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Canon SX530 vs Olympus E-PL2

The Canon PowerShot SX530 HS and the Olympus PEN E-PL2 are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in January 2015 and January 2011. The SX530 is a fixed lens compact, while the E-PL2 is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera. The cameras are based on a 1/2.3-inch (SX530) and a Four Thirds (E-PL2) sensor. The Canon has a resolution of 15.9 megapixels, whereas the Olympus provides 12.2 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 Olympus E-PL2
Canon SX530 Olympus E-PL2
Fixed lens compact camera Mirrorless system camera
24-1200mm f/3.4-6.5 Micro Four Thirds lenses
15.9 MP, 1/2.3" Sensor 12.2 MP, Four Thirds Sensor
1080/30p Video 720/30p Video
ISO 100-3,200 ISO 200-6,400
No viewfinder, LCD framing Viewfinder optional
3.0 LCD, 461k dots 3.0 LCD, 460k dots
Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive) Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)
1.6 shutter flaps per second 3 shutter flaps per second
Lens-based stabilizationIn-body stabilization
210 shots per battery charge280 shots per battery charge
120 x 82 x 92 mm, 442 g 114 x 72 x 42 mm, 362 g

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Canon PowerShot SX530 HS and the Olympus PEN E-PL2? 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 Olympus E-PL2 is provided 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 E-PL2 can be obtained in four different colors (black, silver, red, white), while the SX530 is only available in black.

Size Canon SX530 vs Olympus E-PL2
Compare SX530 versus E-PL2 top
Comparison SX530 or E-PL2 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Olympus E-PL2 is notably smaller (17 percent) than the Canon SX530. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the SX530 nor the E-PL2 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 E-PL2 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 E-PL2 and their specifications in the Micro Four Thirds Lens Catalog.

Concerning battery life, the SX530 gets 210 shots out of its NB-6LH battery, while the E-PL2 can take 280 images on a single charge of its BLS-5 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, just click on the right or left arrow next to the camera that you would like to inspect. Alternatively, you can also use the CAM-parator to select your camera combination among a larger number of options.

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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 4.7 in 3.2 in 3.6 in 15.6 oz 210 n Jan 2015 429i
 
Olympus E-PL2 4.5 in 2.8 in 1.7 in 12.8 oz 280 n Jan 2011 599i
 
Canon T6 5.1 in 4.0 in 3.1 in 17.1 oz 500 n Mar 2016 449i
 
Canon SX540 4.7 in 3.2 in 3.6 in 15.6 oz 205 n Jan 2016 399 i
 
Canon SX720 4.3 in 2.5 in 1.4 in 9.5 oz 250 n Feb 2016 379i
 
Canon SX520 4.7 in 3.2 in 3.6 in 15.6 oz 210 n Jul 2014 399i
 
Canon SX700 4.4 in 2.6 in 1.4 in 9.5 oz 250 n Feb 2014 349i
 
Canon SX60 5.0 in 3.7 in 4.5 in 22.9 oz 340 n Sep 2014 549i
 
Canon T5 5.1 in 3.9 in 3.1 in 16.9 oz 500 n Feb 2014 449i
 
Nikon L840 4.4 in 3.1 in 3.8 in 19.0 oz 590 n Feb 2015 299i
 
Olympus E-P3 4.8 in 2.7 in 1.3 in 13.0 oz 330 n Jun 2011 799i
 
Olympus E-PL3 4.3 in 2.5 in 1.5 in 11.0 oz 300 n Jun 2011 599i
 
Olympus E-PL1 4.5 in 2.8 in 1.7 in 11.8 oz 290 n Feb 2010 599i
 
Olympus E-P2 4.8 in 2.8 in 1.4 in 12.5 oz 300 n Nov 2009 799i
 
Panasonic FZ100 4.9 in 3.2 in 3.6 in 19.0 oz 410 n Jul 2010 499i
 
Panasonic G10 4.9 in 3.3 in 2.9 in 13.7 oz 380 n Mar 2010 499i
 
Sony HX90V 4.0 in 2.3 in 1.4 in 8.6 oz 360 n Apr 2015 429 i
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 naturally be influenced heavily by the price. 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 E-PL2, 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 Olympus E-PL2 a Four Thirds sensor. The sensor area in the E-PL2 is 704 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 5.6 and 2.0. Both cameras feature a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 4:3.

Canon SX530 and Olympus E-PL2 sensor measures

Despite having a smaller sensor, the Canon SX530 offers a higher resolution of 15.9 megapixels, compared with 12.2 MP of the Olympus E-PL2. 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 1.33μm versus 4.29μm for the E-PL2). However, it should be noted that the SX530 is much more recent (by 4 years) than the E-PL2, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that make it possible to gather light more efficiently. Coming back to sensor resolution, it should be mentioned that the SX530 has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.

The resolution advantage of the Canon SX530 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the SX530 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 23 x 17.3 inches or 58.5 x 43.9 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 18.4 x 13.8 inches or 46.8 x 35.1 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 15.4 x 11.5 inches or 39 x 29.3 cm. The corresponding values for the Olympus E-PL2 are 20.2 x 15.1 inches or 51.2 x 38.4 cm for good quality, 16.1 x 12.1 inches or 41 x 30.7 cm for very good quality, and 13.4 x 10.1 inches or 34.1 x 25.6 cm for excellent quality prints.

The Canon PowerShot SX530 HS has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 3200. The corresponding ISO settings for the Olympus PEN E-PL2 are ISO 200 to ISO 6400 (no boost).

SX530 versus E-PL2 MP

Since 2007, DXO Mark has published sensor performance measurements that have been derived using a consistent methodology. 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........
 
Olympus E-PL2 Four Thirds 12.2 4032 3024720/30p21.410.257355
 
Canon T6 APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p........
 
Canon SX540 1/2.3 20.2 5184 38881080/60p........
 
Canon SX720 1/2.3 20.2 5184 38881080/60p........
 
Canon SX520 1/2.3 15.9 4608 34561080/30p........
 
Canon SX700 1/2.3 15.9 4608 34561080/60p........
 
Canon SX60 1/2.3 14.2 4608 30721080/60p19.210.812739
 
Canon T5 APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p21.911.372463
 
Nikon L840 1/2.3 15.9 4608 34561080/60i........
 
Olympus E-P3 Four Thirds 12.2 4032 30241080/60i20.810.153651
 
Olympus E-PL3 Four Thirds 12.2 4032 30241080/60i20.910.349952
 
Olympus E-PL1 Four Thirds 12.2 4032 3024720/30p21.510.148754
 
Olympus E-P2 Four Thirds 12.2 4032 3024720/30p21.510.450556
 
Panasonic FZ100 1/2.3 14.0 4320 32401080/60i........
 
Panasonic G10 Four Thirds 12.0 4000 3000720/30p21.210.141152
 
Sony HX90V 1/2.3 18.0 4896 36721080/60p........

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 SX530 provides a higher video resolution than the E-PL2. It can shoot video footage at 1080/30p, while the Olympus is limited to 720/30p.

Feature comparison

Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The SX530 and the E-PL2 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. That said, the E-PL2 can be equipped with an optional viewfinder – the VF-2. The adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Canon SX530 and Olympus E-PL2 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
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
 
Olympus E-PL2optional n 3.0 460 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y Y
 
Canon T6optical 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 SX720none n 3.0 922 fixed n 1/3200s 5.9 Y Y
 
Canon SX520none n 3.0 461 fixed n 1/2000s 1.6 Y Y
 
Canon SX700none n 3.0 922 fixed n 1/3200s 8.5 Y Y
 
Canon SX60922 n 3.0 922 swivel n 1/2000s 6.4 Y Y
 
Canon T5optical n 3.0 460 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
 
Nikon L840none n 3.0 921 tilting n 1/4000s 7.4 Y Y
 
Olympus E-P3optional n 3.0 614 fixed Y 1/4000s 3.0 Y Y
 
Olympus E-PL3optional n 3.0 460 tilting n 1/4000s 5.5 n Y
 
Olympus E-PL1optional n 2.7 230 fixed n 1/2000s 3.0 Y Y
 
Olympus E-P2optional n 3.0 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 n Y
 
Panasonic FZ100202 n 3.0 460 swivel n 1/2000s 11.0 Y Y
 
Panasonic G10202 n 3.0 460 fixed n 1/4000s 2.6 Y n
 
Sony HX90V638 n 3.0 921 tilting n 1/2000s 10.0 Y Y

The SX530 writes its imaging data to SDXC cards, while the E-PL2 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 SX530 HS and Olympus PEN E-PL2 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-
 
Olympus E-PL2Ystereo---mini2.0---
 
Canon T6Ymonomono--mini2.0YY-
 
Canon SX540-stereomono--mini2.0YY-
 
Canon SX720-stereomono--micro2.0YY-
 
Canon SX520-stereomono--mini2.0---
 
Canon SX700-stereomono--micro2.0YY-
 
Canon SX60YstereomonoY-mini2.0YY-
 
Canon T5Ymonomono--mini2.0---
 
Nikon L840-stereomono--micro2.0YY-
 
Olympus E-P3Ystereo---mini2.0---
 
Olympus E-PL3Ystereo---mini2.0---
 
Olympus E-PL1Ystereo---mini2.0---
 
Olympus E-P2Ystereo---mini2.0---
 
Panasonic FZ100Ystereomono--mini2.0---
 
Panasonic G10Ymono---mini2.0---
 
Sony HX90V-stereomono--micro2.0YY-

It is notable that the SX530 offers wifi support, while the E-PL2 does not. Wifi can be a very convenient means to transfer image data to an off-camera location.

Both the SX530 and the E-PL2 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The E-PL2 was replaced by the Olympus E-PL3, 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 Olympus websites.

Review summary

So how do things add up? Is there a clear favorite between the Canon SX530 and the Olympus E-PL2? 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 PowerShot SX530 HS:

  • More detail: Offers more megapixels (15.9 vs 12.2MP) with a 14% higher linear resolution.
  • Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
  • Better video: Provides higher definition movie capture (1080/30p vs 720/30p).
  • Ready to shoot: Has a lens built-in, whereas the E-PL2 requires a separate lens.
  • Easier file upload: Has wifi built in for automatic backup or image transfer to the web.
  • 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: Reflects 4 years of technical progress since the E-PL2 launch.

ilogo

Advantages of the Olympus PEN E-PL2:

  • Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
  • 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.
  • More framing options: Can be equipped with a hotshoe-mounted accessory-viewfinder.
  • Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/4000s vs 1/2000s) to freeze action.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (3 vs 1.6 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • More flexible: Takes interchangeable lenses and can thus be used with specialty optics.
  • More compact: Is smaller (114x72mm vs 120x82mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
  • Longer lasting: Gets more shots (280 versus 210) out of a single battery charge.
  • Better lighting: Features a hotshoe and can thus hold and trigger an external flash gun.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been around for much longer (launched in January 2011).

If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the E-PL2 is the clear winner of the contest (13 : 8 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.

SX530 08:13 E-PL2

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Canon SX530 and the Olympus E-PL2 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 comparison of the spec-sheets of cameras can offer a general idea of their imaging potential, it remains incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the SX530 or the E-PL2 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 (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
 
Olympus E-PL283/10071/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Jan 2011 599i
 
Canon T6o73/1004/53.5/54/5 Mar 2016 449i
 
Canon SX540.......... Jan 2016 399 i
 
Canon SX720+..4/5..4.5/5 Feb 2016 379i
 
Canon SX520+..3.5/5..3.5/5 Jul 2014 399i
 
Canon SX700+ +..4/5..4/5 Feb 2014 349i
 
Canon SX60+ +75/1004/5..4.5/5 Sep 2014 549i
 
Canon T5+..4/54/54.5/5 Feb 2014 449i
 
Nikon L840+ +..3.5/5..4/5 Feb 2015 299i
 
Olympus E-P383/10074/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Jun 2011 799i
 
Olympus E-PL3+ +72/1004.5/5..4/5 Jun 2011 599i
 
Olympus E-PL186/10069/1004/54.5/54.5/5 Feb 2010 599i
 
Olympus E-P2+69/1004/54.5/54.5/5 Nov 2009 799i
 
Panasonic FZ100+..4.5/5..4.5/5 Jul 2010 499i
 
Panasonic G10..70/1004/5..4/5 Mar 2010 499i
 
Sony HX90V+ +..4/5..4.5/5 Apr 2015 429 i
Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.

The above review scores should be interpreted with care, though. The ratings were established in reference to similarly priced cameras that were available in the market at the time of the review. 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, please note that some of the review sites have changed their methodology and reporting over time.

Canon SX530:
Check Ebay offers
Olympus E-PL2:
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 use the search menu below. As an alternative, you can also directly jump to any one of the listed comparisons that were previously generated by the CAM-parator tool.

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    Specifications: Canon SX530 vs Olympus E-PL2

    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 Olympus E-PL2
    Camera Type Fixed lens compact camera Mirrorless system camera
    Camera Lens 24-1200mm f/3.4-6.5 Micro Four Thirds lenses
    Launch Date January 2015 January 2011
    Launch Price USD 429 USD 599
    Sensor Specs Canon SX530 Olympus E-PL2
    Sensor Technology BSI-CMOS CMOS
    Sensor Format 1/2.3" Sensor Four Thirds Sensor
    Sensor Size 6.17 x 4.55 mm 17.3 x 13.0 mm
    Sensor Area 28.0735 mm2 224.9 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 7.7 mm 21.6 mm
    Crop Factor 5.6x 2.0x
    Sensor Resolution 15.9 Megapixels 12.2 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 4608 x 3456 pixels 4032 x 3024 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 1.33 μm 4.29 μm
    Pixel Density 56.73 MP/cm2 5.42 MP/cm2
    Moiré control no AA filter Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability 1080/30p Video 720/30p Video
    ISO Setting 100 - 3,200 ISO 200 - 6,400 ISO
    Image Processor DIGIC 4+ Truepic V
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) .. 55
    DXO Color Depth (bits) .. 21.4
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) .. 10.2
    DXO Low Light (ISO) .. 573
    Screen Specs Canon SX530 Olympus E-PL2
    Viewfinder Type no viewfinder Viewfinder optional
    Viewfinder Magnification
    LCD Framing Live View Live View
    Rear LCD Size 3.0inch 3.0inch
    LCD Resolution 461k dots 460k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen Fixed screen
    Shooting Specs Canon SX530 Olympus E-PL2
    Focus System Contrast-detect AF Contrast-detect AF
    Continuous Shooting 1.6 shutter flaps/s 3 shutter flaps/s
    Image StabilizationLens-based stabilizationIn-body stabilization
    Fill Flash Build-in Flash Build-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 SX530 Olympus E-PL2
    External Flash no Hotshoe Hotshoe
    USB Connector USB 2.0 USB 2.0
    HDMI Port mini HDMI mini HDMI
    Wifi Support Wifi built-in no Wifi
    Near-Field Communication NFC built-in no NFC
    Body Specs Canon SX530 Olympus E-PL2
    Battery Type NB-6LH BLS-5
    Battery Life (CIPA)210 shots per charge280 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 120 x 82 x 92 mm
    (4.7 x 3.2 x 3.6 in)
    114 x 72 x 42 mm
    (4.5 x 2.8 x 1.7 in)
    Camera Weight 442 g (15.6 oz) 362 g (12.8 oz)

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