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Nikon D3300 vs Sony RX1

The Nikon D3300 and the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX1 are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in January 2014 and September 2012. The D3300 is a DSLR, while the RX1 is a fixed lens compact. The cameras are based on an APS-C (D3300) and a full frame (RX1) sensor. Both cameras offer a resolution of 24 megapixels.

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

Headline Specifications
Nikon D3300   Sony RX1
Nikon D3300 Sony RX1
Digital single lens reflex Fixed lens compact camera
Nikon F mount lenses 35mm f/2.0
24 MP, APS-C Sensor 24 MP, Full Frame Sensor
1080/60p Video 1080/60p Video
ISO 100-12800 (100-25600) ISO 100-25600 (50-102400)
Optical viewfinder Viewfinder optional
3.0" LCD, 921k dots 3.0" LCD, 1229k dots
Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive) Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)
5 shutter flaps per second 5 shutter flaps per second
700 shots per battery charge270 shots per battery charge
124 x 98 x 76 mm, 430 g 113 x 65 x 70 mm, 482 g

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Nikon D3300 and the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX1? 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 D3300 and the Sony RX1 is provided 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.

The D3300 can be obtained in three different colors (black, grey, red), while the RX1 is only available in black.

Size Nikon D3300 vs Sony RX1
Compare D3300 versus RX1 top
Comparison D3300 or RX1 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Sony RX1 is considerably smaller (40 percent) than the Nikon D3300. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the D3300 nor the RX1 are weather-sealed.

The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the RX1 has a lens built in, whereas the D3300 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 D3300 and their specifications in the Nikon Lens Catalog.

Concerning battery life, the D3300 gets 700 shots out of its EN-EL14a battery, while the RX1 can take 270 images on a single charge of its NP-BX1 power pack. The power pack in the RX1 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. If you would like to visualize and compare a different camera combination, just use the right or left arrows in the table to switch to the respective camera. Alternatively, you can also navigate to the CAM-parator app and make your selection from the full list of cameras there.

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)
Used
Price
(USD)
Camera
Model
 
Nikon D3300» 4.9 in 3.9 in 3.0 in 15.2 oz 700 n Jan 2014 499- i Nikon D3300
 
Sony RX1« 4.4 in 2.6 in 2.8 in 17.0 oz 270 n Sep 2012 2,799- i Sony RX1
 
Nikon D3500« » 4.9 in 3.8 in 2.8 in 12.9 oz 1550 n Aug 2018 429 i i Nikon D3500
 
Nikon D5600« » 4.9 in 3.8 in 2.8 in 16.4 oz 970 n Nov 2016 699 i i Nikon D5600
 
Nikon D3400« » 4.9 in 3.9 in 3.0 in 15.7 oz 1200 n Aug 2016 499- i Nikon D3400
 
Nikon D5500« » 4.9 in 3.8 in 2.8 in 14.8 oz 820 n Jan 2015 899- i Nikon D5500
 
Nikon D7100« » 5.4 in 4.2 in 3.0 in 27.0 oz 950 Y Feb 2013 1,199- i Nikon D7100
 
Nikon D5300« » 4.9 in 3.9 in 3.0 in 16.9 oz 600 n Oct 2013 799- i Nikon D5300
 
Nikon D3200« » 4.9 in 3.8 in 3.0 in 17.8 oz 540 n Apr 2012 599- i Nikon D3200
 
Sony RX1R II« » 4.4 in 2.6 in 2.8 in 17.9 oz 220 n Oct 2015 3,299 i i Sony RX1R II
 
Sony A5000« » 4.3 in 2.5 in 1.4 in 9.5 oz 420 n Jan 2014 449- i Sony A5000
 
Sony A5100« » 4.3 in 2.5 in 1.4 in 10.0 oz 400 n Aug 2014 549 i i Sony A5100
 
Sony A6000« » 4.7 in 2.6 in 1.8 in 12.1 oz 360 n Feb 2014 599- i Sony A6000
 
Sony A3000« » 5.0 in 3.6 in 3.3 in 14.5 oz 470 n Aug 2013 329- i Sony A3000
 
Sony RX1R« » 4.4 in 2.6 in 2.8 in 17.0 oz 270 n Jun 2013 2,799- i Sony RX1R
 
Sony NEX-7« » 4.7 in 2.6 in 1.7 in 14.1 oz 430 n Aug 2011 1,349- i Sony NEX-7
Note: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.

The price is, of course, an important factor in any camera decision. The manufacturer’s suggested retail prices give an idea on the placement of the camera in the maker’s lineup and the broader market. 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.

Of the two cameras under consideration, the Nikon D3300 features an APS-C sensor and the Sony RX1 a full frame sensor. The sensor area in the RX1 is 132 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 1.5 and 1.0. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.

Nikon D3300 and Sony RX1 sensor measures

Even though the RX1 has a larger sensor, both cameras offer the same resolution of 24 megapixels. This implies that the RX1 has a lower pixel density and larger individual pixels (with a pixel pitch of 5.96μm versus 3.91μm for the D3300), which gives it a potential advantage in terms of light gathering capacity. It should, however, be noted that the D3300 is a somewhat more recent model (by 1 year and 3 months) than the RX1, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time that at least partly compensate for the smaller pixel size. Coming back to sensor resolution, it should be mentioned that the D3300 has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.

The Nikon D3300 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 12800, which can be extended to ISO 100-25600. The corresponding ISO settings for the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX1 are ISO 100 to ISO 25600, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 50-102400.

D3300 versus RX1 MP

Since 2007, DXO Mark has published sensor performance measurements that have been derived using a consistent methodology. 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. Of the two cameras under consideration, the RX1 offers substantially better image quality than the D3300 (overall score 11 points higher). The advantage is based on 0.8 bits higher color depth, 1.5 EV in additional dynamic range, and 0.9 stops in additional low light sensitivity. The following table provides an overview of the physical sensor characteristics, as well as the sensor quality measurements for a selection of comparators.

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 D3300» APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.312.8138582Nikon D3300
 
Sony RX1« Full Frame 24.0 6000 40001080/60p25.114.3253493Sony RX1
 
Nikon D3500« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p----Nikon D3500
 
Nikon D5600« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.114.0130684Nikon D5600
 
Nikon D3400« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.813.9119286Nikon D3400
 
Nikon D5500« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.114.0143884Nikon D5500
 
Nikon D7100« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.213.7125683Nikon D7100
 
Nikon D5300« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.013.9133883Nikon D5300
 
Nikon D3200« » APS-C 24.1 6016 40001080/30p24.113.2113181Nikon D3200
 
Sony RX1R II« » Full Frame 42.2 7952 53041080/60p25.813.9320497Sony RX1R II
 
Sony A5000« » APS-C 19.8 5456 36321080/60i23.813.0108979Sony A5000
 
Sony A5100« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p23.812.7134780Sony A5100
 
Sony A6000« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.113.1134782Sony A6000
 
Sony A3000« » APS-C 19.8 5456 36321080/60i23.712.8106878Sony A3000
 
Sony RX1R« » Full Frame 24.0 6000 40001080/60p25.013.6253791Sony RX1R
 
Sony NEX-7« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60i24.113.4101681Sony NEX-7

Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but also of capturing video footage. The two cameras under consideration both have sensors whose read-out speed is fast enough to capture moving pictures, and both provide the same movie specifications (1080/60p).

 

Feature comparison

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the D3300 has an optical viewfinder, which can be very useful when shooting in bright sunlight. In contrast, the RX1 relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. That said, the RX1 can be equipped with an optional viewfinder – the FDA-EV1MK. The adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Nikon D3300 and Sony RX1 along with similar information for a selection of comparators.

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 D3300»optical n 3.0 921 fixed n 1/4000s 5.0 Y n Nikon D3300
 
Sony RX1«- n 3.0 1229 fixed n 1/4000s 5.0 Y n Sony RX1
 
Nikon D3500« »optical n 3.0 921 fixed n 1/4000s 5.0 Y n Nikon D3500
 
Nikon D5600« »optical n 3.2 1037 swivel Y 1/4000s 5.0 Y n Nikon D5600
 
Nikon D3400« »optical n 3.0 921 fixed n 1/4000s 5.0 Y n Nikon D3400
 
Nikon D5500« »optical n 3.2 1037 swivel Y 1/4000s 5.0 Y n Nikon D5500
 
Nikon D7100« »optical Y 3.2 1229 fixed n 1/8000s 6.0 Y n Nikon D7100
 
Nikon D5300« »optical n 3.2 1037 swivel n 1/4000s 5.0 Y n Nikon D5300
 
Nikon D3200« »optical n 3.0 921 fixed n 1/4000s 4.0 Y n Nikon D3200
 
Sony RX1R II« »2360 n 3.0 1229 tilting n 1/4000s 5.0 n n Sony RX1R II
 
Sony A5000« »- n 3.0 461 tilting n 1/4000s 3.5 Y n Sony A5000
 
Sony A5100« »- n 3.0 922 tilting Y 1/4000s 6.0 Y n Sony A5100
 
Sony A6000« »1440 n 3.0 922 tilting n 1/4000s 11.0 Y n Sony A6000
 
Sony A3000« »202 n 3.0 230 fixed n 1/4000s 2.5 Y n Sony A3000
 
Sony RX1R« »- n 3.0 1229 fixed n 1/4000s 5.0 Y n Sony RX1R
 
Sony NEX-7« »2359 n 3.0 921 tilting n 1/4000s 10.0 Y n Sony NEX-7

The D3300 writes its imaging data to SDXC cards, while the RX1 uses SDXC or Memory Stick PRO Duo cards. The D3300 supports UHS-I cards (Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 104 MB/s), while the RX1 cannot take advantage of Ultra High Speed SD 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 D3300 and Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX1 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
Type
WiFi
Support
NFC
Support
Bluetooth
Support
Camera
Model
 
Nikon D3300»YmonomonoY-mini2.0---Nikon D3300
 
Sony RX1«YstereomonoY-mini2.0---Sony RX1
 
Nikon D3500« »Ymonomono--mini2.0--YNikon D3500
 
Nikon D5600« »YstereomonoY-mini2.0YYYNikon D5600
 
Nikon D3400« »Ymonomono--mini2.0--YNikon D3400
 
Nikon D5500« »YstereomonoY-mini2.0Y--Nikon D5500
 
Nikon D7100« »YstereomonoYYmini2.0---Nikon D7100
 
Nikon D5300« »YstereomonoY-mini2.0Y--Nikon D5300
 
Nikon D3200« »YmonomonoY-mini2.0---Nikon D3200
 
Sony RX1R II« »YstereomonoY-micro2.0YY-Sony RX1R II
 
Sony A5000« »-stereomono--micro2.0YY-Sony A5000
 
Sony A5100« »-stereomono--micro2.0YY-Sony A5100
 
Sony A6000« »Ystereomono--micro2.0YY-Sony A6000
 
Sony A3000« »Ystereomono--mini2.0---Sony A3000
 
Sony RX1R« »YstereomonoY-mini2.0---Sony RX1R
 
Sony NEX-7« »YstereomonoY-mini2.0---Sony NEX-7

Both the D3300 and the RX1 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The RX1 was replaced by the Sony RX1R, while the D3300 was followed by the Nikon D3400. 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.


Review summary

So what conclusions can be drawn? Is there a clear favorite between the Nikon D3300 and the Sony RX1? Which camera is better? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.

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Arguments in favor of the Nikon D3300:

  • Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
  • Easier framing: Has an optical viewfinder for image composition and settings control.
  • More flexible: Can take a variety of interchangeable lenses, including specialty optics.
  • Longer lasting: Can take more shots (700 versus 270) on a single battery charge.
  • Faster buffer clearing: Has an SD card interface that supports the UHS-I standard.
  • More modern: Is somewhat more recent (announced 1 year and 3 months after the RX1).

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Advantages of the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX1:

  • Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
  • Better image quality: Scores substantially higher (11 points) in the DXO overall evaluation.
  • More dynamic range: Captures a broader range of light and dark details (1.5 EV of extra DR).
  • Better low-light sensitivity: Can shoot in dim conditions (0.9 stops ISO advantage).
  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1229k vs 921k dots).
  • Ready to shoot: Comes with an integrated lens, while the D3300 requires a separate lens.
  • More compact: Is smaller (113x65mm vs 124x98mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
  • Easier travel charging: Can be conveniently charged via its USB port.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in September 2012).

If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the RX1 emerges as the winner of the match-up (8 : 6 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.

D3300 06:08 RX1

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Nikon D3300 and the Sony RX1 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best DSLR Camera and Best Prime Lens Compact 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 D3300 and the RX1 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 where reviews by experts come in. The adjacent summary-table relays the overall verdicts of several of the most popular 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.

Review Scores
  Camera
Model
cameralabs dpreview ephotozine imaging-resource photographyblog Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Used
Price
(USD)
Camera
Model
 
Nikon D3300»+77/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Jan 2014 499- i Nikon D3300
 
Sony RX1«-79/1004/54.5/54.5/5 Sep 2012 2,799- i Sony RX1
 
Nikon D3500« »--4/54.5/54.5/5 Aug 2018 429 i i Nikon D3500
 
Nikon D5600« »-79/1004.5/54.5/54/5 Nov 2016 699 i i Nikon D5600
 
Nikon D3400« »+76/1004/54.5/54.5/5 Aug 2016 499- i Nikon D3400
 
Nikon D5500« »+79/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Jan 2015 899- i Nikon D5500
 
Nikon D7100« »+ +85/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Feb 2013 1,199- i Nikon D7100
 
Nikon D5300« »+ +79/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Oct 2013 799- i Nikon D5300
 
Nikon D3200« »+ +73/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Apr 2012 599- i Nikon D3200
 
Sony RX1R II« »-82/100-o4.5/5 Oct 2015 3,299 i i Sony RX1R II
 
Sony A5000« »+-4.5/5o4.5/5 Jan 2014 449- i Sony A5000
 
Sony A5100« »+-4.5/54.5/55/5 Aug 2014 549 i i Sony A5100
 
Sony A6000« »+80/1004.5/55/55/5 Feb 2014 599- i Sony A6000
 
Sony A3000« »+-4/54.5/54/5 Aug 2013 329- i Sony A3000
 
Sony RX1R« »--4/5o4.5/5 Jun 2013 2,799- i Sony RX1R
 
Sony NEX-7« »+ +81/1004.5/55/55/5 Aug 2011 1,349- i Sony NEX-7
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 comparisons of ratings among very different cameras or across long time periods have little meaning. Also, kindly note that some of the listed sites have over time developped their review approaches and their reporting style.

Nikon D3300:
Check Ebay offers
Sony RX1:
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 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: Nikon D3300 vs Sony RX1

    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 D3300 Sony RX1
    Camera Type Digital single lens reflex Fixed lens compact camera
    Camera Lens Nikon F mount lenses 35mm f/2.0
    Launch Date January 2014 September 2012
    Launch Price USD 499 USD 2799
    Sensor Specs Nikon D3300 Sony RX1
    Sensor Technology CMOS CMOS
    Sensor Format APS-C Sensor Full Frame Sensor
    Sensor Size 23.5 x 15.6 mm 35.8 x 23.8 mm
    Sensor Area 366.6 mm2 852.04 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 28.2 mm 43 mm
    Crop Factor 1.5x 1.0x
    Sensor Resolution 24 Megapixels 24 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 6000 x 4000 pixels 6000 x 4000 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 3.91 μm 5.96 μm
    Pixel Density 6.55 MP/cm2 2.82 MP/cm2
    Moiré control no AA filter Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability 1080/60p Video 1080/60p Video
    ISO Setting 100-12800 ISO 100-25600 ISO
    ISO Boost 100-25600 ISO 50-102400 ISO
    Image Processor EXPEED 4 BIONZ X
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) 82 93
    DXO Color Depth (bits) 24.3 25.1
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) 12.8 14.3
    DXO Low Light (ISO) 1385 2534
    Screen Specs Nikon D3300 Sony RX1
    Viewfinder Type Optical viewfinder Viewfinder optional
    Viewfinder Field of View 95%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.57x
    LCD Framing Live View Live View
    Rear LCD Size 3.0 inch 3.0 inch
    LCD Resolution 921k dots 1229k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen Fixed screen
    Shooting Specs Nikon D3300 Sony RX1
    Autofocus System Phase-detect AF Contrast-detect AF
    Manual Focusing AidNo Peaking FeatureFocus Peaking
    Max Shutter Speed (mechanical) 1/4000/s 1/4000/s
    Continuous Shooting 5 shutter flaps/s 5 shutter flaps/s
    Fill Flash Build-in Flash Build-in Flash
    Storage Medium SDXC cards MS or SDXC cards
    Second Storage Option Single card slot Single card slot
    UHS card support UHS-I no
    Connectivity Specs Nikon D3300 Sony RX1
    External Flash Hotshoe Hotshoe
    USB Connector USB 2.0 USB 2.0
    HDMI Port mini HDMI mini HDMI
    Microphone Port External MIC port External MIC port
    Wifi Support no Wifi no Wifi
    Body Specs Nikon D3300 Sony RX1
    Battery Type EN-EL14a NP-BX1
    Battery Life (CIPA)700 shots per charge270 shots per charge
    In-Camera Charging no USB charging USB charging
    Body Dimensions 124 x 98 x 76 mm
    (4.9 x 3.9 x 3.0 in)
    113 x 65 x 70 mm
    (4.4 x 2.6 x 2.8 in)
    Camera Weight 430 g (15.2 oz) 482 g (17.0 oz)

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