Canon M6 vs Nikon Z6
The Canon EOS M6 and the Nikon Z6 are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in February 2017 and August 2018. Both the M6 and the Z6 are mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras that are based on an APS-C (M6) and a full frame (Z6) sensor. The Canon has a resolution of 24 megapixels, whereas the Nikon provides 24.3 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 M6 and the Nikon Z6? 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.
An illustration of the physical size and weight of the Canon M6 and the Nikon Z6 is provided in the side-by-side display below. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three consecutive perspectives from the front, the top, and the back are available. All size dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
The M6 can be obtained in two different colors (black, silver), while the Z6 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 Nikon Z6 is considerably larger (78 percent) than the Canon M6. Moreover, the Z6 is substantially heavier (73 percent) than the M6. It is noteworthy in this context that the Z6 is splash and dust-proof, while the M6 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.
Concerning battery life, the M6 gets 295 shots out of its LP-E17 battery, while the Z6 can take 310 images on a single charge of its EN-EL15b power pack. The power pack in the Z6 can be charged via the USB port, which can be very convenient when travelling.
The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the two cameras alongside a broader set of comparators. In case you want to display and compare another camera duo, you can use the CAM-parator app to select your camera combination among a large number of options.
|1.||Canon M6||112 mm||68 mm||45 mm||390 g||295||n||Feb 2017||779||ebay.com|
|2.||Nikon Z6||134 mm||101 mm||67 mm||675 g||310||Y||Aug 2018||1,999||ebay.com|
|3.||Canon M6 Mark II||120 mm||70 mm||49 mm||408 g||305||n||Aug 2019||849||ebay.com|
|4.||Canon 2000D||129 mm||101 mm||78 mm||475 g||500||n||Feb 2018||449||amazon.com|
|5.||Canon M50||116 mm||88 mm||59 mm||390 g||235||n||Feb 2018||779||ebay.com|
|6.||Canon 77D||131 mm||100 mm||76 mm||540 g||600||n||Feb 2017||899||ebay.com|
|7.||Canon 200D||122 mm||93 mm||70 mm||453 g||650||n||Jun 2017||549||ebay.com|
|8.||Canon M100||108 mm||67 mm||35 mm||302 g||295||n||Aug 2017||499||ebay.com|
|9.||Canon G7 X Mark II||106 mm||61 mm||42 mm||319 g||265||n||Feb 2016||699||ebay.com|
|10.||Canon M5||116 mm||89 mm||61 mm||427 g||295||n||Sep 2016||979||ebay.com|
|11.||Canon M3||111 mm||68 mm||44 mm||366 g||250||n||Feb 2015||679||ebay.com|
|12.||Nikon Z6 II||134 mm||101 mm||70 mm||705 g||410||Y||Oct 2020||1,999||amazon.com|
|13.||Nikon Z7||134 mm||101 mm||67 mm||675 g||330||Y||Aug 2018||3,399||ebay.com|
|14.||Nikon D5600||124 mm||97 mm||70 mm||465 g||970||n||Nov 2016||699||amazon.com|
|15.||Nikon D750||141 mm||113 mm||78 mm||750 g||1230||Y||Sep 2014||2,299||ebay.com|
|16.||Panasonic GH5||139 mm||98 mm||87 mm||725 g||410||Y||Jan 2017||1,999||ebay.com|
|17.||Sony A7 III||127 mm||96 mm||74 mm||650 g||610||Y||Feb 2018||1,999||amazon.com|
|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 listed launch prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The M6 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 61 percent) than the Z6, 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.
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.
Of the two cameras under consideration, the Canon M6 features an APS-C sensor and the Nikon Z6 a full frame sensor. The sensor area in the Z6 is 158 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 1.6 and 1.0. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.
With 24.3MP, the Z6 offers a higher resolution than the M6 (24MP), but the Z6 nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 5.94μm versus 3.72μm for the M6) due to its larger sensor. Moreover, the Z6 is a somewhat more recent model (by 1 year and 6 months) than the M6, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time that further enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixel-units.
The Canon EOS M6 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 25600. The corresponding ISO settings for the Nikon Z6 are ISO 100 to ISO 51200, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 50-204800.
In terms of underlying technology, the M6 is build around a CMOS sensor, while the Z6 uses a BSI-CMOS imager. Both cameras use a Bayer filter for capturing RGB colors on a square grid of photosensors. This arrangement is found in most digital cameras.
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. Of the two cameras under consideration, the Z6 offers substantially better image quality than the M6 (overall score 17 points higher). The advantage is based on 1.9 bits higher color depth, 1.7 EV in additional dynamic range, and 1.3 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.
|2.||Nikon Z6||Full Frame||24.3||6048||4024||4K/30p||25.3||14.3||3299||95|
|3.||Canon M6 Mark II||APS-C||32.3||6960||4640||4K/30p||24.0||13.5||1848||83|
|9.||Canon G7 X Mark II||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||21.8||11.9||260||62|
|12.||Nikon Z6 II||Full Frame||24.3||6048||4024||4K/60p||25.0||14.4||3303||94|
|13.||Nikon Z7||Full Frame||45.4||8256||5504||4K/30p||26.3||14.6||2668||99|
|15.||Nikon D750||Full Frame||24.2||6016||4016||1080/60p||24.8||14.5||2956||93|
|16.||Panasonic GH5||Four Thirds||20.2||5184||3888||4K/60p||23.9||13.0||807||77|
|17.||Sony A7 III||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||4K/30p||25.0||14.7||3730||96|
|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. Both cameras under consideration are equipped with sensors that have a sufficiently high read-out speed for moving images, but the Z6 provides a better video resolution than the M6. It can shoot movie footage at 4K/30p, while the Canon is limited to 1080/60p.
Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the Z6 has an electronic viewfinder (3690k dots), which can be very helpful when shooting in bright sunlight. In contrast, the M6 relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. That said, the M6 can be equipped with an optional viewfinder – the EVF-DC2. The table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Canon M6 and Nikon Z6 in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras.
|1.||Canon M6||optional||n||3.0 / 1040||tilting||Y||1/4000s||9.0/s||Y||n|
|2.||Nikon Z6||3690||Y||3.2 / 2100||tilting||Y||1/8000s||12.0/s||n||Y|
|3.||Canon M6 Mark II||optional||n||3.0 / 1040||tilting||Y||1/4000s||14.0/s||Y||n|
|4.||Canon 2000D||optical||n||3.0 / 920||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0/s||Y||n|
|5.||Canon M50||2360||n||3.0 / 1040||swivel||Y||1/4000s||10.0/s||Y||n|
|6.||Canon 77D||optical||Y||3.0 / 1040||swivel||Y||1/4000s||6.0/s||Y||n|
|7.||Canon 200D||optical||n||3.0 / 1040||swivel||Y||1/4000s||5.0/s||Y||n|
|8.||Canon M100||none||n||3.0 / 1040||tilting||Y||1/4000s||6.1/s||Y||n|
|9.||Canon G7 X Mark II||none||n||3.0 / 1040||tilting||Y||1/2000s||8.0/s||Y||Y|
|10.||Canon M5||2360||n||3.2 / 1620||tilting||Y||1/4000s||9.0/s||Y||n|
|11.||Canon M3||optional||n||3.0 / 1040||tilting||Y||1/4000s||4.2/s||Y||n|
|12.||Nikon Z6 II||3690||Y||3.2 / 2100||tilting||Y||1/8000s||14.0/s||n||Y|
|13.||Nikon Z7||3690||Y||3.2 / 2100||tilting||Y||1/8000s||9.0/s||n||Y|
|14.||Nikon D5600||optical||n||3.2 / 1037||swivel||Y||1/4000s||5.0/s||Y||n|
|15.||Nikon D750||optical||Y||3.2 / 1229||tilting||n||1/4000s||6.0/s||Y||n|
|16.||Panasonic GH5||3680||n||3.2 / 1620||swivel||Y||1/8000s||12.0/s||n||Y|
|17.||Sony A7 III||2359||n||3.0 / 922||tilting||Y||1/8000s||10.0/s||n||Y|
|Notes: *) Information refers to the mechanical shutter, unless the camera only has an electronic one.|
One difference between the cameras concerns the presence of an on-board flash. The M6 has one, while the Z6 does not. While the built-in flash of the M6 is not very powerful, it can at times be useful as a fill-in light.The M6 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 Z6 does not have a selfie-screen.
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 Z6 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 M6 and the Nikon Z6 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.
The M6 writes its imaging data to SDXC cards, while the Z6 uses XQD cards.
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 M6 and Nikon Z6 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
Mic / Speaker
|1.||Canon M6||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||Y|
|2.||Nikon Z6||Y||stereo / mono||Y||Y||micro||3.1||Y||-||Y|
|3.||Canon M6 Mark II||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||Y|
|4.||Canon 2000D||Y||mono / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|5.||Canon M50||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||Y|
|6.||Canon 77D||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||Y|
|7.||Canon 200D||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||Y|
|8.||Canon M100||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||Y|
|9.||Canon G7 X Mark II||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|10.||Canon M5||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||Y|
|11.||Canon M3||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|12.||Nikon Z6 II||Y||stereo / mono||Y||Y||micro||3.2||Y||-||Y|
|13.||Nikon Z7||Y||stereo / mono||Y||Y||micro||3.1||Y||-||Y|
|14.||Nikon D5600||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||Y|
|15.||Nikon D750||Y||stereo / mono||Y||Y||mini||2.0||Y||-||-|
|16.||Panasonic GH5||Y||stereo / mono||Y||Y||full||3.1||Y||-||Y|
|17.||Sony A7 III||Y||stereo / mono||Y||Y||micro||3.1||Y||Y||Y|
It is notable that the Z6 has a headphone jack, which makes it possible to attach external headphones and monitor the quality of sound during the recording process. The M6 lacks such a headphone port.
Both the M6 and the Z6 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on ebay. The M6 was replaced by the Canon M6 Mark II, while the Z6 was followed by the Nikon Z6 II. Further information on the features and operation of the M6 and Z6 can be found, respectively, in the Canon M6 Manual (free pdf) or the online Nikon Z6 Manual.
So how do things add up? Is there a clear favorite between the Canon M6 and the Nikon Z6? Which camera is better? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.
Advantages of the Canon EOS M6:
- More selfie-friendly: Has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing.
- More compact: Is smaller (112x68mm vs 134x101mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
- Less heavy: Is lighter (by 285g or 42 percent) and hence easier to carry around.
- Easier fill-in: Is equipped with a small onboard flash to brighten deep shadow areas.
- Easier device pairing: Supports NFC for fast wireless image transfer over short distances.
- More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (61 percent cheaper at launch).
- More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in February 2017).
Reasons to prefer the Nikon Z6:
- Better image quality: Scores substantially higher (17 points) in the DXO overall evaluation.
- Richer colors: Generates noticeably more natural colors (1.9 bits more color depth).
- More dynamic range: Captures a broader range of light and dark details (1.7 EV of extra DR).
- Better low-light sensitivity: Can shoot in dim conditions (1.3 stops ISO advantage).
- Better video: Provides higher definition movie capture (4K/30p vs 1080/60p).
- Better sound control: Has a headphone port that enables audio monitoring while recording.
- Easier framing: Has an electronic viewfinder for image composition and settings control.
- Easier setting verification: Features a control panel on top to check shooting parameters.
- Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.2" vs 3.0") for image review and settings control.
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (2100k vs 1040k dots).
- Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/8000s vs 1/4000s) to freeze action.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (12 vs 9 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Less disturbing: Has an electronic shutter option for completely silent shooting.
- Easier travel charging: Can be conveniently charged via its USB port.
- Better sealing: Is splash and dust sealed for shooting in inclement weather conditions.
- Sharper images: Has stabilization technology built-in to reduce the impact of hand-shake.
- Faster data transfer: Supports a more advanced USB protocol (3.1 vs 2.0).
- More modern: Was introduced somewhat (1 year and 6 months) more recently.
If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the Z6 is the clear winner of the contest (18 : 7 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.
How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Canon M6 and the Nikon Z6 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera listing whether the two cameras rank among the cream of the crop.
In any case, while the comparison of technical specifications can provide a useful overview of the capabilities of different cameras, it says little about, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance of the M6 and the Z6 in practical situations. User reviews, such as those found at amazon, can sometimes inform about these issues, but such feedback is often incomplete, inconsistent, and biased.
This is where reviews by experts come in. 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 M6||..||..||..||80/100||4/5||4/5||Feb 2017||779||ebay.com|
|2.||Nikon Z6||5/5||..||5/5||89/100||4.5/5||5/5||Aug 2018||1,999||ebay.com|
|3.||Canon M6 Mark II||..||+||4.5/5||85/100||4/5||4/5||Aug 2019||849||ebay.com|
|4.||Canon 2000D||3/5||o||3.5/5||..||3.5/5||3.5/5||Feb 2018||449||amazon.com|
|5.||Canon M50||..||+||4/5||79/100||..||3.5/5||Feb 2018||779||ebay.com|
|6.||Canon 77D||4.5/5||..||4/5||82/100||4.5/5||4/5||Feb 2017||899||ebay.com|
|7.||Canon 200D||4/5||+ +||4/5||78/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2017||549||ebay.com|
|8.||Canon M100||3/5||+||..||..||4/5||3.5/5||Aug 2017||499||ebay.com|
|9.||Canon G7 X Mark II||4.5/5||+ +||..||81/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2016||699||ebay.com|
|10.||Canon M5||4/5||+||4/5||82/100||4/5||4/5||Sep 2016||979||ebay.com|
|11.||Canon M3||4/5||o||..||75/100||4.5/5||4/5||Feb 2015||679||ebay.com|
|12.||Nikon Z6 II||4.5/5||..||4/5||89/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Oct 2020||1,999||amazon.com|
|13.||Nikon Z7||5/5||+||4.8/5||89/100||4.5/5||5/5||Aug 2018||3,399||ebay.com|
|14.||Nikon D5600||4/5||..||4/5||79/100||4.5/5||4/5||Nov 2016||699||amazon.com|
|15.||Nikon D750||5/5||+ +||4/5||90/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2014||2,299||ebay.com|
|16.||Panasonic GH5||4.5/5||+ +||..||85/100||4.5/5||5/5||Jan 2017||1,999||ebay.com|
|17.||Sony A7 III||..||+ +||4.5/5||89/100||5/5||5/5||Feb 2018||1,999||amazon.com|
|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, kindly note that some of the listed sites have over time developped their review approaches and their reporting style.
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.
Specifications: Canon M6 vs Nikon Z6
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 M6||Nikon Z6|
|Camera Type||Mirrorless system camera||Mirrorless system camera|
|Camera Lens||Canon EF-M mount lenses||Nikon Z mount lenses|
|Launch Date||February 2017||August 2018|
|Launch Price||USD 779||USD 1,999|
|Sensor Specs||Canon M6||Nikon Z6|
|Sensor Format||APS-C Sensor||Full Frame Sensor|
|Sensor Size||22.3 x 14.9 mm||35.9 x 23.9 mm|
|Sensor Area||332.27 mm2||858.01 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||26.8 mm||43.1 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||24 Megapixels||24.3 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||6000 x 4000 pixels||6048 x 4024 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||3.72 μm||5.94 μm|
|Pixel Density||7.22 MP/cm2||2.84 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||1080/60p Video||4K/30p Video|
|ISO Setting||100 - 25,600 ISO||100 - 51,200 ISO|
|ISO Boost||no Enhancement||50 - 204,800 ISO|
|Image Processor||DIGIC 7||EXPEED 6|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||78||95|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||23.4||25.3|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||12.6||14.3|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||1317||3299|
|Screen Specs||Canon M6||Nikon Z6|
|Viewfinder Type||Viewfinder optional||Electronic viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||100%|
|Viewfinder Resolution||3690k dots|
|Top-Level Screen||no Top Display||Control Panel|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0inch||3.2inch|
|LCD Resolution||1040k dots||2100k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Tilting screen||Tilting screen|
|Shooting Specs||Canon M6||Nikon Z6|
|Focus System||On-Sensor Phase-detect||On-Sensor Phase-detect|
|Manual Focusing Aid||Focus Peaking||Focus Peaking|
|Max Shutter Speed (mechanical)||1/4000s||1/8000s|
|Continuous Shooting||9 shutter flaps/s||12 shutter flaps/s|
|Shutter Life Expectancy||100 000 actuations||200 000 actuations|
|Electronic Shutter||no E-Shutter||up to 1/8000s|
|Time-Lapse Photography||Intervalometer built-in||Intervalometer built-in|
|Image Stabilization||Lens stabilization only||In-body stabilization|
|Fill Flash||Built-in Flash||no On-Board Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDXC cards||XQD cards|
|Single or Dual Card Slots||Single card slot||Single card slot|
|Connectivity Specs||Canon M6||Nikon Z6|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 3.1|
|HDMI Port||mini HDMI||micro HDMI|
|Microphone Port||External MIC port||External MIC port|
|Headphone Socket||no Headphone port||Headphone port|
|Wifi Support||Wifi built-in||Wifi built-in|
|Near-Field Communication||NFC built-in||no NFC|
|Bluetooth Support||Bluetooth built-in||Bluetooth built-in|
|Body Specs||Canon M6||Nikon Z6|
|Environmental Sealing||not weather sealed||Weathersealed body|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||295 shots per charge||310 shots per charge|
|In-Camera Charging||no USB charging||USB charging|
112 x 68 x 45 mm
(4.4 x 2.7 x 1.8 in)
134 x 101 x 67 mm
(5.3 x 4.0 x 2.6 in)
|Camera Weight||390 g (13.8 oz)||675 g (23.8 oz)|
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