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Canon XSi vs Pentax Q

The Canon EOS Rebel XSi (called Canon 450D in some regions) and the Pentax Q are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in January 2008 and June 2011. The XSi is a DSLR, while the Pentax Q is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera. The cameras are based on an APS-C (XSi) and a 1/2.3-inch (Pentax Q) sensor. The Canon has a resolution of 12.2 megapixels, whereas the Pentax 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 XSi   VS Pentax Q
Canon XSi Pentax Q
Digital single lens reflex Mirrorless system camera
Canon EF mount lenses Pentax Q mount lenses
12.2 MP, APS-C Sensor 12 MP, 1/2.3" Sensor
no Video 1080/30p Video
ISO 100-1600 ISO 125-6400
Optical viewfinder Viewfinder optional
3.0" LCD, 230k dots 3.0" LCD, 460k dots
Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive) Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)
3.5 shutter flaps per second 1.5 shutter flaps per second
Lens stabilization onlyIn-body stabilization
500 shots per battery charge230 shots per battery charge
129 x 98 x 62 mm, 524 g 98 x 57 x 31 mm, 180 g

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Canon EOS Rebel XSi and the Pentax Q? 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 physical size and weight of the Canon XSi and the Pentax Q are illustrated 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 width, height and depth measures are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

The Pentax Q can be obtained in two different colors (black, white), while the XSi is only available in black.

Size Canon XSi vs Pentax Q
Compare XSi versus Pentax Q top
Comparison XSi or Pentax Q rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Pentax Q is considerably smaller (56 percent) than the Canon XSi. Moreover, the Pentax Q is substantially lighter (66 percent) than the XSi. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the XSi nor the Pentax Q 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. Hence, you might want to study and compare the specifications of available lenses in order to get the full picture of the size and weight of the two camera systems.

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.

Camera Body Specifications
  Camera
Model
Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life
(CIPA)
Weather
Sealing
(yes/no)
Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Camera
Model
 
Canon XSi» 5.1 in 3.9 in 2.4 in 18.5 oz 500 n Jan 2008 799iCanon XSi
 
Pentax Q« 3.9 in 2.2 in 1.2 in 6.3 oz 230 n Jun 2011 649iPentax Q
 
Canon T6i« » 5.2 in 4.0 in 3.1 in 19.6 oz 440 n Feb 2015 749iCanon T6i
 
Canon T6s« » 5.2 in 4.0 in 3.1 in 19.9 oz 440 n Feb 2015 649iCanon T6s
 
Canon T4i« » 5.2 in 3.9 in 3.1 in 20.3 oz 440 n Jun 2012 849iCanon T4i
 
Canon T3« » 5.1 in 3.9 in 3.1 in 17.5 oz 700 n Feb 2011 449iCanon T3
 
Canon T2i« » 5.1 in 3.9 in 2.4 in 18.7 oz 440 n Feb 2010 699iCanon T2i
 
Canon T1i« » 5.1 in 3.9 in 2.4 in 18.3 oz 400 n Mar 2009 799iCanon T1i
 
Canon XS« » 5.0 in 3.9 in 2.6 in 17.7 oz 500 n Jun 2008 449iCanon XS
 
Canon 40D« » 5.7 in 4.3 in 2.9 in 29.0 oz 750 n Aug 2007 1,299iCanon 40D
 
Canon XTi« » 5.0 in 3.3 in 2.6 in 19.6 oz 370 n Aug 2006 799iCanon XTi
 
Canon XT« » 5.0 in 3.7 in 2.5 in 19.0 oz 400 n Feb 2005 899iCanon XT
 
Olympus XZ-2« » 4.4 in 2.6 in 1.9 in 12.2 oz 340 n Sep 2012 599iOlympus XZ-2
 
Olympus E-PL2« » 4.5 in 2.8 in 1.7 in 12.8 oz 280 n Jan 2011 599iOlympus E-PL2
 
Olympus E-PL3« » 4.3 in 2.5 in 1.5 in 11.0 oz 300 n Jun 2011 599iOlympus E-PL3
 
Olympus E-PL1« » 4.5 in 2.8 in 1.7 in 11.8 oz 290 n Feb 2010 599iOlympus E-PL1
 
Olympus E-620« » 5.1 in 3.7 in 2.4 in 18.4 oz 500 n Feb 2009 699iOlympus E-620
Note: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as 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. The Pentax Q was launched at a somewhat lower price (by 19 percent) than the XSi, which makes it more attractive for photographers on a tight budget. 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.

 

Sensor comparison

The size of the imaging sensor is a crucial determinant of image quality. A large sensor will generally have larger individual pixels that offer better low-light sensitivity, provide wider dynamic range, and have richer color-depth than smaller pixels in a sensor of the same technological generation. Moreover, a large sensor camera will give the photographer more control over depth-of-field in the image and, thus, the ability to better isolate a subject from the 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 XSi features an APS-C sensor and the Pentax Q a 1/2.3-inch sensor. The sensor area in the Pentax Q is 91 percent smaller. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 1.6 and 5.6. The sensor in the XSi has a native 3:2 aspect ratio, while the one in the Pentax Q offers a 4:3 aspect.

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

Canon XSi and Pentax Q sensor measures

With 12.2MP, the XSi offers a slightly higher resolution than the Pentax Q (12MP), but the XSi nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 5.19μm versus 1.53μm for the Pentax Q) due to its larger sensor. However, the Pentax Q is a much more recent model (by 3 years and 4 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 Pentax Q are ISO 125 to ISO 6400 (no boost).

XSi versus Pentax Q MP

For many cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. This service is based on lab testing and assigns an overall score to each camera sensor, as well as ratings for dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), color depth ("DXO Portrait"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"). Of the two cameras under review, the XSi provides substantially higher image quality than the Pentax Q, with an overall score that is 14 points higher. This advantage is based on 1.7 bits higher color depth, 0.3 EV of lower dynamic range, and 1.9 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.

Sensor Characteristics
  Camera
Model
Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
Camera
Model
 
Canon XSi APS-C 12.2 4272 2848none21.910.869261Canon XSi
 
Pentax Q 1/2.3 12.0 4000 30001080/30p20.211.118947Pentax Q
 
Canon T6i APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/30p22.712.091971Canon T6i
 
Canon T6s APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/30p22.612.091570Canon T6s
 
Canon T4i APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p21.711.272262Canon T4i
 
Canon T3 APS-C 12.2 4272 2848720/30p21.911.075562Canon T3
 
Canon T2i APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p22.111.578466Canon T2i
 
Canon T1i APS-C 15.1 4752 31681080/20p21.711.566363Canon T1i
 
Canon XS APS-C 10.1 3888 2592none........Canon XS
 
Canon 40D APS-C 10.1 3888 2592none22.111.370364Canon 40D
 
Canon XTi APS-C 10.1 3888 2592none22.111.066462Canon XTi
 
Canon XT APS-C 8.0 3456 2304none21.810.863760Canon XT
 
Olympus XZ-2 1/1.7 11.8 3968 29761080/30p20.411.321649Olympus XZ-2
 
Olympus E-PL2 Four Thirds 12.2 4032 3024720/30p21.410.257355Olympus E-PL2
 
Olympus E-PL3 Four Thirds 12.2 4032 30241080/60i20.910.349952Olympus E-PL3
 
Olympus E-PL1 Four Thirds 12.2 4032 3024720/30p21.510.148754Olympus E-PL1
 
Olympus E-620 Four Thirds 12.2 4032 3024none21.310.353655Olympus E-620

Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. The Pentax Q indeed provides for movie recording, while the XSi does not. The highest resolution format that the Pentax Q can use is 1080/30p.

 

Feature comparison

Beyond 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 Pentax Q relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. That said, the Pentax Q can be equipped with an optional viewfinder – the O-VF1. The following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Canon XSi, the Pentax Q, and comparable cameras.

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
Camera
Model
 
Canon XSioptical n 3.0 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.5 Y n Canon XSi
 
Pentax Qoptional n 3.0 460 fixed n 1/2000s 1.5 Y Y Pentax Q
 
Canon T6ioptical n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 1/4000s 5.0 Y n Canon T6i
 
Canon T6soptical Y 3.0 1040 swivel Y 1/4000s 5.0 Y n Canon T6s
 
Canon T4ioptical n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 1/4000s 5.0 Y n Canon T4i
 
Canon T3optical n 2.7 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n Canon T3
 
Canon T2ioptical n 3.0 1040 fixed n 1/4000s 3.7 Y n Canon T2i
 
Canon T1ioptical n 3.0 920 fixed n 1/4000s 3.4 Y n Canon T1i
 
Canon XSoptical n 2.5 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n Canon XS
 
Canon 40Doptical Y 3.0 230 fixed n 1/8000s 6.5 Y n Canon 40D
 
Canon XTioptical n 2.5 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n Canon XTi
 
Canon XToptical n 1.8 115 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n Canon XT
 
Olympus XZ-2optional n 3.0 920 tilting Y 1/2000s 5.0 Y Y Olympus XZ-2
 
Olympus E-PL2optional n 3.0 460 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y Y Olympus E-PL2
 
Olympus E-PL3optional n 3.0 460 tilting n 1/4000s 5.5 n Y Olympus E-PL3
 
Olympus E-PL1optional n 2.7 230 fixed n 1/2000s 3.0 Y Y Olympus E-PL1
 
Olympus E-620optical n 2.7 230 swivel n 1/4000s 4.0 Y Y Olympus E-620

One feature that differentiates the Pentax Q and the XSi is in-body image stabilization (IBIS). The Pentax Q reduces the risk of handshake-induced blur with all attached lenses, while the XSi has to rely on optical image stabilization in OIS-equipped lenses to achieve the same effect.

The Pentax Q 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 Pentax Q uses SDXC 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 XSi and Pentax Q and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.

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
Camera
Model
 
Canon XSiYnonenone--mini2.0---Canon XSi
 
Pentax QYmonomono--mini2.0---Pentax Q
 
Canon T6iYstereomonoY-mini2.0YY-Canon T6i
 
Canon T6sYstereomonoY-mini2.0YY-Canon T6s
 
Canon T4iYstereomonoY-mini2.0---Canon T4i
 
Canon T3Ystereomono--mini2.0---Canon T3
 
Canon T2iYstereononeY-mini2.0---Canon T2i
 
Canon T1iYmonomono--mini2.0---Canon T1i
 
Canon XSYnonenone--none2.0---Canon XS
 
Canon 40DYnonenone--none2.0---Canon 40D
 
Canon XTiYnonenone--none2.0---Canon XTi
 
Canon XTYnonenone--none2.0---Canon XT
 
Olympus XZ-2Ystereomono--mini2.0---Olympus XZ-2
 
Olympus E-PL2Ystereonone--mini2.0---Olympus E-PL2
 
Olympus E-PL3Ystereonone--mini2.0---Olympus E-PL3
 
Olympus E-PL1Ystereonone--mini2.0---Olympus E-PL1
 
Olympus E-620Ynonenone--none2.0---Olympus E-620

Both the XSi and the Pentax Q have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The XSi was replaced by the Canon T1i, while the Pentax Q was followed by the Pentax Q10. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Canon and Pentax websites.

Review summary

So what is the bottom line? Is the Canon XSi better than the Pentax Q or vice versa? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.

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Arguments in favor of the Canon EOS Rebel XSi:

  • Better image quality: Scores substantially higher (14 points) in the DXO overall assessment.
  • Richer colors: Generates images with noticeably better colors (1.7 bits more color depth).
  • Better low-light sensitivity: Requires less light for good images (1.9 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.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (3.5 vs 1.5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • Longer lasting: Can take more shots (500 versus 230) on a single battery charge.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in January 2008).

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Advantages of the Pentax Q:

  • Broader imaging potential: Can capture not only stills but also 1080/30p video.
  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (460k vs 230k dots).
  • Easier time-lapse photography: Has an intervalometer built-in for low frequency shooting.
  • More compact: Is smaller (98x57mm vs 129x98mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
  • Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 344g or 66 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
  • Sharper images: Has stabilization technology built-in to reduce the impact of hand-shake.
  • More legacy lens friendly: Can use many non-native lenses via adapters.
  • More affordable: Was released into a lower priced segment (19 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More modern: Reflects 3 years and 4 months of technical progress since the XSi launch.

If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the Pentax Q comes out slightly ahead of the XSi (9 : 8 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 wildlife photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a family photog, and a person interested in architecture has distinct needs from a sports shooter. Hence, the decision which camera is best and worth buying is often a very personal one.

XSi 08:09 Pentax Q

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Canon XSi and the Pentax Q 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 partial and cannot reveal, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance when actually working with the XSi or the Pentax Q. 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 expert reviews 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.

Review Scores
  Camera
Model
cam
era
  labs  
dp
re
  view  
e
photo
  zine  
ima
ging
resource
photo
graphy
  blog  
Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Camera
Model
 
Canon XSi+ ++ +4/55/54.5/5 Jan 2008 799iCanon XSi
 
Pentax Q....4/53.5/53.5/5 Jun 2011 649iPentax Q
 
Canon T6i..75/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Feb 2015 749iCanon T6i
 
Canon T6s+77/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Feb 2015 649iCanon T6s
 
Canon T4i+ +77/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Jun 2012 849iCanon T4i
 
Canon T380/10069/1004/54/54.5/5 Feb 2011 449iCanon T3
 
Canon T2i+ +77/1004/55/54.5/5 Feb 2010 699iCanon T2i
 
Canon T1i+ +74/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Mar 2009 799iCanon T1i
 
Canon XS82/100+ +3.5/54/54.5/5 Jun 2008 449iCanon XS
 
Canon 40D+ ++ +4.5/5o4.5/5 Aug 2007 1,299iCanon 40D
 
Canon XTi+ ++ +o4.5/54/5 Aug 2006 799iCanon XTi
 
Canon XT80/100+ +oo.. Feb 2005 899iCanon XT
 
Olympus XZ-2+..4.5/54/54.5/5 Sep 2012 599iOlympus XZ-2
 
Olympus E-PL283/10071/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Jan 2011 599iOlympus E-PL2
 
Olympus E-PL3+ +72/1004.5/5..4/5 Jun 2011 599iOlympus E-PL3
 
Olympus E-PL186/10069/1004/54.5/54.5/5 Feb 2010 599iOlympus E-PL1
 
Olympus E-62088/10072/1004.5/5o5/5 Feb 2009 699iOlympus E-620
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. 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 XSi:
Check Ebay offers
Pentax Q:
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.

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    Specifications: Canon XSi vs Pentax Q

    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 Pentax Q
    Camera Type Digital single lens reflex Mirrorless system camera
    Camera Lens Canon EF mount lenses Pentax Q mount lenses
    Launch Date January 2008 June 2011
    Launch Price USD 799 USD 649
    Sensor Specs Canon XSi Pentax Q
    Sensor Technology CMOS CMOS
    Sensor Format APS-C Sensor 1/2.3" Sensor
    Sensor Size 22.2 x 14.8 mm 6.17 x 4.55 mm
    Sensor Area 328.56 mm2 28.0735 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 26.7 mm 7.7 mm
    Crop Factor 1.6x 5.6x
    Sensor Resolution 12.2 Megapixels 12 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 4272 x 2848 pixels 4000 x 3000 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 5.19 μm 1.53 μm
    Pixel Density 3.70 MP/cm2 42.74 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability no Video 1080/30p Video
    ISO Setting 100-1600 ISO 125-6400 ISO
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) 61 47
    DXO Color Depth (bits) 21.9 20.2
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) 10.8 11.1
    DXO Low Light (ISO) 692 189
    Screen Specs Canon XSi Pentax Q
    Viewfinder Type Optical viewfinder Viewfinder optional
    Viewfinder Field of View 95%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.54x
    LCD Framing Live View Live View
    Rear LCD Size 3.0 inch 3.0 inch
    LCD Resolution 230k dots 460k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen Fixed screen
    Shooting Specs Canon XSi Pentax Q
    Autofocus System Phase-detect AF Contrast-detect AF
    Continuous Shooting 3.5 shutter flaps/s 1.5 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 Pentax Q
    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 Pentax Q
    Battery Type LP-E5 D-LI68
    Battery Life (CIPA)500 shots per charge230 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 129 x 98 x 62 mm
    (5.1 x 3.9 x 2.4 in)
    98 x 57 x 31 mm
    (3.9 x 2.2 x 1.2 in)
    Camera Weight 524 g (18.5 oz) 180 g (6.3 oz)

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