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Canon M vs Nikon D1

The Canon EOS M and the Nikon D1 are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in July 2012 and June 1999. The Canon M is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera, while the D1 is a DSLR. Both cameras are equipped with an APS-C sensor. The Canon has a resolution of 17.9 megapixels, whereas the Nikon provides 2.6 MP.

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

Headline Specifications
Canon M versus Nikon D1
Canon M Nikon D1
Mirrorless system camera Digital single lens reflex
Canon EF-M mount lenses Nikon F mount lenses
17.9 MP, APS-C Sensor 2.6 MP, APS-C Sensor
1080/30p Video no Video
ISO 100-12,800 (100 - 25,600) ISO 200-1,600 (200 - 6,400)
No viewfinder, LCD framing Optical viewfinder
3.0 LCD, 1040k dots 2.0 LCD, 120k dots
Fixed touchscreen Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)
4.3 shutter flaps per second 1.5 shutter flaps per second
not weather sealedWeathersealed body
109 x 66 x 32 mm, 298 g 157 x 153 x 85 mm, 1100 g

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Canon EOS M and the Nikon D1? 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 M and the Nikon D1. 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 size dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

The Canon M can be obtained in two different colors (black, white), while the D1 is only available in black.

Size Canon M vs Nikon D1
Compare Canon M versus D1 top
Comparison Canon M or D1 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Nikon D1 is considerably larger (234 percent) than the Canon M. Moreover, the D1 is substantially heavier (269 percent) than the Canon M. It is noteworthy in this context that the D1 is splash and dust-proof, while the Canon M does not feature any corresponding weather-sealing.

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.

As can be seen in the images above, the D1 has a battery grip built in. This facilitates image-taking in portrait orientation and gives it additional battery power.

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 M 109 mm 66 mm 32 mm 298 g 230 n Jul 2012 599i
2.
 
Nikon D1 157 mm 153 mm 85 mm 1100 g .. Y Jun 1999 5,499i
3.
 
Canon M100 108 mm 67 mm 35 mm 302 g 295 n Aug 2017 499i
4.
 
Canon M10 108 mm 67 mm 35 mm 301 g 255 n Oct 2015 499i
5.
 
Canon G7 X 103 mm 60 mm 40 mm 304 g 210 n Sep 2014 699i
6.
 
Canon G16 109 mm 76 mm 40 mm 356 g 360 n Aug 2013 549 i
7.
 
Canon SL1 117 mm 91 mm 69 mm 407 g 380 n Mar 2013 549i
8.
 
Canon T5i 133 mm 100 mm 79 mm 580 g 440 n Mar 2013 649i
9.
 
Canon T3i 133 mm 100 mm 80 mm 570 g 440 n Feb 2011 599i
10.
 
Nikon D300S 147 mm 115 mm 81 mm 938 g 950 Y Jul 2009 1,799i
11.
 
Nikon D300 147 mm 114 mm 74 mm 925 g 1000 Y Aug 2007 1,799i
12.
 
Nikon D2Xs 158 mm 150 mm 86 mm 1252 g 3800 Y Jun 2006 4,699i
13.
 
Nikon D200 147 mm 113 mm 74 mm 920 g 400 Y Nov 2005 1,699i
14.
 
Nikon D1X 157 mm 153 mm 85 mm 1100 g 1200 Y Feb 2001 5,999i
15.
 
Panasonic GF6 111 mm 65 mm 38 mm 323 g 340 n Apr 2013 499i
16.
 
Panasonic G3 115 mm 84 mm 47 mm 336 g 270 n May 2011 599i
17.
 
Sony NEX-3N 110 mm 62 mm 35 mm 269 g 480 n Feb 2013 499i
Notes: 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 Canon M was launched at a markedly lower price (by 89 percent) than the D1, 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 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 an APS-C sensor, but their sensors differ slightly in size. The sensor area in the D1 is 11 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have format factors, respectively, of 1.6 (Canon M) and 1.5. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.

Canon M and Nikon D1 sensor measures

Despite having a smaller sensor, the Canon M offers a higher resolution of 17.9 megapixels, compared with 2.6 MP of the Nikon D1. This megapixels advantage comes at the cost of a higher pixel density and a smaller size of the individual pixel (with a pixel pitch of 4.31μm versus 11.93μm for the D1). However, it should be noted that the Canon M is much more recent (by 13 years and 1 month) than the D1, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that make it possible to gather light more efficiently.

The resolution advantage of the Canon M implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the Canon M for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 25.9 x 17.3 inches or 65.8 x 43.9 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 20.7 x 13.8 inches or 52.7 x 35.1 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 17.3 x 11.5 inches or 43.9 x 29.3 cm. The corresponding values for the Nikon D1 are 10 x 6.6 inches or 25.4 x 16.7 cm for good quality, 8 x 5.2 inches or 20.3 x 13.3 cm for very good quality, and 6.7 x 4.4 inches or 16.9 x 11.1 cm for excellent quality prints.

The Canon M has on-sensor phase detect pixels, which results in fast and reliable autofocus acquisition even during live view operation.

The Canon EOS M has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 12800, which can be extended to ISO 100-25600. The corresponding ISO settings for the Nikon D1 are ISO 200 to ISO 1600, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 200-6400.

Canon M versus D1 MP

For many cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. This service determines an overall sensor rating, as well as sub-scores for low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and color depth ("DXO Portrait"). 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
1.
 
Canon M APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p22.111.282765
2.
 
Nikon D1 APS-C 2.6 2000 1312none........
3.
 
Canon M100 APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p23.512.9127278
4.
 
Canon M10 APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p22.211.475365
5.
 
Canon G7 X 1-inch 20.0 5472 36481080/60p23.012.755671
6.
 
Canon G16 1/1.7 12.0 4000 30001080/60p21.011.723054
7.
 
Canon SL1 APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p21.811.384363
8.
 
Canon T5i APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p21.711.268161
9.
 
Canon T3i APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p22.111.579365
10.
 
Nikon D300S APS-C 12.2 4288 2848720/24p22.512.278770
11.
 
Nikon D300 APS-C 12.2 4288 2848none22.112.067967
12.
 
Nikon D2Xs APS-C 12.2 4288 2848none22.210.948959
13.
 
Nikon D200 APS-C 10.0 3872 2592none22.311.558364
14.
 
Nikon D1X APS-C 5.9 3008 1960none........
15.
 
Panasonic GF6 Four Thirds 15.8 4592 34481080/60i20.710.662254
16.
 
Panasonic G3 Four Thirds 15.8 4592 34481080/60i21.010.666756
17.
 
Sony NEX-3N APS-C 16.0 4912 32641080/60i22.812.5106774

Many modern cameras cannot only take still pictures, but also record videos. The Canon M indeed provides movie recording capabilities, while the D1 does not. The highest resolution format that the Canon M can use is 1080/30p.

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Feature comparison

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the D1 has an optical viewfinder, which can be very useful when shooting in bright sunlight. In contrast, the Canon M relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. The adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Canon M and Nikon D1 along with similar information for a selection of comparators.

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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
1.
 
Canon Mnone n 3.0 1040 fixed Y 1/4000s 4.3 n n
2.
 
Nikon D1optical Y 2.0 120 fixed n 1/16000s 1.5 n n
3.
 
Canon M100none n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 1/4000s 6.1 Y n
4.
 
Canon M10none n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 1/4000s 4.6 Y n
5.
 
Canon G7 Xnone n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 1/2000s 6.5 Y Y
6.
 
Canon G16optical n 3.0 922 fixed n 1/4000s 2.2 Y Y
7.
 
Canon SL1optical n 3.0 1040 fixed Y 1/4000s 4.9 Y n
8.
 
Canon T5ioptical n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 1/4000s 5.0 Y n
9.
 
Canon T3ioptical n 3.0 1040 swivel n 1/4000s 3.7 Y n
10.
 
Nikon D300Soptical Y 3.0 920 fixed n 1/8000s 7.0 Y n
11.
 
Nikon D300optical Y 3.0 922 fixed n 1/8000s 6.0 Y n
12.
 
Nikon D2Xsoptical Y 2.5 230 fixed n 1/8000s 5.0 n n
13.
 
Nikon D200optical Y 2.5 230 fixed n 1/8000s 5.0 Y n
14.
 
Nikon D1Xoptical Y 2.0 120 fixed n 1/16000s 3.0 n n
15.
 
Panasonic GF6none n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 1/4000s 4.2 Y n
16.
 
Panasonic G31440 n 3.0 460 swivel Y 1/4000s 4.0 Y n
17.
 
Sony NEX-3Noptional n 3.0 460 tilting n 1/4000s 4.0 Y n

One differentiating feature between the two cameras concerns the touch sensitivity of the rear screen. The Canon M has a touchscreen, while the D1 has a conventional panel. Touch control can be particularly helpful, for example, for setting the focus point.

The Canon M writes its imaging data to SDXC cards, while the D1 uses Compact Flash 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 EOS M and Nikon D1 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
1.
 
Canon MYstereomonoY-mini2.0---
2.
 
Nikon D1Y-----FW---
3.
 
Canon M100-stereomono--micro2.0YYY
4.
 
Canon M10-stereomono--mini2.0YY-
5.
 
Canon G7 X-stereomono--micro2.0YY-
6.
 
Canon G16Ystereomono--mini2.0Y--
7.
 
Canon SL1YmonomonoY-mini2.0---
8.
 
Canon T5iYstereomonoY-mini2.0---
9.
 
Canon T3iYmonomonoY-mini2.0---
10.
 
Nikon D300SYstereomonoY-mini2.0---
11.
 
Nikon D300Y----mini2.0---
12.
 
Nikon D2XsY-----2.0---
13.
 
Nikon D200Y-----2.0---
14.
 
Nikon D1XY-----FW---
15.
 
Panasonic GF6-stereomono--mini2.0YY-
16.
 
Panasonic G3Ystereomono--mini2.0---
17.
 
Sony NEX-3N-stereomono--micro2.0---

Studio photographers will appreciate that the Nikon D1 (unlike the Canon M) features a PC Sync socket, so that professional strobe lights can be controlled by the camera.

Both the Canon M and the D1 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The D1 was replaced by the Nikon D1X, while the Canon M was followed by the Canon EOS M3. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Canon and Nikon websites.

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Review summary

So how do things add up? Is there a clear favorite between the Canon M and the Nikon D1? 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 M:

  • More detail: Offers more megapixels (17.9 vs 2.6MP) with a 160% higher linear resolution.
  • Broader imaging potential: Can record not only still images but also 1080/30p movies.
  • Better live-view autofocus: Features on-sensor phase-detection for more confident autofocus.
  • Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.0" vs 2.0") for image review and settings control.
  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1040k vs 120k dots).
  • Fewer buttons to press: Is equipped with a touch-sensitive rear screen to facilitate handling.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (4.3 vs 1.5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • More compact: Is smaller (109x66mm vs 157x153mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
  • Less heavy: Is lighter (by 802g or 73 percent) and hence easier to carry around.
  • More legacy lens friendly: Can take a broad range of non-native lenses via adapters.
  • More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (89 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More modern: Reflects 13 years and 1 month of technical progress since the D1 launch.

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Arguments in favor of the Nikon D1:

  • Easier framing: Has an optical viewfinder for image composition and settings control.
  • Easier setting verification: Features a control panel on top to check shooting parameters.
  • Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/16000s vs 1/4000s) to freeze action.
  • More portrait friendly: Features an integrated vertical grip for easier portrait shooting.
  • Better sealing: Is splash and dust sealed for shooting in inclement weather conditions.
  • Better studio light control: Has a PC Sync socket to connect to professional strobe lights.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been around for much longer (launched in June 1999).

If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the Canon M is the clear winner of the match-up (12 : 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.

Canon M 12:07 D1

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Canon M and the Nikon D1 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera and Best DSLR 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 Canon M or the D1. 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 (amateurphotographer [AP], cameralabs [CL], 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 
 DPR 
 score 
 EPZ 
 score 
 PB 
 score 
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
1.
 
Canon M3/5+..4/54/5 Jul 2012 599i
2.
 
Nikon D1....+ +.... Jun 1999 5,499i
3.
 
Canon M1003/5+..4/53.5/5 Aug 2017 499i
4.
 
Canon M10........4/5 Oct 2015 499i
5.
 
Canon G7 X4/5+ +77/1004.5/54.5/5 Sep 2014 699i
6.
 
Canon G164/5+..4.5/54.5/5 Aug 2013 549 i
7.
 
Canon SL14/5+78/1004/54/5 Mar 2013 549i
8.
 
Canon T5i....76/1004.5/54.5/5 Mar 2013 649i
9.
 
Canon T3i3/5o77/1004.5/54.5/5 Feb 2011 599i
10.
 
Nikon D300S5/5+ +82/1004/54.5/5 Jul 2009 1,799i
11.
 
Nikon D300..+ ++ +5/54.5/5 Aug 2007 1,799i
12.
 
Nikon D2Xs.......... Jun 2006 4,699i
13.
 
Nikon D200..+ ++ +o.. Nov 2005 1,699i
14.
 
Nikon D1X....+ +.... Feb 2001 5,999i
15.
 
Panasonic GF6..+ +..4.5/54.5/5 Apr 2013 499i
16.
 
Panasonic G33/5+ +75/1004.5/55/5 May 2011 599i
17.
 
Sony NEX-3N3/5....4.5/54.5/5 Feb 2013 499i
Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.

Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, though. The ratings are only valid when referring to cameras in the same category and of the same age. Hence, a score should always be seen in the context of the camera's market launch date and its price, and rating-comparisons among cameras that span long time periods or concern very differently equipped models make little sense. It should also be noted that some of the review sites have over time altered the way they render their verdicts.

Canon M:
Check Ebay offers
Nikon D1:
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 M vs Nikon D1

    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 M Nikon D1
    Camera Type Mirrorless system camera Digital single lens reflex
    Camera Lens Canon EF-M mount lenses Nikon F mount lenses
    Launch Date July 2012 June 1999
    Launch Price USD 599 USD 5,499
    Sensor Specs Canon M Nikon D1
    Sensor Technology CMOS CCD
    Sensor Format APS-C Sensor APS-C Sensor
    Sensor Size 22.3 x 14.9 mm 23.7 x 15.6 mm
    Sensor Area 332.27 mm2 369.72 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 26.8 mm 28.4 mm
    Crop Factor 1.6x 1.5x
    Sensor Resolution 17.9 Megapixels 2.6 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 5184 x 3456 pixels 2000 x 1312 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 4.31 μm 11.93 μm
    Pixel Density 5.39 MP/cm2 0.71 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability 1080/30p Video no Video
    ISO Setting 100 - 12,800 ISO 200 - 1,600 ISO
    ISO Boost 100 - 25,600 ISO 200 - 6,400 ISO
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) 65 ..
    DXO Color Depth (bits) 22.1 ..
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) 11.2 ..
    DXO Low Light (ISO) 827 ..
    Screen Specs Canon M Nikon D1
    Viewfinder Type no viewfinder Optical viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 96%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.53x
    Top-Level Screen no Top Display Control Panel
    LCD Framing Live View
    Rear LCD Size 3.0inch 2.0inch
    LCD Resolution 1040k dots 120k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen Fixed screen
    Touch Input Touchscreen no Touchscreen
    Shooting Specs Canon M Nikon D1
    Focus System On-Sensor Phase-detect Phase-detect AF
    Continuous Shooting 4.3 shutter flaps/s 1.5 shutter flaps/s
    Fill Flash no On-Board Flash no On-Board Flash
    Storage Medium SDXC cards CF cards
    Second Storage Option Single card slot Single card slot
    Connectivity Specs Canon M Nikon D1
    External Flash Hotshoe Hotshoe
    Studio Flash no PC Sync PC Sync socket
    USB Connector USB 2.0 Firewire
    HDMI Port mini HDMI no HDMI
    Microphone Port External MIC port no MIC socket
    Wifi Support no Wifi no Wifi
    Body Specs Canon M Nikon D1
    Environmental Sealingnot weather sealedWeathersealed body
    Battery Type LP-E12 EN-4
    Body Dimensions 109 x 66 x 32 mm
    (4.3 x 2.6 x 1.3 in)
    157 x 153 x 85 mm
    (6.2 x 6.0 x 3.3 in)
    Camera Weight 298 g (10.5 oz) 1100 g (38.8 oz)

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