Olympus E-1 vs Pentax K-70
The Olympus E-1 and the Pentax K-70 are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in June 2003 and June 2016. Both are DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras that are based on a Four Thirds (E-1) and an APS-C (K-70) sensor. The Olympus has a resolution of 4.9 megapixels, whereas the Pentax provides 24 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 Olympus E-1 and the Pentax K-70? 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.
The physical size and weight of the Olympus E-1 and the Pentax K-70 are illustrated in the side-by-side display below. 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 K-70 can be obtained in two different colors (black, silver), while the E-1 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 Pentax K-70 is notably smaller (20 percent) than the Olympus E-1. Moreover, the K-70 is markedly lighter (7 percent) than the E-1. 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. 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 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, you can navigate to the CAM-parator app and make your selection from a broad list of cameras there.
|1.||Olympus E-1||141 mm||104 mm||81 mm||738 g||750||Y||Jun 2003||1,699|
|2.||Pentax K-70||126 mm||93 mm||74 mm||688 g||410||Y||Jun 2016||649|
|3.||Canon 6D Mark II||144 mm||111 mm||75 mm||765 g||1200||Y||Jun 2017||1,999|
|4.||Canon 7D||148 mm||111 mm||74 mm||860 g||800||Y||Sep 2009||1,699|
|5.||Leica Digilux 3||146 mm||87 mm||77 mm||606 g||750||n||Sep 2006||1,499|
|6.||Nikon D500||147 mm||115 mm||81 mm||860 g||1240||Y||Jan 2016||1,999|
|7.||Nikon D610||141 mm||113 mm||82 mm||850 g||900||Y||Oct 2013||1,999|
|8.||Nikon D7000||132 mm||105 mm||77 mm||780 g||1050||Y||Sep 2010||1,499|
|9.||Olympus E-5||142 mm||117 mm||75 mm||873 g||750||Y||Sep 2010||1,699|
|10.||Olympus E-3||142 mm||116 mm||75 mm||876 g||750||Y||Oct 2007||1,699|
|11.||Olympus E-330||140 mm||87 mm||72 mm||637 g||750||n||Jan 2006||999|
|12.||Olympus E-300||147 mm||85 mm||64 mm||624 g||750||n||Sep 2004||799|
|13.||Pentax K-3 III||135 mm||104 mm||74 mm||820 g||800||Y||Mar 2021||1,999|
|14.||Pentax KP||132 mm||101 mm||76 mm||703 g||390||Y||Jan 2017||1,099|
|15.||Pentax K-S2||123 mm||91 mm||73 mm||678 g||410||Y||Feb 2015||749|
|16.||Pentax K-3 II||131 mm||100 mm||77 mm||800 g||720||Y||Apr 2015||1,099|
|17.||Pentax K-50||130 mm||97 mm||71 mm||650 g||410||Y||Jun 2013||599|
|Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.|
The price is, of course, an important factor in any camera decision. 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 K-70 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 62 percent) than the E-1, which puts it into a different market segment. 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 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. 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 Olympus E-1 features a Four Thirds sensor and the Pentax K-70 an APS-C sensor. The sensor area in the K-70 is 63 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 2.0 and 1.5. The sensor in the E-1 has a native 4:3 aspect ratio, while the one in the K-70 offers a 3:2 aspect.
With 24MP, the K-70 offers a higher resolution than the E-1 (4.9MP), but the K-70 has smaller individual pixels (pixel pitch of 3.91μm versus 6.78μm for the E-1). Yet, the K-70 is a much more recent model (by 12 years and 11 months) than the E-1, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixel-units. Coming back to sensor resolution, it should be mentioned that the K-70 has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.
The resolution advantage of the Pentax K-70 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the K-70 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 Olympus E-1 are 12.8 x 9.6 inches or 32.5 x 24.4 cm for good quality, 10.2 x 7.7 inches or 26 x 19.5 cm for very good quality, and 8.5 x 6.4 inches or 21.7 x 16.3 cm for excellent quality prints.
The K-70 has on-sensor phase detect pixels, which results in fast and reliable autofocus acquisition even during live view operation.
Unlike the E-1, the K-70 has the capacity to capture high quality composite images by combining multiple shots after shifting its sensor by miniscule distances. This multi-shot, pixel-shift mode is most suitable for photography of stationary objects (landscapes, studio scenes).
The Olympus E-1 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 800, which can be extended to ISO 100-3200. The corresponding ISO settings for the Pentax K-70 are ISO 100 to ISO 102400 (no boost).
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 following table provides an overview of the physical sensor characteristics, as well as the sensor quality measurements for a selection of comparators.
|1.||Olympus E-1||Four Thirds||4.9||2560||1920||none||..||..||..||..|
|3.||Canon 6D Mark II||Full Frame||26.0||6240||4160||1080/60p||24.4||11.9||2862||85|
|5.||Leica Digilux 3||Four Thirds||7.4||3136||2352||none||..||..||..||..|
|7.||Nikon D610||Full Frame||24.2||6016||4016||1080/30p||25.1||14.4||2925||94|
|9.||Olympus E-5||Four Thirds||12.2||4032||3024||720/30p||21.6||10.5||519||56|
|10.||Olympus E-3||Four Thirds||10.0||3648||2736||none||21.6||10.5||571||56|
|11.||Olympus E-330||Four Thirds||7.4||3136||2352||none||..||..||..||..|
|12.||Olympus E-300||Four Thirds||8.0||3264||2448||none||..||..||..||..|
|13.||Pentax K-3 III||APS-C||25.6||6192||4128||4K/30p||..||..||..||..|
|16.||Pentax K-3 II||APS-C||24.1||6016||4000||1080/60i||23.6||13.6||1106||80|
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but also of capturing video footage. The K-70 indeed provides for movie recording, while the E-1 does not. The highest resolution format that the K-70 can use is 1080/60i.
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. The E-1 and the K-70 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 K-70 has a higher magnification than the one of the E-1 (0.63x vs 0.48x), so that the size of the image transmitted appears closer to the size seen with the naked human eye. The following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Olympus E-1, the Pentax K-70, and comparable cameras.
|1.||Olympus E-1||optical||Y||1.8 / 134||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||n||n|
|2.||Pentax K-70||optical||n||3.0 / 921||swivel||n||1/6000s||6.0||Y||Y|
|3.||Canon 6D Mark II||optical||Y||3.0 / 1040||swivel||Y||1/4000s||6.5||n||n|
|4.||Canon 7D||optical||Y||3.0 / 920||fixed||n||1/8000s||8.0||Y||n|
|5.||Leica Digilux 3||optical||n||2.5 / 207||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||Y||n|
|6.||Nikon D500||optical||Y||3.2 / 2359||tilting||Y||1/8000s||10.0||n||n|
|7.||Nikon D610||optical||Y||3.2 / 921||fixed||n||1/4000s||6.0||Y||n|
|8.||Nikon D7000||optical||Y||3.0 / 921||fixed||n||1/8000s||6.0||Y||n|
|9.||Olympus E-5||optical||Y||3.0 / 920||swivel||n||1/8000s||5.0||Y||Y|
|10.||Olympus E-3||optical||Y||2.5 / 230||swivel||n||1/8000s||5.0||Y||Y|
|11.||Olympus E-330||optical||n||2.5 / 215||tilting||n||1/4000s||3.0||Y||n|
|12.||Olympus E-300||optical||n||1.8 / 134||fixed||n||1/4000s||2.5||Y||n|
|13.||Pentax K-3 III||optical||Y||3.2 / 1620||fixed||Y||1/8000s||12.0||n||Y|
|14.||Pentax KP||optical||n||3.0 / 921||tilting||n||1/6000s||7.0||Y||Y|
|15.||Pentax K-S2||optical||n||3.0 / 921||swivel||n||1/6000s||5.4||Y||Y|
|16.||Pentax K-3 II||optical||Y||3.2 / 1037||fixed||n||1/8000s||8.3||n||Y|
|17.||Pentax K-50||optical||n||3.0 / 921||fixed||n||1/6000s||6.0||Y||Y|
One feature that is present on the E-1, but is missing on the K-70 is a top-level LCD. While being, of course, smaller than the rear screen, the control panel conveys some of the essential shooting information and can be convenient for quick and easy settings verification.The K-70 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 E-1 does not have a selfie-screen.
The Pentax K-70 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 E-1 writes its imaging data to Compact Flash or xD Picture cards, while the K-70 uses SDXC cards. The E-1 features dual card slots, which can be very useful in case a memory card fails. In contrast, the K-70 only has one slot.
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 Olympus E-1 and Pentax K-70 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
Mic / Speaker
|1.||Olympus E-1||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|2.||Pentax K-70||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||-||-|
|3.||Canon 6D Mark II||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||Y|
|4.||Canon 7D||Y||mono / -||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|5.||Leica Digilux 3||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|6.||Nikon D500||Y||stereo / mono||Y||Y||mini||3.0||Y||Y||Y|
|7.||Nikon D610||Y||mono / mono||Y||Y||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|8.||Nikon D7000||Y||mono / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|9.||Olympus E-5||Y||stereo / -||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|10.||Olympus E-3||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|11.||Olympus E-330||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|12.||Olympus E-300||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|13.||Pentax K-3 III||Y||stereo / mono||Y||Y||micro||3.2||Y||-||Y|
|14.||Pentax KP||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||-||2.0||Y||-||-|
|15.||Pentax K-S2||Y||mono / mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|16.||Pentax K-3 II||Y||mono / mono||Y||Y||mini||3.0||-||-||-|
|17.||Pentax K-50||Y||mono / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||-||-||-|
It is notable that the K-70 offers wifi support, which can be a very convenient means to transfer image data to an off-camera location. In contrast, the E-1 does not provide wifi capability.
Studio photographers will appreciate that the Olympus E-1 (unlike the K-70) features a PC Sync socket, so that professional strobe lights can be controlled by the camera.
The K-70 is a recent model that features in the current product line-up of Pentax. In contrast, the E-1 has been discontinued (but can be found pre-owned on eBay). As a replacement in the same line of cameras, the E-1 was succeeded by the Olympus E-3. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Olympus and Pentax websites.
So what is the bottom line? Is the Olympus E-1 better than the Pentax K-70 or vice versa? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.
Arguments in favor of the Olympus E-1:
- Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
- Easier setting verification: Features an LCD display on top to control shooting parameters.
- Longer lasting: Can take more shots (750 versus 410) on a single battery charge.
- Better studio light control: Has a PC Sync socket to connect to professional strobe lights.
- Greater peace of mind: Features a second card slot as a backup in case of memory card failure.
- More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in June 2003).
Reasons to prefer the Pentax K-70:
- More detail: Has more megapixels (24 vs 4.9MP), which boosts linear resolution by 125%.
- Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
- High quality composites: Can combine several shots after pixel-shifting its sensor.
- Better image quality: Is equipped with a larger and more technologically advanced 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 capture not only stills but also 1080/60i video.
- Better live-view autofocus: Features on-sensor phase-detection for more confident autofocus.
- Larger viewfinder image: Features a viewfinder with a higher magnification (0.63x vs 0.48x).
- 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 (921k vs 134k dots).
- More flexible LCD: Has a swivel screen for odd-angle shots in portrait or landscape orientation.
- More selfie-friendly: Has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing.
- Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/6000s vs 1/4000s) to freeze action.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (6 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 (126x93mm vs 141x104mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
- Sharper images: Has stabilization technology built-in to reduce the impact of hand-shake.
- Easier fill-in: Has a small integrated flash to brighten shadows of backlit subjects.
- Easier file upload: Has wifi built in for automatic backup or image transfer to the web.
- More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (62 percent cheaper at launch).
- More modern: Reflects 12 years and 11 months of technical progress since the E-1 launch.
If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the K-70 is the clear winner of the contest (23 : 6 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 wildlife photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a family photog, and a person interested in architecture has distinct needs from a sports 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 Olympus E-1 and the Pentax K-70 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 incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the E-1 or the K-70 perform in practice. 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.
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], 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.||Olympus E-1||..||..||..||+||o||..||Jun 2003||1,699|
|2.||Pentax K-70||4.5/5||..||..||79/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2016||649|
|3.||Canon 6D Mark II||4/5||+||4/5||80/100||4.5/5||4/5||Jun 2017||1,999|
|4.||Canon 7D||5/5||+ +||..||84/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2009||1,699|
|5.||Leica Digilux 3||..||..||..||..||..||..||Sep 2006||1,499|
|6.||Nikon D500||5/5||+ +||4.7/5||91/100||4.5/5||5/5||Jan 2016||1,999|
|7.||Nikon D610||4/5||+ +||..||87/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Oct 2013||1,999|
|8.||Nikon D7000||4/5||..||..||80/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2010||1,499|
|9.||Olympus E-5||4/5||..||..||75/100||4/5||4.5/5||Sep 2010||1,699|
|10.||Olympus E-3||..||88/100||..||+ +||o||4/5||Oct 2007||1,699|
|11.||Olympus E-330||..||..||..||+||o||..||Jan 2006||999|
|12.||Olympus E-300||..||..||..||+||o||4.5/5||Sep 2004||799|
|13.||Pentax K-3 III||4/5||..||3/5||..||4.5/5||..||Mar 2021||1,999|
|14.||Pentax KP||4/5||..||3/5||82/100||5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2017||1,099|
|15.||Pentax K-S2||4.5/5||..||..||..||5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2015||749|
|16.||Pentax K-3 II||4.5/5||..||..||..||5/5||5/5||Apr 2015||1,099|
|17.||Pentax K-50||5/5||..||..||..||5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2013||599|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, though. The ratings are only valid when referring to cameras in the same category and of the same age. Hence, a score should always be seen in the context of the camera's market launch date and its price, 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.
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. 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 100D vs Olympus E-1
- Canon G9 X vs Pentax K-70
- Fujifilm X-E3 vs Pentax K-70
- Fujifilm X-M1 vs Pentax K-70
- Fujifilm X-T1 vs Pentax K-70
- Nikon 1 J5 vs Olympus E-1
- Nikon D300 vs Olympus E-1
- Olympus E-1 vs Panasonic GX8
- Olympus E-1 vs Panasonic GX9
- Olympus E-1 vs Pentax Q
- Olympus E-M1 vs Pentax K-70
- Panasonic LX100 II vs Pentax K-70
Specifications: Olympus E-1 vs Pentax K-70
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||Olympus E-1||Pentax K-70|
|Camera Type||Digital single lens reflex||Digital single lens reflex|
|Camera Lens||Four Thirds lenses||Pentax K mount lenses|
|Launch Date||June 2003||June 2016|
|Launch Price||USD 1,699||USD 649|
|Sensor Specs||Olympus E-1||Pentax K-70|
|Sensor Format||Four Thirds Sensor||APS-C Sensor|
|Sensor Size||17.3 x 13.0 mm||23.5 x 15.6 mm|
|Sensor Area||224.9 mm2||366.6 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||21.6 mm||28.2 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||4.9 Megapixels||24 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||2560 x 1920 pixels||6000 x 4000 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||6.78 μm||3.91 μm|
|Pixel Density||2.19 MP/cm2||6.55 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||no AA filter|
|Movie Capability||no Video||1080/60i Video|
|ISO Setting||100 - 800 ISO||100 - 102,400 ISO|
|ISO Boost||100 - 3,200 ISO||no Enhancement|
|Image Processor||TruePic||PRIME MII|
|Screen Specs||Olympus E-1||Pentax K-70|
|Viewfinder Type||Optical viewfinder||Optical viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||100%||100%|
|Top-Level Screen||Control Panel||no Top Display|
|LCD Framing||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||1.8inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||134k dots||921k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Swivel screen|
|Shooting Specs||Olympus E-1||Pentax K-70|
|Focus System||Phase-detect AF||Phase-detect AF|
|Manual Focusing Aid||no Peaking Feature||Focus Peaking|
|Max Shutter Speed (mechanical)||1/4000s||1/6000s|
|Continuous Shooting||3 shutter flaps/s||6 shutter flaps/s|
|Shutter Life Expectancy||150 000 actuations||100 000 actuations|
|Time-Lapse Photography||no Intervalometer||Intervalometer built-in|
|Image Stabilization||Lens stabilization only||In-body stabilization|
|Fill Flash||no On-Board Flash||Built-in Flash|
|Storage Medium||CF or XD cards||SDXC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Dual card slots||Single card slot|
|Connectivity Specs||Olympus E-1||Pentax K-70|
|Studio Flash||PC Sync socket||no PC Sync|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||no HDMI||mini HDMI|
|Microphone Port||no MIC socket||External MIC port|
|Wifi Support||no Wifi||Wifi built-in|
|Body Specs||Olympus E-1||Pentax K-70|
|Environmental Sealing||Weathersealed body||Weathersealed body|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||750 shots per charge||410 shots per charge|
141 x 104 x 81 mm
(5.6 x 4.1 x 3.2 in)
126 x 93 x 74 mm
(5.0 x 3.7 x 2.9 in)
|Camera Weight||738 g (26.0 oz)||688 g (24.3 oz)|
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