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Nikon Z5 vs Sony A7 III

The Nikon Z5 and the Sony Alpha A7 III are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in July 2020 and February 2018. Both the Z5 and the A7 III are mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras that are equipped with a full frame sensor. The Nikon has a resolution of 24.2 megapixels, whereas the Sony provides 24 MP.

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

Headline Specifications
Nikon Z5 versus Sony A7 III
Nikon Z5 Sony A7 III
Mirrorless system camera Mirrorless system camera
Nikon Z mount lenses Sony E mount lenses
24.2 MP, Full Frame Sensor 24 MP, Full Frame Sensor
4K/30p Video 4K/30p Video
ISO 100-51,200 (50 - 102,400) ISO 100-51,200 (50 - 204,800)
Electronic viewfinder (3690k dots) Electronic viewfinder (2359k dots)
3.2 LCD, 1040k dots 3.0 LCD, 922k dots
Tilting touchscreen Tilting touchscreen
4.5 shutter flaps per second 10 shutter flaps per second
In-body stabilizationIn-body stabilization
Weathersealed bodyWeathersealed body
470 shots per battery charge610 shots per battery charge
134 x 101 x 67 mm, 675 g 127 x 96 x 74 mm, 650 g

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Nikon Z5 and the Sony Alpha A7 III? 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 Z5 and the Sony A7 III are illustrated 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 Z5 vs Sony A7 III
Compare Z5 versus A7 III top
Comparison Z5 or A7 III rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Sony A7 III is notably smaller (10 percent) than the Nikon Z5. Moreover, the A7 III is slightly lighter (4 percent) than the Z5. In this context, it is worth noting that both cameras are splash and dust-proof and can, hence, be used in inclement weather conditions or harsh environments.

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. Hence, you might want to study and compare the specifications of available lenses in order to get the full picture of the size and weight of the two camera systems.

Concerning battery life, the Z5 gets 470 shots out of its EN-EL15c battery, while the A7 III can take 610 images on a single charge of its NP-FZ100 power pack. The battery packs of both cameras can be charged via USB, 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 Z5 134 mm 101 mm 67 mm 675 g 470 Y Jul 2020 1,399 i
2.
 
Sony A7 III 127 mm 96 mm 74 mm 650 g 610 Y Feb 2018 1,999 i
3.
 
Fujifilm X-T4 135 mm 93 mm 64 mm 607 g 500 Y Feb 2020 1,699 i
4.
 
Nikon Z7 II 134 mm 101 mm 70 mm 705 g 420 Y Oct 2020 2,999 i
5.
 
Nikon Z6 II 134 mm 101 mm 70 mm 705 g 410 Y Oct 2020 1,999 i
6.
 
Nikon Z6 134 mm 101 mm 67 mm 675 g 310 Y Aug 2018 1,999i
7.
 
Nikon Z7 134 mm 101 mm 67 mm 675 g 330 Y Aug 2018 3,399i
8.
 
Nikon D7500 136 mm 104 mm 73 mm 720 g 950 Y Apr 2017 1,299 i
9.
 
Olympus E-M5 III 125 mm 85 mm 50 mm 414 g 310 Y Oct 2019 1,199 i
10.
 
Panasonic G9 137 mm 97 mm 92 mm 658 g 400 Y Nov 2017 1,699 i
11.
 
Sony A9 II 129 mm 96 mm 76 mm 678 g 690 Y Oct 2019 4,499 i
12.
 
Sony A7R IV 129 mm 96 mm 78 mm 665 g 670 Y Jul 2019 3,499 i
13.
 
Sony A6600 120 mm 67 mm 69 mm 503 g 810 Y Aug 2019 1,399 i
14.
 
Sony A7R III 127 mm 96 mm 74 mm 650 g 650 Y Oct 2017 3,199i
15.
 
Sony A9 127 mm 96 mm 63 mm 673 g 650 Y Apr 2017 4,499i
16.
 
Sony A7 II 127 mm 96 mm 60 mm 599 g 350 Y Nov 2014 1,999i
Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.

The price is, of course, an important factor in any camera decision. 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 Z5 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 30 percent) than the A7 III, which puts it into a different market segment. 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.

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Sensor comparison

The size of the imaging sensor is a crucial determinant of image quality. A large sensor will tend to have larger individual pixels that provide better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and richer color-depth than smaller pixel-units 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.

Both cameras under consideration feature a full frame sensor, but their sensors differ slightly in size. The sensor area in the A7 III is 1 percent smaller. They nevertheless have the same format factor of 1.0. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.

Nikon Z5 and Sony A7 III sensor measures

With 24.2MP, the Z5 offers a slightly higher resolution than the A7 III (24MP), but the Z5 nevertheless has marginally larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 5.95μm versus 5.94μm for the A7 III) due to its larger sensor. Moreover, the Z5 is a much more recent model (by 2 years and 4 months) than the A7 III, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that further enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixels.

The Nikon Z5 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 51200, which can be extended to ISO 50-102400. The corresponding ISO settings for the Sony Alpha A7 III are ISO 100 to ISO 51200, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 50-204800.

Z5 versus A7 III MP

Since 2007, DXO Mark has published sensor performance measurements that have been derived using a consistent methodology. This service determines an overall sensor rating, as well as sub-scores for low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and color depth ("DXO Portrait"). 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 Z5 Full Frame 24.2 6016 40164K/30p........
2.
 
Sony A7 III Full Frame 24.0 6000 40004K/30p25.014.7373096
3.
 
Fujifilm X-T4 APS-C 26.0 6240 41604K/60p........
4.
 
Nikon Z7 II Full Frame 45.4 8256 55044K/60p........
5.
 
Nikon Z6 II Full Frame 24.3 6048 40244K/60p........
6.
 
Nikon Z6 Full Frame 24.3 6048 40244K/30p25.314.3329995
7.
 
Nikon Z7 Full Frame 45.4 8256 55044K/30p26.314.6266899
8.
 
Nikon D7500 APS-C 20.7 5568 37124K/30p24.314.0148386
9.
 
Olympus E-M5 III Four Thirds 20.2 5184 38884K/30p........
10.
 
Panasonic G9 Four Thirds 20.2 5184 38884K/60p........
11.
 
Sony A9 II Full Frame 24.0 6000 40004K/30p25.014.0343493
12.
 
Sony A7R IV Full Frame 60.2 9504 63364K/30p26.014.8334499
13.
 
Sony A6600 APS-C 24.0 6000 40004K/30p23.813.4149782
14.
 
Sony A7R III Full Frame 42.2 7952 53044K/30p26.014.73523100
15.
 
Sony A9 Full Frame 24.0 6000 40004K/30p24.913.3351792
16.
 
Sony A7 II Full Frame 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.913.6244990

Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but also of capturing video footage. Both cameras under consideration have a sensor with sufficiently fast read-out times for moving pictures, and both provide the same movie specifications (4K/30p).

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Feature comparison

Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The two cameras under consideration are similar with respect to both having an electronic viewfinder. However, the one in the Z5 offers a substantially higher resolution than the one in the A7 III (3690k vs 2359k dots). The adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Nikon Z5 and Sony A7 III along with similar information for a selection of comparators.

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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
1.
 
Nikon Z53690 n 3.2 1040 tilting Y 1/8000s 4.5 n Y
2.
 
Sony A7 III2359 n 3.0 922 tilting Y 1/8000s 10.0 n Y
3.
 
Fujifilm X-T43690 n 3.0 1620 swivel Y 1/8000s 15.0 n Y
4.
 
Nikon Z7 II3690 Y 3.2 2100 tilting Y 1/8000s 10.0 n Y
5.
 
Nikon Z6 II3690 Y 3.2 2100 tilting Y 1/8000s 14.0 n Y
6.
 
Nikon Z63690 Y 3.2 2100 tilting Y 1/8000s 12.0 n Y
7.
 
Nikon Z73690 Y 3.2 2100 tilting Y 1/8000s 9.0 n Y
8.
 
Nikon D7500optical Y 3.2 922 tilting Y 1/8000s 8.0 Y n
9.
 
Olympus E-M5 III2360 n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 1/8000s 10.0 n Y
10.
 
Panasonic G93680 Y 3.0 1040 swivel Y 1/8000s 20.0 n Y
11.
 
Sony A9 II3686 n 3.0 1440 tilting Y 1/8000s 10.0 n Y
12.
 
Sony A7R IV5760 n 3.0 1440 tilting Y 1/8000s 10.0 n Y
13.
 
Sony A66002359 n 3.0 922 tilting Y 1/4000s 11.0 n Y
14.
 
Sony A7R III3686 n 3.0 1440 tilting Y 1/8000s 10.0 n Y
15.
 
Sony A93686 n 3.0 1440 tilting Y 1/8000s 20.0 n Y
16.
 
Sony A7 II2400 n 3.0 1230 tilting n 1/8000s 5.0 n Y

The reported shutter speed information refers to the use of the mechanical shutter. Yet, some cameras only have an electronic shutter, while others have an electronic shutter in addition to a mechanical one. In fact, both cameras under consideration feature an electronic shutter, which makes completely silent shooting possible. However, this mode is less suitable for photographing moving objects (risk of rolling shutter) or shooting under artificial light sources (risk of flickering).

The Nikon Z5 and the Sony A7 III both have 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 Z5 writes its imaging data to SDXC cards, while the A7 III uses SDXC or Memory Stick PRO Duo cards. Both cameras feature dual card slots, which can be very useful in case a memory card fails. However, while the Z5 supports UHS-II cards (Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 312 MB/s) on both slots, the A7 III supports UHS-II only on its first slot and UHS-I (data transfer speed up to 104 MB/s) on the second one.

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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 Z5 and Sony Alpha A7 III 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
Microphone
Internal
Speaker
Microphone
Port
Headphone
Port
HDMI
Port
USB
Port
WiFi
Support
NFC
Support
Bluetooth
Support
1.
 
Nikon Z5YstereomonoYYmicro3.2Y-Y
2.
 
Sony A7 IIIYstereomonoYYmicro3.1YYY
3.
 
Fujifilm X-T4YstereomonoY-micro3.1Y-Y
4.
 
Nikon Z7 IIYstereomonoYYmicro3.2Y-Y
5.
 
Nikon Z6 IIYstereomonoYYmicro3.2Y-Y
6.
 
Nikon Z6YstereomonoYYmicro3.1Y-Y
7.
 
Nikon Z7YstereomonoYYmicro3.1Y-Y
8.
 
Nikon D7500YstereomonoYYmini2.0Y-Y
9.
 
Olympus E-M5 IIIYstereomonoY-micro2.0Y-Y
10.
 
Panasonic G9YstereomonoYYfull3.0Y-Y
11.
 
Sony A9 IIYstereomonoYYmicro3.1YYY
12.
 
Sony A7R IVYstereomonoYYmicro3.1YYY
13.
 
Sony A6600YstereomonoYYYES2.0YYY
14.
 
Sony A7R IIIYstereomonoYYmicro3.1YYY
15.
 
Sony A9YstereomonoYYmicro2.0YYY
16.
 
Sony A7 IIYstereomonoYYmicro2.0YY-

Both the Z5 and the A7 III are recent models that are part of the current product line-up. The A7 III replaced the earlier Sony A7 II, while the Z5 does not have a direct predecessor. 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.

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Review summary

So what conclusions can be drawn? Is there a clear favorite between the Nikon Z5 and the Sony A7 III? Which camera is better? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.

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Arguments in favor of the Nikon Z5:

  • More detailed viewfinder: Has higher resolution electronic viewfinder (3690k vs 2359k dots).
  • Larger viewfinder image: Features a viewfinder with a higher magnification (0.80x vs 0.78x).
  • Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.2" vs 3.0") for image review and settings control.
  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1040k vs 922k dots).
  • Faster data transfer: Supports a more advanced USB protocol (3.2 vs 3.1).
  • More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (30 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More modern: Reflects 2 years and 4 months of technical progress since the A7 III launch.

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Advantages of the Sony Alpha A7 III:

  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (10 vs 4.5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • Longer lasting: Gets more shots (610 versus 470) out of a single battery charge.
  • Easier device pairing: Supports NFC for fast wireless image transfer over short distances.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been around for much longer (launched in February 2018).

If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the Z5 emerges as the winner of the contest (7 : 4 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. 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.

Z5 07:04 A7 III

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Nikon Z5 and the Sony A7 III place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera listing 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 remains incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the Z5 or the A7 III perform in practice. 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 where reviews by experts come in. The table below provides a synthesis of the camera assessments of some of the best known photo-gear review sites (amateurphotographer [AP], cameralabs [CL], 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 
 DPR 
 score 
 EPZ 
 score 
 PB 
 score 
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
1.
 
Nikon Z54/5..89/1004.5/54/5 Jul 2020 1,399 i
2.
 
Sony A7 III..+ +89/1005/55/5 Feb 2018 1,999 i
3.
 
Fujifilm X-T45/5+ +..5/55/5 Feb 2020 1,699 i
4.
 
Nikon Z7 II4.5/5....4.5/54.5/5 Oct 2020 2,999 i
5.
 
Nikon Z6 II4.5/5..89/1004.5/54.5/5 Oct 2020 1,999 i
6.
 
Nikon Z65/5....4.5/55/5 Aug 2018 1,999i
7.
 
Nikon Z75/5+89/1004.5/55/5 Aug 2018 3,399i
8.
 
Nikon D75004.5/5+ +86/1005/54.5/5 Apr 2017 1,299 i
9.
 
Olympus E-M5 III5/5+82/1004.5/54.5/5 Oct 2019 1,199 i
10.
 
Panasonic G9..+ +85/1005/55/5 Nov 2017 1,699 i
11.
 
Sony A9 II....90/1005/55/5 Oct 2019 4,499 i
12.
 
Sony A7R IV5/5+91/1004.5/55/5 Jul 2019 3,499 i
13.
 
Sony A66004/5+83/1004.5/54/5 Aug 2019 1,399 i
14.
 
Sony A7R III..+ +90/1004.5/55/5 Oct 2017 3,199i
15.
 
Sony A95/5+ +89/1005/55/5 Apr 2017 4,499i
16.
 
Sony A7 II5/5+82/1004.5/55/5 Nov 2014 1,999i
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. 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 Z5:
Check Amazon price
Sony A7 III:
Check Amazon price

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. As an alternative, you can also directly jump to any one of the listed comparisons that were previously generated by the CAM-parator tool.

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    Specifications: Nikon Z5 vs Sony A7 III

    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 Z5 Sony A7 III
    Camera Type Mirrorless system camera Mirrorless system camera
    Camera Lens Nikon Z mount lenses Sony E mount lenses
    Launch Date July 2020 February 2018
    Launch Price USD 1,399 USD 1,999
    Sensor Specs Nikon Z5 Sony A7 III
    Sensor Technology CMOS BSI-CMOS
    Sensor Format Full Frame Sensor Full Frame Sensor
    Sensor Size 35.9 x 23.9 mm 35.6 x 23.8 mm
    Sensor Area 858.01 mm2 847.28 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 43.1 mm 42.8 mm
    Crop Factor 1.0x 1.0x
    Sensor Resolution 24.2 Megapixels 24 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 6016 x 4016 pixels 6000 x 4000 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 5.95 μm 5.94 μm
    Pixel Density 2.82 MP/cm2 2.83 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability 4K/30p Video 4K/30p Video
    ISO Setting 100 - 51,200 ISO 100 - 51,200 ISO
    ISO Boost 50 - 102,400 ISO 50 - 204,800 ISO
    Image Processor EXPEED 6 BIONZ X
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) .. 96
    DXO Color Depth (bits) .. 25.0
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) .. 14.7
    DXO Low Light (ISO) .. 3730
    Screen Specs Nikon Z5 Sony A7 III
    Viewfinder Type Electronic viewfinder Electronic viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 100% 100%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.80x 0.78x
    Viewfinder Resolution 3690k dots 2359k dots
    LCD Framing Live View Live View
    Rear LCD Size 3.2inch 3.0inch
    LCD Resolution 1040k dots 922k dots
    LCD Attachment Tilting screen Tilting screen
    Touch Input Touchscreen Touchscreen
    Shooting Specs Nikon Z5 Sony A7 III
    Focus System On-Sensor Phase-detect On-Sensor Phase-detect
    Manual Focusing AidFocus PeakingFocus Peaking
    Max Shutter Speed (mechanical) 1/8000s 1/8000s
    Continuous Shooting 4.5 shutter flaps/s 10 shutter flaps/s
    Shutter Life Expectancy200 000 actuations200 000 actuations
    Electronic Shutterup to 1/8000sYES
    Time-Lapse PhotographyIntervalometer built-inIntervalometer built-in
    Image StabilizationIn-body stabilizationIn-body stabilization
    Fill Flash no On-Board Flash no On-Board Flash
    Storage Medium SDXC cards MS or SDXC cards
    Second Storage Option Dual card slots Dual card slots
    UHS card support Dual UHS-II Single UHS-II
    Connectivity Specs Nikon Z5 Sony A7 III
    External Flash Hotshoe Hotshoe
    USB Connector USB 3.2 USB 3.1
    HDMI Port micro HDMI micro HDMI
    Microphone Port External MIC port External MIC port
    Headphone Socket Headphone port Headphone port
    Wifi Support Wifi built-in Wifi built-in
    Near-Field Communication no NFC NFC built-in
    Bluetooth Support Bluetooth built-in Bluetooth built-in
    Body Specs Nikon Z5 Sony A7 III
    Environmental SealingWeathersealed bodyWeathersealed body
    Battery Type EN-EL15c NP-FZ100
    Battery Life (CIPA)470 shots per charge610 shots per charge
    In-Camera Charging USB charging USB charging
    Body Dimensions 134 x 101 x 67 mm
    (5.3 x 4.0 x 2.6 in)
    127 x 96 x 74 mm
    (5.0 x 3.8 x 2.9 in)
    Camera Weight 675 g (23.8 oz) 650 g (22.9 oz)

    Did you notice an error on this page? If so, please get in touch, so that we can correct the information.

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