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Leica TL vs Nikon D3400

The Leica TL and the Nikon D3400 are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in November 2016 and August 2016. The TL is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera, while the D3400 is a DSLR. Both cameras are equipped with an APS-C sensor. The Leica has a resolution of 16.1 megapixels, whereas the Nikon 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 TL versus Nikon D3400
Leica TL Nikon D3400
Mirrorless system camera Digital single lens reflex
Leica T mount lenses Nikon F mount lenses
16.1 MP, APS-C Sensor 24 MP, APS-C Sensor
1080/30p Video 1080/60p Video
ISO 100-12,500 ISO 100-25,600
Viewfinder optional Optical viewfinder
3.7 LCD, 1230k dots 3.0 LCD, 921k dots
Fixed touchscreen Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)
5 shutter flaps per second 5 shutter flaps per second
400 shots per battery charge1200 shots per battery charge
134 x 69 x 33 mm, 384 g 124 x 98 x 76 mm, 445 g

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Leica TL and the Nikon D3400? 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 TL and the Nikon D3400. 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 measures are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

The TL can be obtained in three different colors (black, silver, titanium), while the D3400 is available in two color-versions (black, red).

Size Leica TL vs Nikon D3400
Compare TL versus D3400 top
Comparison TL or D3400 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Nikon D3400 is notably larger (31 percent) than the Leica TL. Moreover, the D3400 is markedly heavier (16 percent) than the TL. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the TL nor the D3400 are weather-sealed.

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 power pack in the TL can be charged via the USB port, so that it is not always necessary to take the battery charger along when travelling.

The adjacent table lists the principal physical characteristics of the two cameras alongside a wider set of alternatives. 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 TL 134 mm 69 mm 33 mm 384 g 400 n Nov 2016 1,695i
2.
 
Nikon D3400 124 mm 98 mm 76 mm 445 g 1200 n Aug 2016 499i
3.
 
Fujifilm X70 113 mm 64 mm 44 mm 340 g 330 n Jan 2016 799i
4.
 
Fujifilm X-A10 117 mm 67 mm 40 mm 331 g 410 n Dec 2016 399i
5.
 
Fujifilm X-E2S 129 mm 75 mm 37 mm 350 g 350 n Jan 2016 699i
6.
 
Fujifilm X-A2 117 mm 67 mm 40 mm 350 g 410 n Jan 2015 399i
7.
 
Fujifilm X-T10 118 mm 83 mm 41 mm 381 g 350 n May 2015 799i
8.
 
Fujifilm X-Pro1 140 mm 82 mm 43 mm 450 g 300 n Jan 2012 1,699i
9.
 
Leica CL 131 mm 78 mm 45 mm 403 g 220 n Nov 2017 2,795 i
10.
 
Leica TL2 134 mm 69 mm 33 mm 399 g 250 n Jul 2017 1,950 i
11.
 
Leica T 134 mm 69 mm 33 mm 384 g 400 n Apr 2014 1,850i
12.
 
Leica X2 124 mm 69 mm 52 mm 345 g 450 n May 2012 1,995i
13.
 
Nikon D3500 124 mm 97 mm 70 mm 365 g 1550 n Aug 2018 429 i
14.
 
Nikon D5600 124 mm 97 mm 70 mm 465 g 970 n Nov 2016 699 i
15.
 
Nikon D5500 124 mm 97 mm 70 mm 420 g 820 n Jan 2015 899i
16.
 
Nikon D3300 124 mm 98 mm 76 mm 430 g 700 n Jan 2014 499i
17.
 
Nikon D3200 125 mm 96 mm 77 mm 505 g 540 n Apr 2012 599i
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 D3400 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 71 percent) than the TL, 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.

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Sensor comparison

The size of the sensor inside a digital camera is one of the key determinants of image quality. A large sensor will generally have larger individual pixels that offer better low-light sensitivity, provide wider dynamic range, and have 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.

Both cameras under consideration feature an APS-C sensor, but their sensors differ slightly in size. The sensor area in the D3400 is 1 percent smaller. They nevertheless have the same format factor of 1.5. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.

In terms of underlying technology, both cameras are build around CMOS sensors.

Leica TL and Nikon D3400 sensor measures

Despite having a slightly smaller sensor, the D3400 offers a higher resolution of 24 megapixels, compared with 16.1 MP of the TL. 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 3.91μm versus 4.80μm for the TL). 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.

The resolution advantage of the Nikon D3400 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the D3400 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 30 x 20 inches or 76.2 x 50.8 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 24 x 16 inches or 61 x 40.6 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 20 x 13.3 inches or 50.8 x 33.9 cm. The corresponding values for the Leica TL are 24.6 x 16.3 inches or 62.6 x 41.5 cm for good quality, 19.7 x 13.1 inches or 50.1 x 33.2 cm for very good quality, and 16.4 x 10.9 inches or 41.7 x 27.6 cm for excellent quality prints.

The Leica TL has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 12500. The corresponding ISO settings for the Nikon D3400 are ISO 100 to ISO 25600 (no boost).

TL versus D3400 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 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 TL APS-C 16.1 4928 32641080/30p........
2.
 
Nikon D3400 APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.813.9119286
3.
 
Fujifilm X70 APS-C 16.0 4896 32641080/60p........
4.
 
Fujifilm X-A10 APS-C 16.0 4896 32641080/30p........
5.
 
Fujifilm X-E2S APS-C 16.0 4896 32641080/60p........
6.
 
Fujifilm X-A2 APS-C 16.0 4896 32641080/30p........
7.
 
Fujifilm X-T10 APS-C 16.0 4896 32641080/60p........
8.
 
Fujifilm X-Pro1 APS-C 16.0 4896 32641080/24p........
9.
 
Leica CL APS-C 24.1 6014 40144K/30p........
10.
 
Leica TL2 APS-C 24.1 6014 40144K/30p........
11.
 
Leica T APS-C 16.2 4944 32781080/30p23.012.7108275
12.
 
Leica X2 APS-C 16.1 4928 3264none........
13.
 
Nikon D3500 APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p........
14.
 
Nikon D5600 APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.114.0130684
15.
 
Nikon D5500 APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.114.0143884
16.
 
Nikon D3300 APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.312.8138582
17.
 
Nikon D3200 APS-C 24.1 6016 40001080/30p24.113.2113181

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 D3400 provides a faster frame rate than the TL. It can shoot movie footage at 1080/60p, while the Leica is limited to 1080/30p.

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Feature comparison

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the D3400 has an optical viewfinder, which can be very useful when shooting in bright sunlight. In contrast, the TL relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. That said, the TL can be equipped with an optional viewfinder – the Visoflex (Typ 020). The table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Leica TL and Nikon D3400 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
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 TLoptional n 3.7 1230 fixed Y 1/4000s 5.0 Y n
2.
 
Nikon D3400optical n 3.0 921 fixed n 1/4000s 5.0 Y n
3.
 
Fujifilm X70optional n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 1/4000s 8.0 Y n
4.
 
Fujifilm X-A10none n 3.0 1040 tilting n 1/4000s 6.0 Y n
5.
 
Fujifilm X-E2S2360 n 3.0 1040 fixed n 1/4000s 7.0 Y n
6.
 
Fujifilm X-A2none n 3.0 920 tilting n 1/4000s 5.6 Y n
7.
 
Fujifilm X-T102360 n 3.0 920 tilting n 1/4000s 8.0 Y n
8.
 
Fujifilm X-Pro11440 n 3.0 1230 fixed n 1/4000s 6.0 n n
9.
 
Leica CL2360 Y 3.0 1040 fixed Y 1/8000s 10.0 n n
10.
 
Leica TL2optional n 3.7 1230 fixed Y 1/4000s 7.0 n n
11.
 
Leica Toptional n 3.7 1300 fixed Y 1/4000s 5.0 Y n
12.
 
Leica X2optional n 2.7 230 fixed n 1/2000s 5.0 Y n
13.
 
Nikon D3500optical n 3.0 921 fixed n 1/4000s 5.0 Y n
14.
 
Nikon D5600optical n 3.2 1037 swivel Y 1/4000s 5.0 Y n
15.
 
Nikon D5500optical n 3.2 1037 swivel Y 1/4000s 5.0 Y n
16.
 
Nikon D3300optical n 3.0 921 fixed n 1/4000s 5.0 Y n
17.
 
Nikon D3200optical n 3.0 921 fixed n 1/4000s 4.0 Y n

One differentiating feature between the two cameras concerns the touch sensitivity of the rear screen. The TL has a touchscreen, while the D3400 has a conventional panel. Touch control can be particularly helpful, for example, for setting the focus point.

Concerning the storage of imaging data, both the TL and the D3400 write their files to SDXC cards. The D3400 supports UHS-I cards (Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 104 MB/s), while the TL 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 TL and Nikon D3400 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 TLYstereomono--micro2.0Y--
2.
 
Nikon D3400Ymonomono--mini2.0--Y
3.
 
Fujifilm X70YstereomonoY-micro2.0Y--
4.
 
Fujifilm X-A10-stereomono--mini2.0Y--
5.
 
Fujifilm X-E2SYstereomonoY-micro2.0Y--
6.
 
Fujifilm X-A2Ystereomono--mini2.0Y--
7.
 
Fujifilm X-T10YstereomonoY-micro2.0Y--
8.
 
Fujifilm X-Pro1Ystereomono--mini2.0---
9.
 
Leica CLYstereomono----Y--
10.
 
Leica TL2Ystereomono--micro3.0Y--
11.
 
Leica TYstereomono---2.0Y--
12.
 
Leica X2Y----mini2.0---
13.
 
Nikon D3500Ymonomono--mini2.0--Y
14.
 
Nikon D5600YstereomonoY-mini2.0YYY
15.
 
Nikon D5500YstereomonoY-mini2.0Y--
16.
 
Nikon D3300YmonomonoY-mini2.0---
17.
 
Nikon D3200YmonomonoY-mini2.0---

It is notable that the TL offers wifi support, while the D3400 does not. Wifi can be a very convenient means to transfer image data to an off-camera location.

Both the TL and the D3400 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The D3400 was replaced by the Nikon D3500, while the TL was followed by the Leica TL2. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Leica and Nikon websites.

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Review summary

So how do things add up? Is the Leica TL better than the Nikon D3400 or vice versa? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.

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Reasons to prefer the Leica TL:

  • Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.7" vs 3.0") for image review and settings control.
  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1230k vs 921k dots).
  • Fewer buttons to press: Is equipped with a touch-sensitive rear screen to facilitate handling.
  • More compact: Is smaller (134x69mm vs 124x98mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
  • Less heavy: Is lighter (by 61g or 14 percent) and hence easier to carry around.
  • Easier travel charging: Can be conveniently charged via its USB port.
  • More legacy lens friendly: Can take a broad range of non-native lenses via adapters.
  • Easier file upload: Has wifi built in for automatic backup or image transfer to the web.
  • More prestigious: Has the Leica luxury appeal, which ensures a high resale price.

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Advantages of the Nikon D3400:

  • More detail: Has more megapixels (24 vs 16.1MP), which boosts linear resolution by 22%.
  • Better video: Provides higher movie framerates (1080/60p versus 1080/30p).
  • Easier framing: Has an optical viewfinder for image composition and settings control.
  • Longer lasting: Gets more shots (1200 versus 400) out of a single battery charge.
  • Easier wireless transfer: Supports Bluetooth for image sharing without cables.
  • Faster buffer clearing: Has an SD card interface that supports the UHS-I standard.
  • More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (71 percent cheaper at launch).

If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the TL emerges as the winner of the contest (9 : 7 points). However, the pertinence of the various camera strengths will differ across photographers, so that you might want to weigh individual camera traits according to their importance for your own imaging needs before making a camera decision. A professional sports photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a street photog, and a person interested in family portraits has distinct needs from a landscape shooter. Hence, the decision which camera is best and worth buying is often a very personal one.

TL 09:07 D3400

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Leica TL and the Nikon D3400 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera and Best DSLR Camera listings whether the two cameras rank among the cream of the crop.

In any case, while the comparison of technical specifications can provide a useful overview of the capabilities of different cameras, it says little about, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance of the TL and the D3400 in practical situations. User reviews that are available, for instance, at amazon can sometimes shed light on these issues, but such feedback is all too often partial, inconsistent, and inaccurate.

Expert reviews

This is why expert reviews are important. The adjacent summary-table relays the overall verdicts of several of the most popular 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 TL........4/5 Nov 2016 1,695i
2.
 
Nikon D34004/5+76/1004/54.5/5 Aug 2016 499i
3.
 
Fujifilm X704.5/5..76/1004.5/54.5/5 Jan 2016 799i
4.
 
Fujifilm X-A10......4/54/5 Dec 2016 399i
5.
 
Fujifilm X-E2S4.5/5..77/1004.5/54.5/5 Jan 2016 699i
6.
 
Fujifilm X-A24/5....4.5/54.5/5 Jan 2015 399i
7.
 
Fujifilm X-T104.5/5+ +80/1005/55/5 May 2015 799i
8.
 
Fujifilm X-Pro15/5+ +79/1004.5/54.5/5 Jan 2012 1,699i
9.
 
Leica CL........4/5 Nov 2017 2,795 i
10.
 
Leica TL23.5/5....4/54/5 Jul 2017 1,950 i
11.
 
Leica T3/5....4/54/5 Apr 2014 1,850i
12.
 
Leica X23/5....3/54/5 May 2012 1,995i
13.
 
Nikon D3500....75/1004/54.5/5 Aug 2018 429 i
14.
 
Nikon D56004/5..79/1004.5/54/5 Nov 2016 699 i
15.
 
Nikon D55005/5+79/1004.5/54.5/5 Jan 2015 899i
16.
 
Nikon D33003/5+77/1004.5/54.5/5 Jan 2014 499i
17.
 
Nikon D32005/5+ +73/1004.5/54.5/5 Apr 2012 599i
Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.

The above review scores should be interpreted with care, though. The assessments were made in relation to similar cameras of the same technological generation. Thus, a score needs to be put into the context of the launch date and the launch price 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 TL:
Check Ebay offers
Nikon D3400:
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. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting.

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    Specifications: Leica TL vs Nikon D3400

    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 TL Nikon D3400
    Camera Type Mirrorless system camera Digital single lens reflex
    Camera Lens Leica T mount lenses Nikon F mount lenses
    Launch Date November 2016 August 2016
    Launch Price USD 1,695 USD 499
    Sensor Specs Leica TL Nikon D3400
    Sensor Technology CMOS CMOS
    Sensor Format APS-C Sensor APS-C Sensor
    Sensor Size 23.6 x 15.7 mm 23.5 x 15.6 mm
    Sensor Area 370.52 mm2 366.6 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 28.3 mm 28.2 mm
    Crop Factor 1.5x 1.5x
    Sensor Resolution 16.1 Megapixels 24 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 4928 x 3264 pixels 6000 x 4000 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 4.80 μm 3.91 μm
    Pixel Density 4.34 MP/cm2 6.55 MP/cm2
    Moiré control no AA filter no AA filter
    Movie Capability 1080/30p Video 1080/60p Video
    ISO Setting 100 - 12,500 ISO 100 - 25,600 ISO
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) .. 86
    DXO Color Depth (bits) .. 24.8
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) .. 13.9
    DXO Low Light (ISO) .. 1192
    Screen Specs Leica TL Nikon D3400
    Viewfinder Type Viewfinder optional Optical viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 95%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.57x
    LCD Framing Live View Live View
    Rear LCD Size 3.7inch 3.0inch
    LCD Resolution 1230k dots 921k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen Fixed screen
    Touch Input Touchscreen no Touchscreen
    Shooting Specs Leica TL Nikon D3400
    Focus System Contrast-detect AF Phase-detect AF
    Continuous Shooting 5 shutter flaps/s 5 shutter flaps/s
    Fill Flash Build-in Flash Build-in Flash
    Storage Medium SDXC cards SDXC cards
    Second Storage Option Single card slot Single card slot
    UHS card support no UHS-I
    Connectivity Specs Leica TL Nikon D3400
    External Flash Hotshoe Hotshoe
    USB Connector USB 2.0 USB 2.0
    HDMI Port micro HDMI mini HDMI
    Wifi Support Wifi built-in no Wifi
    Bluetooth Support no Bluetooth Bluetooth built-in
    Body Specs Leica TL Nikon D3400
    Battery Type BP-DC13 EN-EL14a
    Battery Life (CIPA)400 shots per charge1200 shots per charge
    In-Camera Charging USB charging no USB charging
    Body Dimensions 134 x 69 x 33 mm
    (5.3 x 2.7 x 1.3 in)
    124 x 98 x 76 mm
    (4.9 x 3.9 x 3.0 in)
    Camera Weight 384 g (13.5 oz) 445 g (15.7 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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