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Canon 10D vs Nikon D1

The Canon EOS 10D and the Nikon D1 are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in February 2003 and June 1999. Both are DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras that are equipped with an APS-C sensor. The Canon has a resolution of 6.3 megapixels, whereas the Nikon provides 2.6 MP.

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

Headline Specifications
Canon 10D   Nikon D1
Canon 10D Nikon D1
Digital single lens reflex Digital single lens reflex
Canon EF mount lenses Nikon F mount lenses
6.3 MP, APS-C Sensor 2.6 MP, APS-C Sensor
no Video no Video
ISO 100-3200 ISO 200-1600 (200-6400)
Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
1.8" LCD, 118k dots 2.0" LCD, 120k dots
Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive) Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)
3 shutter flaps per second 1.5 shutter flaps per second
Not weather sealedWeathersealed body
150 x 107 x 75 mm, 850 g 157 x 153 x 85 mm, 1100 g

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Canon EOS 10D and the Nikon D1? 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 Canon 10D and the Nikon D1 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 dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

Size Canon 10D vs Nikon D1
Compare 10D versus D1 top
Comparison 10D or D1 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Nikon D1 is considerably larger (50 percent) than the Canon 10D. Moreover, the D1 is markedly heavier (29 percent) than the 10D. It is noteworthy in this context that the D1 is splash and dust-proof, while the 10D 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. Yet, since both cameras are based around an APS-C sensor, their respective lenses will tend to have similar dimensions and heft. You can compare the optics available for the two cameras in the Canon EF Lens Catalog (10D) and the Nikon Lens Catalog (D1).

As can be seen in the images above, the D1 has a battery grip built in. This facilitates image-taking in portrait orientation and gives it additional battery power. In order to provide similar functionality for the 10D, Canon provides the BG-ED3 vertical grip as an optional accessory (see here on eBay).

The adjacent table lists the principal physical characteristics of the two cameras alongside a wider set of alternatives. If you would like to visualize and compare a different camera combination, just use the right or left arrows in the table to switch to the respective camera. Alternatively, you can also navigate to the CAM-parator app and make your selection from the full list of cameras there.

Camera Body Specifications
  Camera
Model
Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life
(CIPA)
Weather
Sealing
(yes/no)
Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Used
Price
(USD)
Camera
Model
 
Canon 10D» 5.9 in 4.2 in 3.0 in 30.0 oz 500 n Feb 2003 1,999- i Canon 10D
 
Nikon D1« 6.2 in 6.0 in 3.3 in 38.8 oz .. Y Jun 1999 5,499- i Nikon D1
 
Canon T5« » 5.1 in 3.9 in 3.1 in 16.9 oz 500 n Feb 2014 449- i Canon T5
 
Canon SL1« » 4.6 in 3.6 in 2.7 in 14.4 oz 380 n Mar 2013 549- i Canon SL1
 
Canon T4i« » 5.2 in 3.9 in 3.1 in 20.3 oz 440 n Jun 2012 849- i Canon T4i
 
Canon 7D« » 5.8 in 4.4 in 2.9 in 30.3 oz 800 Y Sep 2009 1,699- i Canon 7D
 
Canon 40D« » 5.7 in 4.3 in 2.9 in 29.0 oz 750 n Aug 2007 1,299- i Canon 40D
 
Canon 30D« » 5.7 in 4.2 in 2.9 in 27.7 oz 750 n Feb 2006 1,399- i Canon 30D
 
Canon 20D« » 5.7 in 4.2 in 2.8 in 27.2 oz 700 n Aug 2004 1,499- i Canon 20D
 
Canon Rebel« » 5.6 in 3.9 in 2.8 in 22.9 oz 400 n Aug 2003 899- i Canon Rebel
 
Canon D60« » 5.9 in 4.2 in 3.0 in 30.2 oz 620 n Feb 2002 2,999- i Canon D60
 
Nikon D300S« » 5.8 in 4.5 in 3.2 in 33.1 oz 950 Y Jul 2009 1,799- i Nikon D300S
 
Nikon D300« » 5.8 in 4.5 in 2.9 in 32.6 oz 1000 Y Aug 2007 1,799- i Nikon D300
 
Nikon D2Xs« » 6.2 in 5.9 in 3.4 in 44.2 oz 3800 Y Jun 2006 4,699- i Nikon D2Xs
 
Nikon D200« » 5.8 in 4.4 in 2.9 in 32.5 oz 400 Y Nov 2005 1,699- i Nikon D200
 
Nikon D100« » 5.7 in 4.6 in 3.2 in 27.5 oz 370 n Feb 2002 1,999- i Nikon D100
 
Nikon D1X« » 6.2 in 6.0 in 3.3 in 38.8 oz 1200 Y Feb 2001 5,999- i Nikon D1X
Note: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.

Any camera decision will obviously take relative prices into account. The manufacturer’s suggested retail prices give an idea on the placement of the camera in the maker’s lineup and the broader market. The 10D was launched at a markedly lower price (by 64 percent) than the D1, 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.

 

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. Further, a large sensor camera will give the photographer additional creative options when using shallow depth-of-field to isolate a subject from its background. On the downside, larger sensors tend to be associated with larger, more expensive camera bodies and lenses.

Both cameras under consideration feature an APS-C sensor, but their sensors differ slightly in size. The sensor area in the D1 is 8 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have format factors, respectively, of 1.6 (10D) and 1.5. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.

Canon 10D and Nikon D1 sensor measures

Despite having a smaller sensor, the Canon 10D offers a higher resolution of 6.3 megapixels, compared with 2.6 MP of the Nikon D1. This megapixels advantage comes at the cost of a higher pixel density and a smaller size of the individual pixel (with a pixel pitch of 7.38μm versus 11.93μm for the D1). However, it should be noted that the 10D is much more recent (by 3 years and 8 months) than the D1, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that make it possible to gather light more efficiently.

The resolution advantage of the Canon 10D implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the 10D for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 15.4 x 10.2 inch or 39 x 26 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 12.3 x 8.2 inch or 31.2 x 20.8 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 10.2 x 6.8 inch or 26 x 17.3 cm. The corresponding values for the Nikon D1 are 10 x 6.6 inch or 25.4 x 16.7 cm for good quality, 8 x 5.2 inch or 20.3 x 13.3 cm for very good quality, and 6.7 x 4.4 inch or 16.9 x 11.1 cm for excellent quality prints.

The Canon EOS 10D has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 3200. The corresponding ISO settings for the Nikon D1 are ISO 200 to ISO 1600, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 200-6400.

10D versus D1 MP

Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for many cameras. 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. The adjacent table reports on the physical sensor characteristics and the outcomes of the DXO sensor quality tests for a sample of comparator-cameras.

Sensor Characteristics
  Camera
Model
Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
Camera
Model
 
Canon 10D» APS-C 6.3 3072 2048-21.110.957157Canon 10D
 
Nikon D1« APS-C 2.6 2000 1312-----Nikon D1
 
Canon T5« » APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p21.911.372463Canon T5
 
Canon SL1« » APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p21.811.384363Canon SL1
 
Canon T4i« » APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p21.711.272262Canon T4i
 
Canon 7D« » APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p22.011.785466Canon 7D
 
Canon 40D« » APS-C 10.1 3888 2592-22.111.370364Canon 40D
 
Canon 30D« » APS-C 8.2 3504 2336-21.510.873659Canon 30D
 
Canon 20D« » APS-C 8.2 3504 2336-21.911.072162Canon 20D
 
Canon Rebel« » APS-C 6.3 3072 2048-21.010.854455Canon Rebel
 
Canon D60« » APS-C 6.3 3072 2048-----Canon D60
 
Nikon D300S« » APS-C 12.2 4288 2848720/24p22.512.278770Nikon D300S
 
Nikon D300« » APS-C 12.2 4288 2848-22.112.067967Nikon D300
 
Nikon D2Xs« » APS-C 12.2 4288 2848-22.210.948959Nikon D2Xs
 
Nikon D200« » APS-C 10.0 3872 2592-22.311.558364Nikon D200
 
Nikon D100« » APS-C 6.0 3008 2000-----Nikon D100
 
Nikon D1X« » APS-C 5.9 3008 1960-----Nikon D1X
Neither the 10D nor the D1 offer Live View, so that they cannot project the live image that the sensor receives onto the rear screen. Moreover, both cameras are still-image focused and cannot record videos.
 

Feature comparison

Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The 10D and the D1 are similar in the sense that both have an optical viewfinder. The latter is useful for getting a clear image for framing even in brightly lit environments. The viewfinder in the D1 offers a wider field of view (96%) than the one in the 10D (95%), so that a larger proportion of the captured image is visible in the finder. On the other hand, the viewfinder of the 10D has a higher magnification (0.55x vs 0.53x), so that the size of the image transmitted appears closer to the size seen with the naked human eye. The adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Canon 10D and Nikon D1 along with similar information for a selection of comparators.

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
Camera
Model
 
Canon 10D»optical Y 1.8 118 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n Canon 10D
 
Nikon D1«optical Y 2.0 120 fixed n 1/16000s 1.5 n n Nikon D1
 
Canon T5« »optical n 3.0 460 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n Canon T5
 
Canon SL1« »optical n 3.0 1040 fixed Y 1/4000s 4.9 Y n Canon SL1
 
Canon T4i« »optical n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 1/4000s 5.0 Y n Canon T4i
 
Canon 7D« »optical Y 3.0 920 fixed n 1/8000s 8.0 Y n Canon 7D
 
Canon 40D« »optical Y 3.0 230 fixed n 1/8000s 6.5 Y n Canon 40D
 
Canon 30D« »optical Y 2.5 230 fixed n 1/8000s 5.0 Y n Canon 30D
 
Canon 20D« »optical Y 1.8 118 fixed n 1/8000s 5.0 Y n Canon 20D
 
Canon Rebel« »optical n 1.8 118 fixed n 1/4000s 2.5 Y n Canon Rebel
 
Canon D60« »optical Y 1.8 114 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n Canon D60
 
Nikon D300S« »optical Y 3.0 920 fixed n 1/8000s 7.0 Y n Nikon D300S
 
Nikon D300« »optical Y 3.0 922 fixed n 1/8000s 6.0 Y n Nikon D300
 
Nikon D2Xs« »optical Y 2.5 230 fixed n 1/8000s 5.0 n n Nikon D2Xs
 
Nikon D200« »optical Y 2.5 230 fixed n 1/8000s 5.0 Y n Nikon D200
 
Nikon D100« »optical Y 1.8 118 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n Nikon D100
 
Nikon D1X« »optical Y 2.0 120 fixed n 1/16000s 3.0 n n Nikon D1X

One difference between the cameras concerns the presence of an on-board flash. The 10D has one, while the D1 does not. While the built-in flash of the 10D is not very powerful, it can at times be useful as a fill-in light.

Concerning the storage of imaging data, both the 10D and the D1 write their files to Compact Flash 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 Canon EOS 10D and Nikon D1 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.

Input-Output Connections
  Camera
Model
Hotshoe
Port
Internal
Microphone
Internal
Speaker
Microphone
Port
Headphone
Port
HDMI
Port
USB
Type
WiFi
Support
NFC
Support
Bluetooth
Support
Camera
Model
 
Canon 10D»Y-----1.1---Canon 10D
 
Nikon D1«Y-----FW---Nikon D1
 
Canon T5« »Ymonomono--mini2.0---Canon T5
 
Canon SL1« »YmonomonoY-mini2.0---Canon SL1
 
Canon T4i« »YstereomonoY-mini2.0---Canon T4i
 
Canon 7D« »Ymono-Y-mini2.0---Canon 7D
 
Canon 40D« »Y-----2.0---Canon 40D
 
Canon 30D« »Y-----2.0---Canon 30D
 
Canon 20D« »Y-----1.1---Canon 20D
 
Canon Rebel« »Y-----1.1---Canon Rebel
 
Canon D60« »Y-----1.1---Canon D60
 
Nikon D300S« »YstereomonoY-mini2.0---Nikon D300S
 
Nikon D300« »Y----mini2.0---Nikon D300
 
Nikon D2Xs« »Y-----2.0---Nikon D2Xs
 
Nikon D200« »Y-----2.0---Nikon D200
 
Nikon D100« »Y-----1.1---Nikon D100
 
Nikon D1X« »Y-----FW---Nikon D1X

Both cameras feature a PC Sync terminal to control professional strobe lights, which will be appreciated by studio photographers.

Both the 10D and the D1 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The D1 was replaced by the Nikon D1X, while the 10D was followed by the Canon 20D. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Canon and Nikon websites.


Review summary

So how do things add up? Which of the two cameras – the Canon 10D or the Nikon D1 – has the upper hand? Is one clearly better than the other? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.

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Arguments in favor of the Canon EOS 10D:

  • More detail: Offers more megapixels (6.3 vs 2.6MP) with a 54% higher linear resolution.
  • Larger viewfinder image: Features a viewfinder with a higher magnification (0.55x vs 0.53x).
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (3 vs 1.5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • More compact: Is smaller (150x107mm vs 157x153mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
  • Less heavy: Is lighter (by 250g or 23 percent) and hence easier to carry around.
  • Easier fill-in: Is equipped with a small onboard flash to brighten deep shadow areas.
  • More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (64 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More modern: Reflects 3 years and 8 months of technical progress since the D1 launch.

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Advantages of the Nikon D1:

  • More complete view: Has a viewfinder with a larger field of view (96% vs 95%).
  • Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (2.0" vs 1.8") for image review and settings control.
  • Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/16000s vs 1/4000s) to freeze action.
  • More portrait friendly: Features an integrated vertical grip for easier portrait shooting.
  • Better sealing: Is splash and dust sealed for shooting in inclement weather conditions.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been around for much longer (launched in June 1999).

If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the 10D emerges as the winner of the contest (8 : 6 points). However, the relevance of individual strengths will vary across photographers, so that you might want to apply your own weighing scheme to the summary points when reflecting and deciding on a new camera. A professional 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.

10D 08:06 D1

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Canon 10D and the Nikon D1 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best DSLR 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 partial and cannot reveal, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance when actually working with the 10D or the D1. 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 (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.

Review Scores
  Camera
Model
cameralabs dpreview ephotozine imaging-resource photographyblog Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Used
Price
(USD)
Camera
Model
 
Canon 10D»-+ +-o- Feb 2003 1,999- i Canon 10D
 
Nikon D1«-+ +--- Jun 1999 5,499- i Nikon D1
 
Canon T5« »+-4/54/54.5/5 Feb 2014 449- i Canon T5
 
Canon SL1« »+78/1004/54/54/5 Mar 2013 549- i Canon SL1
 
Canon T4i« »+ +77/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Jun 2012 849- i Canon T4i
 
Canon 7D« »+ +84/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Sep 2009 1,699- i Canon 7D
 
Canon 40D« »+ ++ +4.5/5o4.5/5 Aug 2007 1,299- i Canon 40D
 
Canon 30D« »+ ++ +oo- Feb 2006 1,399- i Canon 30D
 
Canon 20D« »-+ +-o- Aug 2004 1,499- i Canon 20D
 
Canon Rebel« »-+ +-o- Aug 2003 899- i Canon Rebel
 
Canon D60« »-+ +o-- Feb 2002 2,999- i Canon D60
 
Nikon D300S« »+ +82/1004/55/54.5/5 Jul 2009 1,799- i Nikon D300S
 
Nikon D300« »+ ++ +5/5o4.5/5 Aug 2007 1,799- i Nikon D300
 
Nikon D2Xs« »---o- Jun 2006 4,699- i Nikon D2Xs
 
Nikon D200« »+ ++ +o5/5- Nov 2005 1,699- i Nikon D200
 
Nikon D100« »-+ +oo- Feb 2002 1,999- i Nikon D100
 
Nikon D1X« »-+ +-o- Feb 2001 5,999- i Nikon D1X
Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (-) not available.

Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, though. The ratings are only valid when referring to cameras in the same category and of the same age. Thus, a score needs to be put into the context of the launch date and the launch price of the camera, and comparisons of ratings among very different cameras or across long time periods have little meaning. Also, please note that some of the review sites have changed their methodology and reporting over time.

Canon 10D:
Check Ebay offers
Nikon D1:
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 use the search menu below. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting.

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    Specifications: Canon 10D vs Nikon D1

    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 Canon 10D Nikon D1
    Camera Type Digital single lens reflex Digital single lens reflex
    Camera Lens Canon EF mount lenses Nikon F mount lenses
    Launch Date February 2003 June 1999
    Launch Price USD 1999 USD 5499
    Sensor Specs Canon 10D Nikon D1
    Sensor Technology CMOS CCD
    Sensor Format APS-C Sensor APS-C Sensor
    Sensor Size 22.7 x 15.1 mm 23.7 x 15.6 mm
    Sensor Area 342.77 mm2 369.72 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 27.3 mm 28.4 mm
    Crop Factor 1.6x 1.5x
    Sensor Resolution 6.3 Megapixels 2.6 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 3072 x 2048 pixels 2000 x 1312 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 7.38 μm 11.93 μm
    Pixel Density 1.84 MP/cm2 0.71 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability no Video no Video
    ISO Setting 100-3200 ISO 200-1600 ISO
    ISO Boost no Enhancement 200-6400 ISO
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) 57 ..
    DXO Color Depth (bits) 21.1 ..
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) 10.9 ..
    DXO Low Light (ISO) 571 ..
    Screen Specs Canon 10D Nikon D1
    Viewfinder Type Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 95% 96%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.55x 0.53x
    Top-Level Screen Control Panel Control Panel
    Rear LCD Size 1.8 inch 2.0 inch
    LCD Resolution 118k dots 120k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen Fixed screen
    Shooting Specs Canon 10D Nikon D1
    Autofocus System Phase-detect AF Phase-detect AF
    Continuous Shooting 3 shutter flaps/s 1.5 shutter flaps/s
    Fill Flash Build-in Flash no On-Board Flash
    Storage Medium CF cards CF cards
    Second Storage Option Single card slot Single card slot
    Connectivity Specs Canon 10D Nikon D1
    External Flash Hotshoe Hotshoe
    Studio Flash PC Sync socket PC Sync socket
    USB Connector USB 1.1 Firewire
    HDMI Port no HDMI no HDMI
    Wifi Support no Wifi no Wifi
    Body Specs Canon 10D Nikon D1
    Environmental SealingNot weather sealedWeathersealed body
    Battery Type BP-511 EN-4
    Body Dimensions 150 x 107 x 75 mm
    (5.9 x 4.2 x 3.0 in)
    157 x 153 x 85 mm
    (6.2 x 6.0 x 3.3 in)
    Camera Weight 850 g (30.0 oz) 1100 g (38.8 oz)

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