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Nikon D2H vs D4S

The Nikon D2H and the Nikon D4S are two professional cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in July 2003 and February 2014. Both are DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras that are based on an APS-C (D2H) and a full frame (D4S) sensor. The D2H has a resolution of 4 megapixels, whereas the D4S provides 16.2 MP.

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

Headline Specifications
Nikon D2H versus Nikon D4S
Nikon D2H Nikon D4S
Digital single lens reflex Digital single lens reflex
Nikon F mount lenses Nikon F mount lenses
4 MP, APS-C Sensor 16.2 MP, Full Frame Sensor
no Video 1080/60p Video
ISO 200-1,600 (200 - 6,400) ISO 100-25,600 (50 - 409,600)
Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
2.5 LCD, 211k dots 3.2 LCD, 921k dots
Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive) Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)
8 shutter flaps per second 11 shutter flaps per second
Weathersealed bodyWeathersealed body
2900 shots per battery charge3020 shots per battery charge
158 x 150 x 86 mm, 1070 g 160 x 157 x 91 mm, 1350 g

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Nikon D2H and the Nikon D4S? 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 Nikon D2H and the Nikon D4S 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 width, height and depth measures are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

Size Nikon D2H vs Nikon D4S
Compare D2H versus D4S top
Comparison D2H or D4S rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Nikon D4S is notably larger (6 percent) than the Nikon D2H. Moreover, the D4S is markedly heavier (26 percent) than the D2H. 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. A larger imaging sensor (as in the D4S) will tend to go along with bigger and heavier lenses, while more compact options are available for the smaller-sensor camera (D2H). You can compare the optics available in the Nikon Lens Catalog.

As can be seen in the images above, both cameras have a battery grip built in. This facilitates image-taking in portrait orientation and gives it additional battery power.

The adjacent table lists the principal physical characteristics of the two cameras alongside a wider set of alternatives. In case you want to display and compare another camera duo, you can use the CAM-parator app to select your camera combination among a large number of options.

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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.
 
Nikon D2H 6.2 in 5.9 in 3.4 in 37.7 oz 2900 Y Jul 2003 3,499i
2.
 
Nikon D4S 6.3 in 6.2 in 3.6 in 47.6 oz 3020 Y Feb 2014 6,499i
3.
 
Nikon D5 6.3 in 6.3 in 3.6 in 49.9 oz 3780 Y Jan 2016 6,499i
4.
 
Nikon D750 5.6 in 4.4 in 3.1 in 26.5 oz 1230 Y Sep 2014 2,299i
5.
 
Nikon D810 5.7 in 4.8 in 3.2 in 34.6 oz 1200 Y Jun 2014 3,299i
6.
 
Nikon Df 5.7 in 4.3 in 2.6 in 26.8 oz 1400 Y Nov 2013 2,749i
7.
 
Nikon D4 6.3 in 6.2 in 3.6 in 47.3 oz 2600 Y Jan 2012 5,999i
8.
 
Nikon D300S 5.8 in 4.5 in 3.2 in 33.1 oz 950 Y Jul 2009 1,799i
9.
 
Nikon D700 5.8 in 4.8 in 3.0 in 37.9 oz 1000 Y Jul 2008 2,999i
10.
 
Nikon D300 5.8 in 4.5 in 2.9 in 32.6 oz 1000 Y Aug 2007 1,799i
11.
 
Nikon D2Xs 6.2 in 5.9 in 3.4 in 44.2 oz 3800 Y Jun 2006 4,699i
12.
 
Nikon D200 5.8 in 4.4 in 2.9 in 32.5 oz 400 Y Nov 2005 1,699i
13.
 
Nikon D2X 6.2 in 5.9 in 3.4 in 44.2 oz 3800 Y Sep 2004 4,999i
14.
 
Nikon D1H 6.2 in 6.0 in 3.3 in 38.8 oz 1200 Y Feb 2001 4,499i
15.
 
Nikon D1X 6.2 in 6.0 in 3.3 in 38.8 oz 1200 Y Feb 2001 5,999i
16.
 
Nikon D1 6.2 in 6.0 in 3.3 in 38.8 oz .. Y Jun 1999 5,499i
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 D2H was launched at a markedly lower price (by 46 percent) than the D4S, 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.

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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. 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 Nikon D2H features an APS-C sensor and the Nikon D4S a full frame sensor. The sensor area in the D4S is 138 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 1.5 and 1.0. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.

Nikon D2H and Nikon D4S sensor measures

With 16.2MP, the D4S offers a higher resolution than the D2H (4MP), but the D4S has smaller individual pixels (pixel pitch of 7.29μm versus 9.50μm for the D2H). Yet, the D4S is a much more recent model (by 10 years and 7 months) than the D2H, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixel-units.

The resolution advantage of the Nikon D4S implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the D4S for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 24.6 x 16.4 inches or 62.6 x 41.7 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 19.7 x 13.1 inches or 50.1 x 33.3 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 16.4 x 10.9 inches or 41.7 x 27.8 cm. The corresponding values for the Nikon D2H are 12.3 x 8.2 inches or 31.3 x 20.7 cm for good quality, 9.9 x 6.5 inches or 25 x 16.6 cm for very good quality, and 8.2 x 5.4 inches or 20.9 x 13.8 cm for excellent quality prints.

The Nikon D2H has a native sensitivity range from ISO 200 to ISO 1600, which can be extended to ISO 200-6400. The corresponding ISO settings for the Nikon D4S are ISO 100 to ISO 25600, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 50-409600.

D2H versus D4S MP

Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for many cameras. 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"). Of the two cameras under consideration, the D4S offers substantially better image quality than the D2H (overall score 49 points higher). The advantage is based on 5.5 bits higher color depth, 3.3 EV in additional dynamic range, and 3.1 stops in additional low light sensitivity. 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.
 
Nikon D2H APS-C 4.0 2464 1632none18.910.035240
2.
 
Nikon D4S Full Frame 16.2 4928 32801080/60p24.413.3307489
3.
 
Nikon D5 Full Frame 20.7 5588 37124K/30p25.112.3234388
4.
 
Nikon D750 Full Frame 24.2 6016 40161080/60p24.814.5295693
5.
 
Nikon D810 Full Frame 36.2 7360 49121080/60p25.714.8285397
6.
 
Nikon Df Full Frame 16.2 4928 3280none24.613.1327989
7.
 
Nikon D4 Full Frame 16.2 4928 32801080/30p24.713.1296589
8.
 
Nikon D300S APS-C 12.2 4288 2848720/24p22.512.278770
9.
 
Nikon D700 Full Frame 12.1 4256 2832none23.512.2230380
10.
 
Nikon D300 APS-C 12.2 4288 2848none22.112.067967
11.
 
Nikon D2Xs APS-C 12.2 4288 2848none22.210.948959
12.
 
Nikon D200 APS-C 10.0 3872 2592none22.311.558364
13.
 
Nikon D2X APS-C 12.2 4288 2848none22.110.947659
14.
 
Nikon D1H APS-C 2.6 2000 1312none........
15.
 
Nikon D1X APS-C 5.9 3008 1960none........
16.
 
Nikon D1 APS-C 2.6 2000 1312none........

Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but also of capturing video footage. The D4S indeed provides for movie recording, while the D2H does not. The highest resolution format that the D4S can use is 1080/60p.

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Feature comparison

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. The D2H and the D4S 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 D4S has a higher magnification than the one of the D2H (0.70x vs 0.57x), so that the size of the image transmitted appears closer to the size seen with the naked human eye. The table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Nikon D2H and Nikon D4S 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.
 
Nikon D2Hoptical Y 2.5 211 fixed n 1/8000s 8.0 n n
2.
 
Nikon D4Soptical Y 3.2 921 fixed n 1/8000s 11.0 n n
3.
 
Nikon D5optical Y 3.2 2359 fixed Y 1/8000s 14.0 n n
4.
 
Nikon D750optical Y 3.2 1229 tilting n 1/4000s 6.0 Y n
5.
 
Nikon D810optical Y 3.2 1229 fixed n 1/8000s 5.0 Y n
6.
 
Nikon Dfoptical Y 3.2 921 fixed n 1/4000s 5.5 n n
7.
 
Nikon D4optical Y 3.2 921 fixed n 1/8000s 11.0 n n
8.
 
Nikon D300Soptical Y 3.0 920 fixed n 1/8000s 7.0 Y n
9.
 
Nikon D700optical Y 3.0 922 fixed n 1/8000s 8.0 Y n
10.
 
Nikon D300optical Y 3.0 922 fixed n 1/8000s 6.0 Y n
11.
 
Nikon D2Xsoptical Y 2.5 230 fixed n 1/8000s 5.0 n n
12.
 
Nikon D200optical Y 2.5 230 fixed n 1/8000s 5.0 Y n
13.
 
Nikon D2Xoptical Y 2.5 235 fixed n 1/8000s 5.0 n n
14.
 
Nikon D1Hoptical Y 2.0 120 fixed n 1/16000s 5.0 n n
15.
 
Nikon D1Xoptical Y 2.0 120 fixed n 1/16000s 3.0 n n
16.
 
Nikon D1optical Y 2.0 120 fixed n 1/16000s 1.5 n n

The Nikon D4S has 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.

The D2H writes its imaging data to Compact Flash cards, while the D4S uses Compact Flash or XQD cards. The D4S features dual card slots, which can be very useful in case a memory card fails. In contrast, the D2H only has one slot.

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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 Nikon D2H and Nikon D4S 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.
 
Nikon D2HY-----2.0---
2.
 
Nikon D4SYmonomonoYYmini2.0---
3.
 
Nikon D5YstereomonoYYmini3.0---
4.
 
Nikon D750YstereomonoYYmini2.0Y--
5.
 
Nikon D810YstereomonoYYmini3.0Y--
6.
 
Nikon DfY----mini2.0---
7.
 
Nikon D4YmonomonoYYmicro2.0---
8.
 
Nikon D300SYstereomonoY-mini2.0---
9.
 
Nikon D700Y----mini2.0---
10.
 
Nikon D300Y----mini2.0---
11.
 
Nikon D2XsY-----2.0---
12.
 
Nikon D200Y-----2.0---
13.
 
Nikon D2XY-----2.0---
14.
 
Nikon D1HY-----FW---
15.
 
Nikon D1XY-----FW---
16.
 
Nikon D1Y-----FW---

Both cameras feature a PC Sync terminal to control professional strobe lights, which will be appreciated by studio photographers.

Both the D2H and the D4S have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The D2H was replaced by the Nikon D2Hs, while the D4S was followed by the Nikon D5. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Nikon website.

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Review summary

So what conclusions can be drawn? Is the Nikon D2H better than the Nikon D4S or vice versa? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.


Reasons to prefer the Nikon D2H:

  • Less heavy: Is lighter (by 280g or 21 percent) and hence easier to carry around.
  • More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (46 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in July 2003).


Advantages of the Nikon D4S:

  • More detail: Has more megapixels (16.2 vs 4MP), which boosts linear resolution by 100%.
  • Better image quality: Scores substantially higher (49 points) in the DXO overall evaluation.
  • Richer colors: Generates noticeably more natural colors (5.5 bits more color depth).
  • More dynamic range: Captures a broader range of light and dark details (3.3 EV of extra DR).
  • Better low-light sensitivity: Can shoot in dim conditions (3.1 stops ISO advantage).
  • Broader imaging potential: Can capture not only stills but also 1080/60p video.
  • Larger viewfinder image: Features a viewfinder with a higher magnification (0.70x vs 0.57x).
  • Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.2" vs 2.5") for image review and settings control.
  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (921k vs 211k dots).
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (11 vs 8 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • Easier time-lapse photography: Has an intervalometer built-in for low frequency shooting.
  • Greater peace of mind: Features a second card slot as a backup in case of memory card failure.
  • More modern: Reflects 10 years and 7 months of technical progress since the D2H launch.

If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the D4S is the clear winner of the contest (13 : 3 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 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.

D2H 03:13 D4S

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Nikon D2H and the Nikon D4S place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best DSLR Camera listing 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 says little about, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance of the D2H and the D4S in practical situations. 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], 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.
 
Nikon D2H....+ +.... Jul 2003 3,499i
2.
 
Nikon D4S5/5....4.5/54.5/5 Feb 2014 6,499i
3.
 
Nikon D5....89/1004.5/55/5 Jan 2016 6,499i
4.
 
Nikon D7505/5+ +90/1004.5/54.5/5 Sep 2014 2,299i
5.
 
Nikon D8105/5..86/1005/54.5/5 Jun 2014 3,299i
6.
 
Nikon Df4/5..81/1004/54/5 Nov 2013 2,749i
7.
 
Nikon D4......4.5/54.5/5 Jan 2012 5,999i
8.
 
Nikon D300S5/5+ +82/1004/54.5/5 Jul 2009 1,799i
9.
 
Nikon D700..89/100+ +4.5/54.5/5 Jul 2008 2,999i
10.
 
Nikon D300..+ ++ +5/54.5/5 Aug 2007 1,799i
11.
 
Nikon D2Xs.......... Jun 2006 4,699i
12.
 
Nikon D200..+ ++ +o.. Nov 2005 1,699i
13.
 
Nikon D2X....+ +.... Sep 2004 4,999i
14.
 
Nikon D1H....+ +.... Feb 2001 4,499i
15.
 
Nikon D1X....+ +.... Feb 2001 5,999i
16.
 
Nikon D1....+ +.... Jun 1999 5,499i
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. 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. Also, kindly note that some of the listed sites have over time developped their review approaches and their reporting style.

Nikon D2H:
Check Ebay offers
Nikon D4S:
Check Ebay offers

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. There is also a set of direct links to comparison reviews that other users of the CAM-parator app explored.

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    Specifications: Nikon D2H vs Nikon D4S

    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 Nikon D2H Nikon D4S
    Camera Type Digital single lens reflex Digital single lens reflex
    Camera Lens Nikon F mount lenses Nikon F mount lenses
    Launch Date July 2003 February 2014
    Launch Price USD 3,499 USD 6,499
    Sensor Specs Nikon D2H Nikon D4S
    Sensor Technology CMOS CMOS
    Sensor Format APS-C Sensor Full Frame Sensor
    Sensor Size 23.3 x 15.5 mm 36.0 x 23.9 mm
    Sensor Area 361.15 mm2 860.4 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 28 mm 43.2 mm
    Crop Factor 1.5x 1.0x
    Sensor Resolution 4 Megapixels 16.2 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 2464 x 1632 pixels 4928 x 3280 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 9.50 μm 7.29 μm
    Pixel Density 1.11 MP/cm2 1.88 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability no Video 1080/60p Video
    ISO Setting 200 - 1,600 ISO 100 - 25,600 ISO
    ISO Boost 200 - 6,400 ISO 50 - 409,600 ISO
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) 40 89
    DXO Color Depth (bits) 18.9 24.4
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) 10.0 13.3
    DXO Low Light (ISO) 352 3074
    Screen Specs Nikon D2H Nikon D4S
    Viewfinder Type Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 100% 100%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.57x 0.70x
    Top-Level Screen Control Panel Control Panel
    LCD Framing Live View
    Rear LCD Size 2.5inch 3.2inch
    LCD Resolution 211k dots 921k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen Fixed screen
    Shooting Specs Nikon D2H Nikon D4S
    Focus System Phase-detect AF Phase-detect AF
    Continuous Shooting 8 shutter flaps/s 11 shutter flaps/s
    Shutter Life Expectancy150 000 actuations400 000 actuations
    Time-Lapse Photographyno IntervalometerIntervalometer built-in
    Fill Flash no On-Board Flash no On-Board Flash
    Storage Medium CF cards CF or XQD cards
    Second Storage Option Single card slot Dual card slots
    Connectivity Specs Nikon D2H Nikon D4S
    External Flash Hotshoe Hotshoe
    Studio Flash PC Sync socket PC Sync socket
    USB Connector USB 2.0 USB 2.0
    HDMI Port no HDMI mini HDMI
    Microphone Port no MIC socket External MIC port
    Headphone Socket no Headphone port Headphone port
    Wifi Support no Wifi no Wifi
    Body Specs Nikon D2H Nikon D4S
    Environmental SealingWeathersealed bodyWeathersealed body
    Battery Type EN-EL4 EN-EL18a
    Battery Life (CIPA)2900 shots per charge3020 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 158 x 150 x 86 mm
    (6.2 x 5.9 x 3.4 in)
    160 x 157 x 91 mm
    (6.3 x 6.2 x 3.6 in)
    Camera Weight 1070 g (37.7 oz) 1350 g (47.6 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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