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Canon T3 vs Panasonic GH1

The Canon EOS Rebel T3 (called Canon 1100D in some regions) and the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH1 are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in February 2011 and March 2009. The T3 is a DSLR, while the GH1 is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera. The cameras are based on an APS-C (T3) and a Four Thirds (GH1) sensor. The Canon has a resolution of 12.2 megapixels, whereas the Panasonic provides 12 MP.

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

Headline Specifications
Canon T3
versus
Panasonic GH1
Canon T3   Panasonic GH1
Digital single lens reflex Mirrorless system camera
Canon EF mount lenses Micro Four Thirds lenses
12.2 MP, APS-C Sensor 12 MP, Four Thirds Sensor
720/30p Video 1080/24p Video
ISO 100-6,400 ISO 100-1,600 (100 - 3,200)
Optical viewfinder Electronic viewfinder (1440k dots)
2.7 LCD, 230k dots 3.0 LCD, 460k dots
Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive) Swivel screen (not touch-sensitive)
3 shutter flaps per second 3 shutter flaps per second
700 shots per battery charge300 shots per battery charge
130 x 100 x 78 mm, 495 g 124 x 90 x 45 mm, 385 g

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Canon EOS Rebel T3 and the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH1? 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 T3 and the Panasonic GH1. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three successive views from the front, the top, and the rear are shown. All size dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

The GH1 can be obtained in two different colors (black, red), while the T3 is only available in black.

Size Canon T3 vs Panasonic GH1
Compare T3 versus GH1 top
Comparison T3 or GH1 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Panasonic GH1 is notably smaller (14 percent) than the Canon T3. Moreover, the GH1 is markedly lighter (22 percent) than the T3. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the T3 nor the GH1 are weather-sealed.

The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete since they do not consider the interchangeable lenses that both of these cameras require. A larger imaging sensor will tend to go along with bigger and heavier lenses, although exceptions exist. You can compare the optics available for the two cameras in the Canon EF Lens Catalog (T3) and the Micro Four Thirds Lens Catalog (GH1). Mirrorless cameras, such as the GH1, have moreover the advantage that they can use many lenses from other systems via adapters, as they have a relatively short flange to focal plane distance.

Concerning battery life, the T3 gets 700 shots out of its LP-E10 battery, while the GH1 can take 300 images on a single charge of its DMW-BLB13 power pack.

The following table provides a synthesis of the main physical specifications of the two cameras and other similar ones. In case you want to display and compare another camera duo, you can use the CAM-parator app to select your camera combination among a large number of options.

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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 T3 130 mm 100 mm 78 mm 495 g 700 n Feb 2011 449i
2.
 
Panasonic GH1 124 mm 90 mm 45 mm 385 g 300 n Mar 2009 899i
3.
 
Canon T100 129 mm 102 mm 77 mm 436 g 500 n Feb 2018 399 i
4.
 
Canon T5 130 mm 100 mm 78 mm 480 g 500 n Feb 2014 449i
5.
 
Canon G1 X 117 mm 81 mm 65 mm 534 g 250 n Jan 2012 799i
6.
 
Canon SX50 123 mm 87 mm 106 mm 595 g 315 n Sep 2012 429i
7.
 
Canon T4i 133 mm 100 mm 79 mm 575 g 440 n Jun 2012 849i
8.
 
Canon T3i 133 mm 100 mm 80 mm 570 g 440 n Feb 2011 599i
9.
 
Canon T2i 129 mm 98 mm 62 mm 530 g 440 n Feb 2010 699i
10.
 
Canon XS 126 mm 98 mm 65 mm 502 g 500 n Jun 2008 449i
11.
 
Canon XSi 129 mm 98 mm 62 mm 524 g 500 n Jan 2008 799i
12.
 
Canon XTi 127 mm 84 mm 65 mm 556 g 370 n Aug 2006 799i
13.
 
Panasonic LX100 115 mm 66 mm 55 mm 393 g 300 n Sep 2014 899 i
14.
 
Panasonic G10 124 mm 84 mm 74 mm 388 g 380 n Mar 2010 499i
15.
 
Panasonic G2 124 mm 84 mm 74 mm 428 g 360 n Mar 2010 599i
16.
 
Panasonic GH2 124 mm 90 mm 76 mm 442 g 330 n Sep 2010 899i
17.
 
Panasonic G1 124 mm 84 mm 45 mm 360 g 410 n Sep 2008 599i
Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.

The price is, of course, an important factor in any camera decision. 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 T3 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 50 percent) than the GH1, 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.

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.

Of the two cameras under consideration, the Canon T3 features an APS-C sensor and the Panasonic GH1 a Four Thirds sensor. The sensor area in the GH1 is 30 percent smaller. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 1.6 and 2.0. The sensor in the T3 has a native 3:2 aspect ratio, while the one in the GH1 offers a 4:3 aspect.

In terms of underlying technology, both cameras are build around CMOS sensors.

Canon T3 and Panasonic GH1 sensor measures

With 12.2MP, the T3 offers a slightly higher resolution than the GH1 (12MP), but the T3 nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 5.15μm versus 4.33μm for the GH1) due to its larger sensor. Moreover, the T3 is a somewhat more recent model (by 1 year and 11 months) than the GH1, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time that further enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixels.

The Canon EOS Rebel T3 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 6400. The corresponding ISO settings for the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH1 are ISO 100 to ISO 1600, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 100-3200.

T3 versus GH1 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 Overall DXO ratings for the two cameras under consideration are close, suggesting that they provide similar imaging performance. The following table provides an overview of the physical sensor characteristics, as well as the sensor quality measurements for a selection of comparators.

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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 T3 APS-C 12.2 4272 2848720/30p21.911.075562
2.
 
Panasonic GH1 Four Thirds 12.0 4000 30001080/24p21.611.677264
3.
 
Canon T100 APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p21.911.469563
4.
 
Canon T5 APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p21.911.372463
5.
 
Canon G1 X 1.5-inch 14.2 4352 32641080/24p21.710.864460
6.
 
Canon SX50 1/2.3 12.0 4000 30001080/24p20.311.217947
7.
 
Canon T4i APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p21.711.272262
8.
 
Canon T3i APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p22.111.579365
9.
 
Canon T2i APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p22.111.578466
10.
 
Canon XS APS-C 10.1 3888 2592none22.111.478364
11.
 
Canon XSi APS-C 12.2 4272 2848none21.910.869261
12.
 
Canon XTi APS-C 10.1 3888 2592none22.111.066462
13.
 
Panasonic LX100 Four Thirds 12.7 4112 30884K/30p22.312.555367
14.
 
Panasonic G10 Four Thirds 12.0 4000 3000720/30p21.210.141152
15.
 
Panasonic G2 Four Thirds 12.0 4000 3000720/30p21.210.349353
16.
 
Panasonic GH2 Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/60i21.211.365560
17.
 
Panasonic G1 Four Thirds 12.0 4000 3000none21.110.346353
Note: DXO values in italics represent estimates based on sensor size and age.

Many modern cameras cannot only take still pictures, but also record videos. The two cameras under consideration both have sensors whose read-out speed is fast enough to capture moving pictures, but the GH1 provides a better video resolution than the T3. It can shoot movie footage at 1080/24p, while the Canon is limited to 720/30p.

Feature comparison

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the GH1 has an electronic viewfinder (1440k dots), while the T3 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 viewfinder in the GH1 offers a wider field of view (100%) than the one in the T3 (95%), so that a larger proportion of the captured image is visible in the finder. In addition, the viewfinder of the GH1 has a higher magnification (0.70x vs 0.50x), so that the size of the image transmitted appears closer to the size seen with the naked human eye. The table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Canon T3 and Panasonic GH1 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
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 T3optical n2.7 / 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
2.
 
Panasonic GH11440 n3.0 / 460 swivel n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
3.
 
Canon T100optical n2.7 / 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
4.
 
Canon T5optical n3.0 / 460 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
5.
 
Canon G1 Xoptical n3.0 / 922 swivel n 1/4000s 1.9 Y Y
6.
 
Canon SX50202 n3.0 / 461 swivel n 1/2000s 2.2 Y Y
7.
 
Canon T4ioptical n3.0 / 1040 swivel Y 1/4000s 5.0 Y n
8.
 
Canon T3ioptical n3.0 / 1040 swivel n 1/4000s 3.7 Y n
9.
 
Canon T2ioptical n3.0 / 1040 fixed n 1/4000s 3.7 Y n
10.
 
Canon XSoptical n2.5 / 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
11.
 
Canon XSioptical n3.0 / 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.5 Y n
12.
 
Canon XTioptical n2.5 / 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
13.
 
Panasonic LX1002764 n3.0 / 921 fixed n 1/4000s 11.0 n Y
14.
 
Panasonic G10202 n3.0 / 460 fixed n 1/4000s 2.6 Y n
15.
 
Panasonic G21440 n3.0 / 460 swivel Y 1/4000s 2.6 Y n
16.
 
Panasonic GH21534 n3.0 / 460 swivel n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
17.
 
Panasonic G11440 n3.0 / 460 swivel n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
The GH1 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 T3 does not have a selfie-screen.

The T3 writes its imaging data to SDXC cards, while the GH1 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 EOS Rebel T3 and Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH1 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 T3Ystereo / mono--mini2.0---
2.
 
Panasonic GH1Ystereo / -Y-mini2.0---
3.
 
Canon T100Ymono / mono--mini2.0YY-
4.
 
Canon T5Ymono / mono--mini2.0---
5.
 
Canon G1 XYstereo / mono--mini2.0---
6.
 
Canon SX50Ystereo / mono--mini2.0---
7.
 
Canon T4iYstereo / monoY-mini2.0---
8.
 
Canon T3iYmono / monoY-mini2.0---
9.
 
Canon T2iYstereo / -Y-mini2.0---
10.
 
Canon XSY- / ----2.0---
11.
 
Canon XSiY- / ---mini2.0---
12.
 
Canon XTiY- / ----2.0---
13.
 
Panasonic LX100Ystereo / mono--micro2.0YY-
14.
 
Panasonic G10Ymono / ---mini2.0---
15.
 
Panasonic G2Ystereo / mono--mini2.0---
16.
 
Panasonic GH2Ystereo / monoY-mini2.0---
17.
 
Panasonic G1Y- / ---mini2.0---

It is notable that the GH1 has a microphone port, which can help to improve the quality of audio recordings by attaching an external microphone. The T3 does not feature such a mic input.

Both the T3 and the GH1 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The GH1 was replaced by the Panasonic GH2, while the T3 was followed by the Canon T5. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Canon and Panasonic websites.

Review summary

So what conclusions can be drawn? Is the Canon T3 better than the Panasonic GH1 or vice versa? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.

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Advantages of the Canon EOS Rebel T3:

  • Brighter framing: Features an optical viewfinder for clear, lag-free composition.
  • Longer lasting: Can take more shots (700 versus 300) on a single battery charge.
  • More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (50 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More modern: Is somewhat more recent (announced 1 year and 11 months after the GH1).

ilogo

Reasons to prefer the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH1:

  • More dynamic range: Captures a broader range of light and dark details (0.6 EV of extra DR).
  • Better video: Provides higher definition movie capture (1080/24p vs 720/30p).
  • Better sound: Can connect to an external microphone for higher quality sound recording.
  • More framing info: Has an electronic viewfinder that displays shooting data.
  • More complete view: Has a viewfinder with a larger field of view (100% vs 95%).
  • Larger viewfinder image: Features a viewfinder with a higher magnification (0.70x vs 0.50x).
  • Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.0" vs 2.7") for image review and settings control.
  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (460k 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.
  • More compact: Is smaller (124x90mm vs 130x100mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
  • Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 110g or 22 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
  • More legacy lens friendly: Can use many non-native lenses via adapters.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in March 2009).

If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the GH1 is the clear winner of the contest (14 : 4 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.

T3 04:14 GH1

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Canon T3 and the Panasonic GH1 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best DSLR 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 technical specifications can provide a useful overview of the capabilities of different cameras, it remains incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the T3 or the GH1 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 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], 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 T3..80/100..69/1004/54.5/5 Feb 2011 449i
2.
 
Panasonic GH1..+ +..72/1004.5/54.5/5 Mar 2009 899i
3.
 
Canon T100..o3/5..3.5/53.5/5 Feb 2018 399 i
4.
 
Canon T53/5+....4/54.5/5 Feb 2014 449i
5.
 
Canon G1 X5/5+..76/1004/54.5/5 Jan 2012 799i
6.
 
Canon SX503/5+ +..72/1004.5/54.5/5 Sep 2012 429i
7.
 
Canon T4i4/5+ +..77/1004.5/54.5/5 Jun 2012 849i
8.
 
Canon T3i3/5o..77/1004.5/54.5/5 Feb 2011 599i
9.
 
Canon T2i..+ +..77/1004/54.5/5 Feb 2010 699i
10.
 
Canon XS..82/100..+ +3.5/54.5/5 Jun 2008 449i
11.
 
Canon XSi..+ +..+ +4/54.5/5 Jan 2008 799i
12.
 
Canon XTi..+ +..+ +o4/5 Aug 2006 799i
13.
 
Panasonic LX1005/5+ +..85/1005/55/5 Sep 2014 899 i
14.
 
Panasonic G103/5....70/1004/54/5 Mar 2010 499i
15.
 
Panasonic G2......72/1004/54.5/5 Mar 2010 599i
16.
 
Panasonic GH25/5+ +..79/1004.5/55/5 Sep 2010 899i
17.
 
Panasonic G1..+ +..70/1004/54.5/5 Sep 2008 599i
Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.

The above review scores should be interpreted with care, though. The ratings are only valid when referring to cameras in the same category and of the same age. A score, therefore, has to be seen in close connection to the price and market introduction time 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 T3:
Check Ebay offers
Panasonic GH1:
Check Ebay offers

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 T3 vs Panasonic GH1

    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 T3 Panasonic GH1
    Camera Type Digital single lens reflex Mirrorless system camera
    Camera Lens Canon EF mount lenses Micro Four Thirds lenses
    Launch Date February 2011 March 2009
    Launch Price USD 449 USD 899
    Sensor Specs Canon T3 Panasonic GH1
    Sensor Technology CMOS CMOS
    Sensor Format APS-C Sensor Four Thirds Sensor
    Sensor Size 22.0 x 14.7 mm 17.3 x 13.0 mm
    Sensor Area 323.4 mm2 224.9 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 26.5 mm 21.6 mm
    Crop Factor 1.6x 2.0x
    Sensor Resolution 12.2 Megapixels 12 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 4272 x 2848 pixels 4000 x 3000 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 5.15 μm 4.33 μm
    Pixel Density 3.76 MP/cm2 5.34 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability 720/30p Video 1080/24p Video
    ISO Setting 100 - 6,400 ISO 100 - 1,600 ISO
    ISO Boost no Enhancement 100 - 3,200 ISO
    Image Processor DIGIC 4 Venus HD
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) 62 64
    DXO Color Depth (bits) 21.9 21.6
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) 11.0 11.6
    DXO Low Light (ISO) 755 772
    Screen Specs Canon T3 Panasonic GH1
    Viewfinder Type Optical viewfinder Electronic viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 95% 100%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.50x 0.70x
    Viewfinder Resolution 1440k dots
    LCD Framing Live View Live View
    Rear LCD Size 2.7inch 3.0inch
    LCD Resolution 230k dots 460k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen Swivel screen
    Shooting Specs Canon T3 Panasonic GH1
    Focus System Phase-detect AF Contrast-detect AF
    Continuous Shooting 3 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 T3 Panasonic GH1
    External Flash Hotshoe Hotshoe
    USB Connector USB 2.0 USB 2.0
    HDMI Port mini HDMI mini HDMI
    Microphone Port no MIC socket External MIC port
    Wifi Support no Wifi no Wifi
    Body Specs Canon T3 Panasonic GH1
    Battery Type LP-E10 DMW-BLB13
    Battery Life (CIPA)700 shots per charge300 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 130 x 100 x 78 mm
    (5.1 x 3.9 x 3.1 in)
    124 x 90 x 45 mm
    (4.9 x 3.5 x 1.8 in)
    Camera Weight 495 g (17.5 oz) 385 g (13.6 oz)

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