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Leica M10 vs Pentax KP

The Leica M10 (Typ 3656) and the Pentax KP are two enthusiast cameras that were revealed to the public in January 2017. The M10 is a rangefinder-style mirrorless camera, while the KP is a DSLR. The cameras are based on a full frame (M10) and an APS-C (KP) sensor. The Leica has a resolution of 23.8 megapixels, whereas the Pentax provides 24.1 MP.

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

Headline Specifications
Leica M10
versus
Pentax KP
Leica M10   Pentax KP
Rangefinder camera Digital single lens reflex
Leica M mount lenses Pentax K mount lenses
23.8 MP, Full Frame Sensor 24.1 MP, APS-C Sensor
no Video 1080/60i Video
ISO 100-50,000 ISO 100-819,200
Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
3.0 LCD, 1037k dots 3.0 LCD, 921k dots
Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive) Tilting screen (not touch-sensitive)
5 shutter flaps per second 7 shutter flaps per second
no shake reductionIn-body stabilization
Weathersealed bodyWeathersealed body
210 shots per battery charge390 shots per battery charge
139 x 80 x 39 mm, 660 g 132 x 101 x 76 mm, 703 g

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Leica M10 (Typ 3656) and the Pentax KP? 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 Leica M10 and the Pentax KP 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 size dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

Both cameras are available in two different colors (black, silver).

Size Leica M10 vs Pentax KP
Compare M10 versus KP top
Comparison M10 or KP rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Pentax KP is notably larger (20 percent) than the Leica M10. Moreover, the KP is markedly heavier (7 percent) than the M10. In this context, it is worth noting that both cameras are splash and dust-proof and can, hence, be used in inclement weather conditions or harsh environments.

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, 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 M10 139 mm 80 mm 39 mm 660 g 210 Y Jan 2017 6,595 i
2.
 
Pentax KP 132 mm 101 mm 76 mm 703 g 390 Y Jan 2017 1,099 i
3.
 
Canon 1D X Mark II 158 mm 168 mm 83 mm 1530 g 1210 Y Feb 2016 5,999 i
4.
 
Canon 80D 139 mm 105 mm 79 mm 730 g 960 Y Feb 2016 1,199 i
5.
 
Leica M-E Typ 240 139 mm 80 mm 42 mm 680 g .. Y Jun 2019 3,999 i
6.
 
Leica M10-P 139 mm 80 mm 39 mm 660 g 210 Y Aug 2018 7,995 i
7.
 
Leica M Typ 262 139 mm 80 mm 42 mm 680 g .. Y Nov 2015 5,195 i
8.
 
Leica Q Typ 116 130 mm 80 mm 93 mm 640 g 300 n Jun 2015 4,249 i
9.
 
Leica M Typ 240 139 mm 80 mm 42 mm 680 g .. Y Sep 2012 6,950 i
10.
 
Leica M9 139 mm 80 mm 37 mm 585 g .. n Sep 2009 7,999 i
11.
 
Leica M8 139 mm 80 mm 37 mm 591 g .. n Sep 2006 5,499 i
12.
 
Nikon D5 160 mm 159 mm 92 mm 1415 g 3780 Y Jan 2016 6,499 i
13.
 
Pentax K-70 126 mm 93 mm 74 mm 688 g 410 Y Jun 2016 649 i
14.
 
Pentax K-S2 123 mm 91 mm 73 mm 678 g 410 Y Feb 2015 749 i
15.
 
Pentax K-3 II 131 mm 100 mm 77 mm 800 g 720 Y Apr 2015 1,099 i
16.
 
Pentax K-3 131 mm 100 mm 77 mm 800 g 560 Y Oct 2013 1,299 i
17.
 
Pentax K-5 131 mm 97 mm 73 mm 760 g 740 Y Sep 2010 1,099 i
Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.

The price is, of course, an important factor in any camera decision. The listed launch prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The KP was launched at a markedly lower price (by 83 percent) than the M10, 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. Then, after the new model is out, very good deals can frequently be found on the pre-owned market.

Sensor comparison

The imaging sensor is at the core of digital cameras and its size is one of the main determining factors 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. Further, a large sensor camera will give the photographer additional creative options when using shallow depth-of-field to isolate a subject from its background. On the downside, larger sensors tend to be associated with larger, more expensive camera bodies and lenses.

Of the two cameras under consideration, the Leica M10 features a full frame sensor and the Pentax KP an APS-C sensor. The sensor area in the KP is 57 percent smaller. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 1.0 and 1.5. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.

Leica M10 and Pentax KP sensor measures

Despite having a smaller sensor, the KP offers a slightly higher resolution of 24.1 megapixels, compared with 23.8 MP of the M10. 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 3.90μm versus 6.00μm for the M10). It is noteworthy in this context that the two cameras were released in close succession, so that their sensors are from the same technological generation. Coming back to sensor resolution, it should be mentioned that neither of the two cameras has an anti-alias filter installed, so they are able to capture all the detail the sensor resolves.

Unlike the M10, the KP has the capacity to capture high quality composite images by combining multiple shots after shifting its sensor by miniscule distances. This multi-shot, pixel-shift mode is most suitable for photography of stationary objects (landscapes, studio scenes).

The Leica M10 (Typ 3656) has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 50000. The corresponding ISO settings for the Pentax KP are ISO 100 to ISO 819200 (no boost).

M10 versus KP 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"). The following table provides an overview of the physical sensor characteristics, as well as the sensor quality measurements for a selection of comparators.

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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 M10 Full Frame 23.8 5952 3992none24.413.22133 86
2.
 
Pentax KP APS-C 24.1 6016 40001080/60i...... ..
3.
 
Canon 1D X Mark II Full Frame 20.0 5472 36484K/60p24.113.53207 88
4.
 
Canon 80D APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p23.613.21135 79
5.
 
Leica M-E Typ 240 Full Frame 23.7 5952 39761080/25p...... ..
6.
 
Leica M10-P Full Frame 23.8 5952 3992none...... ..
7.
 
Leica M Typ 262 Full Frame 23.7 5952 3976none...... ..
8.
 
Leica Q Typ 116 Full Frame 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.312.72221 85
9.
 
Leica M Typ 240 Full Frame 23.7 5952 39761080/25p24.013.31860 84
10.
 
Leica M9 Full Frame 18.1 5212 3472none22.511.7884 69
11.
 
Leica M8 APS-H 10.4 3936 2630none21.111.3663 59
12.
 
Nikon D5 Full Frame 20.7 5588 37124K/30p25.112.32343 88
13.
 
Pentax K-70 APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60i...... ..
14.
 
Pentax K-S2 APS-C 20.0 5472 36481080/30p...... ..
15.
 
Pentax K-3 II APS-C 24.1 6016 40001080/60i23.613.61106 80
16.
 
Pentax K-3 APS-C 24.1 6016 40001080/60i23.713.41216 80
17.
 
Pentax K-5 APS-C 16.1 4928 32641080/25p23.714.11162 82

Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but also of capturing video footage. The KP indeed provides for movie recording, while the M10 does not. The highest resolution format that the KP can use is 1080/60i.

Feature comparison

Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The M10 and the KP are similar in the sense that both have an optical viewfinder. The latter is useful for getting a clear image for framing even in brightly lit environments. The viewfinders of both cameras offer the same field of view (100%), but the viewfinder of the M10 has a higher magnification than the one of the KP (0.73x vs 0.63x), so that the size of the image transmitted appears closer to the size seen with the naked human eye. The adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Leica M10 and Pentax KP 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 M10optical n 3.0 1037 fixed n 1/4000s 5.0 n n
2.
 
Pentax KPoptical n 3.0 921 tilting n 1/6000s 7.0 Y Y
3.
 
Canon 1D X Mark IIoptical Y 3.2 1620 fixed Y 1/8000s 16.0 n n
4.
 
Canon 80Doptical Y 3.0 1040 swivel Y 1/8000s 7.0 Y n
5.
 
Leica M-E Typ 240optical n 3.0 920 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 n n
6.
 
Leica M10-Poptical n 3.0 1037 fixed Y 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.
 
Leica M9optical n 2.5 230 fixed n 1/4000s 2.0 n n
11.
 
Leica M8optical n 2.5 230 fixed n 1/8000s 2.0 n n
12.
 
Nikon D5optical Y 3.2 2359 fixed Y 1/8000s 14.0 n n
13.
 
Pentax K-70optical n 3.0 921 swivel n 1/6000s 6.0 Y Y
14.
 
Pentax K-S2optical n 3.0 921 swivel n 1/6000s 5.4 Y Y
15.
 
Pentax K-3 IIoptical Y 3.2 1037 fixed n 1/8000s 8.3 n Y
16.
 
Pentax K-3optical Y 3.2 1037 fixed n 1/8000s 8.3 Y Y
17.
 
Pentax K-5optical Y 3.0 921 fixed n 1/8000s 7.0 Y Y

One difference between the cameras concerns the presence of an on-board flash. The KP has one, while the M10 does not. While the built-in flash of the KP is not very powerful, it can at times be useful as a fill-in light.

The reported shutter speed information refers to the use of the mechanical shutter. Yet, some cameras only have an electronic shutter, while others have an electronic shutter in addition to a mechanical one. In fact, the KP is one of those camera that have an additional 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 Leica M10 and the Pentax KP both have 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.

Concerning the storage of imaging data, both the M10 and the KP write their files to SDXC cards. Both cameras can use UHS-I cards, which provide for Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 104 MB/s.

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 M10 (Typ 3656) and Pentax KP 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 M10Y------Y--
2.
 
Pentax KPYstereomonoY--2.0Y--
3.
 
Canon 1D X Mark IIYmonomonoYYmini3.0---
4.
 
Canon 80DYstereomonoYYmini2.0YY-
5.
 
Leica M-E Typ 240Ymono----2.0---
6.
 
Leica M10-PY------Y--
7.
 
Leica M Typ 262Y-----2.0---
8.
 
Leica Q Typ 116Ystereomono--micro2.0YY-
9.
 
Leica M Typ 240Ystereomono---2.0---
10.
 
Leica M9Y-----2.0---
11.
 
Leica M8Y-----2.0---
12.
 
Nikon D5YstereomonoYYmini3.0---
13.
 
Pentax K-70YstereomonoY-mini2.0Y--
14.
 
Pentax K-S2YmonomonoY-micro2.0YY-
15.
 
Pentax K-3 IIYmonomonoYYmini3.0---
16.
 
Pentax K-3YmonomonoYYmini3.0---
17.
 
Pentax K-5YstereomonoY-mini2.0---

Both the M10 and the KP are recent models that are part of the current product line-up. The M10 replaced the earlier Leica M Typ 262, while the KP does not have a direct predecessor. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Leica and Pentax websites.

Review summary

So what conclusions can be drawn? Is there a clear favorite between the Leica M10 and the Pentax KP? Which camera is better? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.

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Arguments in favor of the Leica M10 (Typ 3656):

  • 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.
  • Larger viewfinder image: Features a viewfinder with a higher magnification (0.73x vs 0.63x).
  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1037k vs 921k dots).
  • More compact: Is smaller (139x80mm vs 132x101mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
  • More prestigious: Has the Leica luxury appeal, which ensures a high resale price.

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Advantages of the Pentax KP:

  • High quality composites: Can combine several shots after pixel-shifting its sensor.
  • Broader imaging potential: Can capture not only stills but also 1080/60i video.
  • More flexible LCD: Has a tilting screen for odd-angle shots in landscape orientation.
  • Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/6000s vs 1/4000s) to freeze action.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (7 vs 5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • Less disturbing: Has an electronic shutter option for completely silent shooting.
  • Longer lasting: Gets more shots (390 versus 210) out of a single battery charge.
  • Sharper images: Has stabilization technology built-in to reduce the impact of hand-shake.
  • Easier fill-in: Has a small integrated flash to brighten shadows of backlit subjects.
  • More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (83 percent cheaper at launch).

If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the KP emerges as the winner of the match-up (10 : 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 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.

M10 08:10 KP

In any case, while the specs-based evaluation of cameras can be instructive in revealing their potential as photographic tools, it says little about, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance of the M10 and the KP in practical situations. 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 M104.5/5....4/54.5/5 Jan 2017 6,595 i
2.
 
Pentax KP4/5..82/1005/54.5/5 Jan 2017 1,099 i
3.
 
Canon 1D X Mark II....89/1004.5/54.5/5 Feb 2016 5,999 i
4.
 
Canon 80D4/5+ +84/1004.5/54.5/5 Feb 2016 1,199 i
5.
 
Leica M-E Typ 240.......... Jun 2019 3,999 i
6.
 
Leica M10-P........4/5 Aug 2018 7,995 i
7.
 
Leica M Typ 262.......... Nov 2015 5,195 i
8.
 
Leica Q Typ 1165/5..80/1004.5/54.5/5 Jun 2015 4,249 i
9.
 
Leica M Typ 2404/5....4/5.. Sep 2012 6,950 i
10.
 
Leica M9......4.5/5.. Sep 2009 7,999 i
11.
 
Leica M8....+ +.... Sep 2006 5,499 i
12.
 
Nikon D5....89/1004.5/55/5 Jan 2016 6,499 i
13.
 
Pentax K-704.5/5..79/1004.5/54.5/5 Jun 2016 649 i
14.
 
Pentax K-S24.5/5....5/54.5/5 Feb 2015 749 i
15.
 
Pentax K-3 II4.5/5....5/55/5 Apr 2015 1,099 i
16.
 
Pentax K-34/5..83/1005/55/5 Oct 2013 1,299 i
17.
 
Pentax K-54/5..83/1005/54.5/5 Sep 2010 1,099 i
Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.

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

Leica M10:
Check Amazon price
Pentax KP:
Check Amazon price

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: Leica M10 vs Pentax KP

    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 M10 Pentax KP
    Camera Type Rangefinder camera Digital single lens reflex
    Camera Lens Leica M mount lenses Pentax K mount lenses
    Launch Date January 2017 January 2017
    Launch Price USD 6,595 USD 1,099
    Sensor Specs Leica M10 Pentax KP
    Sensor Technology CMOS CMOS
    Sensor Format Full Frame Sensor APS-C Sensor
    Sensor Size 35.8 x 23.9 mm 23.5 x 15.6 mm
    Sensor Area 855.62 mm2 366.6 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 43 mm 28.2 mm
    Crop Factor 1.0x 1.5x
    Sensor Resolution 23.8 Megapixels 24.1 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 5952 x 3992 pixels 6016 x 4000 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 6.00 μm 3.90 μm
    Pixel Density 2.78 MP/cm2 6.56 MP/cm2
    Moiré control no AA filter no AA filter
    Movie Capability no Video 1080/60i Video
    ISO Setting 100 - 50,000 ISO 100 - 819,200 ISO
    Image Processor Maestro II PRIME IV
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) 86 ..
    DXO Color Depth (bits) 24.4 ..
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) 13.2 ..
    DXO Low Light (ISO) 2133 ..
    Screen Specs Leica M10 Pentax KP
    Viewfinder Type Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 100% 100%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.73x 0.63x
    LCD Framing Live View Live View
    Rear LCD Size 3.0inch 3.0inch
    LCD Resolution 1037k dots 921k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen Tilting screen
    Shooting Specs Leica M10 Pentax KP
    Focus System Manual Focus Phase-detect AF
    Manual Focusing AidFocus PeakingFocus Peaking
    Max Shutter Speed (mechanical) 1/4000s 1/6000s
    Continuous Shooting 5 shutter flaps/s 7 shutter flaps/s
    Electronic Shutterno E-Shutterup to 1/24000s
    Time-Lapse PhotographyIntervalometer built-inIntervalometer built-in
    Image Stabilizationno shake reductionIn-body stabilization
    Fill Flash no On-Board Flash Built-in Flash
    Storage Medium SDXC cards SDXC cards
    Second Storage Option Single card slot Single card slot
    UHS card support UHS-I UHS-I
    Connectivity Specs Leica M10 Pentax KP
    External Flash Hotshoe Hotshoe
    USB Connector no USB USB 2.0
    HDMI Port no HDMI no HDMI
    Microphone Port no MIC socket External MIC port
    Wifi Support Wifi built-in Wifi built-in
    Body Specs Leica M10 Pentax KP
    Environmental SealingWeathersealed bodyWeathersealed body
    Battery Type BP-SCL5 D-LI109
    Battery Life (CIPA)210 shots per charge390 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 139 x 80 x 39 mm
    (5.5 x 3.1 x 1.5 in)
    132 x 101 x 76 mm
    (5.2 x 4.0 x 3.0 in)
    Camera Weight 660 g (23.3 oz) 703 g (24.8 oz)

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