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Leica D-LUX 5 vs S1

The Leica D-LUX 5 and the Leica S1 Pro are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in September 2010 and August 1996. The D-LUX 5 is a fixed lens compact, while the S1 is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera. The cameras are based on a 1/1.7-inch (D-LUX 5) and a medium format (S1) sensor. The D-LUX 5 has a resolution of 10 megapixels, whereas the S1 provides 26.4 MP.

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

Headline Specifications
Leica D-LUX 5 versus Leica S1
Leica D-LUX 5 Leica S1
Fixed lens compact camera Mirrorless system camera
24-90mm f/2.0-3.3 Leica R mount lenses
10 MP, 1/1.7" Sensor 26.4 MP, Medium Format Sensor
720/60p Video no Video
ISO 80-3,200 (80 - 12,800) ISO 50-1,600
Viewfinder optional Optical viewfinder
3.0 LCD, 460k dots no LCD
Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive) no rear screen
2.5 shutter flaps per second 0.01 shutter flaps per second
110 x 65 x 43 mm, 271 g 339 x 214 x 119 mm, 2500 g

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Leica D-LUX 5 and the Leica S1 Pro? 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 Leica D-LUX 5 and the Leica S1. 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 Leica D-LUX 5 vs Leica S1
Compare D-LUX 5 versus S1 top
Comparison D-LUX 5 or S1 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Leica S1 is considerably larger (915 percent) than the Leica D-LUX 5. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the D-LUX 5 nor the S1 are weather-sealed.

The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the D-LUX 5 has a lens built in, whereas the S1 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 S1 and their specifications in the Leica R Lens Catalog.

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, you can move across to the CAM-parator tool and choose from the broad selection of possible camera comparisons 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.
 
Leica D-LUX 5 110 mm 65 mm 43 mm 271 g 400 n Sep 2010 699i
2.
 
Leica S1 339 mm 214 mm 119 mm 2500 g .. n Aug 1996 21,490i
3.
 
Canon G7 X Mark II 106 mm 61 mm 42 mm 319 g 265 n Feb 2016 699i
4.
 
Canon G7 X 103 mm 60 mm 40 mm 304 g 210 n Sep 2014 699i
5.
 
Fujifilm X20 117 mm 70 mm 57 mm 353 g 270 n Jan 2013 599i
6.
 
Fujifilm X10 117 mm 70 mm 57 mm 350 g 270 n Sep 2011 599i
7.
 
Leica CL 131 mm 78 mm 45 mm 403 g 220 n Nov 2017 2,795 i
8.
 
Leica TL2 134 mm 69 mm 33 mm 399 g 250 n Jul 2017 1,950 i
9.
 
Leica Q Typ 116 130 mm 80 mm 93 mm 640 g 300 n Jun 2015 4,249i
10.
 
Leica D-LUX 6 111 mm 68 mm 46 mm 298 g 330 n Sep 2012 699i
11.
 
Leica V-LUX 3 124 mm 81 mm 95 mm 540 g 410 n Dec 2011 949i
12.
 
Leica V-LUX 2 124 mm 80 mm 95 mm 520 g 410 n Sep 2010 849i
13.
 
Leica X1 124 mm 60 mm 32 mm 306 g 260 n Sep 2009 1,995i
14.
 
Leica S2 160 mm 120 mm 80 mm 1410 g .. Y Sep 2008 22,995i
15.
 
Leica V-LUX 1 141 mm 86 mm 142 mm 734 g 360 n Sep 2006 849i
16.
 
Panasonic LX5 110 mm 65 mm 43 mm 271 g 400 n Jul 2010 499i
17.
 
Sony A6400 120 mm 67 mm 50 mm 403 g 410 Y Jan 2019 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 manufacturer’s suggested retail prices give an idea on the placement of the camera in the maker’s lineup and the broader market. The D-LUX 5 was launched at a lower price than the S1, despite having a lens built in. Normally, street prices remain initially close to the MSRP, but after a couple of months, the first discounts appear. 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. 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. 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 Leica D-LUX 5 features a 1/1.7-inch sensor and the Leica S1 a medium format sensor. The sensor area in the S1 is 2717 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 4.4 and 0.85. The sensor in the D-LUX 5 has a native 4:3 aspect ratio, while the one in the S1 offers a 1:1 aspect. The D-LUX 5 has the particularity of featuring a switch that allows to toggle between multiple aspect ratios, while maintaining the same field of view and full image resolution.

Leica D-LUX 5 and Leica S1 sensor measures

With 26.4MP, the S1 offers a higher resolution than the D-LUX 5 (10MP), but the S1 nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 7.01μm versus 2.14μm for the D-LUX 5) due to its larger sensor. However, the D-LUX 5 is a much more recent model (by 14 years) than the S1, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixel-units. Coming back to sensor resolution, it should be mentioned that the S1 has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.

The resolution advantage of the Leica S1 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the S1 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 25.7 x 25.7 inches or 65.3 x 65.3 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 20.6 x 20.6 inches or 52.2 x 52.2 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 17.1 x 17.1 inches or 43.5 x 43.5 cm. The corresponding values for the Leica D-LUX 5 are 18.2 x 13.7 inches or 46.3 x 34.7 cm for good quality, 14.6 x 10.9 inches or 37.1 x 27.8 cm for very good quality, and 12.2 x 9.1 inches or 30.9 x 23.2 cm for excellent quality prints.

The Leica D-LUX 5 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 80 to ISO 3200, which can be extended to ISO 80-12800. The corresponding ISO settings for the Leica S1 Pro are ISO 50 to ISO 1600 (no boost).

D-LUX 5 versus S1 MP

Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for many cameras. 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.

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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.
 
Leica D-LUX 5 1/1.7 10.0 3648 2736720/60p........
2.
 
Leica S1 Medium Format 26.4 5140 5140none........
3.
 
Canon G7 X Mark II 1-inch 20.0 5472 36481080/60p........
4.
 
Canon G7 X 1-inch 20.0 5472 36481080/60p23.012.755671
5.
 
Fujifilm X20 2/3 12.0 4000 30001080/60p........
6.
 
Fujifilm X10 2/3 12.0 4000 30001080/30p20.511.324550
7.
 
Leica CL APS-C 24.1 6014 40144K/30p........
8.
 
Leica TL2 APS-C 24.1 6014 40144K/30p........
9.
 
Leica Q Typ 116 Full Frame 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.312.7222185
10.
 
Leica D-LUX 6 1/1.7 10.0 3648 27361080/60p........
11.
 
Leica V-LUX 3 1/2.3 12.0 4000 30001080/60p........
12.
 
Leica V-LUX 2 1/2.3 14.0 4320 32401080/60i........
13.
 
Leica X1 APS-C 12.2 4272 2856none........
14.
 
Leica S2 Medium Format 37.5 7500 5000none........
15.
 
Leica V-LUX 1 1/1.8 10.0 3648 2736480/30p........
16.
 
Panasonic LX5 1/1.7 10.0 3648 2736720/60p19.610.813241
17.
 
Sony A6400 APS-C 24.0 6000 40004K/30p2413.6143183

Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but also of capturing video footage. The D-LUX 5 indeed provides movie recording capabilities, while the S1 does not. The highest resolution format that the D-LUX 5 can use is 720/60p.

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Feature comparison

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the S1 has an optical viewfinder, which can be very useful when shooting in bright sunlight. In contrast, the D-LUX 5 relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. That said, the D-LUX 5 can be equipped with an optional viewfinder – the EVF1. The adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Leica D-LUX 5 and Leica S1 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.
 
Leica D-LUX 5optional n 3.0 460 fixed n 1/4000s 2.5 Y Y
2.
 
Leica S1optical n none none none n .. 0.01 n n
3.
 
Canon G7 X Mark IInone n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 1/2000s 8.0 Y Y
4.
 
Canon G7 Xnone n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 1/2000s 6.5 Y Y
5.
 
Fujifilm X20optical n 2.8 460 fixed n 1/4000s 12.0 Y Y
6.
 
Fujifilm X10optical n 2.8 460 fixed n 1/4000s 10.0 Y Y
7.
 
Leica CL2360 Y 3.0 1040 fixed Y 1/8000s 10.0 n n
8.
 
Leica TL2optional n 3.7 1230 fixed Y 1/4000s 7.0 n n
9.
 
Leica Q Typ 1163680 n 3.0 1040 fixed Y 1/2000s 10.0 n Y
10.
 
Leica D-LUX 6optional n 3.0 920 fixed n 1/4000s 11.0 Y Y
11.
 
Leica V-LUX 3202 n 3.0 460 swivel n 1/2000s 12.0 Y Y
12.
 
Leica V-LUX 2202 n 3.0 460 swivel n 1/2000s 11.0 Y Y
13.
 
Leica X1none n 2.7 230 fixed n 1/2000s 3.0 Y n
14.
 
Leica S2optical Y 3.0 460 fixed n 1/4000s 1.5 n n
15.
 
Leica V-LUX 1235 n 2.0 207 swivel n 1/2000s 2.0 Y Y
16.
 
Panasonic LX5optional n 3.0 460 fixed n 1/4000s 2.5 Y Y
17.
 
Sony A64002359 n 3.0 922 tilting Y 1/4000s 11.0 Y n

One difference between the cameras concerns the presence of an on-board flash. The D-LUX 5 has one, while the S1 does not. While the built-in flash of the D-LUX 5 is not very powerful, it can at times be useful as a fill-in light.

The D-LUX 5 writes its imaging data to SDXC cards, while the S1 uses external storage.

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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 Leica D-LUX 5 and Leica S1 Pro 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.
 
Leica D-LUX 5Ymonomono--mini2.0---
2.
 
Leica S1----------
3.
 
Canon G7 X Mark II-stereomono--micro2.0YY-
4.
 
Canon G7 X-stereomono--micro2.0YY-
5.
 
Fujifilm X20Ystereomono--micro2.0---
6.
 
Fujifilm X10Ystereomono--mini2.0---
7.
 
Leica CLYstereomono----Y--
8.
 
Leica TL2Ystereomono--micro3.0Y--
9.
 
Leica Q Typ 116Ystereomono--micro2.0YY-
10.
 
Leica D-LUX 6Ystereomono--mini2.0---
11.
 
Leica V-LUX 3Ystereo---mini2.0---
12.
 
Leica V-LUX 2Ystereomono--mini2.0---
13.
 
Leica X1Y----mini2.0---
14.
 
Leica S2Y----mini2.0---
15.
 
Leica V-LUX 1Ymonomono---2.0---
16.
 
Panasonic LX5Ymonomono--mini2.0---
17.
 
Sony A6400YstereomonoY-micro2.0YYY

It is notable that the D-LUX 5 has a hotshoe, while the S1 does not. This socket makes it possible to easily attach optional accessories, such as an external flash gun.

Both the D-LUX 5 and the S1 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The S1 was replaced by the Leica S2, while the D-LUX 5 was followed by the Leica D-LUX 6. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Leica website.

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Review summary

So what conclusions can be drawn? Is the Leica D-LUX 5 better than the Leica S1 or vice versa? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.


Advantages of the Leica D-LUX 5:

  • Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
  • Flexible image proportions: Has a multi-aspect sensor that allows for alternative image shapes.
  • Broader imaging potential: Can record not only still images but also 720/60p movies.
  • Rear screen: Has a backside LCD (3.0") for image review and settings control.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (2.5 vs 0.01 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • Ready to shoot: Has a lens built-in, whereas the S1 requires a separate lens.
  • More compact: Is smaller (110x65mm vs 339x214mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
  • Less heavy: Is lighter even though it comes with a built-in lens (unlike the S1).
  • Sharper images: Has hand-shake reducing image stabilization built-in.
  • Easier fill-in: Is equipped with a small onboard flash to brighten deep shadow areas.
  • Better lighting: Features a hotshoe and can thus hold and trigger an external flash gun.
  • More affordable: Was introduced at a lower price, despite coming with a built-in lens.
  • More modern: Reflects 14 years of technical progress since the S1 launch.


Arguments in favor of the Leica S1 Pro:

  • More detail: Has more megapixels (26.4 vs 10MP), which boosts linear resolution by 59%.
  • Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
  • Better image quality: Features bigger pixels on a larger sensor for higher quality imaging.
  • Richer colors: The pixel size advantage translates into images with better, more accurate colors.
  • More dynamic range: Larger pixels capture a wider spectrum of light and dark details.
  • Better low-light sensitivity: Larger pixels means good image quality even under poor lighting.
  • Easier framing: Has an optical viewfinder for image composition and settings control.
  • More flexible: Takes interchangeable lenses and can thus be used with specialty optics.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been around for much longer (launched in August 1996).

If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the D-LUX 5 is the clear winner of the match-up (13 : 9 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.

D-LUX 5 13:09 S1

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Leica D-LUX 5 and the Leica S1 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Travel-Zoom 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 remains incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the D-LUX 5 or the S1 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 expert reviews 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], 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.
 
Leica D-LUX 5......4.5/54/5 Sep 2010 699i
2.
 
Leica S1.......... Aug 1996 21,490i
3.
 
Canon G7 X Mark II4.5/5+ +81/1004.5/54.5/5 Feb 2016 699i
4.
 
Canon G7 X4/5+ +77/1004.5/54.5/5 Sep 2014 699i
5.
 
Fujifilm X204/5+ +77/1004.5/55/5 Jan 2013 599i
6.
 
Fujifilm X10....76/1004/54.5/5 Sep 2011 599i
7.
 
Leica CL........4/5 Nov 2017 2,795 i
8.
 
Leica TL23.5/5....4/54/5 Jul 2017 1,950 i
9.
 
Leica Q Typ 1165/5..80/1004.5/54.5/5 Jun 2015 4,249i
10.
 
Leica D-LUX 6......4/54/5 Sep 2012 699i
11.
 
Leica V-LUX 3.......... Dec 2011 949i
12.
 
Leica V-LUX 2.......... Sep 2010 849i
13.
 
Leica X13/5..+..4/5 Sep 2009 1,995i
14.
 
Leica S2.......... Sep 2008 22,995i
15.
 
Leica V-LUX 1.......... Sep 2006 849i
16.
 
Panasonic LX54/5+73/1004.5/54.5/5 Jul 2010 499i
17.
 
Sony A64004/5+85/1004.5/54/5 Jan 2019 899 i
Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.

The review scores listed above should be treated 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. It should also be noted that some of the review sites have over time altered the way they render their verdicts.

Leica D-LUX 5:
Check Ebay offers
Leica S1:
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 make your choice using the following search menu. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting.

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    Specifications: Leica D-LUX 5 vs Leica S1

    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 Leica D-LUX 5 Leica S1
    Camera Type Fixed lens compact camera Mirrorless system camera
    Camera Lens 24-90mm f/2.0-3.3 Leica R mount lenses
    Launch Date September 2010 August 1996
    Launch Price USD 699 USD 21,490
    Sensor Specs Leica D-LUX 5 Leica S1
    Sensor Technology CCD CCD
    Sensor Format 1/1.7" Sensor Medium Format Sensor
    Sensor Size 7.85 x 5.89 mm 36.0 x 36.0 mm
    Sensor Area 46.2365 mm2 1296 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 9.8 mm 50.9 mm
    Crop Factor 4.4x 0.85x
    Sensor Resolution 10 Megapixels 26.4 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 3648 x 2736 pixels 5140 x 5140 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 2.14 μm 7.01 μm
    Pixel Density 21.59 MP/cm2 2.04 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter no AA filter
    Movie Capability 720/60p Video no Video
    ISO Setting 80 - 3,200 ISO 50 - 1,600 ISO
    ISO Boost 80 - 12,800 ISO no Enhancement
    Screen Specs Leica D-LUX 5 Leica S1
    Viewfinder Type Viewfinder optional Optical viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 100%
    Viewfinder Magnification
    LCD Framing Live View
    Rear LCD Size 3.0inch
    LCD Resolution 460k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen
    Shooting Specs Leica D-LUX 5 Leica S1
    Focus System Contrast-detect AF Manual Focus
    Continuous Shooting 2.5 shutter flaps/s 0.01 shutter flaps/s
    Fill Flash Build-in Flash no On-Board Flash
    Storage Medium SDXC cards external
    Second Storage Option Single card slot Single SSD
    Connectivity Specs Leica D-LUX 5 Leica S1
    External Flash Hotshoe no Hotshoe
    USB Connector USB 2.0 no USB
    HDMI Port mini HDMI no HDMI
    Wifi Support no Wifi no Wifi
    Body Specs Leica D-LUX 5 Leica S1
    Battery Type BP-DC10 external
    Body Dimensions 110 x 65 x 43 mm
    (4.3 x 2.6 x 1.7 in)
    339 x 214 x 119 mm
    (13.3 x 8.4 x 4.7 in)
    Camera Weight 271 g (9.6 oz) 2500 g (88.2 oz)

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