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Nikon D40 vs Ricoh GR

The Nikon D40 and the Ricoh GR are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in November 2006 and April 2013. The D40 is a DSLR, while the GR is a fixed lens compact. Both cameras are equipped with an APS-C sensor. The Nikon has a resolution of 6 megapixels, whereas the Ricoh provides 16.1 MP.

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

Headline Specifications
Nikon D40
versus
Ricoh GR
Nikon D40   Ricoh GR
Digital single lens reflex Fixed lens compact camera
Nikon F mount lenses 28mm f/2.8
6 MP, APS-C Sensor 16.1 MP, APS-C Sensor
no Video 1080/30p Video
ISO 200-1,600 (200 - 3,200) ISO 100-25,600
Optical viewfinder Viewfinder optional
2.5 LCD, 230k dots 3.0 LCD, 1230k dots
Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive) Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)
2.5 shutter flaps per second 4 shutter flaps per second
470 shots per battery charge290 shots per battery charge
124 x 94 x 64 mm, 522 g 117 x 61 x 35 mm, 245 g

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Nikon D40 and the Ricoh GR? 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 D40 and the Ricoh GR 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 measures are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

Size Nikon D40 vs Ricoh GR
Compare D40 versus GR top
Comparison D40 or GR rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Ricoh GR is considerably smaller (39 percent) than the Nikon D40. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the D40 nor the GR are weather-sealed.

The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the GR has a lens built in, whereas the D40 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 D40 and their specifications in the Nikon Lens Catalog.

Concerning battery life, the D40 gets 470 shots out of its EN-EL9 battery, while the GR can take 290 images on a single charge of its DB65 power pack. The power pack in the GR 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 want to switch the focus of the display and review another camera pair, you can move across to the CAM-parator tool and choose from the broad selection of possible camera comparisons there.

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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 D40 124 mm 94 mm 64 mm 522 g 470 n Nov 2006 499i
2.
 
Ricoh GR 117 mm 61 mm 35 mm 245 g 290 n Apr 2013 799i
3.
 
Nikon D3400 124 mm 98 mm 76 mm 445 g 1200 n Aug 2016 499i
4.
 
Nikon D3300 124 mm 98 mm 76 mm 430 g 700 n Jan 2014 499i
5.
 
Nikon Coolpix A 111 mm 64 mm 40 mm 299 g 230 n Mar 2013 1,099i
6.
 
Nikon D3100 124 mm 96 mm 75 mm 505 g 550 n Aug 2010 599i
7.
 
Nikon D3000 126 mm 97 mm 64 mm 536 g 500 n Jul 2009 599i
8.
 
Nikon D60 126 mm 94 mm 64 mm 522 g 500 n Jan 2008 629i
9.
 
Nikon D40X 124 mm 94 mm 64 mm 522 g 520 n Mar 2007 729i
10.
 
Nikon D80 132 mm 103 mm 77 mm 668 g 600 n Aug 2006 999i
11.
 
Nikon D50 133 mm 102 mm 76 mm 620 g 400 n Apr 2005 749i
12.
 
Nikon D70s 140 mm 111 mm 78 mm 679 g 500 n Apr 2005 899i
13.
 
Nikon D70 140 mm 111 mm 78 mm 679 g 400 n Jan 2004 999i
14.
 
Panasonic GM1 99 mm 55 mm 30 mm 204 g 230 n Oct 2013 749i
15.
 
Ricoh GR II 117 mm 63 mm 35 mm 251 g 320 n Jun 2015 699 i
16.
 
Sony NEX-5T 111 mm 59 mm 39 mm 276 g 330 n Aug 2013 699i
17.
 
Sony NEX-5R 111 mm 59 mm 39 mm 276 g 330 n Aug 2012 749i
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. 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 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. 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 associated with larger, more expensive camera bodies and lenses.

Both cameras under consideration feature an APS-C sensor and have a format factor (sometimes also referred to as "crop factor") of 1.5. Within the spectrum of camera sensors, this places the review cameras among the medium-sized sensor cameras that aim to strike a balance between image quality and portability. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.

Nikon D40 and Ricoh GR sensor measures

While the two cameras under review share the same sensor size, the GR offers a higher resolution of 16.1 megapixels, compared with 6 MP of the D40. This megapixels advantage translates into a 64 percent gain in linear resolution. On the other hand, these sensor specs imply that the GR has a higher pixel density and a smaller size of the individual pixel (with a pixel pitch of 4.79μm versus 7.85μm for the D40). However, it should be noted that the GR is much more recent (by 6 years and 5 months) than the D40, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that compensate for the smaller pixel size. Coming back to sensor resolution, it should be mentioned that the GR has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.

The resolution advantage of the Ricoh GR implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the GR for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 24.6 x 16.3 inches or 62.6 x 41.5 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 19.7 x 13.1 inches or 50.1 x 33.2 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 16.4 x 10.9 inches or 41.7 x 27.6 cm. The corresponding values for the Nikon D40 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 D40 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 200 to ISO 1600, which can be extended to ISO 200-3200. The corresponding ISO settings for the Ricoh GR are ISO 100 to ISO 25600 (no boost).

D40 versus GR MP

For many cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. 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"). Of the two cameras under consideration, the GR offers substantially better image quality than the D40 (overall score 22 points higher). The advantage is based on 2.6 bits higher color depth, 2.5 EV in additional dynamic range, and 0.8 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.

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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 D40 APS-C 6.0 3008 2000none21.011.056156
2.
 
Ricoh GR APS-C 16.1 4928 32641080/30p23.613.597278
3.
 
Nikon D3400 APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.813.9119286
4.
 
Nikon D3300 APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.312.8138582
5.
 
Nikon Coolpix A APS-C 16.1 4928 32641080/30p23.413.8116480
6.
 
Nikon D3100 APS-C 14.2 4608 30721080/24p22.511.391967
7.
 
Nikon D3000 APS-C 10.0 3872 2592none22.311.156362
8.
 
Nikon D60 APS-C 10.0 3872 2592none22.511.456265
9.
 
Nikon D40X APS-C 10.0 3872 2592none22.411.451663
10.
 
Nikon D80 APS-C 10.0 3872 2592none22.111.252461
11.
 
Nikon D50 APS-C 6.0 3008 2000none20.910.856055
12.
 
Nikon D70s APS-C 6.0 3008 2000none20.410.352950
13.
 
Nikon D70 APS-C 6.0 3008 2000none20.410.352950
14.
 
Panasonic GM1 Four Thirds 15.8 4592 34481080/60i22.311.766066
15.
 
Ricoh GR II APS-C 16.1 4928 32641080/30p23.613.7107880
16.
 
Sony NEX-5T APS-C 16.0 4912 32641080/60p23.613.0101578
17.
 
Sony NEX-5R APS-C 16.0 4912 32641080/60i23.713.191078

Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but also of capturing video footage. The GR indeed provides for movie recording, while the D40 does not. The highest resolution format that the GR can use is 1080/30p.

Feature comparison

Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the D40 has an optical viewfinder, which can be very useful when shooting in bright sunlight. In contrast, the GR relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. That said, the GR can be equipped with an optional viewfinder – the GV-1. The table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Nikon D40 and Ricoh GR 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
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 D40optical n2.5 / 230 fixed n 1/4000s 2.5 Y n
2.
 
Ricoh GRoptional n3.0 / 1230 fixed n 1/4000s 4.0 Y n
3.
 
Nikon D3400optical n3.0 / 921 fixed n 1/4000s 5.0 Y n
4.
 
Nikon D3300optical n3.0 / 921 fixed n 1/4000s 5.0 Y n
5.
 
Nikon Coolpix Aoptional n3.0 / 921 fixed n 1/2000s 4.0 Y n
6.
 
Nikon D3100optical n3.0 / 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
7.
 
Nikon D3000optical n3.0 / 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
8.
 
Nikon D60optical n2.5 / 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
9.
 
Nikon D40Xoptical n2.5 / 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
10.
 
Nikon D80optical n2.5 / 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
11.
 
Nikon D50optical n2.0 / 130 fixed n 1/4000s 2.5 Y n
12.
 
Nikon D70soptical n2.0 / 130 fixed n 1/8000s 3.0 Y n
13.
 
Nikon D70optical n1.8 / 130 fixed n 1/8000s 3.0 Y n
14.
 
Panasonic GM1none n3.0 / 1036 fixed Y 1/500s 5.0 Y n
15.
 
Ricoh GR IIoptional n3.0 / 1230 fixed n 1/4000s 4.0 Y n
16.
 
Sony NEX-5Toptional n3.0 / 922 tilting Y 1/4000s 10.0 n n
17.
 
Sony NEX-5Roptional n3.0 / 920 tilting Y 1/4000s 10.0 n n

The Ricoh GR 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 D40 writes its imaging data to SDHC cards, while the GR uses SDXC cards. The GR supports UHS-I cards (Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 104 MB/s), while the D40 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 D40 and Ricoh GR 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 D40Y- / ----2.0---
2.
 
Ricoh GRYmono / mono--micro2.0---
3.
 
Nikon D3400Ymono / mono--mini2.0--Y
4.
 
Nikon D3300Ymono / monoY-mini2.0---
5.
 
Nikon Coolpix AYstereo / mono---2.0---
6.
 
Nikon D3100Ymono / mono--mini2.0---
7.
 
Nikon D3000Y- / ----2.0---
8.
 
Nikon D60Y- / ----2.0---
9.
 
Nikon D40XY- / ----2.0---
10.
 
Nikon D80Y- / ----2.0---
11.
 
Nikon D50Y- / ----2.0---
12.
 
Nikon D70sY- / ----2.0---
13.
 
Nikon D70Y- / ----1.0---
14.
 
Panasonic GM1-stereo / mono--micro2.0Y--
15.
 
Ricoh GR IIYstereo / mono--micro2.0YY-
16.
 
Sony NEX-5TYstereo / mono--mini2.0YY-
17.
 
Sony NEX-5RYstereo / mono--mini2.0Y--

Both the D40 and the GR have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The D40 was replaced by the Nikon D40X, while the GR was followed by the Ricoh GR 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 Ricoh websites.

Review summary

So what is the bottom line? Is there a clear favorite between the Nikon D40 and the Ricoh GR? Which camera is better? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.

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Reasons to prefer the Nikon D40:

  • Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
  • 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 (470 versus 290) on a single battery charge.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in November 2006).

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Advantages of the Ricoh GR:

  • More detail: Has more megapixels (16.1 vs 6MP), which boosts linear resolution by 64%.
  • Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
  • Better image quality: Scores substantially higher (22 points) in the DXO overall evaluation.
  • Richer colors: Generates noticeably more natural colors (2.6 bits more color depth).
  • More dynamic range: Captures a broader range of light and dark details (2.5 EV of extra DR).
  • Better low-light sensitivity: Can shoot in dim conditions (0.8 stops ISO advantage).
  • Broader imaging potential: Can capture not only stills but also 1080/30p video.
  • Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.0" vs 2.5") for image review and settings control.
  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1230k vs 230k dots).
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (4 vs 2.5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • Easier time-lapse photography: Has an intervalometer built-in for low frequency shooting.
  • Ready to shoot: Comes with an integrated lens, while the D40 requires a separate lens.
  • More compact: Is smaller (117x61mm vs 124x94mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
  • Less heavy: Has a lower weight even though it has a lens built in (unlike the D40).
  • Easier travel charging: Can be conveniently charged via its USB port.
  • Faster buffer clearing: Has an SD card interface that supports the UHS-I standard.
  • More modern: Reflects 6 years and 5 months of technical progress since the D40 launch.

If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the GR is the clear winner of the contest (17 : 5 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.

D40 05:17 GR

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Nikon D40 and the Ricoh GR 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 D40 and the GR in practical situations. 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 why hands-on reviews by experts 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], 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 D40..81/100..+ +o4.5/5 Nov 2006 499i
2.
 
Ricoh GR5/5....79/1004.5/54.5/5 Apr 2013 799i
3.
 
Nikon D34004/5+4/576/1004/54.5/5 Aug 2016 499i
4.
 
Nikon D33003/5+..77/1004.5/54.5/5 Jan 2014 499i
5.
 
Nikon Coolpix A4/5+..75/1004/54/5 Mar 2013 1,099i
6.
 
Nikon D31005/5+ +..72/1004.5/54.5/5 Aug 2010 599i
7.
 
Nikon D3000..+..72/1004/54.5/5 Jul 2009 599i
8.
 
Nikon D60..80/100..+ +4/54.5/5 Jan 2008 629i
9.
 
Nikon D40X..79/100..+ +4/54/5 Mar 2007 729i
10.
 
Nikon D80..+..+ +o4.5/5 Aug 2006 999i
11.
 
Nikon D50..78/100..+ +4/54.5/5 Apr 2005 749i
12.
 
Nikon D70s..........5/5 Apr 2005 899i
13.
 
Nikon D70......+ +.... Jan 2004 999i
14.
 
Panasonic GM13/5+..78/1005/54.5/5 Oct 2013 749i
15.
 
Ricoh GR II........4.5/54.5/5 Jun 2015 699 i
16.
 
Sony NEX-5T........4.5/54.5/5 Aug 2013 699i
17.
 
Sony NEX-5R........4.5/54.5/5 Aug 2012 749i
Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.

The above review scores should be interpreted 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. 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. It should also be noted that some of the review sites have over time altered the way they render their verdicts.

Nikon D40:
Check Ebay offers
Ricoh GR:
Check Ebay offers

Other camera comparisons

Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? In case you would like to check on the differences and similarities of other camera models, just use the search menu below. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting.

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    Specifications: Nikon D40 vs Ricoh GR

    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 D40 Ricoh GR
    Camera Type Digital single lens reflex Fixed lens compact camera
    Camera Lens Nikon F mount lenses 28mm f/2.8
    Launch Date November 2006 April 2013
    Launch Price USD 499 USD 799
    Sensor Specs Nikon D40 Ricoh GR
    Sensor Technology CCD CMOS
    Sensor Format APS-C Sensor APS-C Sensor
    Sensor Size 23.7 x 15.6 mm 23.7 x 15.6 mm
    Sensor Area 369.72 mm2 369.72 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 28.4 mm 28.4 mm
    Crop Factor 1.5x 1.5x
    Sensor Resolution 6 Megapixels 16.1 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 3008 x 2000 pixels 4928 x 3264 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 7.85 μm 4.79 μm
    Pixel Density 1.63 MP/cm2 4.35 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter no AA filter
    Movie Capability no Video 1080/30p Video
    ISO Setting 200 - 1,600 ISO 100 - 25,600 ISO
    ISO Boost 200 - 3,200 ISO no Enhancement
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) 56 78
    DXO Color Depth (bits) 21.0 23.6
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) 11.0 13.5
    DXO Low Light (ISO) 561 972
    Screen Specs Nikon D40 Ricoh GR
    Viewfinder Type Optical viewfinder Viewfinder optional
    Viewfinder Field of View 95%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.53x
    LCD Framing Live View
    Rear LCD Size 2.5inch 3.0inch
    LCD Resolution 230k dots 1230k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen Fixed screen
    Shooting Specs Nikon D40 Ricoh GR
    Focus System Phase-detect AF Contrast-detect AF
    Continuous Shooting 2.5 shutter flaps/s 4 shutter flaps/s
    Time-Lapse Photographyno IntervalometerIntervalometer built-in
    Fill Flash Built-in Flash Built-in Flash
    Storage Medium SDHC cards SDXC cards
    Second Storage Option Single card slot Single card slot
    UHS card support no UHS-I
    Connectivity Specs Nikon D40 Ricoh GR
    External Flash Hotshoe Hotshoe
    USB Connector USB 2.0 USB 2.0
    HDMI Port no HDMI micro HDMI
    Wifi Support no Wifi no Wifi
    Body Specs Nikon D40 Ricoh GR
    Battery Type EN-EL9 DB65
    Battery Life (CIPA)470 shots per charge290 shots per charge
    In-Camera Charging no USB charging USB charging
    Body Dimensions 124 x 94 x 64 mm
    (4.9 x 3.7 x 2.5 in)
    117 x 61 x 35 mm
    (4.6 x 2.4 x 1.4 in)
    Camera Weight 522 g (18.4 oz) 245 g (8.6 oz)

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