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Canon XC10 vs Olympus E-P1

The Canon XC10 and the Olympus PEN E-P1 are two enthusiast cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in April 2015 and June 2009. The XC10 is a fixed lens compact, while the E-P1 is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera. The cameras are based on an one-inch (XC10) and a Four Thirds (E-P1) sensor. The Canon has a resolution of 12 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 XC10 versus Olympus E-P1
Canon XC10 Olympus E-P1
Fixed lens compact camera Mirrorless system camera
24-240mm f/2.8-5.6 Micro Four Thirds lenses
12 MP, 1" Sensor 12.2 MP, Four Thirds Sensor
4K/30p Video 720/30p Video
ISO 160-20,000 ISO 100-6,400
No viewfinder, LCD framing No viewfinder, LCD framing
3.0 LCD, 1030k dots 3.0 LCD, 230k dots
Tilting touchscreen Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)
3.8 shutter flaps per second 3 shutter flaps per second
Lens-based stabilizationIn-body stabilization
125 x 102 x 122 mm, 1040 g 121 x 70 x 36 mm, 355 g

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Canon XC10 and the Olympus PEN E-P1? 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 XC10 and the Olympus E-P1 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 measures are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

The E-P1 can be obtained in three different colors (black, silver, white), while the XC10 is only available in black.

Size Canon XC10 vs Olympus E-P1
Compare XC10 versus E-P1 top
Comparison XC10 or E-P1 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Olympus E-P1 is considerably smaller (34 percent) than the Canon XC10. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the XC10 nor the E-P1 are weather-sealed.

The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the XC10 has a lens built in, whereas the E-P1 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-P1 and their specifications in the Micro Four Thirds Lens Catalog.

Concerning battery life, the XC10 gets .. shots out of its LP-E6N battery, while the E-P1 can take 300 images on a single charge of its BLS-1 power pack. The power pack in the XC10 can be charged via the USB port, so that it is not always necessary to take the battery charger along when travelling.

The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the two cameras alongside a broader set of comparators. 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
 
Canon XC10 125 mm 102 mm 122 mm 1040 g .. n Apr 2015 2,499i
 
Olympus E-P1 121 mm 70 mm 36 mm 355 g 300 n Jun 2009 799i
 
Canon G7 X Mark II 106 mm 61 mm 42 mm 319 g 265 n Feb 2016 699i
 
Canon G5 X 112 mm 76 mm 44 mm 353 g 210 n Oct 2015 799i
 
Canon G9 X 98 mm 58 mm 31 mm 209 g 220 n Oct 2015 529i
 
Canon G1 X Mark II 116 mm 74 mm 66 mm 553 g 240 n Feb 2014 799i
 
Canon G7 X 103 mm 60 mm 40 mm 304 g 210 n Sep 2014 699i
 
Canon SX60 128 mm 93 mm 114 mm 650 g 340 n Sep 2014 549i
 
Fujifilm X30 119 mm 72 mm 60 mm 423 g 470 n Aug 2014 599 i
 
Nikon P900 140 mm 103 mm 137 mm 899 g 360 n Mar 2015 599i
 
Olympus E-P3 122 mm 69 mm 34 mm 369 g 330 n Jun 2011 799i
 
Olympus E-PL1 115 mm 72 mm 42 mm 334 g 290 n Feb 2010 599i
 
Olympus E-620 130 mm 94 mm 60 mm 521 g 500 n Feb 2009 699i
 
Olympus E-P2 121 mm 70 mm 36 mm 355 g 300 n Nov 2009 799i
 
Olympus E-520 136 mm 92 mm 68 mm 535 g 750 n May 2008 699i
 
Panasonic FZ2000 138 mm 102 mm 135 mm 915 g 350 n Sep 2016 1,199 i
 
Panasonic LX100 115 mm 66 mm 55 mm 393 g 300 n Sep 2014 899 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 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. 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. Then, after the new model is out, very good deals can frequently be found on the pre-owned market.

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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. 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 associated with larger, more expensive camera bodies and lenses.

Of the two cameras under consideration, the Canon XC10 features an one-inch sensor and the Olympus E-P1 a Four Thirds sensor. The sensor area in the E-P1 is 83 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 2.75 and 2.0. Both cameras feature a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 4:3.

Canon XC10 and Olympus E-P1 sensor measures

With 12.2MP, the E-P1 offers a higher resolution than the XC10 (12MP), but the E-P1 nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 4.29μm versus 3.20μm for the XC10) due to its larger sensor. However, the XC10 is a much more recent model (by 5 years and 9 months) than the E-P1, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixel-units.

The Canon XC10 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 160 to ISO 20000. The corresponding ISO settings for the Olympus PEN E-P1 are ISO 100 to ISO 6400 (no boost).

XC10 versus E-P1 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 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
 
Canon XC10 1-inch 12.0 4000 30004K/30p........
 
Olympus E-P1 Four Thirds 12.2 4032 3024720/30p21.410.453655
 
Canon G7 X Mark II 1-inch 20.0 5472 36481080/60p........
 
Canon G5 X 1-inch 20.0 5472 36481080/60p........
 
Canon G9 X 1-inch 20.0 5472 36481080/60p21.512.349563
 
Canon G1 X Mark II 1.5-inch 13.0 4160 31201080/30p21.510.858158
 
Canon G7 X 1-inch 20.0 5472 36481080/60p23.012.755671
 
Canon SX60 1/2.3 14.2 4608 30721080/60p19.210.812739
 
Fujifilm X30 2/3 12.0 4000 30001080/60p........
 
Nikon P900 1/2.3 15.9 4608 34561080/60p........
 
Olympus E-P3 Four Thirds 12.2 4032 30241080/60i20.810.153651
 
Olympus E-PL1 Four Thirds 12.2 4032 3024720/30p21.510.148754
 
Olympus E-620 Four Thirds 12.2 4032 3024none21.310.353655
 
Olympus E-P2 Four Thirds 12.2 4032 3024720/30p21.510.450556
 
Olympus E-520 Four Thirds 10.0 3648 2736none21.410.454855
 
Panasonic FZ2000 1-inch 20.0 5472 36484K/30p........
 
Panasonic LX100 Four Thirds 12.7 4112 30884K/30p22.312.555367

Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but also of capturing video footage. The two cameras under consideration both have sensors whose read-out speed is fast enough to capture moving pictures, but the XC10 provides a higher video resolution than the E-P1. It can shoot video footage at 4K/30p, while the Olympus is limited to 720/30p.

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Feature comparison

Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The XC10 and the E-P1 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 XC10 and Olympus E-P1 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 XC10none n 3.0 1030 tilting Y 1/2000s 3.8 n Y
 
Olympus E-P1none n 3.0 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 n Y
 
Canon G7 X Mark IInone n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 1/2000s 8.0 Y Y
 
Canon G5 X2360 n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 1/2000s 5.9 Y Y
 
Canon G9 Xnone n 3.0 1040 fixed Y 1/2000s 6.0 Y Y
 
Canon G1 X Mark IIoptional n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 1/4000s 5.2 Y Y
 
Canon G7 Xnone n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 1/2000s 6.5 Y Y
 
Canon SX60922 n 3.0 922 swivel n 1/2000s 6.4 Y Y
 
Fujifilm X302360 n 3.0 920 tilting n 1/4000s 12.0 Y Y
 
Nikon P900921 n 3.0 921 swivel n 1/4000s 7.0 Y Y
 
Olympus E-P3optional n 3.0 614 fixed Y 1/4000s 3.0 Y Y
 
Olympus E-PL1optional n 2.7 230 fixed n 1/2000s 3.0 Y Y
 
Olympus E-620optical n 2.7 230 swivel n 1/4000s 4.0 Y Y
 
Olympus E-P2optional n 3.0 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 n Y
 
Olympus E-520optical n 2.7 215 fixed n 1/4000s 3.5 Y Y
 
Panasonic FZ20002360 n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 1/4000s 12.0 Y Y
 
Panasonic LX1002764 n 3.0 921 fixed n 1/4000s 11.0 n Y

One differentiating feature between the two cameras concerns the touch sensitivity of the rear screen. The XC10 has a touchscreen, while the E-P1 has a conventional panel. Touch control can be particularly helpful, for example, for setting the focus point.

The Canon XC10 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.

The XC10 writes its imaging data to CFast or SDXC cards, while the E-P1 uses SDHC cards. The XC10 features dual card slots, which can be very useful in case a memory card fails. In contrast, the E-P1 only has one slot. The XC10 supports UHS-I cards (Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 104 MB/s), while the E-P1 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 XC10 and Olympus PEN E-P1 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 XC10YstereomonoYYmini2.0YY-
 
Olympus E-P1Ystereo---mini2.0---
 
Canon G7 X Mark II-stereomono--micro2.0YY-
 
Canon G5 XYstereomono--mini2.0YY-
 
Canon G9 X-stereomono--micro2.0YY-
 
Canon G1 X Mark IIYstereomono--mini2.0YY-
 
Canon G7 X-stereomono--micro2.0YY-
 
Canon SX60YstereomonoY-mini2.0YY-
 
Fujifilm X30Ystereomono--micro2.0Y--
 
Nikon P900-stereomono--micro2.0YY-
 
Olympus E-P3Ystereo---mini2.0---
 
Olympus E-PL1Ystereo---mini2.0---
 
Olympus E-620Y-----2.0---
 
Olympus E-P2Ystereo---mini2.0---
 
Olympus E-520Y-----2.0---
 
Panasonic FZ2000YstereomonoYYmicro2.0Y--
 
Panasonic LX100Ystereomono--micro2.0YY-

It is notable that the XC10 has a microphone port, which is missing on the E-P1. Such an external microphone input can help to substantially improve the quality of audio recordings when a good external microphone is used.

Both the XC10 and the E-P1 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The E-P1 was replaced by the Olympus E-P2, while the XC10 was followed by the Canon XC15. 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.

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Review summary

So what conclusions can be drawn? Is the Canon XC10 better than the Olympus E-P1 or vice versa? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.

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Advantages of the Canon XC10:

  • Better video: Provides higher definition movie capture (4K/30p vs 720/30p).
  • Better sound: Can connect to an external microphone for higher quality sound recording.
  • Better sound control: Has a headphone port that enables audio monitoring while recording.
  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1030k vs 230k dots).
  • More flexible LCD: Has a tilting screen for odd-angle shots in landscape orientation.
  • Fewer buttons to press: Is equipped with a touch-sensitive rear screen to facilitate handling.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (3.8 vs 3 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • Easier time-lapse photography: Has an intervalometer built-in for low frequency shooting.
  • Ready to shoot: Has a lens built-in, whereas the E-P1 requires a separate lens.
  • 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 device pairing: Supports NFC for fast wireless image transfer over short distances.
  • Greater peace of mind: Features a second card slot as a backup in case of memory card failure.
  • Faster buffer clearing: Has an SD card interface that supports the UHS-I standard.
  • More modern: Reflects 5 years and 9 months of technical progress since the E-P1 launch.

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Reasons to prefer the Olympus PEN E-P1:

  • Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/4000s vs 1/2000s) to freeze action.
  • More flexible: Takes interchangeable lenses and can thus be used with specialty optics.
  • More compact: Is smaller (121x70mm vs 125x102mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been around for much longer (launched in June 2009).

If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the XC10 is the clear winner of the match-up (15 : 4 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.

XC10 15:04 E-P1

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Canon XC10 and the Olympus E-P1 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 XC10 and the E-P1 in practical situations. 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 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 XC10..80/100...... Apr 2015 2,499i
 
Olympus E-P1+66/1004/54/54.5/5 Jun 2009 799i
 
Canon G7 X Mark II+ +81/1004.5/54/54.5/5 Feb 2016 699i
 
Canon G5 X+ +78/1004.5/54/54.5/5 Oct 2015 799i
 
Canon G9 X+ +..4.5/54/54.5/5 Oct 2015 529i
 
Canon G1 X Mark II+77/1004/54/54.5/5 Feb 2014 799i
 
Canon G7 X+ +77/1004.5/53.5/54.5/5 Sep 2014 699i
 
Canon SX60+ +75/1004/5..4.5/5 Sep 2014 549i
 
Fujifilm X30..76/1004.5/54/54.5/5 Aug 2014 599 i
 
Nikon P900..77/1004/54.5/54/5 Mar 2015 599i
 
Olympus E-P383/10074/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Jun 2011 799i
 
Olympus E-PL186/10069/1004/54.5/54.5/5 Feb 2010 599i
 
Olympus E-62088/10072/1004.5/5o5/5 Feb 2009 699i
 
Olympus E-P2+69/1004/54.5/54.5/5 Nov 2009 799i
 
Olympus E-52087/100+ +4.5/54/54.5/5 May 2008 699i
 
Panasonic FZ2000+82/1004.5/54.5/55/5 Sep 2016 1,199 i
 
Panasonic LX100+ +85/1005/54/55/5 Sep 2014 899 i
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. 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 XC10:
Check Ebay offers
Olympus E-P1:
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 XC10 vs Olympus E-P1

    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 XC10 Olympus E-P1
    Camera Type Fixed lens compact camera Mirrorless system camera
    Camera Lens 24-240mm f/2.8-5.6 Micro Four Thirds lenses
    Launch Date April 2015 June 2009
    Launch Price USD 2,499 USD 799
    Sensor Specs Canon XC10 Olympus E-P1
    Sensor Technology CMOS CMOS
    Sensor Format 1" Sensor Four Thirds Sensor
    Sensor Size 12.8 x 9.6 mm 17.3 x 13.0 mm
    Sensor Area 122.88 mm2 224.9 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 16 mm 21.6 mm
    Crop Factor 2.75x 2.0x
    Sensor Resolution 12 Megapixels 12.2 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 4000 x 3000 pixels 4032 x 3024 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 3.20 μm 4.29 μm
    Pixel Density 9.77 MP/cm2 5.42 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability 4K/30p Video 720/30p Video
    ISO Setting 160 - 20,000 ISO 100 - 6,400 ISO
    Image Processor DIGIC DV5 TruePic V
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) .. 55
    DXO Color Depth (bits) .. 21.4
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) .. 10.4
    DXO Low Light (ISO) .. 536
    Screen Specs Canon XC10 Olympus E-P1
    Viewfinder Type no viewfinder no viewfinder
    Viewfinder Magnification
    LCD Framing Live View Live View
    Rear LCD Size 3.0inch 3.0inch
    LCD Resolution 1030k dots 230k dots
    LCD Attachment Tilting screen Fixed screen
    Touch Input Touchscreen no Touchscreen
    Shooting Specs Canon XC10 Olympus E-P1
    Focus System Contrast-detect AF Contrast-detect AF
    Manual Focusing AidFocus Peakingno Peaking Feature
    Continuous Shooting 3.8 shutter flaps/s 3 shutter flaps/s
    Time-Lapse PhotographyIntervalometer built-inno Intervalometer
    Image StabilizationLens-based stabilizationIn-body stabilization
    Fill Flash no On-Board Flash no On-Board Flash
    Storage Medium CFAST or SDXC cards SDHC cards
    Second Storage Option Dual card slots Single card slot
    UHS card support UHS-I no
    Connectivity Specs Canon XC10 Olympus E-P1
    External Flash Hotshoe Hotshoe
    USB Connector USB 2.0 USB 2.0
    HDMI Port mini HDMI mini HDMI
    Microphone Port External MIC port no MIC socket
    Headphone Socket Headphone port no Headphone port
    Wifi Support Wifi built-in no Wifi
    Near-Field Communication NFC built-in no NFC
    Body Specs Canon XC10 Olympus E-P1
    Battery Type LP-E6N BLS-1
    In-Camera Charging USB charging no USB charging
    Body Dimensions 125 x 102 x 122 mm
    (4.9 x 4.0 x 4.8 in)
    121 x 70 x 36 mm
    (4.8 x 2.8 x 1.4 in)
    Camera Weight 1040 g (36.7 oz) 355 g (12.5 oz)

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