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Panasonic GH3 vs GX1

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH3 and the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX1 are two enthusiast cameras that were announced, respectively, in September 2012 and November 2011. Both the GH3 and the GX1 are mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras that are equipped with a Four Thirds sensor. The GH3 has a resolution of 15.9 megapixels, whereas the GX1 provides 15.8 MP.

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

Headline Specifications
Panasonic GH3 versus Panasonic GX1
Panasonic GH3 Panasonic GX1
Mirrorless system camera Mirrorless system camera
Micro Four Thirds lenses Micro Four Thirds lenses
15.9 MP, Four Thirds Sensor 15.8 MP, Four Thirds Sensor
1080/60p Video 1080/60p Video
ISO 200-12,800 (125 - 25,600) ISO 160-12,800
Electronic viewfinder (1746k dots) Viewfinder optional
3.0 LCD, 614k dots 3.0 LCD, 460k dots
Swivel touchscreen Fixed touchscreen
6 shutter flaps per second 4.2 shutter flaps per second
Weathersealed bodynot weather sealed
540 shots per battery charge320 shots per battery charge
133 x 93 x 82 mm, 550 g 116 x 68 x 39 mm, 318 g

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH3 and the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX1? 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 physical size and weight of the Panasonic GH3 and the Panasonic GX1 are illustrated 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 width, height and depth dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

Size Panasonic GH3 vs Panasonic GX1
Compare GH3 versus GX1 top
Comparison GH3 or GX1 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Panasonic GX1 is considerably smaller (36 percent) than the Panasonic GH3. Moreover, the GX1 is substantially lighter (42 percent) than the GH3. It is worth mentioning in this context that the GH3 is splash and dust resistant, while the GX1 does not feature any corresponding weather-sealing.

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.

Concerning battery life, the GH3 gets 540 shots out of its DMW-BLF19 battery, while the GX1 can take 320 images on a single charge of its DMW-BLD10 power pack.

The adjacent table lists the principal physical characteristics of the two cameras alongside a wider set of alternatives. 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.
 
Panasonic GH3 133 mm 93 mm 82 mm 550 g 540 Y Sep 2012 1,299i
2.
 
Panasonic GX1 116 mm 68 mm 39 mm 318 g 320 n Nov 2011 699i
3.
 
Olympus E-M5 II 124 mm 85 mm 45 mm 469 g 310 Y Feb 2015 1,099i
4.
 
Olympus E-M1 130 mm 94 mm 63 mm 497 g 350 Y Sep 2013 1,399i
5.
 
Olympus E-M5 122 mm 89 mm 43 mm 425 g 360 Y Feb 2012 1,299i
6.
 
Panasonic GH5s 139 mm 98 mm 87 mm 660 g 440 Y Jan 2018 2,499 i
7.
 
Panasonic G85 128 mm 89 mm 74 mm 505 g 330 Y Sep 2016 899i
8.
 
Panasonic GX8 133 mm 78 mm 63 mm 487 g 330 Y Jul 2015 1,199i
9.
 
Panasonic GH4 133 mm 93 mm 84 mm 560 g 500 Y Feb 2014 1,499i
10.
 
Panasonic G6 122 mm 85 mm 71 mm 390 g 340 n Apr 2013 599i
11.
 
Panasonic GM1 99 mm 55 mm 30 mm 204 g 230 n Oct 2013 749i
12.
 
Panasonic G5 120 mm 83 mm 71 mm 396 g 320 n Jul 2012 599i
13.
 
Panasonic G3 115 mm 84 mm 47 mm 336 g 270 n May 2011 599i
14.
 
Panasonic GH2 124 mm 90 mm 76 mm 442 g 330 n Sep 2010 899i
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. The GX1 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 46 percent) than the GH3, which puts it into a different 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 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 associated with larger, more expensive camera bodies 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.

Panasonic GH3 and Panasonic GX1 sensor measures

While the two cameras under review share the same sensor size, the GH3 offers a slightly higher resolution of 15.9 megapixels, compared with 15.8 MP of the GX1. This megapixels advantage translates into a 0.3 percent gain in linear resolution. On the other hand, these sensor specs imply that the GH3 has a higher pixel density and a smaller size of the individual pixel (with a pixel pitch of 3.76μm versus 3.77μm for the GX1). In this context, it should be noted, however, that the GH3 is a somewhat more recent model (by 10 months) than the GX1, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time that at least partly compensate for the smaller pixel size.

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH3 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 200 to ISO 12800, which can be extended to ISO 125-25600. The corresponding ISO settings for the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX1 are ISO 160 to ISO 12800 (no boost).

GH3 versus GX1 MP

For many cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. 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"). Of the two cameras under review, the GH3 provides substantially higher image quality than the GX1, with an overall score that is 16 points higher. This advantage is based on 1.9 bits higher color depth, 1.8 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
1.
 
Panasonic GH3 Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/60p22.712.481271
2.
 
Panasonic GX1 Four Thirds 15.8 4592 34481080/60p20.810.670355
3.
 
Olympus E-M5 II Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/60p23.012.584273
4.
 
Olympus E-M1 Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/30p23.012.775773
5.
 
Olympus E-M5 Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/60i22.812.382671
6.
 
Panasonic GH5s Four Thirds 9.9 3680 27004K/60p........
7.
 
Panasonic G85 Four Thirds 15.8 4592 34484K/30p22.812.565671
8.
 
Panasonic GX8 Four Thirds 20.2 5184 38884K/30p23.512.680675
9.
 
Panasonic GH4 Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34564K/30p23.212.879174
10.
 
Panasonic G6 Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/60p21.311.563961
11.
 
Panasonic GM1 Four Thirds 15.8 4592 34481080/60i22.311.766066
12.
 
Panasonic G5 Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/60p........
13.
 
Panasonic G3 Four Thirds 15.8 4592 34481080/60i21.010.666756
14.
 
Panasonic GH2 Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/60i21.211.365560

Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. Both cameras under consideration are equipped with sensors that have a sufficiently high read-out speed for moving images, and both provide the same movie specifications (1080/60p).

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Feature comparison

Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the GH3 has an electronic viewfinder (1746k dots), which can be very helpful when shooting in bright sunlight. In contrast, the GX1 relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. That said, the GX1 can be equipped with an optional viewfinder – the DMW-LVF2. The adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Panasonic GH3 and Panasonic GX1 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.
 
Panasonic GH31746 n 3.0 614 swivel Y 1/4000s 6.0 Y n
2.
 
Panasonic GX1optional n 3.0 460 fixed Y 1/4000s 4.2 Y n
3.
 
Olympus E-M5 II2360 n 3.0 1037 swivel Y 1/8000s 10.0 n Y
4.
 
Olympus E-M12360 n 3.0 1037 tilting Y 1/8000s 10.0 n Y
5.
 
Olympus E-M51440 n 3.0 610 tilting Y 1/4000s 9.0 n Y
6.
 
Panasonic GH5s3680 n 3.2 1620 swivel Y 1/8000s 12.0 n n
7.
 
Panasonic G852360 n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 1/4000s 9.0 Y Y
8.
 
Panasonic GX82360 n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 1/8000s 10.0 n Y
9.
 
Panasonic GH42359 n 3.0 1036 swivel Y 1/8000s 12.0 Y n
10.
 
Panasonic G61440 n 3.0 1036 swivel Y 1/4000s 7.0 Y n
11.
 
Panasonic GM1none n 3.0 1036 fixed Y 1/500s 5.0 Y n
12.
 
Panasonic G51440 n 3.0 920 swivel Y 1/4000s 6.0 Y n
13.
 
Panasonic G31440 n 3.0 460 swivel Y 1/4000s 4.0 Y n
14.
 
Panasonic GH21534 n 3.0 460 swivel n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
The GH3 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 GX1 does not have a selfie-screen.

The Panasonic GH3 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 GH3 and the GX1 write their files to SDXC cards. Both cameras can use UHS-I cards, which provide for Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 104 MB/s.

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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-GH3 and Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX1 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 GH3YstereomonoYYmini2.0Y--
2.
 
Panasonic GX1Ystereomono--mini2.0---
3.
 
Olympus E-M5 IIYstereomonoY-micro2.0Y--
4.
 
Olympus E-M1YstereomonoY-micro2.0Y--
5.
 
Olympus E-M5Ystereomono--mini2.0---
6.
 
Panasonic GH5sYstereomonoYYfull3.1Y-Y
7.
 
Panasonic G85YstereomonoY-micro2.0Y--
8.
 
Panasonic GX8YstereomonoY-micro2.0YY-
9.
 
Panasonic GH4YstereomonoYYmicro2.0YY-
10.
 
Panasonic G6YstereomonoY-mini2.0YY-
11.
 
Panasonic GM1-stereomono--micro2.0Y--
12.
 
Panasonic G5Ystereomono--mini2.0---
13.
 
Panasonic G3Ystereomono--mini2.0---
14.
 
Panasonic GH2YstereomonoY-mini2.0---

It is notable that the GH3 has a microphone port, which is missing on the GX1. Such an external microphone input can help to substantially improve the quality of audio recordings when a good external microphone is used.

Studio photographers will appreciate that the Panasonic GH3 (unlike the GX1) features a PC Sync socket, so that professional strobe lights can be controlled by the camera.

Both the GH3 and the GX1 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The GX1 was replaced by the Panasonic GX7, while the GH3 was followed by the Panasonic GH4. 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 what conclusions can be drawn? Is the Panasonic GH3 better than the Panasonic GX1 or vice versa? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.


Advantages of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH3:

  • Better image quality: Scores substantially higher (16 points) in the DXO overall assessment.
  • Richer colors: Generates images with noticeably better colors (1.9 bits more color depth).
  • More dynamic range: Captures a larger spectrum of light and dark details (1.8 EV of extra DR).
  • Better sound: Can connect to an external microphone for higher quality sound recording.
  • Better sound control: Has a headphone port that enables audio monitoring while recording.
  • Easier framing: Has an electronic viewfinder for image composition and settings control.
  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (614k vs 460k 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 (6 vs 4.2 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • Easier time-lapse photography: Has an intervalometer built-in for low frequency shooting.
  • Longer lasting: Can take more shots (540 versus 320) on a single battery charge.
  • Better sealing: Is weather sealed to enable shooting in dusty or wet environments.
  • Easier file upload: Has wifi built in for automatic backup or image transfer to the web.
  • Better studio light control: Has a PC Sync socket to connect to professional strobe lights.
  • More modern: Is somewhat more recent (announced 10 months after the GX1).


Arguments in favor of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX1:

  • More compact: Is smaller (116x68mm vs 133x93mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
  • Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 232g or 42 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
  • More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (46 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in November 2011).

If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the GH3 is the clear winner of the match-up (16 : 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 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.

GH3 16:04 GX1

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Panasonic GH3 and the Panasonic GX1 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 GH3 or the GX1 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 why expert reviews are important. 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.
 
Panasonic GH35/5+ +79/1004.5/54.5/5 Sep 2012 1,299i
2.
 
Panasonic GX13/5+77/1004.5/54.5/5 Nov 2011 699i
3.
 
Olympus E-M5 II5/5+ +81/1005/55/5 Feb 2015 1,099i
4.
 
Olympus E-M15/5+ +84/1004.5/54.5/5 Sep 2013 1,399i
5.
 
Olympus E-M54/5+ +80/1004.5/55/5 Feb 2012 1,299i
6.
 
Panasonic GH5s....84/1004.5/54.5/5 Jan 2018 2,499 i
7.
 
Panasonic G85..+ +84/1005/54.5/5 Sep 2016 899i
8.
 
Panasonic GX85/5+82/1004.5/54.5/5 Jul 2015 1,199i
9.
 
Panasonic GH45/5+ +85/1005/55/5 Feb 2014 1,499i
10.
 
Panasonic G64/5+ +..5/54.5/5 Apr 2013 599i
11.
 
Panasonic GM13/5+78/1005/54.5/5 Oct 2013 749i
12.
 
Panasonic G53/5+ +..4.5/54.5/5 Jul 2012 599i
13.
 
Panasonic G33/5+ +75/1004.5/55/5 May 2011 599i
14.
 
Panasonic GH25/5+ +79/1004.5/55/5 Sep 2010 899i
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. A score, therefore, has to be seen in close connection to the price and market introduction time of the camera, and comparing ratings of very distinct cameras or ones that are far apart in terms of their release date have little meaning. Also, please note that some of the review sites have changed their methodology and reporting over time.

Panasonic GH3:
Check Ebay offers
Panasonic GX1:
Check Ebay offers

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 make your choice using the following search menu. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting.

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    Specifications: Panasonic GH3 vs Panasonic GX1

    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 GH3 Panasonic GX1
    Camera Type Mirrorless system camera Mirrorless system camera
    Camera Lens Micro Four Thirds lenses Micro Four Thirds lenses
    Launch Date September 2012 November 2011
    Launch Price USD 1,299 USD 699
    Sensor Specs Panasonic GH3 Panasonic GX1
    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 15.8 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 4608 x 3456 pixels 4592 x 3448 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 3.76 μm 3.77 μm
    Pixel Density 7.08 MP/cm2 7.04 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability 1080/60p Video 1080/60p Video
    ISO Setting 200 - 12,800 ISO 160 - 12,800 ISO
    ISO Boost 125 - 25,600 ISO no Enhancement
    Image Processor Venus VII FHD Venus FHD
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) 71 55
    DXO Color Depth (bits) 22.7 20.8
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) 12.4 10.6
    DXO Low Light (ISO) 812 703
    Screen Specs Panasonic GH3 Panasonic GX1
    Viewfinder Type Electronic viewfinder Viewfinder optional
    Viewfinder Field of View 100%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.67x
    Viewfinder Resolution 1746k dots
    LCD Framing Live View Live View
    Rear LCD Size 3.0inch 3.0inch
    LCD Resolution 614k dots 460k dots
    LCD Attachment Swivel screen Fixed screen
    Touch Input Touchscreen Touchscreen
    Shooting Specs Panasonic GH3 Panasonic GX1
    Focus System Contrast-detect AF Contrast-detect AF
    Manual Focusing Aidno Peaking FeatureFocus Peaking
    Max Shutter Speed (mechanical) 1/4000s 1/4000s
    Continuous Shooting 6 shutter flaps/s 4.2 shutter flaps/s
    Time-Lapse PhotographyIntervalometer built-inno Intervalometer
    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 UHS-I UHS-I
    Connectivity Specs Panasonic GH3 Panasonic GX1
    External Flash Hotshoe Hotshoe
    Studio Flash PC Sync socket no PC Sync
    USB Connector USB 2.0 USB 2.0
    HDMI Port mini HDMI mini HDMI
    Microphone Port External MIC port no MIC socket
    Headphone Socket Headphone port no Headphone port
    Wifi Support Wifi built-in no Wifi
    Body Specs Panasonic GH3 Panasonic GX1
    Environmental SealingWeathersealed bodynot weather sealed
    Battery Type DMW-BLF19 DMW-BLD10
    Battery Life (CIPA)540 shots per charge320 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 133 x 93 x 82 mm
    (5.2 x 3.7 x 3.2 in)
    116 x 68 x 39 mm
    (4.6 x 2.7 x 1.5 in)
    Camera Weight 550 g (19.4 oz) 318 g (11.2 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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