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Canon G12 vs Panasonic LF1

The Canon PowerShot G12 and the Panasonic Lumix DMC-LF1 are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in September 2010 and April 2013. Both the G12 and the LF1 are fixed lens compact cameras that are equipped with a 1/1.7-inch sensor. The Canon has a resolution of 10 megapixels, whereas the Panasonic provides 12 MP.

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

Headline Specifications
Canon G12 versus Panasonic LF1
Canon G12 Panasonic LF1
Fixed lens compact camera Fixed lens compact camera
28-140mm f/2.8-4.5 28-200mm f/2.0-5.9
10 MP, 1/1.7" Sensor 12 MP, 1/1.7" Sensor
720/24p Video 1080/60i Video
ISO 80-3,200 (80 - 12,800) ISO 80-6,400 (80 - 12,800)
Optical viewfinder Electronic viewfinder (200k dots)
2.8 LCD, 461k dots 3.0 LCD, 920k dots
Swivel screen (not touch-sensitive) Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)
1.1 shutter flaps per second 10 shutter flaps per second
370 shots per battery charge250 shots per battery charge
112 x 76 x 48 mm, 401 g 103 x 62 x 28 mm, 192 g

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Canon PowerShot G12 and the Panasonic Lumix DMC-LF1? 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 G12 and the Panasonic LF1 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 dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

Size Canon G12 vs Panasonic LF1
Compare G12 versus LF1 top
Comparison G12 or LF1 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Panasonic LF1 is notably smaller (25 percent) than the Canon G12. Moreover, the LF1 is substantially lighter (52 percent) than the G12. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the G12 nor the LF1 are weather-sealed.

The power pack in the LF1 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. If you want to switch the focus of the display and review another camera pair, just select a new right or left comparator from among the camera models in the table. Alternatively, you can also move across to the CAM-parator tool and choose from the broad selection of possible camera comparisons there.

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Body Specifications
  Camera
Model
Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life 1
Weather
Sealing
Camera
Launch 2
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
 
Canon G12 4.4 in 3.0 in 1.9 in 14.1 oz 370 n Sep 2010 499i
 
Panasonic LF1 4.1 in 2.4 in 1.1 in 6.8 oz 250 n Apr 2013 499 i
 
Canon G16 4.3 in 3.0 in 1.6 in 12.6 oz 360 n Aug 2013 549 i
 
Canon S120 3.9 in 2.3 in 1.1 in 7.7 oz 230 n Aug 2013 449i
 
Canon G15 4.2 in 3.0 in 1.6 in 12.4 oz 350 n Sep 2012 499i
 
Canon SX50 4.8 in 3.4 in 4.2 in 21.0 oz 315 n Sep 2012 429i
 
Fujifilm X10 4.6 in 2.8 in 2.2 in 12.3 oz 270 n Sep 2011 599i
 
Nikon P7800 4.7 in 3.1 in 2.0 in 14.1 oz 350 n Sep 2013 549i
 
Olympus E-450 5.1 in 3.6 in 2.1 in 15.5 oz 500 n Mar 2009 499i
 
Panasonic FZ200 4.9 in 3.4 in 4.3 in 20.7 oz 540 n Jul 2012 599i
 
Panasonic LX7 4.4 in 2.7 in 1.8 in 10.5 oz 330 n Jul 2012 499i
 
Panasonic FZ150 4.9 in 3.2 in 3.6 in 18.6 oz 410 n Aug 2011 499i
 
Panasonic G10 4.9 in 3.3 in 2.9 in 13.7 oz 380 n Mar 2010 499i
 
Panasonic G2 4.9 in 3.3 in 2.9 in 15.1 oz 360 n Mar 2010 599i
 
Panasonic LX5 4.3 in 2.6 in 1.7 in 9.6 oz 400 n Jul 2010 499i
Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.
(1) Number of images that can be taken on a full battery charge according to the CIPA-standard; (2) Official announcement.

Any camera decision will naturally be influenced heavily by the price. 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 two cameras under review were launched at the same price and fall into the same market segment. Normally, street prices remain initially close to the MSRP, but after a couple of months, the first discounts appear. 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.

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Sensor comparison

The imaging sensor is at the core of digital cameras and its size is one of the main determining factors 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. 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 1/1.7-inch sensor and have a format factor (sometimes also referred to as "crop factor") of 4.6. Within the spectrum of camera sensors, this places the review cameras among the smaller-sensor digicams that favor affordability and compact design. Both cameras feature a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 4:3.

Canon G12 and Panasonic LF1 sensor measures

While the two cameras under review share the same sensor size, the LF1 offers a higher resolution of 12 megapixels, compared with 10 MP of the G12. This megapixels advantage translates into a 10 percent gain in linear resolution. On the other hand, these sensor specs imply that the LF1 has a higher pixel density and a smaller size of the individual pixel (with a pixel pitch of 1.89μm versus 2.07μm for the G12). However, it should be noted that the LF1 is much more recent (by 2 years and 7 months) than the G12, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that compensate for the smaller pixel size.

The resolution advantage of the Panasonic LF1 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the LF1 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 20 x 15 inches or 50.8 x 38.1 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 16 x 12 inches or 40.6 x 30.5 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 13.3 x 10 inches or 33.9 x 25.4 cm. The corresponding values for the Canon G12 are 18.2 x 13.7 inches or 46.3 x 34.7 cm for good quality, 14.6 x 10.9 inches or 37.1 x 27.8 cm for very good quality, and 12.2 x 9.1 inches or 30.9 x 23.2 cm for excellent quality prints.

The Canon PowerShot G12 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 80 to ISO 3200, which can be extended to ISO 80-12800. The corresponding ISO settings for the Panasonic Lumix DMC-LF1 are ISO 80 to ISO 6400, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 80-12800.

G12 versus LF1 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 consideration, the LF1 has a markedly higher DXO score than the G12 (overall score 5 points higher), which will translate into better image quality. The advantage is based on 0.4 bits higher color depth, 0.4 EV in additional dynamic range, and 0.4 stops in additional low light sensitivity. The adjacent table reports on the physical sensor characteristics and the outcomes of the DXO sensor quality tests for a sample of comparator-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 G12 1/1.7 10.0 3648 2736720/24p20.411.216147
 
Panasonic LF1 1/1.7 12.0 4000 30001080/60i20.811.621152
 
Canon G16 1/1.7 12.0 4000 30001080/60p21.011.723054
 
Canon S120 1/1.7 12.0 4000 30001080/60p21.311.924656
 
Canon G15 1/1.7 12.0 4000 30001080/24p19.911.516546
 
Canon SX50 1/2.3 12.0 4000 30001080/24p20.311.217947
 
Fujifilm X10 2/3 12.0 4000 30001080/30p20.511.324550
 
Nikon P7800 1/1.7 12.0 4000 30001080/30p21.211.720054
 
Olympus E-450 Four Thirds 10.0 3648 2736none21.510.551256
 
Panasonic FZ200 1/2.3 12.0 4000 30001080/60p19.110.811437
 
Panasonic LX7 1/1.7 10.0 3648 27361080/60p20.711.714750
 
Panasonic FZ150 1/2.3 12.0 4000 30001080/60p19.410.913240
 
Panasonic G10 Four Thirds 12.0 4000 3000720/30p21.210.141152
 
Panasonic G2 Four Thirds 12.0 4000 3000720/30p21.210.349353
 
Panasonic LX5 1/1.7 10.0 3648 2736720/60p19.610.813241

Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but also of capturing video footage. The two cameras under consideration both have sensors whose read-out speed is fast enough to capture moving pictures, but the LF1 provides a better video resolution than the G12. It can shoot movie footage at 1080/60i, while the Canon is limited to 720/24p.

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Feature comparison

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. For example, the LF1 has an electronic viewfinder (200k dots), while the G12 has an optical one. Both systems have their advantages, with the electronic viewfinder making it possible to project supplementary shooting information into the framing view, whereas the optical viewfinder offers lag-free viewing and a very clear framing image. The following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Canon G12, the Panasonic LF1, and comparable 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 G12optical n 2.8 461 swivel n 1/4000s 1.1 Y Y
 
Panasonic LF1200 n 3.0 920 fixed n 1/4000s 10.0 Y Y
 
Canon G16optical n 3.0 922 fixed n 1/4000s 2.2 Y Y
 
Canon S120none n 3.0 922 fixed Y 1/2000s 12.1 Y Y
 
Canon G15optical n 3.0 922 fixed n 1/4000s 2.1 Y Y
 
Canon SX50202 n 3.0 461 swivel n 1/2000s 2.2 Y Y
 
Fujifilm X10optical n 2.8 460 fixed n 1/4000s 10.0 Y Y
 
Nikon P7800921 n 3.0 921 swivel n 1/4000s 8.0 Y Y
 
Olympus E-450optical n 2.7 215 fixed n 1/4000s 3.5 Y n
 
Panasonic FZ2001312 n 3.0 460 swivel n 1/4000s 12.0 Y Y
 
Panasonic LX7optional n 3.0 920 fixed n 1/4000s 11.0 Y Y
 
Panasonic FZ150202 n 3.0 460 swivel n 1/2000s 12.0 Y Y
 
Panasonic G10202 n 3.0 460 fixed n 1/4000s 2.6 Y n
 
Panasonic G21440 n 3.0 460 swivel Y 1/4000s 2.6 Y n
 
Panasonic LX5optional n 3.0 460 fixed n 1/4000s 2.5 Y Y

Both the G12 and the LF1 have zoom lenses built in. The G12 has a 28-140mm f/2.8-4.5 optic and the LF1 offers a 28-200mm f/2.0-5.9 (focal lengths in full frame equivalent terms). Hence, the Canon and Panasonic provide the same view at the wide-angle end, but the Panasonic has more tele-photo reach at the long end. The LF1 offers the faster maximum aperture.

Concerning the storage of imaging data, both the G12 and the LF1 write their files to SDXC cards.

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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 PowerShot G12 and Panasonic Lumix DMC-LF1 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 G12Ystereomono--mini2.0---
 
Panasonic LF1-stereomono--mini2.0YY-
 
Canon G16Ystereomono--mini2.0Y--
 
Canon S120-stereomono--mini2.0Y--
 
Canon G15Ystereomono--mini2.0---
 
Canon SX50Ystereomono--mini2.0---
 
Fujifilm X10Ystereomono--mini2.0---
 
Nikon P7800YstereomonoY-mini2.0---
 
Olympus E-450Y-----2.0---
 
Panasonic FZ200YstereomonoY-mini2.0---
 
Panasonic LX7Ystereomono--mini2.0---
 
Panasonic FZ150Ystereo---mini2.0---
 
Panasonic G10Ymono---mini2.0---
 
Panasonic G2Ystereomono--mini2.0---
 
Panasonic LX5Ymonomono--mini2.0---

It is notable that the G12 has a hotshoe, while the LF1 does not. This socket makes it possible to easily attach optional accessories, such as an external flash gun.

The LF1 is a recent model that features in the current product line-up of Panasonic. In contrast, the G12 has been discontinued (but can be found pre-owned on eBay). As a replacement in the same line of cameras, the G12 was succeeded by the Canon G15. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Canon and Panasonic websites.

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Review summary

So what conclusions can be drawn? Which of the two cameras – the Canon G12 or the Panasonic LF1 – has the upper hand? Is one clearly better than the other? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.

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Reasons to prefer the Canon PowerShot G12:

  • Brighter framing: Features an optical viewfinder for clear, lag-free composition.
  • More flexible LCD: Has a swivel screen for odd-angle shots in portrait or landscape orientation.
  • Longer lasting: Can take more shots (370 versus 250) on a single battery charge.
  • Better lighting: Features a hotshoe and can thus hold and trigger an external flash gun.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in September 2010).

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Arguments in favor of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-LF1:

  • More detail: Has more megapixels (12 vs 10MP), which boosts linear resolution by 10%.
  • Better image quality: Scores markedly higher (5 points) in the DXO overall evaluation.
  • Better low-light sensitivity: Can shoot in dim conditions (0.4 stops ISO advantage).
  • Better video: Provides higher definition movie capture (1080/60i vs 720/24p).
  • More framing info: Has an electronic viewfinder that displays shooting data.
  • Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.0" vs 2.8") for image review and settings control.
  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (920k vs 461k dots).
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (10 vs 1.1 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • Better light gathering: Has a lens with a wider maximum aperture (f/2.0 vs f/2.8).
  • More tele-reach: Has a longer tele-lens for perspective compression and subject magnification.
  • More compact: Is smaller (103x62mm vs 112x76mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
  • Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 209g or 52 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
  • Easier travel charging: Can be conveniently charged via its USB port.
  • Easier file upload: Has wifi built in for automatic backup or image transfer to the web.
  • Easier device pairing: Supports NFC for fast wireless image transfer over short distances.
  • More modern: Reflects 2 years and 7 months of technical progress since the G12 launch.

If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the LF1 is the clear winner of the contest (16 : 5 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.

G12 05:16 LF1

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Canon G12 and the Panasonic LF1 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Travel-Zoom Camera and Best Prime Lens Compact Camera listings whether the two cameras rank among the cream of the crop.

In any case, while the comparison of the spec-sheets of cameras can offer a general idea of their imaging potential, it remains partial and cannot reveal, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance when actually working with the G12 or the LF1. 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.

Expert reviews

This is why expert reviews are important. The adjacent summary-table relays the overall verdicts of several of the most popular camera 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 G12+73/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Sep 2010 499i
 
Panasonic LF1+..4/5..4.5/5 Apr 2013 499 i
 
Canon G16+..4.5/54.5/54.5/5 Aug 2013 549 i
 
Canon S120+ +..4.5/5o4.5/5 Aug 2013 449i
 
Canon G15+76/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Sep 2012 499i
 
Canon SX50+ +72/1004.5/5..4.5/5 Sep 2012 429i
 
Fujifilm X10..76/1004/53.5/54.5/5 Sep 2011 599i
 
Nikon P7800....4/53.5/54.5/5 Sep 2013 549i
 
Olympus E-450....4/5..4/5 Mar 2009 499i
 
Panasonic FZ200+ +80/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Jul 2012 599i
 
Panasonic LX7+ +75/1004/55/54.5/5 Jul 2012 499i
 
Panasonic FZ150+ +76/1004/55/54.5/5 Aug 2011 499i
 
Panasonic G10..70/1004/5..4/5 Mar 2010 499i
 
Panasonic G2..72/1004/54/54.5/5 Mar 2010 599i
 
Panasonic LX5+73/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Jul 2010 499i
Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.

The above review scores should be interpreted 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. Also, please note that some of the review sites have changed their methodology and reporting over time.

Canon G12:
Check Ebay offers
Panasonic LF1:
Check Amazon price

Other camera comparisons

Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? In case you would like to check on the differences and similarities of other camera models, just make your choice using the following search menu. 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 G12 vs Panasonic LF1

    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 G12 Panasonic LF1
    Camera Type Fixed lens compact camera Fixed lens compact camera
    Camera Lens 28-140mm f/2.8-4.5 28-200mm f/2.0-5.9
    Launch Date September 2010 April 2013
    Launch Price USD 499 USD 499
    Sensor Specs Canon G12 Panasonic LF1
    Sensor Technology CCD CMOS
    Sensor Format 1/1.7" Sensor 1/1.7" Sensor
    Sensor Size 7.6 x 5.7 mm 7.6 x 5.7 mm
    Sensor Area 43.32 mm2 43.32 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 9.5 mm 9.5 mm
    Crop Factor 4.6x 4.5x
    Sensor Resolution 10 Megapixels 12 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 3648 x 2736 pixels 4000 x 3000 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 2.07 μm 1.89 μm
    Pixel Density 23.04 MP/cm2 27.70 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability 720/24p Video 1080/60i Video
    ISO Setting 80 - 3,200 ISO 80 - 6,400 ISO
    ISO Boost 80 - 12,800 ISO 80 - 12,800 ISO
    Image Processor DIGIC 4 Venus
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) 47 52
    DXO Color Depth (bits) 20.4 20.8
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) 11.2 11.6
    DXO Low Light (ISO) 161 211
    Screen Specs Canon G12 Panasonic LF1
    Viewfinder Type Optical viewfinder Electronic viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 100%
    Viewfinder Magnification
    Viewfinder Resolution 200k dots
    LCD Framing Live View Live View
    Rear LCD Size 2.8inch 3.0inch
    LCD Resolution 461k dots 920k dots
    LCD Attachment Swivel screen Fixed screen
    Shooting Specs Canon G12 Panasonic LF1
    Focus System Contrast-detect AF Contrast-detect AF
    Continuous Shooting 1.1 shutter flaps/s 10 shutter flaps/s
    Fill Flash Build-in Flash Build-in Flash
    Storage Medium SDXC cards SDXC cards
    Second Storage Option Single card slot Single card slot
    UHS card support no no
    Connectivity Specs Canon G12 Panasonic LF1
    External Flash Hotshoe no Hotshoe
    USB Connector USB 2.0 USB 2.0
    HDMI Port mini HDMI mini HDMI
    Wifi Support no Wifi Wifi built-in
    Near-Field Communication no NFC NFC built-in
    Body Specs Canon G12 Panasonic LF1
    Battery Type NB-7L DMW-BCN10
    Battery Life (CIPA)370 shots per charge250 shots per charge
    In-Camera Charging no USB charging USB charging
    Body Dimensions 112 x 76 x 48 mm
    (4.4 x 3.0 x 1.9 in)
    103 x 62 x 28 mm
    (4.1 x 2.4 x 1.1 in)
    Camera Weight 401 g (14.1 oz) 192 g (6.8 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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