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Olympus E-M5 vs Panasonic GX7

The Olympus OM-D E-M5 and the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX7 are two enthusiast cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in February 2012 and August 2013. Both the E-M5 and the GX7 are mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras that are equipped with a Four Thirds sensor. The Olympus has a resolution of 15.9 megapixels, whereas the Panasonic provides 15.8 MP.

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

Headline Specifications
Olympus E-M5
versus
Panasonic GX7
Olympus E-M5   Panasonic GX7
Mirrorless system camera Mirrorless system camera
Micro Four Thirds lenses Micro Four Thirds lenses
15.9 MP, Four Thirds Sensor 15.8 MP, Four Thirds Sensor
1080/60i Video 1080/60p Video
ISO 200-25,600 ISO 125-25,600
Electronic viewfinder (1440k dots) Electronic viewfinder (2760k dots)
3.0 LCD, 610k dots 3.0 LCD, 1040k dots
Tilting touchscreen Tilting touchscreen
9 shutter flaps per second 5 shutter flaps per second
In-body stabilizationIn-body stabilization
Weathersealed bodynot weather sealed
360 shots per battery charge350 shots per battery charge
122 x 89 x 43 mm, 425 g 123 x 71 x 55 mm, 402 g

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Olympus OM-D E-M5 and the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX7? 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 Olympus E-M5 and the Panasonic GX7 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 dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

Both cameras are available in two different colors (black, silver).

Size Olympus E-M5 vs Panasonic GX7
Compare E-M5 versus GX7 top
Comparison E-M5 or GX7 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Panasonic GX7 is notably smaller (20 percent) than the Olympus E-M5. Moreover, the GX7 is markedly lighter (5 percent) than the E-M5. It is worth mentioning in this context that the E-M5 is splash and dust resistant, while the GX7 does not feature any corresponding weather-sealing.

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. In this particular case, both cameras feature the same lens mount, so that they can use the same lenses. You can compare the optics available in the Micro Four Thirds Lens Catalog. Mirrorless cameras, such as the two under consideration, have the additional advantage of having a short flange to focal plane distance, which makes it possible to mount many lenses from other systems onto the camera via adapters.

Concerning battery life, the E-M5 gets 360 shots out of its BLN-1 battery, while the GX7 can take 350 images on a single charge of its DMW-BLG10 power pack.

The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the two cameras alongside a broader set of comparators. If you want to switch the focus of the display and review another camera pair, you can move across to the CAM-parator tool and choose from the broad selection of possible camera comparisons there.

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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.
 
Olympus E-M5 122 mm 89 mm 43 mm 425 g 360 Y Feb 2012 1,299 i
2.
 
Panasonic GX7 123 mm 71 mm 55 mm 402 g 350 n Aug 2013 999 i
3.
 
Olympus PEN-F 125 mm 72 mm 37 mm 427 g 330 n Jan 2016 1,199 i
4.
 
Olympus E-M5 II 124 mm 85 mm 45 mm 469 g 310 Y Feb 2015 1,099 i
5.
 
Olympus E-M10 II 120 mm 83 mm 47 mm 390 g 320 n Aug 2015 649 i
6.
 
Olympus E-M10 119 mm 82 mm 46 mm 396 g 320 n Jan 2014 699 i
7.
 
Olympus E-PL7 115 mm 67 mm 38 mm 357 g 350 n Aug 2014 599 i
8.
 
Olympus E-M1 130 mm 94 mm 63 mm 497 g 350 Y Sep 2013 1,399 i
9.
 
Olympus E-P5 122 mm 69 mm 37 mm 420 g 330 n May 2013 999 i
10.
 
Panasonic G80 128 mm 89 mm 74 mm 505 g 330 Y Sep 2016 899 i
11.
 
Panasonic GX8 133 mm 78 mm 63 mm 487 g 330 Y Jul 2015 1,199 i
12.
 
Panasonic G6 122 mm 85 mm 71 mm 390 g 340 n Apr 2013 599 i
13.
 
Panasonic GX1 116 mm 68 mm 39 mm 318 g 320 n Nov 2011 699 i
14.
 
Panasonic GH2 124 mm 90 mm 76 mm 442 g 330 n Sep 2010 899 i
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 manufacturer’s suggested retail prices give an idea on the placement of the camera in the maker’s lineup and the broader market. The GX7 was launched at a somewhat lower price (by 23 percent) than the E-M5, which makes it more attractive for photographers on a tight budget. 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.

Sensor comparison

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. Moreover, a large sensor camera will give the photographer more control over depth-of-field in the image and, thus, the ability to better isolate a subject from the background. On the downside, larger sensors tend to be associated with larger, more expensive camera bodies and lenses.

Both cameras under consideration feature a Four Thirds sensor and have a format factor (sometimes also referred to as "crop factor") of 2.0. Within the spectrum of camera sensors, this places the review cameras among the medium-sized sensor cameras that aim to strike a balance between image quality and portability. Both cameras feature a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 4:3.

Olympus E-M5 and Panasonic GX7 sensor measures

While the two cameras under review share the same sensor size, the E-M5 offers a slightly higher resolution of 15.9 megapixels, compared with 15.8 MP of the GX7. This megapixels advantage translates into a 0.3 percent gain in linear resolution. On the other hand, these sensor specs imply that the E-M5 has a higher pixel density and a smaller size of the individual pixel (with a pixel pitch of 3.76μm versus 3.77μm for the GX7). Moreover, it should be noted that the GX7 is a somewhat more recent model (by 1 year and 5 months) than the E-M5, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time that further enhance the light gathering capacity of individual pixels.

The Olympus OM-D E-M5 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 200 to ISO 25600. The corresponding ISO settings for the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX7 are ISO 125 to ISO 25600 (no boost).

E-M5 versus GX7 MP

Since 2007, DXO Mark has published sensor performance measurements that have been derived using a consistent methodology. 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 Overall DXO ratings for the two cameras under consideration are close, suggesting that they provide similar imaging performance. The table below summarizes the physical sensor characteristics and sensor quality findings and compares them across a set of similar cameras.

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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.
 
Olympus E-M5 Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/60i22.812.3826 71
2.
 
Panasonic GX7 Four Thirds 15.8 4592 34481080/60p22.612.2718 70
3.
 
Olympus PEN-F Four Thirds 20.2 5184 38881080/60p23.112.4894 74
4.
 
Olympus E-M5 II Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/60p23.012.5842 73
5.
 
Olympus E-M10 II Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/60p23.112.5842 73
6.
 
Olympus E-M10 Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/30p22.812.3884 72
7.
 
Olympus E-PL7 Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/30p22.712.4873 72
8.
 
Olympus E-M1 Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/30p23.012.7757 73
9.
 
Olympus E-P5 Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/30p22.812.4895 72
10.
 
Panasonic G80 Four Thirds 15.8 4592 34484K/30p22.812.5656 71
11.
 
Panasonic GX8 Four Thirds 20.2 5184 38884K/30p23.512.6806 75
12.
 
Panasonic G6 Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/60p21.311.5639 61
13.
 
Panasonic GX1 Four Thirds 15.8 4592 34481080/60p20.810.6703 55
14.
 
Panasonic GH2 Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/60i21.211.3655 60

Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but also of capturing video footage. The two cameras under consideration both have sensors whose read-out speed is fast enough to capture moving pictures, but the GX7 provides a faster frame rate than the E-M5. It can shoot movie footage at 1080/60p, while the Olympus is limited to 1080/60i.

Feature comparison

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. The two cameras under review are similar with respect to both having an electronic viewfinder. However, the one in the GX7 offers a substantially higher resolution than the one in the E-M5 (2760k vs 1440k dots). The following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Olympus E-M5, the Panasonic GX7, and comparable 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.
 
Olympus E-M51440 n 3.0 610 tilting Y 1/4000s 9.0 n Y
2.
 
Panasonic GX72760 n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 1/8000s 5.0 Y Y
3.
 
Olympus PEN-F2360 n 3.0 1037 swivel Y 1/8000s 10.0 n Y
4.
 
Olympus E-M5 II2360 n 3.0 1037 swivel Y 1/8000s 10.0 n Y
5.
 
Olympus E-M10 II2360 n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 1/4000s 8.0 Y Y
6.
 
Olympus E-M101440 n 3.0 1037 tilting Y 1/4000s 8.0 Y Y
7.
 
Olympus E-PL7optional n 3.0 1037 tilting Y 1/4000s 8.0 n Y
8.
 
Olympus E-M12360 n 3.0 1037 tilting Y 1/8000s 10.0 n Y
9.
 
Olympus E-P5optional n 3.0 1037 tilting Y 1/8000s 9.0 Y Y
10.
 
Panasonic G802360 n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 1/4000s 9.0 Y Y
11.
 
Panasonic GX82360 n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 1/8000s 10.0 n Y
12.
 
Panasonic G61440 n 3.0 1036 swivel Y 1/4000s 7.0 Y n
13.
 
Panasonic GX1optional n 3.0 460 fixed Y 1/4000s 4.2 Y n
14.
 
Panasonic GH21534 n 3.0 460 swivel n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n

One difference between the cameras concerns the presence of an on-board flash. The GX7 has one, while the E-M5 does not. While the built-in flash of the GX7 is not very powerful, it can at times be useful as a fill-in light.

The reported shutter speed information refers to the use of the mechanical shutter. Yet, some cameras only have an electronic shutter, while others have an electronic shutter in addition to a mechanical one. In fact, the GX7 is one of those camera that have an additional electronic shutter, which makes completely silent shooting possible. However, this mode is less suitable for photographing moving objects (risk of rolling shutter) or shooting under artificial light sources (risk of flickering).

The Panasonic GX7 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.

Concerning the storage of imaging data, both the E-M5 and the GX7 write their files to SDXC cards. Both cameras can use UHS-I cards, which provide for Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 104 MB/s.

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 Olympus OM-D E-M5 and Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX7 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.
 
Olympus E-M5Ystereomono--mini2.0---
2.
 
Panasonic GX7Ystereomono--mini2.0YY-
3.
 
Olympus PEN-FYstereomono--micro2.0Y--
4.
 
Olympus E-M5 IIYstereomonoY-micro2.0Y--
5.
 
Olympus E-M10 IIYstereomono--micro2.0Y--
6.
 
Olympus E-M10Ystereomono--micro2.0Y--
7.
 
Olympus E-PL7Ystereomono--micro2.0Y--
8.
 
Olympus E-M1YstereomonoY-micro2.0Y--
9.
 
Olympus E-P5Ystereomono--micro2.0Y--
10.
 
Panasonic G80YstereomonoY-micro2.0Y--
11.
 
Panasonic GX8YstereomonoY-micro2.0YY-
12.
 
Panasonic G6YstereomonoY-mini2.0YY-
13.
 
Panasonic GX1Ystereomono--mini2.0---
14.
 
Panasonic GH2YstereomonoY-mini2.0---

It is notable that the GX7 offers wifi support, which can be a very convenient means to transfer image data to an off-camera location. In contrast, the E-M5 does not provide wifi capability.

Both the E-M5 and the GX7 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The E-M5 was replaced by the Olympus E-M5 II, while the GX7 was followed by the Panasonic GX85. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Olympus and Panasonic websites.

Review summary

So how do things add up? Is the Olympus E-M5 better than the Panasonic GX7 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 Olympus OM-D E-M5:

  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (9 vs 5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • Better sealing: Is weather sealed to enable shooting in dusty or wet environments.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in February 2012).

ilogo

Reasons to prefer the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX7:

  • Better video: Provides higher movie framerates (1080/60p versus 1080/60i).
  • More detailed viewfinder: Has higher resolution electronic viewfinder (2760k vs 1440k dots).
  • Larger viewfinder image: Features a viewfinder with a higher magnification (0.70x vs 0.58x).
  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1040k vs 610k dots).
  • Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/8000s vs 1/4000s) to freeze action.
  • Less disturbing: Has an electronic shutter option for completely silent shooting.
  • Easier time-lapse photography: Has an intervalometer built-in for low frequency shooting.
  • More compact: Is smaller (123x71mm vs 122x89mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
  • 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.
  • Easier device pairing: Supports NFC for fast wireless image transfer over short distances.
  • More affordable: Was released into a lower priced segment (23 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More modern: Was introduced somewhat (1 year and 5 months) more recently.

If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the GX7 is the clear winner of the contest (13 : 3 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.

E-M5 03:13 GX7

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Olympus E-M5 and the Panasonic GX7 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens 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 remains partial and cannot reveal, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance when actually working with the E-M5 or the GX7. 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 why hands-on reviews by experts 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], 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.
 
Olympus E-M54/5+ +80/1004.5/55/5 Feb 2012 1,299 i
2.
 
Panasonic GX74/5+79/1005/55/5 Aug 2013 999 i
3.
 
Olympus PEN-F....82/1004.5/55/5 Jan 2016 1,199 i
4.
 
Olympus E-M5 II5/5+ +81/1005/55/5 Feb 2015 1,099 i
5.
 
Olympus E-M10 II4.5/5+ +80/1005/55/5 Aug 2015 649 i
6.
 
Olympus E-M104/5..80/1005/55/5 Jan 2014 699 i
7.
 
Olympus E-PL74/5+..5/54/5 Aug 2014 599 i
8.
 
Olympus E-M15/5+ +84/1004.5/54.5/5 Sep 2013 1,399 i
9.
 
Olympus E-P55/5+ +78/1004.5/55/5 May 2013 999 i
10.
 
Panasonic G80..+ +84/1005/54.5/5 Sep 2016 899 i
11.
 
Panasonic GX85/5+82/1004.5/54.5/5 Jul 2015 1,199 i
12.
 
Panasonic G64/5+ +..5/54.5/5 Apr 2013 599 i
13.
 
Panasonic GX13/5+77/1004.5/54.5/5 Nov 2011 699 i
14.
 
Panasonic GH25/5+ +79/1004.5/55/5 Sep 2010 899 i
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. 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. Also, kindly note that some of the listed sites have over time developped their review approaches and their reporting style.

Olympus E-M5:
Check Ebay offers
Panasonic GX7:
Check Ebay offers

Other camera comparisons

Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? In case you would like to check on the differences and similarities of other camera models, just make your choice using the following search menu. 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: Olympus E-M5 vs Panasonic GX7

    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 Olympus E-M5 Panasonic GX7
    Camera Type Mirrorless system camera Mirrorless system camera
    Camera Lens Micro Four Thirds lenses Micro Four Thirds lenses
    Launch Date February 2012 August 2013
    Launch Price USD 1,299 USD 999
    Sensor Specs Olympus E-M5 Panasonic GX7
    Sensor Technology CMOS CMOS
    Sensor Format Four Thirds Sensor Four Thirds Sensor
    Sensor Size 17.3 x 13.0 mm 17.3 x 13.0 mm
    Sensor Area 224.9 mm2 224.9 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 21.6 mm 21.6 mm
    Crop Factor 2.0x 2.0x
    Sensor Resolution 15.9 Megapixels 15.8 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 4608 x 3456 pixels 4592 x 3448 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 3.76 μm 3.77 μm
    Pixel Density 7.08 MP/cm2 7.04 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability 1080/60i Video 1080/60p Video
    ISO Setting 200 - 25,600 ISO 125 - 25,600 ISO
    Image Processor TruePic VI Venus
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) 71 70
    DXO Color Depth (bits) 22.8 22.6
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) 12.3 12.2
    DXO Low Light (ISO) 826 718
    Screen Specs Olympus E-M5 Panasonic GX7
    Viewfinder Type Electronic viewfinder Electronic viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 100% 100%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.58x 0.70x
    Viewfinder Resolution 1440k dots 2760k dots
    LCD Framing Live View Live View
    Rear LCD Size 3.0inch 3.0inch
    LCD Resolution 610k dots 1040k dots
    LCD Attachment Tilting screen Tilting screen
    Touch Input Touchscreen Touchscreen
    Shooting Specs Olympus E-M5 Panasonic GX7
    Focus System Contrast-detect AF Contrast-detect AF
    Manual Focusing Aidno Peaking FeatureFocus Peaking
    Max Shutter Speed (mechanical) 1/4000s 1/8000s
    Continuous Shooting 9 shutter flaps/s 5 shutter flaps/s
    Electronic Shutterno E-Shutterup to 1/8000s
    Time-Lapse Photographyno IntervalometerIntervalometer built-in
    Image StabilizationIn-body stabilizationIn-body stabilization
    Fill Flash no On-Board Flash Built-in Flash
    Storage Medium SDXC cards SDXC cards
    Second Storage Option Single card slot Single card slot
    UHS card support UHS-I UHS-I
    Connectivity Specs Olympus E-M5 Panasonic GX7
    External Flash Hotshoe Hotshoe
    USB Connector USB 2.0 USB 2.0
    HDMI Port mini HDMI mini HDMI
    Wifi Support no Wifi Wifi built-in
    Near-Field Communication no NFC NFC built-in
    Body Specs Olympus E-M5 Panasonic GX7
    Environmental SealingWeathersealed bodynot weather sealed
    Battery Type BLN-1 DMW-BLG10
    Battery Life (CIPA)360 shots per charge350 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 122 x 89 x 43 mm
    (4.8 x 3.5 x 1.7 in)
    123 x 71 x 55 mm
    (4.8 x 2.8 x 2.2 in)
    Camera Weight 425 g (15.0 oz) 402 g (14.2 oz)

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