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Canon SX530 vs Nikon 1 J4

The Canon PowerShot SX530 HS and the Nikon 1 J4 are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in January 2015 and April 2014. The SX530 is a fixed lens compact, while the J4 is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera. The cameras are based on a 1/2.3-inch (SX530) and an one-inch (J4) sensor. The Canon has a resolution of 15.9 megapixels, whereas the Nikon provides 18.2 MP.

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

Headline Specifications
Canon SX530 versus Nikon 1 J4
Canon SX530 Nikon 1 J4
Fixed lens compact camera Mirrorless system camera
24-1200mm f/3.4-6.5 Nikon 1 mount lenses
15.9 MP, 1/2.3" Sensor 18.2 MP, 1" Sensor
1080/30p Video 1080/60p Video
ISO 100-3,200 ISO 160-12,800
No viewfinder, LCD framing No viewfinder, LCD framing
3.0 LCD, 461k dots 3.0 LCD, 1037k dots
Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive) no rear screen
1.6 shutter flaps per second 60 shutter flaps per second
210 shots per battery charge300 shots per battery charge
120 x 82 x 92 mm, 442 g 100 x 60 x 29 mm, 232 g

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Canon PowerShot SX530 HS and the Nikon 1 J4? 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

An illustration of the physical size and weight of the Canon SX530 and the Nikon 1 J4 is provided in the side-by-side display below. 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 size dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

The J4 can be obtained in four different colors (black, silver, orange, white), while the SX530 is only available in black.

Size Canon SX530 vs Nikon 1 J4
Compare SX530 versus J4 top
Comparison SX530 or J4 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Nikon 1 J4 is considerably smaller (39 percent) than the Canon SX530. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the SX530 nor the J4 are weather-sealed.

The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the SX530 has a lens built in, whereas the J4 is an interchangeable lens camera that requires a separate lens. Attaching the latter will add extra weight and bulk to the setup.

The following table provides a synthesis of the main physical specifications of the two cameras and other similar ones. If you would like to visualize and compare a different camera combination, just use the right or left arrows in the table to switch to the respective camera. Alternatively, you can also navigate to the CAM-parator app and make your selection from the full list of cameras there.

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Body Specifications
  Camera
Model
Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life 1
Weather
Sealing
Camera
Launch 2
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
 
Canon SX530 120 mm 82 mm 92 mm 442 g 210 n Jan 2015 429i
 
Nikon 1 J4 100 mm 60 mm 29 mm 232 g 300 n Apr 2014 549i
 
Canon 4000D 129 mm 102 mm 77 mm 436 g 500 n Feb 2018 399 i
 
Canon 1300D 129 mm 101 mm 78 mm 485 g 500 n Mar 2016 449i
 
Canon SX540 120 mm 82 mm 92 mm 442 g 205 n Jan 2016 399 i
 
Canon G9 X 98 mm 58 mm 31 mm 209 g 220 n Oct 2015 529i
 
Canon M10 108 mm 67 mm 35 mm 301 g 255 n Oct 2015 499i
 
Canon SX520 120 mm 82 mm 92 mm 441 g 210 n Jul 2014 399i
 
Canon 1200D 130 mm 100 mm 78 mm 480 g 500 n Feb 2014 449i
 
Canon SX60 128 mm 93 mm 114 mm 650 g 340 n Sep 2014 549i
 
Canon 100D 117 mm 91 mm 69 mm 407 g 380 n Mar 2013 549i
 
Canon G1 X 117 mm 81 mm 65 mm 534 g 250 n Jan 2012 799i
 
Fujifilm X100T 127 mm 74 mm 52 mm 440 g 330 n Sep 2014 1,299i
 
Leica X Typ 113 133 mm 73 mm 78 mm 486 g 350 n Sep 2014 2,295i
 
Nikon 1 J5 98 mm 60 mm 32 mm 231 g 250 n Apr 2015 399i
 
Nikon 1 V3 111 mm 65 mm 33 mm 381 g 310 n Mar 2014 799i
 
Panasonic G6 122 mm 85 mm 71 mm 390 g 340 n Apr 2013 599i
Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.
(1) Number of images that can be taken on a full battery charge according to the CIPA-standard; (2) Official announcement.

Any camera decision will obviously take relative prices into account. The retail prices at the time of the camera’s release place the model in the market relative to other models in the producer’s line-up and the competition. The SX530 was launched at a lower price than the J4, 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 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 SX530 features a 1/2.3-inch sensor and the Nikon 1 J4 an one-inch sensor. The sensor area in the J4 is 314 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 5.6 and 2.7. The sensor in the SX530 has a native 4:3 aspect ratio, while the one in the J4 offers a 3:2 aspect.

Canon SX530 and Nikon 1 J4 sensor measures

With 18.2MP, the J4 offers a higher resolution than the SX530 (15.9MP), but the J4 nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 2.52μm versus 1.33μm for the SX530) due to its larger sensor. However, the SX530 is a somewhat more recent model (by 8 months) than the J4, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time that enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixel-units. 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 Nikon 1 J4 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the J4 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 26.2 x 17.4 inches or 66.4 x 44.3 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 20.9 x 14 inches or 53.2 x 35.4 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 17.4 x 11.6 inches or 44.3 x 29.5 cm. The corresponding values for the Canon SX530 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 J4 has on-sensor phase detect pixels, which results in fast and reliable autofocus acquisition even during live view operation.

The Canon PowerShot SX530 HS has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 3200. The corresponding ISO settings for the Nikon 1 J4 are ISO 160 to ISO 12800 (no boost).

SX530 versus J4 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
 
Canon SX530 1/2.3 15.9 4608 34561080/30p........
 
Nikon 1 J4 1-inch 18.2 5232 34881080/60p20.810.742653
 
Canon 4000D APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p21.911.469563
 
Canon 1300D APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p........
 
Canon SX540 1/2.3 20.2 5184 38881080/60p........
 
Canon G9 X 1-inch 20.0 5472 36481080/60p21.512.349563
 
Canon M10 APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p22.211.475365
 
Canon SX520 1/2.3 15.9 4608 34561080/30p........
 
Canon 1200D APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p21.911.372463
 
Canon SX60 1/2.3 14.2 4608 30721080/60p19.210.812739
 
Canon 100D APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p21.811.384363
 
Canon G1 X 1.5-inch 14.2 4352 32641080/24p21.710.864460
 
Fujifilm X100T APS-C 16.0 4896 32641080/60p........
 
Leica X Typ 113 APS-C 16.1 4928 32641080/30p........
 
Nikon 1 J5 1-inch 20.7 5568 37124K/15p21.112.047965
 
Nikon 1 V3 1-inch 18.2 5232 34881080/60p20.810.738452
 
Panasonic G6 Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/60p21.311.563961

Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. The two cameras under consideration both have sensors whose read-out speed is fast enough to capture moving pictures, but the J4 provides a faster frame rate than the SX530. It can shoot movie footage at 1080/60p, while the Canon is limited to 1080/30p.

Feature comparison

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The SX530 and the J4 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 table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Canon SX530 and Nikon 1 J4 in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar 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
 
Canon SX530none n 3.0 461 fixed n 1/2000s 1.6 Y Y
 
Nikon 1 J4none n 3.0 1037 Fixed Y 1/4000s 60.0 Y n
 
Canon 4000Doptical n 2.7 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
 
Canon 1300Doptical n 3.0 920 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
 
Canon SX540none n 3.0 461 fixed n 1/2000s 5.9 Y Y
 
Canon G9 Xnone n 3.0 1040 fixed Y 1/2000s 6.0 Y Y
 
Canon M10none n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 1/4000s 4.6 Y n
 
Canon SX520none n 3.0 461 fixed n 1/2000s 1.6 Y Y
 
Canon 1200Doptical n 3.0 460 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
 
Canon SX60922 n 3.0 922 swivel n 1/2000s 6.4 Y Y
 
Canon 100Doptical n 3.0 1040 fixed Y 1/4000s 4.9 Y n
 
Canon G1 Xoptical n 3.0 922 Swivel n 1/4000s 1.9 Y Y
 
Fujifilm X100T2360 n 3.0 1040 fixed n 1/4000s 6.0 Y n
 
Leica X Typ 113optional n 3.0 920 fixed n 1/2000s 5.0 Y n
 
Nikon 1 J5none n 3.0 1037 tilting Y 1/4000s 60.0 Y n
 
Nikon 1 V3optional n 3.0 1037 tilting Y 1/4000s 60.0 Y n
 
Panasonic G61440 n 3.0 1036 swivel Y 1/4000s 7.0 Y n

One differentiating feature between the two cameras concerns the touch sensitivity of the rear screen. The J4 has a touchscreen, while the SX530 has a conventional panel. Touch control can be particularly helpful, for example, for setting the focus point.

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 J4 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 SX530 writes its imaging data to SDXC cards, while the J4 uses micro SDXC cards. The J4 supports UHS-I cards (Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 104 MB/s), while the SX530 cannot take advantage of Ultra High Speed SD 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 SX530 HS and Nikon 1 J4 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
 
Canon SX530-stereomono--mini2.0YY-
 
Nikon 1 J4-stereomono--mini2.0Y--
 
Canon 4000DYmonomono--mini2.0YY-
 
Canon 1300DYmonomono--mini2.0YY-
 
Canon SX540-stereomono--mini2.0YY-
 
Canon G9 X-stereomono--micro2.0YY-
 
Canon M10-stereomono--mini2.0YY-
 
Canon SX520-stereomono--mini2.0---
 
Canon 1200DYmonomono--mini2.0---
 
Canon SX60YstereomonoY-mini2.0YY-
 
Canon 100DYmonomonoY-mini2.0---
 
Canon G1 XYstereomono--mini2.0---
 
Fujifilm X100TYstereomonoY-micro2.0Y--
 
Leica X Typ 113Ystereomono--mini2.0---
 
Nikon 1 J5-stereomono--micro2.0YY-
 
Nikon 1 V3-stereomonoY-mini2.0Y--
 
Panasonic G6YstereomonoY-mini2.0YY-

Both the SX530 and the J4 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The J4 was replaced by the Nikon 1 J5, while the SX530 was followed by the Canon SX540. 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 how do things add up? Is the Canon SX530 better than the Nikon 1 J4 or vice versa? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.

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Reasons to prefer the Canon PowerShot SX530 HS:

  • Ready to shoot: Has a lens built-in, whereas the J4 requires a separate lens.
  • Sharper images: Has hand-shake reducing image stabilization built-in.
  • Easier device pairing: Supports NFC for fast wireless image transfer over short distances.
  • More affordable: Was introduced at a lower price, despite coming with a built-in lens.
  • More modern: Is somewhat more recent (announced 8 months after the J4).

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Advantages of the Nikon 1 J4:

  • More detail: Has more megapixels (18.2 vs 15.9MP), which boosts linear resolution by 9%.
  • 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.
  • Better video: Provides higher movie framerates (1080/60p versus 1080/30p).
  • Better live-view autofocus: Features on-sensor phase-detection for more confident autofocus.
  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1037k vs 461k dots).
  • Fewer buttons to press: Has a touchscreen to facilitate handling and shooting adjustments.
  • Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/4000s vs 1/2000s) to freeze action.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (60 vs 1.6 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • Less disturbing: Has an electronic shutter option for completely silent shooting.
  • More flexible: Takes interchangeable lenses and can thus be used with specialty optics.
  • More compact: Is smaller (100x60mm vs 120x82mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
  • Longer lasting: Gets more shots (300 versus 210) out of a single battery charge.
  • Faster buffer clearing: Has an SD card interface that supports the UHS-I standard.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in April 2014).

If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the J4 is the clear winner of the contest (17 : 5 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 sports photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a street photog, and a person interested in family portraits has distinct needs from a landscape shooter. Hence, the decision which camera is best and worth buying is often a very personal one.

SX530 05:17 J4

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Canon SX530 and the Nikon 1 J4 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Superzoom Camera and Best Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens 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 says little about, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance of the SX530 and the J4 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 hands-on reviews by experts are important. The adjacent summary-table relays the overall verdicts of several of the most popular camera review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, and photographyblog). 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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Review Scores
  Camera
Model
camera
  labs  
dp
review  
ephoto
  zine  
imaging
resource
photography
  blog  
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
 
Canon SX530+ +..4/5..4/5 Jan 2015 429i
 
Nikon 1 J4....4.5/5..4/5 Apr 2014 549i
 
Canon 4000Do..3.5/5..3.5/5 Feb 2018 399 i
 
Canon 1300Do73/1004/53.5/54/5 Mar 2016 449i
 
Canon SX540.......... Jan 2016 399 i
 
Canon G9 X+ +..4.5/54/54.5/5 Oct 2015 529i
 
Canon M10......o4/5 Oct 2015 499i
 
Canon SX520+..3.5/5..3.5/5 Jul 2014 399i
 
Canon 1200D+..4/54/54.5/5 Feb 2014 449i
 
Canon SX60+ +75/1004/5..4.5/5 Sep 2014 549i
 
Canon 100D+78/1004/54/54/5 Mar 2013 549i
 
Canon G1 X+76/1004/54/54.5/5 Jan 2012 799i
 
Fujifilm X100T+81/1004.5/54.5/55/5 Sep 2014 1,299i
 
Leica X Typ 113....3.5/5..4/5 Sep 2014 2,295i
 
Nikon 1 J5....4.5/54/54.5/5 Apr 2015 399i
 
Nikon 1 V3..76/1004.5/53/54/5 Mar 2014 799i
 
Panasonic G6+ +..5/5..4.5/5 Apr 2013 599i
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. Thus, a score needs to be put into the context of the launch date and the launch price of the camera, and comparing ratings of very distinct cameras or ones that are far apart in terms of their release date 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 SX530:
Check Ebay offers
Nikon 1 J4:
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.

~

    Specifications: Canon SX530 vs Nikon 1 J4

    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 SX530 Nikon 1 J4
    Camera Type Fixed lens compact camera Mirrorless system camera
    Camera Lens 24-1200mm f/3.4-6.5 Nikon 1 mount lenses
    Launch Date January 2015 April 2014
    Launch Price USD 429 USD 549
    Sensor Specs Canon SX530 Nikon 1 J4
    Sensor Technology BSI-CMOS CMOS
    Sensor Format 1/2.3" Sensor 1" Sensor
    Sensor Size 6.17 x 4.55 mm 13.2 x 8.8 mm
    Sensor Area 28.0735 mm2 116.16 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 7.7 mm 15.9 mm
    Crop Factor 5.6x 2.7x
    Sensor Resolution 15.9 Megapixels 18.2 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 4608 x 3456 pixels 5232 x 3488 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 1.33 μm 2.52 μm
    Pixel Density 56.73 MP/cm2 15.71 MP/cm2
    Moiré control no AA filter no AA filter
    Movie Capability 1080/30p Video 1080/60p Video
    ISO Setting 100 - 3,200 ISO 160 - 12,800 ISO
    Image Processor DIGIC 4+ Expeed 4
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) .. 53
    DXO Color Depth (bits) .. 20.8
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) .. 10.7
    DXO Low Light (ISO) .. 426
    Screen Specs Canon SX530 Nikon 1 J4
    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 1037k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen
    Touch Input no Touchscreen Touchscreen
    Shooting Specs Canon SX530 Nikon 1 J4
    Focus System Contrast-detect AF On-Sensor Phase-detect
    Continuous Shooting 1.6 shutter flaps/s 60 shutter flaps/s
    Electronic Shutterno E-Shutterup to 1/16000s
    Fill Flash Build-in Flash Build-in Flash
    Storage Medium SDXC cards micro or SDXC cards
    Second Storage Option Single card slot Single card slot
    UHS card support no UHS-I
    Connectivity Specs Canon SX530 Nikon 1 J4
    External Flash no Hotshoe no Hotshoe
    USB Connector USB 2.0 USB 2.0
    HDMI Port mini HDMI mini HDMI
    Wifi Support Wifi built-in Wifi built-in
    Near-Field Communication NFC built-in no NFC
    Body Specs Canon SX530 Nikon 1 J4
    Battery Type NB-6LH EN-EL22
    Battery Life (CIPA)210 shots per charge300 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 120 x 82 x 92 mm
    (4.7 x 3.2 x 3.6 in)
    100 x 60 x 29 mm
    (3.9 x 2.4 x 1.1 in)
    Camera Weight 442 g (15.6 oz) 232 g (8.2 oz)

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