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Nikon D5000 vs Panasonic G1

The Nikon D5000 and the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G1 are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in April 2009 and September 2008. The D5000 is a DSLR, while the G1 is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera. The cameras are based on an APS-C (D5000) and a Four Thirds (G1) sensor. The Nikon has a resolution of 12.2 megapixels, whereas the Panasonic provides 12 MP.

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

Headline Specifications
Nikon D5000
versus
Panasonic G1
Nikon D5000   Panasonic G1
Digital single lens reflex Mirrorless system camera
Nikon F mount lenses Micro Four Thirds lenses
12.2 MP, APS-C Sensor 12 MP, Four Thirds Sensor
720/24p Video no Video
ISO 200-3,200 (200 - 6,400) ISO 100-1,600 (100 - 3,200)
Optical viewfinder Electronic viewfinder (1440k dots)
2.7 LCD, 230k dots 3.0 LCD, 460k dots
Fully flexible screen (no touchscreen) Swivel screen (not touch-sensitive)
4 shutter flaps per second 3 shutter flaps per second
510 shots per battery charge410 shots per battery charge
127 x 104 x 80 mm, 590 g 124 x 84 x 45 mm, 360 g

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Nikon D5000 and the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G1? 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 D5000 and the Panasonic G1 is provided in the side-by-side display below. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three consecutive views from the front, the top, and the rear side are shown. All size dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

Size Nikon D5000 vs Panasonic G1
Compare D5000 versus G1 top
Comparison D5000 or G1 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Panasonic G1 is notably smaller (21 percent) than the Nikon D5000. Moreover, the G1 is substantially lighter (39 percent) than the D5000. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the D5000 nor the G1 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 (D5000) and the Micro Four Thirds Lens Catalog (G1). Mirrorless cameras, such as the G1, have moreover the advantage that they can use many lenses from other systems via adapters, as they have a relatively short flange to focal plane distance.

Concerning battery life, the D5000 gets 510 shots out of its EN-EL9a battery, while the G1 can take 410 images on a single charge of its DMW-BLB13 power pack.

The following table provides a synthesis of the main physical specifications of the two cameras and other similar ones. If you would like to visualize and compare a different camera combination, you can navigate to the CAM-parator app and make your selection from a broad list of cameras 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 D5000 127 mm 104 mm 80 mm 590 g 510 n Apr 2009 749i
2.
 
Panasonic G1 124 mm 84 mm 45 mm 360 g 410 n Sep 2008 599i
3.
 
Canon XSi 129 mm 98 mm 62 mm 524 g 500 n Jan 2008 799i
4.
 
Nikon D5600 124 mm 97 mm 70 mm 465 g 970 n Nov 2016 699 i
5.
 
Nikon D5200 129 mm 98 mm 78 mm 555 g 500 n Nov 2012 749i
6.
 
Nikon D5100 128 mm 97 mm 79 mm 560 g 660 n Apr 2011 749i
7.
 
Nikon D3100 124 mm 96 mm 75 mm 505 g 550 n Aug 2010 599i
8.
 
Nikon D3000 126 mm 97 mm 64 mm 536 g 500 n Jul 2009 599i
9.
 
Nikon D60 126 mm 94 mm 64 mm 522 g 500 n Jan 2008 629i
10.
 
Nikon D90 132 mm 103 mm 77 mm 703 g 850 n Aug 2008 1,299i
11.
 
Nikon D40X 124 mm 94 mm 64 mm 522 g 520 n Mar 2007 729i
12.
 
Nikon D80 132 mm 103 mm 77 mm 668 g 600 n Aug 2006 999i
13.
 
Olympus E-410 130 mm 91 mm 53 mm 435 g 500 n Mar 2007 699i
14.
 
Panasonic G10 124 mm 84 mm 74 mm 388 g 380 n Mar 2010 499i
15.
 
Panasonic G2 124 mm 84 mm 74 mm 428 g 360 n Mar 2010 599i
16.
 
Panasonic GH1 124 mm 90 mm 45 mm 385 g 300 n Mar 2009 899i
17.
 
Panasonic L10 135 mm 96 mm 78 mm 556 g 450 n Aug 2007 599i
Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.

Any camera decision will obviously take relative prices into account. The manufacturer’s suggested retail prices give an idea on the placement of the camera in the maker’s lineup and the broader market. The G1 was launched at a somewhat lower price (by 20 percent) than the D5000, which makes it more attractive for photographers on a tight budget. 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.

Sensor comparison

The size of the sensor inside a digital camera is one of the key determinants 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. 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 are more costly to manufacture and tend to lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.

Of the two cameras under consideration, the Nikon D5000 features an APS-C sensor and the Panasonic G1 a Four Thirds sensor. The sensor area in the G1 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 D5000 has a native 3:2 aspect ratio, while the one in the G1 offers a 4:3 aspect.

Nikon D5000 and Panasonic G1 sensor measures

With 12.2MP, the D5000 offers a slightly higher resolution than the G1 (12MP), but the D5000 nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 5.53μm versus 4.33μm for the G1) due to its larger sensor. Moreover, the D5000 is a somewhat more recent model (by 7 months) than the G1, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time that further enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixels.

The Nikon D5000 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 200 to ISO 3200, which can be extended to ISO 200-6400. The corresponding ISO settings for the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G1 are ISO 100 to ISO 1600, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 100-3200.

D5000 versus G1 MP

Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for many cameras. 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 review, the D5000 provides substantially higher image quality than the G1, with an overall score that is 19 points higher. This advantage is based on 1.6 bits higher color depth, 2.2 EV in additional dynamic range, and 0.9 stops in additional low light sensitivity. 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 D5000 APS-C 12.2 4288 2848720/24p22.712.586872
2.
 
Panasonic G1 Four Thirds 12.0 4000 3000none21.110.346353
3.
 
Canon XSi APS-C 12.2 4272 2848none21.910.869261
4.
 
Nikon D5600 APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.114.0130684
5.
 
Nikon D5200 APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60i24.213.9128484
6.
 
Nikon D5100 APS-C 16.1 4928 32641080/30p23.513.6118380
7.
 
Nikon D3100 APS-C 14.2 4608 30721080/24p22.511.391967
8.
 
Nikon D3000 APS-C 10.0 3872 2592none22.311.156362
9.
 
Nikon D60 APS-C 10.0 3872 2592none22.511.456265
10.
 
Nikon D90 APS-C 12.2 4288 2848720/24p22.712.597773
11.
 
Nikon D40X APS-C 10.0 3872 2592none22.411.451663
12.
 
Nikon D80 APS-C 10.0 3872 2592none22.111.252461
13.
 
Olympus E-410 Four Thirds 10.0 3648 2736none21.110.049451
14.
 
Panasonic G10 Four Thirds 12.0 4000 3000720/30p21.210.141152
15.
 
Panasonic G2 Four Thirds 12.0 4000 3000720/30p21.210.349353
16.
 
Panasonic GH1 Four Thirds 12.0 4000 30001080/24p21.611.677264
17.
 
Panasonic L10 Four Thirds 10.0 3648 2736none21.310.842955

Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. The D5000 indeed provides movie recording capabilities, while the G1 does not. The highest resolution format that the D5000 can use is 720/24p.

Feature comparison

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the G1 has an electronic viewfinder (1440k dots), while the D5000 has an optical one. Both systems have their advantages, with the electronic viewfinder making it possible to project supplementary shooting information into the framing view, whereas the optical viewfinder offers lag-free viewing and a very clear framing image. The viewfinder in the G1 offers a wider field of view (100%) than the one in the D5000 (95%), so that a larger proportion of the captured image is visible in the finder. In addition, the viewfinder of the G1 has a higher magnification (0.70x vs 0.51x), so that the size of the image transmitted appears closer to the size seen with the naked human eye. The table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Nikon D5000 and Panasonic G1 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 D5000optical n2.7 / 230 full-flex n 1/4000s 4.0 Y n
2.
 
Panasonic G11440 n3.0 / 460 swivel n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
3.
 
Canon XSioptical n3.0 / 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.5 Y n
4.
 
Nikon D5600optical n3.2 / 1037 swivel Y 1/4000s 5.0 Y n
5.
 
Nikon D5200optical n3.0 / 921 swivel n 1/4000s 5.0 Y n
6.
 
Nikon D5100optical n3.0 / 921 swivel n 1/4000s 4.0 Y n
7.
 
Nikon D3100optical n3.0 / 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
8.
 
Nikon D3000optical n3.0 / 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
9.
 
Nikon D60optical n2.5 / 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
10.
 
Nikon D90optical Y3.0 / 920 fixed n 1/4000s 4.5 Y n
11.
 
Nikon D40Xoptical n2.5 / 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
12.
 
Nikon D80optical n2.5 / 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
13.
 
Olympus E-410optical n2.5 / 215 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
14.
 
Panasonic G10202 n3.0 / 460 fixed n 1/4000s 2.6 Y n
15.
 
Panasonic G21440 n3.0 / 460 swivel Y 1/4000s 2.6 Y n
16.
 
Panasonic GH11440 n3.0 / 460 swivel n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
17.
 
Panasonic L10optical n2.5 / 207 swivel n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
Both cameras have an articulated rear screen that can be turned to be front-facing. This feature will be particularly appreciated by vloggers and photographers who are interested in taking selfies.

The Nikon D5000 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.

Concerning the storage of imaging data, both the D5000 and the G1 write their files to SDHC 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 D5000 and Panasonic Lumix DMC-G1 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 D5000Ymono / mono--mini2.0---
2.
 
Panasonic G1Y- / ---mini2.0---
3.
 
Canon XSiY- / ---mini2.0---
4.
 
Nikon D5600Ystereo / monoY-mini2.0YYY
5.
 
Nikon D5200Ystereo / monoY-mini2.0---
6.
 
Nikon D5100Ymono / monoY-mini2.0---
7.
 
Nikon D3100Ymono / mono--mini2.0---
8.
 
Nikon D3000Y- / ----2.0---
9.
 
Nikon D60Y- / ----2.0---
10.
 
Nikon D90Ymono / mono--mini2.0---
11.
 
Nikon D40XY- / ----2.0---
12.
 
Nikon D80Y- / ----2.0---
13.
 
Olympus E-410Y- / ----2.0---
14.
 
Panasonic G10Ymono / ---mini2.0---
15.
 
Panasonic G2Ystereo / mono--mini2.0---
16.
 
Panasonic GH1Ystereo / -Y-mini2.0---
17.
 
Panasonic L10Y- / ----2.0---

Both the D5000 and the G1 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The G1 was replaced by the Panasonic G2, while the D5000 was followed by the Nikon D5100. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Nikon and Panasonic websites.

Review summary

So how do things add up? Is the Nikon D5000 better than the Panasonic G1 or vice versa? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.

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Reasons to prefer the Nikon D5000:

  • Better image quality: Scores substantially higher (19 points) in the DXO overall assessment.
  • Richer colors: Generates images with noticeably better colors (1.6 bits more color depth).
  • More dynamic range: Captures a larger spectrum of light and dark details (2.2 EV of extra DR).
  • Better low-light sensitivity: Requires less light for good images (0.9 stops ISO advantage).
  • Broader imaging potential: Can record not only still images but also 720/24p movies.
  • Brighter framing: Features an optical viewfinder for clear, lag-free composition.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (4 vs 3 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • Easier time-lapse photography: Has an intervalometer built-in for low frequency shooting.
  • Longer lasting: Can take more shots (510 versus 410) on a single battery charge.
  • More modern: Is somewhat more recent (announced 7 months after the G1).

ilogo

Advantages of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G1:

  • More framing info: Has an electronic viewfinder that displays shooting data.
  • More complete view: Has a viewfinder with a larger field of view (100% vs 95%).
  • Larger viewfinder image: Features a viewfinder with a higher magnification (0.70x vs 0.51x).
  • Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.0" vs 2.7") for image review and settings control.
  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (460k vs 230k dots).
  • More compact: Is smaller (124x84mm vs 127x104mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
  • Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 230g or 39 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
  • More legacy lens friendly: Can use many non-native lenses via adapters.
  • More affordable: Was released into a lower priced segment (20 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in September 2008).

If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the match-up finishes in a tie (10 points each). 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 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.

D5000 10:10 G1

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Nikon D5000 and the Panasonic G1 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best DSLR Camera and Best Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera listings whether the two cameras rank among the cream of the crop.

In any case, while the specs-based evaluation of cameras can be instructive in revealing their potential as photographic tools, it says little about, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance of the D5000 and the G1 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 hands-on reviews by experts are important. The adjacent summary-table relays the overall verdicts of several of the most popular camera 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 D5000..+ +..75/1004/54.5/5 Apr 2009 749i
2.
 
Panasonic G1..+ +..70/1004/54.5/5 Sep 2008 599i
3.
 
Canon XSi..+ +..+ +4/54.5/5 Jan 2008 799i
4.
 
Nikon D56004/5..4/579/1004.5/54/5 Nov 2016 699 i
5.
 
Nikon D52004/5+ +..79/1004.5/54.5/5 Nov 2012 749i
6.
 
Nikon D51005/5+ +..76/1004.5/54.5/5 Apr 2011 749i
7.
 
Nikon D31005/5+ +..72/1004.5/54.5/5 Aug 2010 599i
8.
 
Nikon D3000..+..72/1004/54.5/5 Jul 2009 599i
9.
 
Nikon D60..80/100..+ +4/54.5/5 Jan 2008 629i
10.
 
Nikon D90..+ +..+ +4/54.5/5 Aug 2008 1,299i
11.
 
Nikon D40X..79/100..+ +4/54/5 Mar 2007 729i
12.
 
Nikon D80..+..+ +o4.5/5 Aug 2006 999i
13.
 
Olympus E-410..86/100..+ +4/54.5/5 Mar 2007 699i
14.
 
Panasonic G103/5....70/1004/54/5 Mar 2010 499i
15.
 
Panasonic G2......72/1004/54.5/5 Mar 2010 599i
16.
 
Panasonic GH1..+ +..72/1004.5/54.5/5 Mar 2009 899i
17.
 
Panasonic L10..85/100..+3.5/54/5 Aug 2007 599i
Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.

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

Nikon D5000:
Check Ebay offers
Panasonic G1:
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 D5000 vs Panasonic G1

    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 D5000 Panasonic G1
    Camera Type Digital single lens reflex Mirrorless system camera
    Camera Lens Nikon F mount lenses Micro Four Thirds lenses
    Launch Date April 2009 September 2008
    Launch Price USD 749 USD 599
    Sensor Specs Nikon D5000 Panasonic G1
    Sensor Technology CMOS CMOS
    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 12.2 Megapixels 12 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 4288 x 2848 pixels 4000 x 3000 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 5.53 μm 4.33 μm
    Pixel Density 3.28 MP/cm2 5.34 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability 720/24p Video no Video
    ISO Setting 200 - 3,200 ISO 100 - 1,600 ISO
    ISO Boost 200 - 6,400 ISO 100 - 3,200 ISO
    Image Processor EXPEED Venus HD
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) 72 53
    DXO Color Depth (bits) 22.7 21.1
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) 12.5 10.3
    DXO Low Light (ISO) 868 463
    Screen Specs Nikon D5000 Panasonic G1
    Viewfinder Type Optical viewfinder Electronic viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 95% 100%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.51x 0.70x
    Viewfinder Resolution 1440k dots
    LCD Framing Live View Live View
    Rear LCD Size 2.7inch 3.0inch
    LCD Resolution 230k dots 460k dots
    LCD Attachment Fully flexible screen Swivel screen
    Shooting Specs Nikon D5000 Panasonic G1
    Focus System Phase-detect AF Contrast-detect AF
    Continuous Shooting 4 shutter flaps/s 3 shutter flaps/s
    Time-Lapse PhotographyIntervalometer built-inno Intervalometer
    Fill Flash Built-in Flash Built-in Flash
    Storage Medium SDHC cards SDHC cards
    Second Storage Option Single card slot Single card slot
    UHS card support no no
    Connectivity Specs Nikon D5000 Panasonic G1
    External Flash Hotshoe Hotshoe
    USB Connector USB 2.0 USB 2.0
    HDMI Port mini HDMI mini HDMI
    Wifi Support no Wifi no Wifi
    Body Specs Nikon D5000 Panasonic G1
    Battery Type EN-EL9a DMW-BLB13
    Battery Life (CIPA)510 shots per charge410 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 127 x 104 x 80 mm
    (5.0 x 4.1 x 3.1 in)
    124 x 84 x 45 mm
    (4.9 x 3.3 x 1.8 in)
    Camera Weight 590 g (20.8 oz) 360 g (12.7 oz)

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