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Leica M9 vs Sony HX95

The Leica M9 and the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX95 are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in September 2009 and August 2018. The M9 is a rangefinder-focusing mirrorless camera, while the HX95 is a fixed lens compact. The cameras are based on a full frame (M9) and a 1/2.3-inch (HX95) sensor. The Leica has a resolution of 18.1 megapixels, whereas the Sony provides 18 MP.

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

Headline Specifications
Leica M9
versus
Sony HX95
Leica M9   Sony HX95
Rangefinder camera Fixed lens compact camera
Leica M mount lenses 24-720mm f/3.5-6.4
18.1 MP, Full Frame Sensor 18 MP, 1/2.3" Sensor
no Video 4K/30p Video
ISO 80-2,500 ISO 80-3,200 (80 - 6,400)
Optical viewfinder Electronic viewfinder (638k dots)
2.5 LCD, 230k dots 3.0 LCD, 922k dots
Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive) Tilting screen (not touch-sensitive)
2 shutter flaps per second 10 shutter flaps per second
139 x 80 x 37 mm, 585 g 102 x 58 x 36 mm, 242 g

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Leica M9 and the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX95? 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 M9 and the Sony HX95 are illustrated 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 width, height and depth measures are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

The M9 can be obtained in two different colors (black, silver), while the HX95 is only available in black.

Size Leica M9 vs Sony HX95
Compare M9 versus HX95 top
Comparison M9 or HX95 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Sony HX95 is considerably smaller (47 percent) than the Leica M9. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the M9 nor the HX95 are weather-sealed.

The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the HX95 has a lens built in, whereas the M9 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 M9 and their specifications in the Leica M Lens Catalog.

The power pack in the HX95 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 would like to visualize and compare a different camera combination, you can navigate to the CAM-parator app and make your selection from a broad list of cameras 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 M9 139 mm 80 mm 37 mm 585 g .. n Sep 2009 7,999i
2.
 
Sony HX95 102 mm 58 mm 36 mm 242 g 370 n Aug 2018 429 i
3.
 
Canon SX730 110 mm 64 mm 40 mm 300 g 250 n Apr 2017 399i
4.
 
Canon T5i 133 mm 100 mm 79 mm 580 g 440 n Mar 2013 649i
5.
 
Canon T2i 129 mm 98 mm 62 mm 530 g 440 n Feb 2010 699i
6.
 
Canon T1i 129 mm 98 mm 62 mm 520 g 400 n Mar 2009 799i
7.
 
Leica M10-R 139 mm 80 mm 39 mm 660 g 210 Y Jul 2020 8,295 i
8.
 
Leica M10-P 139 mm 80 mm 39 mm 660 g 210 Y Aug 2018 7,995 i
9.
 
Leica M10 139 mm 80 mm 39 mm 660 g 210 Y Jan 2017 6,595 i
10.
 
Leica X Typ 113 133 mm 73 mm 78 mm 486 g 350 n Sep 2014 2,295i
11.
 
Leica X Vario 133 mm 73 mm 95 mm 680 g 450 n Jun 2013 2,850i
12.
 
Leica M Typ 240 139 mm 80 mm 42 mm 680 g .. Y Sep 2012 6,950i
13.
 
Leica M8 139 mm 80 mm 37 mm 591 g .. n Sep 2006 5,499i
14.
 
Sony HX99 102 mm 58 mm 36 mm 242 g 370 n Aug 2018 449 i
15.
 
Sony WX800 102 mm 58 mm 36 mm 233 g 370 n Oct 2018 399 i
16.
 
Sony HX90V 102 mm 58 mm 36 mm 245 g 360 n Apr 2015 429 i
17.
 
Sony HX400V 130 mm 93 mm 103 mm 660 g 300 n Feb 2014 499 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 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 HX95 was launched at a lower price than the M9, 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.

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. 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 associated with larger, more expensive camera bodies and lenses.

Of the two cameras under consideration, the Leica M9 features a full frame sensor and the Sony HX95 a 1/2.3-inch sensor. The sensor area in the HX95 is 97 percent smaller. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 1.0 and 5.6. The sensor in the M9 has a native 3:2 aspect ratio, while the one in the HX95 offers a 4:3 aspect.

Leica M9 and Sony HX95 sensor measures

With 18.1MP, the M9 offers a slightly higher resolution than the HX95 (18MP), but the M9 nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 6.91μm versus 1.25μm for the HX95) due to its larger sensor. However, the HX95 is a much more recent model (by 8 years and 11 months) than the M9, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that further enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixels. 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.

The Leica M9 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 80 to ISO 2500. The corresponding ISO settings for the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX95 are ISO 80 to ISO 3200, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 80-6400.

M9 versus HX95 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 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 M9 Full Frame 18.1 5212 3472none22.511.788469
2.
 
Sony HX95 1/2.3 18.0 4896 36724K/30p20.612.1105751
3.
 
Canon SX730 1/2.3 20.2 5184 38881080/60p20.511.992450
4.
 
Canon T5i APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p21.711.268161
5.
 
Canon T2i APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p22.111.578466
6.
 
Canon T1i APS-C 15.1 4752 31681080/20p21.711.566363
7.
 
Leica M10-R Full Frame 40.9 7864 5200none25.314.3292495
8.
 
Leica M10-P Full Frame 23.8 5952 3992none25.114.1273993
9.
 
Leica M10 Full Frame 23.8 5952 3992none24.413.2213386
10.
 
Leica X Typ 113 APS-C 16.1 4928 32641080/30p23.612.8149178
11.
 
Leica X Vario APS-C 16.1 4928 32721080/30p23.412.7132078
12.
 
Leica M Typ 240 Full Frame 23.7 5952 39761080/25p24.013.3186084
13.
 
Leica M8 APS-H 10.4 3936 2630none21.111.366359
14.
 
Sony HX99 1/2.3 18.0 4896 36724K/30p20.612.1105851
15.
 
Sony WX800 1/2.3 18.0 4896 36724K/30p20.612.2107051
16.
 
Sony HX90V 1/2.3 18.0 4896 36721080/60p20.211.673847
17.
 
Sony HX400V 1/2.3 20.2 5184 38881080/60p20.111.462945
Note: DXO values in italics represent estimates based on sensor size and age.

Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. The HX95 indeed provides for movie recording, while the M9 does not. The highest resolution format that the HX95 can use is 4K/30p.

Feature comparison

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. For example, the HX95 has an electronic viewfinder (638k dots), while the M9 has an optical one. Both systems have their advantages, with the electronic viewfinder making it possible to project supplementary shooting information into the framing view, whereas the optical viewfinder offers lag-free viewing and a very clear framing image. The table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Leica M9 and Sony HX95 in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras.

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Core Features
    Camera
Model
Viewfinder
(Type or
000 dots)
Control
Panel
(yes/no)
LCD
Specifications
(inch/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 M9optical n2.5 / 230 fixed n 1/4000s 2.0 n n
2.
 
Sony HX95638 n3.0 / 922 tilting n 1/2000s 10.0 Y Y
3.
 
Canon SX730none n3.0 / 922 tilting n 1/3200s 5.9 Y Y
4.
 
Canon T5ioptical n3.0 / 1040 swivel Y 1/4000s 5.0 Y n
5.
 
Canon T2ioptical n3.0 / 1040 fixed n 1/4000s 3.7 Y n
6.
 
Canon T1ioptical n3.0 / 920 fixed n 1/4000s 3.4 Y n
7.
 
Leica M10-Roptical n3.0 / 1037 fixed Y 1/4000s 4.5 n n
8.
 
Leica M10-Poptical n3.0 / 1037 fixed Y 1/4000s 5.0 n n
9.
 
Leica M10optical n3.0 / 1037 fixed n 1/4000s 5.0 n n
10.
 
Leica X Typ 113optional n3.0 / 920 fixed n 1/2000s 5.0 Y n
11.
 
Leica X Variooptional n3.0 / 920 fixed n 1/2000s 5.0 Y n
12.
 
Leica M Typ 240optical n3.0 / 920 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 n n
13.
 
Leica M8optical n2.5 / 230 fixed n 1/8000s 2.0 n n
14.
 
Sony HX99638 n3.0 / 922 tilting Y 1/2000s 10.0 Y Y
15.
 
Sony WX800none n3.0 / 922 tilting Y 1/2000s 10.0 Y Y
16.
 
Sony HX90V638 n3.0 / 921 tilting n 1/2000s 10.0 Y Y
17.
 
Sony HX400V210 n3.0 / 921 tilting n 1/4000s 10.0 Y Y

One difference between the cameras concerns the presence of an on-board flash. The HX95 has one, while the M9 does not. While the built-in flash of the HX95 is not very powerful, it can at times be useful as a fill-in light.

The HX95 has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing. This characteristic will be appreciated by vloggers and photographers who are interested in taking selfies. In contrast, the M9 does not have a selfie-screen.

The M9 writes its imaging data to SDXC cards, while the HX95 uses SDXC or Memory Stick PRO Duo 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 Leica M9 and Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX95 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
Mic / Speaker
Microphone
Port
Headphone
Port
HDMI
Port
USB
Port
WiFi
Support
NFC
Support
Bluetooth
Support
1.
 
Leica M9Y- / ----2.0---
2.
 
Sony HX95-stereo / mono--micro2.0YYY
3.
 
Canon SX730-stereo / mono--micro2.0YYY
4.
 
Canon T5iYstereo / monoY-mini2.0---
5.
 
Canon T2iYstereo / -Y-mini2.0---
6.
 
Canon T1iYmono / mono--mini2.0---
7.
 
Leica M10-RY- / -----Y--
8.
 
Leica M10-PY- / -----Y--
9.
 
Leica M10Y- / -----Y--
10.
 
Leica X Typ 113Ystereo / mono--mini2.0---
11.
 
Leica X VarioYstereo / mono--mini2.0---
12.
 
Leica M Typ 240Ystereo / mono---2.0---
13.
 
Leica M8Y- / ----2.0---
14.
 
Sony HX99-stereo / mono--micro2.0YYY
15.
 
Sony WX800-stereo / mono--micro2.0YY-
16.
 
Sony HX90V-stereo / mono--micro2.0YY-
17.
 
Sony HX400VYstereo / mono--micro2.0YY-

It is notable that the M9 has a hotshoe, while the HX95 does not. This socket makes it possible to easily attach optional accessories, such as an external flash gun.

The HX95 is a recent model that features in the current product line-up of Sony. In contrast, the M9 has been discontinued (but can be found pre-owned on eBay). As a replacement in the same line of cameras, the M9 was succeeded by the Leica M Typ 240. 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.

Review summary

So how do things add up? Is there a clear favorite between the Leica M9 and the Sony HX95? Which camera is better? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.

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Advantages of the Leica M9:

  • 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.
  • Brighter framing: Features an optical viewfinder for clear, lag-free composition.
  • Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/4000s vs 1/2000s) to freeze action.
  • More flexible: Accepts interchangeable lenses, so that lens characteristics can be altered.
  • Better lighting: Features a hotshoe and can thus hold and trigger an external flash gun.
  • More prestigious: Has the Leica luxury appeal, which ensures a high resale price.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in September 2009).

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Reasons to prefer the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX95:

  • Broader imaging potential: Can capture not only stills but also 4K/30p video.
  • More framing info: Has an electronic viewfinder that displays shooting data.
  • Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.0" vs 2.5") for image review and settings control.
  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (922k vs 230k dots).
  • More flexible LCD: Has a tilting screen for odd-angle shots in landscape orientation.
  • More selfie-friendly: Has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (10 vs 2 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • Ready to shoot: Has an integrated lens, whereas the M9 necessitates an extra lens.
  • More compact: Is smaller (102x58mm 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 M9).
  • Easier travel charging: Can be conveniently charged via its USB port.
  • 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.
  • Easier file upload: Has wifi built in for automatic backup or image transfer to the web.
  • Easier device pairing: Supports NFC for fast wireless image transfer over short distances.
  • Easier wireless transfer: Supports Bluetooth for image sharing without cables.
  • More affordable: Was introduced at a lower price, despite coming with a built-in lens.
  • More modern: Reflects 8 years and 11 months of technical progress since the M9 launch.

If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the HX95 is the clear winner of the contest (18 : 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. 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.

M9 10:18 HX95

In any case, while the comparison of the spec-sheets of cameras can offer a general idea of their imaging potential, it remains incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the M9 or the HX95 perform in practice. 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 hands-on reviews by experts are important. The adjacent summary-table relays the overall verdicts of several of the most popular camera review sites (amateurphotographer [AP], cameralabs [CL], digitalcameraworld [DCW], 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 
 DCW 
 score 
 DPR 
 score 
 EPZ 
 score 
 PB 
 score 
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
1.
 
Leica M9........4.5/5.. Sep 2009 7,999i
2.
 
Sony HX95............ Aug 2018 429 i
3.
 
Canon SX730..+....4/54/5 Apr 2017 399i
4.
 
Canon T5i......76/1004.5/54.5/5 Mar 2013 649i
5.
 
Canon T2i..+ +..77/1004/54.5/5 Feb 2010 699i
6.
 
Canon T1i..+ +..74/1004.5/54.5/5 Mar 2009 799i
7.
 
Leica M10-R4.5/5..4/5....4/5 Jul 2020 8,295 i
8.
 
Leica M10-P....3/5....4/5 Aug 2018 7,995 i
9.
 
Leica M104.5/5......4/54.5/5 Jan 2017 6,595 i
10.
 
Leica X Typ 1133.5/5......3.5/54/5 Sep 2014 2,295i
11.
 
Leica X Vario3/5......4/54/5 Jun 2013 2,850i
12.
 
Leica M Typ 2404/5......4/5.. Sep 2012 6,950i
13.
 
Leica M8......+ +.... Sep 2006 5,499i
14.
 
Sony HX99........4/54.5/5 Aug 2018 449 i
15.
 
Sony WX800............ Oct 2018 399 i
16.
 
Sony HX90V4/5+ +....4/54.5/5 Apr 2015 429 i
17.
 
Sony HX400V4/5+ +....4/54/5 Feb 2014 499 i
Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.

The above review scores should be interpreted 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. Hence, a score should always be seen in the context of the camera's market launch date and its price, 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 M9:
Check Ebay offers
Sony HX95:
Check Amazon price

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. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting.

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    Specifications: Leica M9 vs Sony HX95

    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 M9 Sony HX95
    Camera Type Rangefinder camera Fixed lens compact camera
    Camera Lens Leica M mount lenses 24-720mm f/3.5-6.4
    Launch Date September 2009 August 2018
    Launch Price USD 7,999 USD 429
    Sensor Specs Leica M9 Sony HX95
    Sensor Technology CCD CMOS
    Sensor Format Full Frame Sensor 1/2.3" Sensor
    Sensor Size 36.0 x 24.0 mm 6.17 x 4.55 mm
    Sensor Area 864 mm2 28.0735 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 43.3 mm 7.7 mm
    Crop Factor 1.0x 5.6x
    Sensor Resolution 18.1 Megapixels 18 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 5212 x 3472 pixels 4896 x 3672 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 6.91 μm 1.25 μm
    Pixel Density 2.09 MP/cm2 64.04 MP/cm2
    Moiré control no AA filter no AA filter
    Movie Capability no Video 4K/30p Video
    ISO Setting 80 - 2,500 ISO 80 - 3,200 ISO
    ISO Boost no Enhancement 80 - 6,400 ISO
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) 69 ..
    DXO Color Depth (bits) 22.5 ..
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) 11.7 ..
    DXO Low Light (ISO) 884 ..
    Screen Specs Leica M9 Sony HX95
    Viewfinder Type Optical viewfinder Electronic viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 100% 100%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.68x
    Viewfinder Resolution 638k dots
    LCD Framing Live View
    Rear LCD Size 2.5inch 3.0inch
    LCD Resolution 230k dots 922k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen Tilting screen
    Shooting Specs Leica M9 Sony HX95
    Focus System Manual Focus Contrast-detect AF
    Continuous Shooting 2 shutter flaps/s 10 shutter flaps/s
    Fill Flash no On-Board Flash Built-in Flash
    Storage Medium SDXC cards MS or SDXC cards
    Second Storage Option Single card slot Single card slot
    UHS card support no no
    Connectivity Specs Leica M9 Sony HX95
    External Flash Hotshoe no Hotshoe
    USB Connector USB 2.0 USB 2.0
    HDMI Port no HDMI micro HDMI
    Wifi Support no Wifi Wifi built-in
    Near-Field Communication no NFC NFC built-in
    Bluetooth Support no Bluetooth Bluetooth built-in
    Body Specs Leica M9 Sony HX95
    Battery Type BLI-312 NP-BX1
    In-Camera Charging no USB charging USB charging
    Body Dimensions 139 x 80 x 37 mm
    (5.5 x 3.1 x 1.5 in)
    102 x 58 x 36 mm
    (4.0 x 2.3 x 1.4 in)
    Camera Weight 585 g (20.6 oz) 242 g (8.5 oz)

    Did you notice an error on this page? If so, please get in touch, so that we can correct the information.

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