Canon 6D Mark II vs Nikon D780
The Canon EOS 6D Mark II and the Nikon D780 are two enthusiast cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in June 2017 and January 2020. Both are DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras that are equipped with a full frame sensor. The Canon has a resolution of 26 megapixels, whereas the Nikon provides 24.3 MP.
Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Canon EOS 6D Mark II and the Nikon D780? 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.
The side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size and weight of the Canon 6D Mark II and the Nikon D780. 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.
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Nikon D780 is somewhat larger (5 percent) than the Canon 6D Mark II. Moreover, the D780 is markedly heavier (10 percent) than the 6D Mark II. 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. Yet, since both cameras are based around a full frame 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 (6D Mark II) and the Nikon Lens Catalog (D780).
Concerning battery life, the 6D Mark II gets 1200 shots out of its LP-E6N battery, while the D780 can take 2260 images on a single charge of its EN-EL15b power pack. The power pack in the D780 can be charged via the USB port, which can be very convenient when travelling.
The following table provides a synthesis of the main physical specifications of the two cameras and other similar ones. 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.
|1.||Canon 6D Mark II||144 mm||111 mm||75 mm||765 g||1200||Y||Jun 2017||1,999||amazon.com|
|2.||Nikon D780||144 mm||116 mm||76 mm||840 g||2260||Y||Jan 2020||2,299||amazon.com|
|3.||Canon R||139 mm||98 mm||84 mm||660 g||370||Y||Sep 2018||2,299||amazon.com|
|4.||Canon 5D Mark IV||151 mm||116 mm||76 mm||890 g||900||Y||Aug 2016||3,499||amazon.com|
|5.||Canon 80D||139 mm||105 mm||79 mm||730 g||960||Y||Feb 2016||1,199||ebay.com|
|6.||Canon 5D Mark III||152 mm||116 mm||76 mm||950 g||950||Y||Mar 2012||3,499||ebay.com|
|7.||Canon 6D||145 mm||111 mm||71 mm||770 g||1090||Y||Sep 2012||2,099||ebay.com|
|8.||Canon 5D Mark II||152 mm||114 mm||75 mm||850 g||850||Y||Sep 2008||3,499||ebay.com|
|9.||Nikon D6||160 mm||163 mm||92 mm||1270 g||3580||Y||Feb 2020||6,499||amazon.com|
|10.||Nikon Z6 II||134 mm||101 mm||70 mm||705 g||410||Y||Oct 2020||1,999||amazon.com|
|11.||Nikon D5||160 mm||159 mm||92 mm||1415 g||3780||Y||Jan 2016||6,499||ebay.com|
|12.||Nikon D750||141 mm||113 mm||78 mm||750 g||1230||Y||Sep 2014||2,299||ebay.com|
|13.||Nikon D610||141 mm||113 mm||82 mm||850 g||900||Y||Oct 2013||1,999||amazon.com|
|14.||Nikon D600||141 mm||113 mm||82 mm||850 g||900||Y||Sep 2012||2,099||ebay.com|
|15.||Sony A7 III||127 mm||96 mm||74 mm||650 g||610||Y||Feb 2018||1,999||amazon.com|
|Note: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.|
Any camera decision will obviously take relative prices into account. The listed launch prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The 6D Mark II was launched at a somewhat lower price (by 13 percent) than the D780, which makes it more attractive for photographers on a tight budget. 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.
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.
Both cameras under consideration feature a full frame sensor, but their sensors differ slightly in size. 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.
With 26MP, the 6D Mark II offers a slightly higher resolution than the D780 (24.3MP), but the 6D Mark II has smaller individual pixels (pixel pitch of 5.76μm versus 5.94μm for the D780). Moreover, the D780 is a much more recent model (by 2 years and 6 months) than the 6D Mark II, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixels.
The Canon EOS 6D Mark II has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 40000, which can be extended to ISO 50-102400. The corresponding ISO settings for the Nikon D780 are ISO 100 to ISO 51200, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 50-204800.
In terms of underlying technology, the 6D Mark II is build around a CMOS sensor, while the D780 uses a BSI-CMOS imager. Both cameras use a Bayer filter for capturing RGB colors on a square grid of photosensors. This arrangement is found in most digital cameras.
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.
|1.||Canon 6D Mark II||Full Frame||26.0||6240||4160||1080/60p||24.4||11.9||2862||85|
|2.||Nikon D780||Full Frame||24.3||6048||4024||4K/30p||25.3||14.3||2877||95|
|3.||Canon R||Full Frame||30.1||6720||4480||4K/30p||24.5||13.5||2742||89|
|4.||Canon 5D Mark IV||Full Frame||30.1||6720||4480||4K/30p||24.8||13.6||2995||91|
|6.||Canon 5D Mark III||Full Frame||22.1||5760||3840||1080/30p||24.0||11.7||2293||81|
|7.||Canon 6D||Full Frame||20.0||5472||3648||1080/30p||23.8||12.1||2340||82|
|8.||Canon 5D Mark II||Full Frame||21.0||5616||3744||1080/30p||23.7||11.9||1815||79|
|9.||Nikon D6||Full Frame||20.7||5568||3712||4K/30p||25.3||14.3||2886||95|
|10.||Nikon Z6 II||Full Frame||24.3||6048||4024||4K/60p||25.0||14.4||3303||94|
|11.||Nikon D5||Full Frame||20.7||5588||3712||4K/30p||25.1||12.3||2343||88|
|12.||Nikon D750||Full Frame||24.2||6016||4016||1080/60p||24.8||14.5||2956||93|
|13.||Nikon D610||Full Frame||24.2||6016||4016||1080/30p||25.1||14.4||2925||94|
|14.||Nikon D600||Full Frame||24.2||6016||4016||1080/30p||25.1||14.2||2980||94|
|15.||Sony A7 III||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||4K/30p||25.0||14.7||3730||96|
|Note: DXO values in italics represent estimates based on sensor size and age.|
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. Both cameras under consideration are equipped with sensors that have a sufficiently high read-out speed for moving images, but the D780 provides a better video resolution than the 6D Mark II. It can shoot movie footage at 4K/30p, while the Canon is limited to 1080/60p.
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. The 6D Mark II and the D780 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 D780 offers a wider field of view (100%) than the one in the 6D Mark II (98%), so that a larger proportion of the captured image is visible in the finder. On the other hand, the viewfinder of the 6D Mark II has a higher magnification (0.72x vs 0.70x), 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 6D Mark II, the Nikon D780, and comparable cameras.
|1.||Canon 6D Mark II||optical||Y||3.0 / 1040||swivel||Y||1/4000s||6.5/s||n||n|
|2.||Nikon D780||optical||Y||3.2 / 2359||tilting||Y||1/8000s||12.0/s||n||n|
|3.||Canon R||3690||Y||3.2 / 2100||swivel||Y||1/8000s||8.0/s||n||n|
|4.||Canon 5D Mark IV||optical||Y||3.2 / 1620||fixed||Y||1/8000s||7.0/s||n||n|
|5.||Canon 80D||optical||Y||3.0 / 1040||swivel||Y||1/8000s||7.0/s||Y||n|
|6.||Canon 5D Mark III||optical||Y||3.2 / 1040||fixed||n||1/8000s||6.0/s||n||n|
|7.||Canon 6D||optical||Y||3.0 / 1040||fixed||n||1/4000s||4.5/s||n||n|
|8.||Canon 5D Mark II||optical||Y||3.0 / 920||fixed||n||1/8000s||3.9/s||n||n|
|9.||Nikon D6||optical||Y||3.2 / 2359||fixed||Y||1/8000s||14.0/s||n||n|
|10.||Nikon Z6 II||3690||Y||3.2 / 2100||tilting||Y||1/8000s||14.0/s||n||Y|
|11.||Nikon D5||optical||Y||3.2 / 2359||fixed||Y||1/8000s||14.0/s||n||n|
|12.||Nikon D750||optical||Y||3.2 / 1229||tilting||n||1/4000s||6.0/s||Y||n|
|13.||Nikon D610||optical||Y||3.2 / 921||fixed||n||1/4000s||6.0/s||Y||n|
|14.||Nikon D600||optical||Y||3.0 / 921||fixed||n||1/4000s||5.5/s||Y||n|
|15.||Sony A7 III||2359||n||3.0 / 922||tilting||Y||1/8000s||10.0/s||n||Y|
|Notes: *) Information refers to the mechanical shutter, unless the camera only has an electronic one.|
The Canon 6D Mark II and the Nikon D780 both have an intervalometer built-in. This enables the photographer to capture time lapse sequences, such as flower blooming, a sunset or moon rise, without purchasing an external camera trigger and related software.
Concerning the storage of imaging data, both the 6D Mark II and the D780 write their files to SDXC cards. The D780 features dual card slots, which can be very useful in case a memory card fails. In contrast, the 6D Mark II only has one slot. The D780 supports UHS-II cards (on both slots), while the 6D Mark II can use UHS-I cards.
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 6D Mark II and Nikon D780 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
Mic / Speaker
|1.||Canon 6D Mark II||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||Y|
|2.||Nikon D780||Y||stereo / mono||Y||Y||mini||3.1||Y||-||Y|
|3.||Canon R||Y||stereo / mono||Y||Y||mini||3.1||Y||-||Y|
|4.||Canon 5D Mark IV||Y||mono / mono||Y||Y||mini||3.0||Y||Y||-|
|5.||Canon 80D||Y||stereo / mono||Y||Y||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|6.||Canon 5D Mark III||Y||mono / mono||Y||Y||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|7.||Canon 6D||Y||mono / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||-||-|
|8.||Canon 5D Mark II||Y||mono / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|9.||Nikon D6||Y||stereo / mono||Y||Y||mini||3.1||Y||-||Y|
|10.||Nikon Z6 II||Y||stereo / mono||Y||Y||micro||3.2||Y||-||Y|
|11.||Nikon D5||Y||stereo / mono||Y||Y||mini||3.0||-||-||-|
|12.||Nikon D750||Y||stereo / mono||Y||Y||mini||2.0||Y||-||-|
|13.||Nikon D610||Y||mono / mono||Y||Y||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|14.||Nikon D600||Y||mono / mono||Y||Y||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|15.||Sony A7 III||Y||stereo / mono||Y||Y||micro||3.1||Y||Y||Y|
It is notable that the D780 has a headphone jack, which makes it possible to attach external headphones and monitor the quality of sound during the recording process. The 6D Mark II lacks such a headphone port.
Studio photographers will appreciate that the Nikon D780 (unlike the 6D Mark II) features a PC Sync socket, so that professional strobe lights can be controlled by the camera.
Travel and landscape photographers will find it useful that the 6D Mark II has an internal geolocalization sensor and can record GPS coordinates in its EXIF data.
Both the 6D Mark II and the D780 are recent models that are part of the current product line-up. The 6D Mark II replaced the earlier Canon 6D, while the D780 followed on from the Nikon D750. Further information on the features and operation of the 6D Mark II and D780 can be found, respectively, in the Canon 6D Mark II Manual (free pdf) or the online Nikon D780 Manual.
So how do things add up? Which of the two cameras – the Canon 6D Mark II or the Nikon D780 – has the upper hand? Is one clearly better than the other? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.
Reasons to prefer the Canon EOS 6D Mark II:
- Larger viewfinder image: Features a viewfinder with a higher magnification (0.72x vs 0.70x).
- 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.
- Easier geotagging: Features an internal GPS sensor to log localization data.
- Easier device pairing: Supports NFC for fast wireless image transfer over short distances.
- More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced segment (13 percent cheaper at launch).
- More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in June 2017).
Arguments in favor of the Nikon D780:
- Better video: Provides higher definition movie capture (4K/30p vs 1080/60p).
- Better sound control: Has a headphone port that enables audio monitoring while recording.
- More complete view: Has a viewfinder with a larger field of view (100% vs 98%).
- Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.2" vs 3.0") for image review and settings control.
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (2359k vs 1040k dots).
- Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/8000s vs 1/4000s) to freeze action.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (12 vs 6.5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Longer lasting: Gets more shots (2260 versus 1200) out of a single battery charge.
- Easier travel charging: Can be conveniently charged via its USB port.
- Faster data transfer: Supports a more advanced USB protocol (3.1 vs 2.0).
- Better studio light control: Has a PC Sync socket to connect to professional strobe lights.
- Greater peace of mind: Features a second card slot as a backup in case of memory card failure.
- Faster buffer clearing: Supports a more advanced SD data transfer standard (UHS-II vs UHS-I).
- More modern: Reflects 2 years and 6 months of technical progress since the 6D Mark II launch.
If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the D780 is the clear winner of the contest (14 : 7 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 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.
How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Canon 6D Mark II and the Nikon D780 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 says little about, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance of the 6D Mark II and the D780 in practical situations. User reviews, such as those found at amazon, can sometimes inform about these issues, but such feedback is often incomplete, inconsistent, and biased.
This is where reviews by experts come in. The following table reports the overall ratings of the cameras as published by some of the major 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.
|1.||Canon 6D Mark II||4/5||+||4/5||80/100||4.5/5||4/5||Jun 2017||1,999||amazon.com|
|2.||Nikon D780||5/5||..||5/5||87/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2020||2,299||amazon.com|
|3.||Canon R||4/5||o||4/5||79/100||4.5/5||4/5||Sep 2018||2,299||amazon.com|
|4.||Canon 5D Mark IV||4.5/5||+ +||4/5||87/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2016||3,499||amazon.com|
|5.||Canon 80D||4/5||+ +||4.5/5||84/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2016||1,199||ebay.com|
|6.||Canon 5D Mark III||..||+ +||..||82/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Mar 2012||3,499||ebay.com|
|7.||Canon 6D||5/5||+ +||..||83/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2012||2,099||ebay.com|
|8.||Canon 5D Mark II||4/5||91/100||..||79/100||4/5||..||Sep 2008||3,499||ebay.com|
|9.||Nikon D6||..||..||4/5||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2020||6,499||amazon.com|
|10.||Nikon Z6 II||4.5/5||..||4/5||89/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Oct 2020||1,999||amazon.com|
|11.||Nikon D5||..||..||4/5||89/100||4.5/5||5/5||Jan 2016||6,499||ebay.com|
|12.||Nikon D750||5/5||+ +||4/5||90/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2014||2,299||ebay.com|
|13.||Nikon D610||4/5||+ +||..||87/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Oct 2013||1,999||amazon.com|
|14.||Nikon D600||4/5||+ +||..||87/100||5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2012||2,099||ebay.com|
|15.||Sony A7 III||..||+ +||4.5/5||89/100||5/5||5/5||Feb 2018||1,999||amazon.com|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
The review scores listed above should be treated with care, though. The ratings were established in reference to similarly priced cameras that were available in the market at the time of the review. A score, therefore, has to be seen in close connection to the price and market introduction time 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. Also, kindly note that some of the listed sites have over time developped their review approaches and their reporting style.
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.
- Canon 5D Mark II vs Nikon D780
- Canon 6D Mark II vs Canon 80D
- Canon 6D Mark II vs Nikon P900
- Canon 6D Mark II vs OM System OM-1
- Canon 6D Mark II vs Panasonic G3
- Canon 6D Mark II vs Sony A77 II
- Canon 6D Mark II vs Sony RX1R
- Canon M vs Nikon D780
- Leica SL2-S vs Nikon D780
- Nikon D780 vs Panasonic FZ1000 II
- Nikon D780 vs Pentax KP
- Nikon D780 vs Sony A5100
Specifications: Canon 6D Mark II vs Nikon D780
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 Model||Canon 6D Mark II||Nikon D780|
|Camera Type||Digital single lens reflex||Digital single lens reflex|
|Camera Lens||Canon EF mount lenses||Nikon F mount lenses|
|Launch Date||June 2017||January 2020|
|Launch Price||USD 1,999||USD 2,299|
|Sensor Specs||Canon 6D Mark II||Nikon D780|
|Sensor Format||Full Frame Sensor||Full Frame Sensor|
|Sensor Size||35.9 x 24.0 mm||35.9 x 23.9 mm|
|Sensor Area||861.6 mm2||858.01 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||43.2 mm||43.1 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||26 Megapixels||24.3 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||6240 x 4160 pixels||6048 x 4024 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||5.76 μm||5.94 μm|
|Pixel Density||3.01 MP/cm2||2.84 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||1080/60p Video||4K/30p Video|
|ISO Setting||100 - 40,000 ISO||100 - 51,200 ISO|
|ISO Boost||50 - 102,400 ISO||50 - 204,800 ISO|
|Image Processor||DIGIC 7||EXPEED 6|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||85||..|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||24.4||..|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||11.9||..|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||2862||..|
|Screen Specs||Canon 6D Mark II||Nikon D780|
|Viewfinder Type||Optical viewfinder||Optical viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||98%||100%|
|Top-Level Screen||Control Panel||Control Panel|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0inch||3.2inch|
|LCD Resolution||1040k dots||2359k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Swivel screen||Tilting screen|
|Shooting Specs||Canon 6D Mark II||Nikon D780|
|Focus System||Phase-detect AF||Phase-detect AF|
|Manual Focusing Aid||no Peaking Feature||Focus Peaking|
|Max Shutter Speed (mechanical)||1/4000s||1/8000s|
|Continuous Shooting||6.5 shutter flaps/s||12 shutter flaps/s|
|Shutter Life Expectancy||100 000 actuations||200 000 actuations|
|Time-Lapse Photography||Intervalometer built-in||Intervalometer built-in|
|Fill Flash||no On-Board Flash||no On-Board Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDXC cards||SDXC cards|
|Single or Dual Card Slots||Single card slot||Dual card slots|
|UHS card support||UHS-I||Dual UHS-II|
|Connectivity Specs||Canon 6D Mark II||Nikon D780|
|Studio Flash||no PC Sync||PC Sync socket|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 3.1|
|HDMI Port||mini HDMI||mini HDMI|
|Microphone Port||External MIC port||External MIC port|
|Headphone Socket||no Headphone port||Headphone port|
|Wifi Support||Wifi built-in||Wifi built-in|
|Near-Field Communication||NFC built-in||no NFC|
|Bluetooth Support||Bluetooth built-in||Bluetooth built-in|
|Geotagging||GPS built-in||no internal GPS|
|Body Specs||Canon 6D Mark II||Nikon D780|
|Environmental Sealing||Weathersealed body||Weathersealed body|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||1200 shots per charge||2260 shots per charge|
|In-Camera Charging||no USB charging||USB charging|
144 x 111 x 75 mm
(5.7 x 4.4 x 3.0 in)
144 x 116 x 76 mm
(5.7 x 4.6 x 3.0 in)
|Camera Weight||765 g (27.0 oz)||840 g (29.6 oz)|
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