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Canon SX50 vs Nikon D40X

The Canon PowerShot SX50 HS and the Nikon D40X are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in September 2012 and March 2007. The SX50 is a fixed lens compact, while the D40X is a DSLR. The cameras are based on a 1/2.3-inch (SX50) and an APS-C (D40X) sensor. The Canon has a resolution of 12 megapixels, whereas the Nikon provides 10 MP.

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

Headline Specifications
Canon SX50
versus
Nikon D40X
Canon SX50   Nikon D40X
Fixed lens compact camera Digital single lens reflex
24-1200mm f/3.4-6.5 Nikon F mount lenses
12 MP, 1/2.3" Sensor 10 MP, APS-C Sensor
1080/24p Video no Video
ISO 80-6,400 ISO 100-1,600 (100 - 3,200)
Electronic viewfinder (202k dots) Optical viewfinder
3.0 LCD, 461k dots 2.5 LCD, 230k dots
Swivel screen (not touch-sensitive) Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)
2.2 shutter flaps per second 3 shutter flaps per second
315 shots per battery charge520 shots per battery charge
123 x 87 x 106 mm, 595 g 124 x 94 x 64 mm, 522 g

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Canon PowerShot SX50 HS and the Nikon D40X? 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 SX50 and the Nikon D40X are illustrated in the side-by-side display below. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three successive views from the front, the top, and the rear are shown. All width, height and depth dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

The D40X can be obtained in two different colors (black, silver), while the SX50 is only available in black.

Size Canon SX50 vs Nikon D40X
Compare SX50 versus D40X top
Comparison SX50 or D40X rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Nikon D40X is notably larger (9 percent) than the Canon SX50. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the SX50 nor the D40X are weather-sealed.

The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the SX50 has a lens built in, whereas the D40X is an interchangeable lens camera that requires a separate lens. Attaching the latter will add extra weight and bulk to the setup. You can compare the optics available for the D40X and their specifications in the Nikon Lens Catalog.

Concerning battery life, the SX50 gets 315 shots out of its NB-10L battery, while the D40X can take 520 images on a single charge of its EN-EL9 power pack.

The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the two cameras alongside a broader set of comparators. If you want to switch the focus of the display and review another camera pair, you can 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
Weather
Sealing
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
1.
 
Canon SX50 123 mm 87 mm 106 mm 595 g 315 n Sep 2012 429i
2.
 
Nikon D40X 124 mm 94 mm 64 mm 522 g 520 n Mar 2007 729i
3.
 
Canon SX60 128 mm 93 mm 114 mm 650 g 340 n Sep 2014 549i
4.
 
Canon G16 109 mm 76 mm 40 mm 356 g 360 n Aug 2013 549 i
5.
 
Canon S120 100 mm 59 mm 29 mm 217 g 230 n Aug 2013 449i
6.
 
Canon G1 X 117 mm 81 mm 65 mm 534 g 250 n Jan 2012 799i
7.
 
Canon G15 107 mm 76 mm 40 mm 352 g 350 n Sep 2012 499i
8.
 
Canon SX40 123 mm 92 mm 108 mm 600 g 380 n Sep 2011 429i
9.
 
Canon 1100D 130 mm 100 mm 78 mm 495 g 700 n Feb 2011 449i
10.
 
Canon G12 112 mm 76 mm 48 mm 401 g 370 n Sep 2010 499i
11.
 
Nikon D3000 126 mm 97 mm 64 mm 536 g 500 n Jul 2009 599i
12.
 
Nikon D5000 127 mm 104 mm 80 mm 590 g 510 n Apr 2009 749i
13.
 
Nikon D60 126 mm 94 mm 64 mm 522 g 500 n Jan 2008 629i
14.
 
Nikon D40 124 mm 94 mm 64 mm 522 g 470 n Nov 2006 499i
15.
 
Panasonic LX7 111 mm 68 mm 46 mm 298 g 330 n Jul 2012 499i
16.
 
Panasonic FZ150 124 mm 82 mm 92 mm 528 g 410 n Aug 2011 499i
17.
 
Panasonic L10 135 mm 96 mm 78 mm 556 g 450 n Aug 2007 599i
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 SX50 was launched at a lower price than the D40X, despite having a lens built in. 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 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 are more costly to manufacture and tend to lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.

Of the two cameras under consideration, the Canon SX50 features a 1/2.3-inch sensor and the Nikon D40X an APS-C sensor. The sensor area in the D40X is 1232 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 5.6 and 1.5. The sensor in the SX50 has a native 4:3 aspect ratio, while the one in the D40X offers a 3:2 aspect.

Canon SX50 and Nikon D40X sensor measures

Despite having a smaller sensor, the Canon SX50 offers a higher resolution of 12 megapixels, compared with 10 MP of the Nikon D40X. 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 1.53μm versus 6.11μm for the D40X). However, it should be noted that the SX50 is much more recent (by 5 years and 6 months) than the D40X, 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 SX50 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the SX50 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 20 x 15 inches or 50.8 x 38.1 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 16 x 12 inches or 40.6 x 30.5 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 13.3 x 10 inches or 33.9 x 25.4 cm. The corresponding values for the Nikon D40X are 19.4 x 13 inches or 49.2 x 32.9 cm for good quality, 15.5 x 10.4 inches or 39.3 x 26.3 cm for very good quality, and 12.9 x 8.6 inches or 32.8 x 21.9 cm for excellent quality prints.

The Canon PowerShot SX50 HS has a native sensitivity range from ISO 80 to ISO 6400. The corresponding ISO settings for the Nikon D40X are ISO 100 to ISO 1600, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 100-3200.

SX50 versus D40X 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"). Of the two cameras under consideration, the D40X offers substantially better image quality than the SX50 (overall score 16 points higher). The advantage is based on 2.1 bits higher color depth, 0.2 EV in additional dynamic range, and 1.5 stops in additional low light sensitivity. 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 SX50 1/2.3 12.0 4000 30001080/24p20.311.217947
2.
 
Nikon D40X APS-C 10.0 3872 2592none22.411.451663
3.
 
Canon SX60 1/2.3 14.2 4608 30721080/60p19.210.812739
4.
 
Canon G16 1/1.7 12.0 4000 30001080/60p21.011.723054
5.
 
Canon S120 1/1.7 12.0 4000 30001080/60p21.311.924656
6.
 
Canon G1 X 1.5-inch 14.2 4352 32641080/24p21.710.864460
7.
 
Canon G15 1/1.7 12.0 4000 30001080/24p19.911.516546
8.
 
Canon SX40 1/2.3 12.0 4000 30001080/24p19.610.940941
9.
 
Canon 1100D APS-C 12.2 4272 2848720/30p21.911.075562
10.
 
Canon G12 1/1.7 10.0 3648 2736720/24p20.411.216147
11.
 
Nikon D3000 APS-C 10.0 3872 2592none22.311.156362
12.
 
Nikon D5000 APS-C 12.2 4288 2848720/24p22.712.586872
13.
 
Nikon D60 APS-C 10.0 3872 2592none22.511.456265
14.
 
Nikon D40 APS-C 6.0 3008 2000none21.011.056156
15.
 
Panasonic LX7 1/1.7 10.0 3648 27361080/60p20.711.714750
16.
 
Panasonic FZ150 1/2.3 12.0 4000 30001080/60p19.410.913240
17.
 
Panasonic L10 Four Thirds 10.0 3648 2736none21.310.842955
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. The SX50 indeed provides movie recording capabilities, while the D40X does not. The highest resolution format that the SX50 can use is 1080/24p.

Feature comparison

Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the SX50 has an electronic viewfinder (202k dots), while the D40X has an optical one. Both systems have their advantages, with the electronic viewfinder making it possible to project supplementary shooting information into the framing view, whereas the optical viewfinder offers lag-free viewing and a very clear framing image. The adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Canon SX50 and Nikon D40X 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 SX50202 n3.0 / 461 swivel n 1/2000s 2.2 Y Y
2.
 
Nikon D40Xoptical n2.5 / 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
3.
 
Canon SX60922 n3.0 / 922 swivel n 1/2000s 6.4 Y Y
4.
 
Canon G16optical n3.0 / 922 fixed n 1/4000s 2.2 Y Y
5.
 
Canon S120none n3.0 / 922 fixed Y 1/2000s 12.1 Y Y
6.
 
Canon G1 Xoptical n3.0 / 922 swivel n 1/4000s 1.9 Y Y
7.
 
Canon G15optical n3.0 / 922 fixed n 1/4000s 2.1 Y Y
8.
 
Canon SX40202 n2.7 / 230 swivel n 1/3200s 10.3 Y Y
9.
 
Canon 1100Doptical n2.7 / 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
10.
 
Canon G12optical n2.8 / 461 swivel n 1/4000s 1.1 Y Y
11.
 
Nikon D3000optical n3.0 / 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
12.
 
Nikon D5000optical n2.7 / 230 full-flex n 1/4000s 4.0 Y n
13.
 
Nikon D60optical n2.5 / 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
14.
 
Nikon D40optical n2.5 / 230 fixed n 1/4000s 2.5 Y n
15.
 
Panasonic LX7optional n3.0 / 920 fixed n 1/4000s 11.0 Y Y
16.
 
Panasonic FZ150202 n3.0 / 460 swivel n 1/2000s 12.0 Y Y
17.
 
Panasonic L10optical n2.5 / 207 swivel n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
The SX50 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 D40X does not have a selfie-screen.

The SX50 writes its imaging data to SDXC cards, while the D40X uses SDHC 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 SX50 HS and Nikon D40X 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 SX50Ystereo / mono--mini2.0---
2.
 
Nikon D40XY- / ----2.0---
3.
 
Canon SX60Ystereo / monoY-mini2.0YY-
4.
 
Canon G16Ystereo / mono--mini2.0Y--
5.
 
Canon S120-stereo / mono--mini2.0Y--
6.
 
Canon G1 XYstereo / mono--mini2.0---
7.
 
Canon G15Ystereo / mono--mini2.0---
8.
 
Canon SX40Ystereo / mono--YES2.0---
9.
 
Canon 1100DYstereo / mono--mini2.0---
10.
 
Canon G12Ystereo / mono--mini2.0---
11.
 
Nikon D3000Y- / ----2.0---
12.
 
Nikon D5000Ymono / mono--mini2.0---
13.
 
Nikon D60Y- / ----2.0---
14.
 
Nikon D40Y- / ----2.0---
15.
 
Panasonic LX7Ystereo / mono--mini2.0---
16.
 
Panasonic FZ150Ystereo / ---mini2.0---
17.
 
Panasonic L10Y- / ----2.0---

Both the SX50 and the D40X have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The D40X was replaced by the Nikon D60 , while the SX50 was followed by the Canon SX60. 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 is the bottom line? Which of the two cameras – the Canon SX50 or the Nikon D40X – has the upper hand? Is one clearly better than the other? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.

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Arguments in favor of the Canon PowerShot SX50 HS:

  • More detail: Offers more megapixels (12 vs 10MP) with a 7% higher linear resolution.
  • Broader imaging potential: Can record not only still images but also 1080/24p movies.
  • More framing info: Has an electronic viewfinder that displays shooting data.
  • Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.0" vs 2.5") for image review and settings control.
  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (461k 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.
  • Ready to shoot: Comes with a built-in lens, while the D40X requires a separate lens.
  • Sharper images: Has hand-shake reducing image stabilization built-in.
  • More affordable: Was introduced at a lower price, despite coming with a built-in lens.
  • More modern: Reflects 5 years and 6 months of technical progress since the D40X launch.

ilogo

Advantages of the Nikon D40X:

  • Better image quality: Scores substantially higher (16 points) in the DXO overall evaluation.
  • Richer colors: Generates noticeably more natural colors (2.1 bits more color depth).
  • Better low-light sensitivity: Can shoot in dim conditions (1.5 stops ISO advantage).
  • Brighter framing: Features an optical viewfinder for clear, lag-free composition.
  • Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/4000s vs 1/2000s) to freeze action.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (3 vs 2.2 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • More flexible: Makes it possible to change lenses and thus to use specialty optics.
  • Longer lasting: Gets more shots (520 versus 315) out of a single battery charge.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been around for much longer (launched in March 2007).

If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the SX50 emerges as the winner of the contest (11 : 9 points). 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.

SX50 11:09 D40X

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Canon SX50 and the Nikon D40X place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Superzoom Camera and Best DSLR Camera listings whether the two cameras rank among the cream of the crop.

In any case, while the specs-based evaluation of cameras can be instructive in revealing their potential as photographic tools, it remains incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the SX50 or the D40X 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 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.

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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 SX503/5+ +..72/1004.5/54.5/5 Sep 2012 429i
2.
 
Nikon D40X..79/100..+ +4/54/5 Mar 2007 729i
3.
 
Canon SX603/5+ +..75/1004/54.5/5 Sep 2014 549i
4.
 
Canon G164/5+....4.5/54.5/5 Aug 2013 549 i
5.
 
Canon S120..+ +....4.5/54.5/5 Aug 2013 449i
6.
 
Canon G1 X5/5+..76/1004/54.5/5 Jan 2012 799i
7.
 
Canon G154/5+..76/1004.5/54.5/5 Sep 2012 499i
8.
 
Canon SX40..+....4.5/54/5 Sep 2011 429i
9.
 
Canon 1100D..80/100..69/1004/54.5/5 Feb 2011 449i
10.
 
Canon G124/5+..73/1004.5/54.5/5 Sep 2010 499i
11.
 
Nikon D3000..+..72/1004/54.5/5 Jul 2009 599i
12.
 
Nikon D5000..+ +..75/1004/54.5/5 Apr 2009 749i
13.
 
Nikon D60..80/100..+ +4/54.5/5 Jan 2008 629i
14.
 
Nikon D40..81/100..+ +o4.5/5 Nov 2006 499i
15.
 
Panasonic LX73/5+ +..75/1004/54.5/5 Jul 2012 499i
16.
 
Panasonic FZ1503/5+ +..76/1004/54.5/5 Aug 2011 499i
17.
 
Panasonic L10..85/100..+3.5/54/5 Aug 2007 599i
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 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.

Canon SX50:
Check Ebay offers
Nikon D40X:
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 SX50 vs Nikon D40X

    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 SX50 Nikon D40X
    Camera Type Fixed lens compact camera Digital single lens reflex
    Camera Lens 24-1200mm f/3.4-6.5 Nikon F mount lenses
    Launch Date September 2012 March 2007
    Launch Price USD 429 USD 729
    Sensor Specs Canon SX50 Nikon D40X
    Sensor Technology BSI-CMOS CCD
    Sensor Format 1/2.3" Sensor APS-C Sensor
    Sensor Size 6.17 x 4.55 mm 23.6 x 15.8 mm
    Sensor Area 28.0735 mm2 372.88 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 7.7 mm 28.4 mm
    Crop Factor 5.6x 1.5x
    Sensor Resolution 12 Megapixels 10 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 4000 x 3000 pixels 3872 x 2592 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 1.53 μm 6.11 μm
    Pixel Density 42.74 MP/cm2 2.69 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability 1080/24p Video no Video
    ISO Setting 80 - 6,400 ISO 100 - 1,600 ISO
    ISO Boost no Enhancement 100 - 3,200 ISO
    Image Processor DIGIC 5 EXPEED
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) 47 63
    DXO Color Depth (bits) 20.3 22.4
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) 11.2 11.4
    DXO Low Light (ISO) 179 516
    Screen Specs Canon SX50 Nikon D40X
    Viewfinder Type Electronic viewfinder Optical viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 100% 95%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.53x
    Viewfinder Resolution 202k dots
    LCD Framing Live View
    Rear LCD Size 3.0inch 2.5inch
    LCD Resolution 461k dots 230k dots
    LCD Attachment Swivel screen Fixed screen
    Shooting Specs Canon SX50 Nikon D40X
    Focus System Contrast-detect AF Phase-detect AF
    Continuous Shooting 2.2 shutter flaps/s 3 shutter flaps/s
    Fill Flash Built-in Flash Built-in Flash
    Storage Medium SDXC cards SDHC cards
    Second Storage Option Single card slot Single card slot
    UHS card support no no
    Connectivity Specs Canon SX50 Nikon D40X
    External Flash Hotshoe Hotshoe
    USB Connector USB 2.0 USB 2.0
    HDMI Port mini HDMI no HDMI
    Wifi Support no Wifi no Wifi
    Body Specs Canon SX50 Nikon D40X
    Battery Type NB-10L EN-EL9
    Battery Life (CIPA)315 shots per charge520 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 123 x 87 x 106 mm
    (4.8 x 3.4 x 4.2 in)
    124 x 94 x 64 mm
    (4.9 x 3.7 x 2.5 in)
    Camera Weight 595 g (21.0 oz) 522 g (18.4 oz)

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