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Canon SX520 vs SX740

The Canon PowerShot SX520 HS and the Canon PowerShot SX740 HS are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in July 2014 and July 2018. Both the SX520 and the SX740 are fixed lens compact cameras that are equipped with a 1/2.3-inch sensor. The SX520 has a resolution of 15.9 megapixels, whereas the SX740 provides 20.2 MP.

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

Headline Specifications
Canon SX520 versus Canon SX740
Canon SX520 Canon SX740
Fixed lens compact camera Fixed lens compact camera
24-1008mm f/3.4-6 24-960mm f/3.3-6.9
15.9 MP, 1/2.3" Sensor 20.2 MP, 1/2.3" Sensor
1080/30p Video 4K/30p Video
ISO 100-3,200 ISO 100-3,200
No viewfinder, LCD framing No viewfinder, LCD framing
3.0 LCD, 461k dots 3.0 LCD, 922k dots
Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive) Tilting screen (not touch-sensitive)
1.6 shutter flaps per second 10 shutter flaps per second
210 shots per battery charge265 shots per battery charge
120 x 82 x 92 mm, 441 g 110 x 64 x 40 mm, 299 g

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Canon PowerShot SX520 HS and the Canon PowerShot SX740 HS? 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 SX520 and the Canon SX740. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three consecutive views from the front, the top, and the rear side are shown. All width, height and depth measures are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

The SX740 can be obtained in two different colors (black, silver), while the SX520 is only available in black.

Size Canon SX520 vs Canon SX740
Compare SX520 versus SX740 top
Comparison SX520 or SX740 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Canon SX740 is notably smaller (28 percent) than the Canon SX520. Moreover, the SX740 is markedly lighter (32 percent) than the SX520. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the SX520 nor the SX740 are weather-sealed.

Concerning battery life, the SX520 gets 210 shots out of its NB-6LH battery, while the SX740 can take 265 images on a single charge of its NB-13L power pack. The power pack in the SX740 can be charged via the USB port, which can be very convenient when travelling.

The adjacent table lists the principal physical characteristics of the two cameras alongside a wider set of alternatives. 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 SX520 120 mm 82 mm 92 mm 441 g 210 n Jul 2014 399i
2.
 
Canon SX740 110 mm 64 mm 40 mm 299 g 265 n Jul 2018 399 i
3.
 
Canon SX430 104 mm 69 mm 85 mm 323 g 195 n Jan 2017 299 i
4.
 
Canon SX730 110 mm 64 mm 40 mm 300 g 250 n Apr 2017 399i
5.
 
Canon SX540 120 mm 82 mm 92 mm 442 g 205 n Jan 2016 399 i
6.
 
Canon SX720 110 mm 64 mm 36 mm 270 g 250 n Feb 2016 379i
7.
 
Canon SX530 120 mm 82 mm 92 mm 442 g 210 n Jan 2015 429i
8.
 
Canon SX710 113 mm 66 mm 35 mm 269 g 230 n Jan 2015 349i
9.
 
Canon SX700 113 mm 66 mm 35 mm 269 g 250 n Feb 2014 349i
10.
 
Canon SX60 128 mm 93 mm 114 mm 650 g 340 n Sep 2014 549i
11.
 
Canon T5 130 mm 100 mm 78 mm 480 g 500 n Feb 2014 449i
12.
 
Canon SX510 104 mm 70 mm 80 mm 349 g 250 n Aug 2013 249i
13.
 
Nikon B600 122 mm 82 mm 99 mm 500 g 280 n Jan 2019 349 i
14.
 
Panasonic ZS80 112 mm 69 mm 42 mm 327 g 380 n Feb 2019 449 i
15.
 
Sony HX90V 102 mm 58 mm 36 mm 245 g 360 n Apr 2015 429 i
16.
 
Sony H200 123 mm 83 mm 87 mm 530 g 240 n Jan 2013 249 i
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 two cameras under review were launched at the same price and fall into the same 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.

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Sensor comparison

The size of the sensor inside a digital camera is one of the key determinants 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 associated with larger, more expensive camera bodies 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.

Technology-wise, the SX740 uses a more advanced image processing engine (DIGIC 8) than the SX520 (DIGIC 4+), with benefits for noise reduction, color accuracy, and processing speed.

Canon SX520 and Canon SX740 sensor measures

While the two cameras under review share the same sensor size, the SX740 offers a higher resolution of 20.2 megapixels, compared with 15.9 MP of the SX520. This megapixels advantage translates into a 13 percent gain in linear resolution. On the other hand, these sensor specs imply that the SX740 has a higher pixel density and a smaller size of the individual pixel (with a pixel pitch of 1.18μm versus 1.33μm for the SX520). However, it should be noted that the SX740 is much more recent (by 4 years) than the SX520, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that compensate for the smaller pixel size. 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 resolution advantage of the Canon SX740 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the SX740 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 25.9 x 19.4 inches or 65.8 x 49.4 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 20.7 x 15.6 inches or 52.7 x 39.5 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 17.3 x 13 inches or 43.9 x 32.9 cm. The corresponding values for the Canon SX520 are 23 x 17.3 inches or 58.5 x 43.9 cm for good quality, 18.4 x 13.8 inches or 46.8 x 35.1 cm for very good quality, and 15.4 x 11.5 inches or 39 x 29.3 cm for excellent quality prints.

The Canon PowerShot SX520 HS has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 3200. The Canon PowerShot SX740 HS offers exactly the same ISO settings.

SX520 versus SX740 MP

For many cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. 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 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 SX520 1/2.3 15.9 4608 34561080/30p........
2.
 
Canon SX740 1/2.3 20.2 5184 38884K/30p........
3.
 
Canon SX430 1/2.3 19.9 5152 3864720/25p........
4.
 
Canon SX730 1/2.3 20.2 5184 38881080/60p........
5.
 
Canon SX540 1/2.3 20.2 5184 38881080/60p........
6.
 
Canon SX720 1/2.3 20.2 5184 38881080/60p........
7.
 
Canon SX530 1/2.3 15.9 4608 34561080/30p........
8.
 
Canon SX710 1/2.3 20.2 5184 38881080/60p........
9.
 
Canon SX700 1/2.3 15.9 4608 34561080/60p........
10.
 
Canon SX60 1/2.3 14.2 4608 30721080/60p19.210.812739
11.
 
Canon T5 APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p21.911.372463
12.
 
Canon SX510 1/2.3 15.9 4608 34561080/24p........
13.
 
Nikon B600 1/2.3 15.9 4608 34561080/30p........
14.
 
Panasonic ZS80 1/2.3 20.2 5184 38884K/30p........
15.
 
Sony HX90V 1/2.3 18.0 4896 36721080/60p........
16.
 
Sony H200 1/2.3 15.2 5184 2930720/30p........

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 SX740 provides a better video resolution than the SX520. It can shoot movie footage at 4K/30p, while the SX520 is limited to 1080/30p.

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Feature comparison

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. The SX520 and the SX740 are similar in the sense that neither of the two has a viewfinder. The images are, thus, framed using live view on the rear LCD. The following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Canon SX520, the Canon SX740, 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 SX520none n 3.0 461 fixed n 1/2000s 1.6 Y Y
2.
 
Canon SX740none n 3.0 922 tilting n 1/3200s 10.0 Y Y
3.
 
Canon SX430none n 3.0 230 fixed n 1/4000s 0.5 Y Y
4.
 
Canon SX730none n 3.0 922 tilting n 1/3200s 5.9 Y Y
5.
 
Canon SX540none n 3.0 461 fixed n 1/2000s 5.9 Y Y
6.
 
Canon SX720none n 3.0 922 fixed n 1/3200s 5.9 Y Y
7.
 
Canon SX530none n 3.0 461 fixed n 1/2000s 1.6 Y Y
8.
 
Canon SX710none n 3.0 922 fixed n 1/3200s 6.0 Y Y
9.
 
Canon SX700none n 3.0 922 fixed n 1/3200s 8.5 Y Y
10.
 
Canon SX60922 n 3.0 922 swivel n 1/2000s 6.4 Y Y
11.
 
Canon T5optical n 3.0 460 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
12.
 
Canon SX510none n 3.0 461 fixed n 1/1600s 3.8 Y Y
13.
 
Nikon B600none n 3.0 921 fixed n 1/4000s 7.4 Y Y
14.
 
Panasonic ZS802330 n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 1/2000s 10.0 Y Y
15.
 
Sony HX90V638 n 3.0 921 tilting n 1/2000s 10.0 Y Y
16.
 
Sony H200none n 3.0 460 fixed n 1/1500s 0.8 Y Y
The SX740 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 SX520 does not have a selfie-screen.

The Canon SX740 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 SX520 and the SX740 have zoom lenses built in. The SX520 has a 24-1008mm f/3.4-6 optic and the SX740 offers a 24-960mm f/3.3-6.9 (focal lengths in full frame equivalent terms). Hence, the SX520 and SX740 provide the same view at the wide-angle end, but the SX740 has less tele-photo reach at the long end. The SX740 offers the faster maximum aperture.

Concerning the storage of imaging data, both the SX520 and the SX740 write their files to SDXC cards. The SX740 supports UHS-I cards (Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 104 MB/s), while the SX520 cannot take advantage of Ultra High Speed SD cards.

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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 PowerShot SX520 HS and Canon PowerShot SX740 HS 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 SX520-stereomono--mini2.0---
2.
 
Canon SX740-stereomono--micro2.0Y-Y
3.
 
Canon SX430-monomono---2.0YY-
4.
 
Canon SX730-stereomono--micro2.0YYY
5.
 
Canon SX540-stereomono--mini2.0YY-
6.
 
Canon SX720-stereomono--micro2.0YY-
7.
 
Canon SX530-stereomono--mini2.0YY-
8.
 
Canon SX710-stereomono--micro2.0YY-
9.
 
Canon SX700-stereomono--micro2.0YY-
10.
 
Canon SX60YstereomonoY-mini2.0YY-
11.
 
Canon T5Ymonomono--mini2.0---
12.
 
Canon SX510-stereomono--mini2.0Y--
13.
 
Nikon B600-stereomono--micro2.0Y-Y
14.
 
Panasonic ZS80-stereomono--micro2.0Y-Y
15.
 
Sony HX90V-stereomono--micro2.0YY-
16.
 
Sony H200-monomono---2.0---

It is notable that the SX740 offers wifi support, which can be a very convenient means to transfer image data to an off-camera location. In contrast, the SX520 does not provide wifi capability.

The SX740 is a recent model that features in the current product line-up of Canon. In contrast, the SX520 has been discontinued (but can be found pre-owned on eBay). As a replacement in the same line of cameras, the SX520 was succeeded by the Canon SX530. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Canon website.

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Review summary

So how do things add up? Is the Canon SX520 better than the Canon SX740 or vice versa? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.


Reasons to prefer the Canon PowerShot SX520 HS:

  • More tele-reach: Has a longer tele-lens for perspective compression and subject magnification.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in July 2014).


Arguments in favor of the Canon PowerShot SX740 HS:

  • More detail: Has more megapixels (20.2 vs 15.9MP), which boosts linear resolution by 13%.
  • Better jpgs: Has a more modern image processing engine (DIGIC 8 vs DIGIC 4+).
  • Better video: Provides higher definition movie capture (4K/30p vs 1080/30p).
  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (922k vs 461k dots).
  • More flexible LCD: Has a tilting screen for odd-angle shots in landscape orientation.
  • More selfie-friendly: Has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing.
  • Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/3200s vs 1/2000s) to freeze action.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (10 vs 1.6 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/3.3 vs f/3.4).
  • More compact: Is smaller (110x64mm vs 120x82mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
  • Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 142g or 32 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
  • Longer lasting: Gets more shots (265 versus 210) out of a single battery charge.
  • Easier travel charging: Can be conveniently charged via its USB port.
  • 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.
  • Faster buffer clearing: Has an SD card interface that supports the UHS-I standard.
  • More modern: Reflects 4 years of technical progress since the SX520 launch.

If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the SX740 is the clear winner of the contest (18 : 2 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 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.

SX520 02:18 SX740

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Canon SX520 and the Canon SX740 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 specs-based evaluation of cameras can be instructive in revealing their potential as photographic tools, it remains partial and cannot reveal, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance when actually working with the SX520 or the SX740. 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 (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 SX520..+..3.5/53.5/5 Jul 2014 399i
2.
 
Canon SX740..+..4/54/5 Jul 2018 399 i
3.
 
Canon SX430......3.5/53.5/5 Jan 2017 299 i
4.
 
Canon SX730..+..4/54/5 Apr 2017 399i
5.
 
Canon SX540.......... Jan 2016 399 i
6.
 
Canon SX720..+..4/54.5/5 Feb 2016 379i
7.
 
Canon SX530..+ +..4/54/5 Jan 2015 429i
8.
 
Canon SX710..+..4/53.5/5 Jan 2015 349i
9.
 
Canon SX700..+ +..4/54/5 Feb 2014 349i
10.
 
Canon SX603/5+ +75/1004/54.5/5 Sep 2014 549i
11.
 
Canon T53/5+..4/54.5/5 Feb 2014 449i
12.
 
Canon SX510..+ +..4.5/54/5 Aug 2013 249i
13.
 
Nikon B600..+..3.5/53/5 Jan 2019 349 i
14.
 
Panasonic ZS80..+ +..4.5/5.. Feb 2019 449 i
15.
 
Sony HX90V4/5+ +..4/54.5/5 Apr 2015 429 i
16.
 
Sony H200......3.5/53.5/5 Jan 2013 249 i
Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.

Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, though. The ratings were established in reference to similarly priced cameras that were available in the market at the time of the review. 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. It should also be noted that some of the review sites have over time altered the way they render their verdicts.

Canon SX520:
Check Ebay offers
Canon SX740:
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. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting.

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    Specifications: Canon SX520 vs Canon SX740

    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 SX520 Canon SX740
    Camera Type Fixed lens compact camera Fixed lens compact camera
    Camera Lens 24-1008mm f/3.4-6 24-960mm f/3.3-6.9
    Launch Date July 2014 July 2018
    Launch Price USD 399 USD 399
    Sensor Specs Canon SX520 Canon SX740
    Sensor Technology BSI-CMOS BSI-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 20.2 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 4608 x 3456 pixels 5184 x 3888 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 1.33 μm 1.18 μm
    Pixel Density 56.73 MP/cm2 71.80 MP/cm2
    Moiré control no AA filter no AA filter
    Movie Capability 1080/30p Video 4K/30p Video
    ISO Setting 100 - 3,200 ISO 100 - 3,200 ISO
    Image Processor DIGIC 4+ DIGIC 8
    Screen Specs Canon SX520 Canon SX740
    Viewfinder Type no viewfinder no viewfinder
    Viewfinder Magnification
    LCD Framing Live View Live View
    Rear LCD Size 3.0inch 3.0inch
    LCD Resolution 461k dots 922k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen Tilting screen
    Shooting Specs Canon SX520 Canon SX740
    Focus System Contrast-detect AF Contrast-detect AF
    Continuous Shooting 1.6 shutter flaps/s 10 shutter flaps/s
    Time-Lapse Photographyno IntervalometerIntervalometer built-in
    Fill Flash Build-in Flash Build-in Flash
    Storage Medium SDXC cards SDXC cards
    Second Storage Option Single card slot Single card slot
    UHS card support no UHS-I
    Connectivity Specs Canon SX520 Canon SX740
    External Flash no Hotshoe no Hotshoe
    USB Connector USB 2.0 USB 2.0
    HDMI Port mini HDMI micro HDMI
    Wifi Support no Wifi Wifi built-in
    Bluetooth Support no Bluetooth Bluetooth built-in
    Body Specs Canon SX520 Canon SX740
    Battery Type NB-6LH NB-13L
    Battery Life (CIPA)210 shots per charge265 shots per charge
    In-Camera Charging no USB charging USB charging
    Body Dimensions 120 x 82 x 92 mm
    (4.7 x 3.2 x 3.6 in)
    110 x 64 x 40 mm
    (4.3 x 2.5 x 1.6 in)
    Camera Weight 441 g (15.6 oz) 299 g (10.5 oz)

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