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Olympus XZ-2 vs Panasonic G2

The Olympus XZ-2 and the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G2 are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in September 2012 and March 2010. The XZ-2 is a fixed lens compact, while the G2 is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera. The cameras are based on a 1/1.7-inch (XZ-2) and a Four Thirds (G2) sensor. The Olympus has a resolution of 11.8 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
Olympus XZ-2 versus Panasonic G2
Olympus XZ-2 Panasonic G2
Fixed lens compact camera Mirrorless system camera
28-112mm f/1.8-2.5 Micro Four Thirds lenses
11.8 MP, 1/1.7" Sensor 12 MP, Four Thirds Sensor
1080/30p Video 720/30p Video
ISO 100-12,800 ISO 100-6,400
Viewfinder optional Electronic viewfinder (1440k dots)
3.0 LCD, 920k dots 3.0 LCD, 460k dots
Tilting touchscreen Swivel touchscreen
5 shutter flaps per second 2.6 shutter flaps per second
In-body stabilizationLens stabilization only
340 shots per battery charge360 shots per battery charge
113 x 65 x 48 mm, 346 g 124 x 84 x 74 mm, 428 g

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Olympus XZ-2 and the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G2? 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 XZ-2 and the Panasonic G2. 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 width, height and depth dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

The G2 can be obtained in three different colors (black, blue, red), while the XZ-2 is only available in black.

Size Olympus XZ-2 vs Panasonic G2
Compare XZ-2 versus G2 top
Comparison XZ-2 or G2 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Panasonic G2 is notably larger (42 percent) than the Olympus XZ-2. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the XZ-2 nor the G2 are weather-sealed.

The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the XZ-2 has a lens built in, whereas the G2 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 G2 and their specifications in the Micro Four Thirds Lens Catalog.

The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the two cameras alongside a broader set of comparators. In case you want to display and compare another camera duo, you can use the CAM-parator app to select your camera combination among a large number of options.

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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.
 
Olympus XZ-2 113 mm 65 mm 48 mm 346 g 340 n Sep 2012 599i
2.
 
Panasonic G2 124 mm 84 mm 74 mm 428 g 360 n Mar 2010 599i
3.
 
Canon G16 109 mm 76 mm 40 mm 356 g 360 n Aug 2013 549 i
4.
 
Canon G15 107 mm 76 mm 40 mm 352 g 350 n Sep 2012 499i
5.
 
Fujifilm X10 117 mm 70 mm 57 mm 350 g 270 n Sep 2011 599i
6.
 
Olympus Stylus 1 116 mm 87 mm 57 mm 402 g 410 n Oct 2013 699i
7.
 
Olympus E-P3 122 mm 69 mm 34 mm 369 g 330 n Jun 2011 799i
8.
 
Olympus E-PL2 114 mm 72 mm 42 mm 362 g 280 n Jan 2011 599i
9.
 
Olympus E-PL3 110 mm 64 mm 37 mm 313 g 300 n Jun 2011 599i
10.
 
Olympus XZ-1 111 mm 65 mm 42 mm 275 g 320 n Jan 2011 499i
11.
 
Panasonic LX7 111 mm 68 mm 46 mm 298 g 330 n Jul 2012 499i
12.
 
Panasonic G3 115 mm 84 mm 47 mm 336 g 270 n May 2011 599i
13.
 
Panasonic G10 124 mm 84 mm 74 mm 388 g 380 n Mar 2010 499i
14.
 
Panasonic GH2 124 mm 90 mm 76 mm 442 g 330 n Sep 2010 899i
15.
 
Panasonic GH1 124 mm 90 mm 45 mm 385 g 300 n Mar 2009 899i
16.
 
Panasonic G1 124 mm 84 mm 45 mm 360 g 410 n Sep 2008 599i
17.
 
Pentax MX-1 122 mm 61 mm 51 mm 391 g 290 n Jan 2013 499i
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 listed launch prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. 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.

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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 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. 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 are more costly to manufacture and tend to lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.

Of the two cameras under consideration, the Olympus XZ-2 features a 1/1.7-inch sensor and the Panasonic G2 a Four Thirds sensor. The sensor area in the G2 is 423 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 4.4 and 2.0. Both cameras feature a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 4:3.

Olympus XZ-2 and Panasonic G2 sensor measures

With 12MP, the G2 offers a higher resolution than the XZ-2 (11.8MP), but the G2 nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 4.33μm versus 1.91μm for the XZ-2) due to its larger sensor. However, the XZ-2 is a much more recent model (by 2 years and 6 months) than the G2, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixel-units.

The Olympus XZ-2 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 12800. The corresponding ISO settings for the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G2 are ISO 100 to ISO 6400 (no boost).

XZ-2 versus G2 MP

For many cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. 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 consideration, the G2 has a markedly higher DXO score than the XZ-2 (overall score 4 points higher), which will translate into better image quality. The advantage is based on 0.8 bits higher color depth, 1 EV of lower dynamic range, and 1.2 stops in additional low light sensitivity. The adjacent table reports on the physical sensor characteristics and the outcomes of the DXO sensor quality tests for a sample of comparator-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.
 
Olympus XZ-2 1/1.7 11.8 3968 29761080/30p20.411.321649
2.
 
Panasonic G2 Four Thirds 12.0 4000 3000720/30p21.210.349353
3.
 
Canon G16 1/1.7 12.0 4000 30001080/60p21.011.723054
4.
 
Canon G15 1/1.7 12.0 4000 30001080/24p19.911.516546
5.
 
Fujifilm X10 2/3 12.0 4000 30001080/30p20.511.324550
6.
 
Olympus Stylus 1 1/1.7 11.8 3968 29761080/30p20.711.617951
7.
 
Olympus E-P3 Four Thirds 12.2 4032 30241080/60i20.810.153651
8.
 
Olympus E-PL2 Four Thirds 12.2 4032 3024720/30p21.410.257355
9.
 
Olympus E-PL3 Four Thirds 12.2 4032 30241080/60i20.910.349952
10.
 
Olympus XZ-1 1/1.7 10.1 3664 2752720/30p18.810.411734
11.
 
Panasonic LX7 1/1.7 10.0 3648 27361080/60p20.711.714750
12.
 
Panasonic G3 Four Thirds 15.8 4592 34481080/60i21.010.666756
13.
 
Panasonic G10 Four Thirds 12.0 4000 3000720/30p21.210.141152
14.
 
Panasonic GH2 Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/60i21.211.365560
15.
 
Panasonic GH1 Four Thirds 12.0 4000 30001080/24p21.611.677264
16.
 
Panasonic G1 Four Thirds 12.0 4000 3000none21.110.346353
17.
 
Pentax MX-1 1/1.7 12.0 4000 30001080/30p20.411.320849

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, but the XZ-2 provides a higher video resolution than the G2. It can shoot video footage at 1080/30p, while the Panasonic is limited to 720/30p.

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Feature comparison

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the G2 has an electronic viewfinder (1440k dots), which can be very helpful when shooting in bright sunlight. In contrast, the XZ-2 relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. That said, the XZ-2 can be equipped with an optional viewfinder – the VF-2. The adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Olympus XZ-2 and Panasonic G2 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.
 
Olympus XZ-2optional n 3.0 920 tilting Y 1/2000s 5.0 Y Y
2.
 
Panasonic G21440 n 3.0 460 swivel Y 1/4000s 2.6 Y n
3.
 
Canon G16optical n 3.0 922 fixed n 1/4000s 2.2 Y Y
4.
 
Canon G15optical n 3.0 922 fixed n 1/4000s 2.1 Y Y
5.
 
Fujifilm X10optical n 2.8 460 fixed n 1/4000s 10.0 Y Y
6.
 
Olympus Stylus 11440 n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 1/2000s 7.0 Y Y
7.
 
Olympus E-P3optional n 3.0 614 fixed Y 1/4000s 3.0 Y Y
8.
 
Olympus E-PL2optional n 3.0 460 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y Y
9.
 
Olympus E-PL3optional n 3.0 460 tilting n 1/4000s 5.5 n Y
10.
 
Olympus XZ-1optional n 3.0 614 fixed n 1/2000s 2.0 Y Y
11.
 
Panasonic LX7optional n 3.0 920 fixed n 1/4000s 11.0 Y Y
12.
 
Panasonic G31440 n 3.0 460 swivel Y 1/4000s 4.0 Y n
13.
 
Panasonic G10202 n 3.0 460 fixed n 1/4000s 2.6 Y n
14.
 
Panasonic GH21534 n 3.0 460 swivel n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
15.
 
Panasonic GH11440 n 3.0 460 swivel n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
16.
 
Panasonic G11440 n 3.0 460 swivel n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
17.
 
Pentax MX-1none n 3.0 920 tilting n 1/8000s 1.0 Y Y
The G2 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 XZ-2 does not have a selfie-screen.

The Olympus XZ-2 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 XZ-2 and the G2 write their files to SDXC 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 XZ-2 and Panasonic Lumix DMC-G2 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.
 
Olympus XZ-2Ystereomono--mini2.0---
2.
 
Panasonic G2Ystereomono--mini2.0---
3.
 
Canon G16Ystereomono--mini2.0Y--
4.
 
Canon G15Ystereomono--mini2.0---
5.
 
Fujifilm X10Ystereomono--mini2.0---
6.
 
Olympus Stylus 1Ystereomono--micro2.0Y--
7.
 
Olympus E-P3Ystereo---mini2.0---
8.
 
Olympus E-PL2Ystereo---mini2.0---
9.
 
Olympus E-PL3Ystereo---mini2.0---
10.
 
Olympus XZ-1Ymono---mini2.0---
11.
 
Panasonic LX7Ystereomono--mini2.0---
12.
 
Panasonic G3Ystereomono--mini2.0---
13.
 
Panasonic G10Ymono---mini2.0---
14.
 
Panasonic GH2YstereomonoY-mini2.0---
15.
 
Panasonic GH1Ystereo-Y-mini2.0---
16.
 
Panasonic G1Y----mini2.0---
17.
 
Pentax MX-1-stereomono--mini2.0---

Both the XZ-2 and the G2 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The G2 was replaced by the Panasonic G3, while the XZ-2 does not have a direct successor. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Olympus and Panasonic websites.

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Review summary

So what conclusions can be drawn? Is the Olympus XZ-2 better than the Panasonic G2 or vice versa? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.

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Arguments in favor of the Olympus XZ-2:

  • More dynamic range: Captures a larger spectrum of light and dark details (1 EV of extra DR).
  • Better video: Provides higher definition movie capture (1080/30p vs 720/30p).
  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (920k vs 460k dots).
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (5 vs 2.6 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • Easier time-lapse photography: Has an intervalometer built-in for low frequency shooting.
  • Ready to shoot: Has a lens built-in, whereas the G2 requires a separate lens.
  • More compact: Is smaller (113x65mm vs 124x84mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
  • Less heavy: Is lighter even though it comes with a built-in lens (unlike the G2).
  • Sharper images: Has hand-shake reducing image stabilization built-in.
  • More modern: Reflects 2 years and 6 months of technical progress since the G2 launch.

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Advantages of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G2:

  • Better image quality: Scores markedly higher (4 points) in the DXO overall evaluation.
  • Better low-light sensitivity: Can shoot in dim conditions (1.2 stops ISO advantage).
  • Easier framing: Has an electronic viewfinder for image composition and settings control.
  • More flexible LCD: Has a swivel 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.
  • Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/4000s vs 1/2000s) to freeze action.
  • More flexible: Takes interchangeable lenses and can thus be used with specialty optics.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been around for much longer (launched in March 2010).

If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the XZ-2 emerges as the winner of the contest (10 : 8 points). 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 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.

XZ-2 10:08 G2

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Olympus XZ-2 and the Panasonic G2 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Travel-Zoom Camera and Best Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera listings 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 partial and cannot reveal, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance when actually working with the XZ-2 or the G2. 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 why hands-on reviews by experts are important. 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.
 
Olympus XZ-24/5+..4.5/54.5/5 Sep 2012 599i
2.
 
Panasonic G2....72/1004/54.5/5 Mar 2010 599i
3.
 
Canon G164/5+..4.5/54.5/5 Aug 2013 549 i
4.
 
Canon G154/5+76/1004.5/54.5/5 Sep 2012 499i
5.
 
Fujifilm X10....76/1004/54.5/5 Sep 2011 599i
6.
 
Olympus Stylus 1..+ +..4.5/54.5/5 Oct 2013 699i
7.
 
Olympus E-P3..83/10074/1004.5/54.5/5 Jun 2011 799i
8.
 
Olympus E-PL23/583/10071/1004.5/54.5/5 Jan 2011 599i
9.
 
Olympus E-PL33/5+ +72/1004.5/54/5 Jun 2011 599i
10.
 
Olympus XZ-14/5..74/1004.5/54.5/5 Jan 2011 499i
11.
 
Panasonic LX73/5+ +75/1004/54.5/5 Jul 2012 499i
12.
 
Panasonic G33/5+ +75/1004.5/55/5 May 2011 599i
13.
 
Panasonic G103/5..70/1004/54/5 Mar 2010 499i
14.
 
Panasonic GH25/5+ +79/1004.5/55/5 Sep 2010 899i
15.
 
Panasonic GH1..+ +72/1004.5/54.5/5 Mar 2009 899i
16.
 
Panasonic G1..+ +70/1004/54.5/5 Sep 2008 599i
17.
 
Pentax MX-13/5..74/1004/54/5 Jan 2013 499i
Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.

The above review scores should be interpreted with care, though. The assessments were made in relation to similar cameras of the same technological generation. Thus, a score needs to be put into the context of the launch date and the launch price of the camera, and comparisons of ratings among very different cameras or across long time periods have little meaning. Also, kindly note that some of the listed sites have over time developped their review approaches and their reporting style.

Olympus XZ-2:
Check Ebay offers
Panasonic G2:
Check Ebay offers

Other camera comparisons

Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? If you would like to see a different side-by-side camera review, just make a corresponding selection in the search boxes 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 XZ-2 vs Panasonic G2

    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 XZ-2 Panasonic G2
    Camera Type Fixed lens compact camera Mirrorless system camera
    Camera Lens 28-112mm f/1.8-2.5 Micro Four Thirds lenses
    Launch Date September 2012 March 2010
    Launch Price USD 599 USD 599
    Sensor Specs Olympus XZ-2 Panasonic G2
    Sensor Technology CMOS CMOS
    Sensor Format 1/1.7" Sensor Four Thirds Sensor
    Sensor Size 7.6 x 5.7 mm 17.3 x 13.0 mm
    Sensor Area 43.32 mm2 224.9 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 9.5 mm 21.6 mm
    Crop Factor 4.4x 2.0x
    Sensor Resolution 11.8 Megapixels 12 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 3968 x 2976 pixels 4000 x 3000 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 1.91 μm 4.33 μm
    Pixel Density 27.26 MP/cm2 5.34 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability 1080/30p Video 720/30p Video
    ISO Setting 100 - 12,800 ISO 100 - 6,400 ISO
    Image Processor TruePic VI Venus HD II
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) 49 53
    DXO Color Depth (bits) 20.4 21.2
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) 11.3 10.3
    DXO Low Light (ISO) 216 493
    Screen Specs Olympus XZ-2 Panasonic G2
    Viewfinder Type Viewfinder optional Electronic viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 100%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.70x
    Viewfinder Resolution 1440k dots
    LCD Framing Live View Live View
    Rear LCD Size 3.0inch 3.0inch
    LCD Resolution 920k dots 460k dots
    LCD Attachment Tilting screen Swivel screen
    Touch Input Touchscreen Touchscreen
    Shooting Specs Olympus XZ-2 Panasonic G2
    Focus System Contrast-detect AF Contrast-detect AF
    Continuous Shooting 5 shutter flaps/s 2.6 shutter flaps/s
    Time-Lapse PhotographyIntervalometer built-inno Intervalometer
    Image StabilizationIn-body stabilizationLens stabilization only
    Fill Flash Build-in Flash Build-in Flash
    Storage Medium SDXC cards SDXC cards
    Second Storage Option Single card slot Single card slot
    UHS card support no no
    Connectivity Specs Olympus XZ-2 Panasonic G2
    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 Olympus XZ-2 Panasonic G2
    Battery Type Li-90B DMW-BLB13
    Battery Life (CIPA)340 shots per charge360 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 113 x 65 x 48 mm
    (4.4 x 2.6 x 1.9 in)
    124 x 84 x 74 mm
    (4.9 x 3.3 x 2.9 in)
    Camera Weight 346 g (12.2 oz) 428 g (15.1 oz)

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