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Nikon D3500 vs Olympus E-300

The Nikon D3500 and the Olympus Evolt E-300 are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in August 2018 and September 2004. Both are DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras that are based on an APS-C (D3500) and a Four Thirds (E-300) sensor. The Nikon has a resolution of 24 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 D3500 VS Olympus E-300
Nikon D3500 Olympus E-300
Digital single lens reflex Digital single lens reflex
Nikon F mount lenses Four Thirds lenses
24 MP, APS-C Sensor 8 MP, Four Thirds Sensor
1080/60p Video no Video
ISO 100-25600 ISO 100-400 (100-1600)
Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
3.0" LCD, 921k dots 1.8" LCD, 134k dots
Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive) Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)
5 shutter flaps per second 2.5 shutter flaps per second
1550 shots per battery charge750 shots per battery charge
124 x 97 x 70 mm, 365 g 147 x 85 x 64 mm, 624 g

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Nikon D3500 and the Olympus Evolt E-300? 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 D3500 and the Olympus E-300 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 size dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

Size Nikon D3500 vs Olympus E-300
Compare D3500 versus E-300 top
Comparison D3500 or E-300 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Olympus E-300 is somewhat larger (4 percent) than the Nikon D3500. Moreover, the E-300 is substantially heavier (71 percent) than the D3500. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the D3500 nor the E-300 are weather-sealed.

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 (D3500) and the Four Thirds Lens Catalog (E-300).

Concerning battery life, the D3500 gets 1550 shots out of its EN-EL14a battery, while the E-300 can take 750 images on a single charge of its BLM-1 power pack.

The adjacent table lists the principal physical characteristics of the two cameras alongside a wider set of alternatives. 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)
Camera
Model
 
Nikon D3500» 124 mm 97 mm 70 mm 365 g 1550 n Aug 2018 429 iNikon D3500
 
Olympus E-300« 147 mm 85 mm 64 mm 624 g 750 n Sep 2004 799iOlympus E-300
 
Canon SX740« » 110 mm 64 mm 40 mm 299 g 265 n Jul 2018 399 iCanon SX740
 
Canon M100« » 108 mm 67 mm 35 mm 302 g 295 n Aug 2017 499iCanon M100
 
Canon SX730« » 110 mm 64 mm 40 mm 300 g 250 n Apr 2017 399iCanon SX730
 
Canon 350D« » 127 mm 94 mm 64 mm 540 g 400 n Feb 2005 899iCanon 350D
 
Fujifilm X-A5« » 117 mm 68 mm 40 mm 361 g 450 n Jan 2018 399iFujifilm X-A5
 
Leica Digilux 3« » 146 mm 87 mm 77 mm 606 g 750 n Sep 2006 1,499iLeica Digilux 3
 
Nikon A1000« » 114 mm 72 mm 41 mm 330 g 250 n Jan 2019 429 iNikon A1000
 
Nikon D3400« » 124 mm 98 mm 76 mm 445 g 1200 n Aug 2016 499iNikon D3400
 
Nikon D5500« » 124 mm 97 mm 70 mm 420 g 820 n Jan 2015 899iNikon D5500
 
Nikon D3300« » 124 mm 98 mm 76 mm 430 g 700 n Jan 2014 499iNikon D3300
 
Olympus E-330« » 140 mm 87 mm 72 mm 637 g 750 n Jan 2006 999iOlympus E-330
 
Olympus E-500« » 130 mm 95 mm 66 mm 479 g 750 n Sep 2005 599iOlympus E-500
 
Panasonic TZ95« » 112 mm 69 mm 42 mm 327 g 380 n Feb 2019 449 iPanasonic TZ95
 
Panasonic TZ90« » 112 mm 67 mm 41 mm 322 g 380 n Apr 2017 449iPanasonic TZ90
 
Panasonic L1« » 146 mm 87 mm 64 mm 606 g 750 n Feb 2006 999iPanasonic L1
Note: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.

Any camera decision will naturally be influenced heavily by the price. The listed launch prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The D3500 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 46 percent) than the E-300, which puts it into a different market segment. 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.

 

Sensor comparison

The size of the sensor inside a digital camera is one of the key determinants 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. Furthermore, a large sensor camera will give the photographer more possibilities to use shallow depth-of-field in order to isolate a subject from the background. On the downside, larger sensors tend to be associated with larger, more expensive camera bodies and lenses.

Of the two cameras under consideration, the Nikon D3500 features an APS-C sensor and the Olympus E-300 a Four Thirds sensor. The sensor area in the E-300 is 39 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 D3500 has a native 3:2 aspect ratio, while the one in the E-300 offers a 4:3 aspect.

Nikon D3500 and Olympus E-300 sensor measures

With 24MP, the D3500 offers a higher resolution than the E-300 (8MP), but the D3500 has smaller individual pixels (pixel pitch of 3.91μm versus 5.30μm for the E-300). However, the D3500 is a much more recent model (by 13 years and 11 months) than the E-300, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixels. Coming back to sensor resolution, it should be mentioned that the D3500 has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.

The resolution advantage of the Nikon D3500 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the D3500 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 30 x 20 inch or 76.2 x 50.8 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 24 x 16 inch or 61 x 40.6 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 20 x 13.3 inch or 50.8 x 33.9 cm. The corresponding values for the Olympus E-300 are 16.3 x 12.2 inch or 41.5 x 31.1 cm for good quality, 13.1 x 9.8 inch or 33.2 x 24.9 cm for very good quality, and 10.9 x 8.2 inch or 27.6 x 20.7 cm for excellent quality prints.

The Nikon D3500 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 25600. The corresponding ISO settings for the Olympus Evolt E-300 are ISO 100 to ISO 400, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 100-1600.

D3500 versus E-300 MP

Since 2007, DXO Mark has published sensor performance measurements that have been derived using a consistent methodology. This service is based on lab testing and assigns an overall score to each camera sensor, as well as ratings for dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), color depth ("DXO Portrait"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"). The table below summarizes the physical sensor characteristics and sensor quality findings and compares them across a set of similar 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 D3500 APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p........Nikon D3500
 
Olympus E-300 Four Thirds 8.0 3264 2448none........Olympus E-300
 
Canon SX740 1/2.3 20.2 5184 38884K/30p........Canon SX740
 
Canon M100 APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p23.512.9127278Canon M100
 
Canon SX730 1/2.3 20.2 5184 38881080/60p........Canon SX730
 
Canon 350D APS-C 8.0 3456 2304none21.810.863760Canon 350D
 
Fujifilm X-A5 APS-C 24.0 6000 40004K/15p........Fujifilm X-A5
 
Leica Digilux 3 Four Thirds 7.4 3136 2352none........Leica Digilux 3
 
Nikon A1000 1/2.3 15.9 4608 34564K/30p........Nikon A1000
 
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 D3300 APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.312.8138582Nikon D3300
 
Olympus E-330 Four Thirds 7.4 3136 2352none........Olympus E-330
 
Olympus E-500 Four Thirds 8.0 3264 2448none........Olympus E-500
 
Panasonic TZ95 1/2.3 20.2 5184 38884K/30p........Panasonic TZ95
 
Panasonic TZ90 1/2.3 20.2 5184 38884K/30p19.110.610636Panasonic TZ90
 
Panasonic L1 Four Thirds 7.4 3136 2352none........Panasonic L1

Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. The D3500 indeed provides movie recording capabilities, while the E-300 does not. The highest resolution format that the D3500 can use is 1080/60p.

 

Feature comparison

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. The D3500 and the E-300 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 D3500 has a higher magnification than the one of the E-300 (0.57x vs 0.5x), so that the size of the image transmitted appears closer to the size seen with the naked human eye. The adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Nikon D3500 and Olympus E-300 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 D3500optical n 3.0 921 fixed n 1/4000s 5.0 Y n Nikon D3500
 
Olympus E-300optical n 1.8 134 fixed n 1/4000s 2.5 Y n Olympus E-300
 
Canon SX740none n 3.0 922 tilting n 1/3200s 10.0 Y Y Canon SX740
 
Canon M100none n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 1/4000s 6.1 Y n Canon M100
 
Canon SX730none n 3.0 922 tilting n 1/3200s 5.9 Y Y Canon SX730
 
Canon 350Doptical n 1.8 115 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n Canon 350D
 
Fujifilm X-A5none n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 1/4000s 6.0 Y n Fujifilm X-A5
 
Leica Digilux 3optical n 2.5 207 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n Leica Digilux 3
 
Nikon A10001166 n 3.0 1036 tilting Y 1/4000s 7.0 Y Y Nikon A1000
 
Nikon D3400optical n 3.0 921 fixed n 1/4000s 5.0 Y n Nikon D3400
 
Nikon D5500optical n 3.2 1037 swivel Y 1/4000s 5.0 Y n Nikon D5500
 
Nikon D3300optical n 3.0 921 fixed n 1/4000s 5.0 Y n Nikon D3300
 
Olympus E-330optical n 2.5 215 tilting n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n Olympus E-330
 
Olympus E-500optical n 2.5 215 fixed n 1/4000s 2.5 Y n Olympus E-500
 
Panasonic TZ952330 n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 1/2000s 10.0 Y Y Panasonic TZ95
 
Panasonic TZ901166 n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 1/2000s 10.0 Y Y Panasonic TZ90
 
Panasonic L1optical n 2.5 207 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n Panasonic L1

The D3500 writes its imaging data to SDXC cards, while the E-300 uses Compact Flash or xD Picture cards. The E-300 features dual card slots, which can be very useful in case a memory card fails. In contrast, the D3500 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 D3500 and Olympus Evolt E-300 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 D3500Ymonomono--mini2.0--YNikon D3500
 
Olympus E-300Ynonenone--none2.0---Olympus E-300
 
Canon SX740-stereomono--micro2.0YYYCanon SX740
 
Canon M100-stereomono--mini2.0YYYCanon M100
 
Canon SX730-stereomono--micro2.0YYYCanon SX730
 
Canon 350DYnonenone--none2.0---Canon 350D
 
Fujifilm X-A5YstereomonoY-mini2.0Y-YFujifilm X-A5
 
Leica Digilux 3Ystereomono--none2.0---Leica Digilux 3
 
Nikon A1000-stereomono--micro2.0Y-YNikon A1000
 
Nikon D3400Ymonomono--mini2.0--YNikon D3400
 
Nikon D5500YstereomonoY-mini2.0Y--Nikon D5500
 
Nikon D3300YmonomonoY-mini2.0---Nikon D3300
 
Olympus E-330Ynonenone--none2.0---Olympus E-330
 
Olympus E-500Ynonenone--none2.0---Olympus E-500
 
Panasonic TZ95-stereomono--micro2.0Y-YPanasonic TZ95
 
Panasonic TZ90-stereomono--micro2.0Y--Panasonic TZ90
 
Panasonic L1Ynonenone--none2.0---Panasonic L1

The D3500 is a recent model that features in the current product line-up of Nikon. In contrast, the E-300 has been discontinued (but it can be found pre-owned on eBay). As a replacement in the same line of cameras, the E-300 was succeeded by the Olympus E-330. 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 how do things add up? Is there a clear favorite between the Nikon D3500 and the Olympus E-300? Which camera is better? 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 D3500:

  • More detail: Offers more megapixels (24 vs 8MP) with a 77% higher linear resolution.
  • Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
  • Better image quality: Features a larger and more technologically advanced imaging sensor.
  • Richer colors: The sensor size advantage translates into images with better, more accurate colors.
  • More dynamic range: Larger sensor captures a wider spectrum of light and dark details.
  • Better low-light sensitivity: Larger sensor produces good images even in poorly lit environments.
  • Broader imaging potential: Can record not only still images but also 1080/60p movies.
  • Larger viewfinder image: Features a viewfinder with a higher magnification (0.57x vs 0.5x).
  • 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 (921k vs 134k dots).
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (5 vs 2.5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • Less heavy: Is lighter (by 259g or 42 percent) and hence easier to carry around.
  • Longer lasting: Can take more shots (1550 versus 750) on a single battery charge.
  • Easier wireless transfer: Supports Bluetooth for image sharing without cables.
  • More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (46 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More modern: Reflects 13 years and 11 months of technical progress since the E-300 launch.

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Advantages of the Olympus Evolt E-300:

  • Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
  • Greater peace of mind: Features a second card slot as a backup in case of memory card failure.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been around for much longer (launched in September 2004).

If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the D3500 is the clear winner of the match-up (16 : 3 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.

D3500 16:03 E-300

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Nikon D3500 and the Olympus E-300 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 incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the D3500 or the E-300 perform in practice. User reviews that are available, for instance, at amazon can sometimes shed light on these issues, but such feedback is all too often partial, inconsistent, and inaccurate.

Expert reviews

This is why hands-on reviews by experts are important. 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.

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 D3500..75/1004/54.5/54.5/5 Aug 2018 429 iNikon D3500
 
Olympus E-300..+oo4.5/5 Sep 2004 799iOlympus E-300
 
Canon SX740+..4/5..4/5 Jul 2018 399 iCanon SX740
 
Canon M100+..4/5..3.5/5 Aug 2017 499iCanon M100
 
Canon SX730+..4/5..4/5 Apr 2017 399iCanon SX730
 
Canon 350D80/100+ +oo.. Feb 2005 899iCanon 350D
 
Fujifilm X-A5+..4/54/53.5/5 Jan 2018 399iFujifilm X-A5
 
Leica Digilux 3.......... Sep 2006 1,499iLeica Digilux 3
 
Nikon A1000+ +..3.5/5..3/5 Jan 2019 429 iNikon A1000
 
Nikon D3400+76/1004/54.5/54.5/5 Aug 2016 499iNikon D3400
 
Nikon D5500+79/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Jan 2015 899iNikon D5500
 
Nikon D3300+77/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Jan 2014 499iNikon D3300
 
Olympus E-330..+o3.5/5.. Jan 2006 999iOlympus E-330
 
Olympus E-50076/100+ +...... Sep 2005 599iOlympus E-500
 
Panasonic TZ95+ +..4.5/5.... Feb 2019 449 iPanasonic TZ95
 
Panasonic TZ90+ +..4/5..4/5 Apr 2017 449iPanasonic TZ90
 
Panasonic L185/100+..o3.5/5 Feb 2006 999iPanasonic L1
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 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 D3500:
Check Amazon price
Olympus E-300:
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 D3500 vs Olympus E-300

    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 D3500 Olympus E-300
    Camera Type Digital single lens reflex Digital single lens reflex
    Camera Lens Nikon F mount lenses Four Thirds lenses
    Launch Date August 2018 September 2004
    Launch Price USD 429 USD 799
    Sensor Specs Nikon D3500 Olympus E-300
    Sensor Technology CMOS CMOS
    Sensor Format APS-C Sensor Four Thirds Sensor
    Sensor Size 23.5 x 15.6 mm 17.3 x 13.0 mm
    Sensor Area 366.6 mm2 224.9 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 28.2 mm 21.6 mm
    Crop Factor 1.5x 2.0x
    Sensor Resolution 24 Megapixels 8 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 6000 x 4000 pixels 3264 x 2448 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 3.91 μm 5.30 μm
    Pixel Density 6.55 MP/cm2 3.55 MP/cm2
    Moiré control no AA filter Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability 1080/60p Video no Video
    ISO Setting 100-25600 ISO 100-400 ISO
    ISO Boost no Enhancement 100-1600 ISO
    Image Processor EXPEED 4 TruePic
    Screen Specs Nikon D3500 Olympus E-300
    Viewfinder Type Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 95% 95%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.57x 0.5x
    LCD Framing Live View
    Rear LCD Size 3.0 inch 1.8 inch
    LCD Resolution 921k dots 134k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen Fixed screen
    Shooting Specs Nikon D3500 Olympus E-300
    Focus System Phase-detect AF Phase-detect AF
    Continuous Shooting 5 shutter flaps/s 2.5 shutter flaps/s
    Fill Flash Build-in Flash Build-in Flash
    Storage Medium SDXC cards CF or XD cards
    Second Storage Option Single card slot Dual card slots
    Connectivity Specs Nikon D3500 Olympus E-300
    External Flash Hotshoe Hotshoe
    USB Connector USB 2.0 USB 2.0
    HDMI Port mini HDMI no HDMI
    Wifi Support no Wifi no Wifi
    Bluetooth Support Bluetooth built-in no Bluetooth
    Body Specs Nikon D3500 Olympus E-300
    Battery Type EN-EL14a BLM-1
    Battery Life (CIPA)1550 shots per charge750 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 124 x 97 x 70 mm
    (4.9 x 3.8 x 2.8 in)
    147 x 85 x 64 mm
    (5.8 x 3.3 x 2.5 in)
    Camera Weight 365 g (12.9 oz) 624 g (22.0 oz)

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