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Olympus E-PL8 vs YI M1

The Olympus PEN E-PL8 and the YI M1 are two digital cameras that were announced in September 2016. Both the E-PL8 and the M1 are mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras that are equipped with a Four Thirds sensor. The Olympus has a resolution of 15.9 megapixels, whereas the YI provides 20.2 MP.

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

Headline Specifications
Olympus E-PL8 versus YI M1
Olympus E-PL8 YI M1
Mirrorless system camera Mirrorless system camera
Micro Four Thirds lenses Micro Four Thirds lenses
15.9 MP, Four Thirds Sensor 20.2 MP, Four Thirds Sensor
1080/30p Video 4K/30p Video
ISO 200-6,400 (100 - 25,600) ISO 100-25,600
Viewfinder optional No viewfinder, LCD framing
3.0 LCD, 1037k dots 3.0 LCD, 1040k dots
Tilting touchscreen Fixed touchscreen
8 shutter flaps per second 5 shutter flaps per second
In-body stabilizationLens stabilization only
350 shots per battery charge450 shots per battery charge
115 x 67 x 38 mm, 357 g 114 x 64 x 34 mm, 281 g

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Olympus PEN E-PL8 and the YI M1? 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 Olympus E-PL8 and the YI M1. 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.

The E-PL8 can be obtained in three different colors (black, brown, white), while the M1 is available in two color-versions (black, silver).

Size Olympus E-PL8 vs YI M1
Compare E-PL8 versus M1 top
Comparison E-PL8 or M1 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the YI M1 is notably smaller (5 percent) than the Olympus E-PL8. Moreover, the M1 is markedly lighter (21 percent) than the E-PL8. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the E-PL8 nor the M1 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. In this particular case, both cameras feature the same lens mount, so that they can use the same lenses. You can compare the optics available in the Micro Four Thirds Lens Catalog. Mirrorless cameras, such as the two under consideration, have the additional advantage of having a short flange to focal plane distance, which makes it possible to mount many lenses from other systems onto the camera via adapters.

The power pack in the M1 can be charged via the USB port, which can be very convenient when travelling.

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
 
Olympus E-PL8 115 mm 67 mm 38 mm 357 g 350 n Sep 2016 549i
 
YI M1 114 mm 64 mm 34 mm 281 g 450 n Sep 2016 349 i
 
Canon SX730 110 mm 64 mm 40 mm 300 g 250 n Apr 2017 399i
 
Canon SX420 104 mm 69 mm 85 mm 325 g 195 n Jan 2016 299 i
 
Canon SX710 113 mm 66 mm 35 mm 269 g 230 n Jan 2015 349i
 
Fujifilm X-A3 117 mm 67 mm 40 mm 339 g 410 n Aug 2016 399i
 
Nikon 1 J5 98 mm 60 mm 32 mm 231 g 250 n Apr 2015 399i
 
Olympus E-PL10 117 mm 68 mm 39 mm 380 g 350 n Oct 2019 599 i
 
Olympus E-PL9 117 mm 68 mm 39 mm 380 g 350 n Feb 2018 599 i
 
Olympus E-M10 III 122 mm 84 mm 50 mm 410 g 330 n Aug 2017 649i
 
Olympus PEN-F 125 mm 72 mm 37 mm 427 g 330 n Jan 2016 1,199i
 
Olympus E-M10 II 120 mm 83 mm 47 mm 390 g 320 n Aug 2015 649i
 
Olympus E-M10 119 mm 82 mm 46 mm 396 g 320 n Jan 2014 699i
 
Olympus E-PL7 115 mm 67 mm 38 mm 357 g 350 n Aug 2014 599i
 
Olympus E-P5 122 mm 69 mm 37 mm 420 g 330 n May 2013 999i
 
Olympus E-PL6 111 mm 64 mm 38 mm 325 g 360 n May 2013 599i
 
Olympus E-PL5 111 mm 64 mm 38 mm 325 g 360 n Sep 2012 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 M1 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 36 percent) than the E-PL8, which puts it into a different market segment. Normally, street prices remain initially close to the MSRP, but after a couple of months, the first discounts appear. 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.

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Sensor comparison

The imaging sensor is at the core of digital cameras and its size is one of the main determining factors 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 more expensive and lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.

Both cameras under consideration feature a Four Thirds sensor and have a format factor (sometimes also referred to as "crop factor") of 2.0. 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 feature a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 4:3.

In terms of underlying technology, both cameras are build around CMOS sensors.

Olympus E-PL8 and YI M1 sensor measures

While the two cameras under review share the same sensor size, the M1 offers a higher resolution of 20.2 megapixels, compared with 15.9 MP of the E-PL8. This megapixels advantage translates into a 13 percent gain in linear resolution. On the other hand, these sensor specs imply that the M1 has a higher pixel density and a smaller size of the individual pixel (with a pixel pitch of 3.34μm versus 3.76μm for the E-PL8). 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.

The resolution advantage of the YI M1 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the M1 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 25.9 x 19.4 inches or 65.8 x 49.4 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 20.7 x 15.6 inches or 52.7 x 39.5 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 17.3 x 13 inches or 43.9 x 32.9 cm. The corresponding values for the Olympus E-PL8 are 23 x 17.3 inches or 58.5 x 43.9 cm for good quality, 18.4 x 13.8 inches or 46.8 x 35.1 cm for very good quality, and 15.4 x 11.5 inches or 39 x 29.3 cm for excellent quality prints.

The Olympus PEN E-PL8 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 200 to ISO 6400, which can be extended to ISO 100-25600. The corresponding ISO settings for the YI M1 are ISO 100 to ISO 25600 (no boost).

E-PL8 versus M1 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 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
 
Olympus E-PL8 Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/30p........
 
YI M1 Four Thirds 20.2 5184 38884K/30p........
 
Canon SX730 1/2.3 20.2 5184 38881080/60p........
 
Canon SX420 1/2.3 19.9 5152 3864720/25p........
 
Canon SX710 1/2.3 20.2 5184 38881080/60p........
 
Fujifilm X-A3 APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p........
 
Nikon 1 J5 1-inch 20.7 5568 37124K/15p21.112.047965
 
Olympus E-PL10 Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34564K/30p........
 
Olympus E-PL9 Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34564K/30p........
 
Olympus E-M10 III Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34564K/30p........
 
Olympus PEN-F Four Thirds 20.2 5184 38881080/60p23.112.489474
 
Olympus E-M10 II Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/60p23.112.584273
 
Olympus E-M10 Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/30p22.812.388472
 
Olympus E-PL7 Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/30p22.712.487372
 
Olympus E-P5 Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/30p22.812.489572
 
Olympus E-PL6 Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/30p........
 
Olympus E-PL5 Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/30p22.812.388972

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 M1 provides a better video resolution than the E-PL8. It can shoot movie footage at 4K/30p, while the Olympus is limited to 1080/30p.

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Feature comparison

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. The E-PL8 and the M1 are similar in the sense that neither of the two has a viewfinder. The images are, thus, framed using live view on the rear LCD. That said, the E-PL8 can be equipped with an optional viewfinder – the VF-4. The table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Olympus E-PL8 and YI M1 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
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
 
Olympus E-PL8optional n 3.0 1037 tilting Y 1/4000s 8.0 n Y
 
YI M1none n 3.0 1040 fixed Y 1/4000s 5.0 n n
 
Canon SX730none n 3.0 922 tilting n 1/3200s 5.9 Y Y
 
Canon SX420none n 3.0 230 fixed n 1/4000s 0.5 Y Y
 
Canon SX710none n 3.0 922 fixed n 1/3200s 6.0 Y Y
 
Fujifilm X-A3none n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 1/4000s 6.0 Y n
 
Nikon 1 J5none n 3.0 1037 tilting Y 1/4000s 60.0 Y n
 
Olympus E-PL10none n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 1/4000s 8.6 Y Y
 
Olympus E-PL9none n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 1/4000s 8.6 Y Y
 
Olympus E-M10 III2360 n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 1/4000s 8.6 Y Y
 
Olympus PEN-F2360 n 3.0 1037 swivel Y 1/8000s 10.0 n Y
 
Olympus E-M10 II2360 n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 1/4000s 8.0 Y Y
 
Olympus E-M101440 n 3.0 1037 tilting Y 1/4000s 8.0 Y Y
 
Olympus E-PL7optional n 3.0 1037 tilting Y 1/4000s 8.0 n Y
 
Olympus E-P5optional n 3.0 1037 tilting Y 1/8000s 9.0 Y Y
 
Olympus E-PL6optional n 3.0 460 tilting Y 1/4000s 8.0 n Y
 
Olympus E-PL5optional n 3.0 460 tilting Y 1/4000s 8.0 n Y

One feature that differentiates the E-PL8 and the M1 is in-body image stabilization (IBIS). The E-PL8 reduces the risk of handshake-induced blur with all attached lenses, while the M1 offers no blur reduction with lenses that themselves do not provide optical image stabilization.

The E-PL8 has an articulated LCD that can be turned to be front-facing. This characteristic will be appreciated by vloggers and photographers who are interested in snapping selfies. In contrast, the M1 does not have a selfie-screen.

The Olympus E-PL8 and the YI M1 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.

Concerning the storage of imaging data, both the E-PL8 and the M1 write their files to SDXC cards. The E-PL8 supports UHS-I cards (Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 104 MB/s), while the M1 cannot take advantage of Ultra High Speed SD cards.

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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 Olympus PEN E-PL8 and YI M1 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
 
Olympus E-PL8Ystereomono--micro2.0Y--
 
YI M1Ystereomono--micro2.0Y-Y
 
Canon SX730-stereomono--micro2.0YYY
 
Canon SX420-monomono---2.0YY-
 
Canon SX710-stereomono--micro2.0YY-
 
Fujifilm X-A3Ystereomono--micro2.0Y--
 
Nikon 1 J5-stereomono--micro2.0YY-
 
Olympus E-PL10Ystereomono--micro2.0Y-Y
 
Olympus E-PL9Ystereomono--micro2.0Y-Y
 
Olympus E-M10 IIIYstereomono--micro2.0Y--
 
Olympus PEN-FYstereomono--micro2.0Y--
 
Olympus E-M10 IIYstereomono--micro2.0Y--
 
Olympus E-M10Ystereomono--micro2.0Y--
 
Olympus E-PL7Ystereomono--micro2.0Y--
 
Olympus E-P5Ystereomono--micro2.0Y--
 
Olympus E-PL6Ystereomono--mini2.0---
 
Olympus E-PL5Ystereomono--mini2.0---

The M1 is a recent model that features in the current product line-up of YI. In contrast, the E-PL8 has been discontinued (but can be found pre-owned on eBay). As a replacement in the same line of cameras, the E-PL8 was succeeded by the Olympus E-PL9. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Olympus and YI websites.

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Review summary

So how do things add up? Is there a clear favorite between the Olympus E-PL8 and the YI M1? Which camera is better? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.

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Reasons to prefer the Olympus PEN E-PL8:

  • More framing options: Can be equipped with a hotshoe-mounted accessory-viewfinder.
  • More flexible LCD: Has a tilting screen for odd-angle shots in landscape orientation.
  • More selfie-friendly: Has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (8 vs 5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • Sharper images: Has hand-shake reducing image stabilization built-in.
  • Faster buffer clearing: Has an SD card interface that supports the UHS-I standard.

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Advantages of the YI M1:

  • More detail: Has more megapixels (20.2 vs 15.9MP), which boosts linear resolution by 13%.
  • Better video: Provides higher definition movie capture (4K/30p vs 1080/30p).
  • Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 76g or 21 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
  • Longer lasting: Gets more shots (450 versus 350) out of a single battery charge.
  • Easier travel charging: Can be conveniently charged via its USB port.
  • Easier wireless transfer: Supports Bluetooth for image sharing without cables.
  • More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (36 percent cheaper at launch).

If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the M1 comes out slightly ahead of the E-PL8 (7 : 6 points). However, the relevance of individual strengths will vary across photographers, so that you might want to apply your own weighing scheme to the summary points when reflecting and deciding 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.

E-PL8 06:07 M1

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Olympus E-PL8 and the YI M1 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 the spec-sheets of cameras can offer a general idea of their imaging potential, it remains incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the E-PL8 or the M1 perform in practice. 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 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 (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, and photographyblog). 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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Review Scores
  Camera
Model
camera
  labs  
dp
review  
ephoto
  zine  
imaging
resource
photography
  blog  
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
 
Olympus E-PL8....4.5/5..4/5 Sep 2016 549i
 
YI M1..69/100..2.5/5.. Sep 2016 349 i
 
Canon SX730+..4/5..4/5 Apr 2017 399i
 
Canon SX420........3/5 Jan 2016 299 i
 
Canon SX710+..4/5..3.5/5 Jan 2015 349i
 
Fujifilm X-A3..74/1004.5/5..4/5 Aug 2016 399i
 
Nikon 1 J5....4.5/54/54.5/5 Apr 2015 399i
 
Olympus E-PL10..77/100....4/5 Oct 2019 599 i
 
Olympus E-PL9+..4.5/54.5/54/5 Feb 2018 599 i
 
Olympus E-M10 III+80/1004.5/54/54.5/5 Aug 2017 649i
 
Olympus PEN-F..82/1004.5/54.5/55/5 Jan 2016 1,199i
 
Olympus E-M10 II+ +80/1005/55/55/5 Aug 2015 649i
 
Olympus E-M10..80/1005/54.5/55/5 Jan 2014 699i
 
Olympus E-PL7+..5/54.5/54/5 Aug 2014 599i
 
Olympus E-P5+ +78/1004.5/54.5/55/5 May 2013 999i
 
Olympus E-PL6.......... May 2013 599i
 
Olympus E-PL5+ +..4.5/54.5/54.5/5 Sep 2012 599i
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. 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. Also, kindly note that some of the listed sites have over time developped their review approaches and their reporting style.

Olympus E-PL8:
Check Ebay offers
YI M1:
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: Olympus E-PL8 vs YI M1

    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 Olympus E-PL8 YI M1
    Camera Type Mirrorless system camera Mirrorless system camera
    Camera Lens Micro Four Thirds lenses Micro Four Thirds lenses
    Launch Date September 2016 September 2016
    Launch Price USD 549 USD 349
    Sensor Specs Olympus E-PL8 YI M1
    Sensor Technology CMOS CMOS
    Sensor Format Four Thirds Sensor Four Thirds Sensor
    Sensor Size 17.3 x 13.0 mm 17.3 x 13.0 mm
    Sensor Area 224.9 mm2 224.9 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 21.6 mm 21.6 mm
    Crop Factor 2.0x 2.0x
    Sensor Resolution 15.9 Megapixels 20.2 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 4608 x 3456 pixels 5184 x 3888 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 3.76 μm 3.34 μm
    Pixel Density 7.08 MP/cm2 8.96 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability 1080/30p Video 4K/30p Video
    ISO Setting 200 - 6,400 ISO 100 - 25,600 ISO
    ISO Boost 100 - 25,600 ISO no Enhancement
    Screen Specs Olympus E-PL8 YI M1
    Viewfinder Type Viewfinder optional no viewfinder
    Viewfinder Magnification
    LCD Framing Live View Live View
    Rear LCD Size 3.0inch 3.0inch
    LCD Resolution 1037k dots 1040k dots
    LCD Attachment Tilting screen Fixed screen
    Touch Input Touchscreen Touchscreen
    Shooting Specs Olympus E-PL8 YI M1
    Focus System Contrast-detect AF Contrast-detect AF
    Manual Focusing AidFocus PeakingFocus Peaking
    Max Shutter Speed (mechanical) 1/4000s 1/4000s
    Continuous Shooting 8 shutter flaps/s 5 shutter flaps/s
    Time-Lapse PhotographyIntervalometer built-inIntervalometer built-in
    Image StabilizationIn-body stabilizationLens stabilization only
    Fill Flash no On-Board Flash no On-Board Flash
    Storage Medium SDXC cards SDXC cards
    Second Storage Option Single card slot Single card slot
    UHS card support UHS-I no
    Connectivity Specs Olympus E-PL8 YI M1
    External Flash Hotshoe Hotshoe
    USB Connector USB 2.0 USB 2.0
    HDMI Port micro HDMI micro HDMI
    Wifi Support Wifi built-in Wifi built-in
    Bluetooth Support no Bluetooth Bluetooth built-in
    Body Specs Olympus E-PL8 YI M1
    Battery Type BLS-50 BXM-10
    Battery Life (CIPA)350 shots per charge450 shots per charge
    In-Camera Charging no USB charging USB charging
    Body Dimensions 115 x 67 x 38 mm
    (4.5 x 2.6 x 1.5 in)
    114 x 64 x 34 mm
    (4.5 x 2.5 x 1.3 in)
    Camera Weight 357 g (12.6 oz) 281 g (9.9 oz)

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