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Nikon D3000 vs Olympus E-300

The Nikon D3000 and the Olympus Evolt E-300 are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in July 2009 and September 2004. Both are DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras that are based on an APS-C (D3000) and a Four Thirds (E-300) sensor. The Nikon has a resolution of 10 megapixels, whereas the Olympus provides 8 MP.

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

Headline Specifications
Nikon D3000 VS Olympus E-300
Nikon D3000 Olympus E-300
Digital single lens reflex Digital single lens reflex
Nikon F mount lenses Four Thirds lenses
10 MP, APS-C Sensor 8 MP, Four Thirds Sensor
no Video no Video
ISO 100-1600 (100-3200) ISO 100-400 (100-1600)
Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
3.0" LCD, 230k dots 1.8" LCD, 134k dots
Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive) Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)
3 shutter flaps per second 2.5 shutter flaps per second
500 shots per battery charge750 shots per battery charge
126 x 97 x 64 mm, 536 g 147 x 85 x 64 mm, 624 g

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Nikon D3000 and the Olympus Evolt E-300? 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 Nikon D3000 and the Olympus E-300 is provided 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 dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

Size Nikon D3000 vs Olympus E-300
Compare D3000 versus E-300 top
Comparison D3000 or E-300 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Olympus E-300 is somewhat larger (2 percent) than the Nikon D3000. Moreover, the E-300 is markedly heavier (16 percent) than the D3000. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the D3000 nor the E-300 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. A larger imaging sensor will tend to go along with bigger and heavier lenses, although exceptions exist. You can compare the optics available for the two cameras in the Nikon Lens Catalog (D3000) and the Four Thirds Lens Catalog (E-300).

Concerning battery life, the D3000 gets 500 shots out of its EN-EL9a battery, while the E-300 can take 750 images on a single charge of its BLM-1 power pack.

The adjacent table lists the principal physical characteristics of the two cameras alongside a wider set of alternatives. If you would like to visualize and compare a different camera combination, just use the right or left arrows in the table to switch to the respective camera. Alternatively, you can also navigate to the CAM-parator app and make your selection from the full list of cameras there.

Camera Body Specifications
  Camera
Model
Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life
(CIPA)
Weather
Sealing
(yes/no)
Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Camera
Model
 
Nikon D3000» 5.0 in 3.8 in 2.5 in 18.9 oz 500 n Jul 2009 599iNikon D3000
 
Olympus E-300« 5.8 in 3.3 in 2.5 in 22.0 oz 750 n Sep 2004 799iOlympus E-300
 
Fujifilm X100« » 5.0 in 3.0 in 2.1 in 15.7 oz 300 n Sep 2010 1,199iFujifilm X100
 
Leica Digilux 3« » 5.7 in 3.4 in 3.0 in 21.4 oz 750 n Sep 2006 1,499iLeica Digilux 3
 
Nikon D3200« » 4.9 in 3.8 in 3.0 in 17.8 oz 540 n Apr 2012 599iNikon D3200
 
Nikon D3100« » 4.9 in 3.8 in 3.0 in 17.8 oz 550 n Aug 2010 599iNikon D3100
 
Nikon D5000« » 5.0 in 4.1 in 3.1 in 20.8 oz 510 n Apr 2009 749iNikon D5000
 
Nikon D60« » 5.0 in 3.7 in 2.5 in 18.4 oz 500 n Jan 2008 629iNikon D60
 
Nikon D90« » 5.2 in 4.1 in 3.0 in 24.8 oz 850 n Aug 2008 1,299iNikon D90
 
Nikon D40X« » 4.9 in 3.7 in 2.5 in 18.4 oz 520 n Mar 2007 729iNikon D40X
 
Nikon D40« » 4.9 in 3.7 in 2.5 in 18.4 oz 470 n Nov 2006 499iNikon D40
 
Olympus E-450« » 5.1 in 3.6 in 2.1 in 15.5 oz 500 n Mar 2009 499iOlympus E-450
 
Olympus E-420« » 5.1 in 3.6 in 2.1 in 15.5 oz 500 n Mar 2008 599iOlympus E-420
 
Olympus E-330« » 5.5 in 3.4 in 2.8 in 22.5 oz 750 n Jan 2006 999iOlympus E-330
 
Olympus E-400« » 5.1 in 3.6 in 2.1 in 15.3 oz 500 n Sep 2006 699iOlympus E-400
 
Olympus E-500« » 5.1 in 3.7 in 2.6 in 16.9 oz 750 n Sep 2005 599iOlympus E-500
 
Olympus E-1« » 5.6 in 4.1 in 3.2 in 26.0 oz 750 Y Jun 2003 1,699iOlympus E-1
Note: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.

Any camera decision will naturally be influenced heavily by the price. The manufacturer’s suggested retail prices give an idea on the placement of the camera in the maker’s lineup and the broader market. The D3000 was launched at a somewhat lower price (by 25 percent) than the E-300, which makes it more attractive for photographers on a tight budget. 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 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. 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 are more costly to manufacture and tend to lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.

Of the two cameras under consideration, the Nikon D3000 features an APS-C sensor and the Olympus E-300 a Four Thirds sensor. The sensor area in the E-300 is 40 percent smaller. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 1.5 and 2.0. The sensor in the D3000 has a native 3:2 aspect ratio, while the one in the E-300 offers a 4:3 aspect.

Nikon D3000 and Olympus E-300 sensor measures

With 10MP, the D3000 offers a higher resolution than the E-300 (8MP), but the D3000 nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 6.11μm versus 5.30μm for the E-300) due to its larger sensor. Moreover, the D3000 is a much more recent model (by 4 years and 10 months) than the E-300, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that further enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixels.

The resolution advantage of the Nikon D3000 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the D3000 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 19.4 x 13 inch or 49.2 x 32.9 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 15.5 x 10.4 inch or 39.3 x 26.3 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 12.9 x 8.6 inch or 32.8 x 21.9 cm. The corresponding values for the Olympus E-300 are 16.3 x 12.2 inch or 41.5 x 31.1 cm for good quality, 13.1 x 9.8 inch or 33.2 x 24.9 cm for very good quality, and 10.9 x 8.2 inch or 27.6 x 20.7 cm for excellent quality prints.

The Nikon D3000 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 1600, which can be extended to ISO 100-3200. The corresponding ISO settings for the Olympus Evolt E-300 are ISO 100 to ISO 400, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 100-1600.

D3000 versus E-300 MP

Since 2007, DXO Mark has published sensor performance measurements that have been derived using a consistent methodology. 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 following table provides an overview of the physical sensor characteristics, as well as the sensor quality measurements for a selection of comparators.

Sensor Characteristics
  Camera
Model
Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
Camera
Model
 
Nikon D3000 APS-C 10.0 3872 2592none22.311.156362Nikon D3000
 
Olympus E-300 Four Thirds 8.0 3264 2448none........Olympus E-300
 
Fujifilm X100 APS-C 12.2 4288 2848720/30p22.912.4100173Fujifilm X100
 
Leica Digilux 3 Four Thirds 7.4 3136 2352none........Leica Digilux 3
 
Nikon D3200 APS-C 24.1 6016 40001080/30p24.113.2113181Nikon D3200
 
Nikon D3100 APS-C 14.2 4608 30721080/24p22.511.391967Nikon D3100
 
Nikon D5000 APS-C 12.2 4288 2848720/24p22.712.586872Nikon D5000
 
Nikon D60 APS-C 10.0 3872 2592none22.511.456265Nikon D60
 
Nikon D90 APS-C 12.2 4288 2848720/24p22.712.597773Nikon D90
 
Nikon D40X APS-C 10.0 3872 2592none22.411.451663Nikon D40X
 
Nikon D40 APS-C 6.0 3008 2000none21.011.056156Nikon D40
 
Olympus E-450 Four Thirds 10.0 3648 2736none21.510.551256Olympus E-450
 
Olympus E-420 Four Thirds 10.0 3648 2736none21.510.452756Olympus E-420
 
Olympus E-330 Four Thirds 7.4 3136 2352none........Olympus E-330
 
Olympus E-400 Four Thirds 10.0 3648 2736none........Olympus E-400
 
Olympus E-500 Four Thirds 8.0 3264 2448none........Olympus E-500
 
Olympus E-1 Four Thirds 4.9 2560 1920none........Olympus E-1
Neither the D3000 nor the E-300 offer Live View, so that they cannot project the live image that the sensor receives onto the rear screen. Moreover, both cameras are still-image focused and cannot record videos.
 

Feature comparison

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The D3000 and the E-300 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 (95%), but the viewfinder of the D3000 has a higher magnification than the one of the E-300 (0.53x vs 0.5x), 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 Nikon D3000 and Olympus E-300 along with similar information for a selection of comparators.

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
Camera
Model
 
Nikon D3000optical n 3.0 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n Nikon D3000
 
Olympus E-300optical n 1.8 134 fixed n 1/4000s 2.5 Y n Olympus E-300
 
Fujifilm X1001440 n 2.8 460 fixed n 1/4000s 5.0 Y n Fujifilm X100
 
Leica Digilux 3optical n 2.5 207 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n Leica Digilux 3
 
Nikon D3200optical n 3.0 921 fixed n 1/4000s 4.0 Y n Nikon D3200
 
Nikon D3100optical n 3.0 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n Nikon D3100
 
Nikon D5000optical n 2.7 230 full-flex n 1/4000s 4.0 Y n Nikon D5000
 
Nikon D60optical n 2.5 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n Nikon D60
 
Nikon D90optical Y 3.0 920 fixed n 1/4000s 4.5 Y n Nikon D90
 
Nikon D40Xoptical n 2.5 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n Nikon D40X
 
Nikon D40optical n 2.5 230 fixed n 1/4000s 2.5 Y n Nikon D40
 
Olympus E-450optical n 2.7 215 fixed n 1/4000s 3.5 Y n Olympus E-450
 
Olympus E-420optical n 2.7 215 fixed n 1/4000s 3.5 Y n Olympus E-420
 
Olympus E-330optical n 2.5 215 tilting n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n Olympus E-330
 
Olympus E-400optical n 2.5 215 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n Olympus E-400
 
Olympus E-500optical n 2.5 215 fixed n 1/4000s 2.5 Y n Olympus E-500
 
Olympus E-1optical Y 1.8 134 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 n n Olympus E-1

The D3000 writes its imaging data to SDHC cards, while the E-300 uses Compact Flash or xD Picture cards. The E-300 features dual card slots, which can be very useful in case a memory card fails. In contrast, the D3000 only has one slot.

 

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 D3000 and Olympus Evolt E-300 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.

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
Camera
Model
 
Nikon D3000Ynonenone--none2.0---Nikon D3000
 
Olympus E-300Ynonenone--none2.0---Olympus E-300
 
Fujifilm X100Ystereonone--mini2.0---Fujifilm X100
 
Leica Digilux 3Ystereomono--none2.0---Leica Digilux 3
 
Nikon D3200YmonomonoY-mini2.0---Nikon D3200
 
Nikon D3100Ymonomono--mini2.0---Nikon D3100
 
Nikon D5000Ymonomono--mini2.0---Nikon D5000
 
Nikon D60Ynonenone--none2.0---Nikon D60
 
Nikon D90Ymonomono--mini2.0---Nikon D90
 
Nikon D40XYnonenone--none2.0---Nikon D40X
 
Nikon D40Ynonenone--none2.0---Nikon D40
 
Olympus E-450Ynonenone--none2.0---Olympus E-450
 
Olympus E-420Ynonenone--none2.0---Olympus E-420
 
Olympus E-330Ynonenone--none2.0---Olympus E-330
 
Olympus E-400Ynonenone--none2.0---Olympus E-400
 
Olympus E-500Ynonenone--none2.0---Olympus E-500
 
Olympus E-1Ynonenone--none2.0---Olympus E-1

Both the D3000 and the E-300 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The E-300 was replaced by the Olympus E-330, while the D3000 was followed by the Nikon D3100. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Nikon and Olympus websites.

Review summary

So what conclusions can be drawn? Is the Nikon D3000 better than the Olympus E-300 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 Nikon D3000:

  • More detail: Offers more megapixels (10 vs 8MP) with a 14% higher linear resolution.
  • Better image quality: Features a larger and more technologically advanced imaging sensor.
  • Richer colors: The sensor size advantage translates into images with better, more accurate colors.
  • More dynamic range: Larger sensor captures a wider spectrum of light and dark details.
  • Better low-light sensitivity: Larger sensor produces good images even in poorly lit environments.
  • Larger viewfinder image: Features a viewfinder with a higher magnification (0.53x vs 0.5x).
  • Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.0" vs 1.8") for image review and settings control.
  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (230k vs 134k dots).
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (3 vs 2.5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • Less heavy: Is lighter (by 88g or 14 percent) and hence easier to carry around.
  • More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced segment (25 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More modern: Reflects 4 years and 10 months of technical progress since the E-300 launch.

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Advantages of the Olympus Evolt E-300:

  • Longer lasting: Gets more shots (750 versus 500) out of a single battery charge.
  • Greater peace of mind: Features a second card slot as a backup in case of memory card failure.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been around for much longer (launched in September 2004).

If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the D3000 is the clear winner of the match-up (12 : 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.

D3000 12:03 E-300

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Nikon D3000 and the Olympus E-300 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 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 D3000 and the E-300 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 (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, and photographyblog). 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.

Review Scores
  Camera
Model
cam
era
  labs  
dp
re
  view  
e
photo
  zine  
ima
ging
resource
photo
graphy
  blog  
Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Camera
Model
 
Nikon D3000+72/1004/53.5/54.5/5 Jul 2009 599iNikon D3000
 
Olympus E-300..+oo4.5/5 Sep 2004 799iOlympus E-300
 
Fujifilm X100..75/1004/54/55/5 Sep 2010 1,199iFujifilm X100
 
Leica Digilux 3.......... Sep 2006 1,499iLeica Digilux 3
 
Nikon D3200+ +73/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Apr 2012 599iNikon D3200
 
Nikon D3100+ +72/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Aug 2010 599iNikon D3100
 
Nikon D5000+ +75/1004/55/54.5/5 Apr 2009 749iNikon D5000
 
Nikon D6080/100+ +4/5o4.5/5 Jan 2008 629iNikon D60
 
Nikon D90+ ++ +4/55/54.5/5 Aug 2008 1,299iNikon D90
 
Nikon D40X79/100+ +4/5o4/5 Mar 2007 729iNikon D40X
 
Nikon D4081/100+ +o5/54.5/5 Nov 2006 499iNikon D40
 
Olympus E-450....4/5..4/5 Mar 2009 499iOlympus E-450
 
Olympus E-42085/100+ +4/5o4.5/5 Mar 2008 599iOlympus E-420
 
Olympus E-330..+o3.5/5.. Jan 2006 999iOlympus E-330
 
Olympus E-40085/100..4/5..4/5 Sep 2006 699iOlympus E-400
 
Olympus E-50076/100+ +...... Sep 2005 599iOlympus E-500
 
Olympus E-1..+oo.. Jun 2003 1,699iOlympus E-1
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. It should also be noted that some of the review sites have over time altered the way they render their verdicts.

Nikon D3000:
Check Ebay offers
Olympus E-300:
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: Nikon D3000 vs Olympus E-300

    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 D3000 Olympus E-300
    Camera Type Digital single lens reflex Digital single lens reflex
    Camera Lens Nikon F mount lenses Four Thirds lenses
    Launch Date July 2009 September 2004
    Launch Price USD 599 USD 799
    Sensor Specs Nikon D3000 Olympus E-300
    Sensor Technology CCD CMOS
    Sensor Format APS-C Sensor Four Thirds Sensor
    Sensor Size 23.6 x 15.8 mm 17.3 x 13.0 mm
    Sensor Area 372.88 mm2 224.9 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 28.4 mm 21.6 mm
    Crop Factor 1.5x 2.0x
    Sensor Resolution 10 Megapixels 8 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 3872 x 2592 pixels 3264 x 2448 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 6.11 μm 5.30 μm
    Pixel Density 2.69 MP/cm2 3.55 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability no Video no Video
    ISO Setting 100-1600 ISO 100-400 ISO
    ISO Boost 100-3200 ISO 100-1600 ISO
    Image Processor EXPEED TruePic
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) 62 ..
    DXO Color Depth (bits) 22.3 ..
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) 11.1 ..
    DXO Low Light (ISO) 563 ..
    Screen Specs Nikon D3000 Olympus E-300
    Viewfinder Type Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 95% 95%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.53x 0.5x
    Rear LCD Size 3.0 inch 1.8 inch
    LCD Resolution 230k dots 134k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen Fixed screen
    Shooting Specs Nikon D3000 Olympus E-300
    Focus System Phase-detect AF Phase-detect AF
    Continuous Shooting 3 shutter flaps/s 2.5 shutter flaps/s
    Fill Flash Build-in Flash Build-in Flash
    Storage Medium SDHC cards CF or XD cards
    Second Storage Option Single card slot Dual card slots
    Connectivity Specs Nikon D3000 Olympus E-300
    External Flash Hotshoe Hotshoe
    USB Connector USB 2.0 USB 2.0
    HDMI Port no HDMI no HDMI
    Wifi Support no Wifi no Wifi
    Body Specs Nikon D3000 Olympus E-300
    Battery Type EN-EL9a BLM-1
    Battery Life (CIPA)500 shots per charge750 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 126 x 97 x 64 mm
    (5.0 x 3.8 x 2.5 in)
    147 x 85 x 64 mm
    (5.8 x 3.3 x 2.5 in)
    Camera Weight 536 g (18.9 oz) 624 g (22.0 oz)

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