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Canon XSi vs Olympus XZ-2

The Canon EOS Rebel XSi (called Canon 450D in some regions) and the Olympus XZ-2 are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in January 2008 and September 2012. The XSi is a DSLR, while the XZ-2 is a fixed lens compact. The cameras are based on an APS-C (XSi) and a 1/1.7-inch (XZ-2) sensor. The Canon has a resolution of 12.2 megapixels, whereas the Olympus provides 11.8 MP.

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

Headline Specifications
Canon XSi versus Olympus XZ-2
Canon XSi Olympus XZ-2
Digital single lens reflex Fixed lens compact camera
Canon EF mount lenses 28-112mm f/1.8-2.5
12.2 MP, APS-C Sensor 11.8 MP, 1/1.7" Sensor
no Video 1080/30p Video
ISO 100-1,600 ISO 100-12,800
Optical viewfinder Viewfinder optional
3.0 LCD, 230k dots 3.0 LCD, 920k dots
Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive) Tilting touchscreen
3.5 shutter flaps per second 5 shutter flaps per second
Lens stabilization onlyIn-body stabilization
500 shots per battery charge340 shots per battery charge
129 x 98 x 62 mm, 524 g 113 x 65 x 48 mm, 346 g

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Canon EOS Rebel XSi and the Olympus XZ-2? 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 XSi and the Olympus XZ-2. 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.

Size Canon XSi vs Olympus XZ-2
Compare XSi versus XZ-2 top
Comparison XSi or XZ-2 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Olympus XZ-2 is considerably smaller (42 percent) than the Canon XSi. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the XSi nor the XZ-2 are weather-sealed.

The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the XZ-2 has a lens built in, whereas the XSi 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 XSi and their specifications in the Canon EF Lens Catalog.

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, 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 XSi 129 mm 98 mm 62 mm 524 g 500 n Jan 2008 799i
2.
 
Olympus XZ-2 113 mm 65 mm 48 mm 346 g 340 n Sep 2012 599i
3.
 
Canon T6i 132 mm 101 mm 78 mm 555 g 440 n Feb 2015 749i
4.
 
Canon T6s 132 mm 101 mm 78 mm 565 g 440 n Feb 2015 649i
5.
 
Canon T4i 133 mm 100 mm 79 mm 575 g 440 n Jun 2012 849i
6.
 
Canon T3 130 mm 100 mm 78 mm 495 g 700 n Feb 2011 449i
7.
 
Canon T2i 129 mm 98 mm 62 mm 530 g 440 n Feb 2010 699i
8.
 
Canon T1i 129 mm 98 mm 62 mm 520 g 400 n Mar 2009 799i
9.
 
Canon XS 126 mm 98 mm 65 mm 502 g 500 n Jun 2008 449i
10.
 
Canon 40D 146 mm 108 mm 74 mm 822 g 750 n Aug 2007 1,299i
11.
 
Canon XTi 127 mm 84 mm 65 mm 556 g 370 n Aug 2006 799i
12.
 
Canon XT 127 mm 94 mm 64 mm 540 g 400 n Feb 2005 899i
13.
 
Olympus Stylus 1 116 mm 87 mm 57 mm 402 g 410 n Oct 2013 699i
14.
 
Olympus E-PL2 114 mm 72 mm 42 mm 362 g 280 n Jan 2011 599i
15.
 
Olympus E-PL3 110 mm 64 mm 37 mm 313 g 300 n Jun 2011 599i
16.
 
Olympus XZ-1 111 mm 65 mm 42 mm 275 g 320 n Jan 2011 499i
17.
 
Pentax MX-1 122 mm 61 mm 51 mm 391 g 290 n Jan 2013 499i
Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.

Any camera decision will obviously take relative prices into account. The listed launch prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The XZ-2 was launched at a lower price than the XSi, 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. 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 size of the imaging sensor is a crucial determinant 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 XSi features an APS-C sensor and the Olympus XZ-2 a 1/1.7-inch sensor. The sensor area in the XZ-2 is 87 percent smaller. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 1.6 and 4.4. The sensor in the XSi has a native 3:2 aspect ratio, while the one in the XZ-2 offers a 4:3 aspect.

Technology-wise, both cameras are equipped with CMOS (Complementary Metal–Oxide–Semiconductor) sensors.

Canon XSi and Olympus XZ-2 sensor measures

With 12.2MP, the XSi offers a slightly higher resolution than the XZ-2 (11.8MP), but the XSi nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 5.19μm versus 1.91μm for the XZ-2) due to its larger sensor. However, the XZ-2 is a much more recent model (by 4 years and 7 months) than the XSi, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that further enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixels.

The Canon EOS Rebel XSi has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 1600. The corresponding ISO settings for the Olympus XZ-2 are ISO 100 to ISO 12800 (no boost).

XSi versus XZ-2 MP

Since 2007, DXO Mark has published sensor performance measurements that have been derived using a consistent methodology. This service determines an overall sensor rating, as well as sub-scores for low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and color depth ("DXO Portrait"). Of the two cameras under review, the XSi provides substantially higher image quality than the XZ-2, with an overall score that is 12 points higher. This advantage is based on 1.5 bits higher color depth, 0.5 EV of lower dynamic range, and 1.7 stops in additional low light sensitivity. 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
1.
 
Canon XSi APS-C 12.2 4272 2848none21.910.869261
2.
 
Olympus XZ-2 1/1.7 11.8 3968 29761080/30p20.411.321649
3.
 
Canon T6i APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/30p22.712.091971
4.
 
Canon T6s APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/30p22.612.091570
5.
 
Canon T4i APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p21.711.272262
6.
 
Canon T3 APS-C 12.2 4272 2848720/30p21.911.075562
7.
 
Canon T2i APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p22.111.578466
8.
 
Canon T1i APS-C 15.1 4752 31681080/20p21.711.566363
9.
 
Canon XS APS-C 10.1 3888 2592none........
10.
 
Canon 40D APS-C 10.1 3888 2592none22.111.370364
11.
 
Canon XTi APS-C 10.1 3888 2592none22.111.066462
12.
 
Canon XT APS-C 8.0 3456 2304none21.810.863760
13.
 
Olympus Stylus 1 1/1.7 11.8 3968 29761080/30p20.711.617951
14.
 
Olympus E-PL2 Four Thirds 12.2 4032 3024720/30p21.410.257355
15.
 
Olympus E-PL3 Four Thirds 12.2 4032 30241080/60i20.910.349952
16.
 
Olympus XZ-1 1/1.7 10.1 3664 2752720/30p18.810.411734
17.
 
Pentax MX-1 1/1.7 12.0 4000 30001080/30p20.411.320849

Many modern cameras cannot only take still pictures, but also record videos. The XZ-2 indeed provides for movie recording, while the XSi does not. The highest resolution format that the XZ-2 can use is 1080/30p.

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Feature comparison

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the XSi has an optical viewfinder, which can be very useful when shooting in bright sunlight. In contrast, the XZ-2 relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. That said, the XZ-2 can be equipped with an optional viewfinder – the VF-2. The adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Canon XSi and Olympus XZ-2 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
1.
 
Canon XSioptical n 3.0 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.5 Y n
2.
 
Olympus XZ-2optional n 3.0 920 tilting Y 1/2000s 5.0 Y Y
3.
 
Canon T6ioptical n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 1/4000s 5.0 Y n
4.
 
Canon T6soptical Y 3.0 1040 swivel Y 1/4000s 5.0 Y n
5.
 
Canon T4ioptical n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 1/4000s 5.0 Y n
6.
 
Canon T3optical n 2.7 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
7.
 
Canon T2ioptical n 3.0 1040 fixed n 1/4000s 3.7 Y n
8.
 
Canon T1ioptical n 3.0 920 fixed n 1/4000s 3.4 Y n
9.
 
Canon XSoptical n 2.5 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
10.
 
Canon 40Doptical Y 3.0 230 fixed n 1/8000s 6.5 Y n
11.
 
Canon XTioptical n 2.5 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
12.
 
Canon XToptical n 1.8 115 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
13.
 
Olympus Stylus 11440 n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 1/2000s 7.0 Y Y
14.
 
Olympus E-PL2optional n 3.0 460 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y Y
15.
 
Olympus E-PL3optional n 3.0 460 tilting n 1/4000s 5.5 n Y
16.
 
Olympus XZ-1optional n 3.0 614 fixed n 1/2000s 2.0 Y Y
17.
 
Pentax MX-1none n 3.0 920 tilting n 1/8000s 1.0 Y Y

One differentiating feature between the two cameras concerns the touch sensitivity of the rear screen. The XZ-2 has a touchscreen, while the XSi has a conventional panel. Touch control can be particularly helpful, for example, for setting the focus point.

The Olympus XZ-2 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 XSi writes its imaging data to SDHC cards, while the XZ-2 uses SDXC 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 EOS Rebel XSi and Olympus XZ-2 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 XSiY----mini2.0---
2.
 
Olympus XZ-2Ystereomono--mini2.0---
3.
 
Canon T6iYstereomonoY-mini2.0YY-
4.
 
Canon T6sYstereomonoY-mini2.0YY-
5.
 
Canon T4iYstereomonoY-mini2.0---
6.
 
Canon T3Ystereomono--mini2.0---
7.
 
Canon T2iYstereo-Y-mini2.0---
8.
 
Canon T1iYmonomono--mini2.0---
9.
 
Canon XSY-----2.0---
10.
 
Canon 40DY-----2.0---
11.
 
Canon XTiY-----2.0---
12.
 
Canon XTY-----2.0---
13.
 
Olympus Stylus 1Ystereomono--micro2.0Y--
14.
 
Olympus E-PL2Ystereo---mini2.0---
15.
 
Olympus E-PL3Ystereo---mini2.0---
16.
 
Olympus XZ-1Ymono---mini2.0---
17.
 
Pentax MX-1-stereomono--mini2.0---

Both the XSi and the XZ-2 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The XSi was replaced by the Canon T1i, while the XZ-2 does not have a direct successor. 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 is the bottom line? Is the Canon XSi better than the Olympus XZ-2 or vice versa? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.

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Advantages of the Canon EOS Rebel XSi:

  • Better image quality: Scores substantially higher (12 points) in the DXO overall assessment.
  • Richer colors: Generates images with noticeably better colors (1.5 bits more color depth).
  • Better low-light sensitivity: Requires less light for good images (1.7 stops ISO advantage).
  • Easier framing: Has an optical viewfinder for image composition and settings control.
  • Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/4000s vs 1/2000s) to freeze action.
  • More flexible: Can take a variety of interchangeable lenses, including specialty optics.
  • Longer lasting: Can take more shots (500 versus 340) on a single battery charge.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in January 2008).

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Arguments in favor of the Olympus XZ-2:

  • Broader imaging potential: Can capture not only stills but also 1080/30p video.
  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (920k vs 230k dots).
  • More flexible LCD: Has a tilting screen for odd-angle shots in landscape orientation.
  • Fewer buttons to press: Has a touchscreen to facilitate handling and shooting adjustments.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (5 vs 3.5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • Easier time-lapse photography: Has an intervalometer built-in for low frequency shooting.
  • Ready to shoot: Comes with an integrated lens, while the XSi requires a separate lens.
  • More compact: Is smaller (113x65mm vs 129x98mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
  • Less heavy: Has a lower weight even though it has a lens built in (unlike the XSi).
  • Sharper images: Has stabilization technology built-in to reduce the impact of hand-shake.
  • More affordable: Was introduced at a lower price, despite coming with a built-in lens.
  • More modern: Reflects 4 years and 7 months of technical progress since the XSi launch.

If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the XZ-2 is the clear winner of the contest (12 : 8 points). However, the relevance of individual strengths will vary across photographers, so that you might want to apply your own weighing scheme to the summary points when reflecting and deciding 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.

XSi 08:12 XZ-2

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Canon XSi and the Olympus XZ-2 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best DSLR Camera and Best Travel-Zoom 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 says little about, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance of the XSi and the XZ-2 in practical situations. 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 adjacent summary-table relays the overall verdicts of several of the most popular 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 XSi..+ ++ +4/54.5/5 Jan 2008 799i
2.
 
Olympus XZ-24/5+..4.5/54.5/5 Sep 2012 599i
3.
 
Canon T6i5/5..75/1004.5/54.5/5 Feb 2015 749i
4.
 
Canon T6s5/5+77/1004.5/54.5/5 Feb 2015 649i
5.
 
Canon T4i4/5+ +77/1004.5/54.5/5 Jun 2012 849i
6.
 
Canon T3..80/10069/1004/54.5/5 Feb 2011 449i
7.
 
Canon T2i..+ +77/1004/54.5/5 Feb 2010 699i
8.
 
Canon T1i..+ +74/1004.5/54.5/5 Mar 2009 799i
9.
 
Canon XS..82/100+ +3.5/54.5/5 Jun 2008 449i
10.
 
Canon 40D..+ ++ +4.5/54.5/5 Aug 2007 1,299i
11.
 
Canon XTi..+ ++ +o4/5 Aug 2006 799i
12.
 
Canon XT..80/100+ +o.. Feb 2005 899i
13.
 
Olympus Stylus 1..+ +..4.5/54.5/5 Oct 2013 699i
14.
 
Olympus E-PL23/583/10071/1004.5/54.5/5 Jan 2011 599i
15.
 
Olympus E-PL33/5+ +72/1004.5/54/5 Jun 2011 599i
16.
 
Olympus XZ-14/5..74/1004.5/54.5/5 Jan 2011 499i
17.
 
Pentax MX-13/5..74/1004/54/5 Jan 2013 499i
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. A score, therefore, has to be seen in close connection to the price and market introduction time of the camera, and rating-comparisons among cameras that span long time periods or concern very differently equipped models make little sense. Also, kindly note that some of the listed sites have over time developped their review approaches and their reporting style.

Canon XSi:
Check Ebay offers
Olympus XZ-2:
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 XSi vs Olympus XZ-2

    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 XSi Olympus XZ-2
    Camera Type Digital single lens reflex Fixed lens compact camera
    Camera Lens Canon EF mount lenses 28-112mm f/1.8-2.5
    Launch Date January 2008 September 2012
    Launch Price USD 799 USD 599
    Sensor Specs Canon XSi Olympus XZ-2
    Sensor Technology CMOS CMOS
    Sensor Format APS-C Sensor 1/1.7" Sensor
    Sensor Size 22.2 x 14.8 mm 7.6 x 5.7 mm
    Sensor Area 328.56 mm2 43.32 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 26.7 mm 9.5 mm
    Crop Factor 1.6x 4.4x
    Sensor Resolution 12.2 Megapixels 11.8 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 4272 x 2848 pixels 3968 x 2976 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 5.19 μm 1.91 μm
    Pixel Density 3.70 MP/cm2 27.26 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability no Video 1080/30p Video
    ISO Setting 100 - 1,600 ISO 100 - 12,800 ISO
    Image Processor DIGIC 3 TruePic VI
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) 61 49
    DXO Color Depth (bits) 21.9 20.4
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) 10.8 11.3
    DXO Low Light (ISO) 692 216
    Screen Specs Canon XSi Olympus XZ-2
    Viewfinder Type Optical viewfinder Viewfinder optional
    Viewfinder Field of View 95%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.54x
    LCD Framing Live View Live View
    Rear LCD Size 3.0inch 3.0inch
    LCD Resolution 230k dots 920k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen Tilting screen
    Touch Input no Touchscreen Touchscreen
    Shooting Specs Canon XSi Olympus XZ-2
    Focus System Phase-detect AF Contrast-detect AF
    Continuous Shooting 3.5 shutter flaps/s 5 shutter flaps/s
    Time-Lapse Photographyno IntervalometerIntervalometer built-in
    Image StabilizationLens stabilization onlyIn-body stabilization
    Fill Flash Build-in Flash Build-in Flash
    Storage Medium SDHC cards SDXC cards
    Second Storage Option Single card slot Single card slot
    UHS card support no no
    Connectivity Specs Canon XSi Olympus XZ-2
    External Flash Hotshoe Hotshoe
    USB Connector USB 2.0 USB 2.0
    HDMI Port mini HDMI mini HDMI
    Wifi Support no Wifi no Wifi
    Body Specs Canon XSi Olympus XZ-2
    Battery Type LP-E5 Li-90B
    Battery Life (CIPA)500 shots per charge340 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 129 x 98 x 62 mm
    (5.1 x 3.9 x 2.4 in)
    113 x 65 x 48 mm
    (4.4 x 2.6 x 1.9 in)
    Camera Weight 524 g (18.5 oz) 346 g (12.2 oz)

    Did you notice an error on this page? If so, please get in touch, so that we can correct the information.

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