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Nikon Z6 II vs Panasonic S5

The Nikon Z6 II and the Panasonic Lumix DC-S5 are two enthusiast cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in October 2020 and September 2020. Both the Z6 II and the S5 are mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras that are equipped with a full frame sensor. The Nikon has a resolution of 24.3 megapixels, whereas the Panasonic 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 Z6 II
versus
Panasonic S5
Nikon Z6 II Panasonic S5
Mirrorless system camera Mirrorless system camera
Nikon Z mount lenses Leica L mount lenses
24.3 MP, Full Frame Sensor 24 MP, Full Frame Sensor
4K/60p Video 4K/60p Video
ISO 100-51,200 (50 - 204,800) ISO 100-51,200 (50 - 204,800)
Electronic viewfinder (3690k dots) Electronic viewfinder (2360k dots)
3.2 LCD, 2100k dots 3.0 LCD, 1840k dots
Tilting touchscreen Fully flexible touchscreen
14 shutter flaps per second 7 shutter flaps per second
In-body stabilizationIn-body stabilization
Weathersealed bodyWeathersealed body
410 shots per battery charge440 shots per battery charge
134 x 101 x 70 mm, 705 g 133 x 98 x 82 mm, 714 g

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Nikon Z6 II and the Panasonic Lumix DC-S5? 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 side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size and weight of the Nikon Z6 II and the Panasonic S5. 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 Z6 II vs Panasonic S5
Compare Z6 II versus S5 top
Comparison Z6 II or S5 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Panasonic S5 is somewhat smaller (4 percent) than the Nikon Z6 II. However, the S5 is slightly heavier (1 percent) than the Z6 II. 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 Z6 II gets 410 shots out of its EN-EL15c battery, while the S5 can take 440 images on a single charge of its DMW-BLK22 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 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 Z6 II 134 mm 101 mm 70 mm 705 g 410 Y Oct 2020 1,999 i
2.
 
Panasonic S5 133 mm 98 mm 82 mm 714 g 440 Y Sep 2020 1,999 i
3.
 
Canon R6 138 mm 98 mm 88 mm 680 g 360 Y Jul 2020 2,499 i
4.
 
Fujifilm X-T4 135 mm 93 mm 64 mm 607 g 500 Y Feb 2020 1,699 i
5.
 
Nikon D780 144 mm 116 mm 76 mm 840 g 2260 Y Jan 2020 2,299 i
6.
 
Nikon Z5 134 mm 101 mm 67 mm 675 g 470 Y Jul 2020 1,399 i
7.
 
Nikon Z7 II 134 mm 101 mm 70 mm 705 g 420 Y Oct 2020 2,999 i
8.
 
Nikon Z6 134 mm 101 mm 67 mm 675 g 310 Y Aug 2018 1,999 i
9.
 
Olympus E-M1 III 134 mm 91 mm 69 mm 580 g 420 Y Feb 2020 1,799 i
10.
 
Panasonic S1 149 mm 110 mm 97 mm 1017 g 400 Y Feb 2019 2,499 i
11.
 
Panasonic S1R 149 mm 110 mm 97 mm 1016 g 380 Y Feb 2019 3,699 i
12.
 
Panasonic S1H 151 mm 114 mm 110 mm 1052 g 400 Y May 2019 3,999 i
13.
 
Sony A9 II 129 mm 96 mm 76 mm 678 g 690 Y Oct 2019 4,499 i
14.
 
Sony A7 III 127 mm 96 mm 74 mm 650 g 610 Y Feb 2018 1,999 i
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 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 two cameras under review were launched at the same price and fall into the same 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 sensor inside a digital camera is one of the key determinants 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. 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 are more costly to manufacture and tend to lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.

Both cameras under consideration feature a full frame sensor, but their sensors differ slightly in size. The sensor area in the S5 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 Z6 II and Panasonic S5 sensor measures

With 24.3MP, the Z6 II offers a slightly higher resolution than the S5 (24MP), but the Z6 II nevertheless has the same individual pixel size (pixel pitch of 5.94μm) as the S5 due to its larger sensor. It is noteworthy in this context that the two cameras were released in close succession, so that their sensors are from the same technological generation. Coming back to sensor resolution, it should be mentioned that the S5 has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.

The Z6 II has on-sensor phase detect pixels, which results in fast and reliable autofocus acquisition even during live view operation.

Unlike the Z6 II, the S5 has the capacity to capture high quality composite images (96MP) by combining multiple shots after shifting its sensor by miniscule distances. This multi-shot, pixel-shift mode is most suitable for photography of stationary objects (landscapes, studio scenes).

The Nikon Z6 II has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 51200, which can be extended to ISO 50-204800. The Panasonic Lumix DC-S5 offers exactly the same ISO settings.

Z6 II versus S5 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.

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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 Z6 II Full Frame 24.3 6048 40244K/60p...... ..
2.
 
Panasonic S5 Full Frame 24.0 6000 40004K/60p...... ..
3.
 
Canon R6 Full Frame 20.0 5472 36484k/60p24.214.33394 90
4.
 
Fujifilm X-T4 APS-C 26.0 6240 41604K/60p...... ..
5.
 
Nikon D780 Full Frame 24.3 6048 40244K/30p...... ..
6.
 
Nikon Z5 Full Frame 24.2 6016 40164K/30p...... ..
7.
 
Nikon Z7 II Full Frame 45.4 8256 55044K/60p26.314.72841 100
8.
 
Nikon Z6 Full Frame 24.3 6048 40244K/30p25.314.33299 95
9.
 
Olympus E-M1 III Four Thirds 20.2 5184 38884K/30p...... ..
10.
 
Panasonic S1 Full Frame 24.0 6000 40004K/60p25.214.53333 95
11.
 
Panasonic S1R Full Frame 46.7 8368 55844K/60p26.414.13525 100
12.
 
Panasonic S1H Full Frame 24.0 6000 40006K/30p...... ..
13.
 
Sony A9 II Full Frame 24.0 6000 40004K/30p25.014.03434 93
14.
 
Sony A7 III Full Frame 24.0 6000 40004K/30p25.014.73730 96

Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. Both cameras under consideration have a sensor with sufficiently fast read-out times for moving pictures, and both provide the same movie specifications (4K/60p).

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Feature comparison

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. The two cameras under consideration are similar with respect to both having an electronic viewfinder. However, the one in the Z6 II offers a substantially higher resolution than the one in the S5 (3690k vs 2360k dots). The adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Nikon Z6 II and Panasonic S5 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 Z6 II3690 Y 3.2 2100 tilting Y 1/8000s 14.0 n Y
2.
 
Panasonic S52360 n 3.0 1840 full-flex Y 1/8000s 7.0 n Y
3.
 
Canon R63690 n 3.0 1620 swivel Y 1/8000s 12.0 n Y
4.
 
Fujifilm X-T43690 n 3.0 1620 swivel Y 1/8000s 15.0 n Y
5.
 
Nikon D780optical Y 3.2 2359 tilting Y 1/8000s 12.0 n n
6.
 
Nikon Z53690 n 3.2 1040 tilting Y 1/8000s 4.5 n Y
7.
 
Nikon Z7 II3690 Y 3.2 2100 tilting Y 1/8000s 10.0 n Y
8.
 
Nikon Z63690 Y 3.2 2100 tilting Y 1/8000s 12.0 n Y
9.
 
Olympus E-M1 III2360 n 3.0 1037 swivel Y 1/8000s 18.0 n Y
10.
 
Panasonic S15760 Y 3.2 2100 full-flex Y 1/8000s 9.0 n Y
11.
 
Panasonic S1R5760 Y 3.2 2100 full-flex Y 1/8000s 9.0 n Y
12.
 
Panasonic S1H5760 Y 3.2 2330 swivel Y 1/8000s 9.0 n Y
13.
 
Sony A9 II3686 n 3.0 1440 tilting Y 1/8000s 10.0 n Y
14.
 
Sony A7 III2359 n 3.0 922 tilting Y 1/8000s 10.0 n Y

One feature that is present on the Z6 II, but is missing on the S5 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 S5 has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing. This characteristic will be appreciated by vloggers and photographers who are interested in taking selfies. In contrast, the Z6 II does not have a selfie-screen.

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 Z6 II and the Panasonic S5 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 Z6 II writes its imaging data to CFexpress or SDXC cards, while the S5 uses SDXC cards. Both cameras feature dual card slots, which can be very useful in case a memory card fails. Both the Z6 II and the S5 support UHS-II cards, which provide for Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 312 MB/s (the second slot of the S5 only offers slower UHS-I transfer rates, though).

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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 Z6 II and Panasonic Lumix DC-S5 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 Z6 IIYstereomonoYYmicro3.2Y-Y
2.
 
Panasonic S5YstereomonoYYmicro3.2Y-Y
3.
 
Canon R6YmonomonoYYmicro3.2Y-Y
4.
 
Fujifilm X-T4YstereomonoY-micro3.1Y-Y
5.
 
Nikon D780YstereomonoYYmini3.1Y-Y
6.
 
Nikon Z5YstereomonoYYmicro3.2Y-Y
7.
 
Nikon Z7 IIYstereomonoYYmicro3.2Y-Y
8.
 
Nikon Z6YstereomonoYYmicro3.1Y-Y
9.
 
Olympus E-M1 IIIYstereomonoYYmicro3.1Y-Y
10.
 
Panasonic S1YstereomonoYYfull3.1Y-Y
11.
 
Panasonic S1RYstereomonoYYfull3.1Y-Y
12.
 
Panasonic S1HYstereomonoYYfull3.1Y-Y
13.
 
Sony A9 IIYstereomonoYYmicro3.1YYY
14.
 
Sony A7 IIIYstereomonoYYmicro3.1YYY

Both the Z6 II and the S5 are recent models that are part of the current product line-up. The Z6 II replaced the earlier Nikon Z6, while the S5 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 Panasonic websites.

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Review summary

So what conclusions can be drawn? Is there a clear favorite between the Nikon Z6 II and the Panasonic S5? Which camera is better? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.

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Advantages of the Nikon Z6 II:

  • Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
  • Better live-view autofocus: Features on-sensor phase-detection for more confident autofocus.
  • More detailed viewfinder: Has higher resolution electronic viewfinder (3690k vs 2360k dots).
  • Larger viewfinder image: Features a viewfinder with a higher magnification (0.80x vs 0.74x).
  • Easier setting verification: Features an LCD display on top to control shooting parameters.
  • 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 (2100k vs 1840k dots).
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (14 vs 7 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.

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Arguments in favor of the Panasonic Lumix DC-S5:

  • Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
  • High quality composites: Can combine several shots after pixel-shifting its sensor.
  • More flexible LCD: Has a full-flex screen for odd-angle shots in portrait or landscape orientation.
  • More selfie-friendly: Has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing.

If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the Z6 II is the clear winner of the match-up (8 : 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 wildlife photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a family photog, and a person interested in architecture has distinct needs from a sports shooter. Hence, the decision which camera is best and worth buying is often a very personal one.

Z6 II 08:04 S5

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Nikon Z6 II and the Panasonic S5 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 comparison of technical specifications can provide a useful overview of the capabilities of different cameras, it remains partial and cannot reveal, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance when actually working with the Z6 II or the S5. 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 where reviews by experts come in. The adjacent summary-table relays the overall verdicts of several of the most popular camera 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 Z6 II4.5/5..89/1004.5/54.5/5 Oct 2020 1,999 i
2.
 
Panasonic S54.5/5+ +88/1004.5/54.5/5 Sep 2020 1,999 i
3.
 
Canon R65/5+ +90/1004.5/55/5 Jul 2020 2,499 i
4.
 
Fujifilm X-T45/5+ +..5/55/5 Feb 2020 1,699 i
5.
 
Nikon D7805/5..87/1004.5/54.5/5 Jan 2020 2,299 i
6.
 
Nikon Z54/5..89/1004.5/54/5 Jul 2020 1,399 i
7.
 
Nikon Z7 II4.5/5....4.5/54.5/5 Oct 2020 2,999 i
8.
 
Nikon Z65/5....4.5/55/5 Aug 2018 1,999 i
9.
 
Olympus E-M1 III5/5..83/1004.5/54/5 Feb 2020 1,799 i
10.
 
Panasonic S14.5/5+ +88/1004.5/54/5 Feb 2019 2,499 i
11.
 
Panasonic S1R4.5/5..89/1004.5/54.5/5 Feb 2019 3,699 i
12.
 
Panasonic S1H....90/100.... May 2019 3,999 i
13.
 
Sony A9 II....90/1005/55/5 Oct 2019 4,499 i
14.
 
Sony A7 III..+ +89/1005/55/5 Feb 2018 1,999 i
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. Thus, a score needs to be put into the context of the launch date and the launch price of the camera, and rating-comparisons among cameras that span long time periods or concern very differently equipped models make little sense. Also, please note that some of the review sites have changed their methodology and reporting over time.

Nikon Z6 II:
Check Amazon price
Panasonic S5:
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 your choice using the following search menu. 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 Z6 II vs Panasonic S5

    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 Z6 II Panasonic S5
    Camera Type Mirrorless system camera Mirrorless system camera
    Camera Lens Nikon Z mount lenses Leica L mount lenses
    Launch Date October 2020 September 2020
    Launch Price USD 1,999 USD 1,999
    Sensor Specs Nikon Z6 II Panasonic S5
    Sensor Technology BSI-CMOS 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 24.3 Megapixels 24 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 6048 x 4024 pixels 6000 x 4000 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 5.94 μm 5.94 μm
    Pixel Density 2.84 MP/cm2 2.83 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter no AA filter
    Movie Capability 4K/60p Video 4K/60p Video
    ISO Setting 100 - 51,200 ISO 100 - 51,200 ISO
    ISO Boost 50 - 204,800 ISO 50 - 204,800 ISO
    Image Processor DUAL EXPEED 6 Venus
    Screen Specs Nikon Z6 II Panasonic S5
    Viewfinder Type Electronic viewfinder Electronic viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 100% 100%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.80x 0.74x
    Viewfinder Resolution 3690k dots 2360k dots
    Top-Level Screen Control Panel no Top Display
    LCD Framing Live View Live View
    Rear LCD Size 3.2inch 3.0inch
    LCD Resolution 2100k dots 1840k dots
    LCD Attachment Tilting screen Fully flexible screen
    Touch Input Touchscreen Touchscreen
    Shooting Specs Nikon Z6 II Panasonic S5
    Focus System On-Sensor Phase-detect Contrast-detect AF
    Manual Focusing AidFocus PeakingFocus Peaking
    Max Shutter Speed (mechanical) 1/8000s 1/8000s
    Continuous Shooting 14 shutter flaps/s 7 shutter flaps/s
    Shutter Life Expectancy200 000 actuations200 000 actuations
    Electronic Shutterup to 1/8000sup to 1/8000s
    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 CFexpress or SDXC cards SDXC cards
    Second Storage Option Dual card slots Dual card slots
    UHS card support UHS-II Single UHS-II
    Connectivity Specs Nikon Z6 II Panasonic S5
    External Flash Hotshoe Hotshoe
    USB Connector USB 3.2 USB 3.2
    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
    Bluetooth Support Bluetooth built-in Bluetooth built-in
    Body Specs Nikon Z6 II Panasonic S5
    Environmental SealingWeathersealed bodyWeathersealed body
    Battery Type EN-EL15c DMW-BLK22
    Battery Life (CIPA)410 shots per charge440 shots per charge
    In-Camera Charging USB charging USB charging
    Body Dimensions 134 x 101 x 70 mm
    (5.3 x 4.0 x 2.8 in)
    133 x 98 x 82 mm
    (5.2 x 3.9 x 3.2 in)
    Camera Weight 705 g (24.9 oz) 714 g (25.2 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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