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Nikon D100 vs Sony RX100

The Nikon D100 and the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in February 2002 and June 2012. The D100 is a DSLR, while the RX100 is a fixed lens compact. The cameras are based on an APS-C (D100) and an one-inch (RX100) sensor. The Nikon has a resolution of 6 megapixels, whereas the Sony provides 20 MP.

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

Headline Specifications
Nikon D100 versus Sony RX100
Nikon D100 Sony RX100
Digital single lens reflex Fixed lens compact camera
Nikon F mount lenses 28-100mm f/1.8-4.9
6 MP, APS-C Sensor 20 MP, 1" Sensor
no Video 1080/60p Video
ISO 200-800 (200 - 1,600) ISO 100-6,400 (100 - 25,600)
Optical viewfinder No viewfinder, LCD framing
1.8 LCD, 118k dots 3.0 LCD, 1229k dots
Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive) Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)
3 shutter flaps per second 10 shutter flaps per second
370 shots per battery charge330 shots per battery charge
144 x 116 x 81 mm, 780 g 102 x 58 x 36 mm, 240 g

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Nikon D100 and the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100? 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 D100 and the Sony RX100 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 width, height and depth dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

Size Nikon D100 vs Sony RX100
Compare D100 versus RX100 top
Comparison D100 or RX100 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Sony RX100 is considerably smaller (65 percent) than the Nikon D100. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the D100 nor the RX100 are weather-sealed.

The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the RX100 has a lens built in, whereas the D100 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 D100 and their specifications in the Nikon Lens Catalog.

Concerning battery life, the D100 gets 370 shots out of its EN-EL3 battery, while the RX100 can take 330 images on a single charge of its NP-BX1 power pack. The power pack in the RX100 can be charged via the USB port, which can be very convenient when travelling.

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.
 
Nikon D100 144 mm 116 mm 81 mm 780 g 370 n Feb 2002 1,999i
2.
 
Sony RX100 102 mm 58 mm 36 mm 240 g 330 n Jun 2012 649i
3.
 
Canon G9 X Mark II 98 mm 58 mm 31 mm 206 g 235 n Jan 2017 529 i
4.
 
Canon G9 X 98 mm 58 mm 31 mm 209 g 220 n Oct 2015 529i
5.
 
Canon 10D 150 mm 107 mm 75 mm 850 g 500 n Feb 2003 1,999i
6.
 
Nikon D90 132 mm 103 mm 77 mm 703 g 850 n Aug 2008 1,299i
7.
 
Nikon D300 147 mm 114 mm 74 mm 925 g 1000 Y Aug 2007 1,799i
8.
 
Nikon D40 124 mm 94 mm 64 mm 522 g 470 n Nov 2006 499i
9.
 
Nikon D80 132 mm 103 mm 77 mm 668 g 600 n Aug 2006 999i
10.
 
Nikon D50 133 mm 102 mm 76 mm 620 g 400 n Apr 2005 749i
11.
 
Nikon D70s 140 mm 111 mm 78 mm 679 g 500 n Apr 2005 899i
12.
 
Nikon D200 147 mm 113 mm 74 mm 920 g 400 Y Nov 2005 1,699i
13.
 
Nikon D70 140 mm 111 mm 78 mm 679 g 400 n Jan 2004 999i
14.
 
Nikon D1X 157 mm 153 mm 85 mm 1100 g 1200 Y Feb 2001 5,999i
15.
 
Sony RX100 III 102 mm 58 mm 41 mm 290 g 320 n May 2014 799i
16.
 
Sony RX10 129 mm 88 mm 102 mm 813 g 420 Y Oct 2013 1,299i
17.
 
Sony RX100 II 102 mm 58 mm 38 mm 281 g 350 n Jun 2013 749i
Notes: 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 listed launch prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The RX100 was launched at a lower price than the D100, despite having a lens built in. 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. Then, after the new model is out, very good deals can frequently be found on the pre-owned market.

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Sensor comparison

The size of the sensor inside a digital camera is one of the key determinants 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. 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.

Of the two cameras under consideration, the Nikon D100 features an APS-C sensor and the Sony RX100 an one-inch sensor. The sensor area in the RX100 is 69 percent smaller. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 1.5 and 2.7. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.

Nikon D100 and Sony RX100 sensor measures

Despite having a smaller sensor, the RX100 offers a higher resolution of 20 megapixels, compared with 6 MP of the D100. 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 2.41μm versus 7.85μm for the D100). However, it should be noted that the RX100 is much more recent (by 10 years and 3 months) than the D100, 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 RX100 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the RX100 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 27.4 x 18.2 inches or 69.5 x 46.3 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 21.9 x 14.6 inches or 55.6 x 37.1 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 18.2 x 12.2 inches or 46.3 x 30.9 cm. The corresponding values for the Nikon D100 are 15 x 10 inches or 38.2 x 25.4 cm for good quality, 12 x 8 inches or 30.6 x 20.3 cm for very good quality, and 10 x 6.7 inches or 25.5 x 16.9 cm for excellent quality prints.

The Nikon D100 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 200 to ISO 800, which can be extended to ISO 200-1600. The corresponding ISO settings for the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 are ISO 100 to ISO 6400, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 100-25600.

D100 versus RX100 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.
 
Nikon D100 APS-C 6.0 3008 2000none........
2.
 
Sony RX100 1-inch 20.0 5472 36481080/60p22.612.439066
3.
 
Canon G9 X Mark II 1-inch 20.0 5472 36481080/60p21.912.552265
4.
 
Canon G9 X 1-inch 20.0 5472 36481080/60p21.512.349563
5.
 
Canon 10D APS-C 6.3 3072 2048none21.110.957157
6.
 
Nikon D90 APS-C 12.2 4288 2848720/24p22.712.597773
7.
 
Nikon D300 APS-C 12.2 4288 2848none22.112.067967
8.
 
Nikon D40 APS-C 6.0 3008 2000none21.011.056156
9.
 
Nikon D80 APS-C 10.0 3872 2592none22.111.252461
10.
 
Nikon D50 APS-C 6.0 3008 2000none20.910.856055
11.
 
Nikon D70s APS-C 6.0 3008 2000none20.410.352950
12.
 
Nikon D200 APS-C 10.0 3872 2592none22.311.558364
13.
 
Nikon D70 APS-C 6.0 3008 2000none20.410.352950
14.
 
Nikon D1X APS-C 5.9 3008 1960none........
15.
 
Sony RX100 III 1-inch 20.0 5472 36481080/60p22.412.349567
16.
 
Sony RX10 1-inch 20.0 5472 36481080/60p22.912.647469
17.
 
Sony RX100 II 1-inch 20.0 5472 36481080/60p22.512.448367

Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but also of capturing video footage. The RX100 indeed provides for movie recording, while the D100 does not. The highest resolution format that the RX100 can use is 1080/60p.

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Feature comparison

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. For example, the D100 has an optical viewfinder, which can be very useful when shooting in bright sunlight. In contrast, the RX100 relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. The adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Nikon D100 and Sony RX100 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
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
1.
 
Nikon D100optical Y 1.8 118 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
2.
 
Sony RX100none n 3.0 1229 fixed n 1/2000s 10.0 Y Y
3.
 
Canon G9 X Mark IInone n 3.0 1040 fixed Y 1/2000s 8.2 Y Y
4.
 
Canon G9 Xnone n 3.0 1040 fixed Y 1/2000s 6.0 Y Y
5.
 
Canon 10Doptical Y 1.8 118 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
6.
 
Nikon D90optical Y 3.0 920 fixed n 1/4000s 4.5 Y n
7.
 
Nikon D300optical Y 3.0 922 fixed n 1/8000s 6.0 Y n
8.
 
Nikon D40optical n 2.5 230 fixed n 1/4000s 2.5 Y n
9.
 
Nikon D80optical n 2.5 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
10.
 
Nikon D50optical n 2.0 130 fixed n 1/4000s 2.5 Y n
11.
 
Nikon D70soptical n 2.0 130 fixed n 1/8000s 3.0 Y n
12.
 
Nikon D200optical Y 2.5 230 fixed n 1/8000s 5.0 Y n
13.
 
Nikon D70optical n 1.8 130 fixed n 1/8000s 3.0 Y n
14.
 
Nikon D1Xoptical Y 2.0 120 fixed n 1/16000s 3.0 n n
15.
 
Sony RX100 III1440 n 3.0 1229 tilting n 1/2000s 10.0 Y Y
16.
 
Sony RX101440 Y 3.0 1229 tilting n 1/3200s 10.0 Y Y
17.
 
Sony RX100 IIoptional n 3.0 1229 tilting n 1/2000s 10.0 Y Y

One feature that is present on the D100, but is missing on the RX100 is a top-level LCD. While being, of course, smaller than the rear screen, the control panel conveys some of the essential shooting information and can be convenient for quick and easy settings verification.

The D100 writes its imaging data to Compact Flash cards, while the RX100 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 D100 and Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 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
1.
 
Nikon D100Y-----1.1---
2.
 
Sony RX100-stereomono--micro2.0---
3.
 
Canon G9 X Mark II-stereomono--micro2.0YYY
4.
 
Canon G9 X-stereomono--micro2.0YY-
5.
 
Canon 10DY-----1.1---
6.
 
Nikon D90Ymonomono--mini2.0---
7.
 
Nikon D300Y----mini2.0---
8.
 
Nikon D40Y-----2.0---
9.
 
Nikon D80Y-----2.0---
10.
 
Nikon D50Y-----2.0---
11.
 
Nikon D70sY-----2.0---
12.
 
Nikon D200Y-----2.0---
13.
 
Nikon D70Y-----1.0---
14.
 
Nikon D1XY-----FW---
15.
 
Sony RX100 III-stereomono--micro2.0YY-
16.
 
Sony RX10YstereomonoYYmicro2.0YY-
17.
 
Sony RX100 IIYstereomono--micro2.0YY-

It is notable that the D100 has a hotshoe, while the RX100 does not. This socket makes it possible to easily attach optional accessories, such as an external flash gun.

Both the D100 and the RX100 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The D100 was replaced by the Nikon D200, while the RX100 was followed by the Sony RX100 II. 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 what is the bottom line? Which of the two cameras – the Nikon D100 or the Sony RX100 – has the upper hand? Is one clearly better than the other? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.

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Arguments in favor of the Nikon D100:

  • Easier framing: Has an optical viewfinder for image composition and settings control.
  • Easier setting verification: Features an LCD display on top to control shooting parameters.
  • Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/4000s vs 1/2000s) to freeze action.
  • More flexible: Can take a variety of interchangeable lenses, including specialty optics.
  • Longer lasting: Can take more shots (370 versus 330) on a single battery charge.
  • Better lighting: Features a hotshoe and can thus hold and trigger an external flash gun.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in February 2002).

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Advantages of the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100:

  • More detail: Has more megapixels (20 vs 6MP), which boosts linear resolution by 82%.
  • Broader imaging potential: Can capture not only stills but also 1080/60p video.
  • Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.0" vs 1.8") for image review and settings control.
  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1229k vs 118k dots).
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (10 vs 3 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • Ready to shoot: Comes with an integrated lens, while the D100 requires a separate lens.
  • More compact: Is smaller (102x58mm vs 144x116mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
  • Less heavy: Has a lower weight even though it has a lens built in (unlike the D100).
  • Easier travel charging: Can be conveniently charged via its USB port.
  • Sharper images: Has stabilization technology built-in to reduce the impact of hand-shake.
  • Faster data transfer: Supports a more advanced USB protocol (2.0 vs 1.1).
  • More affordable: Was introduced at a lower price, despite coming with a built-in lens.
  • More modern: Reflects 10 years and 3 months of technical progress since the D100 launch.

If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the RX100 is the clear winner of the contest (13 : 7 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 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.

D100 07:13 RX100

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Nikon D100 and the Sony RX100 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best DSLR Camera and Best Travel-Zoom Camera listings whether the two cameras rank among the cream of the crop.

In any case, while the comparison of the spec-sheets of cameras can offer a general idea of their imaging potential, it says little about, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance of the D100 and the RX100 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 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], 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 
 DPR 
 score 
 EPZ 
 score 
 PB 
 score 
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
1.
 
Nikon D100....+ +o.. Feb 2002 1,999i
2.
 
Sony RX1005/5+ +78/1004/55/5 Jun 2012 649i
3.
 
Canon G9 X Mark II4/5..75/1004.5/54.5/5 Jan 2017 529 i
4.
 
Canon G9 X3.5/5+ +..4.5/54.5/5 Oct 2015 529i
5.
 
Canon 10D....+ +.... Feb 2003 1,999i
6.
 
Nikon D90..+ ++ +4/54.5/5 Aug 2008 1,299i
7.
 
Nikon D300..+ ++ +5/54.5/5 Aug 2007 1,799i
8.
 
Nikon D40..81/100+ +o4.5/5 Nov 2006 499i
9.
 
Nikon D80..++ +o4.5/5 Aug 2006 999i
10.
 
Nikon D50..78/100+ +4/54.5/5 Apr 2005 749i
11.
 
Nikon D70s........5/5 Apr 2005 899i
12.
 
Nikon D200..+ ++ +o.. Nov 2005 1,699i
13.
 
Nikon D70....+ +.... Jan 2004 999i
14.
 
Nikon D1X....+ +.... Feb 2001 5,999i
15.
 
Sony RX100 III5/5+ +82/1004.5/55/5 May 2014 799i
16.
 
Sony RX105/5+80/1004.5/54.5/5 Oct 2013 1,299i
17.
 
Sony RX100 II5/5+ +79/1004.5/54.5/5 Jun 2013 749i
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 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 D100:
Check Ebay offers
Sony RX100:
Check Ebay offers

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 your choice using the following search menu. As an alternative, you can also directly jump to any one of the listed comparisons that were previously generated by the CAM-parator tool.

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    Specifications: Nikon D100 vs Sony RX100

    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 D100 Sony RX100
    Camera Type Digital single lens reflex Fixed lens compact camera
    Camera Lens Nikon F mount lenses 28-100mm f/1.8-4.9
    Launch Date February 2002 June 2012
    Launch Price USD 1,999 USD 649
    Sensor Specs Nikon D100 Sony RX100
    Sensor Technology CCD CMOS
    Sensor Format APS-C Sensor 1" Sensor
    Sensor Size 23.7 x 15.6 mm 13.2 x 8.8 mm
    Sensor Area 369.72 mm2 116.16 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 28.4 mm 15.9 mm
    Crop Factor 1.5x 2.7x
    Sensor Resolution 6 Megapixels 20 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 3008 x 2000 pixels 5472 x 3648 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 7.85 μm 2.41 μm
    Pixel Density 1.63 MP/cm2 17.18 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability no Video 1080/60p Video
    ISO Setting 200 - 800 ISO 100 - 6,400 ISO
    ISO Boost 200 - 1,600 ISO 100 - 25,600 ISO
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) .. 66
    DXO Color Depth (bits) .. 22.6
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) .. 12.4
    DXO Low Light (ISO) .. 390
    Screen Specs Nikon D100 Sony RX100
    Viewfinder Type Optical viewfinder no viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 95%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.53x
    Top-Level Screen Control Panel no Top Display
    LCD Framing Live View
    Rear LCD Size 1.8inch 3.0inch
    LCD Resolution 118k dots 1229k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen Fixed screen
    Shooting Specs Nikon D100 Sony RX100
    Focus System Phase-detect AF Contrast-detect AF
    Manual Focusing Aidno Peaking FeatureFocus Peaking
    Max Shutter Speed (mechanical) 1/4000s 1/2000s
    Continuous Shooting 3 shutter flaps/s 10 shutter flaps/s
    Fill Flash Build-in Flash Build-in Flash
    Storage Medium CF cards MS or SDXC cards
    Second Storage Option Single card slot Single card slot
    Connectivity Specs Nikon D100 Sony RX100
    External Flash Hotshoe no Hotshoe
    USB Connector USB 1.1 USB 2.0
    HDMI Port no HDMI micro HDMI
    Wifi Support no Wifi no Wifi
    Body Specs Nikon D100 Sony RX100
    Battery Type EN-EL3 NP-BX1
    Battery Life (CIPA)370 shots per charge330 shots per charge
    In-Camera Charging no USB charging USB charging
    Body Dimensions 144 x 116 x 81 mm
    (5.7 x 4.6 x 3.2 in)
    102 x 58 x 36 mm
    (4.0 x 2.3 x 1.4 in)
    Camera Weight 780 g (27.5 oz) 240 g (8.5 oz)

    Did you notice an error on this page? If so, please get in touch, so that we can correct the information.

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