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Canon 60D vs Leica S2

The Canon EOS 60D and the Leica S2 are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in August 2010 and September 2008. Both are DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras that are based on an APS-C (60D) and a medium format (S2) sensor. The Canon has a resolution of 17.9 megapixels, whereas the Leica provides 37.5 MP.

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

Headline Specifications
Canon 60D versus Leica S2
Canon 60D Leica S2
Digital single lens reflex Digital single lens reflex
Canon EF mount lenses Leica S mount lenses
17.9 MP, APS-C Sensor 37.5 MP, Medium Format Sensor
1080/30p Video no Video
ISO 100-6,400 (100 - 12,800) ISO 80-1,250
Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
3.0 LCD, 1040k dots 3.0 LCD, 460k dots
Swivel screen (not touch-sensitive) Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)
5.3 shutter flaps per second 1.5 shutter flaps per second
Weathersealed bodyWeathersealed body
145 x 106 x 79 mm, 755 g 160 x 120 x 80 mm, 1410 g

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Canon EOS 60D and the Leica S2? 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 60D and the Leica S2 are illustrated in the side-by-side display below. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three consecutive perspectives from the front, the top, and the back are available. All size dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

Size Canon 60D vs Leica S2
Compare 60D versus S2 top
Comparison 60D or S2 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Leica S2 is notably larger (25 percent) than the Canon 60D. Moreover, the S2 is substantially heavier (87 percent) than the 60D. 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. Hence, you might want to study and compare the specifications of available lenses in order to get the full picture of the size and weight of the two camera systems.

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
 
Canon 60D 5.7 in 4.2 in 3.1 in 26.6 oz 1100 Y Aug 2010 1,399i
 
Leica S2 6.3 in 4.7 in 3.1 in 49.7 oz .. Y Sep 2008 22,995i
 
Canon 80D 5.5 in 4.1 in 3.1 in 25.8 oz 960 Y Feb 2016 1,199i
 
Canon 7D II 5.9 in 4.4 in 3.1 in 32.1 oz 670 Y Sep 2014 1,799 i
 
Canon 70D 5.5 in 4.1 in 3.1 in 26.6 oz 920 Y Jul 2013 1,199i
 
Canon T3i 5.2 in 3.9 in 3.1 in 20.1 oz 440 n Feb 2011 599i
 
Canon T2i 5.1 in 3.9 in 2.4 in 18.7 oz 440 n Feb 2010 699i
 
Canon 7D 5.8 in 4.4 in 2.9 in 30.3 oz 800 Y Sep 2009 1,699i
 
Canon T1i 5.1 in 3.9 in 2.4 in 18.3 oz 400 n Mar 2009 799i
 
Canon 50D 5.7 in 4.3 in 2.9 in 29.0 oz 800 Y Aug 2008 1,299i
 
Canon 40D 5.7 in 4.3 in 2.9 in 29.0 oz 750 n Aug 2007 1,299i
 
Leica S3 6.3 in 4.7 in 3.1 in 44.4 oz .. Y Sep 2018 18,995 i
 
Leica S-E Typ 006 6.3 in 4.7 in 3.1 in 44.4 oz .. Y Sep 2014 16,900i
 
Leica S Typ 007 6.3 in 4.7 in 3.1 in 44.4 oz .. Y Sep 2014 24,490 i
 
Leica S Typ 006 6.3 in 4.7 in 3.1 in 44.4 oz .. Y Sep 2012 21,950i
 
Leica S1 13.3 in 8.4 in 4.7 in 88.2 oz .. n Aug 1996 21,490i
 
Nikon D7000 5.2 in 4.1 in 3.0 in 27.5 oz 1050 Y Sep 2010 1,499i
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 retail prices at the time of the camera’s release place the model in the market relative to other models in the producer’s line-up and the competition. The 60D was launched at a markedly lower price (by 94 percent) than the S2, 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.

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Sensor comparison

The size of the sensor inside a digital camera is one of the key determinants 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. 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 tend to be more expensive and lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.

Of the two cameras under consideration, the Canon 60D features an APS-C sensor and the Leica S2 a medium format sensor. The sensor area in the S2 is 307 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 1.6 and 0.8. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.

Canon 60D and Leica S2 sensor measures

With 37.5MP, the S2 offers a higher resolution than the 60D (17.9MP), but the S2 nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 6.00μm versus 4.31μm for the 60D) due to its larger sensor. However, the 60D is a somewhat more recent model (by 1 year and 11 months) than the S2, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time that enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixel-units. Coming back to sensor resolution, it should be mentioned that the S2 has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.

The resolution advantage of the Leica S2 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the S2 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 37.5 x 25 inches or 95.3 x 63.5 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 30 x 20 inches or 76.2 x 50.8 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 25 x 16.7 inches or 63.5 x 42.3 cm. The corresponding values for the Canon 60D are 25.9 x 17.3 inches or 65.8 x 43.9 cm for good quality, 20.7 x 13.8 inches or 52.7 x 35.1 cm for very good quality, and 17.3 x 11.5 inches or 43.9 x 29.3 cm for excellent quality prints.

The Canon EOS 60D has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 6400, which can be extended to ISO 100-12800. The corresponding ISO settings for the Leica S2 are ISO 80 to ISO 1250 (no boost).

60D versus S2 MP

Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for many cameras. This service is based on lab testing and assigns an overall score to each camera sensor, as well as ratings for dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), color depth ("DXO Portrait"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"). 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
 
Canon 60D APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p22.211.581366
 
Leica S2 Medium Format 37.5 7500 5000none........
 
Canon 80D APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p23.613.2113579
 
Canon 7D II APS-C 20.0 5472 36481080/60p22.411.8108270
 
Canon 70D APS-C 20.0 5472 36481080/30p22.511.692668
 
Canon T3i APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p22.111.579365
 
Canon T2i APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p22.111.578466
 
Canon 7D APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p22.011.785466
 
Canon T1i APS-C 15.1 4752 31681080/20p21.711.566363
 
Canon 50D APS-C 15.1 4752 3168none21.811.469663
 
Canon 40D APS-C 10.1 3888 2592none22.111.370364
 
Leica S3 Medium Format 64.0 9800 65334K/24p........
 
Leica S-E Typ 006 Medium Format 37.5 7500 5000none........
 
Leica S Typ 007 Medium Format 37.5 7500 50004K/24p........
 
Leica S Typ 006 Medium Format 37.5 7500 5000none23.912.282476
 
Leica S1 Medium Format 26.4 5140 5140none........
 
Nikon D7000 APS-C 16.1 4928 326410800/24p23.513.9116780

Many modern cameras cannot only take still pictures, but also record videos. The 60D indeed provides movie recording capabilities, while the S2 does not. The highest resolution format that the 60D can use is 1080/30p.

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Feature comparison

Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The 60D and the S2 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 (96%), but the viewfinder of the S2 has a higher magnification than the one of the 60D (0.86x vs 0.59x), 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 60D and Leica S2 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
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
 
Canon 60Doptical Y 3.0 1040 swivel n 1/8000s 5.3 Y n
 
Leica S2optical Y 3.0 460 fixed n 1/4000s 1.5 n n
 
Canon 80Doptical Y 3.0 1040 swivel Y 1/8000s 7.0 Y n
 
Canon 7D IIoptical Y 3.0 1040 fixed n 1/8000s 10.0 Y n
 
Canon 70Doptical Y 3.0 1040 swivel Y 1/8000s 7.0 Y n
 
Canon T3ioptical n 3.0 1040 swivel n 1/4000s 3.7 Y n
 
Canon T2ioptical n 3.0 1040 fixed n 1/4000s 3.7 Y n
 
Canon 7Doptical Y 3.0 920 fixed n 1/8000s 8.0 Y n
 
Canon T1ioptical n 3.0 920 fixed n 1/4000s 3.4 Y n
 
Canon 50Doptical Y 3.0 920 fixed n 1/8000s 6.3 Y n
 
Canon 40Doptical Y 3.0 230 fixed n 1/8000s 6.5 Y n
 
Leica S3optical Y 3.0 922 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 n n
 
Leica S-E Typ 006optical Y 3.0 922 fixed n 1/4000s 1.5 n n
 
Leica S Typ 007optical Y 3.0 922 fixed n 1/4000s 3.5 n n
 
Leica S Typ 006optical Y 3.0 922 fixed n 1/4000s 1.5 n n
 
Leica S1optical n none none none n .. 0.01 n n
 
Nikon D7000optical Y 3.0 921 fixed n 1/8000s 6.0 Y n

One difference between the cameras concerns the presence of an on-board flash. The 60D has one, while the S2 does not. While the built-in flash of the 60D is not very powerful, it can at times be useful as a fill-in light.

The 60D has an articulated LCD that can be turned to be front-facing. This characteristic will be appreciated by vloggers and photographers who are interested in snapping selfies. In contrast, the S2 does not have a selfie-screen.

The 60D writes its imaging data to SDXC cards, while the S2 uses Compact Flash or SDHC cards. The S2 features dual card slots, which can be very useful in case a memory card fails. In contrast, the 60D only has one slot.

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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 60D and Leica S2 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
Microphone
Internal
Speaker
Microphone
Port
Headphone
Port
HDMI
Port
USB
Port
WiFi
Support
NFC
Support
Bluetooth
Support
 
Canon 60DYmonomonoY-mini2.0---
 
Leica S2Y----mini2.0---
 
Canon 80DYstereomonoYYmini2.0YY-
 
Canon 7D IIYstereomonoYYmini3.0---
 
Canon 70DYstereomonoY-mini2.0Y--
 
Canon T3iYmonomonoY-mini2.0---
 
Canon T2iYstereo-Y-mini2.0---
 
Canon 7DYmono-Y-mini2.0---
 
Canon T1iYmonomono--mini2.0---
 
Canon 50DY----mini2.0---
 
Canon 40DY-----2.0---
 
Leica S3YstereomonoYYmini3.0Y--
 
Leica S-E Typ 006Y----mini2.0---
 
Leica S Typ 007YstereomonoYYmini3.0Y--
 
Leica S Typ 006Y----mini2.0---
 
Leica S1----------
 
Nikon D7000YmonomonoY-mini2.0---

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

Both the 60D and the S2 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The S2 was replaced by the Leica S Typ 006, while the 60D was followed by the Canon 70D. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Canon and Leica websites.

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Review summary

So what is the bottom line? Is there a clear favorite between the Canon 60D and the Leica S2? Which camera is better? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.

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Advantages of the Canon EOS 60D:

  • Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
  • Broader imaging potential: Can record not only still images but also 1080/30p movies.
  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1040k vs 460k dots).
  • More flexible LCD: Has a swivel screen for odd-angle shots in portrait or landscape orientation.
  • More selfie-friendly: Has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing.
  • Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/8000s vs 1/4000s) to freeze action.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (5.3 vs 1.5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • More compact: Is smaller (145x106mm vs 160x120mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
  • Less heavy: Is lighter (by 655g or 46 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 (94 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More modern: Is somewhat more recent (announced 1 year and 11 months after the S2).

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Reasons to prefer the Leica S2:

  • More detail: Has more megapixels (37.5 vs 17.9MP), which boosts linear resolution by 45%.
  • Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
  • Better image quality: Features bigger pixels on a larger sensor for higher quality imaging.
  • Richer colors: The pixel size advantage translates into images with better, more accurate colors.
  • More dynamic range: Larger pixels capture a wider spectrum of light and dark details.
  • Better low-light sensitivity: Larger pixels means good image quality even under poor lighting.
  • Larger viewfinder image: Features a viewfinder with a higher magnification (0.86x vs 0.59x).
  • Greater peace of mind: Features a second card slot as a backup in case of memory card failure.
  • More prestigious: Has the Leica luxury appeal, which ensures a high resale value.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in September 2008).

If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the 60D emerges as the winner of the contest (12 : 10 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 sports photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a street photog, and a person interested in family portraits has distinct needs from a landscape shooter. Hence, the decision which camera is best and worth buying is often a very personal one.

60D 12:10 S2

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Canon 60D and the Leica S2 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 60D or the S2. 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 hands-on reviews by experts are important. The table below provides a synthesis of the camera assessments of some of the best known photo-gear 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.

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Review Scores
  Camera
Model
camera
  labs  
dp
review  
ephoto
  zine  
imaging
resource
photography
  blog  
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
 
Canon 60D+79/1004/55/54.5/5 Aug 2010 1,399i
 
Leica S2.......... Sep 2008 22,995i
 
Canon 80D+ +84/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Feb 2016 1,199i
 
Canon 7D II+84/1004/55/54.5/5 Sep 2014 1,799 i
 
Canon 70D+ +83/1004.5/54.5/55/5 Jul 2013 1,199i
 
Canon T3io77/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Feb 2011 599i
 
Canon T2i+ +77/1004/55/54.5/5 Feb 2010 699i
 
Canon 7D+ +84/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Sep 2009 1,699i
 
Canon T1i+ +74/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Mar 2009 799i
 
Canon 50D+ ++ +4.5/55/54.5/5 Aug 2008 1,299i
 
Canon 40D+ ++ +4.5/5o4.5/5 Aug 2007 1,299i
 
Leica S3.......... Sep 2018 18,995 i
 
Leica S-E Typ 006.......... Sep 2014 16,900i
 
Leica S Typ 007.......... Sep 2014 24,490 i
 
Leica S Typ 006.......... Sep 2012 21,950i
 
Leica S1.......... Aug 1996 21,490i
 
Nikon D7000..80/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Sep 2010 1,499i
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. 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. It should also be noted that some of the review sites have over time altered the way they render their verdicts.

Canon 60D:
Check Ebay offers
Leica S2:
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 make a corresponding selection in the search boxes below. As an alternative, you can also directly jump to any one of the listed comparisons that were previously generated by the CAM-parator tool.

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    Specifications: Canon 60D vs Leica S2

    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 60D Leica S2
    Camera Type Digital single lens reflex Digital single lens reflex
    Camera Lens Canon EF mount lenses Leica S mount lenses
    Launch Date August 2010 September 2008
    Launch Price USD 1,399 USD 22,995
    Sensor Specs Canon 60D Leica S2
    Sensor Technology CMOS CCD
    Sensor Format APS-C Sensor Medium Format Sensor
    Sensor Size 22.3 x 14.9 mm 45.0 x 30.0 mm
    Sensor Area 332.27 mm2 1350 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 26.8 mm 54.1 mm
    Crop Factor 1.6x 0.8x
    Sensor Resolution 17.9 Megapixels 37.5 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 5184 x 3456 pixels 7500 x 5000 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 4.31 μm 6.00 μm
    Pixel Density 5.39 MP/cm2 2.78 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter no AA filter
    Movie Capability 1080/30p Video no Video
    ISO Setting 100 - 6,400 ISO 80 - 1,250 ISO
    ISO Boost 100 - 12,800 ISO no Enhancement
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) 66 ..
    DXO Color Depth (bits) 22.2 ..
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) 11.5 ..
    DXO Low Light (ISO) 813 ..
    Screen Specs Canon 60D Leica S2
    Viewfinder Type Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 96% 96%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.59x 0.86x
    Top-Level Screen Control Panel Control Panel
    LCD Framing Live View
    Rear LCD Size 3.0inch 3.0inch
    LCD Resolution 1040k dots 460k dots
    LCD Attachment Swivel screen Fixed screen
    Shooting Specs Canon 60D Leica S2
    Focus System Phase-detect AF Phase-detect AF
    Continuous Shooting 5.3 shutter flaps/s 1.5 shutter flaps/s
    Fill Flash Build-in Flash no On-Board Flash
    Storage Medium SDXC cards CF or SDHC cards
    Second Storage Option Single card slot Dual card slots
    UHS card support no no
    Connectivity Specs Canon 60D Leica S2
    External Flash Hotshoe Hotshoe
    Studio Flash PC Sync socket PC Sync socket
    USB Connector USB 2.0 USB 2.0
    HDMI Port mini HDMI mini HDMI
    Microphone Port External MIC port no MIC socket
    Wifi Support no Wifi no Wifi
    Body Specs Canon 60D Leica S2
    Environmental SealingWeathersealed bodyWeathersealed body
    Battery Type LP-E6 BP-PRO1
    Body Dimensions 145 x 106 x 79 mm
    (5.7 x 4.2 x 3.1 in)
    160 x 120 x 80 mm
    (6.3 x 4.7 x 3.1 in)
    Camera Weight 755 g (26.6 oz) 1410 g (49.7 oz)

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