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Nikon D3500 vs Olympus E-400

The Nikon D3500 and the Olympus E-400 are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in August 2018 and September 2006. Both are DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras that are based on an APS-C (D3500) and a Four Thirds (E-400) sensor. The Nikon has a resolution of 24 megapixels, whereas the Olympus provides 10 MP.

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

Headline Specifications
Nikon D3500   VS Olympus E-400
Nikon D3500 Olympus E-400
Digital single lens reflex Digital single lens reflex
Nikon F mount lenses Four Thirds lenses
24 MP, APS-C Sensor 10 MP, Four Thirds Sensor
1080/60p Video no Video
ISO 100-25600 ISO 100-1600
Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
3.0" LCD, 921k dots 2.5" LCD, 215k dots
Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive) Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)
5 shutter flaps per second 3 shutter flaps per second
1550 shots per battery charge500 shots per battery charge
124 x 97 x 70 mm, 365 g 130 x 91 x 53 mm, 435 g

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Nikon D3500 and the Olympus E-400? 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 Nikon D3500 and the Olympus E-400. 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 D3500 vs Olympus E-400
Compare D3500 versus E-400 top
Comparison D3500 or E-400 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Olympus E-400 is somewhat smaller (2 percent) than the Nikon D3500. However, the E-400 is markedly heavier (19 percent) than the D3500. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the D3500 nor the E-400 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 (D3500) and the Four Thirds Lens Catalog (E-400).

Concerning battery life, the D3500 gets 1550 shots out of its EN-EL14a battery, while the E-400 can take 500 images on a single charge of its BLS-1 power pack.

The following table provides a synthesis of the main physical specifications of the two cameras and other similar ones. In case you want to display and compare another camera duo, just click on the right or left arrow next to the camera that you would like to inspect. Alternatively, you can also use the CAM-parator to select your camera combination among a larger number of options.

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 D3500» 124 mm 97 mm 70 mm 365 g 1550 n Aug 2018 429 iNikon D3500
 
Olympus E-400« 130 mm 91 mm 53 mm 435 g 500 n Sep 2006 699iOlympus E-400
 
Canon SX740« » 110 mm 64 mm 40 mm 299 g 265 n Jul 2018 399 iCanon SX740
 
Canon M100« » 108 mm 67 mm 35 mm 302 g 295 n Aug 2017 499iCanon M100
 
Canon SX730« » 110 mm 64 mm 40 mm 300 g 250 n Apr 2017 399iCanon SX730
 
Fujifilm X-A5« » 117 mm 68 mm 40 mm 361 g 450 n Jan 2018 399iFujifilm X-A5
 
Nikon A1000« » 114 mm 72 mm 41 mm 330 g 250 n Jan 2019 429 iNikon A1000
 
Nikon D3400« » 124 mm 98 mm 76 mm 445 g 1200 n Aug 2016 499iNikon D3400
 
Nikon D5500« » 124 mm 97 mm 70 mm 420 g 820 n Jan 2015 899iNikon D5500
 
Nikon D3300« » 124 mm 98 mm 76 mm 430 g 700 n Jan 2014 499iNikon D3300
 
Olympus E-420« » 130 mm 91 mm 53 mm 440 g 500 n Mar 2008 599iOlympus E-420
 
Olympus E-410« » 130 mm 91 mm 53 mm 435 g 500 n Mar 2007 699iOlympus E-410
 
Olympus E-510« » 136 mm 92 mm 68 mm 538 g 750 n Mar 2007 799iOlympus E-510
 
Olympus E-500« » 130 mm 95 mm 66 mm 479 g 750 n Sep 2005 599iOlympus E-500
 
Panasonic TZ95« » 112 mm 69 mm 42 mm 327 g 380 n Feb 2019 449 iPanasonic TZ95
 
Panasonic TZ90« » 112 mm 67 mm 41 mm 322 g 380 n Apr 2017 449iPanasonic TZ90
 
Panasonic L10« » 135 mm 96 mm 78 mm 556 g 450 n Aug 2007 599iPanasonic L10
Note: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.

The price is, of course, an important factor in any camera decision. 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 D3500 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 39 percent) than the E-400, 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.

 

Sensor comparison

The size of the imaging sensor is a crucial determinant 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.

Of the two cameras under consideration, the Nikon D3500 features an APS-C sensor and the Olympus E-400 a Four Thirds sensor. The sensor area in the E-400 is 39 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 D3500 has a native 3:2 aspect ratio, while the one in the E-400 offers a 4:3 aspect.

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

Nikon D3500 and Olympus E-400 sensor measures

With 24MP, the D3500 offers a higher resolution than the E-400 (10MP), but the D3500 has smaller individual pixels (pixel pitch of 3.91μm versus 4.74μm for the E-400). However, the D3500 is a much more recent model (by 11 years and 11 months) than the E-400, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixels. Coming back to sensor resolution, it should be mentioned that the D3500 has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.

The resolution advantage of the Nikon D3500 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the D3500 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 30 x 20 inch or 76.2 x 50.8 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 24 x 16 inch or 61 x 40.6 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 20 x 13.3 inch or 50.8 x 33.9 cm. The corresponding values for the Olympus E-400 are 18.2 x 13.7 inch or 46.3 x 34.7 cm for good quality, 14.6 x 10.9 inch or 37.1 x 27.8 cm for very good quality, and 12.2 x 9.1 inch or 30.9 x 23.2 cm for excellent quality prints.

The Nikon D3500 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 25600. The corresponding ISO settings for the Olympus E-400 are ISO 100 to ISO 1600 (no boost).

D3500 versus E-400 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"). The adjacent table reports on the physical sensor characteristics and the outcomes of the DXO sensor quality tests for a sample of comparator-cameras.

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 D3500 APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p........Nikon D3500
 
Olympus E-400 Four Thirds 10.0 3648 2736none........Olympus E-400
 
Canon SX740 1/2.3 20.2 5184 38884K/30p........Canon SX740
 
Canon M100 APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p23.512.9127278Canon M100
 
Canon SX730 1/2.3 20.2 5184 38881080/60p........Canon SX730
 
Fujifilm X-A5 APS-C 24.0 6000 40004K/15p........Fujifilm X-A5
 
Nikon A1000 1/2.3 15.9 4608 34564K/30p........Nikon A1000
 
Nikon D3400 APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.813.9119286Nikon D3400
 
Nikon D5500 APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.114.0143884Nikon D5500
 
Nikon D3300 APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.312.8138582Nikon D3300
 
Olympus E-420 Four Thirds 10.0 3648 2736none21.510.452756Olympus E-420
 
Olympus E-410 Four Thirds 10.0 3648 2736none21.110.049451Olympus E-410
 
Olympus E-510 Four Thirds 10.0 3648 2736none21.210.044252Olympus E-510
 
Olympus E-500 Four Thirds 8.0 3264 2448none........Olympus E-500
 
Panasonic TZ95 1/2.3 20.2 5184 38884K/30p........Panasonic TZ95
 
Panasonic TZ90 1/2.3 20.2 5184 38884K/30p19.110.610636Panasonic TZ90
 
Panasonic L10 Four Thirds 10.0 3648 2736none21.310.842955Panasonic L10

Many modern cameras cannot only take still pictures, but also record videos. The D3500 indeed provides movie recording capabilities, while the E-400 does not. The highest resolution format that the D3500 can use is 1080/60p.

 

Feature comparison

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The D3500 and the E-400 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 D3500 has a higher magnification than the one of the E-400 (0.57x vs 0.46x), 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 D3500 and Olympus E-400 in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras.

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 D3500optical n 3.0 921 fixed n 1/4000s 5.0 Y n Nikon D3500
 
Olympus E-400optical n 2.5 215 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n Olympus E-400
 
Canon SX740none n 3.0 922 tilting n 1/3200s 10.0 Y Y Canon SX740
 
Canon M100none n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 1/4000s 6.1 Y n Canon M100
 
Canon SX730none n 3.0 922 tilting n 1/3200s 5.9 Y Y Canon SX730
 
Fujifilm X-A5none n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 1/4000s 6.0 Y n Fujifilm X-A5
 
Nikon A10001166 n 3.0 1036 tilting Y 1/4000s 7.0 Y Y Nikon A1000
 
Nikon D3400optical n 3.0 921 fixed n 1/4000s 5.0 Y n Nikon D3400
 
Nikon D5500optical n 3.2 1037 swivel Y 1/4000s 5.0 Y n Nikon D5500
 
Nikon D3300optical n 3.0 921 fixed n 1/4000s 5.0 Y n Nikon D3300
 
Olympus E-420optical n 2.7 215 fixed n 1/4000s 3.5 Y n Olympus E-420
 
Olympus E-410optical n 2.5 215 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n Olympus E-410
 
Olympus E-510optical n 2.5 215 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y Y Olympus E-510
 
Olympus E-500optical n 2.5 215 fixed n 1/4000s 2.5 Y n Olympus E-500
 
Panasonic TZ952330 n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 1/2000s 10.0 Y Y Panasonic TZ95
 
Panasonic TZ901166 n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 1/2000s 10.0 Y Y Panasonic TZ90
 
Panasonic L10optical n 2.5 207 swivel n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n Panasonic L10

The D3500 writes its imaging data to SDXC cards, while the E-400 uses Compact Flash or xD Picture cards. The E-400 features dual card slots, which can be very useful in case a memory card fails. In contrast, the D3500 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 D3500 and Olympus E-400 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 D3500Ymonomono--mini2.0--YNikon D3500
 
Olympus E-400Ynonenone--none2.0---Olympus E-400
 
Canon SX740-stereomono--micro2.0YYYCanon SX740
 
Canon M100-stereomono--mini2.0YYYCanon M100
 
Canon SX730-stereomono--micro2.0YYYCanon SX730
 
Fujifilm X-A5YstereomonoY-mini2.0Y-YFujifilm X-A5
 
Nikon A1000-stereomono--micro2.0Y-YNikon A1000
 
Nikon D3400Ymonomono--mini2.0--YNikon D3400
 
Nikon D5500YstereomonoY-mini2.0Y--Nikon D5500
 
Nikon D3300YmonomonoY-mini2.0---Nikon D3300
 
Olympus E-420Ynonenone--none2.0---Olympus E-420
 
Olympus E-410Ynonenone--none2.0---Olympus E-410
 
Olympus E-510Ynonenone--none2.0---Olympus E-510
 
Olympus E-500Ynonenone--none2.0---Olympus E-500
 
Panasonic TZ95-stereomono--micro2.0Y-YPanasonic TZ95
 
Panasonic TZ90-stereomono--micro2.0Y--Panasonic TZ90
 
Panasonic L10Ynonenone--none2.0---Panasonic L10

The D3500 is a recent model that features in the current product line-up of Nikon. In contrast, the E-400 has been discontinued (but it can be found pre-owned on eBay). As a replacement in the same line of cameras, the E-400 was succeeded by the Olympus E-410. 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 how do things add up? Is there a clear favorite between the Nikon D3500 and the Olympus E-400? Which camera is better? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.

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Reasons to prefer the Nikon D3500:

  • More detail: Offers more megapixels (24 vs 10MP) with a 58% higher linear resolution.
  • Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
  • 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.
  • Broader imaging potential: Can record not only still images but also 1080/60p movies.
  • Larger viewfinder image: Features a viewfinder with a higher magnification (0.57x vs 0.46x).
  • 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 (921k vs 215k dots).
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (5 vs 3 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • Less heavy: Is lighter (by 70g or 16 percent) and hence easier to carry around.
  • Longer lasting: Can take more shots (1550 versus 500) on a single battery charge.
  • Easier wireless transfer: Supports Bluetooth for image sharing without cables.
  • More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (39 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More modern: Reflects 11 years and 11 months of technical progress since the E-400 launch.

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Advantages of the Olympus E-400:

  • Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
  • 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 2006).

If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the D3500 is the clear winner of the match-up (16 : 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 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.

D3500 16:03 E-400

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Nikon D3500 and the Olympus E-400 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 remains partial and cannot reveal, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance when actually working with the D3500 or the E-400. User reviews, such as those found at amazon, can sometimes inform about these issues, but such feedback is often incomplete, inconsistent, and biased.

Expert reviews

This is where reviews by experts come in. The following table reports the overall ratings of the cameras as published by some of the major 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 D3500..75/1004/54.5/54.5/5 Aug 2018 429 iNikon D3500
 
Olympus E-40085/100..4/5..4/5 Sep 2006 699iOlympus E-400
 
Canon SX740+..4/5..4/5 Jul 2018 399 iCanon SX740
 
Canon M100+..4/5..3.5/5 Aug 2017 499iCanon M100
 
Canon SX730+..4/5..4/5 Apr 2017 399iCanon SX730
 
Fujifilm X-A5+..4/54/53.5/5 Jan 2018 399iFujifilm X-A5
 
Nikon A1000+ +..3.5/5..3/5 Jan 2019 429 iNikon A1000
 
Nikon D3400+76/1004/54.5/54.5/5 Aug 2016 499iNikon D3400
 
Nikon D5500+79/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Jan 2015 899iNikon D5500
 
Nikon D3300+77/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Jan 2014 499iNikon D3300
 
Olympus E-42085/100+ +4/5o4.5/5 Mar 2008 599iOlympus E-420
 
Olympus E-41086/100+ +4/5o4.5/5 Mar 2007 699iOlympus E-410
 
Olympus E-51089/100+ +3.5/5o4.5/5 Mar 2007 799iOlympus E-510
 
Olympus E-50076/100+ +...... Sep 2005 599iOlympus E-500
 
Panasonic TZ95+ +..4.5/5.... Feb 2019 449 iPanasonic TZ95
 
Panasonic TZ90+ +..4/5..4/5 Apr 2017 449iPanasonic TZ90
 
Panasonic L1085/100+3.5/5o4/5 Aug 2007 599iPanasonic L10
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 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.

Nikon D3500:
Check Amazon price
Olympus E-400:
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 use the search menu 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 D3500 vs Olympus E-400

    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 D3500 Olympus E-400
    Camera Type Digital single lens reflex Digital single lens reflex
    Camera Lens Nikon F mount lenses Four Thirds lenses
    Launch Date August 2018 September 2006
    Launch Price USD 429 USD 699
    Sensor Specs Nikon D3500 Olympus E-400
    Sensor Technology CMOS CMOS
    Sensor Format APS-C Sensor Four Thirds Sensor
    Sensor Size 23.5 x 15.6 mm 17.3 x 13.0 mm
    Sensor Area 366.6 mm2 224.9 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 28.2 mm 21.6 mm
    Crop Factor 1.5x 2.0x
    Sensor Resolution 24 Megapixels 10 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 6000 x 4000 pixels 3648 x 2736 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 3.91 μm 4.74 μm
    Pixel Density 6.55 MP/cm2 4.44 MP/cm2
    Moiré control no AA filter Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability 1080/60p Video no Video
    ISO Setting 100-25600 ISO 100-1600 ISO
    Image Processor EXPEED 4 TruePic
    Screen Specs Nikon D3500 Olympus E-400
    Viewfinder Type Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 95% 95%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.57x 0.46x
    LCD Framing Live View
    Rear LCD Size 3.0 inch 2.5 inch
    LCD Resolution 921k dots 215k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen Fixed screen
    Shooting Specs Nikon D3500 Olympus E-400
    Autofocus System Phase-detect AF Phase-detect AF
    Continuous Shooting 5 shutter flaps/s 3 shutter flaps/s
    Fill Flash Build-in Flash Build-in Flash
    Storage Medium SDXC cards CF or XD cards
    Second Storage Option Single card slot Dual card slots
    Connectivity Specs Nikon D3500 Olympus E-400
    External Flash Hotshoe Hotshoe
    USB Connector USB 2.0 USB 2.0
    HDMI Port mini HDMI no HDMI
    Wifi Support no Wifi no Wifi
    Bluetooth Support Bluetooth built-in no Bluetooth
    Body Specs Nikon D3500 Olympus E-400
    Battery Type EN-EL14a BLS-1
    Battery Life (CIPA)1550 shots per charge500 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 124 x 97 x 70 mm
    (4.9 x 3.8 x 2.8 in)
    130 x 91 x 53 mm
    (5.1 x 3.6 x 2.1 in)
    Camera Weight 365 g (12.9 oz) 435 g (15.3 oz)

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