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Canon 40D vs Nikon D2X

The Canon EOS 40D and the Nikon D2X are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in August 2007 and September 2004. Both are DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras that are equipped with an APS-C sensor. The Canon has a resolution of 10.1 megapixels, whereas the Nikon provides 12.2 MP.

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

Headline Specifications
Canon 40D
versus
Nikon D2X
Canon 40D   Nikon D2X
Digital single lens reflex Digital single lens reflex
Canon EF mount lenses Nikon F mount lenses
10.1 MP, APS-C Sensor 12.2 MP, APS-C Sensor
no Video no Video
ISO 100-1,600 (100 - 3,200) ISO 100-800 (100 - 3,200)
Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
3.0 LCD, 230k dots 2.5 LCD, 235k dots
Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive) Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)
6.5 shutter flaps per second 5 shutter flaps per second
not weather sealedWeathersealed body
750 shots per battery charge3800 shots per battery charge
146 x 108 x 74 mm, 822 g 158 x 150 x 86 mm, 1252 g

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Canon EOS 40D and the Nikon D2X? 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 40D and the Nikon D2X. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three consecutive perspectives from the front, the top, and the back are available. All width, height and depth dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

Size Canon 40D vs Nikon D2X
Compare 40D versus D2X top
Comparison 40D or D2X rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Nikon D2X is considerably larger (50 percent) than the Canon 40D. Moreover, the D2X is substantially heavier (52 percent) than the 40D. It is noteworthy in this context that the D2X is splash and dust-proof, while the 40D 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 (40D) and the Nikon Lens Catalog (D2X).

Concerning battery life, the 40D gets 750 shots out of its BP-511A battery, while the D2X can take 3800 images on a single charge of its EN-EL4a power pack. As can be seen in the images above, the D2X 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 40D, Canon provides the BG-E2N 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. In case you want to display and compare another camera duo, you can use the CAM-parator app to select your camera combination among a large number of options.

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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 40D 146 mm 108 mm 74 mm 822 g 750 n Aug 2007 1,299i
2.
 
Nikon D2X 158 mm 150 mm 86 mm 1252 g 3800 Y Sep 2004 4,999i
3.
 
Canon 70D 139 mm 104 mm 79 mm 755 g 920 Y Jul 2013 1,199i
4.
 
Canon 1100D 130 mm 100 mm 78 mm 495 g 700 n Feb 2011 449i
5.
 
Canon 60D 145 mm 106 mm 79 mm 755 g 1100 Y Aug 2010 1,399i
6.
 
Canon 50D 146 mm 108 mm 74 mm 822 g 800 Y Aug 2008 1,299i
7.
 
Canon 450D 129 mm 98 mm 62 mm 524 g 500 n Jan 2008 799i
8.
 
Canon 30D 144 mm 106 mm 74 mm 785 g 750 n Feb 2006 1,399i
9.
 
Canon 400D 127 mm 84 mm 65 mm 556 g 370 n Aug 2006 799i
10.
 
Canon 20D 144 mm 106 mm 72 mm 770 g 700 n Aug 2004 1,499i
11.
 
Nikon D3S 160 mm 157 mm 88 mm 1240 g 4200 Y Oct 2009 5,199i
12.
 
Nikon D90 132 mm 103 mm 77 mm 703 g 850 n Aug 2008 1,299i
13.
 
Nikon D3 160 mm 157 mm 88 mm 1300 g 4300 Y Aug 2007 4,999i
14.
 
Nikon D2Xs 158 mm 150 mm 86 mm 1252 g 3800 Y Jun 2006 4,699i
15.
 
Nikon D200 147 mm 113 mm 74 mm 920 g 400 Y Nov 2005 1,699i
16.
 
Nikon D1X 157 mm 153 mm 85 mm 1100 g 1200 Y Feb 2001 5,999i
17.
 
Olympus E-30 142 mm 108 mm 75 mm 701 g 750 n Nov 2008 1,299i
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 listed launch prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The 40D was launched at a markedly lower price (by 74 percent) than the D2X, 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. Then, after the new model is out, very good deals can frequently be found on the pre-owned market.

Sensor comparison

The size of the sensor inside a digital camera is one of the key determinants 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.

Both cameras under consideration feature an APS-C sensor, but their sensors differ slightly in size. The sensor area in the D2X is 12 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have format factors, respectively, of 1.6 (40D) and 1.5. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.

Canon 40D and Nikon D2X sensor measures

With 12.2MP, the D2X offers a higher resolution than the 40D (10.1MP), but the D2X has smaller individual pixels (pixel pitch of 5.52μm versus 5.73μm for the 40D). Yet, the 40D is a much more recent model (by 2 years and 11 months) than the D2X, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that further enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixel-units.

The resolution advantage of the Nikon D2X implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the D2X for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 21.4 x 14.2 inches or 54.5 x 36.2 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 17.2 x 11.4 inches or 43.6 x 28.9 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 14.3 x 9.5 inches or 36.3 x 24.1 cm. The corresponding values for the Canon 40D are 19.4 x 13 inches or 49.4 x 32.9 cm for good quality, 15.6 x 10.4 inches or 39.5 x 26.3 cm for very good quality, and 13 x 8.6 inches or 32.9 x 21.9 cm for excellent quality prints.

The Canon EOS 40D has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 1600, which can be extended to ISO 100-3200. The corresponding ISO settings for the Nikon D2X are ISO 100 to ISO 800, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 100-3200.

40D versus D2X 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 40D has a notably higher overall DXO score than the D2X (overall score 5 points higher), which gives it an advantage in terms of imaging quality. 0.4 EV in additional dynamic range, and 0.6 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.

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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 40D APS-C 10.1 3888 2592none22.111.370364
2.
 
Nikon D2X APS-C 12.2 4288 2848none22.110.947659
3.
 
Canon 70D APS-C 20.0 5472 36481080/30p22.511.692668
4.
 
Canon 1100D APS-C 12.2 4272 2848720/30p21.911.075562
5.
 
Canon 60D APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p22.211.581366
6.
 
Canon 50D APS-C 15.1 4752 3168none21.811.469663
7.
 
Canon 450D APS-C 12.2 4272 2848none21.910.869261
8.
 
Canon 30D APS-C 8.2 3504 2336none21.510.873659
9.
 
Canon 400D APS-C 10.1 3888 2592none22.111.066462
10.
 
Canon 20D APS-C 8.2 3504 2336none21.911.072162
11.
 
Nikon D3S Full Frame 12.1 4256 2832720/24p23.512.0325382
12.
 
Nikon D90 APS-C 12.2 4288 2848720/24p22.712.597773
13.
 
Nikon D3 Full Frame 12.1 4256 2832none23.512.2229081
14.
 
Nikon D2Xs APS-C 12.2 4288 2848none22.210.948959
15.
 
Nikon D200 APS-C 10.0 3872 2592none22.311.558364
16.
 
Nikon D1X APS-C 5.9 3008 1960none........
17.
 
Olympus E-30 Four Thirds 12.2 4032 3024none21.310.453055
The 40D offers Live View, so that it can project the live image that the sensor receives onto the rear screen for framing. The D2X lacks this capability. 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 40D and the D2X 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 D2X offers a wider field of view (100%) than the one in the 40D (95%), so that a larger proportion of the captured image is visible in the finder. On the other hand, the viewfinder of the 40D has a higher magnification (0.59x vs 0.57x), 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 40D, the Nikon D2X, and comparable 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 40Doptical Y3.0 / 230 fixed n 1/8000s 6.5 Y n
2.
 
Nikon D2Xoptical Y2.5 / 235 fixed n 1/8000s 5.0 n n
3.
 
Canon 70Doptical Y3.0 / 1040 swivel Y 1/8000s 7.0 Y n
4.
 
Canon 1100Doptical n2.7 / 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
5.
 
Canon 60Doptical Y3.0 / 1040 swivel n 1/8000s 5.3 Y n
6.
 
Canon 50Doptical Y3.0 / 920 fixed n 1/8000s 6.3 Y n
7.
 
Canon 450Doptical n3.0 / 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.5 Y n
8.
 
Canon 30Doptical Y2.5 / 230 fixed n 1/8000s 5.0 Y n
9.
 
Canon 400Doptical n2.5 / 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
10.
 
Canon 20Doptical Y1.8 / 118 fixed n 1/8000s 5.0 Y n
11.
 
Nikon D3Soptical Y3.0 / 921 fixed n 1/8000s 11.0 n n
12.
 
Nikon D90optical Y3.0 / 920 fixed n 1/4000s 4.5 Y n
13.
 
Nikon D3optical Y3.0 / 922 fixed n 1/8000s 11.0 n n
14.
 
Nikon D2Xsoptical Y2.5 / 230 fixed n 1/8000s 5.0 n n
15.
 
Nikon D200optical Y2.5 / 230 fixed n 1/8000s 5.0 Y n
16.
 
Nikon D1Xoptical Y2.0 / 120 fixed n 1/16000s 3.0 n n
17.
 
Olympus E-30optical Y2.7 / 230 swivel n 1/8000s 5.0 Y Y

One difference between the cameras concerns the presence of an on-board flash. The 40D has one, while the D2X does not. While the built-in flash of the 40D is not very powerful, it can at times be useful as a fill-in light.

Concerning the storage of imaging data, both the 40D and the D2X 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 40D and Nikon D2X 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 40DY- / ----2.0---
2.
 
Nikon D2XY- / ----2.0---
3.
 
Canon 70DYstereo / monoY-mini2.0Y--
4.
 
Canon 1100DYstereo / mono--mini2.0---
5.
 
Canon 60DYmono / monoY-mini2.0---
6.
 
Canon 50DY- / ---mini2.0---
7.
 
Canon 450DY- / ---mini2.0---
8.
 
Canon 30DY- / ----2.0---
9.
 
Canon 400DY- / ----2.0---
10.
 
Canon 20DY- / ----1.1---
11.
 
Nikon D3SYstereo / ---mini2.0---
12.
 
Nikon D90Ymono / mono--mini2.0---
13.
 
Nikon D3Y- / ---mini2.0---
14.
 
Nikon D2XsY- / ----2.0---
15.
 
Nikon D200Y- / ----2.0---
16.
 
Nikon D1XY- / ----FW---
17.
 
Olympus E-30Y- / ----2.0---

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

Both the 40D and the D2X have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The D2X was replaced by the Nikon D2Xs, while the 40D was followed by the Canon 50D. 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 what is the bottom line? Is there a clear favorite between the Canon 40D and the Nikon D2X? Which camera is better? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.

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Arguments in favor of the Canon EOS 40D:

  • Better image quality: Scores markedly higher (5 points) in the DXO overall assessment.
  • Better low-light sensitivity: Requires less light for good images (0.6 stops ISO advantage).
  • Larger viewfinder image: Features a viewfinder with a higher magnification (0.59x vs 0.57x).
  • Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.0" vs 2.5") for image review and settings control.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (6.5 vs 5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • More compact: Is smaller (146x108mm vs 158x150mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
  • Less heavy: Is lighter (by 430g or 34 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 (74 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More modern: Reflects 2 years and 11 months of technical progress since the D2X launch.

ilogo

Reasons to prefer the Nikon D2X:

  • More detail: Has more megapixels (12.2 vs 10.1MP), which boosts linear resolution by 10%.
  • More complete view: Has a viewfinder with a larger field of view (100% vs 95%).
  • More portrait friendly: Features an integrated vertical grip for easier portrait shooting.
  • Longer lasting: Gets more shots (3800 versus 750) out of a single battery charge.
  • Better sealing: Is splash and dust sealed for shooting in inclement weather conditions.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been around for much longer (launched in September 2004).

If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the 40D is the clear winner of the match-up (10 : 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 wildlife photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a family photog, and a person interested in architecture has distinct needs from a sports shooter. Hence, the decision which camera is best and worth buying is often a very personal one.

40D 10:06 D2X

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Canon 40D and the Nikon D2X 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 technical specifications can provide a useful overview of the capabilities of different cameras, it remains incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the 40D or the D2X perform in practice. User reviews, such as those found at amazon, can sometimes inform about these issues, but such feedback is often incomplete, inconsistent, and biased.

Expert reviews

This is where reviews by experts come in. The table below provides a synthesis of the camera assessments of some of the best known photo-gear 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 40D..+ +..+ +4.5/54.5/5 Aug 2007 1,299i
2.
 
Nikon D2X......+ +.... Sep 2004 4,999i
3.
 
Canon 70D5/5+ +..83/1004.5/55/5 Jul 2013 1,199i
4.
 
Canon 1100D..80/100..69/1004/54.5/5 Feb 2011 449i
5.
 
Canon 60D5/5+..79/1004/54.5/5 Aug 2010 1,399i
6.
 
Canon 50D..+ +..+ +4.5/54.5/5 Aug 2008 1,299i
7.
 
Canon 450D..+ +..+ +4/54.5/5 Jan 2008 799i
8.
 
Canon 30D..+ +..+ +o.. Feb 2006 1,399i
9.
 
Canon 400D..+ +..+ +o4/5 Aug 2006 799i
10.
 
Canon 20D......+ +.... Aug 2004 1,499i
11.
 
Nikon D3S5/5....89/1004.5/55/5 Oct 2009 5,199i
12.
 
Nikon D90..+ +..+ +4/54.5/5 Aug 2008 1,299i
13.
 
Nikon D3......+ +5/54.5/5 Aug 2007 4,999i
14.
 
Nikon D2Xs............ Jun 2006 4,699i
15.
 
Nikon D200..+ +..+ +o.. Nov 2005 1,699i
16.
 
Nikon D1X......+ +.... Feb 2001 5,999i
17.
 
Olympus E-30......71/1004.5/54/5 Nov 2008 1,299i
Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.

The review scores listed above should be treated with care, though. The ratings are only valid when referring to cameras in the same category and of the same age. A score, therefore, has to be seen in close connection to the price and market introduction time of the camera, and rating-comparisons among cameras that span long time periods or concern very differently equipped models make little sense. Also, kindly note that some of the listed sites have over time developped their review approaches and their reporting style.

Canon 40D:
Check Ebay offers
Nikon D2X:
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 40D vs Nikon D2X

    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 40D Nikon D2X
    Camera Type Digital single lens reflex Digital single lens reflex
    Camera Lens Canon EF mount lenses Nikon F mount lenses
    Launch Date August 2007 September 2004
    Launch Price USD 1,299 USD 4,999
    Sensor Specs Canon 40D Nikon D2X
    Sensor Technology CMOS CMOS
    Sensor Format APS-C Sensor APS-C Sensor
    Sensor Size 22.3 x 14.9 mm 23.7 x 15.7 mm
    Sensor Area 332.27 mm2 372.09 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 26.8 mm 28.4 mm
    Crop Factor 1.6x 1.5x
    Sensor Resolution 10.1 Megapixels 12.2 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 3888 x 2592 pixels 4288 x 2848 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 5.73 μm 5.52 μm
    Pixel Density 3.03 MP/cm2 3.28 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability no Video no Video
    ISO Setting 100 - 1,600 ISO 100 - 800 ISO
    ISO Boost 100 - 3,200 ISO 100 - 3,200 ISO
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) 64 59
    DXO Color Depth (bits) 22.1 22.1
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) 11.3 10.9
    DXO Low Light (ISO) 703 476
    Screen Specs Canon 40D Nikon D2X
    Viewfinder Type Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 95% 100%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.59x 0.57x
    Top-Level Screen Control Panel Control Panel
    LCD Framing Live View
    Rear LCD Size 3.0inch 2.5inch
    LCD Resolution 230k dots 235k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen Fixed screen
    Shooting Specs Canon 40D Nikon D2X
    Focus System Phase-detect AF Phase-detect AF
    Continuous Shooting 6.5 shutter flaps/s 5 shutter flaps/s
    Shutter Life Expectancy100 000 actuations150 000 actuations
    Fill Flash Built-in Flash no On-Board Flash
    Storage Medium CF cards CF cards
    Second Storage Option Single card slot Single card slot
    Connectivity Specs Canon 40D Nikon D2X
    External Flash Hotshoe Hotshoe
    Studio Flash PC Sync socket PC Sync socket
    USB Connector USB 2.0 USB 2.0
    HDMI Port no HDMI no HDMI
    Wifi Support no Wifi no Wifi
    Body Specs Canon 40D Nikon D2X
    Environmental Sealingnot weather sealedWeathersealed body
    Battery Type BP-511A EN-EL4a
    Battery Life (CIPA)750 shots per charge3800 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 146 x 108 x 74 mm
    (5.7 x 4.3 x 2.9 in)
    158 x 150 x 86 mm
    (6.2 x 5.9 x 3.4 in)
    Camera Weight 822 g (29.0 oz) 1252 g (44.2 oz)

    Did you notice an error on this page? If so, please get in touch, so that we can correct the information.

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