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Canon SX400 vs Nikon P950

The Canon PowerShot SX400 IS and the Nikon Coolpix P950 are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in July 2014 and January 2020. Both the SX400 and the P950 are fixed lens compact cameras that are equipped with a 1/2.3-inch sensor. Both cameras offer a resolution of 15.9 megapixels.

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

Headline Specifications
Canon SX400
versus
Nikon P950
Canon SX400   Nikon P950
Fixed lens compact camera Fixed lens compact camera
24-720mm f/3.4-5.8 24-2000mm f/2.8-6.5
15.9 MP, 1/2.3" Sensor 15.9 MP, 1/2.3" Sensor
720/30p Video 4K/30p Video
ISO 100-1,600 ISO 100-6,400 (100 - 12,800)
No viewfinder, LCD framing Electronic viewfinder (2359k dots)
3.0 LCD, 230k dots 3.2 LCD, 921k dots
Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive) Swivel screen (not touch-sensitive)
0.8 shutter flaps per second 7 shutter flaps per second
190 shots per battery charge290 shots per battery charge
104 x 69 x 80 mm, 313 g 140 x 110 x 150 mm, 1005 g

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Canon PowerShot SX400 IS and the Nikon Coolpix P950? 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 physical size and weight of the Canon SX400 and the Nikon P950 are illustrated 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 width, height and depth dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

Size Canon SX400 vs Nikon P950
Compare SX400 versus P950 top
Comparison SX400 or P950 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Nikon P950 is considerably larger (115 percent) than the Canon SX400. Moreover, the P950 is substantially heavier (221 percent) than the SX400. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the SX400 nor the P950 are weather-sealed.

Concerning battery life, the SX400 gets 190 shots out of its NB-11LH battery, while the P950 can take 290 images on a single charge of its EN-EL20a power pack. The power pack in the P950 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. 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 SX400 104 mm 69 mm 80 mm 313 g 190 n Jul 2014 249i
2.
 
Nikon P950 140 mm 110 mm 150 mm 1005 g 290 n Jan 2020 799 i
3.
 
Canon SX420 104 mm 69 mm 85 mm 325 g 195 n Jan 2016 299i
4.
 
Canon SX410 104 mm 69 mm 85 mm 325 g 185 n Feb 2015 279i
5.
 
Canon SX530 120 mm 82 mm 92 mm 442 g 210 n Jan 2015 429i
6.
 
Canon SX610 105 mm 61 mm 27 mm 191 g 270 n Jan 2015 249i
7.
 
Canon SX710 113 mm 66 mm 35 mm 269 g 230 n Jan 2015 349i
8.
 
Canon SX700 113 mm 66 mm 35 mm 269 g 250 n Feb 2014 349i
9.
 
Canon SX600 104 mm 61 mm 26 mm 188 g 290 n Jan 2014 249i
10.
 
Canon SX60 128 mm 93 mm 114 mm 650 g 340 n Sep 2014 549i
11.
 
Canon SX510 104 mm 70 mm 80 mm 349 g 250 n Aug 2013 249i
12.
 
Leica V-LUX 2 124 mm 80 mm 95 mm 520 g 410 n Sep 2010 849i
13.
 
Nikon B600 122 mm 82 mm 99 mm 500 g 280 n Jan 2019 349 i
14.
 
Nikon A1000 114 mm 72 mm 41 mm 330 g 250 n Jan 2019 429 i
15.
 
Nikon P1000 146 mm 119 mm 181 mm 1415 g 250 n Jul 2018 999 i
16.
 
Nikon P900 140 mm 103 mm 137 mm 899 g 360 n Mar 2015 599i
17.
 
Nikon L840 113 mm 78 mm 96 mm 538 g 590 n Feb 2015 299i
Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.

Any camera decision will naturally be influenced heavily by the price. The manufacturer’s suggested retail prices give an idea on the placement of the camera in the maker’s lineup and the broader market. The SX400 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 69 percent) than the P950, 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.

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. 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. Further, a large sensor camera will give the photographer additional creative options when using shallow depth-of-field to isolate a subject from its 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 a 1/2.3-inch sensor and have a format factor (sometimes also referred to as "crop factor") of 5.6. Within the spectrum of camera sensors, this places the review cameras among the smaller-sensor digicams that favor affordability and compact design. Both cameras feature a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 4:3.

Canon SX400 and Nikon P950 sensor measures

The two cameras under review do not only share the same sensor size, but also offer an identical resolution of 15.9 megapixels. This similarity in sensor specs implies that both the SX400 and the P950 have the same pixel density, as well as the same pixel size. It should, however, be noted that the P950 is much more recent (by 5 years and 5 months) than the SX400, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time. Coming back to sensor resolution, it should be mentioned that neither of the two cameras has an anti-alias filter installed, so they are able to capture all the detail the sensor resolves.

The Canon PowerShot SX400 IS has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 1600. The corresponding ISO settings for the Nikon Coolpix P950 are ISO 100 to ISO 6400, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 100-12800.

SX400 versus P950 MP

Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for many cameras. 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 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 SX400 1/2.3 15.9 4608 3456720/30p20.111.567246
2.
 
Nikon P950 1/2.3 15.9 4608 34564K/30p20.712.3118952
3.
 
Canon SX420 1/2.3 19.9 5152 3864720/25p20.311.780648
4.
 
Canon SX410 1/2.3 19.9 5152 3864720/30p20.211.672047
5.
 
Canon SX530 1/2.3 15.9 4608 34561080/30p20.211.671247
6.
 
Canon SX610 1/2.3 20.2 5184 38881080/30p20.211.671247
7.
 
Canon SX710 1/2.3 20.2 5184 38881080/60p20.211.671247
8.
 
Canon SX700 1/2.3 15.9 4608 34561080/60p20.111.462945
9.
 
Canon SX600 1/2.3 15.9 4608 34561080/30p20.011.462045
10.
 
Canon SX60 1/2.3 14.2 4608 30721080/60p19.210.812739
11.
 
Canon SX510 1/2.3 15.9 4608 34561080/24p20.011.358645
12.
 
Leica V-LUX 2 1/2.3 14.0 4320 32401080/60i19.410.732139
13.
 
Nikon B600 1/2.3 15.9 4608 34561080/30p20.712.2109552
14.
 
Nikon A1000 1/2.3 15.9 4608 34564K/30p20.712.2109552
15.
 
Nikon P1000 1/2.3 15.9 4608 34564K/30p20.612.1104451
16.
 
Nikon P900 1/2.3 15.9 4608 34561080/60p20.211.672747
17.
 
Nikon L840 1/2.3 15.9 4608 34561080/60i20.211.672147
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 are equipped with sensors that have a sufficiently high read-out speed for moving images, but the P950 provides a better video resolution than the SX400. It can shoot movie footage at 4K/30p, while the Canon 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 P950 has an electronic viewfinder (2359k dots), which can be very helpful when shooting in bright sunlight. In contrast, the SX400 relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. The adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Canon SX400 and Nikon P950 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
Specifications
(inch/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 SX400none n3.0 / 230 fixed n 1/1600s 0.8 Y Y
2.
 
Nikon P9502359 n3.2 / 921 swivel n 1/4000s 7.0 Y Y
3.
 
Canon SX420none n3.0 / 230 fixed n 1/4000s 0.5 Y Y
4.
 
Canon SX410none n3.0 / 230 fixed n 1/4000s 0.5 Y Y
5.
 
Canon SX530none n3.0 / 461 fixed n 1/2000s 1.6 Y Y
6.
 
Canon SX610none n3.0 / 922 fixed n 1/2000s 2.5 Y Y
7.
 
Canon SX710none n3.0 / 922 fixed n 1/3200s 6.0 Y Y
8.
 
Canon SX700none n3.0 / 922 fixed n 1/3200s 8.5 Y Y
9.
 
Canon SX600none n3.0 / 461 fixed n 1/2000s 3.9 Y Y
10.
 
Canon SX60922 n3.0 / 922 swivel n 1/2000s 6.4 Y Y
11.
 
Canon SX510none n3.0 / 461 fixed n 1/1600s 3.8 Y Y
12.
 
Leica V-LUX 2202 n3.0 / 460 swivel n 1/2000s 11.0 Y Y
13.
 
Nikon B600none n3.0 / 921 fixed n 1/4000s 7.4 Y Y
14.
 
Nikon A10001166 n3.0 / 1036 tilting Y 1/4000s 7.0 Y Y
15.
 
Nikon P10002359 n3.2 / 921 swivel n 1/4000s 7.0 Y Y
16.
 
Nikon P900921 n3.0 / 921 swivel n 1/4000s 7.0 Y Y
17.
 
Nikon L840none n3.0 / 921 tilting n 1/4000s 7.4 Y Y
The P950 has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing. This characteristic will be appreciated by vloggers and photographers who are interested in taking selfies. In contrast, the SX400 does not have a selfie-screen.

The Nikon P950 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.

Both the SX400 and the P950 have zoom lenses built in. The SX400 has a 24-720mm f/3.4-5.8 optic and the P950 offers a 24-2000mm f/2.8-6.5 (focal lengths in full frame equivalent terms). Hence, the Canon and Nikon provide the same view at the wide-angle end, but the Nikon has more tele-photo reach at the long end. The P950 offers the faster maximum aperture.

Concerning the storage of imaging data, both the SX400 and the P950 write their files to SDXC 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 SX400 IS and Nikon Coolpix P950 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 SX400-stereo / mono---2.0---
2.
 
Nikon P950Ystereo / monoY-micro2.0Y-Y
3.
 
Canon SX420-mono / mono---2.0YY-
4.
 
Canon SX410-stereo / mono---2.0---
5.
 
Canon SX530-stereo / mono--mini2.0YY-
6.
 
Canon SX610-- / ---micro2.0YY-
7.
 
Canon SX710-stereo / mono--micro2.0YY-
8.
 
Canon SX700-stereo / mono--micro2.0YY-
9.
 
Canon SX600-mono / mono--micro2.0YY-
10.
 
Canon SX60Ystereo / monoY-mini2.0YY-
11.
 
Canon SX510-stereo / mono--mini2.0Y--
12.
 
Leica V-LUX 2Ystereo / mono--mini2.0---
13.
 
Nikon B600-stereo / mono--micro2.0Y-Y
14.
 
Nikon A1000-stereo / mono--micro2.0Y-Y
15.
 
Nikon P1000Ystereo / monoY-micro2.0Y-Y
16.
 
Nikon P900-stereo / mono--micro2.0YY-
17.
 
Nikon L840-stereo / mono--micro2.0YY-

It is notable that the P950 offers wifi support, which can be a very convenient means to transfer image data to an off-camera location. In contrast, the SX400 does not provide wifi capability.

The P950 is a recent model that features in the current product line-up of Nikon. In contrast, the SX400 has been discontinued (but can be found pre-owned on eBay). As a replacement in the same line of cameras, the SX400 was succeeded by the Canon SX410. 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.

Review summary

So what conclusions can be drawn? Is the Canon SX400 better than the Nikon P950 or vice versa? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.

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Advantages of the Canon PowerShot SX400 IS:

  • More compact: Is smaller (104x69mm vs 140x110mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
  • Less heavy: Is lighter (by 692g or 69 percent) and hence easier to carry around.
  • More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (69 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in July 2014).

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Arguments in favor of the Nikon Coolpix P950:

  • Better video: Provides higher definition movie capture (4K/30p vs 720/30p).
  • Better sound: Can connect to an external microphone for higher quality sound recording.
  • Easier framing: Has an electronic viewfinder for image composition and settings control.
  • 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 (921k vs 230k dots).
  • More flexible LCD: Has a swivel screen for odd-angle shots in portrait or landscape orientation.
  • More selfie-friendly: Has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing.
  • Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/4000s vs 1/1600s) to freeze action.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (7 vs 0.8 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • Easier time-lapse photography: Has an intervalometer built-in for low frequency shooting.
  • Better light gathering: Has a lens with a wider maximum aperture (f/2.8 vs f/3.4).
  • More tele-reach: Has a longer tele-lens for perspective compression and subject magnification.
  • Longer lasting: Gets more shots (290 versus 190) out of a single battery charge.
  • Easier travel charging: Can be conveniently charged via its USB port.
  • Better lighting: Features a hotshoe and can thus hold and trigger an external flash gun.
  • Easier file upload: Has wifi built in for automatic backup or image transfer to the web.
  • Easier wireless transfer: Supports Bluetooth for image sharing without cables.
  • More modern: Reflects 5 years and 5 months of technical progress since the SX400 launch.

If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the P950 is the clear winner of the contest (18 : 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 wedding photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a travel photog, and a person interested in cityscapes has distinct needs from a macro shooter. Hence, the decision which camera is best and worth buying is often a very personal one.

SX400 04:18 P950

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Canon SX400 and the Nikon P950 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Superzoom 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 SX400 and the P950 in practical situations. 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 expert reviews 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], 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 SX400..+........ Jul 2014 249i
2.
 
Nikon P950....3/5..4/54/5 Jan 2020 799 i
3.
 
Canon SX420..........3/5 Jan 2016 299i
4.
 
Canon SX410..o........ Feb 2015 279i
5.
 
Canon SX530..+ +....4/54/5 Jan 2015 429i
6.
 
Canon SX610........4/54/5 Jan 2015 249i
7.
 
Canon SX710..+....4/53.5/5 Jan 2015 349i
8.
 
Canon SX700..+ +....4/54/5 Feb 2014 349i
9.
 
Canon SX600..+....4/54/5 Jan 2014 249i
10.
 
Canon SX603/5+ +..75/1004/54.5/5 Sep 2014 549i
11.
 
Canon SX510..+ +....4.5/54/5 Aug 2013 249i
12.
 
Leica V-LUX 2............ Sep 2010 849i
13.
 
Nikon B600..+....3.5/53/5 Jan 2019 349 i
14.
 
Nikon A1000..+ +3.5/5..3.5/53/5 Jan 2019 429 i
15.
 
Nikon P1000..+3.5/573/1003.5/53.5/5 Jul 2018 999 i
16.
 
Nikon P900......77/1004/54/5 Mar 2015 599i
17.
 
Nikon L840..+ +....3.5/54/5 Feb 2015 299i
Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.

The review scores listed above should be treated 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 rating-comparisons among cameras that span long time periods or concern very differently equipped models make little sense. Also, please note that some of the review sites have changed their methodology and reporting over time.

Canon SX400:
Check Ebay offers
Nikon P950:
Check Amazon price

Other camera comparisons

Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? If you would like to see a different side-by-side camera review, just use the search menu 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 SX400 vs Nikon P950

    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 SX400 Nikon P950
    Camera Type Fixed lens compact camera Fixed lens compact camera
    Camera Lens 24-720mm f/3.4-5.8 24-2000mm f/2.8-6.5
    Launch Date July 2014 January 2020
    Launch Price USD 249 USD 799
    Sensor Specs Canon SX400 Nikon P950
    Sensor Technology CCD CMOS
    Sensor Format 1/2.3" Sensor 1/2.3" Sensor
    Sensor Size 6.17 x 4.55 mm 6.17 x 4.55 mm
    Sensor Area 28.0735 mm2 28.0735 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 7.7 mm 7.7 mm
    Crop Factor 5.6x 5.6x
    Sensor Resolution 15.9 Megapixels 15.9 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 4608 x 3456 pixels 4608 x 3456 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 1.33 μm 1.33 μm
    Pixel Density 56.73 MP/cm2 56.73 MP/cm2
    Moiré control no AA filter no AA filter
    Movie Capability 720/30p Video 4K/30p Video
    ISO Setting 100 - 1,600 ISO 100 - 6,400 ISO
    ISO Boost no Enhancement 100 - 12,800 ISO
    Screen Specs Canon SX400 Nikon P950
    Viewfinder Type no viewfinder Electronic viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 90%
    Viewfinder Resolution 2359k dots
    LCD Framing Live View Live View
    Rear LCD Size 3.0inch 3.2inch
    LCD Resolution 230k dots 921k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen Swivel screen
    Shooting Specs Canon SX400 Nikon P950
    Focus System Contrast-detect AF Contrast-detect AF
    Manual Focusing Aidno Peaking FeatureFocus Peaking
    Max Shutter Speed (mechanical) 1/1600s 1/4000s
    Continuous Shooting 0.8 shutter flaps/s 7 shutter flaps/s
    Time-Lapse Photographyno IntervalometerIntervalometer built-in
    Fill Flash Built-in Flash Built-in Flash
    Storage Medium SDXC cards SDXC cards
    Second Storage Option Single card slot Single card slot
    UHS card support no no
    Connectivity Specs Canon SX400 Nikon P950
    External Flash no Hotshoe Hotshoe
    USB Connector USB 2.0 USB 2.0
    HDMI Port no HDMI micro HDMI
    Microphone Port no MIC socket External MIC port
    Wifi Support no Wifi Wifi built-in
    Bluetooth Support no Bluetooth Bluetooth built-in
    Body Specs Canon SX400 Nikon P950
    Battery Type NB-11LH EN-EL20a
    Battery Life (CIPA)190 shots per charge290 shots per charge
    In-Camera Charging no USB charging USB charging
    Body Dimensions 104 x 69 x 80 mm
    (4.1 x 2.7 x 3.1 in)
    140 x 110 x 150 mm
    (5.5 x 4.3 x 5.9 in)
    Camera Weight 313 g (11.0 oz) 1005 g (35.5 oz)

    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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