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Canon 1Ds Mark III vs 1D Mark II

The Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III and the Canon EOS-1D Mark II are two professional cameras that were announced, respectively, in August 2007 and January 2004. Both are DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras that are based on a full frame (1Ds Mark III) and an APS-H (1D Mark II) sensor. The 1Ds Mark III has a resolution of 21 megapixels, whereas the 1D Mark II provides 8.2 MP. Read on to find out how these two cameras compare with respect to their body size, their sensors, their features, their input-output connections, and their reception by expert reviewers.

Headline Specifications
Canon 1Ds Mark III   Canon 1D Mark II
Canon 1Ds Mark III Canon 1D Mark II
Digital single lens reflex Digital single lens reflex
Canon EF mount lenses Canon EF mount lenses
21 MP, Full Frame Sensor 8.2 MP, APS-H Sensor
no Video no Video
ISO 100-1600 (50-3200) ISO 100-1600 (50-3200)
Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
3.0" LCD, 230k dots 2.0" LCD, 230k dots
Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive) Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)
5 shutter flaps per second 8.3 shutter flaps per second
Weathersealed bodyWeathersealed body
1800 shots per battery charge1200 shots per battery charge
150 x 160 x 80 mm, 1385 g 156 x 158 x 80 mm, 1535 g

Body comparison: Canon 1Ds Mark III vs 1D Mark II

An illustration of the physical size and weight of the Canon 1Ds Mark III and the Canon 1D Mark II is provided 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.

Compare Canon 1Ds Mark III and Canon 1D Mark II
Compare 1Ds Mark III versus 1D Mark II top
Compare 1Ds Mark III or 1D Mark II rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Canon 1D Mark II is somewhat larger (3 percent) than the Canon 1Ds Mark III. Moreover, the 1D Mark II is markedly heavier (11 percent) than the 1Ds Mark III. In this context, it is worth noting that both cameras are splash and dust-proof and can, hence, be used in inclement weather conditions or harsh environments.

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. A larger imaging sensor (as in the 1Ds Mark III) will tend to go along with bigger and heavier lenses, while more compact options are available for the smaller-sensor camera (1D Mark II). You can compare the optics available in the Canon EF Lens Catalog.

Concerning battery life, the 1Ds Mark III gets 1800 shots out of its LP-E4 battery, while the 1D Mark II can take 1200 images on a single charge of its NP-E3 power pack. As can be seen in the images above, both cameras have a battery grip built in. This facilitates image-taking in portrait orientation and gives it additional battery power.

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, 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 1Ds Mark III» 5.9 in 6.3 in 3.1 in 48.9 oz 1800 Y Aug 2007 7,999- i Canon 1Ds Mark III
 
Canon 1D Mark II« 6.1 in 6.2 in 3.1 in 54.1 oz 1200 Y Jan 2004 4,499- i Canon 1D Mark II
 
Canon 1D X Mark II« » 6.2 in 6.6 in 3.3 in 54.0 oz 1210 Y Feb 2016 5,999 i i Canon 1D X Mark II
 
Canon 1D C« » 6.2 in 6.5 in 3.3 in 54.5 oz 1120 Y Apr 2012 14,999- i Canon 1D C
 
Canon 5D Mark III« » 6.0 in 4.6 in 3.0 in 33.5 oz 950 Y Mar 2012 3,499- i Canon 5D Mark III
 
Canon 6D« » 5.7 in 4.4 in 2.8 in 27.2 oz 1090 Y Sep 2012 2,099- i Canon 6D
 
Canon 1D X« » 6.2 in 6.6 in 3.3 in 54.7 oz 1120 Y Oct 2011 6,799- i Canon 1D X
 
Canon 5D Mark II« » 6.0 in 4.5 in 3.0 in 30.0 oz 850 Y Sep 2008 3,499- i Canon 5D Mark II
 
Canon 1D Mark III« » 6.1 in 6.2 in 3.1 in 40.7 oz 2200 Y Feb 2007 4,499- i Canon 1D Mark III
 
Canon 1D Mark II N« » 6.1 in 6.2 in 3.1 in 55.2 oz 1200 Y Aug 2005 3,999- i Canon 1D Mark II N
 
Canon 5D« » 6.0 in 4.4 in 3.0 in 31.6 oz 400 Y Aug 2005 3,299- i Canon 5D
 
Canon 1Ds Mark II« » 6.1 in 6.2 in 3.1 in 42.9 oz 1200 Y Sep 2004 7,999- i Canon 1Ds Mark II
 
Canon 1Ds« » 6.1 in 6.2 in 3.1 in 44.6 oz 600 Y Sep 2002 8,999- i Canon 1Ds
 
Canon 1D« » 6.1 in 6.2 in 3.1 in 55.9 oz 500 Y Sep 2001 6,499- i Canon 1D
 
Nikon D3X« » 6.3 in 6.2 in 3.5 in 44.4 oz 4400 Y Dec 2008 7,999- i Nikon D3X

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 1D Mark II was launched at a markedly lower price (by 44 percent) than the 1Ds Mark III, which puts it into a different market segment. Normally, street prices remain initially close to the MSRP, but after a couple of months, the first discounts appear. 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: Canon 1Ds Mark III vs 1D Mark II

The imaging sensor is at the core of digital cameras and its size is one of the main determining factors of image quality. All other things equal, a large sensor will have larger individual pixel-units that offer better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and 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.

Of the two cameras under consideration, the Canon 1Ds Mark III features a full frame sensor and the Canon 1D Mark II an APS-H sensor. The sensor area in the 1D Mark II is 37 percent smaller. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 1.0 and 1.3. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.

Technology-wise, both cameras are equipped with CMOS (Complementary Metal–Oxide–Semiconductor) sensors.

Canon 1Ds Mark III and Canon 1D Mark II sensor measures

With 21MP, the 1Ds Mark III offers a higher resolution than the 1D Mark II (8.2MP), but the 1Ds Mark III has smaller individual pixels (pixel pitch of 6.41μm versus 8.17μm for the 1D Mark II). However, the 1Ds Mark III is a somewhat more recent model (by 3 years and 6 months) than the 1D Mark II, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time that enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixels.

The Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 1600, which can be extended to ISO 50-3200.. The Canon EOS-1D Mark II offers exactly the same ISO settings.

1Ds Mark III versus 1D Mark II 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. Of the two cameras under review, the 1Ds Mark III provides substantially higher image quality than the 1D Mark II, with an overall score that is 14 points higher. This advantage is based on 1.7 bits higher color depth, 0.9 EV in additional dynamic range, and 0.7 stops in additional low light sensitivity. The table below summarizes the physical sensor characteristics and sensor quality findings and compares them across a set of similar 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 1Ds Mark III» Full Frame 21.0 5616 3744-24.012.0166380Canon 1Ds Mark III
 
Canon 1D Mark II« APS-H 8.2 3504 2336-22.311.1100366Canon 1D Mark II
 
Canon 1D X Mark II« » Full Frame 20.0 5472 36484K/60p24.113.5320788Canon 1D X Mark II
 
Canon 1D C« » Full Frame 17.9 5184 34564K/24p----Canon 1D C
 
Canon 5D Mark III« » Full Frame 22.1 5760 38401080/30p24.011.7229381Canon 5D Mark III
 
Canon 6D« » Full Frame 20.0 5472 36481080/30p23.812.1234082Canon 6D
 
Canon 1D X« » Full Frame 17.9 5184 34561080/30p23.811.8278682Canon 1D X
 
Canon 5D Mark II« » Full Frame 21.0 5616 37441080/30p23.711.9181579Canon 5D Mark II
 
Canon 1D Mark III« » APS-H 10.1 3888 2592-22.711.7107871Canon 1D Mark III
 
Canon 1D Mark II N« » APS-H 8.2 3504 2336-22.311.297566Canon 1D Mark II N
 
Canon 5D« » Full Frame 12.7 4368 2912-22.911.1136871Canon 5D
 
Canon 1Ds Mark II« » Full Frame 16.6 4992 3328-23.311.3148074Canon 1Ds Mark II
 
Canon 1Ds« » Full Frame 11.0 4064 2704-21.811.095463Canon 1Ds
 
Canon 1D« » APS-H 4.1 2496 1662-----Canon 1D
 
Nikon D3X« » Full Frame 24.4 6048 4032-24.713.7199288Nikon D3X
The 1Ds Mark III offers Live View, so that it can project the live image that the sensor receives onto the rear screen for framing. The 1D Mark II lacks this capability. Both cameras are still-image focused and cannot record videos.
 

Feature comparison: Canon 1Ds Mark III vs 1D Mark II

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The 1Ds Mark III and the 1D Mark II 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 viewfinders of both cameras offer the same field of view (100%), but the viewfinder of the 1Ds Mark III has a higher magnification than the one of the 1D Mark II (0.76x vs 0.55x), so that the size of the image transmitted appears closer to the size seen with the naked human eye. The following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Canon 1Ds Mark III, the Canon 1D Mark II, and comparable cameras.

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 1Ds Mark III»optical Y 3.0 230 fixed n 1/8000s 5.0 n n Canon 1Ds Mark III
 
Canon 1D Mark II«optical Y 2.0 230 fixed n 1/8000s 8.3 n n Canon 1D Mark II
 
Canon 1D X Mark II« »optical Y 3.2 1620 fixed Y 1/8000s 16.0 n n Canon 1D X Mark II
 
Canon 1D C« »optical Y 3.2 1040 fixed n 1/8000s 14.0 n n Canon 1D C
 
Canon 5D Mark III« »optical Y 3.2 1040 fixed n 1/8000s 6.0 n n Canon 5D Mark III
 
Canon 6D« »optical Y 3.0 1040 fixed n 1/4000s 4.5 n n Canon 6D
 
Canon 1D X« »optical Y 3.2 1040 fixed n 1/8000s 14.0 n n Canon 1D X
 
Canon 5D Mark II« »optical Y 3.0 920 fixed n 1/8000s 3.9 n n Canon 5D Mark II
 
Canon 1D Mark III« »optical Y 3.0 230 fixed n 1/8000s 10.0 n n Canon 1D Mark III
 
Canon 1D Mark II N« »optical Y 2.5 230 fixed n 1/8000s 8.5 n n Canon 1D Mark II N
 
Canon 5D« »optical Y 2.5 230 fixed n 1/8000s 3.0 n n Canon 5D
 
Canon 1Ds Mark II« »optical Y 2.0 230 fixed n 1/8000s 4.0 n n Canon 1Ds Mark II
 
Canon 1Ds« »optical Y 2.0 120 fixed n 1/8000s 3.0 n n Canon 1Ds
 
Canon 1D« »optical Y 2.0 120 fixed n 1/16000s 8.0 n n Canon 1D
 
Nikon D3X« »optical Y 3.0 922 fixed n 1/8000s 5.0 n n Nikon D3X

The 1Ds Mark III writes its imaging data to Compact Flash cards, while the 1D Mark II uses Compact Flash or SD cards. Both cameras feature dual card slots, which can be very useful in case a memory card fails.

 

Connectivity comparison: Canon 1Ds Mark III vs 1D Mark II

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-1Ds Mark III and Canon EOS-1D Mark II 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 1Ds Mark III»Y-----2.0---Canon 1Ds Mark III
 
Canon 1D Mark II«Y-----1.1---Canon 1D Mark II
 
Canon 1D X Mark II« »YmonomonoYYmini3.0---Canon 1D X Mark II
 
Canon 1D C« »YmonomonoYYmini2.0---Canon 1D C
 
Canon 5D Mark III« »YmonomonoYYmini2.0---Canon 5D Mark III
 
Canon 6D« »YmonomonoY-mini2.0Y--Canon 6D
 
Canon 1D X« »Ymono-Y-mini2.0---Canon 1D X
 
Canon 5D Mark II« »YmonomonoY-mini2.0---Canon 5D Mark II
 
Canon 1D Mark III« »Y-----2.0---Canon 1D Mark III
 
Canon 1D Mark II N« »Y-----1.1---Canon 1D Mark II N
 
Canon 5D« »Y-----2.0---Canon 5D
 
Canon 1Ds Mark II« »Y-----2.0---Canon 1Ds Mark II
 
Canon 1Ds« »Y-----FW---Canon 1Ds
 
Canon 1D« »Y-----FW---Canon 1D
 
Nikon D3X« »Y----mini2.0---Nikon D3X

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

Both the 1Ds Mark III and the 1D Mark II have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The 1D Mark II was replaced by the Canon 1D Mark II N, while the 1Ds Mark III was followed by the Canon 1DX. Further information on the two cameras, as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Canon website.


Review summary: Canon 1Ds Mark III vs 1D Mark II

So how do things add up? Is the Canon 1Ds Mark III better than the Canon 1D Mark II or vice versa? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.


Reasons to prefer the Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III:

  • More detail: Offers more megapixels (21 vs 8.2MP) with a 60% higher linear resolution.
  • Better image quality: Scores substantially higher (14 points) in the DXO overall assessment.
  • Richer colors: Generates images with noticeably better colors (1.7 bits more color depth).
  • More dynamic range: Captures a larger spectrum of light and dark details (0.9 EV of extra DR).
  • Better low-light sensitivity: Requires less light for good images (0.7 stops ISO advantage).
  • Larger viewfinder image: Features a viewfinder with a higher magnification (0.76x vs 0.55x).
  • Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.0" vs 2.0") for image review and settings control.
  • Less heavy: Is lighter (by 150g or 10 percent) and hence easier to carry around.
  • Longer lasting: Can take more shots (1800 versus 1200) on a single battery charge.
  • Faster data transfer: Supports a more advanced USB protocol (2.0 vs 1.1).
  • More modern: Reflects 3 years and 6 months of technical progress since the 1D Mark II launch.


Arguments in favor of the Canon EOS-1D Mark II:

  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (8.3 vs 5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (44 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More heavily discounted: Has been around for much longer (launched in January 2004).

If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the 1Ds Mark III is the clear winner of the match-up (11 : 3 points). However, the pertinence of the various camera strengths will differ across photographers, so that you might want to weigh individual camera traits according to their importance for your own imaging needs before making a camera decision.

1Ds Mark III 11:03 1D Mark II

Do the specifications of the Canon 1Ds Mark III and the Canon 1D Mark II place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best DSLR Camera listing.

In any case, while the comparison of the spec-sheets of cameras can offer a general idea of their imaging potential, it says little about, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance of the 1Ds Mark III and the 1D Mark II in practical situations. User reviews that are available, for instance, at amazon can sometimes shed light on these issues, but such feedback is all too often partial, inconsistent, and inaccurate.

Expert reviews: Canon 1Ds Mark III vs 1D Mark II

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 (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, photographyblog).

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 1Ds Mark III»-++4.5/5-- Aug 2007 7,999- i Canon 1Ds Mark III
 
Canon 1D Mark II«-++-o- Jan 2004 4,499- i Canon 1D Mark II
 
Canon 1D X Mark II« »-89/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Feb 2016 5,999 i i Canon 1D X Mark II
 
Canon 1D C« »----- Apr 2012 14,999- i Canon 1D C
 
Canon 5D Mark III« »++82/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Mar 2012 3,499- i Canon 5D Mark III
 
Canon 6D« »++83/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Sep 2012 2,099- i Canon 6D
 
Canon 1D X« »--4.5/54.5/54.5/5 Oct 2011 6,799- i Canon 1D X
 
Canon 5D Mark II« »91/10079/1004/55/5- Sep 2008 3,499- i Canon 5D Mark II
 
Canon 1D Mark III« »---o- Feb 2007 4,499- i Canon 1D Mark III
 
Canon 1D Mark II N« »----- Aug 2005 3,999- i Canon 1D Mark II N
 
Canon 5D« »88/100++oo- Aug 2005 3,299- i Canon 5D
 
Canon 1Ds Mark II« »-++--- Sep 2004 7,999- i Canon 1Ds Mark II
 
Canon 1Ds« »-++--- Sep 2002 8,999- i Canon 1Ds
 
Canon 1D« »-++--- Sep 2001 6,499- i Canon 1D
 
Nikon D3X« »-86/1004/55/55/5 Dec 2008 7,999- i Nikon D3X
Notes: ++) highly recommended; +) recommended; o) reviewed; -) not available.

The above review scores should be interpreted with care, 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 comparing ratings of very distinct cameras or ones that are far apart in terms of their release date have little meaning. It should also be noted that some of the review sites have over time altered the way they render their verdicts.

Canon 1Ds Mark III:
Check Ebay offers
Canon 1D Mark II:
Check Ebay offers

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. There is also a set of direct links to comparison reviews that other users of the CAM-parator app explored.

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    Specifications: Canon 1Ds Mark III vs Canon 1D Mark II

    Camera Specifications
    Camera Model Canon 1Ds Mark III Canon 1D Mark II
    Camera Type Digital single lens reflex Digital single lens reflex
    Camera Lens Canon EF mount lenses Canon EF mount lenses
    Launch Date August 2007 January 2004
    Launch Price USD 7999 USD 4499
    Sensor Specs Canon 1Ds Mark III Canon 1D Mark II
    Sensor Technology CMOS CMOS
    Sensor Format Full Frame Sensor APS-H Sensor
    Sensor Size 36.0 x 24.0 mm 28.7 x 19.1 mm
    Sensor Area 864 mm2 548.17 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 43.3 mm 34.5 mm
    Crop Factor 1.0x 1.3x
    Sensor Resolution 21 Megapixels 8.2 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 5616 x 3744 pixels 3504 x 2336 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 6.41 μm 8.17 μm
    Pixel Density 2.43 MP/cm2 1.49 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability no Video no Video
    ISO Setting 100-1600 ISO 100-1600 ISO
    ISO Boost 50-3200 ISO 50-3200 ISO
    Image Processor DIGIC III (Dual) DIGIC II
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) 80 66
    DXO Color Depth (bits) 24.0 22.3
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) 12.0 11.1
    DXO Low Light (ISO) 1663 1003
    Screen Specs Canon 1Ds Mark III Canon 1D Mark II
    Viewfinder Type Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 100% 100%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.76x 0.55x
    Top-Level Screen Control Panel Control Panel
    LCD Framing Live View
    Rear LCD Size 3.0 inch 2.0 inch
    LCD Resolution 230k dots 230k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen Fixed screen
    Shooting Specs Canon 1Ds Mark III Canon 1D Mark II
    Autofocus System Phase-detect AF Phase-detect AF
    Continuous Shooting 5 shutter flaps/s 8.3 shutter flaps/s
    Fill Flash no On-Board Flash no On-Board Flash
    Storage Medium CF cards CF or SD cards
    Second Storage Option Dual card slots Dual card slots
    Connectivity Specs Canon 1Ds Mark III Canon 1D Mark II
    External Flash Hotshoe Hotshoe
    Studio Flash PC Sync socket PC Sync socket
    USB Connector USB 2.0 USB 1.1
    HDMI Port no HDMI no HDMI
    Wifi Support no Wifi no Wifi
    Body Specs Canon 1Ds Mark III Canon 1D Mark II
    Environmental SealingWeathersealed bodyWeathersealed body
    Battery Type LP-E4 power pack NP-E3 power pack
    Battery Life (CIPA)1800 shots per charge1200 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 150 x 160 x 80 mm
    (5.9 x 6.3 x 3.1 in)
    156 x 158 x 80 mm
    (6.1 x 6.2 x 3.1 in)
    Camera Weight 1385 g (48.9 oz) 1535 g (54.1 oz)

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