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Panasonic G3 vs Sony A58

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-G3 and the Sony Alpha SLT-A58 are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in May 2011 and February 2013. The G3 is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera, while the A58 is a DSLR. The cameras are based on a Four Thirds (G3) and an APS-C (A58) sensor. The Panasonic has a resolution of 15.8 megapixels, whereas the Sony provides 19.8 MP.

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

Headline Specifications
Panasonic G3 versus Sony A58
Panasonic G3 Sony A58
Mirrorless system camera Digital single lens reflex
Micro Four Thirds lenses Sony A mount lenses
15.8 MP, Four Thirds Sensor 19.8 MP, APS-C Sensor
1080/60i Video 1080/60i Video
ISO 160-6,400 ISO 100-16,000 (100 - 25,600)
Electronic viewfinder (1440k dots) Electronic viewfinder (1440k dots)
3.0 LCD, 460k dots 2.7 LCD, 460k dots
Swivel touchscreen Tilting screen (not touch-sensitive)
4 shutter flaps per second 5 shutter flaps per second
Lens stabilization onlyIn-body stabilization
270 shots per battery charge690 shots per battery charge
115 x 84 x 47 mm, 336 g 129 x 95 x 78 mm, 492 g

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G3 and the Sony Alpha SLT-A58? 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 G3 and the Sony A58 is provided 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 width, height and depth dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

The G3 can be obtained in four different colors (black, brown, red, white), while the A58 is only available in black.

Size Panasonic G3 vs Sony A58
Compare G3 versus A58 top
Comparison G3 or A58 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Sony A58 is notably larger (27 percent) than the Panasonic G3. Moreover, the A58 is substantially heavier (46 percent) than the G3. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the G3 nor the A58 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. 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 G3 gets 270 shots out of its DMW-BLD10 battery, while the A58 can take 690 images on a single charge of its NP-FM500H power pack.

The following table provides a synthesis of the main physical specifications of the two cameras and other similar ones. In case you want to display and compare another camera duo, just click on the right or left arrow next to the camera that you would like to inspect. Alternatively, you can also use the CAM-parator to select your camera combination among a larger number of options.

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Body Specifications
  Camera
Model
Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life 1
Weather
Sealing
Camera
Launch 2
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
 
Panasonic G3 115 mm 84 mm 47 mm 336 g 270 n May 2011 599i
 
Sony A58 129 mm 95 mm 78 mm 492 g 690 n Feb 2013 599i
 
Canon M 109 mm 66 mm 32 mm 298 g 230 n Jul 2012 599i
 
Nikon D3300 124 mm 98 mm 76 mm 430 g 700 n Jan 2014 499i
 
Panasonic G7 125 mm 86 mm 77 mm 410 g 350 n May 2015 649i
 
Panasonic G6 122 mm 85 mm 71 mm 390 g 340 n Apr 2013 599i
 
Panasonic GF6 111 mm 65 mm 38 mm 323 g 340 n Apr 2013 499i
 
Panasonic G5 120 mm 83 mm 71 mm 396 g 320 n Jul 2012 599i
 
Panasonic GF5 108 mm 67 mm 37 mm 267 g 360 n Apr 2012 499i
 
Panasonic GX1 116 mm 68 mm 39 mm 318 g 320 n Nov 2011 699i
 
Panasonic G10 124 mm 84 mm 74 mm 388 g 380 n Mar 2010 499i
 
Panasonic G2 124 mm 84 mm 74 mm 428 g 360 n Mar 2010 599i
 
Panasonic GF2 113 mm 68 mm 33 mm 310 g 300 n Nov 2010 549i
 
Sony A68 143 mm 104 mm 81 mm 610 g 540 n Nov 2015 699i
 
Sony A7 II 127 mm 96 mm 60 mm 599 g 350 Y Nov 2014 1,999i
 
Sony A6000 120 mm 67 mm 45 mm 344 g 360 n Feb 2014 599i
 
Sony RX100 102 mm 58 mm 36 mm 240 g 330 n Jun 2012 649i
Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.
(1) Number of images that can be taken on a full battery charge according to the CIPA-standard; (2) Official announcement.

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. Then, after the new model is out, very good deals can frequently be found on the pre-owned market.

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.

Of the two cameras under consideration, the Panasonic G3 features a Four Thirds sensor and the Sony A58 an APS-C sensor. The sensor area in the A58 is 63 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 2.0 and 1.5. The sensor in the G3 has a native 4:3 aspect ratio, while the one in the A58 offers a 3:2 aspect.

Panasonic G3 and Sony A58 sensor measures

With 19.8MP, the A58 offers a higher resolution than the G3 (15.8MP), but the A58 nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 4.31μm versus 3.77μm for the G3) due to its larger sensor. Moreover, the A58 is a somewhat more recent model (by 1 year and 9 months) than the G3, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time that further enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixel-units.

The resolution advantage of the Sony A58 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the A58 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 27.3 x 18.2 inches or 69.3 x 46.1 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 21.8 x 14.5 inches or 55.4 x 36.9 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 18.2 x 12.1 inches or 46.2 x 30.8 cm. The corresponding values for the Panasonic G3 are 23 x 17.2 inches or 58.3 x 43.8 cm for good quality, 18.4 x 13.8 inches or 46.7 x 35 cm for very good quality, and 15.3 x 11.5 inches or 38.9 x 29.2 cm for excellent quality prints.

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-G3 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 160 to ISO 6400. The corresponding ISO settings for the Sony Alpha SLT-A58 are ISO 100 to ISO 16000, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 100-25600.

G3 versus A58 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 A58 offers substantially better image quality than the G3 (overall score 18 points higher). The advantage is based on 2.3 bits higher color depth, 1.9 EV in additional dynamic range, and 0.2 stops in additional low light sensitivity. 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
 
Panasonic G3 Four Thirds 15.8 4592 34481080/60i21.010.666756
 
Sony A58 APS-C 19.8 5456 36321080/60i23.312.575374
 
Canon M APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p22.111.282765
 
Nikon D3300 APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.312.8138582
 
Panasonic G7 Four Thirds 15.8 4592 34484K/30p........
 
Panasonic G6 Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/60p21.311.563961
 
Panasonic GF6 Four Thirds 15.8 4592 34481080/60i20.710.662254
 
Panasonic G5 Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/60p........
 
Panasonic GF5 Four Thirds 12.0 4000 30001080/60i21.411.661861
 
Panasonic GX1 Four Thirds 15.8 4592 34481080/60p20.810.670355
 
Panasonic G10 Four Thirds 12.0 4000 3000720/30p21.210.141152
 
Panasonic G2 Four Thirds 12.0 4000 3000720/30p21.210.349353
 
Panasonic GF2 Four Thirds 12.0 4000 30001080/60i21.210.350654
 
Sony A68 APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60i24.113.570179
 
Sony A7 II Full Frame 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.913.6244990
 
Sony A6000 APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.113.1134782
 
Sony RX100 1-inch 20.0 5472 36481080/60p22.612.439066

Many modern cameras cannot only take still pictures, but also record videos. The two cameras under consideration both have sensors whose read-out speed is fast enough to capture moving pictures, and both provide the same movie specifications (1080/60i).

Feature comparison

Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The G3 and the A58 are similar in the sense that both feature an electronic viewfinder, which is helpful when framing images in bright sunlight. Moreover, their viewfinders offer an identical resolution of 1440k dots. The following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Panasonic G3, the Sony A58, and comparable 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
 
Panasonic G31440 n 3.0 460 swivel Y 1/4000s 4.0 Y n
 
Sony A581440 n 2.7 460 tilting n 1/4000s 5.0 Y Y
 
Canon Mnone n 3.0 1040 fixed Y 1/4000s 4.3 n n
 
Nikon D3300optical n 3.0 921 fixed n 1/4000s 5.0 Y n
 
Panasonic G72360 n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 1/4000s 7.0 Y n
 
Panasonic G61440 n 3.0 1036 swivel Y 1/4000s 7.0 Y n
 
Panasonic GF6none n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 1/4000s 4.2 Y n
 
Panasonic G51440 n 3.0 920 swivel Y 1/4000s 6.0 Y n
 
Panasonic GF5none n 3.0 920 fixed Y 1/4000s 4.0 Y n
 
Panasonic GX1optional n 3.0 460 fixed Y 1/4000s 4.2 Y n
 
Panasonic G10202 n 3.0 460 fixed n 1/4000s 2.6 Y n
 
Panasonic G21440 n 3.0 460 swivel Y 1/4000s 2.6 Y n
 
Panasonic GF2optional n 3.0 460 fixed Y 1/4000s 2.6 Y n
 
Sony A681440 Y 2.7 460 tilting n 1/4000s 8.0 Y Y
 
Sony A7 II2400 n 3.0 1230 tilting n 1/8000s 5.0 n Y
 
Sony A60001440 n 3.0 922 tilting n 1/4000s 11.0 Y n
 
Sony RX100none n 3.0 1229 fixed n 1/2000s 10.0 Y Y

One differentiating feature between the two cameras concerns the touch sensitivity of the rear screen. The G3 has a touchscreen, while the A58 has a conventional panel. Touch control can be particularly helpful, for example, for setting the focus point.

The G3 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 A58 does not have a selfie-screen.

The G3 writes its imaging data to SDXC cards, while the A58 uses SDXC or Memory Stick PRO Duo cards.

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-G3 and Sony Alpha SLT-A58 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
 
Panasonic G3Ystereomono--mini2.0---
 
Sony A58YstereomonoY-mini2.0---
 
Canon MYstereomonoY-mini2.0---
 
Nikon D3300YmonomonoY-mini2.0---
 
Panasonic G7YstereomonoY-micro2.0Y--
 
Panasonic G6YstereomonoY-mini2.0YY-
 
Panasonic GF6-stereomono--mini2.0YY-
 
Panasonic G5Ystereomono--mini2.0---
 
Panasonic GF5-stereomono--mini2.0---
 
Panasonic GX1Ystereomono--mini2.0---
 
Panasonic G10Ymono---mini2.0---
 
Panasonic G2Ystereomono--mini2.0---
 
Panasonic GF2Ystereomono--mini2.0---
 
Sony A68YstereomonoY-micro2.0---
 
Sony A7 IIYstereomonoYYmicro2.0YY-
 
Sony A6000Ystereomono--micro2.0YY-
 
Sony RX100-stereomono--micro2.0---

It is notable that the A58 has a microphone port, which can help to improve the quality of audio recordings by attaching an external microphone. The G3 does not feature such a mic input.

Both the G3 and the A58 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The G3 was replaced by the Panasonic G5, while the A58 was followed by the Sony A68. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Panasonic and Sony websites.

Review summary

So what conclusions can be drawn? Which of the two cameras – the Panasonic G3 or the Sony A58 – has the upper hand? Is one clearly better than the other? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.

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Arguments in favor of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G3:

  • Larger viewfinder image: Features a viewfinder with a higher magnification (0.70x vs 0.57x).
  • Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.0" vs 2.7") for image review and settings control.
  • More flexible LCD: Has a swivel screen for odd-angle shots in portrait or landscape orientation.
  • Fewer buttons to press: Is equipped with a touch-sensitive rear screen to facilitate handling.
  • More selfie-friendly: Has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing.
  • More compact: Is smaller (115x84mm vs 129x95mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
  • Less heavy: Is lighter (by 156g or 32 percent) and hence easier to carry around.
  • More legacy lens friendly: Can take a broad range of non-native lenses via adapters.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in May 2011).

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Reasons to prefer the Sony Alpha SLT-A58:

  • More detail: Has more megapixels (19.8 vs 15.8MP), which boosts linear resolution by 14%.
  • Better image quality: Scores substantially higher (18 points) in the DXO overall evaluation.
  • Richer colors: Generates noticeably more natural colors (2.3 bits more color depth).
  • More dynamic range: Captures a broader range of light and dark details (1.9 EV of extra DR).
  • Better sound: Can connect to an external microphone for higher quality sound recording.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (5 vs 4 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • Longer lasting: Gets more shots (690 versus 270) out of a single battery charge.
  • Sharper images: Has stabilization technology built-in to reduce the impact of hand-shake.
  • More modern: Was introduced somewhat (1 year and 9 months) more recently.

If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the match-up finishes in a tie (9 points each). 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.

G3 09:09 A58

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Panasonic G3 and the Sony A58 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera and Best DSLR Camera listings 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 says little about, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance of the G3 and the A58 in practical situations. 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 expert reviews are important. 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
 
Panasonic G3+ +75/1004.5/54.5/55/5 May 2011 599i
 
Sony A58....4.5/54.5/54.5/5 Feb 2013 599i
 
Canon M+..4/53.5/54/5 Jul 2012 599i
 
Nikon D3300+77/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Jan 2014 499i
 
Panasonic G7+ +80/1005/54.5/54.5/5 May 2015 649i
 
Panasonic G6+ +..5/5..4.5/5 Apr 2013 599i
 
Panasonic GF6+ +..4.5/5..4.5/5 Apr 2013 499i
 
Panasonic G5+ +..4.5/54.5/54.5/5 Jul 2012 599i
 
Panasonic GF5....4.5/54/54.5/5 Apr 2012 499i
 
Panasonic GX1+77/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Nov 2011 699i
 
Panasonic G10..70/1004/5..4/5 Mar 2010 499i
 
Panasonic G2..72/1004/54/54.5/5 Mar 2010 599i
 
Panasonic GF282/10070/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Nov 2010 549i
 
Sony A68....4/5..4/5 Nov 2015 699i
 
Sony A7 II+82/1004.5/55/55/5 Nov 2014 1,999i
 
Sony A6000+80/1004.5/55/55/5 Feb 2014 599i
 
Sony RX100+ +78/1004/55/55/5 Jun 2012 649i
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. 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.

Panasonic G3:
Check Ebay offers
Sony A58:
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 use the search menu below. There is also a set of direct links to comparison reviews that other users of the CAM-parator app explored.

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    Specifications: Panasonic G3 vs Sony A58

    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 G3 Sony A58
    Camera Type Mirrorless system camera Digital single lens reflex
    Camera Lens Micro Four Thirds lenses Sony A mount lenses
    Launch Date May 2011 February 2013
    Launch Price USD 599 USD 599
    Sensor Specs Panasonic G3 Sony A58
    Sensor Technology CMOS CMOS
    Sensor Format Four Thirds Sensor APS-C Sensor
    Sensor Size 17.3 x 13.0 mm 23.5 x 15.6 mm
    Sensor Area 224.9 mm2 366.6 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 21.6 mm 28.2 mm
    Crop Factor 2.0x 1.5x
    Sensor Resolution 15.8 Megapixels 19.8 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 4592 x 3448 pixels 5456 x 3632 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 3.77 μm 4.31 μm
    Pixel Density 7.04 MP/cm2 5.41 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability 1080/60i Video 1080/60i Video
    ISO Setting 160 - 6,400 ISO 100 - 16,000 ISO
    ISO Boost no Enhancement 100 - 25,600 ISO
    Image Processor Venus FHD BIONZ
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) 56 74
    DXO Color Depth (bits) 21.0 23.3
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) 10.6 12.5
    DXO Low Light (ISO) 667 753
    Screen Specs Panasonic G3 Sony A58
    Viewfinder Type Electronic viewfinder Electronic viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 100% 100%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.70x 0.57x
    Viewfinder Resolution 1440k dots 1440k dots
    LCD Framing Live View Live View
    Rear LCD Size 3.0inch 2.7inch
    LCD Resolution 460k dots 460k dots
    LCD Attachment Swivel screen Tilting screen
    Touch Input Touchscreen no Touchscreen
    Shooting Specs Panasonic G3 Sony A58
    Focus System Contrast-detect AF Phase-detect AF
    Manual Focusing Aidno Peaking FeatureFocus Peaking
    Max Shutter Speed (mechanical) 1/4000s 1/4000s
    Continuous Shooting 4 shutter flaps/s 5 shutter flaps/s
    Image StabilizationLens stabilization onlyIn-body stabilization
    Fill Flash Build-in Flash Build-in Flash
    Storage Medium SDXC cards MS or SDXC cards
    Second Storage Option Single card slot Single card slot
    UHS card support no no
    Connectivity Specs Panasonic G3 Sony A58
    External Flash Hotshoe Hotshoe
    USB Connector USB 2.0 USB 2.0
    HDMI Port mini HDMI mini HDMI
    Microphone Port no MIC socket External MIC port
    Wifi Support no Wifi no Wifi
    Body Specs Panasonic G3 Sony A58
    Battery Type DMW-BLD10 NP-FM500H
    Battery Life (CIPA)270 shots per charge690 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 115 x 84 x 47 mm
    (4.5 x 3.3 x 1.9 in)
    129 x 95 x 78 mm
    (5.1 x 3.7 x 3.1 in)
    Camera Weight 336 g (11.9 oz) 492 g (17.4 oz)

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