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Panasonic FZ100 vs L1

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ100 and the Panasonic Lumix DMC-L1 are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in July 2010 and February 2006. The FZ100 is a fixed lens compact, while the L1 is a DSLR. The cameras are based on a 1/2.3-inch (FZ100) and a Four Thirds (L1) sensor. The FZ100 has a resolution of 14 megapixels, whereas the L1 provides 7.4 MP.

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

Headline Specifications
Panasonic FZ100 versus Panasonic L1
Panasonic FZ100 Panasonic L1
Fixed lens compact camera Digital single lens reflex
25-600mm f/2.8-5.2 Four Thirds lenses
14 MP, 1/2.3" Sensor 7.4 MP, Four Thirds Sensor
1080/60i Video no Video
ISO 100-1,600 (100 - 6,400) ISO 100-1,600
Electronic viewfinder (202k dots) Optical viewfinder
3.0 LCD, 460k dots 2.5 LCD, 207k dots
Swivel screen (not touch-sensitive) Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)
11 shutter flaps per second 3 shutter flaps per second
410 shots per battery charge750 shots per battery charge
124 x 82 x 92 mm, 540 g 146 x 87 x 64 mm, 606 g

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ100 and the Panasonic Lumix DMC-L1? 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

An illustration of the physical size and weight of the Panasonic FZ100 and the Panasonic L1 is provided in the side-by-side display below. 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 Panasonic FZ100 vs Panasonic L1
Compare FZ100 versus L1 top
Comparison FZ100 or L1 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Panasonic L1 is notably larger (25 percent) than the Panasonic FZ100. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the FZ100 nor the L1 are weather-sealed.

The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the FZ100 has a lens built in, whereas the L1 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 L1 and their specifications in the Four Thirds Lens Catalog.

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
1.
 
Panasonic FZ100 124 mm 82 mm 92 mm 540 g 410 n Jul 2010 499i
2.
 
Panasonic L1 146 mm 87 mm 64 mm 606 g 750 n Feb 2006 999i
3.
 
Canon SX530 120 mm 82 mm 92 mm 442 g 210 n Jan 2015 429i
4.
 
Canon SX60 128 mm 93 mm 114 mm 650 g 340 n Sep 2014 549i
5.
 
Canon SX50 123 mm 87 mm 106 mm 595 g 315 n Sep 2012 429i
6.
 
Canon SX40 123 mm 92 mm 108 mm 600 g 380 n Sep 2011 429i
7.
 
Canon SX30 123 mm 92 mm 108 mm 601 g 370 n Sep 2010 429i
8.
 
Canon SX20 123 mm 88 mm 87 mm 600 g .. n Aug 2009 399i
9.
 
Canon XT 127 mm 94 mm 64 mm 540 g 400 n Feb 2005 899i
10.
 
Leica V-LUX 3 124 mm 81 mm 95 mm 540 g 410 n Dec 2011 949i
11.
 
Leica V-LUX 2 124 mm 80 mm 95 mm 520 g 410 n Sep 2010 849i
12.
 
Leica Digilux 3 146 mm 87 mm 77 mm 606 g 750 n Sep 2006 1,499i
13.
 
Olympus E-330 140 mm 87 mm 72 mm 637 g 750 n Jan 2006 999i
14.
 
Olympus E-300 147 mm 85 mm 64 mm 624 g 750 n Sep 2004 799i
15.
 
Panasonic FZ200 125 mm 87 mm 110 mm 588 g 540 n Jul 2012 599i
16.
 
Panasonic FZ150 124 mm 82 mm 92 mm 528 g 410 n Aug 2011 499i
17.
 
Panasonic L10 135 mm 96 mm 78 mm 556 g 450 n Aug 2007 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 naturally be influenced heavily by the price. The listed launch prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The FZ100 was launched at a lower price than the L1, 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.

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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. 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 more expensive and lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.

Of the two cameras under consideration, the Panasonic FZ100 features a 1/2.3-inch sensor and the Panasonic L1 a Four Thirds sensor. The sensor area in the L1 is 704 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 5.6 and 2.0. Both cameras feature a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 4:3.

Panasonic FZ100 and Panasonic L1 sensor measures

Despite having a smaller sensor, the Panasonic FZ100 offers a higher resolution of 14 megapixels, compared with 7.4 MP of the Panasonic L1. 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 1.41μm versus 5.51μm for the L1). However, it should be noted that the FZ100 is much more recent (by 4 years and 4 months) than the L1, 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 FZ100 has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.

The resolution advantage of the Panasonic FZ100 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the FZ100 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 21.6 x 16.2 inches or 54.9 x 41.1 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 17.3 x 13 inches or 43.9 x 32.9 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 14.4 x 10.8 inches or 36.6 x 27.4 cm. The corresponding values for the Panasonic L1 are 15.7 x 11.8 inches or 39.8 x 29.9 cm for good quality, 12.5 x 9.4 inches or 31.9 x 23.9 cm for very good quality, and 10.5 x 7.8 inches or 26.6 x 19.9 cm for excellent quality prints.

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ100 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 1600, which can be extended to ISO 100-6400. The corresponding ISO settings for the Panasonic Lumix DMC-L1 are ISO 100 to ISO 1600 (no boost).

FZ100 versus L1 MP

Since 2007, DXO Mark has published sensor performance measurements that have been derived using a consistent methodology. This service is based on lab testing and assigns an overall score to each camera sensor, as well as ratings for dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), color depth ("DXO Portrait"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"). 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.
 
Panasonic FZ100 1/2.3 14.0 4320 32401080/60i........
2.
 
Panasonic L1 Four Thirds 7.4 3136 2352none........
3.
 
Canon SX530 1/2.3 15.9 4608 34561080/30p........
4.
 
Canon SX60 1/2.3 14.2 4608 30721080/60p19.210.812739
5.
 
Canon SX50 1/2.3 12.0 4000 30001080/24p20.311.217947
6.
 
Canon SX40 1/2.3 12.0 4000 30001080/24p........
7.
 
Canon SX30 1/2.3 14.0 4320 3240720/30p........
8.
 
Canon SX20 1/2.3 12.0 4000 3000720/30p........
9.
 
Canon XT APS-C 8.0 3456 2304none21.810.863760
10.
 
Leica V-LUX 3 1/2.3 12.0 4000 30001080/60p........
11.
 
Leica V-LUX 2 1/2.3 14.0 4320 32401080/60i........
12.
 
Leica Digilux 3 Four Thirds 7.4 3136 2352none........
13.
 
Olympus E-330 Four Thirds 7.4 3136 2352none........
14.
 
Olympus E-300 Four Thirds 8.0 3264 2448none........
15.
 
Panasonic FZ200 1/2.3 12.0 4000 30001080/60p19.110.811437
16.
 
Panasonic FZ150 1/2.3 12.0 4000 30001080/60p19.410.913240
17.
 
Panasonic L10 Four Thirds 10.0 3648 2736none21.310.842955

Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but also of capturing video footage. The FZ100 indeed provides movie recording capabilities, while the L1 does not. The highest resolution format that the FZ100 can use is 1080/60i.

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Feature comparison

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the FZ100 has an electronic viewfinder (202k dots), while the L1 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 table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Panasonic FZ100 and Panasonic L1 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
1.
 
Panasonic FZ100202 n 3.0 460 swivel n 1/2000s 11.0 Y Y
2.
 
Panasonic L1optical n 2.5 207 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
3.
 
Canon SX530none n 3.0 461 fixed n 1/2000s 1.6 Y Y
4.
 
Canon SX60922 n 3.0 922 swivel n 1/2000s 6.4 Y Y
5.
 
Canon SX50202 n 3.0 461 swivel n 1/2000s 2.2 Y Y
6.
 
Canon SX40202 n 2.7 230 swivel n 1/3200s 10.3 Y Y
7.
 
Canon SX30202 n 2.7 230 swivel n 1/3200s 0.6 Y Y
8.
 
Canon SX20202 n 2.5 230 swivel n 1/3200s 0.7 Y Y
9.
 
Canon XToptical n 1.8 115 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
10.
 
Leica V-LUX 3202 n 3.0 460 swivel n 1/2000s 12.0 Y Y
11.
 
Leica V-LUX 2202 n 3.0 460 swivel n 1/2000s 11.0 Y Y
12.
 
Leica Digilux 3optical n 2.5 207 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
13.
 
Olympus E-330optical n 2.5 215 tilting n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
14.
 
Olympus E-300optical n 1.8 134 fixed n 1/4000s 2.5 Y n
15.
 
Panasonic FZ2001312 n 3.0 460 swivel n 1/4000s 12.0 Y Y
16.
 
Panasonic FZ150202 n 3.0 460 swivel n 1/2000s 12.0 Y Y
17.
 
Panasonic L10optical n 2.5 207 swivel n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
The FZ100 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 L1 does not have a selfie-screen.

The FZ100 writes its imaging data to SDXC cards, while the L1 uses SDHC 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 Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ100 and Panasonic Lumix DMC-L1 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.
 
Panasonic FZ100Ystereomono--mini2.0---
2.
 
Panasonic L1Y-----2.0---
3.
 
Canon SX530-stereomono--mini2.0YY-
4.
 
Canon SX60YstereomonoY-mini2.0YY-
5.
 
Canon SX50Ystereomono--mini2.0---
6.
 
Canon SX40Ystereomono--YES2.0---
7.
 
Canon SX30Ystereomono--YES2.0---
8.
 
Canon SX20Ystereomono--YES2.0---
9.
 
Canon XTY-----2.0---
10.
 
Leica V-LUX 3Ystereo---mini2.0---
11.
 
Leica V-LUX 2Ystereomono--mini2.0---
12.
 
Leica Digilux 3Ystereomono---2.0---
13.
 
Olympus E-330Y-----2.0---
14.
 
Olympus E-300Y-----2.0---
15.
 
Panasonic FZ200YstereomonoY-mini2.0---
16.
 
Panasonic FZ150Ystereo---mini2.0---
17.
 
Panasonic L10Y-----2.0---

Both the FZ100 and the L1 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The L1 was replaced by the Panasonic L10, while the FZ100 was followed by the Panasonic FZ150. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Panasonic website.

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Review summary

So how do things add up? Is the Panasonic FZ100 better than the Panasonic L1 or vice versa? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.


Advantages of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ100:

  • More detail: Offers more megapixels (14 vs 7.4MP) with a 38% higher linear resolution.
  • Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
  • Broader imaging potential: Can record not only still images but also 1080/60i movies.
  • More framing info: Has an electronic viewfinder that displays shooting data.
  • Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.0" vs 2.5") for image review and settings control.
  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (460k vs 207k dots).
  • 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 burst: Shoots at higher frequency (11 vs 3 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • Ready to shoot: Comes with a built-in lens, while the L1 requires a separate lens.
  • More compact: Is smaller (124x82mm vs 146x87mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
  • Less heavy: Is lighter even though it comes with a built-in lens (unlike the L1).
  • Sharper images: Has hand-shake reducing image stabilization built-in.
  • More affordable: Was introduced at a lower price, despite coming with a built-in lens.
  • More modern: Reflects 4 years and 4 months of technical progress since the L1 launch.


Reasons to prefer the Panasonic Lumix DMC-L1:

  • 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: The pixel size advantage translates into images with better, more accurate colors.
  • More dynamic range: Larger pixels capture a wider spectrum of light and dark details.
  • Better low-light sensitivity: Larger pixels means good image quality even under poor lighting.
  • Brighter framing: Features an optical viewfinder for clear, lag-free composition.
  • Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/4000s vs 1/2000s) to freeze action.
  • More flexible: Makes it possible to change lenses and thus to use specialty optics.
  • Longer lasting: Gets more shots (750 versus 410) out of a single battery charge.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been around for much longer (launched in February 2006).

If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the FZ100 is the clear winner of the match-up (15 : 10 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 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.

FZ100 15:10 L1

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Panasonic FZ100 and the Panasonic L1 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Superzoom Camera and Best DSLR Camera listings 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 says little about, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance of the FZ100 and the L1 in practical situations. 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 why expert reviews 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.
 
Panasonic FZ100..+..4.5/54.5/5 Jul 2010 499i
2.
 
Panasonic L1..85/100+..3.5/5 Feb 2006 999i
3.
 
Canon SX530..+ +..4/54/5 Jan 2015 429i
4.
 
Canon SX603/5+ +75/1004/54.5/5 Sep 2014 549i
5.
 
Canon SX503/5+ +72/1004.5/54.5/5 Sep 2012 429i
6.
 
Canon SX40..+..4.5/54/5 Sep 2011 429i
7.
 
Canon SX303/5+ +..3.5/54/5 Sep 2010 429i
8.
 
Canon SX20..+ +73/100..4/5 Aug 2009 399i
9.
 
Canon XT..80/100+ +o.. Feb 2005 899i
10.
 
Leica V-LUX 3.......... Dec 2011 949i
11.
 
Leica V-LUX 2.......... Sep 2010 849i
12.
 
Leica Digilux 3.......... Sep 2006 1,499i
13.
 
Olympus E-330....+o.. Jan 2006 999i
14.
 
Olympus E-300....+o4.5/5 Sep 2004 799i
15.
 
Panasonic FZ2003/5+ +80/1004.5/54.5/5 Jul 2012 599i
16.
 
Panasonic FZ1503/5+ +76/1004/54.5/5 Aug 2011 499i
17.
 
Panasonic L10..85/100+3.5/54/5 Aug 2007 599i
Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.

The review scores listed above should be treated with care, 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 comparisons of ratings among very different cameras or across long time periods have little meaning. It should also be noted that some of the review sites have over time altered the way they render their verdicts.

Panasonic FZ100:
Check Ebay offers
Panasonic L1:
Check Ebay offers

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: Panasonic FZ100 vs Panasonic L1

    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 Panasonic FZ100 Panasonic L1
    Camera Type Fixed lens compact camera Digital single lens reflex
    Camera Lens 25-600mm f/2.8-5.2 Four Thirds lenses
    Launch Date July 2010 February 2006
    Launch Price USD 499 USD 999
    Sensor Specs Panasonic FZ100 Panasonic L1
    Sensor Technology CMOS CMOS
    Sensor Format 1/2.3" Sensor Four Thirds Sensor
    Sensor Size 6.17 x 4.55 mm 17.3 x 13.0 mm
    Sensor Area 28.0735 mm2 224.9 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 7.7 mm 21.6 mm
    Crop Factor 5.6x 2.0x
    Sensor Resolution 14 Megapixels 7.4 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 4320 x 3240 pixels 3136 x 2352 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 1.41 μm 5.51 μm
    Pixel Density 49.86 MP/cm2 3.28 MP/cm2
    Moiré control no AA filter Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability 1080/60i Video no Video
    ISO Setting 100 - 1,600 ISO 100 - 1,600 ISO
    ISO Boost 100 - 6,400 ISO no Enhancement
    Image Processor Venus FHD Venus
    Screen Specs Panasonic FZ100 Panasonic L1
    Viewfinder Type Electronic viewfinder Optical viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 100% 95%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.47x
    Viewfinder Resolution 202k dots
    LCD Framing Live View Live View
    Rear LCD Size 3.0inch 2.5inch
    LCD Resolution 460k dots 207k dots
    LCD Attachment Swivel screen Fixed screen
    Shooting Specs Panasonic FZ100 Panasonic L1
    Focus System Contrast-detect AF Phase-detect AF
    Continuous Shooting 11 shutter flaps/s 3 shutter flaps/s
    Fill Flash Build-in Flash Build-in Flash
    Storage Medium SDXC cards SDHC cards
    Second Storage Option Single card slot Single card slot
    UHS card support no no
    Connectivity Specs Panasonic FZ100 Panasonic L1
    External Flash Hotshoe Hotshoe
    USB Connector USB 2.0 USB 2.0
    HDMI Port mini HDMI no HDMI
    Wifi Support no Wifi no Wifi
    Body Specs Panasonic FZ100 Panasonic L1
    Battery Type DMW-BMB9 CGR-S602
    Battery Life (CIPA)410 shots per charge750 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 124 x 82 x 92 mm
    (4.9 x 3.2 x 3.6 in)
    146 x 87 x 64 mm
    (5.7 x 3.4 x 2.5 in)
    Camera Weight 540 g (19.0 oz) 606 g (21.4 oz)

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