Canon 850D vs Olympus E-PL9
The Canon EOS 850D (called Canon T8i in some regions) and the Olympus PEN E-PL9 are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in February 2020 and February 2018. The 850D is a DSLR, while the E-PL9 is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera. The cameras are based on an APS-C (850D) and a Four Thirds (E-PL9) sensor. The Canon has a resolution of 24 megapixels, whereas the Olympus provides 15.9 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 850D and the Olympus PEN E-PL9? 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 physical size and weight of the Canon 850D and the Olympus E-PL9 are illustrated in the side-by-side display below. 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 measures are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
The E-PL9 can be obtained in four different colors (black, brown, blue, white), while the 850D is only available in black.
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Olympus E-PL9 is considerably smaller (41 percent) than the Canon 850D. Moreover, the E-PL9 is markedly lighter (26 percent) than the 850D. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the 850D nor the E-PL9 are weather-sealed.
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 will tend to go along with bigger and heavier lenses, although exceptions exist. You can compare the optics available for the two cameras in the Canon EF Lens Catalog (850D) and the Micro Four Thirds Lens Catalog (E-PL9). Mirrorless cameras, such as the E-PL9, have moreover the advantage that they can use many lenses from other systems via adapters, as they have a relatively short flange to focal plane distance.
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.
|1.||Canon 850D||131 mm||103 mm||76 mm||515 g||800||n||Feb 2020||749|
|2.||Olympus E-PL9||117 mm||68 mm||39 mm||380 g||350||n||Feb 2018||599|
|3.||Canon RP||133 mm||85 mm||70 mm||485 g||250||n||Feb 2019||1,299|
|4.||Canon 250D||122 mm||93 mm||70 mm||449 g||1070||n||Apr 2019||599|
|5.||Canon G5 X Mark II||111 mm||61 mm||46 mm||340 g||230||n||Jul 2019||899|
|6.||Canon G7 X Mark III||105 mm||61 mm||41 mm||304 g||235||n||Jul 2019||749|
|7.||Canon 2000D||129 mm||101 mm||78 mm||475 g||500||n||Feb 2018||449|
|8.||Canon 77D||131 mm||100 mm||76 mm||540 g||600||n||Feb 2017||899|
|9.||Canon 200D||122 mm||93 mm||70 mm||453 g||650||n||Jun 2017||549|
|10.||Canon 800D||131 mm||100 mm||76 mm||532 g||600||n||Feb 2017||749|
|11.||Canon 750D||132 mm||101 mm||78 mm||555 g||440||n||Feb 2015||749|
|12.||Canon 760D||132 mm||101 mm||78 mm||565 g||440||n||Feb 2015||649|
|13.||Olympus E-PL10||117 mm||68 mm||39 mm||380 g||350||n||Oct 2019||599|
|14.||Olympus E-M10 III||122 mm||84 mm||50 mm||410 g||330||n||Aug 2017||649|
|15.||Olympus E-PL8||115 mm||67 mm||38 mm||357 g||350||n||Sep 2016||549|
|16.||Olympus E-M10 II||120 mm||83 mm||47 mm||390 g||320||n||Aug 2015||649|
|17.||Olympus E-M10||119 mm||82 mm||46 mm||396 g||320||n||Jan 2014||699|
|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 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 E-PL9 was launched at a somewhat lower price (by 20 percent) than the 850D, 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. Then, after the new model is out, very good deals can frequently be found on the pre-owned market.
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. Further, a large sensor camera will give the photographer additional creative options when using shallow depth-of-field to isolate a subject from its background. On the downside, larger sensors tend to be associated with larger, more expensive camera bodies and lenses.
Of the two cameras under consideration, the Canon 850D features an APS-C sensor and the Olympus E-PL9 a Four Thirds sensor. The sensor area in the E-PL9 is 32 percent smaller. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 1.6 and 2.0. The sensor in the 850D has a native 3:2 aspect ratio, while the one in the E-PL9 offers a 4:3 aspect.
With 24MP, the 850D offers a higher resolution than the E-PL9 (15.9MP), but the 850D has marginally smaller individual pixels (pixel pitch of 3.72μm versus 3.76μm for the E-PL9). However, the 850D is a much more recent model (by 2 years) than the E-PL9, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixels.
The resolution advantage of the Canon 850D implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the 850D for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 30 x 20 inches or 76.2 x 50.8 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 24 x 16 inches or 61 x 40.6 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 20 x 13.3 inches or 50.8 x 33.9 cm. The corresponding values for the Olympus E-PL9 are 23 x 17.3 inches or 58.5 x 43.9 cm for good quality, 18.4 x 13.8 inches or 46.8 x 35.1 cm for very good quality, and 15.4 x 11.5 inches or 39 x 29.3 cm for excellent quality prints.
The 850D has on-sensor phase detect pixels, which results in fast and reliable autofocus acquisition even during live view operation.
The Canon EOS 850D has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 25600, which can be extended to ISO 100-51200. The corresponding ISO settings for the Olympus PEN E-PL9 are ISO 200 to ISO 6400, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 100-25600.
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. The following table provides an overview of the physical sensor characteristics, as well as the sensor quality measurements for a selection of comparators.
|2.||Olympus E-PL9||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||4K/30p||23.1||12.8||1162||74|
|3.||Canon RP||Full Frame||26.0||6240||4160||4K/30p||24.3||11.9||2977||85|
|5.||Canon G5 X Mark II||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||4K/30p||22.2||12.4||583||65|
|6.||Canon G7 X Mark III||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||4K/30p||22.2||12.4||583||65|
|13.||Olympus E-PL10||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||4K/30p||23.3||13.1||1324||76|
|14.||Olympus E-M10 III||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||4K/30p||23.1||12.8||1120||74|
|15.||Olympus E-PL8||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/30p||23.0||12.6||1030||73|
|16.||Olympus E-M10 II||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/60p||23.1||12.5||842||73|
|17.||Olympus E-M10||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/30p||22.8||12.3||884||72|
|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. The two cameras under consideration both have sensors whose read-out speed is fast enough to capture moving pictures, but the E-PL9 provides a faster frame rate than the 850D. It can shoot movie footage at 4K/30p, while the Canon is limited to 4K/24p.
Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the 850D has an optical viewfinder, which can be very useful when shooting in bright sunlight. In contrast, the E-PL9 relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. The following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Canon 850D, the Olympus E-PL9, and comparable cameras.
|1.||Canon 850D||optical||n||3.0 / 1040||swivel||Y||1/4000s||7.5/s||Y||n|
|2.||Olympus E-PL9||none||n||3.0 / 1040||tilting||Y||1/4000s||8.6/s||Y||Y|
|3.||Canon RP||2360||n||3.0 / 1040||swivel||Y||1/4000s||5.0/s||n||n|
|4.||Canon 250D||optical||n||3.0 / 1040||swivel||Y||1/4000s||5.0/s||Y||n|
|5.||Canon G5 X Mark II||2360||n||3.0 / 1040||tilting||Y||1/2000s||30/s||Y||Y|
|6.||Canon G7 X Mark III||none||n||3.0 / 1040||tilting||Y||1/2000s||30/s||Y||Y|
|7.||Canon 2000D||optical||n||3.0 / 920||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0/s||Y||n|
|8.||Canon 77D||optical||Y||3.0 / 1040||swivel||Y||1/4000s||6.0/s||Y||n|
|9.||Canon 200D||optical||n||3.0 / 1040||swivel||Y||1/4000s||5.0/s||Y||n|
|10.||Canon 800D||optical||n||3.0 / 1040||swivel||Y||1/4000s||6.0/s||Y||n|
|11.||Canon 750D||optical||n||3.0 / 1040||swivel||Y||1/4000s||5.0/s||Y||n|
|12.||Canon 760D||optical||Y||3.0 / 1040||swivel||Y||1/4000s||5.0/s||Y||n|
|13.||Olympus E-PL10||none||n||3.0 / 1040||tilting||Y||1/4000s||8.6/s||Y||Y|
|14.||Olympus E-M10 III||2360||n||3.0 / 1040||tilting||Y||1/4000s||8.6/s||Y||Y|
|15.||Olympus E-PL8||optional||n||3.0 / 1037||tilting||Y||1/4000s||8.0/s||n||Y|
|16.||Olympus E-M10 II||2360||n||3.0 / 1040||tilting||Y||1/4000s||8.0/s||Y||Y|
|17.||Olympus E-M10||1440||n||3.0 / 1037||tilting||Y||1/4000s||8.0/s||Y||Y|
|Notes: *) Information refers to the mechanical shutter, unless the camera only has an electronic one.|
One feature that differentiates the E-PL9 and the 850D is in-body image stabilization (IBIS). The E-PL9 reduces the risk of handshake-induced blur with all attached lenses, while the 850D offers no blur reduction with lenses that themselves do not provide optical image stabilization.Both cameras have an articulated rear screen that can be turned to be front-facing. This feature will be particularly appreciated by vloggers and photographers who are interested in taking selfies.
The reported shutter speed information refers to the use of the mechanical shutter. Yet, some cameras only have an electronic shutter, while others have an electronic shutter in addition to a mechanical one. In fact, the E-PL9 is one of those camera that have an additional electronic shutter, which makes completely silent shooting possible. However, this mode is less suitable for photographing moving objects (risk of rolling shutter) or shooting under artificial light sources (risk of flickering).
The Canon 850D and the Olympus E-PL9 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 850D and the E-PL9 write their files to SDXC cards. Both cameras can use UHS-I cards, which provide for Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 104 MB/s.
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 850D and Olympus PEN E-PL9 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
Mic / Speaker
|1.||Canon 850D||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||-||Y|
|2.||Olympus E-PL9||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||Y|
|3.||Canon RP||Y||stereo / mono||Y||Y||micro||2.0||Y||-||Y|
|4.||Canon 250D||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||-||Y|
|5.||Canon G5 X Mark II||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||3.1||Y||-||Y|
|6.||Canon G7 X Mark III||-||stereo / mono||Y||-||micro||3.1||Y||-||Y|
|7.||Canon 2000D||Y||mono / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|8.||Canon 77D||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||Y|
|9.||Canon 200D||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||Y|
|10.||Canon 800D||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||Y|
|11.||Canon 750D||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|12.||Canon 760D||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|13.||Olympus E-PL10||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||Y|
|14.||Olympus E-M10 III||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-|
|15.||Olympus E-PL8||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-|
|16.||Olympus E-M10 II||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-|
|17.||Olympus E-M10||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-|
It is notable that the 850D has a microphone port, which is missing on the E-PL9. Such an external microphone input can help to substantially improve the quality of audio recordings when a good external microphone is used.
The 850D is a recent model that features in the current product line-up of Canon. In contrast, the E-PL9 has been discontinued (but can be found pre-owned on eBay). As a replacement in the same line of cameras, the E-PL9 was succeeded by the Olympus E-PL10. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Canon and Olympus websites.
So what conclusions can be drawn? Which of the two cameras – the Canon 850D or the Olympus E-PL9 – has the upper hand? Is one clearly better than the other? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.
Reasons to prefer the Canon EOS 850D:
- More detail: Offers more megapixels (24 vs 15.9MP) with a 25% higher linear resolution.
- Better image quality: Features a larger and more technologically advanced imaging sensor.
- Richer colors: The sensor size advantage translates into images with better, more accurate colors.
- More dynamic range: Larger sensor captures a wider spectrum of light and dark details.
- Better low-light sensitivity: Larger sensor produces good images even in poorly lit environments.
- Better live-view autofocus: Features on-sensor phase-detection for more confident autofocus.
- Better sound: Can connect to an external microphone for higher quality sound recording.
- Easier framing: Has an optical viewfinder for image composition and settings control.
- More flexible LCD: Has a swivel screen for odd-angle shots in portrait or landscape orientation.
- Longer lasting: Can take more shots (800 versus 350) on a single battery charge.
- More modern: Reflects 2 years of technical progress since the E-PL9 launch.
Arguments in favor of the Olympus PEN E-PL9:
- Better video: Provides higher movie framerates (4K/30p versus 4K/24p).
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (8.6 vs 7.5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Less disturbing: Has an electronic shutter option for completely silent shooting.
- More compact: Is smaller (117x68mm vs 131x103mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
- Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 135g or 26 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
- Sharper images: Has stabilization technology built-in to reduce the impact of hand-shake.
- More legacy lens friendly: Can use many non-native lenses via adapters.
- More affordable: Was released into a lower priced segment (20 percent cheaper at launch).
- More heavily discounted: Has been around for much longer (launched in February 2018).
If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the 850D emerges as the winner of the contest (11 : 9 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 850D and the Olympus E-PL9 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best DSLR Camera and Best Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera listings 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 says little about, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance of the 850D and the E-PL9 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.
This is why expert reviews are important. 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 850D||4/5||+||3/5||80/100||4/5||3.5/5||Feb 2020||749|
|2.||Olympus E-PL9||..||+||..||..||4.5/5||4/5||Feb 2018||599|
|3.||Canon RP||4/5||+||4/5||..||4.5/5||4/5||Feb 2019||1,299|
|4.||Canon 250D||..||o||4.5/5||79/100||4/5||4/5||Apr 2019||599|
|5.||Canon G5 X Mark II||4/5||+||4/5||82/100||..||4/5||Jul 2019||899|
|6.||Canon G7 X Mark III||..||+ +||4/5||81/100||4/5||..||Jul 2019||749|
|7.||Canon 2000D||..||o||..||..||3.5/5||3.5/5||Feb 2018||449|
|8.||Canon 77D||4.5/5||..||4/5||82/100||4.5/5||4/5||Feb 2017||899|
|9.||Canon 200D||4/5||+ +||4/5||78/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2017||549|
|10.||Canon 800D||4.5/5||..||3.5/5||80/100||4.5/5||4/5||Feb 2017||749|
|11.||Canon 750D||5/5||..||..||75/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2015||749|
|12.||Canon 760D||5/5||+||..||77/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2015||649|
|13.||Olympus E-PL10||..||..||4/5||77/100||..||4/5||Oct 2019||599|
|14.||Olympus E-M10 III||..||+||5/5||80/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2017||649|
|15.||Olympus E-PL8||..||..||..||..||4.5/5||4/5||Sep 2016||549|
|16.||Olympus E-M10 II||4.5/5||+ +||..||80/100||5/5||5/5||Aug 2015||649|
|17.||Olympus E-M10||4/5||..||..||80/100||5/5||5/5||Jan 2014||699|
|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. A score, therefore, has to be seen in close connection to the price and market introduction time of the camera, and comparisons of ratings among very different cameras or across long time periods have little meaning. Also, please note that some of the review sites have changed their methodology and reporting over time.
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. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting.
- Canon 30D vs Canon 850D
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- Canon 850D vs Nikon Z fc
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- Canon 850D vs Panasonic FZ82
- Canon 850D vs Panasonic LX100 II
- Canon SX60 vs Olympus E-PL9
- Leica M8 vs Olympus E-PL9
- Nikon 1 V3 vs Olympus E-PL9
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- Nikon D5200 vs Olympus E-PL9
- Olympus E-PL9 vs Sony NEX-3N
Specifications: Canon 850D vs Olympus E-PL9
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 850D||Olympus E-PL9|
|Camera Type||Digital single lens reflex||Mirrorless system camera|
|Camera Lens||Canon EF mount lenses||Micro Four Thirds lenses|
|Launch Date||February 2020||February 2018|
|Launch Price||USD 749||USD 599|
|Sensor Specs||Canon 850D||Olympus E-PL9|
|Sensor Format||APS-C Sensor||Four Thirds Sensor|
|Sensor Size||22.3 x 14.9 mm||17.3 x 13.0 mm|
|Sensor Area||332.27 mm2||224.9 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||26.8 mm||21.6 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||24 Megapixels||15.9 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||6000 x 4000 pixels||4608 x 3456 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||3.72 μm||3.76 μm|
|Pixel Density||7.22 MP/cm2||7.08 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||4K/24p Video||4K/30p Video|
|ISO Setting||100 - 25,600 ISO||200 - 6,400 ISO|
|ISO Boost||100 - 51,200 ISO||100 - 25,600 ISO|
|Image Processor||DIGIC 8||TruePic VIII|
|Screen Specs||Canon 850D||Olympus E-PL9|
|Viewfinder Type||Optical viewfinder||no viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||95%|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||1040k dots||1040k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Swivel screen||Tilting screen|
|Shooting Specs||Canon 850D||Olympus E-PL9|
|Focus System||Phase-detect AF||Contrast-detect AF|
|Manual Focusing Aid||Focus Peaking||Focus Peaking|
|Max Shutter Speed (mechanical)||1/4000s||1/4000s|
|Continuous Shooting||7.5 shutter flaps/s||8.6 shutter flaps/s|
|Electronic Shutter||no E-Shutter||up to 1/16000s|
|Time-Lapse Photography||Intervalometer built-in||Intervalometer built-in|
|Image Stabilization||Lens stabilization only||In-body stabilization|
|Fill Flash||Built-in Flash||Built-in Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDXC cards||SDXC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Single card slot|
|UHS card support||UHS-I||UHS-I|
|Connectivity Specs||Canon 850D||Olympus E-PL9|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||mini HDMI||micro HDMI|
|Microphone Port||External MIC port||no MIC socket|
|Wifi Support||Wifi built-in||Wifi built-in|
|Bluetooth Support||Bluetooth built-in||Bluetooth built-in|
|Body Specs||Canon 850D||Olympus E-PL9|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||800 shots per charge||350 shots per charge|
131 x 103 x 76 mm
(5.2 x 4.1 x 3.0 in)
117 x 68 x 39 mm
(4.6 x 2.7 x 1.5 in)
|Camera Weight||515 g (18.2 oz)||380 g (13.4 oz)|
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