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Leica M-E Typ 240 vs Sony RX1

The Leica M-E (Typ 240) and the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX1 are two enthusiast cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in June 2019 and September 2012. The M-E Typ 240 is a rangefinder-style mirrorless camera, while the RX1 is a fixed lens compact. Both cameras are equipped with a full frame sensor. The Leica has a resolution of 23.7 megapixels, whereas the Sony provides 24 MP.

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

Headline Specifications
Leica M-E Typ 240 versus Sony RX1
Leica M-E Typ 240 Sony RX1
Rangefinder camera Fixed lens compact camera
Leica M mount lenses 35mm f/2.0
23.7 MP, Full Frame Sensor 24 MP, Full Frame Sensor
1080/25p Video 1080/60p Video
ISO 200-6,400 ISO 100-25,600 (50 - 102,400)
Optical viewfinder Viewfinder optional
3.0 LCD, 920k dots 3.0 LCD, 1229k dots
Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive) Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)
3 shutter flaps per second 5 shutter flaps per second
Weathersealed bodynot weather sealed
139 x 80 x 42 mm, 680 g 113 x 65 x 70 mm, 482 g

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Leica M-E (Typ 240) and the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX1? 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 Leica M-E Typ 240 and the Sony RX1 is provided in the side-by-side display below. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three consecutive perspectives from the front, the top, and the back are available. All size dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

Size Leica M-E Typ 240 vs Sony RX1
Compare M-E Typ 240 versus RX1 top
Comparison M-E Typ 240 or RX1 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Sony RX1 is considerably smaller (34 percent) than the Leica M-E Typ 240. It is worth mentioning in this context that the M-E Typ 240 is splash and dust resistant, while the RX1 does not feature any corresponding weather-sealing.

The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the RX1 has a lens built in, whereas the M-E Typ 240 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 M-E Typ 240 and their specifications in the Leica M Lens Catalog.

The power pack in the RX1 can be charged via the USB port, which can be very convenient when travelling.

The following table provides a synthesis of the main physical specifications of the two cameras and other similar ones. 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 M-E Typ 240 139 mm 80 mm 42 mm 680 g .. Y Jun 2019 3,999 i
2.
 
Sony RX1 113 mm 65 mm 70 mm 482 g 270 n Sep 2012 2,799i
3.
 
Leica M10-R 139 mm 80 mm 39 mm 660 g 210 Y Jul 2020 8,295 i
4.
 
Leica Q2 130 mm 80 mm 92 mm 718 g 370 Y Mar 2019 4,995 i
5.
 
Leica M10-P 139 mm 80 mm 39 mm 660 g 210 Y Aug 2018 7,995 i
6.
 
Leica M10 139 mm 80 mm 39 mm 660 g 210 Y Jan 2017 6,595 i
7.
 
Leica M Typ 262 139 mm 80 mm 42 mm 680 g .. Y Nov 2015 5,195i
8.
 
Leica Q Typ 116 130 mm 80 mm 93 mm 640 g 300 n Jun 2015 4,249i
9.
 
Leica M Typ 240 139 mm 80 mm 42 mm 680 g .. Y Sep 2012 6,950i
10.
 
Nikon Z6 134 mm 101 mm 67 mm 675 g 310 Y Aug 2018 1,999i
11.
 
Nikon D5300 125 mm 98 mm 76 mm 480 g 600 n Oct 2013 799i
12.
 
Sony A9 II 129 mm 96 mm 76 mm 678 g 690 Y Oct 2019 4,499 i
13.
 
Sony A7 III 127 mm 96 mm 74 mm 650 g 610 Y Feb 2018 1,999 i
14.
 
Sony RX1R II 113 mm 65 mm 72 mm 507 g 220 n Oct 2015 3,299 i
15.
 
Sony A3000 128 mm 91 mm 85 mm 411 g 470 n Aug 2013 329i
16.
 
Sony RX1R 113 mm 65 mm 70 mm 482 g 270 n Jun 2013 2,799i
17.
 
Sony NEX-7 120 mm 67 mm 43 mm 400 g 430 n Aug 2011 1,349i
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 listed launch prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The RX1 was launched at a lower price than the M-E Typ 240, 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. 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 associated with larger, more expensive camera bodies and lenses.

Both cameras under consideration feature a full frame sensor, but their sensors differ slightly in size. They nevertheless have the same format factor of 1.0. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.

Leica M-E Typ 240 and Sony RX1 sensor measures

Despite having a slightly smaller sensor, the RX1 offers a slightly higher resolution of 24 megapixels, compared with 23.7 MP of the M-E Typ 240. 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 5.96μm versus 6.01μm for the M-E Typ 240). Moreover, it should be noted that the M-E Typ 240 is much more recent (by 6 years and 9 months) than the RX1, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that further enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixels.

The Leica M-E (Typ 240) has a native sensitivity range from ISO 200 to ISO 6400, which can be extended to ISO 100-6400. The corresponding ISO settings for the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX1 are ISO 100 to ISO 25600, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 50-102400.

M-E Typ 240 versus RX1 MP

For many cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. 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"). 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.
 
Leica M-E Typ 240 Full Frame 23.7 5952 39761080/25p........
2.
 
Sony RX1 Full Frame 24.0 6000 40001080/60p25.114.3253493
3.
 
Leica M10-R Full Frame 40.9 7864 5200none........
4.
 
Leica Q2 Full Frame 46.7 8368 55844K/30p26.413.5249196
5.
 
Leica M10-P Full Frame 23.8 5952 3992none........
6.
 
Leica M10 Full Frame 23.8 5952 3992none24.413.2213386
7.
 
Leica M Typ 262 Full Frame 23.7 5952 3976none........
8.
 
Leica Q Typ 116 Full Frame 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.312.7222185
9.
 
Leica M Typ 240 Full Frame 23.7 5952 39761080/25p24.013.3186084
10.
 
Nikon Z6 Full Frame 24.3 6048 40244K/30p25.314.3329995
11.
 
Nikon D5300 APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.013.9133883
12.
 
Sony A9 II Full Frame 24.0 6000 40004K/30p25.014.0343493
13.
 
Sony A7 III Full Frame 24.0 6000 40004K/30p25.014.7373096
14.
 
Sony RX1R II Full Frame 42.2 7952 53041080/60p25.813.9320497
15.
 
Sony A3000 APS-C 19.8 5456 36321080/60i23.712.8106878
16.
 
Sony RX1R Full Frame 24.0 6000 40001080/60p25.013.6253791
17.
 
Sony NEX-7 APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60i24.113.4101681

Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. Both cameras under consideration are equipped with sensors that have a sufficiently high read-out speed for moving images, but the RX1 provides a faster frame rate than the M-E Typ 240. It can shoot movie footage at 1080/60p, while the Leica is limited to 1080/25p.

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Feature comparison

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the M-E Typ 240 has an optical viewfinder, which can be very useful when shooting in bright sunlight. In contrast, the RX1 relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. That said, the RX1 can be equipped with an optional viewfinder – the FDA-EV1MK. The adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Leica M-E Typ 240 and Sony RX1 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 M-E Typ 240optical n 3.0 920 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 n n
2.
 
Sony RX1optional n 3.0 1229 fixed n 1/4000s 5.0 Y n
3.
 
Leica M10-Roptical n 3.0 1037 fixed Y 1/4000s 4.5 n n
4.
 
Leica Q23680 n 3.0 1040 fixed Y 1/2000s 20.0 n Y
5.
 
Leica M10-Poptical n 3.0 1037 fixed Y 1/4000s 5.0 n n
6.
 
Leica M10optical n 3.0 1037 fixed n 1/4000s 5.0 n n
7.
 
Leica M Typ 262optical n 3.0 921 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 n n
8.
 
Leica Q Typ 1163680 n 3.0 1040 fixed Y 1/2000s 10.0 n Y
9.
 
Leica M Typ 240optical n 3.0 920 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 n n
10.
 
Nikon Z63690 Y 3.2 2100 tilting Y 1/8000s 12.0 n Y
11.
 
Nikon D5300optical n 3.2 1037 swivel n 1/4000s 5.0 Y n
12.
 
Sony A9 II3686 n 3.0 1440 tilting Y 1/8000s 10.0 n Y
13.
 
Sony A7 III2359 n 3.0 922 tilting Y 1/8000s 10.0 n Y
14.
 
Sony RX1R II2360 n 3.0 1229 tilting n 1/4000s 5.0 n n
15.
 
Sony A3000202 n 3.0 230 fixed n 1/4000s 2.5 Y n
16.
 
Sony RX1Roptional n 3.0 1229 fixed n 1/4000s 5.0 Y n
17.
 
Sony NEX-72359 n 3.0 921 tilting n 1/4000s 10.0 Y n

One difference between the cameras concerns the presence of an on-board flash. The RX1 has one, while the M-E Typ 240 does not. While the built-in flash of the RX1 is not very powerful, it can at times be useful as a fill-in light.

The M-E Typ 240 writes its imaging data to SDXC cards, while the RX1 uses SDXC or Memory Stick PRO Duo cards. The M-E Typ 240 supports UHS-I cards (Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 104 MB/s), while the RX1 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 Leica M-E (Typ 240) and Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX1 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 M-E Typ 240Ymono----2.0---
2.
 
Sony RX1YstereomonoY-mini2.0---
3.
 
Leica M10-RY------Y--
4.
 
Leica Q2Ystereomono----Y-Y
5.
 
Leica M10-PY------Y--
6.
 
Leica M10Y------Y--
7.
 
Leica M Typ 262Y-----2.0---
8.
 
Leica Q Typ 116Ystereomono--micro2.0YY-
9.
 
Leica M Typ 240Ystereomono---2.0---
10.
 
Nikon Z6YstereomonoYYmicro3.1Y-Y
11.
 
Nikon D5300YstereomonoY-mini2.0Y--
12.
 
Sony A9 IIYstereomonoYYmicro3.1YYY
13.
 
Sony A7 IIIYstereomonoYYmicro3.1YYY
14.
 
Sony RX1R IIYstereomonoY-micro2.0YY-
15.
 
Sony A3000Ystereomono--mini2.0---
16.
 
Sony RX1RYstereomonoY-mini2.0---
17.
 
Sony NEX-7YstereomonoY-mini2.0---

It is notable that the RX1 has a microphone port, which can help to improve the quality of audio recordings by attaching an external microphone. The M-E Typ 240 does not feature such a mic input.

The M-E Typ 240 is a recent model that features in the current product line-up of Leica. In contrast, the RX1 has been discontinued (but can be found pre-owned on eBay). As a replacement in the same line of cameras, the RX1 was succeeded by the Sony RX1R. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Leica and Sony websites.

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Review summary

So what is the bottom line? Is the Leica M-E Typ 240 better than the Sony RX1 or vice versa? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.

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Arguments in favor of the Leica M-E (Typ 240):

  • Easier framing: Has an optical viewfinder for image composition and settings control.
  • More flexible: Accepts interchangeable lenses, so that lens characteristics can be altered.
  • Better sealing: Is weather sealed to enable shooting in dusty or wet environments.
  • Faster buffer clearing: Has an SD card interface that supports the UHS-I standard.
  • More prestigious: Has the Leica luxury appeal, which ensures a high resale price.
  • More modern: Reflects 6 years and 9 months of technical progress since the RX1 launch.

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Advantages of the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX1:

  • Better video: Provides higher movie framerates (1080/60p versus 1080/25p).
  • Better sound: Can connect to an external microphone for higher quality sound recording.
  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1229k vs 920k dots).
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (5 vs 3 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • Ready to shoot: Has an integrated lens, whereas the M-E Typ 240 necessitates an extra lens.
  • More compact: Is smaller (113x65mm vs 139x80mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
  • Less heavy: Has a lower weight even though it has a lens built in (unlike the M-E Typ 240).
  • Easier travel charging: Can be conveniently charged via its USB port.
  • Easier fill-in: Has a small integrated flash to brighten shadows of backlit subjects.
  • More affordable: Was introduced at a lower price, despite coming with a built-in lens.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been around for much longer (launched in September 2012).

If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the RX1 is the clear winner of the contest (11 : 6 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.

M-E Typ 240 06:11 RX1

In any case, while the specs-based evaluation of cameras can be instructive in revealing their potential as photographic tools, it remains partial and cannot reveal, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance when actually working with the M-E Typ 240 or the RX1. 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 (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 M-E Typ 240.......... Jun 2019 3,999 i
2.
 
Sony RX15/5..79/1004/54.5/5 Sep 2012 2,799i
3.
 
Leica M10-R4.5/5......4/5 Jul 2020 8,295 i
4.
 
Leica Q2....84/1004.5/54/5 Mar 2019 4,995 i
5.
 
Leica M10-P........4/5 Aug 2018 7,995 i
6.
 
Leica M104.5/5....4/54.5/5 Jan 2017 6,595 i
7.
 
Leica M Typ 262.......... Nov 2015 5,195i
8.
 
Leica Q Typ 1165/5..80/1004.5/54.5/5 Jun 2015 4,249i
9.
 
Leica M Typ 2404/5....4/5.. Sep 2012 6,950i
10.
 
Nikon Z65/5....4.5/55/5 Aug 2018 1,999i
11.
 
Nikon D53004/5+ +79/1004.5/54.5/5 Oct 2013 799i
12.
 
Sony A9 II....90/1005/55/5 Oct 2019 4,499 i
13.
 
Sony A7 III..+ +89/1005/55/5 Feb 2018 1,999 i
14.
 
Sony RX1R II5/5..82/100..4.5/5 Oct 2015 3,299 i
15.
 
Sony A30003/5+..4/54/5 Aug 2013 329i
16.
 
Sony RX1R5/5....4/54.5/5 Jun 2013 2,799i
17.
 
Sony NEX-75/5+ +81/1004.5/55/5 Aug 2011 1,349i
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. Thus, a score needs to be put into the context of the launch date and the launch price of the camera, and comparisons of ratings among very different cameras or across long time periods have little meaning. Also, kindly note that some of the listed sites have over time developped their review approaches and their reporting style.

Leica M-E Typ 240:
Check Amazon price
Sony RX1:
Check Ebay offers

Other camera comparisons

Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? If you would like to see a different side-by-side camera review, just make a corresponding selection in the search boxes 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: Leica M-E Typ 240 vs Sony RX1

    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 M-E Typ 240 Sony RX1
    Camera Type Rangefinder camera Fixed lens compact camera
    Camera Lens Leica M mount lenses 35mm f/2.0
    Launch Date June 2019 September 2012
    Launch Price USD 3,999 USD 2,799
    Sensor Specs Leica M-E Typ 240 Sony RX1
    Sensor Technology CMOS CMOS
    Sensor Format Full Frame Sensor Full Frame Sensor
    Sensor Size 35.8 x 23.9 mm 35.8 x 23.8 mm
    Sensor Area 855.62 mm2 852.04 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 43 mm 43 mm
    Crop Factor 1.0x 1.0x
    Sensor Resolution 23.7 Megapixels 24 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 5952 x 3976 pixels 6000 x 4000 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 6.01 μm 5.96 μm
    Pixel Density 2.77 MP/cm2 2.82 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability 1080/25p Video 1080/60p Video
    ISO Setting 200 - 6,400 ISO 100 - 25,600 ISO
    ISO Boost 100 - 6,400 ISO 50 - 102,400 ISO
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) .. 93
    DXO Color Depth (bits) .. 25.1
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) .. 14.3
    DXO Low Light (ISO) .. 2534
    Screen Specs Leica M-E Typ 240 Sony RX1
    Viewfinder Type Optical viewfinder Viewfinder optional
    Viewfinder Field of View 100%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.68x
    LCD Framing Live View Live View
    Rear LCD Size 3.0inch 3.0inch
    LCD Resolution 920k dots 1229k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen Fixed screen
    Shooting Specs Leica M-E Typ 240 Sony RX1
    Focus System Manual Focus Contrast-detect AF
    Manual Focusing AidFocus PeakingFocus Peaking
    Max Shutter Speed (mechanical) 1/4000s 1/4000s
    Continuous Shooting 3 shutter flaps/s 5 shutter flaps/s
    Fill Flash no On-Board Flash Build-in Flash
    Storage Medium SDXC cards MS or SDXC cards
    Second Storage Option Single card slot Single card slot
    UHS card support UHS-I no
    Connectivity Specs Leica M-E Typ 240 Sony RX1
    External Flash Hotshoe Hotshoe
    USB Connector USB 2.0 USB 2.0
    HDMI Port no HDMI mini HDMI
    Microphone Port no MIC socket External MIC port
    Wifi Support no Wifi no Wifi
    Body Specs Leica M-E Typ 240 Sony RX1
    Environmental SealingWeathersealed bodynot weather sealed
    Battery Type BP-SCL2 NP-BX1
    In-Camera Charging no USB charging USB charging
    Body Dimensions 139 x 80 x 42 mm
    (5.5 x 3.1 x 1.7 in)
    113 x 65 x 70 mm
    (4.4 x 2.6 x 2.8 in)
    Camera Weight 680 g (24.0 oz) 482 g (17.0 oz)

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