"The full frame myth"

Started Dec 19, 2013 | Discussions
antoineb Veteran Member • Posts: 6,624
Yeah Reichmann is a good (and smart) guy

Model Mike wrote:

Great article on Luminous Landscape re full frame v. MFT v. APS-C

http://www.luminous-landscape.com/essays/full_frame_myth.shtml

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Gerry Winterbourne Forum Pro • Posts: 13,243
The EVF myth
1

The Full-frame myth article ends "Of course there'll be the argument for the big and bright optical prism / mirror system over the EVF, but that's a story for another day." Half a year ago Reichmann wrote this http://www.luminous-landscape.com/reviews/cameras/why_i_hate_evfs.shtml (Why I hate EVFs). In the text he qualified this: "I don't really hate electronic viewfinders. That's hyperbole. But I really dislike them a lot of the time."

My point is that, while Reichmann writes interesting things, each article on its own can present a very unbalanced view of the world.  He acknowledges hyperbole in the article I linked; he practices it elsewhere too.

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DrugaRunda Senior Member • Posts: 2,741
Re: "The full frame myth"

APS-C is really where it's at.

Why?

Because it is the largest "cheap" semiconductor waffer size. Simple as that, costs as much as 4/3 while offering significantly more size.

The only reason why the industry may move away from it (as ultimately it is about sales, and the most efficient options do not necessarily win) is due to product appeal, which is really a marketing issue rather than anything else.

In principle this is Ricoh's game to lose, they have physics on their side, and just need to make products to take advantage of it. K-3 seems like a step in a good direction though.

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common sense is anything but common

DrugaRunda Senior Member • Posts: 2,741
Re: "The full frame myth"

viking79 wrote:

Do I think APS-C is plenty for most people? Sure. Same with M4/3. Same with 1". Same with 1/1.7". Why not give everyone a Q and call it good.

Eric

... and I actually use Q more than K-5 . Yes, for most day to day stuff in normal light, it is good enough, as good as old 6MP APS-C, or for A4. That is enough for me.

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BobORama
BobORama Senior Member • Posts: 2,381
Re: "The full frame myth"

awaldram wrote:

This made me laugh

"North Americans stick to their large cameras, want full frame, and don't seem to mind lugging large and heavy systems around as they travel."

Perhaps a Harley - Pentax mashup...   The great American motorcycle meets that great (Japanese)American camera.   Leather and chrome...

A full frame camera need not be large nor heavy.  But you need FF glass to put in front of it, and Pentax would have a lot of work to do to re-create a FF lens lineup.  IMO, this is the big sticking point.  Pentax doesn't care that I have 6 FF lenses I could use, they want to sell me the camera and another $6K in lenses.

Sure, FF could given you better IQ.  But many people don;t even understand what is giving them "bad" IQ today.   The answer might surprise you.   Would a FF sensor really produce better IQ in terms of cost-performance?   Unlikely for most of the shooting people do, but then again, those people would be worried about this already have a medium format camera because they are IQ crazy, and even FF would seem a compromise.

The K-3, on the other hand, addresses several of the features that make the K-series unsuitable for critical / professional work.   The dual memory card with RAID-1 being the biggy.   You can shoot professional work on any of these cameras, you cannot, however, "be" a professional if you risk those once in a lifetime shots to a single memory card or single camera even.   I would not feel as if I am taking a risk with the K-3 compared to the K-5 in this respect.

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noel2 Contributing Member • Posts: 765
Re: "The aps-c myth"

robert james wrote:

This article misses the point, IMO. Pentax Full Frame is absolutely critical to the future success of Pentax. Beyond the fact future FF sensors will out perform APS-C sensors, the real benefit to ordinary users is the ability use FF lenses at their proper focal lengths. Optical physics do not change. Lenses at often used wide angles like 20/24/28 are absolutely better, IMO, than their APS-C equivalents at 13/16/19. IT"S THAT SIMPLE. Less distortion and other optical problems.

In addition, as has been well pointed out here, the K-mount was designed for full frame. So it really makes no sense to keep cropped frame sensors in all Pentax DSLRs, when FF sensor fit just fine. The only reason cropped sensors were used in the first place was COST. This cost issue is rapidly disappearing and it is inevitable that full frame DSLRs will be in a K-mount, very soon ie 1-2 years for sure.

I would hope and expect Pentax would keep both APS-C and FF DSLRs in their lineup...The DA lenses are great also, and the K-5/K-3 are great. Adding a FF DSLR is a no-brainer and Pentax should produce one next year, IMO. They will sell like crazy.

I totally agree with you. It is cost that limited the existing SLR concept to APS-C format. FF is the logical way to continue in that format - as C&N&S have already started to go now that sensor prices have gone down considerably. There is no other way to increase overall image quality while conserving dynamic range via not too small photosites.

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noel2 Contributing Member • Posts: 765
Re: You cannot change the laws of physics...
1

James O'Neill wrote:

You throw a number of pixels at digitizing an image.

You can't get more detail out in the result than the lens formed in the image you digitize. All throwing more pixels into the equation does is increases the fidelity that image is digitized with.

Now you can throw 40MP at digitizing an tiny image formed by a tiny lens (in the case of the Nokia 1020) or 40MP at digitizing and giant image formed by top end lens (in the case of the Pentax 645D). To listen to Riechmann with his

> Digital cameras with less than 11MP were hard pressed to give us the large prints that we wanted and needed, and for a long time 11MP was the exclusive domain of Full Frame

and

> do we need pixel counts much above 24MP, and therefore a full-frame sensor?

you have to say he thinks cameras with the same numbers of Pixels are equal. The aren't. If Pentax made a 16MP FF camera I'd have bought it.

The mirror box on Pentax, Sony , Nikon and Canon cameras is designed for a 36x24mm film frame a sensor filling the back of that mirror box wouldn't make the camera bigger or heavier (although if you want to go from a 200MM f/2.8 to the equivalent 300 f/2.8, the lens will be bigger). The bigger sensor *will* cost more. And the APS-C and smaller sensors can produce very, very good images. The interesting question is where is the sweet spot. The 645D is too big. The sensor in Q is too small. APS-C in film-derived bodies was a quick fix. If APS-C is the sweet spot for sensor size, a smaller body makes sense, if the K3 is the sweet spot for body size an FF sensor makes sense.

Very well said !!

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325East Regular Member • Posts: 106
Re: "The aps-c reality"
1

The trend in photography has trended towards miniaturization and convenience.  Plate gave way to film, sheet film to roll and large formats to small formats.  Not too long ago what you call "full format" (24mm x 36mm) was called miniature film.  Photographic engineering applied to both cameras and software is making larger formats less attractive for real photographers.

325East Regular Member • Posts: 106
Re: You cannot change the laws of physics...

Photographic engineers will come close to challenging the laws of physics only when they get one photo site to record one distinct photon.  But as the engineering stands today we are on the crude arithmetical side of the possible.

paulkienitz
paulkienitz Veteran Member • Posts: 5,268
Re: "The full frame myth"

awaldram wrote:

Rod McD wrote:

Something that a lot of people overlook, but an advantage to having a larger sensor is that you can choose your resolution. You can shoot in cropped modes when you want to, with all the advantages of the smaller format. You switch up to FF when you want the benefits of the larger sensor. You can't do that with a smaller sensor camera.

Actually you can

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Reducer-Booster-Adapter-MD-NEX-Minolta/dp/B00EAD8V9A

exactly the same as using a 1.4 adapter to get aps-c on FF loses a stop

a .7 adapter on aps-c get you a stop and return then lens to it original focal length.

This makes me wonder: if you put a FF teleconverter onto a lens with an APS image circle, can you then use it to make an FF image?  Or at least, is it possible to design a TC which will have this property?

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forpetessake
forpetessake Veteran Member • Posts: 4,892
missing the point
2

Model Mike wrote:

Great article on Luminous Landscape re full frame v. MFT v. APS-C

http://www.luminous-landscape.com/essays/full_frame_myth.shtml

It's an interesting article, but misses the important technology trends.

Lets take APS-C or m4/3 cameras and now imaging the new cameras have the same size, weight, price, same pixel density, but only FF sensors inside. Would a consumer then buy a camera with a crop sensor? Of course, not! Even though they may not need anything beyond basics, nobody wants less than they can have. And that's what technological advances are doing. There will be little to no differences from the point view of manufacturing costs producing bodies with different size sensors. Just as it was in the film days, there weren't any real advantages offered by APS cameras, so they were always just a tiny niche. Digital will come to the same point eventually.

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Chris Mak Senior Member • Posts: 1,819
Re: missing the point

forpetessake wrote:

Model Mike wrote:

Great article on Luminous Landscape re full frame v. MFT v. APS-C

http://www.luminous-landscape.com/essays/full_frame_myth.shtml

It's an interesting article, but misses the important technology trends.

Lets take APS-C or m4/3 cameras and now imaging the new cameras have the same size, weight, price, same pixel density, but only FF sensors inside. Would a consumer then buy a camera with a crop sensor? Of course, not! Even though they may not need anything beyond basics, nobody wants less than they can have. And that's what technological advances are doing. There will be little to no differences from the point view of manufacturing costs producing bodies with different size sensors. Just as it was in the film days, there weren't any real advantages offered by APS cameras, so they were always just a tiny niche. Digital will come to the same point eventually.

It remains an interesting topic that also determined the fate of Olympus over the last 10 years. They felt that the 4/3 sensor size would be optimal for digital photography with an eye on the future. They designed very expensive dedicated lenses, an incredible investment if you realize how costly many of these lenses were. What the rise and demise of 4/3 showed, was that digital photography is only barely out of its infancy. The technology has evolved rapidly with stunning results, but as a system it is still constantly changing and searching. 35mm film as the main allround system was the results of decades of evolving, and was very reliable and comfortable to invest in. Digital photography has been a money devouring monster over the past decade for quite a few: expensive bodies with a short lifespan, experimenting with different and incompatible systems (getting into and out of 4/3 was expensive), because the one allround and affordable and more universal system has not crystallized yet.

When thé allround body at 800,- will be mainstream, the system will have really grown up. Perhaps 10 years from now it will be a FF sensor size, >54 mp with very large dynamic range, multiple crop modes EVF (purely cost wise) body that costs 800,- and it will all be about the lenses again. The images that are shown in the article are all very much in crop sensor territory, what crop sensors do so well. From the years of shooting Olympus, I know how stellar it was at telephoto length, because of the inherent sharpness of the system. The crop mode should make it as a standard in the compact and relatively light all-round FF camera bodies of the future. The Pentax body of the future will probably take áll Pentax lenses and shoot all of these lenses the way they were intended. But to stay limited to crop mode will in a few years be just silly, probably...

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paulkienitz
paulkienitz Veteran Member • Posts: 5,268
Re: You cannot change the laws of physics...

325East wrote:

Photographic engineers will come close to challenging the laws of physics only when they get one photo site to record one distinct photon. But as the engineering stands today we are on the crude arithmetical side of the possible.

We're not actually that far off from accurately counting individual photons.

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jamesm007 Veteran Member • Posts: 5,643
Re: "The full frame myth"

Model Mike wrote:

Great article on Luminous Landscape re full frame v. MFT v. APS-C

http://www.luminous-landscape.com/essays/full_frame_myth.shtml

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Nice reading but not a prediction of the future or even the complete facts. Fact, APS lens are a notably, very much so in some models compared to FF lens. Fact People with older FF Pentax lens will achieve higher performance with APS sensor behind the lens versus a FF. Fact any camera that can be made small with FF can be made even smaller with an APS sensor and have a large reduction in production costs and very little IQ trade off, none in the normal viewing sizes.

Microprocessors are getting faster, and use much less power, and are getting lower in cost, you know why? because they are getting smaller. See in this new hi-tech game its who ever can get the needed performance at the lowest price and this means the smallest package. Sort of where LCD TV are going. Your CPU has much more transistors in it and it uses much less power. Hi-Tech is not bigger. Hi-tech is smaller its doing more in a smaller package (microprocessor).

The article even states that not only have APS sensor matched FF sensors of just a few years ago in low light performance but in image quality as well. That is very telling. How much more IQ do folks need before the dollar becomes the determining factor for the average enthusiasts, first time dSLR buyer or semi-pro. A quote "sensor makers focused on technologies that allowed smaller than full frame sensors to produce image quality that meets or surpasses that from full frame sensors of just a few years ago."

Take the classis 70-300mm consumer telephoto lens. Tamron, Sigma, all the manufactures  made one to fit both APS and FF. This made them much larger than needed. The Pentax DA50-200mm is a 75mm-300mm in FF land. Its performance is equal to those consumer offerings (and its weather sealed. The Sigma uses 58mm filter, the Tamron 62mm filters, the Pentax - 49mm filters! That's a nice savings in total manufacturing costs. And cost is a major factor in this game. The Pentax DA50-200mm ED is much smaller than those offerings. Pentax took full advantage of APS and it shows. Pentax did have some FF glass and may toy with the idea of FF but so far and some years latter, it seems less and less likely IMO. Moreover Pentax APS only lens selection is large and covers all needs. You have to look at it right. You can't look at the DA50-200mm and say its just a small telelphoto, why do you think Pentax made it? Because probably it covers the classic FF range of ~70-300mm at f/4-5.6. That's one small telephoto weather resistant lens!

Take a look at the pics. Pentax designed for APS from day one. A smart move it seems so far!

How about the full frame classic of 24mm-105mm. This is really what Sigma covers in its 17-70mm lens or Pentax in its 17-70mm f/4 lens. Take Nikons AF-S 24-120mm f/4G ED VR. Its not even a f/2.8-4.0 as the new Sigma lens are. But it does match the Pentax constant f/4, it also goes out to 120mm versus 105mm. Not down playing it but 105mm versus 120mm means very little. The Nikon takes 77mm filter, the Pentax 67mm. The Nikon lens weighs 710g versus 485g. The Nikon is 105mm long and 84mm wide. The Pentax is 94mm long and 75mm wide. Really in hand and use the Nikkor is much bigger than the Sigma or Pentax offerings in the same range, same goes for Canon.

There is going to come a time when every budding photography enthusiasts will want a dSLR with all the top PRO model features and performance from Canon and Nikon gave you for many of thousands of dollars, for very little cost. That's what technology brings. That time is closer. Enter the K-5 - K-3. And as long as Pentax keeps innovating and keeping things geared toward the right audience.

I can dig up tons of my old posts that have come to light. The only one that threw me off and I should have known better was mirror-less. I thought it would capture a bigger market. However I assumed manufactures would make dSLR style cameras with just no moving mirror parts and an EVF. This stops all kinds of auto-focus problems, and increases reliability. Sony did. Many do make adapters, but.... when you take out all those parts you cut manufacturing costs in half almost. The asking price at first was just too high to entice people do ditch high performing dSLRs.. But no one else really did make a dSLR non-SLR replacement that could use the old glass. You had to start with a whole new system. Had I known that I would not have thought so highly of mirror-less near future.

Pentax/Ricoh are in a good position to make a big hit in the photography market. People who want to step up from Cellphones and or Point and Shoots. People are starting to see the whole thing. And no amount of reviewers, and ads and money can keep people from finding the truth and eventually make the right move. Pentax is making it real simple. High performing tough weather resistant cameras, more APS only lens than anyone and at affordable prices. Unless you have a very special need, its a very compelling offering.

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Ian Stuart Forsyth
Ian Stuart Forsyth Senior Member • Posts: 2,971
Re: "The full frame myth"
1

jamesm007 wrote:

Model Mike wrote:

Great article on Luminous Landscape re full frame v. MFT v. APS-C

http://www.luminous-landscape.com/essays/full_frame_myth.shtml

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Nice reading but not a prediction of the future or even the complete facts. Fact, APS lens are a notably, very much so in some models compared to FF lens. Fact People with older FF Pentax lens will achieve higher performance with APS sensor behind the lens versus a FF. Fact any camera that can be made small with FF can be made even smaller with an APS sensor and have a large reduction in production costs and very little IQ trade off, none in the normal viewing sizes.

Microprocessors are getting faster, and use much less power, and are getting lower in cost, you know why? because they are getting smaller. See in this new hi-tech game its who ever can get the needed performance at the lowest price and this means the smallest package. Sort of where LCD TV are going. Your CPU has much more transistors in it and it uses much less power. Hi-Tech is not bigger. Hi-tech is smaller its doing more in a smaller package (microprocessor).

The article even states that not only have APS sensor matched FF sensors of just a few years ago in low light performance but in image quality as well. That is very telling. How much more IQ do folks need before the dollar becomes the determining factor for the average enthusiasts, first time dSLR buyer or semi-pro. A quote "sensor makers focused on technologies that allowed smaller than full frame sensors to produce image quality that meets or surpasses that from full frame sensors of just a few years ago."

Take the classis 70-300mm consumer telephoto lens. Tamron, Sigma, all the manufactures made one to fit both APS and FF. This made them much larger than needed. The Pentax DA50-200mm is a 75mm-300mm in FF land. Its performance is equal to those consumer offerings (and its weather sealed. The Sigma uses 58mm filter, the Tamron 62mm filters, the Pentax - 49mm filters! That's a nice savings in total manufacturing costs. And cost is a major factor in this game. The Pentax DA50-200mm ED is much smaller than those offerings. Pentax took full advantage of APS and it shows. Pentax did have some FF glass and may toy with the idea of FF but so far and some years latter, it seems less and less likely IMO. Moreover Pentax APS only lens selection is large and covers all needs. You have to look at it right. You can't look at the DA50-200mm and say its just a small telelphoto, why do you think Pentax made it? Because probably it covers the classic FF range of ~70-300mm at f/4-5.6. That's one small telephoto weather resistant lens!

Take a look at the pics. Pentax designed for APS from day one. A smart move it seems so far!

How about the full frame classic of 24mm-105mm. This is really what Sigma covers in its 17-70mm lens or Pentax in its 17-70mm f/4 lens. Take Nikons AF-S 24-120mm f/4G ED VR. Its not even a f/2.8-4.0 as the new Sigma lens are. But it does match the Pentax constant f/4, it also goes out to 120mm versus 105mm. Not down playing it but 105mm versus 120mm means very little. The Nikon takes 77mm filter, the Pentax 67mm. The Nikon lens weighs 710g versus 485g. The Nikon is 105mm long and 84mm wide.

That a far trade 200g for a stop of light, If you compare it to the Da * 16-50mm F2.8 ( equivalent light gathering)  @565g it’s not that much heavier and you would still have an additional 50mm reach with the 24-120 F4

The Pentax is 94mm long and 75mm wide. Really in hand and use the Nikkor is much bigger than the Sigma or Pentax offerings in the same range, same goes for Canon.

There is going to come a time when every budding photography enthusiasts will want a dSLR with all the top PRO model features and performance from Canon and Nikon gave you for many of thousands of dollars, for very little cost. That's what technology brings. That time is closer. Enter the K-5 - K-3. And as long as Pentax keeps innovating and keeping things geared toward the right audience.

I can dig up tons of my old posts that have come to light. The only one that threw me off and I should have known better was mirror-less. I thought it would capture a bigger market. However I assumed manufactures would make dSLR style cameras with just no moving mirror parts and an EVF. This stops all kinds of auto-focus problems, and increases reliability. Sony did. Many do make adapters, but.... when you take out all those parts you cut manufacturing costs in half almost. The asking price at first was just too high to entice people do ditch high performing dSLRs.. But no one else really did make a dSLR non-SLR replacement that could use the old glass. You had to start with a whole new system. Had I known that I would not have thought so highly of mirror-less near future.

Pentax/Ricoh are in a good position to make a big hit in the photography market. People who want to step up from Cellphones and or Point and Shoots. People are starting to see the whole thing. And no amount of reviewers, and ads and money can keep people from finding the truth and eventually make the right move. Pentax is making it real simple. High performing tough weather resistant cameras, more APS only lens than anyone and at affordable prices. Unless you have a very special need, its a very compelling offering.

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noel2 Contributing Member • Posts: 765
Re: "The aps-c reality"
1

325East wrote:

The trend in photography has trended towards miniaturization and convenience. Plate gave way to film, sheet film to roll and large formats to small formats. Not too long ago what you call "full format" (24mm x 36mm) was called miniature film. Photographic engineering applied to both cameras and software is making larger formats less attractive for real photographers.

Not if you attach importance to noise and dynamic range. That is physics and photon statistics.

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325East Regular Member • Posts: 106
Re: "The aps-c reality"

"If you attach importance to noise and dynamic range,"  you would know that these issues have already been ameliorated a great deal by current engineering which, nonetheless,  is still  rather crude vis-a-vis the laws of physics.  Noise and DR are problems for engineering not physics.  Nonetheless, there are prototypes in engineering labs that will astonish you, such as an imaging device that has, as it were, a shutter for each discrete clump of pixels that produces file's whose DR appears to mimic our mental image of the original scene.  This solution helps also with the problem of noise.

KL Matt Veteran Member • Posts: 5,885
Re: "The full frame myth"

325East wrote
Posting a digital representation of the test image you must know would be meaningless

Maybe for you it would be. I would certainly never place bets on other people seeing important influencing factors in a digital image such as the dynamic range of the scene, dark shadows, presence or lack of fine detail, etc. The point was not to compare the prints on screen, the op has already compared the prints and I believe him when he says it was a wash. The point for me was to know more about the scene. Merely knowing it was a building does not tell me if this image required the cameras to represent the most challenging types of subjects for digital cameras or whether the scene was a verritable walk in the park for all the cameras. But thank you for your presumptuousness.

since the purpose of the exercise was to see if normal prints made from the various formats would seem similar or dissimilar to viewers. What the exercise proved, at least to my satisfaction, was that with modern well engineered cameras format whether full or cropped makes negligible real world difference. Where differences start to show up is in 100% or greater magnification but on many levels this is barely real world photography.

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... interested in .... photographs? Heh? Know what a mean? Photographs? (He asked him knowingly). Nudge nudge, snap snap, grin grin, wink wink, say no more, say no more, know what a' mean? Know what a' mean?
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Rod McD Veteran Member • Posts: 5,638
Re: "The full frame myth"

Hi Paul & Andrew,

Sorry, I didn't your posts yesterday.

On speed boosters, I can't say I'm interested.  I've seen too many posted images with shoddy corners.  It seems to me that speed boosters are a bit like teleconverters.  They work, but you lose some IQ.

On using an APSC lens with a TC on a FF body....... interesting thought.  I don't know the answer.  I imagine that as long as 1) the registration distance of the original lens is designed for the camera and teleconverter, and 2) the rear element of the lens is bigger than the front element of the TC, it should work, but that's just a guess.  We need someone with an FF camera to try it out - I haven't bought one yet.

Cheers, Rod

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325East Regular Member • Posts: 106
Re: "The full frame myth"

As you say Matt, "the op has already compared the prints and I believe him when he says it was a wash."   So there's nothing more for me to say.   Nit picking about over magnified examination of the files is another matter altogether.  But as it stands the output of most modern cameras with cropped formats is up to working photographic standards.  For what it's worth (which probably isn't much) I have been showing prints made from digital files since 2000, and not one critic or curator ever criticized them because they thought the camera was crap.

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