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Nikon D1 vs Sony A68

The Nikon D1 and the Sony Alpha SLT-A68 are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in June 1999 and November 2015. Both are DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras that are equipped with an APS-C sensor. The Nikon has a resolution of 2.6 megapixels, whereas the Sony provides 24 MP.

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

Headline Specifications
Nikon D1 versus Sony A68
Nikon D1 Sony A68
Digital single lens reflex Digital single lens reflex
Nikon F mount lenses Sony A mount lenses
2.6 MP, APS-C Sensor 24 MP, APS-C Sensor
no Video 1080/60i Video
ISO 200-1,600 (200 - 6,400) ISO 100-25,600
Optical viewfinder Electronic viewfinder (1440k dots)
2.0 LCD, 120k dots 2.7 LCD, 460k dots
Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive) Tilting screen (not touch-sensitive)
1.5 shutter flaps per second 8 shutter flaps per second
Lens stabilization onlyIn-body stabilization
Weathersealed bodynot weather sealed
157 x 153 x 85 mm, 1100 g 143 x 104 x 81 mm, 610 g

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Nikon D1 and the Sony Alpha SLT-A68? 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 Nikon D1 and the Sony A68 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 width, height and depth measures are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

Size Nikon D1 vs Sony A68
Compare D1 versus A68 top
Comparison D1 or A68 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Sony A68 is considerably smaller (38 percent) than the Nikon D1. Moreover, the A68 is substantially lighter (45 percent) than the D1. It is worth mentioning in this context that the D1 is splash and dust resistant, while the A68 does not feature any corresponding weather-sealing.

The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete since they do not consider the interchangeable lenses that both of these cameras require. Hence, you might want to study and compare the specifications of available lenses in order to get the full picture of the size and weight of the two camera systems.

As can be seen in the images above, the D1 has a battery grip built in. This facilitates image-taking in portrait orientation and gives it additional battery power. In order to provide similar functionality for the A68, there are third party battery grips available as optional accessories (see here on eBay).

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, 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.

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Body Specifications
  Camera
Model
Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life 1
Weather
Sealing
Camera
Launch 2
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
 
Nikon D1 6.2 in 6.0 in 3.3 in 38.8 oz .. Y Jun 1999 5,499i
 
Sony A68 5.6 in 4.1 in 3.2 in 21.5 oz 540 n Nov 2015 699i
 
Nikon D4 6.3 in 6.2 in 3.6 in 47.3 oz 2600 Y Jan 2012 5,999i
 
Nikon D300S 5.8 in 4.5 in 3.2 in 33.1 oz 950 Y Jul 2009 1,799i
 
Nikon D3 6.3 in 6.2 in 3.5 in 45.9 oz 4300 Y Aug 2007 4,999i
 
Nikon D300 5.8 in 4.5 in 2.9 in 32.6 oz 1000 Y Aug 2007 1,799i
 
Nikon D2Xs 6.2 in 5.9 in 3.4 in 44.2 oz 3800 Y Jun 2006 4,699i
 
Nikon D200 5.8 in 4.4 in 2.9 in 32.5 oz 400 Y Nov 2005 1,699i
 
Nikon D2X 6.2 in 5.9 in 3.4 in 44.2 oz 3800 Y Sep 2004 4,999i
 
Nikon D2H 6.2 in 5.9 in 3.4 in 37.7 oz 2900 Y Jul 2003 3,499i
 
Nikon D1H 6.2 in 6.0 in 3.3 in 38.8 oz 1200 Y Feb 2001 4,499i
 
Nikon D1X 6.2 in 6.0 in 3.3 in 38.8 oz 1200 Y Feb 2001 5,999i
 
Panasonic ZS100 4.4 in 2.6 in 1.7 in 11.0 oz 300 n Jan 2016 699i
 
Sony A77 II 5.6 in 4.1 in 3.2 in 22.8 oz 480 Y May 2014 1,199 i
 
Sony A6000 4.7 in 2.6 in 1.8 in 12.1 oz 360 n Feb 2014 599i
 
Sony A58 5.1 in 3.7 in 3.1 in 17.4 oz 690 n Feb 2013 599i
 
Sony A77 5.6 in 4.1 in 3.2 in 25.8 oz 470 Y Aug 2011 1,399i
Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.
(1) Number of images that can be taken on a full battery charge according to the CIPA-standard; (2) Official announcement.

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. The A68 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 87 percent) than the D1, which puts it into a different market segment. 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.

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Sensor comparison

The size of the imaging sensor is a crucial determinant 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. 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 an APS-C sensor, but their sensors differ slightly in size. The sensor area in the A68 is 1 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.

Nikon D1 and Sony A68 sensor measures

Despite having a slightly smaller sensor, the A68 offers a higher resolution of 24 megapixels, compared with 2.6 MP of the D1. 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 3.91μm versus 11.93μm for the D1). However, it should be noted that the A68 is much more recent (by 16 years and 4 months) than the D1, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that make it possible to gather light more efficiently.

The resolution advantage of the Sony A68 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the A68 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 30 x 20 inches or 76.2 x 50.8 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 24 x 16 inches or 61 x 40.6 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 20 x 13.3 inches or 50.8 x 33.9 cm. The corresponding values for the Nikon D1 are 10 x 6.6 inches or 25.4 x 16.7 cm for good quality, 8 x 5.2 inches or 20.3 x 13.3 cm for very good quality, and 6.7 x 4.4 inches or 16.9 x 11.1 cm for excellent quality prints.

The Nikon D1 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 200 to ISO 1600, which can be extended to ISO 200-6400. The corresponding ISO settings for the Sony Alpha SLT-A68 are ISO 100 to ISO 25600 (no boost).

D1 versus A68 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 adjacent table reports on the physical sensor characteristics and the outcomes of the DXO sensor quality tests for a sample of comparator-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
 
Nikon D1 APS-C 2.6 2000 1312none........
 
Sony A68 APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60i24.113.570179
 
Nikon D4 Full Frame 16.2 4928 32801080/30p24.713.1296589
 
Nikon D300S APS-C 12.2 4288 2848720/24p22.512.278770
 
Nikon D3 Full Frame 12.1 4256 2832none23.512.2229081
 
Nikon D300 APS-C 12.2 4288 2848none22.112.067967
 
Nikon D2Xs APS-C 12.2 4288 2848none22.210.948959
 
Nikon D200 APS-C 10.0 3872 2592none22.311.558364
 
Nikon D2X APS-C 12.2 4288 2848none22.110.947659
 
Nikon D2H APS-C 4.0 2464 1632none18.910.035240
 
Nikon D1H APS-C 2.6 2000 1312none........
 
Nikon D1X APS-C 5.9 3008 1960none........
 
Panasonic ZS100 1-inch 20.0 5472 36484K/30p22.812.555970
 
Sony A77 II APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p........
 
Sony A6000 APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.113.1134782
 
Sony A58 APS-C 19.8 5456 36321080/60i23.312.575374
 
Sony A77 APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.013.280178

Many modern cameras cannot only take still pictures, but also record videos. The A68 indeed provides for movie recording, while the D1 does not. The highest resolution format that the A68 can use is 1080/60i.

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Feature comparison

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the A68 has an electronic viewfinder (1440k dots), while the D1 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 viewfinder in the A68 offers a wider field of view (100%) than the one in the D1 (96%), so that a larger proportion of the captured image is visible in the finder. In addition, the viewfinder of the A68 has a higher magnification (0.57x vs 0.53x), so that the size of the image transmitted appears closer to the size seen with the naked human eye. The table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Nikon D1 and Sony A68 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
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
 
Nikon D1optical Y 2.0 120 fixed n 1/16000s 1.5 n n
 
Sony A681440 Y 2.7 460 tilting n 1/4000s 8.0 Y Y
 
Nikon D4optical Y 3.2 921 fixed n 1/8000s 11.0 n n
 
Nikon D300Soptical Y 3.0 920 fixed n 1/8000s 7.0 Y n
 
Nikon D3optical Y 3.0 922 fixed n 1/8000s 11.0 n n
 
Nikon D300optical Y 3.0 922 fixed n 1/8000s 6.0 Y n
 
Nikon D2Xsoptical Y 2.5 230 fixed n 1/8000s 5.0 n n
 
Nikon D200optical Y 2.5 230 fixed n 1/8000s 5.0 Y n
 
Nikon D2Xoptical Y 2.5 235 fixed n 1/8000s 5.0 n n
 
Nikon D2Hoptical Y 2.5 211 fixed n 1/8000s 8.0 n n
 
Nikon D1Hoptical Y 2.0 120 fixed n 1/16000s 5.0 n n
 
Nikon D1Xoptical Y 2.0 120 fixed n 1/16000s 3.0 n n
 
Panasonic ZS1001166 n 3.0 1040 fixed Y 1/2000s 10.0 Y Y
 
Sony A77 II2359 Y 3.0 1229 full-flex n 1/8000s 12.0 Y Y
 
Sony A60001440 n 3.0 922 tilting n 1/4000s 11.0 Y n
 
Sony A581440 n 2.7 460 tilting n 1/4000s 5.0 Y Y
 
Sony A772359 Y 3.0 921 full-flex n 1/8000s 12.0 Y Y

One feature that differentiates the A68 and the D1 is in-body image stabilization (IBIS). The A68 reduces the risk of handshake-induced blur with all attached lenses, while the D1 offers no blur reduction with lenses that themselves do not provide optical image stabilization.

The D1 writes its imaging data to Compact Flash cards, while the A68 uses SDXC or Memory Stick PRO Duo 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 Nikon D1 and Sony Alpha SLT-A68 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
 
Nikon D1Y-----FW---
 
Sony A68YstereomonoY-micro2.0---
 
Nikon D4YmonomonoYYmicro2.0---
 
Nikon D300SYstereomonoY-mini2.0---
 
Nikon D3Y----mini2.0---
 
Nikon D300Y----mini2.0---
 
Nikon D2XsY-----2.0---
 
Nikon D200Y-----2.0---
 
Nikon D2XY-----2.0---
 
Nikon D2HY-----2.0---
 
Nikon D1HY-----FW---
 
Nikon D1XY-----FW---
 
Panasonic ZS100-stereomono--micro2.0Y--
 
Sony A77 IIYstereomonoY-mini2.0YY-
 
Sony A6000Ystereomono--micro2.0YY-
 
Sony A58YstereomonoY-mini2.0---
 
Sony A77YstereomonoY-mini2.0---

Studio photographers will appreciate that the Nikon D1 (unlike the A68) features a PC Sync socket, so that professional strobe lights can be controlled by the camera.

Both the D1 and the A68 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The D1 was replaced by the Nikon D1X, while the A68 does not have a direct successor. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Nikon and Sony websites.

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Review summary

So how do things add up? Is there a clear favorite between the Nikon D1 and the Sony A68? Which camera is better? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.

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Reasons to prefer the Nikon D1:

  • Brighter framing: Features an optical viewfinder for clear, lag-free composition.
  • Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/16000s vs 1/4000s) to freeze action.
  • More portrait friendly: Features an integrated vertical grip for easier portrait shooting.
  • Better sealing: Is weather sealed to enable shooting in dusty or wet environments.
  • Better studio light control: Has a PC Sync socket to connect to professional strobe lights.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in June 1999).

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Advantages of the Sony Alpha SLT-A68:

  • More detail: Has more megapixels (24 vs 2.6MP), which boosts linear resolution by 201%.
  • Broader imaging potential: Can capture not only stills but also 1080/60i video.
  • More framing info: Has an electronic viewfinder that displays shooting data.
  • More complete view: Has a viewfinder with a larger field of view (100% vs 96%).
  • Larger viewfinder image: Features a viewfinder with a higher magnification (0.57x vs 0.53x).
  • Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (2.7" vs 2.0") for image review and settings control.
  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (460k vs 120k dots).
  • More flexible LCD: Has a tilting screen for odd-angle shots in landscape orientation.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (8 vs 1.5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • More compact: Is smaller (143x104mm vs 157x153mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
  • Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 490g or 45 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
  • Sharper images: Has stabilization technology built-in to reduce the impact of hand-shake.
  • Easier fill-in: Has a small integrated flash to brighten shadows of backlit subjects.
  • More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (87 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More modern: Reflects 16 years and 4 months of technical progress since the D1 launch.

If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the A68 is the clear winner of the contest (15 : 6 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.

D1 06:15 A68

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Nikon D1 and the Sony A68 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best DSLR Camera listing 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 remains partial and cannot reveal, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance when actually working with the D1 or the A68. 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 where reviews by experts come in. The following table reports the overall ratings of the cameras as published by some of the major camera 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.

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Review Scores
  Camera
Model
camera
  labs  
dp
review  
ephoto
  zine  
imaging
resource
photography
  blog  
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
 
Nikon D1..+ +...... Jun 1999 5,499i
 
Sony A68....4/5..4/5 Nov 2015 699i
 
Nikon D4....4.5/5..4.5/5 Jan 2012 5,999i
 
Nikon D300S+ +82/1004/55/54.5/5 Jul 2009 1,799i
 
Nikon D3..+ +5/5o4.5/5 Aug 2007 4,999i
 
Nikon D300+ ++ +5/5o4.5/5 Aug 2007 1,799i
 
Nikon D2Xs......o.. Jun 2006 4,699i
 
Nikon D200+ ++ +o5/5.. Nov 2005 1,699i
 
Nikon D2X..+ +..o.. Sep 2004 4,999i
 
Nikon D2H..+ +..o.. Jul 2003 3,499i
 
Nikon D1H..+ +..o.. Feb 2001 4,499i
 
Nikon D1X..+ +..o.. Feb 2001 5,999i
 
Panasonic ZS100+ +82/1004.5/54/54.5/5 Jan 2016 699i
 
Sony A77 II..80/1004.5/54/55/5 May 2014 1,199 i
 
Sony A6000+80/1004.5/55/55/5 Feb 2014 599i
 
Sony A58....4.5/54.5/54.5/5 Feb 2013 599i
 
Sony A7791/10081/100..4.5/55/5 Aug 2011 1,399i
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. Thus, a score needs to be put into the context of the launch date and the launch price 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.

Nikon D1:
Check Ebay offers
Sony A68:
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 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: Nikon D1 vs Sony A68

    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 D1 Sony A68
    Camera Type Digital single lens reflex Digital single lens reflex
    Camera Lens Nikon F mount lenses Sony A mount lenses
    Launch Date June 1999 November 2015
    Launch Price USD 5,499 USD 699
    Sensor Specs Nikon D1 Sony A68
    Sensor Technology CCD CMOS
    Sensor Format APS-C Sensor APS-C Sensor
    Sensor Size 23.7 x 15.6 mm 23.5 x 15.6 mm
    Sensor Area 369.72 mm2 366.6 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 28.4 mm 28.2 mm
    Crop Factor 1.5x 1.5x
    Sensor Resolution 2.6 Megapixels 24 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 2000 x 1312 pixels 6000 x 4000 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 11.93 μm 3.91 μm
    Pixel Density 0.71 MP/cm2 6.55 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability no Video 1080/60i Video
    ISO Setting 200 - 1,600 ISO 100 - 25,600 ISO
    ISO Boost 200 - 6,400 ISO no Enhancement
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) .. 79
    DXO Color Depth (bits) .. 24.1
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) .. 13.5
    DXO Low Light (ISO) .. 701
    Screen Specs Nikon D1 Sony A68
    Viewfinder Type Optical viewfinder Electronic viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 96% 100%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.53x 0.57x
    Viewfinder Resolution 1440k dots
    Top-Level Screen Control Panel Control Panel
    LCD Framing Live View
    Rear LCD Size 2.0inch 2.7inch
    LCD Resolution 120k dots 460k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen Tilting screen
    Shooting Specs Nikon D1 Sony A68
    Focus System Phase-detect AF Phase-detect AF
    Manual Focusing Aidno Peaking FeatureFocus Peaking
    Max Shutter Speed (mechanical) 1/16000s 1/4000s
    Continuous Shooting 1.5 shutter flaps/s 8 shutter flaps/s
    Image StabilizationLens stabilization onlyIn-body stabilization
    Fill Flash no On-Board Flash Build-in Flash
    Storage Medium CF cards MS or SDXC cards
    Second Storage Option Single card slot Single card slot
    Connectivity Specs Nikon D1 Sony A68
    External Flash Hotshoe Hotshoe
    Studio Flash PC Sync socket no PC Sync
    USB Connector Firewire USB 2.0
    HDMI Port no HDMI micro HDMI
    Microphone Port no MIC socket External MIC port
    Wifi Support no Wifi no Wifi
    Body Specs Nikon D1 Sony A68
    Environmental SealingWeathersealed bodynot weather sealed
    Battery Type EN-4 NP-FM500H
    Body Dimensions 157 x 153 x 85 mm
    (6.2 x 6.0 x 3.3 in)
    143 x 104 x 81 mm
    (5.6 x 4.1 x 3.2 in)
    Camera Weight 1100 g (38.8 oz) 610 g (21.5 oz)

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