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Nikon D90 vs Sony HX400V

The Nikon D90 and the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX400V are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in August 2008 and February 2014. The D90 is a DSLR, while the HX400V is a fixed lens compact. The cameras are based on an APS-C (D90) and a 1/2.3-inch (HX400V) sensor. The Nikon has a resolution of 12.2 megapixels, whereas the Sony provides 20.2 MP. Read on to find out how these two cameras compare with respect to their body size, their sensors, their features, their input-output connections, and their reception by expert reviewers.

Headline Specifications
Nikon D90   Sony HX400V
Nikon D90 Sony HX400V
Digital single lens reflex Fixed lens compact camera
Nikon F mount lenses 24-1200mm f/2.8-6.3
12.2 MP, APS-C Sensor 20.2 MP, 1/2.3" Sensor
720/24p Video 1080/60p Video
ISO 200-3200 (200-6400) ISO 80-3200 (80-12800)
Optical viewfinder Electronic viewfinder (210k dots)
3.0" LCD, 920k dots 3.0" LCD, 921k dots
Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive) Tilting screen (not touch-sensitive)
4.5 shutter flaps per second 10 shutter flaps per second
850 shots per battery charge300 shots per battery charge
132 x 103 x 77 mm, 703 g 130 x 93 x 103 mm, 660 g

Body comparison: Nikon D90 vs Sony HX400V

The physical size and weight of the Nikon D90 and the Sony HX400V 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.

Compare Nikon D90 and Sony HX400V
Compare D90 versus HX400V top
Compare D90 or HX400V rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Sony HX400V is notably smaller (11 percent) than the Nikon D90. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the D90 nor the HX400V are weather-sealed.

The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the HX400V has a lens built in, whereas the D90 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 D90 and their specifications in the Nikon Lens Catalog.

Concerning battery life, the D90 gets 850 shots out of its EN-EL3e battery, while the HX400V can take 300 images on a single charge of its NP-BX1 power pack.

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 D90» 5.2 in 4.1 in 3.0 in 24.8 oz 850 n Aug 2008 1,299- i Nikon D90
 
Sony HX400V« 5.1 in 3.7 in 4.1 in 23.3 oz 300 n Feb 2014 499 i i Sony HX400V
 
Canon SX70« » 5.0 in 3.6 in 4.6 in 21.4 oz 325 n Sep 2018 549 i i Canon SX70
 
Canon SX60« » 5.0 in 3.7 in 4.5 in 22.9 oz 340 n Sep 2014 549- i Canon SX60
 
Canon 40D« » 5.7 in 4.3 in 2.9 in 29.0 oz 750 n Aug 2007 1,299- i Canon 40D
 
Kodak AZ901« » 5.5 in 4.1 in 4.7 in 27.4 oz 400 n Jan 2016 499 i i Kodak AZ901
 
Nikon D7000« » 5.2 in 4.1 in 3.0 in 27.5 oz 1050 Y Sep 2010 1,499- i Nikon D7000
 
Nikon D3100« » 4.9 in 3.8 in 3.0 in 17.8 oz 550 n Aug 2010 599- i Nikon D3100
 
Nikon D300S« » 5.8 in 4.5 in 3.2 in 33.1 oz 950 Y Jul 2009 1,799- i Nikon D300S
 
Nikon D3000« » 5.0 in 3.8 in 2.5 in 18.9 oz 500 n Jul 2009 599- i Nikon D3000
 
Nikon D5000« » 5.0 in 4.1 in 3.1 in 20.8 oz 510 n Apr 2009 749- i Nikon D5000
 
Nikon D60« » 5.0 in 3.7 in 2.5 in 18.4 oz 500 n Jan 2008 629- i Nikon D60
 
Nikon D40X« » 4.9 in 3.7 in 2.5 in 18.4 oz 520 n Mar 2007 729- i Nikon D40X
 
Nikon D300« » 5.8 in 4.5 in 2.9 in 32.6 oz 1000 Y Aug 2007 1,799- i Nikon D300
 
Nikon D80« » 5.2 in 4.1 in 3.0 in 23.6 oz 600 n Aug 2006 999- i Nikon D80
 
Sony HX99« » 4.0 in 2.3 in 1.4 in 8.5 oz 370 n Aug 2018 449 i i Sony HX99
 
Sony HX95« » 4.0 in 2.3 in 1.4 in 8.5 oz 370 n Aug 2018 429 i i Sony HX95

Any camera decision will obviously take relative prices into account. 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 HX400V was launched at a lower price than the D90, despite having a lens built in. 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: Nikon D90 vs Sony HX400V

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. Further, a large sensor camera will give the photographer additional creative options when using shallow depth-of-field to isolate a subject from its 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 D90 features an APS-C sensor and the Sony HX400V a 1/2.3-inch sensor. The sensor area in the HX400V is 92 percent smaller. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 1.5 and 5.6. The sensor in the D90 has a native 3:2 aspect ratio, while the one in the HX400V offers a 4:3 aspect.

Nikon D90 and Sony HX400V sensor measures

Despite having a smaller sensor, the HX400V offers a higher resolution of 20.2 megapixels, compared with 12.2 MP of the D90. This megapixels advantage comes at the cost of a higher pixel density and a smaller size of the individual pixel (with a pixel pitch of 1.18μm versus 5.53μm for the D90). However, it should be noted that the HX400V is much more recent (by 5 years and 5 months) than the D90, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that make it possible to gather light more efficiently. Coming back to sensor resolution, it should be mentioned that the HX400V has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.

The Nikon D90 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 Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX400V are ISO 80 to ISO 3200, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 80-12800..

D90 versus HX400V 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. 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 D90» APS-C 12.2 4288 2848720/24p22.712.597773Nikon D90
 
Sony HX400V« 1/2.3 20.2 5184 38881080/60p----Sony HX400V
 
Canon SX70« » 1/2.3 20.2 5184 38884K/30p----Canon SX70
 
Canon SX60« » 1/2.3 14.2 4608 30721080/60p19.210.812739Canon SX60
 
Canon 40D« » APS-C 10.1 3888 2592-22.111.370364Canon 40D
 
Kodak AZ901« » 1/2.3 20.2 5184 38881080/30p----Kodak AZ901
 
Nikon D7000« » APS-C 16.1 4928 326410800/24p23.513.9116780Nikon D7000
 
Nikon D3100« » APS-C 14.2 4608 30721080/24p22.511.391967Nikon D3100
 
Nikon D300S« » APS-C 12.2 4288 2848720/24p22.512.278770Nikon D300S
 
Nikon D3000« » APS-C 10.0 3872 2592-22.311.156362Nikon D3000
 
Nikon D5000« » APS-C 12.2 4288 2848720/24p22.712.586872Nikon D5000
 
Nikon D60« » APS-C 10.0 3872 2592-22.511.456265Nikon D60
 
Nikon D40X« » APS-C 10.0 3872 2592-22.411.451663Nikon D40X
 
Nikon D300« » APS-C 12.2 4288 2848-22.112.067967Nikon D300
 
Nikon D80« » APS-C 10.0 3872 2592-22.111.252461Nikon D80
 
Sony HX99« » 1/2.3 18.0 4896 36724K/30p----Sony HX99
 
Sony HX95« » 1/2.3 18.0 4896 36724K/30p----Sony HX95

Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. The two cameras under consideration both have sensors whose read-out speed is fast enough to capture moving pictures, but the HX400V provides a better video resolution than the D90. It can shoot movie footage at 1080/60p, while the Nikon is limited to 720/24p.

 

Feature comparison: Nikon D90 vs Sony HX400V

Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the HX400V has an electronic viewfinder (210k dots), while the D90 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 following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Nikon D90, the Sony HX400V, and comparable cameras.

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)
Shutter
speed
(1/sec)
Shutter
flaps
(1/sec)
Built-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Built-in
Image
Stab
Camera
Model
 
Nikon D90»optical Y 3.0 920 fixed n 4000 4.5 Y n Nikon D90
 
Sony HX400V«210 n 3.0 921 tilting n 4000 10.0 Y Y Sony HX400V
 
Canon SX70« »2360 n 3.0 922 swivel n 2000 10.0 Y Y Canon SX70
 
Canon SX60« »922 n 3.0 922 swivel n 2000 6.4 Y Y Canon SX60
 
Canon 40D« »optical Y 3.0 230 fixed n 8000 6.5 Y n Canon 40D
 
Kodak AZ901« »202 n 3.0 920 swivel n 2000 5.0 Y Y Kodak AZ901
 
Nikon D7000« »optical Y 3.0 921 fixed n 8000 6.0 Y n Nikon D7000
 
Nikon D3100« »optical n 3.0 230 fixed n 4000 3.0 Y n Nikon D3100
 
Nikon D300S« »optical Y 3.0 920 fixed n 8000 7.0 Y n Nikon D300S
 
Nikon D3000« »optical n 3.0 230 fixed n 4000 3.0 Y n Nikon D3000
 
Nikon D5000« »optical n 2.7 230 full-flex n 4000 4.0 Y n Nikon D5000
 
Nikon D60« »optical n 2.5 230 fixed n 4000 3.0 Y n Nikon D60
 
Nikon D40X« »optical n 2.5 230 fixed n 4000 3.0 Y n Nikon D40X
 
Nikon D300« »optical Y 3.0 922 fixed n 8000 6.0 Y n Nikon D300
 
Nikon D80« »optical n 2.5 230 fixed n 4000 3.0 Y n Nikon D80
 
Sony HX99« »638 n 3.0 922 tilting Y 2000 10.0 Y Y Sony HX99
 
Sony HX95« »638 n 3.0 922 tilting n 2000 10.0 Y Y Sony HX95

One feature that is present on the D90, but is missing on the HX400V 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 D90 writes its imaging data to SDHC cards, while the HX400V uses SDXC or Memory Stick PRO Duo cards.

 

Connectivity comparison: Nikon D90 vs Sony HX400V

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 D90 and Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX400V 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 D90»Ymonomono--mini2.0---Nikon D90
 
Sony HX400V«Ystereomono--micro2.0YY-Sony HX400V
 
Canon SX70« »-stereomonoY-micro2.0Y-YCanon SX70
 
Canon SX60« »YstereomonoY-mini2.0YY-Canon SX60
 
Canon 40D« »Y-----2.0---Canon 40D
 
Kodak AZ901« »-stereomono--micro2.0Y--Kodak AZ901
 
Nikon D7000« »YmonomonoY-mini2.0---Nikon D7000
 
Nikon D3100« »Ymonomono--mini2.0---Nikon D3100
 
Nikon D300S« »YstereomonoY-mini2.0---Nikon D300S
 
Nikon D3000« »Y-----2.0---Nikon D3000
 
Nikon D5000« »Ymonomono--mini2.0---Nikon D5000
 
Nikon D60« »Y-----2.0---Nikon D60
 
Nikon D40X« »Y-----2.0---Nikon D40X
 
Nikon D300« »Y----mini2.0---Nikon D300
 
Nikon D80« »Y-----2.0---Nikon D80
 
Sony HX99« »-stereomono--micro2.0YYYSony HX99
 
Sony HX95« »-stereomono--micro2.0YYYSony HX95

It is notable that the HX400V offers wifi support, which can be a very convenient means to transfer image data to an off-camera location. In contrast, the D90 does not offer wifi capability.

The HX400V is a recent model that features in the current product line-up of Sony. In contrast, the D90 has been discontinued (but it can be found pre-owned on eBay). As a replacement in the same line of cameras, the D90 was succeeded by the Nikon D7000. Further information on the two cameras, as well as related accessories, can be found on the Nikon and Sony websites.


Review summary: Nikon D90 vs Sony HX400V

So what conclusions can be drawn? Which of the two cameras – the Nikon D90 or the Sony HX400V – has the upper hand? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.

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Reasons to prefer the Nikon D90:

  • Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
  • Better image quality: Features bigger pixels on a larger sensor for higher quality imaging.
  • Richer colors: Larger pixels generate images with better, more accurate colors.
  • More dynamic range: Capable of capturing a wider spectrum of light and dark details.
  • Better low-light sensitivity: Can be used in poorly lit environments and still produce good images.
  • Brighter framing: Features an optical viewfinder for clear, lag-free composition.
  • Easier setting verification: Features an LCD display on top to control shooting parameters.
  • More flexible: Can take a variety of interchangeable lenses, including specialty optics.
  • Longer lasting: Can take more shots (850 versus 300) on a single battery charge.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in August 2008).

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Arguments in favor of the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX400V:

  • More detail: Has more megapixels (20.2 vs 12.2MP), which boosts linear resolution by 26%.
  • Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
  • Better video: Provides higher definition movie capture (1080/60p vs 720/24p).
  • More framing info: Has an electronic viewfinder that displays shooting data.
  • More flexible LCD: Has a tilting screen for odd-angle shots in landscape orientation.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (10 vs 4.5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • Ready to shoot: Comes with an integrated lens, while the D90 requires a separate lens.
  • More compact: Is smaller (130x93mm vs 132x103mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
  • Less heavy: Has a lower weight even though it has a lens built in (unlike the D90).
  • Sharper images: Has stabilization technology built-in to reduce the impact of hand-shake.
  • Easier file upload: Has wifi built in for automatic backup or image transfer to the web.
  • Easier device pairing: Supports NFC for fast wireless image transfer over short distances.
  • More affordable: Was introduced at a lower price, despite coming with a built-in lens.
  • More modern: Reflects 5 years and 5 months of technical progress since the D90 launch.

If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the HX400V is the clear winner of the contest (14 : 10 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.

D90 10:14 HX400V

In any case, while the specs-based evaluation of cameras can be instructive in revealing their potential as photographic tools, it remains partial and cannot reveal, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance when actually working with the D90 or the HX400V. 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: Nikon D90 vs Sony HX400V

This is why expert reviews are important. The following table reports the overall rankings of the cameras as published by some of the major camera review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, photographyblog).

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 D90»++++4/55/54.5/5 Aug 2008 1,299- i Nikon D90
 
Sony HX400V«++-4/5-4/5 Feb 2014 499 i i Sony HX400V
 
Canon SX70« »--3.5/5-3.5/5 Sep 2018 549 i i Canon SX70
 
Canon SX60« »++75/1004/5-4.5/5 Sep 2014 549- i Canon SX60
 
Canon 40D« »++++4.5/5o4.5/5 Aug 2007 1,299- i Canon 40D
 
Kodak AZ901« »--3.5/5-3/5 Jan 2016 499 i i Kodak AZ901
 
Nikon D7000« »-80/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Sep 2010 1,499- i Nikon D7000
 
Nikon D3100« »++72/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Aug 2010 599- i Nikon D3100
 
Nikon D300S« »++82/1004/55/54.5/5 Jul 2009 1,799- i Nikon D300S
 
Nikon D3000« »+72/1004/53.5/54.5/5 Jul 2009 599- i Nikon D3000
 
Nikon D5000« »++75/1004/55/54.5/5 Apr 2009 749- i Nikon D5000
 
Nikon D60« »80/100++4/5o4.5/5 Jan 2008 629- i Nikon D60
 
Nikon D40X« »79/100++4/5o4/5 Mar 2007 729- i Nikon D40X
 
Nikon D300« »++++5/5o4.5/5 Aug 2007 1,799- i Nikon D300
 
Nikon D80« »+++o4.5/54.5/5 Aug 2006 999- i Nikon D80
 
Sony HX99« »--4/5-4.5/5 Aug 2018 449 i i Sony HX99
 
Sony HX95« »----- Aug 2018 429 i i Sony HX95
Notes: ++) highly recommended; +) recommended; o) reviewed; -) not available.

Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, though. The assessments were made in relation to similar cameras of the same technological generation. Hence, a score should always be seen in the context of the camera's market launch date and its price, and comparisons of ratings among very different cameras or across long time periods have little meaning. Also, please note that some of the review sites have changed their methodology and reporting over time.

Nikon D90:
Check Ebay offers
Sony HX400V:
Check Amazon price

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. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting.

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    Specifications: Nikon D90 vs Sony HX400V

    Camera Specifications
    Camera Model Nikon D90 Sony HX400V
    Camera Type Digital single lens reflex Fixed lens compact camera
    Camera Lens Nikon F mount lenses 24-1200mm f/2.8-6.3
    Launch Date August 2008 February 2014
    Launch Price USD 1299 USD 499
    Sensor Specs Nikon D90 Sony HX400V
    Sensor Technology CMOS BSI-CMOS
    Sensor Format APS-C Sensor 1/2.3" Sensor
    Sensor Size 23.6 x 15.8 mm 6.17 x 15.8 mm
    Sensor Area 372.88 mm2 28.0735 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 28.4 mm 7.7 mm
    Crop Factor 1.5x 5.6x
    Sensor Resolution 12.2 Megapixels 20.2 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 4288 x 2848 pixels 5184 x 3888 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 5.53 μm 1.18 μm
    Pixel Density 3.28 MP/cm2 71.80 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter no AA filter
    Movie Capability 720/24p Video 1080/60p Video
    ISO Setting 200-3200 ISO 80-3200 ISO
    ISO Boost 200-6400 ISO 80-12800 ISO
    Image Processor EXPEED BIONZ X
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) 73 ..
    DXO Color Depth (bits) 22.7 ..
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) 12.5 ..
    DXO Low Light (ISO) 977 ..
    Screen Specs Nikon D90 Sony HX400V
    Viewfinder Type Optical viewfinder Electronic viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 96% 100%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.63x ..x
    Viewfinder Resolution 210k dots
    Top-Level Screen Control Panel no Top Display
    LCD Framing Live View Live View
    Rear LCD Size 3.0 inch 3.0 inch
    LCD Resolution 920k dots 921k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen Tilting screen
    Shooting Specs Nikon D90 Sony HX400V
    Autofocus System Phase-detect AF Contrast-detect AF
    Maximum Shutter Speed 1/4000s 1/4000s
    Continuous Shooting 4.5 shutter flaps/s 10 shutter flaps/s
    Fill Flash Build-in Flash Build-in Flash
    Storage Medium SDHC cards MS or SDXC cards
    Second Storage Option Single card slot Single card slot
    UHS card support no no
    Connectivity Specs Nikon D90 Sony HX400V
    External Flash Hotshoe Hotshoe
    USB Connector USB 2.0 USB 2.0
    HDMI Port mini HDMI micro HDMI
    Wifi Support no Wifi Wifi built-in
    Near-Field Communication no NFC NFC built-in
    Body Specs Nikon D90 Sony HX400V
    Battery Type EN-EL3e power pack NP-BX1 power pack
    Battery Life (CIPA)850 shots per charge300 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 132 x 103 x 77 mm
    (5.2 x 4.1 x 3.0 in)
    130 x 93 x 103 mm
    (5.1 x 3.7 x 4.1 in)
    Camera Weight 703 g (24.8 oz) 660 g (23.3 oz)

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