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Nikon D200 vs Olympus E-500

The Nikon D200 and the Olympus Evolt E-500 are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in November 2005 and September 2005. Both are DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras that are based on an APS-C (D200) and a Four Thirds (E-500) sensor. The Nikon has a resolution of 10 megapixels, whereas the Olympus provides 8 MP.

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

Headline Specifications
Nikon D200
versus
Olympus E-500
Nikon D200   Olympus E-500
Digital single lens reflex Digital single lens reflex
Nikon F mount lenses Four Thirds lenses
10 MP, APS-C Sensor 8 MP, Four Thirds Sensor
no Video no Video
ISO 100-1,600 (100 - 3,200) ISO 100-400 (100 - 1,600)
Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
2.5 LCD, 230k dots 2.5 LCD, 215k dots
Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive) Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)
5 shutter flaps per second 2.5 shutter flaps per second
Weathersealed bodynot weather sealed
400 shots per battery charge750 shots per battery charge
147 x 113 x 74 mm, 920 g 130 x 95 x 66 mm, 479 g

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Nikon D200 and the Olympus Evolt E-500? 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 D200 and the Olympus E-500 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 measures are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

Size Nikon D200 vs Olympus E-500
Compare D200 versus E-500 top
Comparison D200 or E-500 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Olympus E-500 is notably smaller (26 percent) than the Nikon D200. Moreover, the E-500 is substantially lighter (48 percent) than the D200. It is worth mentioning in this context that the D200 is splash and dust resistant, while the E-500 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. A larger imaging sensor will tend to go along with bigger and heavier lenses, although exceptions exist. You can compare the optics available for the two cameras in the Nikon Lens Catalog (D200) and the Four Thirds Lens Catalog (E-500).

Concerning battery life, the D200 gets 400 shots out of its EN-EL3e battery, while the E-500 can take 750 images on a single charge of its BLM-1 power pack.

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 D200 147 mm 113 mm 74 mm 920 g 400 Y Nov 2005 1,699i
2.
 
Olympus E-500 130 mm 95 mm 66 mm 479 g 750 n Sep 2005 599i
3.
 
Canon 30D 144 mm 106 mm 74 mm 785 g 750 n Feb 2006 1,399i
4.
 
Canon 20D 144 mm 106 mm 72 mm 770 g 700 n Aug 2004 1,499i
5.
 
Nikon D500 147 mm 115 mm 81 mm 860 g 1240 Y Jan 2016 1,999 i
6.
 
Nikon D7000 132 mm 105 mm 77 mm 780 g 1050 Y Sep 2010 1,499i
7.
 
Nikon D300S 147 mm 115 mm 81 mm 938 g 950 Y Jul 2009 1,799i
8.
 
Nikon D300 147 mm 114 mm 74 mm 925 g 1000 Y Aug 2007 1,799i
9.
 
Nikon D2Xs 158 mm 150 mm 86 mm 1252 g 3800 Y Jun 2006 4,699i
10.
 
Nikon D80 132 mm 103 mm 77 mm 668 g 600 n Aug 2006 999i
11.
 
Nikon D2X 158 mm 150 mm 86 mm 1252 g 3800 Y Sep 2004 4,999i
12.
 
Nikon D100 144 mm 116 mm 81 mm 780 g 370 n Feb 2002 1,999i
13.
 
Olympus E-410 130 mm 91 mm 53 mm 435 g 500 n Mar 2007 699i
14.
 
Olympus E-510 136 mm 92 mm 68 mm 538 g 750 n Mar 2007 799i
15.
 
Olympus E-330 140 mm 87 mm 72 mm 637 g 750 n Jan 2006 999i
16.
 
Olympus E-400 130 mm 91 mm 53 mm 435 g 500 n Sep 2006 699i
17.
 
Olympus E-300 147 mm 85 mm 64 mm 624 g 750 n Sep 2004 799i
Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.

Any camera decision will naturally be influenced heavily by the price. 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 E-500 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 65 percent) than the D200, 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. 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. 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. 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 tend to be more expensive and lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.

Of the two cameras under consideration, the Nikon D200 features an APS-C sensor and the Olympus E-500 a Four Thirds sensor. The sensor area in the E-500 is 40 percent smaller. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 1.5 and 2.0. The sensor in the D200 has a native 3:2 aspect ratio, while the one in the E-500 offers a 4:3 aspect.

Technology-wise, both cameras are equipped with CCD (Charged Coupled Device) sensors.

Nikon D200 and Olympus E-500 sensor measures

With 10MP, the D200 offers a higher resolution than the E-500 (8MP), but the D200 nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 6.11μm versus 5.30μm for the E-500) due to its larger sensor. 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 Nikon D200 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the D200 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 19.4 x 13 inches or 49.2 x 32.9 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 15.5 x 10.4 inches or 39.3 x 26.3 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 12.9 x 8.6 inches or 32.8 x 21.9 cm. The corresponding values for the Olympus E-500 are 16.3 x 12.2 inches or 41.5 x 31.1 cm for good quality, 13.1 x 9.8 inches or 33.2 x 24.9 cm for very good quality, and 10.9 x 8.2 inches or 27.6 x 20.7 cm for excellent quality prints.

The Nikon D200 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 1600, which can be extended to ISO 100-3200. The corresponding ISO settings for the Olympus Evolt E-500 are ISO 100 to ISO 400, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 100-1600.

D200 versus E-500 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 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.
 
Nikon D200 APS-C 10.0 3872 2592none22.311.558364
2.
 
Olympus E-500 Four Thirds 8.0 3264 2448none20.710.34551
3.
 
Canon 30D APS-C 8.2 3504 2336none21.510.873659
4.
 
Canon 20D APS-C 8.2 3504 2336none21.911.072162
5.
 
Nikon D500 APS-C 20.7 5568 37124K/30p24.014.0132483
6.
 
Nikon D7000 APS-C 16.1 4928 32641080/24p23.513.9116780
7.
 
Nikon D300S APS-C 12.2 4288 2848720/24p22.512.278770
8.
 
Nikon D300 APS-C 12.2 4288 2848none22.112.067967
9.
 
Nikon D2Xs APS-C 12.2 4288 2848none22.210.948959
10.
 
Nikon D80 APS-C 10.0 3872 2592none22.111.252461
11.
 
Nikon D2X APS-C 12.2 4288 2848none22.110.947659
12.
 
Nikon D100 APS-C 6.0 3008 2000none20.49.939448
13.
 
Olympus E-410 Four Thirds 10.0 3648 2736none21.110.049451
14.
 
Olympus E-510 Four Thirds 10.0 3648 2736none21.210.044252
15.
 
Olympus E-330 Four Thirds 7.4 3136 2352none20.810.47352
16.
 
Olympus E-400 Four Thirds 10.0 3648 2736none21.010.612753
17.
 
Olympus E-300 Four Thirds 8.0 3264 2448none20.410.1-4048
Note: DXO values in italics represent estimates based on sensor size and age.
Neither the D200 nor the E-500 offer Live View, so that they cannot project the live image that the sensor receives onto the rear screen. Moreover, both cameras are still-image focused and cannot record videos.

Feature comparison

Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The D200 and the E-500 are similar in the sense that both have an optical viewfinder. The latter is useful for getting a clear image for framing even in brightly lit environments. The viewfinders of both cameras offer the same field of view (95%), but the viewfinder of the D200 has a higher magnification than the one of the E-500 (0.63x vs 0.45x), so that the size of the image transmitted appears closer to the size seen with the naked human eye. The following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Nikon D200, the Olympus E-500, and comparable 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)
Mech
Shutter
Speed
Shutter
Flaps
(1/sec)
Built-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Built-in
Image
Stab
1.
 
Nikon D200optical Y2.5 / 230 fixed n 1/8000s 5.0 Y n
2.
 
Olympus E-500optical n2.5 / 215 fixed n 1/4000s 2.5 Y n
3.
 
Canon 30Doptical Y2.5 / 230 fixed n 1/8000s 5.0 Y n
4.
 
Canon 20Doptical Y1.8 / 118 fixed n 1/8000s 5.0 Y n
5.
 
Nikon D500optical Y3.2 / 2359 tilting Y 1/8000s 10.0 n n
6.
 
Nikon D7000optical Y3.0 / 921 fixed n 1/8000s 6.0 Y n
7.
 
Nikon D300Soptical Y3.0 / 920 fixed n 1/8000s 7.0 Y n
8.
 
Nikon D300optical Y3.0 / 922 fixed n 1/8000s 6.0 Y n
9.
 
Nikon D2Xsoptical Y2.5 / 230 fixed n 1/8000s 5.0 n n
10.
 
Nikon D80optical n2.5 / 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
11.
 
Nikon D2Xoptical Y2.5 / 235 fixed n 1/8000s 5.0 n n
12.
 
Nikon D100optical Y1.8 / 118 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
13.
 
Olympus E-410optical n2.5 / 215 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
14.
 
Olympus E-510optical n2.5 / 215 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y Y
15.
 
Olympus E-330optical n2.5 / 215 tilting n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
16.
 
Olympus E-400optical n2.5 / 215 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
17.
 
Olympus E-300optical n1.8 / 134 fixed n 1/4000s 2.5 Y n

One feature that is present on the D200, but is missing on the E-500 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 Nikon D200 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.

The D200 writes its imaging data to Compact Flash cards, while the E-500 uses Compact Flash or xD Picture cards. The E-500 features dual card slots, which can be very useful in case a memory card fails. In contrast, the D200 only has one slot.

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 D200 and Olympus Evolt E-500 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.
 
Nikon D200Y- / ----2.0---
2.
 
Olympus E-500Y- / ----2.0---
3.
 
Canon 30DY- / ----2.0---
4.
 
Canon 20DY- / ----1.1---
5.
 
Nikon D500Ystereo / monoYYmini3.0YYY
6.
 
Nikon D7000Ymono / monoY-mini2.0---
7.
 
Nikon D300SYstereo / monoY-mini2.0---
8.
 
Nikon D300Y- / ---mini2.0---
9.
 
Nikon D2XsY- / ----2.0---
10.
 
Nikon D80Y- / ----2.0---
11.
 
Nikon D2XY- / ----2.0---
12.
 
Nikon D100Y- / ----1.1---
13.
 
Olympus E-410Y- / ----2.0---
14.
 
Olympus E-510Y- / ----2.0---
15.
 
Olympus E-330Y- / ----2.0---
16.
 
Olympus E-400Y- / ----2.0---
17.
 
Olympus E-300Y- / ----2.0---

Studio photographers will appreciate that the Nikon D200 (unlike the E-500) features a PC Sync socket, so that professional strobe lights can be controlled by the camera.

Both the D200 and the E-500 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The E-500 was replaced by the Olympus E-510, while the D200 was followed by the Nikon D300. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Nikon and Olympus websites.

Review summary

So what is the bottom line? Is there a clear favorite between the Nikon D200 and the Olympus E-500? Which camera is better? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.

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Arguments in favor of the Nikon D200:

  • More detail: Offers more megapixels (10 vs 8MP) with a 14% higher linear resolution.
  • 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.
  • Larger viewfinder image: Features a viewfinder with a higher magnification (0.63x vs 0.45x).
  • Easier setting verification: Features an LCD display on top to control shooting parameters.
  • Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/8000s vs 1/4000s) to freeze action.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (5 vs 2.5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • Easier time-lapse photography: Has an intervalometer built-in for low frequency 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.

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Reasons to prefer the Olympus Evolt E-500:

  • More compact: Is smaller (130x95mm vs 147x113mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
  • Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 441g or 48 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
  • Longer lasting: Gets more shots (750 versus 400) out of a single battery charge.
  • Greater peace of mind: Features a second card slot as a backup in case of memory card failure.
  • More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (65 percent cheaper at launch).

If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the D200 is the clear winner of the match-up (12 : 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 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.

D200 12:05 E-500

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Nikon D200 and the Olympus E-500 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 comparison of technical specifications can provide a useful overview of the capabilities of different cameras, it remains partial and cannot reveal, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance when actually working with the D200 or the E-500. 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 where reviews by experts come in. 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.
 
Nikon D200..+ +..+ +o.. Nov 2005 1,699i
2.
 
Olympus E-500..76/100..+ +.... Sep 2005 599i
3.
 
Canon 30D..+ +..+ +o.. Feb 2006 1,399i
4.
 
Canon 20D......+ +.... Aug 2004 1,499i
5.
 
Nikon D5005/5+ +4.7/591/1004.5/55/5 Jan 2016 1,999 i
6.
 
Nikon D70004/5....80/1004.5/54.5/5 Sep 2010 1,499i
7.
 
Nikon D300S5/5+ +..82/1004/54.5/5 Jul 2009 1,799i
8.
 
Nikon D300..+ +..+ +5/54.5/5 Aug 2007 1,799i
9.
 
Nikon D2Xs............ Jun 2006 4,699i
10.
 
Nikon D80..+..+ +o4.5/5 Aug 2006 999i
11.
 
Nikon D2X......+ +.... Sep 2004 4,999i
12.
 
Nikon D100......+ +o.. Feb 2002 1,999i
13.
 
Olympus E-410..86/100..+ +4/54.5/5 Mar 2007 699i
14.
 
Olympus E-510..89/100..+ +3.5/54.5/5 Mar 2007 799i
15.
 
Olympus E-330......+o.. Jan 2006 999i
16.
 
Olympus E-400..85/100....4/54/5 Sep 2006 699i
17.
 
Olympus E-300......+o4.5/5 Sep 2004 799i
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. Thus, a score needs to be put into the context of the launch date and the launch price of the camera, and comparing ratings of very distinct cameras or ones that are far apart in terms of their release date have little meaning. Also, kindly note that some of the listed sites have over time developped their review approaches and their reporting style.

Nikon D200:
Check Ebay offers
Olympus E-500:
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 a corresponding selection in the search boxes 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 D200 vs Olympus E-500

    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 D200 Olympus E-500
    Camera Type Digital single lens reflex Digital single lens reflex
    Camera Lens Nikon F mount lenses Four Thirds lenses
    Launch Date November 2005 September 2005
    Launch Price USD 1,699 USD 599
    Sensor Specs Nikon D200 Olympus E-500
    Sensor Technology CCD CCD
    Sensor Format APS-C Sensor Four Thirds Sensor
    Sensor Size 23.6 x 15.8 mm 17.3 x 13.0 mm
    Sensor Area 372.88 mm2 224.9 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 28.4 mm 21.6 mm
    Crop Factor 1.5x 2.0x
    Sensor Resolution 10 Megapixels 8 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 3872 x 2592 pixels 3264 x 2448 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 6.11 μm 5.30 μm
    Pixel Density 2.69 MP/cm2 3.55 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability no Video no Video
    ISO Setting 100 - 1,600 ISO 100 - 400 ISO
    ISO Boost 100 - 3,200 ISO 100 - 1,600 ISO
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) 64 ..
    DXO Color Depth (bits) 22.3 ..
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) 11.5 ..
    DXO Low Light (ISO) 583 ..
    Screen Specs Nikon D200 Olympus E-500
    Viewfinder Type Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 95% 95%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.63x 0.45x
    Top-Level Screen Control Panel no Top Display
    Rear LCD Size 2.5inch 2.5inch
    LCD Resolution 230k dots 215k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen Fixed screen
    Shooting Specs Nikon D200 Olympus E-500
    Focus System Phase-detect AF Phase-detect AF
    Continuous Shooting 5 shutter flaps/s 2.5 shutter flaps/s
    Time-Lapse PhotographyIntervalometer built-inno Intervalometer
    Fill Flash Built-in Flash Built-in Flash
    Storage Medium CF cards CF or XD cards
    Second Storage Option Single card slot Dual card slots
    Connectivity Specs Nikon D200 Olympus E-500
    External Flash Hotshoe Hotshoe
    Studio Flash PC Sync socket no PC Sync
    USB Connector USB 2.0 USB 2.0
    HDMI Port no HDMI no HDMI
    Wifi Support no Wifi no Wifi
    Body Specs Nikon D200 Olympus E-500
    Environmental SealingWeathersealed bodynot weather sealed
    Battery Type EN-EL3e BLM-1
    Battery Life (CIPA)400 shots per charge750 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 147 x 113 x 74 mm
    (5.8 x 4.4 x 2.9 in)
    130 x 95 x 66 mm
    (5.1 x 3.7 x 2.6 in)
    Camera Weight 920 g (32.5 oz) 479 g (16.9 oz)

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