Leica CL vs Sony A7 II
The Leica CL (Typ 7323) and the Sony Alpha A7 II are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in November 2017 and November 2014. Both the CL and the A7 II are mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras that are based on an APS-C (CL) and a full frame (A7 II) sensor. The Leica has a resolution of 24.1 megapixels, whereas the Sony provides 24 MP. Read on to find out how these two cameras compare with respect to their body size, their sensors, their features, their input-output connections, and their reception by expert reviewers.
|Leica CL||Sony A7 II|
|Mirrorless system camera||Mirrorless system camera|
|Leica T mount lenses||Sony E mount lenses|
|24.1 MP, APS-C Sensor||24 MP, Full Frame Sensor|
|4K/30p Video||1080/60p Video|
|ISO 100-50000||ISO 100-25600 (50-51200)|
|Electronic viewfinder (2360k dots)||Electronic viewfinder (2400k dots)|
|3.0" LCD, 1040k dots||3.0" LCD, 1230k dots|
|Fixed touchscreen||Tilting screen (not touch-sensitive)|
|10 shutter flaps per second||5 shutter flaps per second|
|Lens stabilization only||In-body stabilization|
|Not weather sealed||Weathersealed body|
|220 shots per battery charge||350 shots per battery charge|
|131 x 78 x 45 mm, 403 g||127 x 96 x 60 mm, 599 g|
Body comparison: Leica CL vs Sony A7 II
An illustration of the physical size and weight of the Leica CL and the Sony A7 II 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. If you prefer, you can also use the toggle button to switch to a comparison in percentage terms (in this case, the camera on the left – the CL – represents the basis or 100 percent across all the size and weight measures).
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Sony A7 II is notably larger (19 percent) than the Leica CL. Moreover, the A7 II is substantially heavier (49 percent) than the CL. It is noteworthy in this context that the A7 II is splash and dust-proof, while the CL does not feature any corresponding weather-sealing.
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 table below summarizes the key physical specs of the two cameras alongside a broader set of comparators. If you want to switch the focus of the display and review another camera pair, just select a new right or left comparator from among the camera models in the table. Alternatively, you can also move across to the CAM-parator tool and choose from the broad selection of possible camera comparisons there.
|Leica CL»||5.2 in||3.1 in||1.8 in||14.2 oz||220||n||Nov 2017||2,795||Leica CL|
|Sony A7 II«||5.0 in||3.8 in||2.4 in||21.1 oz||350||Y||Nov 2014||1,999||-||Sony A7 II|
|Fujifilm X-T100« »||4.8 in||3.3 in||1.9 in||15.8 oz||430||n||May 2018||599||Fujifilm X-T100|
|Fujifilm X-T20« »||4.6 in||3.3 in||1.6 in||13.5 oz||350||n||Jan 2017||899||Fujifilm X-T20|
|Fujifilm X-A3« »||4.6 in||2.6 in||1.6 in||12.0 oz||410||n||Aug 2016||399||-||Fujifilm X-A3|
|Leica C-LUX« »||4.4 in||2.6 in||1.8 in||12.0 oz||370||n||Jun 2018||1,049||Leica C-LUX|
|Leica TL2« »||5.3 in||2.7 in||1.3 in||14.1 oz||250||n||Jul 2017||1,950||Leica TL2|
|Leica TL« »||5.3 in||2.7 in||1.3 in||13.5 oz||400||n||Nov 2016||1,695||-||Leica TL|
|Leica T« »||5.3 in||2.7 in||1.3 in||13.5 oz||400||n||Apr 2014||1,850||-||Leica T|
|Nikon D3500« »||4.9 in||3.8 in||2.8 in||12.9 oz||1550||n||Aug 2018||429||Nikon D3500|
|Nikon D5600« »||4.9 in||3.8 in||2.8 in||16.4 oz||970||n||Nov 2016||699||Nikon D5600|
|Nikon D3400« »||4.9 in||3.9 in||3.0 in||15.7 oz||1200||n||Aug 2016||499||-||Nikon D3400|
|Sony A7 III« »||5.0 in||3.8 in||2.9 in||22.9 oz||610||Y||Feb 2018||1,999||Sony A7 III|
|Sony A7R II« »||5.0 in||3.8 in||2.4 in||22.0 oz||290||Y||Jun 2015||3,199||-||Sony A7R II|
|Sony A7S II« »||5.0 in||3.8 in||2.4 in||22.1 oz||370||Y||Sep 2015||2,999||Sony A7S II|
|Sony A7« »||5.0 in||3.7 in||1.9 in||16.7 oz||340||Y||Oct 2013||1,699||-||Sony A7|
|Sony A7R« »||5.0 in||3.7 in||1.9 in||16.4 oz||340||Y||Oct 2013||2,299||-||Sony A7R|
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 A7 II was launched at a markedly lower price (by 28 percent) than the CL, 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: Leica CL vs Sony A7 II
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 tend to be more expensive and lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.
Of the two cameras under consideration, the Leica CL features an APS-C sensor and the Sony A7 II a full frame sensor. The sensor area in the A7 II is 131 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 1.5 and 1.0. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.
Technology-wise, both cameras are equipped with CMOS (Complementary Metal–Oxide–Semiconductor) sensors.
Despite having a smaller sensor, the Leica CL offers a higher resolution of 24.1 megapixels, compared with 24 MP of the Sony A7 II. 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 3.92μm versus 5.97μm for the A7 II). However, it should be noted that the CL is much more recent (by 3 years) than the A7 II, 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 CL has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.
The A7 II has on-sensor phase detect pixels, which results in fast and reliable autofocus acquisition even during video recording.
The Leica CL (Typ 7323) has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 50000 The corresponding ISO settings for the Sony Alpha A7 II are ISO 100 to ISO 25600, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 50-51200..
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"). The adjacent table reports on the physical sensor characteristics and the outcomes of the DXO sensor quality tests for a sample of comparator-cameras.
|Leica CL»||APS-C||24.1||6014||4014||4K/30p||-||-||-||-||Leica CL|
|Sony A7 II«||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||24.9||13.6||2449||90||Sony A7 II|
|Fujifilm X-T100« »||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||4K/15p||-||-||-||-||Fujifilm X-T100|
|Fujifilm X-T20« »||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||4K/30p||-||-||-||-||Fujifilm X-T20|
|Fujifilm X-A3« »||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||-||-||-||-||Fujifilm X-A3|
|Leica C-LUX« »||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||4K/30p||-||-||-||-||Leica C-LUX|
|Leica TL2« »||APS-C||24.1||6014||4014||4K/30p||-||-||-||-||Leica TL2|
|Leica TL« »||APS-C||16.1||4928||3264||1080/30p||-||-||-||-||Leica TL|
|Leica T« »||APS-C||16.2||4944||3278||1080/30p||23.0||12.7||1082||75||Leica T|
|Nikon D3500« »||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||-||-||-||-||Nikon D3500|
|Nikon D5600« »||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||24.1||14.0||1306||84||Nikon D5600|
|Nikon D3400« »||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||24.8||13.9||1192||86||Nikon D3400|
|Sony A7 III« »||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||4K/30p||25.0||14.7||3730||96||Sony A7 III|
|Sony A7R II« »||Full Frame||42.2||7952||5304||4K/30p||26.0||13.9||3434||98||Sony A7R II|
|Sony A7S II« »||Full Frame||12.0||4240||2832||4K/30p||23.6||13.3||2993||85||Sony A7S II|
|Sony A7« »||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||24.8||14.2||2248||90||Sony A7|
|Sony A7R« »||Full Frame||36.2||7360||4912||1080/60p||25.6||14.1||2746||95||Sony A7R|
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but also of capturing video footage. Both cameras under consideration have a sensor with sufficiently fast read-out times for moving pictures, but the CL provides a higher video resolution than the A7 II. It can shoot video footage at 4K/30p, while the Sony is limited to 1080/60p.
Feature comparison: Leica CL vs Sony A7 II
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The two cameras under review are similar with respect to both having an electronic viewfinder. However, the one in the A7 II offers a slightly higher resolution than the one in the CL (2400k vs 2360k dots). The following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Leica CL, the Sony A7 II, and comparable cameras.
|Leica CL»||2360||Y||3.0||1040||fixed||Y||8000||10.0||n||n||Leica CL|
|Sony A7 II«||2400||n||3.0||1230||tilting||n||8000||5.0||n||Y||Sony A7 II|
|Fujifilm X-T100« »||2360||n||3.0||1040||full-flex||Y||4000||6.0||Y||n||Fujifilm X-T100|
|Fujifilm X-T20« »||2360||n||3.0||1040||tilting||Y||4000||8.0||Y||n||Fujifilm X-T20|
|Fujifilm X-A3« »||-||n||3.0||1040||tilting||Y||4000||6.0||Y||n||Fujifilm X-A3|
|Leica C-LUX« »||2330||n||3.0||1240||fixed||Y||2000||10.0||Y||Y||Leica C-LUX|
|Leica TL2« »||-||n||3.7||1230||fixed||Y||4000||7.0||n||n||Leica TL2|
|Leica TL« »||-||n||3.7||1230||fixed||Y||4000||5.0||Y||n||Leica TL|
|Leica T« »||-||n||3.7||1300||fixed||Y||4000||5.0||Y||n||Leica T|
|Nikon D3500« »||optical||n||3.0||921||fixed||n||4000||5.0||Y||n||Nikon D3500|
|Nikon D5600« »||optical||n||3.2||1037||swivel||Y||4000||5.0||Y||n||Nikon D5600|
|Nikon D3400« »||optical||n||3.0||921||fixed||n||4000||5.0||Y||n||Nikon D3400|
|Sony A7 III« »||2359||n||3.0||922||tilting||Y||8000||10.0||n||Y||Sony A7 III|
|Sony A7R II« »||2400||n||3.0||1229||tilting||n||8000||5.0||n||Y||Sony A7R II|
|Sony A7S II« »||2400||n||3.0||1229||tilting||n||8000||5.0||n||Y||Sony A7S II|
|Sony A7« »||2400||n||3.0||1230||tilting||n||8000||5.0||n||n||Sony A7|
|Sony A7R« »||2400||n||3.0||1230||tilting||n||8000||4.0||n||n||Sony A7R|
One feature that is present on the CL, but is missing on the A7 II is a top-level LCD. While being, of course, smaller than the rear screen, the control panel conveys some of the essential shooting information and can be convenient for quick and easy settings verification.
The reported shutter speed and shutter burst refer to the use of the mechanical shutter. In addition, the CL features an electronic shutter, which makes completely silent shooting possible. However, this mode is less suitable for photographing moving objects (risk of rolling shutter) or shooting under artificial light sources (risk of flickering).
The CL writes its imaging data to SDXC cards, while the A7 II uses SDXC or Memory Stick PRO Duo cards.
Connectivity comparison: Leica CL vs Sony A7 II
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 Leica CL (Typ 7323) and Sony Alpha A7 II and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
|Leica CL»||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||-||-||Y||-||-||Leica CL|
|Sony A7 II«||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-||Sony A7 II|
|Fujifilm X-T100« »||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||Y||Fujifilm X-T100|
|Fujifilm X-T20« »||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-||Fujifilm X-T20|
|Fujifilm X-A3« »||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-||Fujifilm X-A3|
|Leica C-LUX« »||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-||Leica C-LUX|
|Leica TL2« »||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||3.0||Y||-||-||Leica TL2|
|Leica TL« »||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-||Leica TL|
|Leica T« »||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||-||2.0||Y||-||-||Leica T|
|Nikon D3500« »||Y||mono||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||Y||-||Y||Nikon D3500|
|Nikon D5600« »||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||Y||Nikon D5600|
|Nikon D3400« »||Y||mono||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||Y||-||Y||Nikon D3400|
|Sony A7 III« »||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||micro||3.1||Y||Y||Y||Sony A7 III|
|Sony A7R II« »||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-||Sony A7R II|
|Sony A7S II« »||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-||Sony A7S II|
|Sony A7« »||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-||Sony A7|
|Sony A7R« »||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-||Sony A7R|
It is notable that the A7 II has a headphone jack, which makes it possible to attach external headphones and monitor the quality of sound during the recording process. The CL lacks such a headphone port.
The CL is a recent model that features in the current product line-up of Leica. In contrast, the A7 II has been discontinued (but it can be found pre-owned on eBay). As a replacement in the same line of cameras, the A7 II was succeeded by the Sony A7 III.
Review summary: Leica CL vs Sony A7 II
So how do things add up? Is the Leica CL better than the Sony A7 II or vice versa? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.
Reasons to prefer the Leica CL (Typ 7323):
- Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
- Better video: Provides higher definition movie capture (4K/30p vs 1080/60p).
- Easier setting verification: Features an LCD display on top to control shooting parameters.
- Fewer buttons to press: Is equipped with a touch-sensitive rear screen to facilitate handling.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (10 vs 5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Less disturbing: Has an electronic shutter option for completely silent shooting.
- More compact: Is smaller (131x78mm vs 127x96mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
- Less heavy: Is lighter (by 196g or 33 percent) and hence easier to carry around.
- More prestigious: Has the Leica luxury appeal, which ensures a high resale price.
- More modern: Reflects 3 years of technical progress since the A7 II launch.
Arguments in favor of the Sony Alpha A7 II:
- Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
- Better video autofocus: Features on-sensor phase-detection for more confident movie autofocus.
- 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 (1230k vs 1040k dots).
- More flexible LCD: Has a tilting screen for odd-angle shots in landscape orientation.
- Longer lasting: Gets more shots (350 versus 220) out of a single battery charge.
- Better sealing: Is splash and dust sealed for shooting in inclement weather conditions.
- Sharper images: Has stabilization technology built-in to reduce the impact of hand-shake.
- Easier device pairing: Supports NFC for fast wireless image transfer over short distances.
- More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (28 percent cheaper at launch).
- More heavily discounted: Has been around for much longer (launched in November 2014).
If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the A7 II emerges as the winner of the match-up (12 : 10 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.
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 handling experience and imaging performance when actually working with the CL or the A7 II. 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: Leica CL vs Sony A7 II
This is why expert reviews are important. The following table reports the overall rankings of the cameras as published by some of the major camera review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, photographyblog). You can find the full text of the reviews by clicking on the site logo in the table header.
|Leica CL»||-||-||-||-||4/5||Nov 2017||2,795||Leica CL|
|Sony A7 II«||Rec||82/100||4.5/5||5/5||5/5||Nov 2014||1,999||-||Sony A7 II|
|Fujifilm X-T100« »||Rec||79/100||4/5||-||4.5/5||May 2018||599||Fujifilm X-T100|
|Fujifilm X-T20« »||HiRec||82/100||5/5||-||4.5/5||Jan 2017||899||Fujifilm X-T20|
|Fujifilm X-A3« »||-||74/100||4.5/5||-||4/5||Aug 2016||399||-||Fujifilm X-A3|
|Leica C-LUX« »||-||-||4.5/5||-||4/5||Jun 2018||1,049||Leica C-LUX|
|Leica TL2« »||-||-||4/5||-||4/5||Jul 2017||1,950||Leica TL2|
|Leica TL« »||-||-||-||-||4/5||Nov 2016||1,695||-||Leica TL|
|Leica T« »||-||-||4/5||-||4/5||Apr 2014||1,850||-||Leica T|
|Nikon D3500« »||-||-||4/5||-||4.5/5||Aug 2018||429||Nikon D3500|
|Nikon D5600« »||-||79/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4/5||Nov 2016||699||Nikon D5600|
|Nikon D3400« »||Rec||76/100||4/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2016||499||-||Nikon D3400|
|Sony A7 III« »||HiRec||89/100||5/5||5/5||5/5||Feb 2018||1,999||Sony A7 III|
|Sony A7R II« »||HiRec||90/100||5/5||4.5/5||5/5||Jun 2015||3,199||-||Sony A7R II|
|Sony A7S II« »||Rec||-||4.5/5||5/5||5/5||Sep 2015||2,999||Sony A7S II|
|Sony A7« »||HiRec||80/100||5/5||4.5/5||5/5||Oct 2013||1,699||-||Sony A7|
|Sony A7R« »||HiRec||82/100||4.5/5||5/5||5/5||Oct 2013||2,299||-||Sony A7R|
The review scores listed above should be treated 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. Also, please note that some of the review sites have changed their methodology and reporting over time.
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. An 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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- Canon 1D vs Pentax 645Z
- Canon D30 vs Olympus E-M1 II
- Canon M5 vs Panasonic G85
- Fujifilm X20 vs Canon M5
- Leica X2 vs Sony RX1
- Nikon D5 vs Fujifilm X70
- Pentax K-1 II vs Panasonic GH5s
- Sony A58 vs Panasonic GX80
- Sony A6500 vs Leica Q Typ 116
- Sony RX10 II vs Panasonic G80
- Sony RX100 V vs Panasonic G7
Specifications: Leica CL vs Sony A7 II
|Camera Model||Leica CL||Sony A7 II|
|Camera Type||Mirrorless system camera||Mirrorless system camera|
|Camera Lens||Leica T mount lenses||Sony E mount lenses|
|Launch Date||November 2017||November 2014|
|Launch Price||USD 2795||USD 1999|
|Sensor Format||APS-C Sensor||Full Frame Sensor|
|Sensor Size||23.6 x 15.7 mm||35.8 x 15.7 mm|
|Sensor Area||370.52 mm2||855.62 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||28.3 mm||43 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||24.1 Megapixels||24 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||6014 x 4014 pixels||6000 x 4000 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||3.92 μm||5.97 μm|
|Pixel Density||6.52 MP/cm2||2.80 MP/cm2|
|Movie Capability||4K/30p Video||1080/60p Video|
|ISO Setting||100-50000 ISO||100-25600 ISO|
|ISO Boost||no Enhancement||50-51200 ISO|
|Image Processor||Maestro II||BIONZ X|
|Viewfinder Type||Electronic viewfinder||Electronic viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Resolution||2360k dots||2400k dots|
|Top-Level Screen||Control Panel||no Top Display|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0 inch||3.0 inch|
|LCD Resolution||1040k dots||1230k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Tilting screen|
|Touch Input||Touchscreen||no Touchscreen|
|Maximum Shutter Speed||1/8000s||1/8000s|
|Continuous Shooting||10 shutter flaps/s||5 shutter flaps/s|
|Silent Shooting||Electronic Shutter||no E-Shutter|
|Image Stabilization||Lens stabilization only||In-body stabilization|
|Fill Flash||no On-Board Flash||no On-Board Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDXC cards||MS or SDXC cards|
|USB Connector||USB no||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||no HDMI||micro HDMI|
|Microphone Port||no MIC socket||External MIC port|
|Headphone Socket||no Headphone port||Headphone port|
|Wifi Support||Wifi built-in||Wifi built-in|
|Near-Field Communication||no NFC||NFC built-in|
|Environmental Sealing||Not weather sealed||Weathersealed body|
|Battery Type||BP-DC12 power pack||NP-FW50 power pack|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||220 shots per charge||350 shots per charge|
131 x 78 x 45 mm
(5.2 x 3.1 x 1.8 in)
127 x 96 x 60 mm
(5.0 x 3.8 x 2.4 in)
|Camera Weight||403 g (14.2 oz)||599 g (21.1 oz)|
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