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Canon Rebel vs Olympus E-1

The Canon EOS Digital Rebel (called Canon 300D in some regions) and the Olympus E-1 are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in August 2003 and June 2003. Both are DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras that are based on an APS-C (Rebel) and a Four Thirds (E-1) sensor. The Canon has a resolution of 6.3 megapixels, whereas the Olympus provides 4.9 MP.

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

Headline Specifications
Canon Rebel versus Olympus E-1
Canon Rebel Olympus E-1
Digital single lens reflex Digital single lens reflex
Canon EF mount lenses Four Thirds lenses
6.3 MP, APS-C Sensor 4.9 MP, Four Thirds Sensor
no Video no Video
ISO 100-1,600 ISO 100-800 (100 - 3,200)
Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
1.8 LCD, 118k dots 1.8 LCD, 134k dots
Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive) Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)
2.5 shutter flaps per second 3 shutter flaps per second
not weather sealedWeathersealed body
400 shots per battery charge750 shots per battery charge
142 x 99 x 72 mm, 649 g 141 x 104 x 81 mm, 738 g

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Canon EOS Digital Rebel and the Olympus E-1? 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 Rebel and the Olympus E-1. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three consecutive perspectives from the front, the top, and the back are available. All width, height and depth dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

Size Canon Rebel vs Olympus E-1
Compare Rebel versus E-1 top
Comparison Rebel or E-1 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Olympus E-1 is somewhat larger (4 percent) than the Canon Rebel. Moreover, the E-1 is markedly heavier (14 percent) than the Rebel. It is noteworthy in this context that the E-1 is splash and dust-proof, while the Rebel 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. A larger imaging sensor will tend to go along with bigger and heavier lenses, although exceptions exist. You can compare the optics available for the two cameras in the Canon EF Lens Catalog (Rebel) and the Four Thirds Lens Catalog (E-1).

Concerning battery life, the Rebel gets 400 shots out of its BP-511 battery, while the E-1 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. 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.

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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 Rebel 142 mm 99 mm 72 mm 649 g 400 n Aug 2003 899i
2.
 
Olympus E-1 141 mm 104 mm 81 mm 738 g 750 Y Jun 2003 1,699i
3.
 
Canon T7i 131 mm 100 mm 76 mm 532 g 600 n Feb 2017 749i
4.
 
Canon T6s 132 mm 101 mm 78 mm 565 g 440 n Feb 2015 649i
5.
 
Canon T4i 133 mm 100 mm 79 mm 575 g 440 n Jun 2012 849i
6.
 
Canon T3i 133 mm 100 mm 80 mm 570 g 440 n Feb 2011 599i
7.
 
Canon T1i 129 mm 98 mm 62 mm 520 g 400 n Mar 2009 799i
8.
 
Canon XTi 127 mm 84 mm 65 mm 556 g 370 n Aug 2006 799i
9.
 
Canon XT 127 mm 94 mm 64 mm 540 g 400 n Feb 2005 899i
10.
 
Canon 20D 144 mm 106 mm 72 mm 770 g 700 n Aug 2004 1,499i
11.
 
Canon 10D 150 mm 107 mm 75 mm 850 g 500 n Feb 2003 1,999i
12.
 
Leica Digilux 3 146 mm 87 mm 77 mm 606 g 750 n Sep 2006 1,499i
13.
 
Nikon D70 140 mm 111 mm 78 mm 679 g 400 n Jan 2004 999i
14.
 
Olympus E-5 142 mm 117 mm 75 mm 873 g 750 Y Sep 2010 1,699i
15.
 
Olympus E-3 142 mm 116 mm 75 mm 876 g 750 Y Oct 2007 1,699i
16.
 
Olympus E-330 140 mm 87 mm 72 mm 637 g 750 n Jan 2006 999i
17.
 
Olympus E-300 147 mm 85 mm 64 mm 624 g 750 n Sep 2004 799i
Notes: 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 listed launch prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The Rebel was launched at a markedly lower price (by 47 percent) than the E-1, 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 size of the sensor inside a digital camera is one of the key determinants of image quality. All other things equal, a large sensor will have larger individual pixel-units that offer better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and richer color-depth than smaller pixels 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 Rebel features an APS-C sensor and the Olympus E-1 a Four Thirds sensor. The sensor area in the E-1 is 34 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 Rebel has a native 3:2 aspect ratio, while the one in the E-1 offers a 4:3 aspect.

Canon Rebel and Olympus E-1 sensor measures

With 6.3MP, the Rebel offers a higher resolution than the E-1 (4.9MP), but the Rebel nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 7.38μm versus 6.78μm for the E-1) due to its larger sensor. It is noteworthy in this context that the two cameras were released in close succession, so that their sensors are from the same technological generation.

The resolution advantage of the Canon Rebel implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the Rebel for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 15.4 x 10.2 inches or 39 x 26 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 12.3 x 8.2 inches or 31.2 x 20.8 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 10.2 x 6.8 inches or 26 x 17.3 cm. The corresponding values for the Olympus E-1 are 12.8 x 9.6 inches or 32.5 x 24.4 cm for good quality, 10.2 x 7.7 inches or 26 x 19.5 cm for very good quality, and 8.5 x 6.4 inches or 21.7 x 16.3 cm for excellent quality prints.

The Canon EOS Digital Rebel has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 1600. The corresponding ISO settings for the Olympus E-1 are ISO 100 to ISO 800, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 100-3200.

Rebel versus E-1 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. 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 Rebel APS-C 6.3 3072 2048none21.010.854455
2.
 
Olympus E-1 Four Thirds 4.9 2560 1920none........
3.
 
Canon T7i APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p........
4.
 
Canon T6s APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/30p22.612.091570
5.
 
Canon T4i APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p21.711.272262
6.
 
Canon T3i APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p22.111.579365
7.
 
Canon T1i APS-C 15.1 4752 31681080/20p21.711.566363
8.
 
Canon XTi APS-C 10.1 3888 2592none22.111.066462
9.
 
Canon XT APS-C 8.0 3456 2304none21.810.863760
10.
 
Canon 20D APS-C 8.2 3504 2336none21.911.072162
11.
 
Canon 10D APS-C 6.3 3072 2048none21.110.957157
12.
 
Leica Digilux 3 Four Thirds 7.4 3136 2352none........
13.
 
Nikon D70 APS-C 6.0 3008 2000none20.410.352950
14.
 
Olympus E-5 Four Thirds 12.2 4032 3024720/30p21.610.551956
15.
 
Olympus E-3 Four Thirds 10.0 3648 2736none21.610.557156
16.
 
Olympus E-330 Four Thirds 7.4 3136 2352none........
17.
 
Olympus E-300 Four Thirds 8.0 3264 2448none........
Neither the Rebel nor the E-1 offer Live View, so that they cannot project the live image that the sensor receives onto the rear screen. Moreover, both cameras are still-image focused and cannot record videos.
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Feature comparison

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The Rebel and the E-1 are similar in the sense that both have an optical viewfinder. The latter is useful for getting a clear image for framing even in brightly lit environments. The viewfinder in the E-1 offers a wider field of view (100%) than the one in the Rebel (95%), so that a larger proportion of the captured image is visible in the finder. On the other hand, the viewfinder of the Rebel has a higher magnification (0.55x vs 0.48x), so that the size of the image transmitted appears closer to the size seen with the naked human eye. The following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Canon Rebel, the Olympus E-1, 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
1.
 
Canon Rebeloptical n 1.8 118 fixed n 1/4000s 2.5 Y n
2.
 
Olympus E-1optical Y 1.8 134 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 n n
3.
 
Canon T7ioptical n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 1/4000s 6.0 Y n
4.
 
Canon T6soptical Y 3.0 1040 swivel Y 1/4000s 5.0 Y n
5.
 
Canon T4ioptical n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 1/4000s 5.0 Y n
6.
 
Canon T3ioptical n 3.0 1040 swivel n 1/4000s 3.7 Y n
7.
 
Canon T1ioptical n 3.0 920 fixed n 1/4000s 3.4 Y n
8.
 
Canon XTioptical n 2.5 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
9.
 
Canon XToptical n 1.8 115 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
10.
 
Canon 20Doptical Y 1.8 118 fixed n 1/8000s 5.0 Y n
11.
 
Canon 10Doptical Y 1.8 118 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
12.
 
Leica Digilux 3optical n 2.5 207 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
13.
 
Nikon D70optical n 1.8 130 fixed n 1/8000s 3.0 Y n
14.
 
Olympus E-5optical Y 3.0 920 swivel n 1/8000s 5.0 Y Y
15.
 
Olympus E-3optical Y 2.5 230 swivel n 1/8000s 5.0 Y Y
16.
 
Olympus E-330optical n 2.5 215 tilting n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
17.
 
Olympus E-300optical n 1.8 134 fixed n 1/4000s 2.5 Y n

One difference between the cameras concerns the presence of an on-board flash. The Rebel has one, while the E-1 does not. While the built-in flash of the Rebel is not very powerful, it can at times be useful as a fill-in light.

The Rebel writes its imaging data to Compact Flash cards, while the E-1 uses Compact Flash or xD Picture cards. The E-1 features dual card slots, which can be very useful in case a memory card fails. In contrast, the Rebel only has one slot.

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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 Digital Rebel and Olympus E-1 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 RebelY-----1.1---
2.
 
Olympus E-1Y-----2.0---
3.
 
Canon T7iYstereomonoY-mini2.0YYY
4.
 
Canon T6sYstereomonoY-mini2.0YY-
5.
 
Canon T4iYstereomonoY-mini2.0---
6.
 
Canon T3iYmonomonoY-mini2.0---
7.
 
Canon T1iYmonomono--mini2.0---
8.
 
Canon XTiY-----2.0---
9.
 
Canon XTY-----2.0---
10.
 
Canon 20DY-----1.1---
11.
 
Canon 10DY-----1.1---
12.
 
Leica Digilux 3Ystereomono---2.0---
13.
 
Nikon D70Y-----1.0---
14.
 
Olympus E-5Ystereo---mini2.0---
15.
 
Olympus E-3Y-----2.0---
16.
 
Olympus E-330Y-----2.0---
17.
 
Olympus E-300Y-----2.0---

Studio photographers will appreciate that the Olympus E-1 (unlike the Rebel) features a PC Sync socket, so that professional strobe lights can be controlled by the camera.

Both the Rebel and the E-1 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The E-1 was replaced by the Olympus E-3, while the Rebel was followed by the Canon XT. 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.

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Review summary

So what is the bottom line? Is there a clear favorite between the Canon Rebel and the Olympus E-1? Which camera is better? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.

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Arguments in favor of the Canon EOS Digital Rebel:

  • More detail: Offers more megapixels (6.3 vs 4.9MP) with a 15% higher linear resolution.
  • Better image quality: Features bigger pixels on a larger sensor for higher quality imaging.
  • Richer colors: The pixel size advantage translates into images with better, more accurate colors.
  • More dynamic range: Larger pixels capture a wider spectrum of light and dark details.
  • Better low-light sensitivity: Larger pixels means good image quality even under poor lighting.
  • Larger viewfinder image: Features a viewfinder with a higher magnification (0.55x vs 0.48x).
  • Less heavy: Is lighter (by 89g or 12 percent) and hence easier to carry around.
  • Easier fill-in: Is equipped with a small onboard flash to brighten deep shadow areas.
  • More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (47 percent cheaper at launch).

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Reasons to prefer the Olympus E-1:

  • More complete view: Has a viewfinder with a larger field of view (100% vs 95%).
  • Easier setting verification: Features a control panel on top to check shooting parameters.
  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (134k vs 118k dots).
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (3 vs 2.5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • Longer lasting: Gets more shots (750 versus 400) out of a single battery charge.
  • Better sealing: Is splash and dust sealed for shooting in inclement weather conditions.
  • Faster data transfer: Supports a more advanced USB protocol (2.0 vs 1.1).
  • Better studio light control: Has a PC Sync socket to connect to professional strobe lights.
  • Greater peace of mind: Features a second card slot as a backup in case of memory card failure.

If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the match-up finishes in a tie (9 points each). 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.

Rebel 09:09 E-1

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Canon Rebel and the Olympus E-1 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best DSLR 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 remains incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the Rebel or the E-1 perform in practice. User reviews, such as those found at amazon, can sometimes inform about these issues, but such feedback is often incomplete, inconsistent, and biased.

Expert reviews

This is where reviews by experts come in. 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 Rebel....+ +.... Aug 2003 899i
2.
 
Olympus E-1....+o.. Jun 2003 1,699i
3.
 
Canon T7i4.5/5..80/1004.5/54/5 Feb 2017 749i
4.
 
Canon T6s5/5+77/1004.5/54.5/5 Feb 2015 649i
5.
 
Canon T4i4/5+ +77/1004.5/54.5/5 Jun 2012 849i
6.
 
Canon T3i3/5o77/1004.5/54.5/5 Feb 2011 599i
7.
 
Canon T1i..+ +74/1004.5/54.5/5 Mar 2009 799i
8.
 
Canon XTi..+ ++ +o4/5 Aug 2006 799i
9.
 
Canon XT..80/100+ +o.. Feb 2005 899i
10.
 
Canon 20D....+ +.... Aug 2004 1,499i
11.
 
Canon 10D....+ +.... Feb 2003 1,999i
12.
 
Leica Digilux 3.......... Sep 2006 1,499i
13.
 
Nikon D70....+ +.... Jan 2004 999i
14.
 
Olympus E-54/5..75/1004/54.5/5 Sep 2010 1,699i
15.
 
Olympus E-3..88/100+ +o4/5 Oct 2007 1,699i
16.
 
Olympus E-330....+o.. Jan 2006 999i
17.
 
Olympus E-300....+o4.5/5 Sep 2004 799i
Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.

The review scores listed above should be treated with care, though. The ratings are only valid when referring to cameras in the same category and of the same age. A score, therefore, has to be seen in close connection to the price and market introduction time of the camera, and rating-comparisons among cameras that span long time periods or concern very differently equipped models make little sense. Also, kindly note that some of the listed sites have over time developped their review approaches and their reporting style.

Canon Rebel:
Check Ebay offers
Olympus E-1:
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 a corresponding selection in the search boxes below. 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 Rebel vs Olympus E-1

    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 Rebel Olympus E-1
    Camera Type Digital single lens reflex Digital single lens reflex
    Camera Lens Canon EF mount lenses Four Thirds lenses
    Launch Date August 2003 June 2003
    Launch Price USD 899 USD 1,699
    Sensor Specs Canon Rebel Olympus E-1
    Sensor Technology CMOS CCD
    Sensor Format APS-C Sensor Four Thirds Sensor
    Sensor Size 22.7 x 15.1 mm 17.3 x 13.0 mm
    Sensor Area 342.77 mm2 224.9 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 27.3 mm 21.6 mm
    Crop Factor 1.6x 2.0x
    Sensor Resolution 6.3 Megapixels 4.9 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 3072 x 2048 pixels 2560 x 1920 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 7.38 μm 6.78 μm
    Pixel Density 1.84 MP/cm2 2.19 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability no Video no Video
    ISO Setting 100 - 1,600 ISO 100 - 800 ISO
    ISO Boost no Enhancement 100 - 3,200 ISO
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) 55 ..
    DXO Color Depth (bits) 21.0 ..
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) 10.8 ..
    DXO Low Light (ISO) 544 ..
    Screen Specs Canon Rebel Olympus E-1
    Viewfinder Type Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 95% 100%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.55x 0.48x
    Top-Level Screen no Top Display Control Panel
    Rear LCD Size 1.8inch 1.8inch
    LCD Resolution 118k dots 134k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen Fixed screen
    Shooting Specs Canon Rebel Olympus E-1
    Focus System Phase-detect AF Phase-detect AF
    Continuous Shooting 2.5 shutter flaps/s 3 shutter flaps/s
    Fill Flash Build-in Flash no On-Board Flash
    Storage Medium CF cards CF or XD cards
    Second Storage Option Single card slot Dual card slots
    Connectivity Specs Canon Rebel Olympus E-1
    External Flash Hotshoe Hotshoe
    Studio Flash no PC Sync PC Sync socket
    USB Connector USB 1.1 USB 2.0
    HDMI Port no HDMI no HDMI
    Wifi Support no Wifi no Wifi
    Body Specs Canon Rebel Olympus E-1
    Environmental Sealingnot weather sealedWeathersealed body
    Battery Type BP-511 BLM-1
    Battery Life (CIPA)400 shots per charge750 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 142 x 99 x 72 mm
    (5.6 x 3.9 x 2.8 in)
    141 x 104 x 81 mm
    (5.6 x 4.1 x 3.2 in)
    Camera Weight 649 g (22.9 oz) 738 g (26.0 oz)

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