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Ricoh GR II vs Sony NEX-C3

The Ricoh GR II and the Sony Alpha NEX-C3 are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in June 2015 and June 2011. The GR II is a fixed lens compact, while the NEX-C3 is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera. Both cameras are equipped with an APS-C sensor. The Ricoh has a resolution of 16.1 megapixels, whereas the Sony provides 16 MP.

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

Headline Specifications
Ricoh GR II
versus
Sony NEX-C3
Ricoh GR II   Sony NEX-C3
Fixed lens compact camera Mirrorless system camera
28mm f/2.8 Sony E mount lenses
16.1 MP – APS-C sensor 16 MP – APS-C sensor
1080/30p Video 720/30p Video
ISO 100-25,600 ISO 100-12,800
Viewfinder optional Viewfinder optional
3.0" LCD – 1230k dots 3.0" LCD – 920k dots
Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive) Tilting screen (no touchscreen)
4 shutter flaps per second 5.5 shutter flaps per second
320 shots per battery charge400 shots per battery charge
117 x 63 x 35 mm, 251 g 110 x 60 x 33 mm, 225 g
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Check GR II price at
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Check NEX-C3 offers at
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Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Ricoh GR II and the Sony Alpha NEX-C3? 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 Ricoh GR II and the Sony NEX-C3 are illustrated 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 measures are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

The NEX-C3 can be obtained in three different colors (black, silver, pink), while the GR II is only available in black.

Size Ricoh GR II vs Sony NEX-C3
Compare GR II versus NEX-C3 top
Comparison GR II or NEX-C3 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Sony NEX-C3 is notably smaller (10 percent) than the Ricoh GR II. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the GR II nor the NEX-C3 are weather-sealed.

The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the GR II has a lens built in, whereas the NEX-C3 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 NEX-C3 and their specifications in the Sony E-Mount Lens Catalog.

Concerning battery life, the GR II gets 320 shots out of its DB65 battery, while the NEX-C3 can take 400 images on a single charge of its NP-FW50 power pack. The power pack in the GR II can be charged via the USB port, so that it is not always necessary to take the battery charger along 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
1.
 
Ricoh GR II 117 mm 63 mm 35 mm 251 g 320 n Jun 2015 699 amazon.com
2.
 
Sony NEX-C3 110 mm 60 mm 33 mm 225 g 400 n Jun 2011 599ebay.com
3.
 
Canon G7 X 103 mm 60 mm 40 mm 304 g 210 n Sep 2014 699ebay.com
4.
 
Fujifilm X70 113 mm 64 mm 44 mm 340 g 330 n Jan 2016 799ebay.com
5.
 
Panasonic GM5 99 mm 60 mm 36 mm 211 g 220 n Sep 2014 749ebay.com
6.
 
Ricoh GR 117 mm 61 mm 35 mm 245 g 290 n Apr 2013 799ebay.com
7.
 
Sony RX100 III 102 mm 58 mm 41 mm 290 g 320 n May 2014 799ebay.com
8.
 
Sony NEX-3N 110 mm 62 mm 35 mm 269 g 480 n Feb 2013 499ebay.com
9.
 
Sony NEX-5R 111 mm 59 mm 39 mm 276 g 330 n Aug 2012 749ebay.com
10.
 
Sony NEX-F3 117 mm 67 mm 42 mm 314 g 470 n May 2012 599ebay.com
11.
 
Sony NEX-5N 111 mm 59 mm 38 mm 269 g 460 n Aug 2011 699ebay.com
12.
 
Sony NEX-3 117 mm 62 mm 33 mm 297 g 330 n May 2010 599ebay.com
13.
 
Sony NEX-5 111 mm 59 mm 38 mm 287 g 330 n May 2010 699ebay.com
Note: 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 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. 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 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. Furthermore, a large sensor camera will give the photographer more possibilities to use shallow depth-of-field in order to 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.

Both cameras under consideration feature an APS-C sensor, but their sensors differ slightly in size. The sensor area in the NEX-C3 is 1 percent smaller. They nevertheless have the same format factor of 1.5. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.

Ricoh GR II and Sony NEX-C3 sensor measures

With 16.1MP, the GR II offers a slightly higher resolution than the NEX-C3 (16MP), but the GR II nevertheless has marginally larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 4.79μm versus 4.78μm for the NEX-C3) due to its larger sensor. Moreover, the GR II is a much more recent model (by 4 years) than the NEX-C3, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that further enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixels. Coming back to sensor resolution, it should be mentioned that the GR II has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.

The Ricoh GR II has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 25600. The corresponding ISO settings for the Sony Alpha NEX-C3 are ISO 100 to ISO 12800 (no boost).

Technology-wise, both cameras are equipped with CMOS (Complementary Metal–Oxide–Semiconductor) sensors. Both cameras use a Bayer filter for capturing RGB colors on a square grid of photosensors. This arrangement is found in most digital cameras.

GR II versus NEX-C3 MP

Since 2007, DXO Mark has published sensor performance measurements that have been derived using a consistent methodology. This service determines an overall sensor rating, as well as sub-scores for low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and color depth ("DXO Portrait"). Of the two cameras under review, the GR II has a notably higher overall DXO score than the NEX-C3 (overall score 7 points higher), which gives it an advantage in terms of imaging quality. This advantage is based on 0.9 bits higher color depth, 1.5 EV in additional dynamic range, and -0 stops of reduced 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.
 
Ricoh GR II APS-C 16.1 4928 32641080/30p23.613.7107880
2.
 
Sony NEX-C3 APS-C 16.0 4912 3264720/30p22.712.2108373
3.
 
Canon G7 X 1-inch 20.0 5472 36481080/60p23.012.755671
4.
 
Fujifilm X70 APS-C 16.0 4896 32641080/60p23.713.0160880
5.
 
Panasonic GM5 Four Thirds 15.8 4592 34481080/60p22.111.772166
6.
 
Ricoh GR APS-C 16.1 4928 32641080/30p23.613.597278
7.
 
Sony RX100 III 1-inch 20.0 5472 36481080/60p22.412.349567
8.
 
Sony NEX-3N APS-C 16.0 4912 32641080/60i22.812.5106774
9.
 
Sony NEX-5R APS-C 16.0 4912 32641080/60i23.713.191078
10.
 
Sony NEX-F3 APS-C 16.0 4912 32641080/60i22.712.3111473
11.
 
Sony NEX-5N APS-C 16.0 4912 32641080/60i23.612.7107977
12.
 
Sony NEX-3 APS-C 14.0 4592 3056720/30p22.112.083068
13.
 
Sony NEX-5 APS-C 14.0 4592 30561080/60i22.212.279669
Note: DXO values in italics represent estimates based on sensor size and age.

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 GR II provides a higher video resolution than the NEX-C3. It can shoot video footage at 1080/30p, while the Sony is limited to 720/30p.

Feature comparison

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. The GR II and the NEX-C3 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. However, optional viewfinders – the GV-1 for the GR II and the FDA-SV1 for the NEX-C3 – are available as accessories. The table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Ricoh GR II and Sony NEX-C3 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
Specifications
(inch/000 dots)
LCD
Attach-
ment
Touch
Screen
(yes/no)
Max
Shutter
Speed *
Max
Shutter
Flaps *
Built-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Built-in
Image
Stab
1.
 
Ricoh GR IIoptional n3.0 / 1230 fixed n 1/4000s 4.0/s Y n
2.
 
Sony NEX-C3optional n3.0 / 920 tilting n 1/4000s 5.5/s n n
3.
 
Canon G7 Xnone n3.0 / 1040 tilting Y 1/2000s 6.5/s Y Y
4.
 
Fujifilm X70optional n3.0 / 1040 tilting Y 1/4000s 8.0/s Y n
5.
 
Panasonic GM51166 n3.0 / 921 fixed Y 1/500s 5.8/s n n
6.
 
Ricoh GRoptional n3.0 / 1230 fixed n 1/4000s 4.0/s Y n
7.
 
Sony RX100 III1440 n3.0 / 1229 tilting n 1/2000s 10.0/s Y Y
8.
 
Sony NEX-3Noptional n3.0 / 460 tilting n 1/4000s 4.0/s Y n
9.
 
Sony NEX-5Roptional n3.0 / 920 tilting Y 1/4000s 10.0/s n n
10.
 
Sony NEX-F3optional n3.0 / 920 tilting n 1/4000s 5.5/s Y n
11.
 
Sony NEX-5Noptional n3.0 / 920 tilting Y 1/4000s 10.0/s n n
12.
 
Sony NEX-3optional n3.0 / 920 tilting n 1/4000s 7.0/s n n
13.
 
Sony NEX-5optional n3.0 / 920 tilting n 1/4000s 7.0/s n n
Notes: *) Information refers to the mechanical shutter, unless the camera only has an electronic one.

One difference between the cameras concerns the presence of an on-board flash. The GR II has one, while the NEX-C3 does not. While the built-in flash of the GR II is not very powerful, it can at times be useful as a fill-in light.

The NEX-C3 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 GR II does not have a selfie-screen.

The Ricoh GR II 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.

The GR II writes its imaging data to SDXC cards, while the NEX-C3 uses SDXC or Memory Stick PRO Duo cards. The GR II supports UHS-I cards (Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 104 MB/s), while the NEX-C3 cannot take advantage of Ultra High Speed SD 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 Ricoh GR II and Sony Alpha NEX-C3 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
Mic / Speaker
Microphone
Port
Headphone
Port
HDMI
Port
USB
Port
WiFi
Support
NFC
Support
Bluetooth
Support
1.
 
Ricoh GR IIYstereo / mono--micro2.0YY-
2.
 
Sony NEX-C3Ystereo / mono--mini2.0---
3.
 
Canon G7 X-stereo / mono--micro2.0YY-
4.
 
Fujifilm X70Ystereo / monoY-micro2.0Y--
5.
 
Panasonic GM5Ystereo / mono--micro2.0Y--
6.
 
Ricoh GRYmono / mono--micro2.0---
7.
 
Sony RX100 III-stereo / mono--micro2.0YY-
8.
 
Sony NEX-3N-stereo / mono--micro2.0---
9.
 
Sony NEX-5RYstereo / mono--mini2.0Y--
10.
 
Sony NEX-F3Ystereo / mono--mini2.0---
11.
 
Sony NEX-5NYstereo / mono--mini2.0---
12.
 
Sony NEX-3Ystereo / mono--mini2.0---
13.
 
Sony NEX-5Ystereo / mono--mini2.0---

It is notable that the GR II offers wifi support, while the NEX-C3 does not. Wifi can be a very convenient means to transfer image data to an off-camera location.

The GR II is a recent model that features in the current product line-up of Ricoh. In contrast, the NEX-C3 has been discontinued (but can be found pre-owned on ebay). There has not been a direct replacement model for the NEX-C3 from Sony. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Ricoh and Sony websites.

Review summary

So how do things add up? Is there a clear favorite between the Ricoh GR II and the Sony NEX-C3? Which camera is better? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.

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Advantages of the Ricoh GR II:

  • Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
  • Better image quality: Scores markedly higher (7 points) in the DXO overall assessment.
  • More dynamic range: Captures a larger spectrum of light and dark details (1.5 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 (1230k vs 920k dots).
  • Easier time-lapse photography: Has an intervalometer built-in for low frequency shooting.
  • Ready to shoot: Has a lens built-in, whereas the NEX-C3 requires a separate lens.
  • Easier travel charging: Can be conveniently charged via its USB port.
  • Easier fill-in: Is equipped with a small onboard flash to brighten deep shadow areas.
  • Easier file upload: Has wifi built in for automatic backup or image transfer to the web.
  • Easier device pairing: Supports NFC for fast wireless image transfer over short distances.
  • Faster buffer clearing: Has an SD card interface that supports the UHS-I standard.
  • More modern: Reflects 4 years of technical progress since the NEX-C3 launch.

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Reasons to prefer the Sony Alpha NEX-C3:

  • Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
  • 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 (5.5 vs 4 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • More flexible: Takes interchangeable lenses and can thus be used with specialty optics.
  • More compact: Is smaller (110x60mm vs 117x63mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
  • Longer lasting: Gets more shots (400 versus 320) out of a single battery charge.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been around for much longer (launched in June 2011).

If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the GR II is the clear winner of the match-up (13 : 8 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 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.

GR II 13:08 NEX-C3

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Ricoh GR II and the Sony NEX-C3 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Prime Lens Compact 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 incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the GR II or the NEX-C3 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 hands-on reviews by experts are important. The adjacent summary-table relays the overall verdicts of several of the most popular camera review sites (amateurphotographer [AP], cameralabs [CL], digitalcameraworld [DCW], 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 
 DCW 
 score 
 DPR 
 score 
 EPZ 
 score 
 PB 
 score 
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
1.
 
Ricoh GR II........4.5/54.5/5 Jun 2015 699 amazon.com
2.
 
Sony NEX-C33/5+ +..74/1004.5/54/5 Jun 2011 599ebay.com
3.
 
Canon G7 X4/5+ +..77/1004.5/54.5/5 Sep 2014 699ebay.com
4.
 
Fujifilm X704.5/5....76/1004.5/54.5/5 Jan 2016 799ebay.com
5.
 
Panasonic GM53.5/5+..77/1005/54.5/5 Sep 2014 749ebay.com
6.
 
Ricoh GR5/5....79/1004.5/54.5/5 Apr 2013 799ebay.com
7.
 
Sony RX100 III5/5+ +..82/1004.5/55/5 May 2014 799ebay.com
8.
 
Sony NEX-3N3/5......4.5/54.5/5 Feb 2013 499ebay.com
9.
 
Sony NEX-5R........4.5/54.5/5 Aug 2012 749ebay.com
10.
 
Sony NEX-F34/5....74/1004.5/54.5/5 May 2012 599ebay.com
11.
 
Sony NEX-5N3/5+ +..79/1004.5/54.5/5 Aug 2011 699ebay.com
12.
 
Sony NEX-3......70/1004.5/54/5 May 2010 599ebay.com
13.
 
Sony NEX-53/5+ +..71/1004.5/54/5 May 2010 699ebay.com
Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.

Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, though. The ratings were established in reference to similarly priced cameras that were available in the market at the time of the review. Hence, a score should always be seen in the context of the camera's market launch date and its price, 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.

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ebay.com

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 a corresponding selection in the search boxes below. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting.

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    Specifications: Ricoh GR II vs Sony NEX-C3

    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 Ricoh GR II Sony NEX-C3
    Camera Type Fixed lens compact camera Mirrorless system camera
    Camera Lens 28mm f/2.8 Sony E mount lenses
    Launch Date June 2015 June 2011
    Launch Price USD 699 USD 599
    Sensor Specs Ricoh GR II Sony NEX-C3
    Sensor Technology CMOS CMOS
    Sensor Format APS-C Sensor APS-C Sensor
    Sensor Size 23.7 x 15.6 mm 23.4 x 15.6 mm
    Sensor Area 369.72 mm2 365.04 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 28.4 mm 28.1 mm
    Crop Factor 1.5x 1.5x
    Sensor Resolution 16.1 Megapixels 16 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 4928 x 3264 pixels 4912 x 3264 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 4.79 μm 4.78 μm
    Pixel Density 4.35 MP/cm2 4.39 MP/cm2
    Moiré control no AA filter Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability 1080/30p Video 720/30p Video
    ISO Setting 100 - 25,600 ISO 100 - 12,800 ISO
    Image Processor GR Engine V BIONZ
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) 80 73
    DXO Color Depth (bits) 23.6 22.7
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) 13.7 12.2
    DXO Low Light (ISO) 1078 1083
    Screen Specs Ricoh GR II Sony NEX-C3
    Viewfinder Type Viewfinder optional Viewfinder optional
    LCD Framing Live View Live View
    Rear LCD Size 3.0inch 3.0inch
    LCD Resolution 1230k dots 920k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen Tilting screen
    Shooting Specs Ricoh GR II Sony NEX-C3
    Focus System Contrast-detect AF Contrast-detect AF
    Continuous Shooting 4 shutter flaps/s 5.5 shutter flaps/s
    Time-Lapse PhotographyIntervalometer built-inno Intervalometer
    Fill Flash Built-in Flash no On-Board Flash
    Storage Medium SDXC cards MS or SDXC cards
    Second Storage Option Single card slot Single card slot
    UHS card support UHS-I no
    Connectivity Specs Ricoh GR II Sony NEX-C3
    External Flash Hotshoe Hotshoe
    USB Connector USB 2.0 USB 2.0
    HDMI Port micro HDMI mini HDMI
    Wifi Support Wifi built-in no Wifi
    Near-Field Communication NFC built-in no NFC
    Body Specs Ricoh GR II Sony NEX-C3
    Battery Type DB65 NP-FW50
    Battery Life (CIPA)320 shots per charge400 shots per charge
    In-Camera Charging USB charging no USB charging
    Body Dimensions 117 x 63 x 35 mm
    (4.6 x 2.5 x 1.4 in)
    110 x 60 x 33 mm
    (4.3 x 2.4 x 1.3 in)
    Camera Weight 251 g (8.9 oz) 225 g (7.9 oz)
    logo
    Check GR II price at
    amazon.com
    logo
    Check NEX-C3 offers at
    ebay.com

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