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Canon 1Ds vs 5D

The Canon EOS-1Ds and the Canon EOS 5D are two professional cameras that were announced, respectively, in September 2002 and August 2005. Both are DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras that are equipped with a full frame sensor. The 1Ds has a resolution of 11 megapixels, whereas the 5D provides 12.7 MP.

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

Headline Specifications
Canon 1Ds
versus
Canon 5D
Canon 1Ds   Canon 5D
Digital single lens reflex Digital single lens reflex
Canon EF mount lenses Canon EF mount lenses
11 MP, Full Frame Sensor 12.7 MP, Full Frame Sensor
no Video no Video
ISO 100-1,250 ISO 100-1,600 (50 - 3,200)
Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
2.0 LCD, 120k dots 2.5 LCD, 230k dots
Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive) Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)
3 shutter flaps per second 3 shutter flaps per second
Weathersealed bodyWeathersealed body
600 shots per battery charge400 shots per battery charge
156 x 158 x 80 mm, 1265 g 152 x 113 x 75 mm, 895 g

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Canon EOS-1Ds and the Canon EOS 5D? 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 side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size and weight of the Canon 1Ds and the Canon 5D. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three successive views from the front, the top, and the rear are shown. All size dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

Size Canon 1Ds vs Canon 5D
Compare 1Ds versus 5D top
Comparison 1Ds or 5D rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Canon 5D is considerably smaller (30 percent) than the Canon 1Ds. Moreover, the 5D is markedly lighter (29 percent) than the 1Ds. 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. In this particular case, both cameras feature the same lens mount, so that they can use the same lenses. You can compare the optics available in the Canon EF Lens Catalog.

Concerning battery life, the 1Ds gets 600 shots out of its NP-E3 battery, while the 5D can take 400 images on a single charge of its BP-511A power pack. As can be seen in the images above, the 1Ds 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 5D, Canon provides the BG-E4 vertical grip as an optional accessory (see here on eBay).

The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the two cameras alongside a broader set of comparators. 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.
 
Canon 1Ds 156 mm 158 mm 80 mm 1265 g 600 Y Sep 2002 8,999i
2.
 
Canon 5D 152 mm 113 mm 75 mm 895 g 400 Y Aug 2005 3,299i
3.
 
Canon 1D X Mark III 158 mm 168 mm 83 mm 1440 g 2850 Y Jan 2020 6,499 i
4.
 
Canon 6D Mark II 144 mm 111 mm 75 mm 765 g 1200 Y Jun 2017 1,999 i
5.
 
Canon 1D X Mark II 158 mm 168 mm 83 mm 1530 g 1210 Y Feb 2016 5,999i
6.
 
Canon 5DS 152 mm 116 mm 76 mm 930 g 700 Y Feb 2015 3,699 i
7.
 
Canon 5DS R 152 mm 116 mm 76 mm 930 g 700 Y Feb 2015 3,699 i
8.
 
Canon 1D C 158 mm 164 mm 83 mm 1545 g 1120 Y Apr 2012 14,999i
9.
 
Canon 6D 145 mm 111 mm 71 mm 770 g 1090 Y Sep 2012 2,099i
10.
 
Canon 1D Mark IV 156 mm 157 mm 80 mm 1230 g 1500 Y Oct 2009 4,999i
11.
 
Canon 5D Mark II 152 mm 114 mm 75 mm 850 g 850 Y Sep 2008 3,499i
12.
 
Canon 1D Mark III 156 mm 157 mm 80 mm 1155 g 2200 Y Feb 2007 4,499i
13.
 
Canon 1Ds Mark III 150 mm 160 mm 80 mm 1385 g 1800 Y Aug 2007 7,999i
14.
 
Canon 1D Mark II N 156 mm 158 mm 80 mm 1565 g 1200 Y Aug 2005 3,999i
15.
 
Canon 1D Mark II 156 mm 158 mm 80 mm 1535 g 1200 Y Jan 2004 4,499i
16.
 
Canon 1Ds Mark II 156 mm 158 mm 80 mm 1215 g 1200 Y Sep 2004 7,999i
Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.

The price is, of course, an important factor in any camera decision. 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 5D was launched at a markedly lower price (by 63 percent) than the 1Ds, 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 size of the sensor inside a digital camera is one of the key determinants of image quality. A large sensor will tend to have larger individual pixels that provide better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and richer color-depth than smaller pixel-units in a sensor of the same technological generation. Moreover, a large sensor camera will give the photographer more control over depth-of-field in the image and, thus, the ability to better isolate a subject from the background. On the downside, larger sensors tend to be associated with larger, more expensive camera bodies and lenses.

Both cameras under consideration feature a full frame sensor, but their sensors differ slightly in size. The sensor area in the 5D is 1 percent bigger. They nevertheless have the same format factor of 1.0. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.

Technology-wise, the 5D uses a more advanced image processing engine (DIGIC 2) than the 1Ds (DIGIC), with benefits for noise reduction, color accuracy, and processing speed.

Canon 1Ds and Canon 5D sensor measures

With 12.7MP, the 5D offers a higher resolution than the 1Ds (11MP), but the 5D has smaller individual pixels (pixel pitch of 8.25μm versus 8.83μm for the 1Ds). Yet, the 5D is a much more recent model (by 2 years and 10 months) than the 1Ds, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixel-units.

The resolution advantage of the Canon 5D implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the 5D for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 21.8 x 14.6 inches or 55.5 x 37 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 17.5 x 11.6 inches or 44.4 x 29.6 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 14.6 x 9.7 inches or 37 x 24.7 cm. The corresponding values for the Canon 1Ds are 20.3 x 13.5 inches or 51.6 x 34.3 cm for good quality, 16.3 x 10.8 inches or 41.3 x 27.5 cm for very good quality, and 13.5 x 9 inches or 34.4 x 22.9 cm for excellent quality prints.

The Canon EOS-1Ds has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 1250, which can be extended to ISO 50-1250. The corresponding ISO settings for the Canon EOS 5D are ISO 100 to ISO 1600, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 50-3200.

1Ds versus 5D MP

For many cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. 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 consideration, the 5D has a markedly higher DXO score than the 1Ds (overall score 8 points higher), which will translate into better image quality. The advantage is based on 1.1 bits higher color depth, 0.1 EV in additional dynamic range, and 0.5 stops in additional low light sensitivity. The following table provides an overview of the physical sensor characteristics, as well as the sensor quality measurements for a selection of comparators.

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Sensor Characteristics
    Camera
Model
Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
1.
 
Canon 1Ds Full Frame 11.0 4064 2704none21.811.095463
2.
 
Canon 5D Full Frame 12.7 4368 2912none22.911.1136871
3.
 
Canon 1D X Mark III Full Frame 20.0 5472 36484K/60p24.214.5324891
4.
 
Canon 6D Mark II Full Frame 26.0 6240 41601080/60p24.411.9286285
5.
 
Canon 1D X Mark II Full Frame 20.0 5472 36484K/60p24.113.5320788
6.
 
Canon 5DS Full Frame 50.3 8688 57921080/30p24.712.4238187
7.
 
Canon 5DS R Full Frame 50.3 8688 57921080/30p24.612.4230886
8.
 
Canon 1D C Full Frame 17.9 5184 34564K/24p........
9.
 
Canon 6D Full Frame 20.0 5472 36481080/30p23.812.1234082
10.
 
Canon 1D Mark IV APS-H 16.0 4896 32641080/30p22.812.0132074
11.
 
Canon 5D Mark II Full Frame 21.0 5616 37441080/30p23.711.9181579
12.
 
Canon 1D Mark III APS-H 10.1 3888 2592none22.711.7107871
13.
 
Canon 1Ds Mark III Full Frame 21.0 5616 3744none24.012.0166380
14.
 
Canon 1D Mark II N APS-H 8.2 3504 2336none22.311.297566
15.
 
Canon 1D Mark II APS-H 8.2 3504 2336none22.311.1100366
16.
 
Canon 1Ds Mark II Full Frame 16.6 4992 3328none23.311.3148074
Neither the 1Ds nor the 5D 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

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The 1Ds and the 5D 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 1Ds offers a wider field of view (100%) than the one in the 5D (96%), so that a larger proportion of the captured image is visible in the finder. On the other hand, the viewfinder of the 5D has a higher magnification (0.71x vs 0.70x), so that the size of the image transmitted appears closer to the size seen with the naked human eye. The table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Canon 1Ds and Canon 5D 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)
Mech
Shutter
Speed
Shutter
Flaps
(1/sec)
Built-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Built-in
Image
Stab
1.
 
Canon 1Dsoptical Y2.0 / 120 fixed n 1/8000s 3.0 n n
2.
 
Canon 5Doptical Y2.5 / 230 fixed n 1/8000s 3.0 n n
3.
 
Canon 1D X Mark IIIoptical Y3.2 / 2100 fixed Y 1/8000s 20.0 n n
4.
 
Canon 6D Mark IIoptical Y3.0 / 1040 swivel Y 1/4000s 6.5 n n
5.
 
Canon 1D X Mark IIoptical Y3.2 / 1620 fixed Y 1/8000s 16.0 n n
6.
 
Canon 5DSoptical Y3.2 / 1040 fixed n 1/8000s 5.0 n n
7.
 
Canon 5DS Roptical Y3.2 / 1040 fixed n 1/8000s 5.0 n n
8.
 
Canon 1D Coptical Y3.2 / 1040 fixed n 1/8000s 14.0 n n
9.
 
Canon 6Doptical Y3.0 / 1040 fixed n 1/4000s 4.5 n n
10.
 
Canon 1D Mark IVoptical Y3.0 / 920 fixed n 1/8000s 10.0 n n
11.
 
Canon 5D Mark IIoptical Y3.0 / 920 fixed n 1/8000s 3.9 n n
12.
 
Canon 1D Mark IIIoptical Y3.0 / 230 fixed n 1/8000s 10.0 n n
13.
 
Canon 1Ds Mark IIIoptical Y3.0 / 230 fixed n 1/8000s 5.0 n n
14.
 
Canon 1D Mark II Noptical Y2.5 / 230 fixed n 1/8000s 8.5 n n
15.
 
Canon 1D Mark IIoptical Y2.0 / 230 fixed n 1/8000s 8.3 n n
16.
 
Canon 1Ds Mark IIoptical Y2.0 / 230 fixed n 1/8000s 4.0 n n

Concerning the storage of imaging data, both the 1Ds and the 5D 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-1Ds and Canon EOS 5D 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.
 
Canon 1DsY- / ----FW---
2.
 
Canon 5DY- / ----2.0---
3.
 
Canon 1D X Mark IIIYmono / monoYYmini3.1Y-Y
4.
 
Canon 6D Mark IIYstereo / monoY-mini2.0YYY
5.
 
Canon 1D X Mark IIYmono / monoYYmini3.0---
6.
 
Canon 5DSYmono / monoY-mini3.0---
7.
 
Canon 5DS RYmono / monoY-mini3.0---
8.
 
Canon 1D CYmono / monoYYmini2.0---
9.
 
Canon 6DYmono / monoY-mini2.0Y--
10.
 
Canon 1D Mark IVYstereo / -Y-mini2.0---
11.
 
Canon 5D Mark IIYmono / monoY-mini2.0---
12.
 
Canon 1D Mark IIIY- / ----2.0---
13.
 
Canon 1Ds Mark IIIYmono / ----2.0---
14.
 
Canon 1D Mark II NY- / ----1.1---
15.
 
Canon 1D Mark IIY- / ----1.1---
16.
 
Canon 1Ds Mark IIY- / ----2.0---

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

Both the 1Ds and the 5D have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The 1Ds was replaced by the Canon 1Ds Mark II, while the 5D was followed by the Canon 5D Mark II. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Canon website.

Review summary

So what is the bottom line? Is there a clear favorite between the Canon 1Ds and the Canon 5D? Which camera is better? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.


Reasons to prefer the Canon EOS-1Ds:

  • More complete view: Has a viewfinder with a larger field of view (100% vs 96%).
  • More portrait friendly: Features an integrated vertical grip for easier portrait shooting.
  • Longer lasting: Can take more shots (600 versus 400) on a single battery charge.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in September 2002).


Advantages of the Canon EOS 5D:

  • More detail: Has more megapixels (12.7 vs 11MP), which boosts linear resolution by 8%.
  • Better image quality: Scores markedly higher (8 points) in the DXO overall evaluation.
  • Richer colors: Generates noticeably more natural colors (1.1 bits more color depth).
  • Better low-light sensitivity: Can shoot in dim conditions (0.5 stops ISO advantage).
  • Better jpgs: Has a more modern image processing engine (DIGIC 2 vs DIGIC).
  • Larger viewfinder image: Features a viewfinder with a higher magnification (0.71x vs 0.70x).
  • Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (2.5" vs 2.0") for image review and settings control.
  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (230k vs 120k dots).
  • More compact: Is smaller (152x113mm vs 156x158mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
  • Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 370g or 29 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
  • More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (63 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More modern: Reflects 2 years and 10 months of technical progress since the 1Ds launch.

If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the 5D is the clear winner of the contest (12 : 4 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. 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.

1Ds 04:12 5D

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Canon 1Ds and the Canon 5D 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 specs-based evaluation of cameras can be instructive in revealing their potential as photographic tools, it remains partial and cannot reveal, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance when actually working with the 1Ds or the 5D. 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 where reviews by experts come in. 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.
 
Canon 1Ds......+ +.... Sep 2002 8,999i
2.
 
Canon 5D..88/100..+ +o.. Aug 2005 3,299i
3.
 
Canon 1D X Mark III..+ +5/5..4.5/54/5 Jan 2020 6,499 i
4.
 
Canon 6D Mark II4/5+4/580/1004.5/54/5 Jun 2017 1,999 i
5.
 
Canon 1D X Mark II....4.5/589/1004.5/54.5/5 Feb 2016 5,999i
6.
 
Canon 5DS..+..83/1004.5/54.5/5 Feb 2015 3,699 i
7.
 
Canon 5DS R5/5+..83/1005/54.5/5 Feb 2015 3,699 i
8.
 
Canon 1D C............ Apr 2012 14,999i
9.
 
Canon 6D5/5+ +..83/1004.5/54.5/5 Sep 2012 2,099i
10.
 
Canon 1D Mark IV5/5....89/100.... Oct 2009 4,999i
11.
 
Canon 5D Mark II4/591/100..79/1004/5.. Sep 2008 3,499i
12.
 
Canon 1D Mark III............ Feb 2007 4,499i
13.
 
Canon 1Ds Mark III......+ +4.5/5.. Aug 2007 7,999i
14.
 
Canon 1D Mark II N............ Aug 2005 3,999i
15.
 
Canon 1D Mark II......+ +.... Jan 2004 4,499i
16.
 
Canon 1Ds Mark II......+ +.... Sep 2004 7,999i
Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.

The review scores listed above should be treated with care, though. The assessments were made in relation to similar cameras of the same technological generation. Hence, a score should always be seen in the context of the camera's market launch date and its price, and comparing ratings of very distinct cameras or ones that are far apart in terms of their release date have little meaning. Also, kindly note that some of the listed sites have over time developped their review approaches and their reporting style.

Canon 1Ds:
Check Ebay offers
Canon 5D:
Check Ebay offers

Other camera comparisons

Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? If you would like to see a different side-by-side camera review, just use the search menu 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 vs Canon 5D

    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 1Ds Canon 5D
    Camera Type Digital single lens reflex Digital single lens reflex
    Camera Lens Canon EF mount lenses Canon EF mount lenses
    Launch Date September 2002 August 2005
    Launch Price USD 8,999 USD 3,299
    Sensor Specs Canon 1Ds Canon 5D
    Sensor Technology CMOS CMOS
    Sensor Format Full Frame Sensor Full Frame Sensor
    Sensor Size 36.0 x 23.8 mm 36.0 x 24.0 mm
    Sensor Area 856.8 mm2 864 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 43.2 mm 43.3 mm
    Crop Factor 1.0x 1.0x
    Sensor Resolution 11 Megapixels 12.7 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 4064 x 2704 pixels 4368 x 2912 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 8.83 μm 8.25 μm
    Pixel Density 1.28 MP/cm2 1.47 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability no Video no Video
    ISO Setting 100 - 1,250 ISO 100 - 1,600 ISO
    ISO Boost 50 - 1,250 ISO 50 - 3,200 ISO
    Image Processor DIGIC DIGIC 2
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) 63 71
    DXO Color Depth (bits) 21.8 22.9
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) 11.0 11.1
    DXO Low Light (ISO) 954 1368
    Screen Specs Canon 1Ds Canon 5D
    Viewfinder Type Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 100% 96%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.70x 0.71x
    Top-Level Screen Control Panel Control Panel
    Rear LCD Size 2.0inch 2.5inch
    LCD Resolution 120k dots 230k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen Fixed screen
    Shooting Specs Canon 1Ds Canon 5D
    Focus System Phase-detect AF Phase-detect AF
    Continuous Shooting 3 shutter flaps/s 3 shutter flaps/s
    Fill Flash no On-Board Flash no On-Board Flash
    Storage Medium CF cards CF cards
    Second Storage Option Single card slot Single card slot
    Connectivity Specs Canon 1Ds Canon 5D
    External Flash Hotshoe Hotshoe
    Studio Flash PC Sync socket PC Sync socket
    USB Connector Firewire USB 2.0
    HDMI Port no HDMI no HDMI
    Wifi Support no Wifi no Wifi
    Body Specs Canon 1Ds Canon 5D
    Environmental SealingWeathersealed bodyWeathersealed body
    Battery Type NP-E3 BP-511A
    Battery Life (CIPA)600 shots per charge400 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 156 x 158 x 80 mm
    (6.1 x 6.2 x 3.1 in)
    152 x 113 x 75 mm
    (6.0 x 4.4 x 3.0 in)
    Camera Weight 1265 g (44.6 oz) 895 g (31.6 oz)

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