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Canon G16 vs Panasonic GF1

The Canon PowerShot G16 and the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF1 are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in August 2013 and September 2009. The G16 is a fixed lens compact, while the GF1 is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera. The cameras are based on a 1/1.7-inch (G16) and a Four Thirds (GF1) sensor. Both cameras offer a resolution of 12 megapixels.

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

Headline Specifications
Canon G16
versus
Panasonic GF1
Canon G16   Panasonic GF1
Fixed lens compact camera Mirrorless system camera
28-140mm f/1.8-2.8 Micro Four Thirds lenses
12 MP – 1/1.7" sensor 12 MP – Four Thirds sensor
1080/60p Video 720/30p Video
ISO 80-12,800 ISO 100-3,200
Optical viewfinder Viewfinder optional
3.0" LCD – 922k dots 3.0" LCD – 460k dots
Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive) Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)
2.2 shutter flaps per second 3 shutter flaps per second
360 shots per battery charge380 shots per battery charge
109 x 76 x 40 mm, 356 g 119 x 71 x 36 mm, 385 g
Canon G16:
Check Amazon price
Panasonic GF1:
Check Ebay offers

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Canon PowerShot G16 and the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF1? 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 G16 and the Panasonic GF1. 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 G16 vs Panasonic GF1
Compare G16 versus GF1 top
Comparison G16 or GF1 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Panasonic GF1 is somewhat larger (2 percent) than the Canon G16. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the G16 nor the GF1 are weather-sealed.

The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the G16 has a lens built in, whereas the GF1 is an interchangeable lens camera that requires a separate lens. Attaching the latter will add extra weight and bulk to the setup. You can compare the optics available for the GF1 and their specifications in the Micro Four Thirds Lens Catalog.

Concerning battery life, the G16 gets 360 shots out of its NB-10L battery, while the GF1 can take 380 images on a single charge of its DMW-BLB13 power pack.

The adjacent table lists the principal physical characteristics of the two cameras alongside a wider set of alternatives. 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
1.
 
Canon G16 109 mm 76 mm 40 mm 356 g 360 n Aug 2013 549 i
2.
 
Panasonic GF1 119 mm 71 mm 36 mm 385 g 380 n Sep 2009 749i
3.
 
Canon G1 X Mark II 116 mm 74 mm 66 mm 553 g 240 n Feb 2014 799i
4.
 
Canon SL1 117 mm 91 mm 69 mm 407 g 380 n Mar 2013 549i
5.
 
Canon G1 X 117 mm 81 mm 65 mm 534 g 250 n Jan 2012 799i
6.
 
Canon G15 107 mm 76 mm 40 mm 352 g 350 n Sep 2012 499i
7.
 
Canon M 109 mm 66 mm 32 mm 298 g 230 n Jul 2012 599i
8.
 
Canon G12 112 mm 76 mm 48 mm 401 g 370 n Sep 2010 499i
9.
 
Fujifilm X30 119 mm 72 mm 60 mm 423 g 470 n Aug 2014 599 i
10.
 
Fujifilm X20 117 mm 70 mm 57 mm 353 g 270 n Jan 2013 599i
11.
 
Nikon P7800 119 mm 78 mm 50 mm 399 g 350 n Sep 2013 549i
12.
 
Panasonic LX7 111 mm 68 mm 46 mm 298 g 330 n Jul 2012 499i
13.
 
Panasonic GX1 116 mm 68 mm 39 mm 318 g 320 n Nov 2011 699i
14.
 
Panasonic G10 124 mm 84 mm 74 mm 388 g 380 n Mar 2010 499i
15.
 
Panasonic G2 124 mm 84 mm 74 mm 428 g 360 n Mar 2010 599i
16.
 
Panasonic GH1 124 mm 90 mm 45 mm 385 g 300 n Mar 2009 899i
17.
 
Panasonic G1 124 mm 84 mm 45 mm 360 g 410 n Sep 2008 599i
Note: 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 G16 was launched at a lower price than the GF1, despite having a lens built in. 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. Then, after the new model is out, very good deals can frequently be found on the pre-owned market.

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 are more costly to manufacture and tend to lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.

Of the two cameras under consideration, the Canon G16 features a 1/1.7-inch sensor and the Panasonic GF1 a Four Thirds sensor. The sensor area in the GF1 is 436 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 4.65 and 2.0. Both cameras feature a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 4:3.

Canon G16 and Panasonic GF1 sensor measures

Even though the GF1 has a larger sensor, both cameras offer the same resolution of 12 megapixels. This implies that the GF1 has a lower pixel density and larger individual pixels (with a pixel pitch of 4.33μm versus 1.87μm for the G16), which gives it a potential advantage in terms of light gathering capacity. It should, however, be noted that the G16 is much more recent (by 3 years and 11 months) than the GF1, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that at least partly compensate for the smaller pixel size.

The Canon PowerShot G16 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 80 to ISO 12800. The corresponding ISO settings for the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF1 are ISO 100 to ISO 3200 (no boost).

G16 versus GF1 MP

Since 2007, DXO Mark has published sensor performance measurements that have been derived using a consistent methodology. 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 Overall DXO ratings for the two cameras under consideration are close, suggesting that they provide similar imaging performance. 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
1.
 
Canon G16 1/1.7 12.0 4000 30001080/60p21.011.723054
2.
 
Panasonic GF1 Four Thirds 12.0 4000 3000720/30p21.210.351354
3.
 
Canon G1 X Mark II 1.5-inch 13.0 4160 31201080/30p21.510.858158
4.
 
Canon SL1 APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p21.811.384363
5.
 
Canon G1 X 1.5-inch 14.2 4352 32641080/24p21.710.864460
6.
 
Canon G15 1/1.7 12.0 4000 30001080/24p19.911.516546
7.
 
Canon M APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p22.111.282765
8.
 
Canon G12 1/1.7 10.0 3648 2736720/24p20.411.216147
9.
 
Fujifilm X30 2/3 12.0 4000 30001080/60p20.411.2-31249
10.
 
Fujifilm X20 2/3 12.0 4000 30001080/60p20.110.9-46246
11.
 
Nikon P7800 1/1.7 12.0 4000 30001080/30p21.211.720054
12.
 
Panasonic LX7 1/1.7 10.0 3648 27361080/60p20.711.714750
13.
 
Panasonic GX1 Four Thirds 15.8 4592 34481080/60p20.810.670355
14.
 
Panasonic G10 Four Thirds 12.0 4000 3000720/30p21.210.141152
15.
 
Panasonic G2 Four Thirds 12.0 4000 3000720/30p21.210.349353
16.
 
Panasonic GH1 Four Thirds 12.0 4000 30001080/24p21.611.677264
17.
 
Panasonic G1 Four Thirds 12.0 4000 3000none21.110.346353
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 also of capturing video footage. Both cameras under consideration have a sensor with sufficiently fast read-out times for moving pictures, but the G16 provides a higher video resolution than the GF1. It can shoot video footage at 1080/60p, while the Panasonic is limited to 720/30p.

Feature comparison

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. For example, the G16 has an optical viewfinder, which can be very useful when shooting in bright sunlight. In contrast, the GF1 relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. That said, the GF1 can be equipped with an optional viewfinder – the DMW-LVF1. The following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Canon G16, the Panasonic GF1, 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)
Max
Shutter
Speed *
Max
Shutter
Flaps *
Built-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Built-in
Image
Stab
1.
 
Canon G16optical n3.0 / 922 fixed n 1/4000s 2.2/s Y Y
2.
 
Panasonic GF1optional n3.0 / 460 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0/s Y n
3.
 
Canon G1 X Mark IIoptional n3.0 / 1040 tilting Y 1/4000s 5.2/s Y Y
4.
 
Canon SL1optical n3.0 / 1040 fixed Y 1/4000s 4.9/s Y n
5.
 
Canon G1 Xoptical n3.0 / 922 swivel n 1/4000s 1.9/s Y Y
6.
 
Canon G15optical n3.0 / 922 fixed n 1/4000s 2.1/s Y Y
7.
 
Canon Mnone n3.0 / 1040 fixed Y 1/4000s 4.3/s n n
8.
 
Canon G12optical n2.8 / 461 swivel n 1/4000s 1.1/s Y Y
9.
 
Fujifilm X302360 n3.0 / 920 tilting n 1/4000s 12.0/s Y Y
10.
 
Fujifilm X20optical n2.8 / 460 fixed n 1/4000s 12.0/s Y Y
11.
 
Nikon P7800921 n3.0 / 921 swivel n 1/4000s 8.0/s Y Y
12.
 
Panasonic LX7optional n3.0 / 920 fixed n 1/4000s 11.0/s Y Y
13.
 
Panasonic GX1optional n3.0 / 460 fixed Y 1/4000s 4.2/s Y n
14.
 
Panasonic G10202 n3.0 / 460 fixed n 1/4000s 2.6/s Y n
15.
 
Panasonic G21440 n3.0 / 460 swivel Y 1/4000s 2.6/s Y n
16.
 
Panasonic GH11440 n3.0 / 460 swivel n 1/4000s 3.0/s Y n
17.
 
Panasonic G11440 n3.0 / 460 swivel n 1/4000s 3.0/s Y n
Notes: *) Information refers to the mechanical shutter, unless the camera only has an electronic one.

The Canon G16 has 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.

The G16 writes its imaging data to SDXC cards, while the GF1 uses SDHC cards. The G16 supports UHS-I cards (Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 104 MB/s), while the GF1 cannot take advantage of Ultra High Speed SD 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 PowerShot G16 and Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF1 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 G16Ystereo / mono--mini2.0Y--
2.
 
Panasonic GF1Ymono / mono--mini2.0---
3.
 
Canon G1 X Mark IIYstereo / mono--mini2.0YY-
4.
 
Canon SL1Ymono / monoY-mini2.0---
5.
 
Canon G1 XYstereo / mono--mini2.0---
6.
 
Canon G15Ystereo / mono--mini2.0---
7.
 
Canon MYstereo / monoY-mini2.0---
8.
 
Canon G12Ystereo / mono--mini2.0---
9.
 
Fujifilm X30Ystereo / mono--micro2.0Y--
10.
 
Fujifilm X20Ystereo / mono--micro2.0---
11.
 
Nikon P7800Ystereo / monoY-mini2.0---
12.
 
Panasonic LX7Ystereo / mono--mini2.0---
13.
 
Panasonic GX1Ystereo / mono--mini2.0---
14.
 
Panasonic G10Ymono / ---mini2.0---
15.
 
Panasonic G2Ystereo / mono--mini2.0---
16.
 
Panasonic GH1Ystereo / -Y-mini2.0---
17.
 
Panasonic G1Y- / ---mini2.0---

It is notable that the G16 offers wifi support, while the GF1 does not. Wifi can be a very convenient means to transfer image data to an off-camera location.

The G16 is a recent model that features in the current product line-up of Canon. In contrast, the GF1 has been discontinued (but can be found pre-owned on eBay). As a replacement in the same line of cameras, the GF1 was succeeded by the Panasonic DMC-GF2. 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.

Review summary

So what conclusions can be drawn? Which of the two cameras – the Canon G16 or the Panasonic GF1 – 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 G16:

  • More dynamic range: Captures a larger spectrum of light and dark details (1.4 EV of extra DR).
  • Better video: Provides higher definition movie capture (1080/60p vs 720/30p).
  • Easier framing: Has an optical viewfinder for image composition and settings control.
  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (922k vs 460k dots).
  • Easier time-lapse photography: Has an intervalometer built-in for low frequency shooting.
  • Ready to shoot: Has a lens built-in, whereas the GF1 requires a separate lens.
  • Less heavy: Is lighter even though it comes with a built-in lens (unlike the GF1).
  • Sharper images: Has hand-shake reducing image stabilization built-in.
  • Easier file upload: Has wifi built in for automatic backup or image transfer to the web.
  • Faster buffer clearing: Has an SD card interface that supports the UHS-I standard.
  • More affordable: Was introduced at a lower price, despite coming with a built-in lens.
  • More modern: Reflects 3 years and 11 months of technical progress since the GF1 launch.

ilogo

Arguments in favor of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF1:

  • Better low-light sensitivity: Can shoot in dim conditions (1.2 stops ISO advantage).
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (3 vs 2.2 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • More flexible: Takes interchangeable lenses and can thus be used with specialty optics.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been around for much longer (launched in September 2009).

If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the G16 is the clear winner of the match-up (12 : 4 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.

G16 12:04 GF1

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Canon G16 and the Panasonic GF1 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Travel-Zoom Camera and Best Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens 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 incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the G16 or the GF1 perform in practice. 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 (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 G164/5+....4.5/54.5/5 Aug 2013 549 i
2.
 
Panasonic GF1..85/100..69/1004.5/54.5/5 Sep 2009 749i
3.
 
Canon G1 X Mark II3/5+..77/1004/54.5/5 Feb 2014 799i
4.
 
Canon SL14/5+..78/1004/54/5 Mar 2013 549i
5.
 
Canon G1 X5/5+..76/1004/54.5/5 Jan 2012 799i
6.
 
Canon G154/5+..76/1004.5/54.5/5 Sep 2012 499i
7.
 
Canon M3/5+....4/54/5 Jul 2012 599i
8.
 
Canon G124/5+..73/1004.5/54.5/5 Sep 2010 499i
9.
 
Fujifilm X304/5....76/1004.5/54.5/5 Aug 2014 599 i
10.
 
Fujifilm X204/5+ +..77/1004.5/55/5 Jan 2013 599i
11.
 
Nikon P78003/5......4/54.5/5 Sep 2013 549i
12.
 
Panasonic LX73/5+ +..75/1004/54.5/5 Jul 2012 499i
13.
 
Panasonic GX13/5+..77/1004.5/54.5/5 Nov 2011 699i
14.
 
Panasonic G103/5....70/1004/54/5 Mar 2010 499i
15.
 
Panasonic G2......72/1004/54.5/5 Mar 2010 599i
16.
 
Panasonic GH1..+ +..72/1004.5/54.5/5 Mar 2009 899i
17.
 
Panasonic G1..+ +..70/1004/54.5/5 Sep 2008 599i
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. 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, please note that some of the review sites have changed their methodology and reporting over time.

Canon G16:
Check Amazon price
Panasonic GF1:
Check Ebay offers

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 G16 vs Panasonic GF1

    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 G16 Panasonic GF1
    Camera Type Fixed lens compact camera Mirrorless system camera
    Camera Lens 28-140mm f/1.8-2.8 Micro Four Thirds lenses
    Launch Date August 2013 September 2009
    Launch Price USD 549 USD 749
    Sensor Specs Canon G16 Panasonic GF1
    Sensor Technology BSI-CMOS CMOS
    Sensor Format 1/1.7" Sensor Four Thirds Sensor
    Sensor Size 7.44 x 5.58 mm 17.3 x 13.0 mm
    Sensor Area 41.5152 mm2 224.9 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 9.3 mm 21.6 mm
    Crop Factor 4.65x 2.0x
    Sensor Resolution 12 Megapixels 12 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 4000 x 3000 pixels 4000 x 3000 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 1.87 μm 4.33 μm
    Pixel Density 28.91 MP/cm2 5.34 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability 1080/60p Video 720/30p Video
    ISO Setting 80 - 12,800 ISO 100 - 3,200 ISO
    Image Processor DIGIC 6 Venus HD
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) 54 54
    DXO Color Depth (bits) 21.0 21.2
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) 11.7 10.3
    DXO Low Light (ISO) 230 513
    Screen Specs Canon G16 Panasonic GF1
    Viewfinder Type Optical viewfinder Viewfinder optional
    Viewfinder Field of View 80%
    LCD Framing Live View Live View
    Rear LCD Size 3.0inch 3.0inch
    LCD Resolution 922k dots 460k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen Fixed screen
    Shooting Specs Canon G16 Panasonic GF1
    Focus System Contrast-detect AF Contrast-detect AF
    Manual Focusing AidFocus Peakingno Peaking Feature
    Continuous Shooting 2.2 shutter flaps/s 3 shutter flaps/s
    Time-Lapse PhotographyIntervalometer built-inno Intervalometer
    Fill Flash Built-in Flash Built-in Flash
    Storage Medium SDXC cards SDHC cards
    Second Storage Option Single card slot Single card slot
    UHS card support UHS-I no
    Connectivity Specs Canon G16 Panasonic GF1
    External Flash Hotshoe Hotshoe
    USB Connector USB 2.0 USB 2.0
    HDMI Port mini HDMI mini HDMI
    Wifi Support Wifi built-in no Wifi
    Body Specs Canon G16 Panasonic GF1
    Battery Type NB-10L DMW-BLB13
    Battery Life (CIPA)360 shots per charge380 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 109 x 76 x 40 mm
    (4.3 x 3.0 x 1.6 in)
    119 x 71 x 36 mm
    (4.7 x 2.8 x 1.4 in)
    Camera Weight 356 g (12.6 oz) 385 g (13.6 oz)
    Canon G16:
    Check Amazon price
    Panasonic GF1:
    Check Ebay offers

    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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