Nikon D3000 vs Olympus E-PL8
The Nikon D3000 and the Olympus PEN E-PL8 are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in July 2009 and September 2016. The D3000 is a DSLR, while the E-PL8 is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera. The cameras are based on an APS-C (D3000) and a Four Thirds (E-PL8) sensor. The Nikon has a resolution of 10 megapixels, whereas the Olympus provides 15.9 MP.
Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Nikon D3000 and the Olympus PEN E-PL8? 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.
An illustration of the physical size and weight of the Nikon D3000 and the Olympus E-PL8 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 measures are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
The E-PL8 can be obtained in three different colors (black, brown, white), while the D3000 is only available in black.
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Olympus E-PL8 is considerably smaller (37 percent) than the Nikon D3000. Moreover, the E-PL8 is markedly lighter (33 percent) than the D3000. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the D3000 nor the E-PL8 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 Micro Four Thirds Lens Catalog (E-PL8). Mirrorless cameras, such as the E-PL8, have moreover the advantage that they can use many lenses from other systems via adapters, as they have a relatively short flange to focal plane distance.
The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the two cameras alongside a broader set of comparators. 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.
|1.||Nikon D3000||126 mm||97 mm||64 mm||536 g||500||n||Jul 2009||599||ebay.com|
|2.||Olympus E-PL8||115 mm||67 mm||38 mm||357 g||350||n||Sep 2016||549||ebay.com|
|3.||Fujifilm X100||126 mm||75 mm||54 mm||445 g||300||n||Sep 2010||1,199||ebay.com|
|4.||Nikon D3200||125 mm||96 mm||77 mm||505 g||540||n||Apr 2012||599||ebay.com|
|5.||Nikon D3100||124 mm||96 mm||75 mm||505 g||550||n||Aug 2010||599||ebay.com|
|6.||Nikon D5000||127 mm||104 mm||80 mm||590 g||510||n||Apr 2009||749||ebay.com|
|7.||Nikon D60||126 mm||94 mm||64 mm||522 g||500||n||Jan 2008||629||ebay.com|
|8.||Nikon D90||132 mm||103 mm||77 mm||703 g||850||n||Aug 2008||1,299||ebay.com|
|9.||Nikon D40X||124 mm||94 mm||64 mm||522 g||520||n||Mar 2007||729||ebay.com|
|10.||Nikon D40||124 mm||94 mm||64 mm||522 g||470||n||Nov 2006||499||ebay.com|
|11.||Olympus E-PL10||117 mm||68 mm||39 mm||380 g||350||n||Oct 2019||599||amazon.com|
|12.||Olympus E-PL9||117 mm||68 mm||39 mm||380 g||350||n||Feb 2018||599||ebay.com|
|13.||Olympus E-M10 III||122 mm||84 mm||50 mm||410 g||330||n||Aug 2017||649||ebay.com|
|14.||Olympus E-M10 II||120 mm||83 mm||47 mm||390 g||320||n||Aug 2015||649||ebay.com|
|15.||Olympus E-PL7||115 mm||67 mm||38 mm||357 g||350||n||Aug 2014||599||ebay.com|
|16.||Olympus E-450||130 mm||91 mm||53 mm||440 g||500||n||Mar 2009||499||ebay.com|
|17.||Olympus E-420||130 mm||91 mm||53 mm||440 g||500||n||Mar 2008||599||ebay.com|
|Note: 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 E-PL8 was somewhat cheaper (by 8 percent) than the D3000 at launch, but both cameras fall into the same price category. Normally, street prices remain initially close to the MSRP, but after a couple of months, the first discounts appear. 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.
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. 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 more expensive and 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-PL8 a Four Thirds sensor. The sensor area in the E-PL8 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-PL8 offers a 4:3 aspect.
Despite having a smaller sensor, the E-PL8 offers a higher resolution of 15.9 megapixels, compared with 10 MP of the D3000. 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 3.76μm versus 6.11μm for the D3000). However, it should be noted that the E-PL8 is much more recent (by 7 years and 1 month) than the D3000, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that make it possible to gather light more efficiently.
The resolution advantage of the Olympus E-PL8 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the E-PL8 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 23 x 17.3 inches or 58.5 x 43.9 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 18.4 x 13.8 inches or 46.8 x 35.1 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 15.4 x 11.5 inches or 39 x 29.3 cm. The corresponding values for the Nikon D3000 are 19.4 x 13 inches or 49.2 x 32.9 cm for good quality, 15.5 x 10.4 inches or 39.3 x 26.3 cm for very good quality, and 12.9 x 8.6 inches or 32.8 x 21.9 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 PEN E-PL8 are ISO 200 to ISO 6400, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 100-25600.
In terms of underlying technology, the D3000 is build around a CCD sensor, while the E-PL8 uses a CMOS imager. Both cameras use a Bayer filter for capturing RGB colors on a square grid of photosensors. This arrangement is found in most digital cameras.
For many cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. This service assesses and scores the color depth ("DXO Portrait"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports") of camera sensors, and also publishes an overall camera score. The following table provides an overview of the physical sensor characteristics, as well as the sensor quality measurements for a selection of comparators.
|2.||Olympus E-PL8||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/30p||23.0||12.6||1030||73|
|11.||Olympus E-PL10||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||4K/30p||23.3||13.1||1324||76|
|12.||Olympus E-PL9||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||4K/30p||23.1||12.8||1162||74|
|13.||Olympus E-M10 III||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||4K/30p||23.1||12.8||1120||74|
|14.||Olympus E-M10 II||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/60p||23.1||12.5||842||73|
|15.||Olympus E-PL7||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/30p||22.7||12.4||873||72|
|16.||Olympus E-450||Four Thirds||10.0||3648||2736||none||21.5||10.5||512||56|
|17.||Olympus E-420||Four Thirds||10.0||3648||2736||none||21.5||10.4||527||56|
|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 also of capturing video footage. The E-PL8 indeed provides for movie recording, while the D3000 does not. The highest resolution format that the E-PL8 can use is 1080/30p.
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the D3000 has an optical viewfinder, which can be very useful when shooting in bright sunlight. In contrast, the E-PL8 relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. That said, the E-PL8 can be equipped with an optional viewfinder – the VF-4. The table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Nikon D3000 and Olympus E-PL8 in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras.
|1.||Nikon D3000||optical||n||3.0 / 230||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0/s||Y||n|
|2.||Olympus E-PL8||optional||n||3.0 / 1037||tilting||Y||1/4000s||8.0/s||n||Y|
|3.||Fujifilm X100||1440||n||2.8 / 460||fixed||n||1/4000s||5.0/s||Y||n|
|4.||Nikon D3200||optical||n||3.0 / 921||fixed||n||1/4000s||4.0/s||Y||n|
|5.||Nikon D3100||optical||n||3.0 / 230||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0/s||Y||n|
|6.||Nikon D5000||optical||n||2.7 / 230||full-flex||n||1/4000s||4.0/s||Y||n|
|7.||Nikon D60||optical||n||2.5 / 230||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0/s||Y||n|
|8.||Nikon D90||optical||Y||3.0 / 920||fixed||n||1/4000s||4.5/s||Y||n|
|9.||Nikon D40X||optical||n||2.5 / 230||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0/s||Y||n|
|10.||Nikon D40||optical||n||2.5 / 230||fixed||n||1/4000s||2.5/s||Y||n|
|11.||Olympus E-PL10||none||n||3.0 / 1040||tilting||Y||1/4000s||8.6/s||Y||Y|
|12.||Olympus E-PL9||none||n||3.0 / 1040||tilting||Y||1/4000s||8.6/s||Y||Y|
|13.||Olympus E-M10 III||2360||n||3.0 / 1040||tilting||Y||1/4000s||8.6/s||Y||Y|
|14.||Olympus E-M10 II||2360||n||3.0 / 1040||tilting||Y||1/4000s||8.0/s||Y||Y|
|15.||Olympus E-PL7||optional||n||3.0 / 1037||tilting||Y||1/4000s||8.0/s||n||Y|
|16.||Olympus E-450||optical||n||2.7 / 215||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.5/s||Y||n|
|17.||Olympus E-420||optical||n||2.7 / 215||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.5/s||Y||n|
|Notes: *) Information refers to the mechanical shutter, unless the camera only has an electronic one.|
One difference between the cameras concerns the presence of an on-board flash. The D3000 has one, while the E-PL8 does not. While the built-in flash of the D3000 is not very powerful, it can at times be useful as a fill-in light.The E-PL8 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 D3000 does not have a selfie-screen.
The Olympus E-PL8 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 D3000 writes its imaging data to SDHC cards, while the E-PL8 uses SDXC cards. The E-PL8 supports UHS-I cards (Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 104 MB/s), while the D3000 cannot take advantage of Ultra High Speed SD cards.
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 PEN E-PL8 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
Mic / Speaker
|1.||Nikon D3000||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|2.||Olympus E-PL8||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-|
|3.||Fujifilm X100||Y||stereo / -||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|4.||Nikon D3200||Y||mono / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|5.||Nikon D3100||Y||mono / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|6.||Nikon D5000||Y||mono / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|7.||Nikon D60||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|8.||Nikon D90||Y||mono / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|9.||Nikon D40X||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|10.||Nikon D40||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|11.||Olympus E-PL10||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||Y|
|12.||Olympus E-PL9||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||Y|
|13.||Olympus E-M10 III||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-|
|14.||Olympus E-M10 II||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-|
|15.||Olympus E-PL7||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-|
|16.||Olympus E-450||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|17.||Olympus E-420||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
It is notable that the E-PL8 offers wifi support, which can be a very convenient means to transfer image data to an off-camera location. In contrast, the D3000 does not provide wifi capability.
Both the D3000 and the E-PL8 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on ebay. The D3000 was replaced by the Nikon D3100, while the E-PL8 was followed by the Olympus E-PL9. Further information on the features and operation of the D3000 and E-PL8 can be found, respectively, in the Nikon D3000 Manual (free pdf) or the online Olympus E-PL8 Manual.
So what is the bottom line? Which of the two cameras – the Nikon D3000 or the Olympus E-PL8 – has the upper hand? Is one clearly better than the other? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.
Reasons to prefer the Nikon D3000:
- Easier framing: Has an optical viewfinder for image composition and settings control.
- Longer lasting: Can take more shots (500 versus 350) on a single battery charge.
- Easier fill-in: Is equipped with a small onboard flash to brighten deep shadow areas.
- More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in July 2009).
Advantages of the Olympus PEN E-PL8:
- More detail: Has more megapixels (15.9 vs 10MP), which boosts linear resolution by 24%.
- Broader imaging potential: Can capture not only stills but also 1080/30p video.
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1037k vs 230k dots).
- More flexible LCD: Has a tilting screen for odd-angle shots in landscape orientation.
- Fewer buttons to press: Has a touchscreen to facilitate handling and shooting adjustments.
- More selfie-friendly: Has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (8 vs 3 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Easier time-lapse photography: Has an intervalometer built-in for low frequency shooting.
- More compact: Is smaller (115x67mm vs 126x97mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
- Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 179g or 33 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
- Sharper images: Has stabilization technology built-in to reduce the impact of hand-shake.
- More legacy lens friendly: Can use many non-native lenses via adapters.
- Easier file upload: Has wifi built in for automatic backup or image transfer to the web.
- Faster buffer clearing: Has an SD card interface that supports the UHS-I standard.
- More modern: Reflects 7 years and 1 month of technical progress since the D3000 launch.
If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the E-PL8 is the clear winner of the contest (15 : 4 points). However, the relevance of individual strengths will vary across photographers, so that you might want to apply your own weighing scheme to the summary points when reflecting and deciding 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.
How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Nikon D3000 and the Olympus E-PL8 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best DSLR Camera and Best Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera listings whether the two cameras rank among the cream of the crop.
In any case, while the comparison of the spec-sheets of cameras can offer a general idea of their imaging potential, it says little about, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance of the D3000 and the E-PL8 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.
This is why expert reviews 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], 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.
|1.||Nikon D3000||..||+||..||72/100||4/5||4.5/5||Jul 2009||599||ebay.com|
|2.||Olympus E-PL8||..||..||..||..||4.5/5||4/5||Sep 2016||549||ebay.com|
|3.||Fujifilm X100||3/5||..||..||75/100||4/5||5/5||Sep 2010||1,199||ebay.com|
|4.||Nikon D3200||5/5||+ +||..||73/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Apr 2012||599||ebay.com|
|5.||Nikon D3100||5/5||+ +||..||72/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2010||599||ebay.com|
|6.||Nikon D5000||..||+ +||..||75/100||4/5||4.5/5||Apr 2009||749||ebay.com|
|7.||Nikon D60||..||80/100||..||+ +||4/5||4.5/5||Jan 2008||629||ebay.com|
|8.||Nikon D90||..||+ +||..||+ +||4/5||4.5/5||Aug 2008||1,299||ebay.com|
|9.||Nikon D40X||..||79/100||..||+ +||4/5||4/5||Mar 2007||729||ebay.com|
|10.||Nikon D40||..||81/100||..||+ +||o||4.5/5||Nov 2006||499||ebay.com|
|11.||Olympus E-PL10||..||..||4/5||77/100||..||4/5||Oct 2019||599||amazon.com|
|12.||Olympus E-PL9||..||+||..||..||4.5/5||4/5||Feb 2018||599||ebay.com|
|13.||Olympus E-M10 III||..||+||5/5||80/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2017||649||ebay.com|
|14.||Olympus E-M10 II||4.5/5||+ +||..||80/100||5/5||5/5||Aug 2015||649||ebay.com|
|15.||Olympus E-PL7||4/5||+||..||..||5/5||4/5||Aug 2014||599||ebay.com|
|16.||Olympus E-450||..||..||..||..||4/5||4/5||Mar 2009||499||ebay.com|
|17.||Olympus E-420||..||85/100||..||+ +||4/5||4.5/5||Mar 2008||599||ebay.com|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, 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 rating-comparisons among cameras that span long time periods or concern very differently equipped models make little sense. Also, please note that some of the review sites have changed their methodology and reporting over time.
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 your choice using the following search menu. As an alternative, you can also directly jump to any one of the listed comparisons that were previously generated by the CAM-parator tool.
- Canon 1D vs Olympus E-PL8
- Canon 750D vs Olympus E-PL8
- Canon 80D vs Nikon D3000
- Canon G7 X Mark II vs Nikon D3000
- Fujifilm X-A7 vs Nikon D3000
- Fujifilm X-A7 vs Olympus E-PL8
- Nikon D3000 vs Nikon D3100
- Nikon D3000 vs Sony A7R II
- Nikon D3000 vs Sony NEX-3N
- Olympus E-PL8 vs Olympus E-PM1
- Olympus E-PL8 vs Panasonic GF2
- Olympus E-PL8 vs Sony RX10 III
Specifications: Nikon D3000 vs Olympus E-PL8
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 Model||Nikon D3000||Olympus E-PL8|
|Camera Type||Digital single lens reflex||Mirrorless system camera|
|Camera Lens||Nikon F mount lenses||Micro Four Thirds lenses|
|Launch Date||July 2009||September 2016|
|Launch Price||USD 599||USD 549|
|Sensor Specs||Nikon D3000||Olympus E-PL8|
|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|
|Sensor Resolution||10 Megapixels||15.9 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||3872 x 2592 pixels||4608 x 3456 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||6.11 μm||3.76 μm|
|Pixel Density||2.69 MP/cm2||7.08 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||no Video||1080/30p Video|
|ISO Setting||100 - 1,600 ISO||200 - 6,400 ISO|
|ISO Boost||100 - 3,200 ISO||100 - 25,600 ISO|
|Image Processor||EXPEED||TruePic VII|
|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-PL8|
|Viewfinder Type||Optical viewfinder||Viewfinder optional|
|Viewfinder Field of View||95%|
|LCD Framing||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||230k dots||1037k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Tilting screen|
|Touch Input||no Touchscreen||Touchscreen|
|Shooting Specs||Nikon D3000||Olympus E-PL8|
|Focus System||Phase-detect AF||Contrast-detect AF|
|Manual Focusing Aid||no Peaking Feature||Focus Peaking|
|Max Shutter Speed (mechanical)||1/4000s||1/4000s|
|Continuous Shooting||3 shutter flaps/s||8 shutter flaps/s|
|Time-Lapse Photography||no Intervalometer||Intervalometer built-in|
|Image Stabilization||Lens stabilization only||In-body stabilization|
|Fill Flash||Built-in Flash||no On-Board Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDHC cards||SDXC cards|
|Single or Dual Card Slots||Single card slot||Single card slot|
|UHS card support||no||UHS-I|
|Connectivity Specs||Nikon D3000||Olympus E-PL8|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||no HDMI||micro HDMI|
|Wifi Support||no Wifi||Wifi built-in|
|Body Specs||Nikon D3000||Olympus E-PL8|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||500 shots per charge||350 shots per charge|
126 x 97 x 64 mm
(5.0 x 3.8 x 2.5 in)
115 x 67 x 38 mm
(4.5 x 2.6 x 1.5 in)
|Camera Weight||536 g (18.9 oz)||357 g (12.6 oz)|
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