Typ 113optional n3.0 / 920 fixed n 1/2000s 5.0/s Y n
7.
 
Leica X2optional n2.7 / 230 fixed n 1/2000s 5.0/s Y n
8.
 
Nikon Dfoptical Y3.2 / 921 fixed n 1/4000s 5.5/s n n
9.
 
Nikon Coolpix Aoptional n3.0 / 921 fixed n 1/2000s 4.0/s Y n
10.
 
Panasonic FZ10002359 n3.0 / 921 swivel n 1/4000s 12.0/s Y Y
11.
 
Ricoh GRoptional n3.0 / 1230 fixed n 1/4000s 4.0/s Y n
12.
 
Sony A64002359 n3.0 / 922 tilting Y 1/4000s 11.0/s Y n
13.
 
Sony A60001440 n3.0 / 922 tilting n 1/4000s 11.0/s Y n
14.
 
Sony RX1Roptional n3.0 / 1229 fixed n 1/4000s 5.0/s Y n
15.
 
Sony NEX-62359 n3.0 / 921 tilting n 1/4000s 10.0/s Y n
16.
 
Sony NEX-72359 n3.0 / 921 tilting n 1/4000s 10.0/s Y n
Notes: *) Information refers to the mechanical shutter, unless the camera only has an electronic one.

The X Vario writes its imaging data to SDXC cards, while the A3000 uses SDXC or Memory Stick PRO Duo 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 X Vario (Typ 107) and Sony Alpha A3000 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 X VarioYstereo / mono--mini2.0---
2.
 
Sony A3000Ystereo / mono--mini2.0---
3.
 
Leica X-U Typ 113Ystereo / mono---2.0---
4.
 
Leica Q Typ 116Ystereo / mono--micro2.0YY-
5.
 
Leica TYstereo / mono---2.0Y--
6.
 
Leica X Typ 113Ystereo / mono--mini2.0---
7.
 
Leica X2Y- / ---mini2.0---
8.
 
Nikon DfY- / ---mini2.0---
9.
 
Nikon Coolpix AYstereo / mono---2.0---
10.
 
Panasonic FZ1000Ystereo / monoY-micro2.0YY-
11.
 
Ricoh GRYmono / mono--micro2.0---
12.
 
Sony A6400Ystereo / monoY-micro2.0YYY
13.
 
Sony A6000Ystereo / mono--micro2.0YY-
14.
 
Sony RX1RYstereo / monoY-mini2.0---
15.
 
Sony NEX-6Ystereo / mono--mini2.0Y--
16.
 
Sony NEX-7Ystereo / monoY-mini2.0---

Both the X Vario and the A3000 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on ebay. Neither of the two has a direct successor, so they represent the end of the respective camera lines from Leica and Sony. Further information on the features and operation of the X Vario and A3000 can be found, respectively, in the Leica X Vario Manual (free pdf) or the online Sony A3000 Manual.

Review summary

So how do things add up? Is the Leica X Vario better than the Sony A3000 or vice versa? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.

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Reasons to prefer the Leica X Vario (Typ 107):

  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (920k vs 230k dots).
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (5 vs 2.5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • Ready to shoot: Has a lens built-in, whereas the A3000 requires a separate lens.
  • More compact: Is smaller (133x73mm vs 128x91mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
  • More prestigious: Has the Leica luxury appeal, which ensures a high resale price.

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Arguments in favor of the Sony Alpha A3000:

  • More detail: Has more megapixels (19.8 vs 16.1MP), which boosts linear resolution by 11%.
  • Better video: Provides higher movie framerates (1080/60i versus 1080/30p).
  • Easier framing: Has an electronic viewfinder for image composition and settings control.
  • Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/4000s vs 1/2000s) to freeze action.
  • More flexible: Takes interchangeable lenses and can thus be used with specialty optics.
  • Easier travel charging: Can be conveniently charged via its USB port.

If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the A3000 comes out slightly ahead of the X Vario (6 : 5 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.

X Vario 05:06 A3000

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Leica X Vario and the Sony A3000 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Travel-Zoom 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 X Vario or the A3000 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 expert reviews are important. The table below provides a synthesis of the camera assessments of some of the best known photo-gear 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 X Vario3/5......4/54/5 Jun 2013 2,850ebay.com
2.
 
Sony A30003/5+....4/54/5 Aug 2013 329ebay.com
3.
 
Leica X-U Typ 1133.5/5........3.5/5 Jan 2016 2,950ebay.com
4.
 
Leica Q Typ 1165/5....80/1004.5/54.5/5 Jun 2015 4,249ebay.com
5.
 
Leica T3/5......4/54/5 Apr 2014 1,850ebay.com
6.
 
Leica X Typ 1133.5/5......3.5/54/5 Sep 2014 2,295ebay.com
7.
 
Leica X23/5......3/54/5 May 2012 1,995ebay.com
8.
 
Nikon Df4/5....81/1004/54/5 Nov 2013 2,749ebay.com
9.
 
Nikon Coolpix A4/5+..75/1004/54/5 Mar 2013 1,099ebay.com
10.
 
Panasonic FZ10004/5+ +..82/1004.5/54.5/5 Jun 2014 899ebay.com
11.
 
Ricoh GR5/5....79/1004.5/54.5/5 Apr 2013 799ebay.com
12.
 
Sony A64004/5+4/585/1004.5/54/5 Jan 2019 899 amazon.com
13.
 
Sony A60005/5+4.5/580/1004.5/55/5 Feb 2014 599ebay.com
14.
 
Sony RX1R5/5......4/54.5/5 Jun 2013 2,799ebay.com
15.
 
Sony NEX-65/5+ +..78/1004.5/54.5/5 Sep 2012 999ebay.com
16.
 
Sony NEX-75/5+ +..81/1004.5/55/5 Aug 2011 1,349ebay.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. 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, please note that some of the review sites have changed their methodology and reporting over time.

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Check X Vario offers at
ebay.com
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Check A3000 offers at
ebay.com

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 X Vario vs Sony A3000

    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 X Vario Sony A3000
    Camera Type Fixed lens compact camera Mirrorless system camera
    Camera Lens 28-70mm f/3.5-6.4 Sony E mount lenses
    Launch Date June 2013 August 2013
    Launch Price USD 2,850 USD 329
    Sensor Specs Leica X Vario Sony A3000
    Sensor Technology CMOS CMOS
    Sensor Format APS-C Sensor APS-C Sensor
    Sensor Size 23.6 x 15.7 mm 23.2 x 15.4 mm
    Sensor Area 370.52 mm2 357.28 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 28.3 mm 27.8 mm
    Crop Factor 1.5x 1.5x
    Sensor Resolution 16.1 Megapixels 19.8 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 4928 x 3272 pixels 5456 x 3632 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 4.80 μm 4.25 μm
    Pixel Density 4.35 MP/cm2 5.55 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability 1080/30p Video 1080/60i Video
    ISO Setting 100 - 12,500 ISO 100 - 16,000 ISO
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) 78 78
    DXO Color Depth (bits) 23.4 23.7
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) 12.7 12.8
    DXO Low Light (ISO) 1320 1068
    Screen Specs Leica X Vario Sony A3000
    Viewfinder Type Viewfinder optional Electronic viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 100%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.47x
    Viewfinder Resolution 202k dots
    LCD Framing Live View
    Rear LCD Size 3.0inch 3.0inch
    LCD Resolution 920k dots 230k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen Fixed screen
    Shooting Specs Leica X Vario Sony A3000
    Focus System Contrast-detect AF Contrast-detect AF
    Manual Focusing Aidno Peaking FeatureFocus Peaking
    Max Shutter Speed (mechanical) 1/2000s 1/4000s
    Continuous Shooting 5 shutter flaps/s 2.5 shutter flaps/s
    Fill Flash Built-in Flash Built-in Flash
    Storage Medium SDXC cards MS or SDXC cards
    Second Storage Option Single card slot Single card slot
    UHS card support no no
    Connectivity Specs Leica X Vario Sony A3000
    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 X Vario Sony A3000
    Battery Type BP-DC8 NP-FW50
    Battery Life (CIPA)450 shots per charge470 shots per charge
    In-Camera Charging no USB charging USB charging
    Body Dimensions 133 x 73 x 95 mm
    (5.2 x 2.9 x 3.7 in)
    128 x 91 x 85 mm
    (5.0 x 3.6 x 3.3 in)
    Camera Weight 680 g (24.0 oz) 411 g (14.5 oz)
    logo
    Check X Vario offers at
    ebay.com
    logo
    Check A3000 offers at
    ebay.com

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