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Canon M3 vs Olympus E-300

The Canon EOS M3 and the Olympus Evolt E-300 are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in February 2015 and September 2004. The M3 is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera, while the E-300 is a DSLR. The cameras are based on an APS-C (M3) and a Four Thirds (E-300) sensor. The Canon has a resolution of 24 megapixels, whereas the Olympus provides 8 MP.

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

Headline Specifications
Canon M3 versus Olympus E-300
Canon M3 Olympus E-300
Mirrorless system camera Digital single lens reflex
Canon EF-M mount lenses Four Thirds lenses
24 MP, APS-C Sensor 8 MP, Four Thirds Sensor
1080/30p Video no Video
ISO 100-12,800 (100 - 25,600) ISO 100-400 (100 - 1,600)
Viewfinder optional Optical viewfinder
3.0 LCD, 1040k dots 1.8 LCD, 134k dots
Tilting touchscreen Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)
4.2 shutter flaps per second 2.5 shutter flaps per second
250 shots per battery charge750 shots per battery charge
111 x 68 x 44 mm, 366 g 147 x 85 x 64 mm, 624 g

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Canon EOS M3 and the Olympus Evolt E-300? 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 M3 and the Olympus E-300. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three successive views from the front, the top, and the rear are shown. All size dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

The M3 can be obtained in two different colors (black, white), while the E-300 is only available in black.

Size Canon M3 vs Olympus E-300
Compare M3 versus E-300 top
Comparison M3 or E-300 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Olympus E-300 is considerably larger (66 percent) than the Canon M3. Moreover, the E-300 is substantially heavier (70 percent) than the M3. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the M3 nor the E-300 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. 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.

Concerning battery life, the M3 gets 250 shots out of its LP-E17 battery, while the E-300 can take 750 images on a single charge of its BLM-1 power pack.

The adjacent table lists the principal physical characteristics of the two cameras alongside a wider set of alternatives. 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 M3 4.4 in 2.7 in 1.7 in 12.9 oz 250 n Feb 2015 679i
 
Olympus E-300 5.8 in 3.3 in 2.5 in 22.0 oz 750 n Sep 2004 799i
 
Canon M50 Mark II 4.6 in 3.5 in 2.3 in 13.7 oz 305 n Oct 2020 599 i
 
Canon M50 4.6 in 3.5 in 2.3 in 13.8 oz 235 n Feb 2018 779i
 
Canon M6 4.4 in 2.7 in 1.8 in 13.8 oz 295 n Feb 2017 779i
 
Canon M100 4.3 in 2.6 in 1.4 in 10.7 oz 295 n Aug 2017 499i
 
Canon M5 4.6 in 3.5 in 2.4 in 15.1 oz 295 n Sep 2016 979 i
 
Canon M10 4.3 in 2.6 in 1.4 in 10.6 oz 255 n Oct 2015 499i
 
Canon T6i 5.2 in 4.0 in 3.1 in 19.6 oz 440 n Feb 2015 749i
 
Canon T6s 5.2 in 4.0 in 3.1 in 19.9 oz 440 n Feb 2015 649i
 
Canon G7 X 4.1 in 2.4 in 1.6 in 10.7 oz 210 n Sep 2014 699i
 
Canon M 4.3 in 2.6 in 1.3 in 10.5 oz 230 n Jul 2012 599i
 
Leica Digilux 3 5.7 in 3.4 in 3.0 in 21.4 oz 750 n Sep 2006 1,499i
 
Olympus E-330 5.5 in 3.4 in 2.8 in 22.5 oz 750 n Jan 2006 999i
 
Olympus E-400 5.1 in 3.6 in 2.1 in 15.3 oz 500 n Sep 2006 699i
 
Olympus E-500 5.1 in 3.7 in 2.6 in 16.9 oz 750 n Sep 2005 599i
 
Olympus E-1 5.6 in 4.1 in 3.2 in 26.0 oz 750 Y Jun 2003 1,699i
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 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 M3 was launched at a somewhat lower price (by 15 percent) than the E-300, 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.

Sensor comparison

The size of the imaging sensor is a crucial determinant 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. Moreover, a large sensor camera will give the photographer more control over depth-of-field in the image and, thus, the ability to better 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 M3 features an APS-C sensor and the Olympus E-300 a Four Thirds sensor. The sensor area in the E-300 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 M3 has a native 3:2 aspect ratio, while the one in the E-300 offers a 4:3 aspect.

Canon M3 and Olympus E-300 sensor measures

With 24MP, the M3 offers a higher resolution than the E-300 (8MP), but the M3 has smaller individual pixels (pixel pitch of 3.72μm versus 5.30μm for the E-300). However, the M3 is a much more recent model (by 10 years and 4 months) than the E-300, 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 M3 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the M3 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-300 are 16.3 x 12.2 inches or 41.5 x 31.1 cm for good quality, 13.1 x 9.8 inches or 33.2 x 24.9 cm for very good quality, and 10.9 x 8.2 inches or 27.6 x 20.7 cm for excellent quality prints.

The M3 has on-sensor phase detect pixels, which results in fast and reliable autofocus acquisition even during live view operation.

The Canon EOS M3 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 Olympus Evolt E-300 are ISO 100 to ISO 400, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 100-1600.

M3 versus E-300 MP

Since 2007, DXO Mark has published sensor performance measurements that have been derived using a consistent methodology. 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.

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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 M3 APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/30p22.811.8116972
 
Olympus E-300 Four Thirds 8.0 3264 2448none........
 
Canon M50 Mark II APS-C 24.0 6000 40004K/24p........
 
Canon M50 APS-C 24.0 6000 40004K/24p........
 
Canon M6 APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p........
 
Canon M100 APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p23.512.9127278
 
Canon M5 APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p23.412.4126277
 
Canon M10 APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p22.211.475365
 
Canon T6i APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/30p22.712.091971
 
Canon T6s APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/30p22.612.091570
 
Canon G7 X 1-inch 20.0 5472 36481080/60p23.012.755671
 
Canon M APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p22.111.282765
 
Leica Digilux 3 Four Thirds 7.4 3136 2352none........
 
Olympus E-330 Four Thirds 7.4 3136 2352none........
 
Olympus E-400 Four Thirds 10.0 3648 2736none........
 
Olympus E-500 Four Thirds 8.0 3264 2448none........
 
Olympus E-1 Four Thirds 4.9 2560 1920none........

Many modern cameras cannot only take still pictures, but also record videos. The M3 indeed provides movie recording capabilities, while the E-300 does not. The highest resolution format that the M3 can use is 1080/30p.

Feature comparison

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the E-300 has an optical viewfinder, which can be very useful when shooting in bright sunlight. In contrast, the M3 relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. That said, the M3 can be equipped with an optional viewfinder – the EVF-DC1. The table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Canon M3 and Olympus E-300 in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar 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 M3optional n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 1/4000s 4.2 Y n
 
Olympus E-300optical n 1.8 134 fixed n 1/4000s 2.5 Y n
 
Canon M50 Mark II2360 n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 1/4000s 10.0 Y n
 
Canon M502360 n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 1/4000s 10.0 Y n
 
Canon M6optional n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 1/4000s 9.0 Y n
 
Canon M100none n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 1/4000s 6.1 Y n
 
Canon M52360 n 3.2 1620 tilting Y 1/4000s 9.0 Y n
 
Canon M10none n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 1/4000s 4.6 Y n
 
Canon T6ioptical n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 1/4000s 5.0 Y n
 
Canon T6soptical Y 3.0 1040 swivel Y 1/4000s 5.0 Y n
 
Canon G7 Xnone n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 1/2000s 6.5 Y Y
 
Canon Mnone n 3.0 1040 fixed Y 1/4000s 4.3 n n
 
Leica Digilux 3optical n 2.5 207 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
 
Olympus E-330optical n 2.5 215 tilting n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
 
Olympus E-400optical n 2.5 215 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
 
Olympus E-500optical n 2.5 215 fixed n 1/4000s 2.5 Y n
 
Olympus E-1optical Y 1.8 134 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 n n

One differentiating feature between the two cameras concerns the touch sensitivity of the rear screen. The M3 has a touchscreen, while the E-300 has a conventional panel. Touch control can be particularly helpful, for example, for setting the focus point.

The M3 has an articulated LCD that can be turned to be front-facing. This characteristic will be appreciated by vloggers and photographers who are interested in snapping selfies. In contrast, the E-300 does not have a selfie-screen.

The M3 writes its imaging data to SDXC cards, while the E-300 uses Compact Flash or xD Picture cards. The E-300 features dual card slots, which can be very useful in case a memory card fails. In contrast, the M3 only has one slot.

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 M3 and Olympus Evolt E-300 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 M3YstereomonoY-mini2.0YY-
 
Olympus E-300Y-----2.0---
 
Canon M50 Mark IIYstereomonoY-micro2.0Y-Y
 
Canon M50YstereomonoY-micro2.0Y-Y
 
Canon M6YstereomonoY-mini2.0YYY
 
Canon M100-stereomono--micro2.0YYY
 
Canon M5YstereomonoY-mini2.0YYY
 
Canon M10-stereomono--mini2.0YY-
 
Canon T6iYstereomonoY-mini2.0YY-
 
Canon T6sYstereomonoY-mini2.0YY-
 
Canon G7 X-stereomono--micro2.0YY-
 
Canon MYstereomonoY-mini2.0---
 
Leica Digilux 3Ystereomono---2.0---
 
Olympus E-330Y-----2.0---
 
Olympus E-400Y-----2.0---
 
Olympus E-500Y-----2.0---
 
Olympus E-1Y-----2.0---

It is notable that the M3 offers wifi support, while the E-300 does not. Wifi can be a very convenient means to transfer image data to an off-camera location.

Both the M3 and the E-300 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The E-300 was replaced by the Olympus E-330, while the M3 was followed by the Canon M6. 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.

Review summary

So what is the bottom line? Is there a clear favorite between the Canon M3 and the Olympus E-300? Which camera is better? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.

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Reasons to prefer the Canon EOS M3:

  • More detail: Offers more megapixels (24 vs 8MP) with a 77% 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.
  • 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 1.8") for image review and settings control.
  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1040k vs 134k dots).
  • More flexible LCD: Has a tilting screen for odd-angle shots in landscape orientation.
  • Fewer buttons to press: Is equipped with a touch-sensitive rear screen to facilitate handling.
  • More selfie-friendly: Has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (4.2 vs 2.5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • More compact: Is smaller (111x68mm vs 147x85mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
  • Less heavy: Is lighter (by 258g or 41 percent) and hence easier to carry around.
  • More legacy lens friendly: Can take a broad range of non-native lenses via adapters.
  • 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 affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced segment (15 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More modern: Reflects 10 years and 4 months of technical progress since the E-300 launch.

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Arguments in favor of the Olympus Evolt E-300:

  • Easier framing: Has an optical viewfinder for image composition and settings control.
  • Longer lasting: Gets more shots (750 versus 250) out of a single battery charge.
  • Greater peace of mind: Features a second card slot as a backup in case of memory card failure.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been around for much longer (launched in September 2004).

If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the M3 is the clear winner of the match-up (20 : 4 points). However, the relative importance of the various individual camera aspects will vary according to personal preferences and needs, so that you might like to apply corresponding weights to the particular features before making a decision 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.

M3 20:04 E-300

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Canon M3 and the Olympus E-300 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 incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the M3 or the E-300 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 hands-on reviews by experts are important. The following table reports the overall ratings of the cameras as published by some of the major 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 M3o75/1004.5/54.5/54/5 Feb 2015 679i
 
Olympus E-300..+oo4.5/5 Sep 2004 799i
 
Canon M50 Mark II.......... Oct 2020 599 i
 
Canon M50+79/100..4/53.5/5 Feb 2018 779i
 
Canon M6..80/1004/54.5/54/5 Feb 2017 779i
 
Canon M100+..4/5..3.5/5 Aug 2017 499i
 
Canon M5+82/1004/54.5/54/5 Sep 2016 979 i
 
Canon M10......o4/5 Oct 2015 499i
 
Canon T6i..75/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Feb 2015 749i
 
Canon T6s+77/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Feb 2015 649i
 
Canon G7 X+ +77/1004.5/53.5/54.5/5 Sep 2014 699i
 
Canon M+..4/53.5/54/5 Jul 2012 599i
 
Leica Digilux 3.......... Sep 2006 1,499i
 
Olympus E-330..+o3.5/5.. Jan 2006 999i
 
Olympus E-40085/100..4/5..4/5 Sep 2006 699i
 
Olympus E-50076/100+ +...... Sep 2005 599i
 
Olympus E-1..+oo.. Jun 2003 1,699i
Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.

Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, though. The assessments were made in relation to similar cameras of the same technological generation. Hence, a score should always be seen in the context of the camera's market launch date and its price, 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.

Canon M3:
Check Ebay offers
Olympus E-300:
Check Ebay offers

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 your choice using the following search menu. As an alternative, you can also directly jump to any one of the listed comparisons that were previously generated by the CAM-parator tool.

~

    Specifications: Canon M3 vs Olympus E-300

    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 M3 Olympus E-300
    Camera Type Mirrorless system camera Digital single lens reflex
    Camera Lens Canon EF-M mount lenses Four Thirds lenses
    Launch Date February 2015 September 2004
    Launch Price USD 679 USD 799
    Sensor Specs Canon M3 Olympus E-300
    Sensor Technology CMOS CMOS
    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
    Crop Factor 1.6x 2.0x
    Sensor Resolution 24 Megapixels 8 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 6000 x 4000 pixels 3264 x 2448 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 3.72 μm 5.30 μm
    Pixel Density 7.22 MP/cm2 3.55 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability 1080/30p Video no Video
    ISO Setting 100 - 12,800 ISO 100 - 400 ISO
    ISO Boost 100 - 25,600 ISO 100 - 1,600 ISO
    Image Processor DIGIC 6 TruePic
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) 72 ..
    DXO Color Depth (bits) 22.8 ..
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) 11.8 ..
    DXO Low Light (ISO) 1169 ..
    Screen Specs Canon M3 Olympus E-300
    Viewfinder Type Viewfinder optional Optical viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 95%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.5x
    LCD Framing Live View
    Rear LCD Size 3.0inch 1.8inch
    LCD Resolution 1040k dots 134k dots
    LCD Attachment Tilting screen Fixed screen
    Touch Input Touchscreen no Touchscreen
    Shooting Specs Canon M3 Olympus E-300
    Focus System On-Sensor Phase-detect Phase-detect AF
    Manual Focusing AidFocus Peakingno Peaking Feature
    Continuous Shooting 4.2 shutter flaps/s 2.5 shutter flaps/s
    Fill Flash Build-in Flash Build-in Flash
    Storage Medium SDXC cards CF or XD cards
    Second Storage Option Single card slot Dual card slots
    Connectivity Specs Canon M3 Olympus E-300
    External Flash Hotshoe Hotshoe
    USB Connector USB 2.0 USB 2.0
    HDMI Port mini HDMI no HDMI
    Microphone Port External MIC port no MIC socket
    Wifi Support Wifi built-in no Wifi
    Near-Field Communication NFC built-in no NFC
    Body Specs Canon M3 Olympus E-300
    Battery Type LP-E17 BLM-1
    Battery Life (CIPA)250 shots per charge750 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 111 x 68 x 44 mm
    (4.4 x 2.7 x 1.7 in)
    147 x 85 x 64 mm
    (5.8 x 3.3 x 2.5 in)
    Camera Weight 366 g (12.9 oz) 624 g (22.0 oz)

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