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Nikon B500 vs Panasonic G3

The Nikon Coolpix B500 and the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G3 are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in January 2016 and May 2011. The B500 is a fixed lens compact, while the G3 is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera. The cameras are based on a 1/2.3-inch (B500) and a Four Thirds (G3) sensor. The Nikon has a resolution of 15.9 megapixels, whereas the Panasonic provides 15.8 MP.

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

Headline Specifications
Nikon B500 VS Panasonic G3
Nikon B500 Panasonic G3
Fixed lens compact camera Mirrorless system camera
22.5-900mm f/3-6.5 Micro Four Thirds lenses
15.9 MP, 1/2.3" Sensor 15.8 MP, Four Thirds Sensor
1080/60i Video 1080/60i Video
ISO 80-6400 ISO 160-6400
No viewfinder, LCD framing Electronic viewfinder (1440k dots)
3.0" LCD, 921k dots 3.0" LCD, 460k dots
Tilting screen (no touchscreen) Swivel touchscreen
7.4 shutter flaps per second 4 shutter flaps per second
600 shots per battery charge270 shots per battery charge
114 x 78 x 95 mm, 541 g 115 x 84 x 47 mm, 336 g

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Nikon Coolpix B500 and the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G3? 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 Nikon B500 and the Panasonic G3 are illustrated in the side-by-side display below. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three successive views from the front, the top, and the rear are shown. All width, height and depth measures are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

The B500 can be obtained in two different colors (black, red), while the G3 is available in four color-versions (black, brown, red, white).

Size Nikon B500 vs Panasonic G3
Compare B500 versus G3 top
Comparison B500 or G3 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Panasonic G3 is notably larger (9 percent) than the Nikon B500. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the B500 nor the G3 are weather-sealed.

The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the B500 has a lens built in, whereas the G3 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 G3 and their specifications in the Micro Four Thirds 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, just click on the right or left arrow next to the camera that you would like to inspect. Alternatively, you can also use the CAM-parator to select your camera combination among a larger number of options.

Camera Body Specifications
  Camera
Model
Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life
(CIPA)
Weather
Sealing
(yes/no)
Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Camera
Model
 
Nikon B500» 114 mm 78 mm 95 mm 541 g 600 n Jan 2016 299iNikon B500
 
Panasonic G3« 115 mm 84 mm 47 mm 336 g 270 n May 2011 599iPanasonic G3
 
Fujifilm X100F« » 127 mm 75 mm 52 mm 469 g 390 n Jan 2017 1,299iFujifilm X100F
 
Fujifilm X70« » 113 mm 64 mm 44 mm 340 g 330 n Jan 2016 799iFujifilm X70
 
Nikon B600« » 122 mm 82 mm 99 mm 500 g 280 n Jan 2019 349 iNikon B600
 
Nikon D5600« » 124 mm 97 mm 70 mm 465 g 970 n Nov 2016 699 iNikon D5600
 
Nikon B700« » 125 mm 85 mm 107 mm 565 g 350 n Feb 2016 499 iNikon B700
 
Nikon P900« » 140 mm 103 mm 137 mm 899 g 360 n Mar 2015 599iNikon P900
 
Nikon L840« » 113 mm 78 mm 96 mm 538 g 590 n Feb 2015 299iNikon L840
 
Panasonic FZ82« » 130 mm 94 mm 119 mm 616 g 330 n Jan 2017 399 iPanasonic FZ82
 
Panasonic G6« » 122 mm 85 mm 71 mm 390 g 340 n Apr 2013 599iPanasonic G6
 
Panasonic G5« » 120 mm 83 mm 71 mm 396 g 320 n Jul 2012 599iPanasonic G5
 
Panasonic GX1« » 116 mm 68 mm 39 mm 318 g 320 n Nov 2011 699iPanasonic GX1
 
Panasonic G10« » 124 mm 84 mm 74 mm 388 g 380 n Mar 2010 499iPanasonic G10
 
Panasonic G2« » 124 mm 84 mm 74 mm 428 g 360 n Mar 2010 599iPanasonic G2
 
Sony HX80« » 102 mm 58 mm 36 mm 245 g 390 n Mar 2016 349 iSony HX80
 
Sony H200« » 123 mm 83 mm 87 mm 530 g 240 n Jan 2013 249 iSony H200
Note: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.

Any camera decision will obviously take relative prices into account. The listed launch prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The B500 was launched at a lower price than the G3, 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.

 

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

Of the two cameras under consideration, the Nikon B500 features a 1/2.3-inch sensor and the Panasonic G3 a Four Thirds sensor. The sensor area in the G3 is 704 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 5.6 and 2.0. Both cameras feature a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 4:3.

Nikon B500 and Panasonic G3 sensor measures

Despite having a smaller sensor, the Nikon B500 offers a higher resolution of 15.9 megapixels, compared with 15.8 MP of the Panasonic G3. 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 1.33μm versus 3.77μm for the G3). However, it should be noted that the B500 is much more recent (by 4 years and 8 months) than the G3, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that make it possible to gather light more efficiently. Coming back to sensor resolution, it should be mentioned that the B500 has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.

The Nikon Coolpix B500 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 80 to ISO 6400. The corresponding ISO settings for the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G3 are ISO 160 to ISO 6400 (no boost).

B500 versus G3 MP

Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for many cameras. 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 adjacent table reports on the physical sensor characteristics and the outcomes of the DXO sensor quality tests for a sample of comparator-cameras.

Sensor Characteristics
  Camera
Model
Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
Camera
Model
 
Nikon B500 1/2.3 15.9 4608 34561080/60i........Nikon B500
 
Panasonic G3 Four Thirds 15.8 4592 34481080/60i21.010.666756Panasonic G3
 
Fujifilm X100F APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p........Fujifilm X100F
 
Fujifilm X70 APS-C 16.0 4896 32641080/60p........Fujifilm X70
 
Nikon B600 1/2.3 15.9 4608 34561080/30p........Nikon B600
 
Nikon D5600 APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.114.0130684Nikon D5600
 
Nikon B700 1/2.3 20.2 5184 38884K/30p........Nikon B700
 
Nikon P900 1/2.3 15.9 4608 34561080/60p........Nikon P900
 
Nikon L840 1/2.3 15.9 4608 34561080/60i........Nikon L840
 
Panasonic FZ82 1/2.3 18.0 4896 36724K/30p........Panasonic FZ82
 
Panasonic G6 Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/60p21.311.563961Panasonic G6
 
Panasonic G5 Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/60p........Panasonic G5
 
Panasonic GX1 Four Thirds 15.8 4592 34481080/60p20.810.670355Panasonic GX1
 
Panasonic G10 Four Thirds 12.0 4000 3000720/30p21.210.141152Panasonic G10
 
Panasonic G2 Four Thirds 12.0 4000 3000720/30p21.210.349353Panasonic G2
 
Sony HX80 1/2.3 18.0 4896 36721080/60p........Sony HX80
 
Sony H200 1/2.3 15.2 5184 2930720/30p........Sony H200

Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. Both cameras under consideration are equipped with sensors that have a sufficiently high read-out speed for moving images, and both provide the same movie specifications (1080/60i).

 

Feature comparison

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. For example, the G3 has an electronic viewfinder (1440k dots), which can be very helpful when shooting in bright sunlight. In contrast, the B500 relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. The following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Nikon B500, the Panasonic G3, and comparable cameras.

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
Camera
Model
 
Nikon B500none n 3.0 921 tilting n 1/4000s 7.4 Y Y Nikon B500
 
Panasonic G31440 n 3.0 460 swivel Y 1/4000s 4.0 Y n Panasonic G3
 
Fujifilm X100F2360 n 3.0 1040 fixed n 1/4000s 8.0 Y n Fujifilm X100F
 
Fujifilm X70optional n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 1/4000s 8.0 Y n Fujifilm X70
 
Nikon B600none n 3.0 921 fixed n 1/4000s 7.4 Y Y Nikon B600
 
Nikon D5600optical n 3.2 1037 swivel Y 1/4000s 5.0 Y n Nikon D5600
 
Nikon B700921 n 3.0 921 swivel n 1/4000s 5.0 Y Y Nikon B700
 
Nikon P900921 n 3.0 921 swivel n 1/4000s 7.0 Y Y Nikon P900
 
Nikon L840none n 3.0 921 tilting n 1/4000s 7.4 Y Y Nikon L840
 
Panasonic FZ821166 n 3.0 1040 fixed Y 1/2000s 10.0 Y Y Panasonic FZ82
 
Panasonic G61440 n 3.0 1036 swivel Y 1/4000s 7.0 Y n Panasonic G6
 
Panasonic G51440 n 3.0 920 swivel Y 1/4000s 6.0 Y n Panasonic G5
 
Panasonic GX1optional n 3.0 460 fixed Y 1/4000s 4.2 Y n Panasonic GX1
 
Panasonic G10202 n 3.0 460 fixed n 1/4000s 2.6 Y n Panasonic G10
 
Panasonic G21440 n 3.0 460 swivel Y 1/4000s 2.6 Y n Panasonic G2
 
Sony HX80638 n 3.0 922 tilting n 1/2000s 10.0 Y Y Sony HX80
 
Sony H200none n 3.0 460 fixed n 1/1500s 0.8 Y Y Sony H200

One differentiating feature between the two cameras concerns the touch sensitivity of the rear screen. The G3 has a touchscreen, while the B500 has a conventional panel. Touch control can be particularly helpful, for example, for setting the focus point.

The G3 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 B500 does not have a selfie-screen.

Concerning the storage of imaging data, both the B500 and the G3 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 Nikon Coolpix B500 and Panasonic Lumix DMC-G3 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.

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
Camera
Model
 
Nikon B500-stereomono--micro2.0YYYNikon B500
 
Panasonic G3Ystereomono--mini2.0---Panasonic G3
 
Fujifilm X100FYstereomonoY-micro2.0Y--Fujifilm X100F
 
Fujifilm X70YstereomonoY-micro2.0Y--Fujifilm X70
 
Nikon B600-stereomono--micro2.0Y-YNikon B600
 
Nikon D5600YstereomonoY-mini2.0YYYNikon D5600
 
Nikon B700-stereomono--micro2.0YYYNikon B700
 
Nikon P900-stereomono--micro2.0YY-Nikon P900
 
Nikon L840-stereomono--micro2.0YY-Nikon L840
 
Panasonic FZ82Ystereomono--micro2.0Y--Panasonic FZ82
 
Panasonic G6YstereomonoY-mini2.0YY-Panasonic G6
 
Panasonic G5Ystereomono--mini2.0---Panasonic G5
 
Panasonic GX1Ystereomono--mini2.0---Panasonic GX1
 
Panasonic G10Ymononone--mini2.0---Panasonic G10
 
Panasonic G2Ystereomono--mini2.0---Panasonic G2
 
Sony HX80-stereomono--micro2.0YY-Sony HX80
 
Sony H200-monomono--none2.0---Sony H200

It is notable that the B500 offers wifi support, while the G3 does not. Wifi can be a very convenient means to transfer image data to an off-camera location.

Both the B500 and the G3 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The G3 was replaced by the Panasonic G5, while the B500 was followed by the Nikon B600. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Nikon and Panasonic websites.

Review summary

So how do things add up? Is the Nikon B500 better than the Panasonic G3 or vice versa? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.

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Arguments in favor of the Nikon Coolpix B500:

  • Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (921k vs 460k dots).
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (7.4 vs 4 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • Ready to shoot: Has a lens built-in, whereas the G3 requires a separate lens.
  • Longer lasting: Can take more shots (600 versus 270) on a single battery charge.
  • Sharper images: Has hand-shake reducing image stabilization built-in.
  • Easier file upload: Has wifi built in for automatic backup or image transfer to the web.
  • Easier device pairing: Supports NFC for fast wireless image transfer over short distances.
  • 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 4 years and 8 months of technical progress since the G3 launch.

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Reasons to prefer the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G3:

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • More flexible: Takes interchangeable lenses and can thus be used with specialty optics.
  • Better lighting: Features a hotshoe and can thus hold and trigger an external flash gun.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been around for much longer (launched in May 2011).

If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the G3 comes out slightly ahead of the B500 (12 : 11 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 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.

B500 11:12 G3

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Nikon B500 and the Panasonic G3 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 says little about, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance of the B500 and the G3 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 why hands-on reviews by experts are important. The table below provides a synthesis of the camera assessments of some of the best known photo-gear review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, and photographyblog). 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.

Review Scores
  Camera
Model
cam
era
  labs  
dp
re
  view  
e
photo
  zine  
ima
ging
resource
photo
graphy
  blog  
Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Camera
Model
 
Nikon B500+..4/5..3.5/5 Jan 2016 299iNikon B500
 
Panasonic G3+ +75/1004.5/54.5/55/5 May 2011 599iPanasonic G3
 
Fujifilm X100F+83/1004.5/5..4.5/5 Jan 2017 1,299iFujifilm X100F
 
Fujifilm X70..76/1004.5/54/54.5/5 Jan 2016 799iFujifilm X70
 
Nikon B600+..3.5/5..3/5 Jan 2019 349 iNikon B600
 
Nikon D5600..79/1004.5/54.5/54/5 Nov 2016 699 iNikon D5600
 
Nikon B700+..4/5..4/5 Feb 2016 499 iNikon B700
 
Nikon P900..77/1004/54.5/54/5 Mar 2015 599iNikon P900
 
Nikon L840+ +..3.5/5..4/5 Feb 2015 299iNikon L840
 
Panasonic FZ82+ +..4.5/5..4.5/5 Jan 2017 399 iPanasonic FZ82
 
Panasonic G6+ +..5/5..4.5/5 Apr 2013 599iPanasonic G6
 
Panasonic G5+ +..4.5/54.5/54.5/5 Jul 2012 599iPanasonic G5
 
Panasonic GX1+77/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Nov 2011 699iPanasonic GX1
 
Panasonic G10..70/1004/5..4/5 Mar 2010 499iPanasonic G10
 
Panasonic G2..72/1004/54/54.5/5 Mar 2010 599iPanasonic G2
 
Sony HX80.......... Mar 2016 349 iSony HX80
 
Sony H200....3.5/5..3.5/5 Jan 2013 249 iSony H200
Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.

The review scores listed above should be treated with care, 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 rating-comparisons among cameras that span long time periods or concern very differently equipped models make little sense. It should also be noted that some of the review sites have over time altered the way they render their verdicts.

Nikon B500:
Check Ebay offers
Panasonic G3:
Check Ebay offers

Other camera comparisons

Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? In case you would like to check on the differences and similarities of other camera models, just make your choice using the following search menu. 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: Nikon B500 vs Panasonic G3

    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 Nikon B500 Panasonic G3
    Camera Type Fixed lens compact camera Mirrorless system camera
    Camera Lens 22.5-900mm f/3-6.5 Micro Four Thirds lenses
    Launch Date January 2016 May 2011
    Launch Price USD 299 USD 599
    Sensor Specs Nikon B500 Panasonic G3
    Sensor Technology BSI-CMOS CMOS
    Sensor Format 1/2.3" Sensor Four Thirds Sensor
    Sensor Size 6.17 x 4.55 mm 17.3 x 13.0 mm
    Sensor Area 28.0735 mm2 224.9 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 7.7 mm 21.6 mm
    Crop Factor 5.6x 2.0x
    Sensor Resolution 15.9 Megapixels 15.8 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 4608 x 3456 pixels 4592 x 3448 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 1.33 μm 3.77 μm
    Pixel Density 56.73 MP/cm2 7.04 MP/cm2
    Moiré control no AA filter Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability 1080/60i Video 1080/60i Video
    ISO Setting 80-6400 ISO 160-6400 ISO
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) .. 56
    DXO Color Depth (bits) .. 21.0
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) .. 10.6
    DXO Low Light (ISO) .. 667
    Screen Specs Nikon B500 Panasonic G3
    Viewfinder Type No viewfinder Electronic viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 100%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.70x
    Viewfinder Resolution 1440k dots
    LCD Framing Live View Live View
    Rear LCD Size 3.0 inch 3.0 inch
    LCD Resolution 921k dots 460k dots
    LCD Attachment Tilting screen Swivel screen
    Touch Input no Touchscreen Touchscreen
    Shooting Specs Nikon B500 Panasonic G3
    Focus System Contrast-detect AF Contrast-detect AF
    Continuous Shooting 7.4 shutter flaps/s 4 shutter flaps/s
    Fill Flash Build-in Flash Build-in Flash
    Storage Medium SDXC cards SDXC cards
    Second Storage Option Single card slot Single card slot
    UHS card support no no
    Connectivity Specs Nikon B500 Panasonic G3
    External Flash no Hotshoe Hotshoe
    USB Connector USB 2.0 USB 2.0
    HDMI Port micro HDMI mini HDMI
    Wifi Support Wifi built-in no Wifi
    Near-Field Communication NFC built-in no NFC
    Bluetooth Support Bluetooth built-in no Bluetooth
    Body Specs Nikon B500 Panasonic G3
    Battery Type 4xAA DMW-BLD10
    Battery Life (CIPA)600 shots per charge270 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 114 x 78 x 95 mm
    (4.5 x 3.1 x 3.7 in)
    115 x 84 x 47 mm
    (4.5 x 3.3 x 1.9 in)
    Camera Weight 541 g (19.1 oz) 336 g (11.9 oz)

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