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Olympus E-PL7 vs Panasonic GX7

The Olympus PEN E-PL7 and the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX7 are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in August 2014 and August 2013. Both the E-PL7 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-PL7
versus
Panasonic GX7
Olympus E-PL7   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
1080/30p Video 1080/60p Video
ISO 200-25,600 ISO 125-25,600
Viewfinder optional Electronic viewfinder (2760k dots)
3.0" LCD – 1037k dots 3.0" LCD – 1040k dots
Tilting touchscreen Tilting touchscreen
8 shutter flaps per second 5 shutter flaps per second
In-body stabilizationIn-body stabilization
350 shots per battery charge350 shots per battery charge
115 x 67 x 38 mm, 357 g 123 x 71 x 55 mm, 402 g
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Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Olympus PEN E-PL7 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

An illustration of the physical size and weight of the Olympus E-PL7 and the Panasonic GX7 is provided in the side-by-side display below. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three consecutive perspectives from the front, the top, and the back are available. All size dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

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

Size Olympus E-PL7 vs Panasonic GX7
Compare E-PL7 versus GX7 top
Comparison E-PL7 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 larger (13 percent) than the Olympus E-PL7. Moreover, the GX7 is markedly heavier (13 percent) than the E-PL7. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the E-PL7 nor the GX7 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. 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.

The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the two cameras alongside a broader set of comparators. In case you want to display and compare another camera duo, you can use the CAM-parator app to select your camera combination among a large number of options.

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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-PL7 115 mm 67 mm 38 mm 357 g 350 n Aug 2014 599ebay.com
2.
 
Panasonic GX7 123 mm 71 mm 55 mm 402 g 350 n Aug 2013 999ebay.com
3.
 
Olympus E-PL9 117 mm 68 mm 39 mm 380 g 350 n Feb 2018 599ebay.com
4.
 
Olympus E-M10 III 122 mm 84 mm 50 mm 410 g 330 n Aug 2017 649ebay.com
5.
 
Olympus E-PL8 115 mm 67 mm 38 mm 357 g 350 n Sep 2016 549ebay.com
6.
 
Olympus E-M10 II 120 mm 83 mm 47 mm 390 g 320 n Aug 2015 649ebay.com
7.
 
Olympus E-M10 119 mm 82 mm 46 mm 396 g 320 n Jan 2014 699ebay.com
8.
 
Olympus E-P5 122 mm 69 mm 37 mm 420 g 330 n May 2013 999ebay.com
9.
 
Olympus E-PL6 111 mm 64 mm 38 mm 325 g 360 n May 2013 599ebay.com
10.
 
Olympus E-PL5 111 mm 64 mm 38 mm 325 g 360 n Sep 2012 599ebay.com
11.
 
Panasonic G6 122 mm 85 mm 71 mm 390 g 340 n Apr 2013 599ebay.com
12.
 
Panasonic GX1 116 mm 68 mm 39 mm 318 g 320 n Nov 2011 699ebay.com
13.
 
Panasonic GH2 124 mm 90 mm 76 mm 442 g 330 n Sep 2010 899ebay.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 obviously take relative prices into account. The listed launch prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The E-PL7 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 40 percent) than the GX7, 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. Then, after the new model is out, very good deals can frequently be found on the pre-owned market.

Sensor comparison

The imaging sensor is at the core of digital cameras and its size is one of the main determining factors of image quality. A large sensor will tend to have larger individual pixels that provide better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and richer color-depth than smaller pixel-units 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.

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-PL7 and Panasonic GX7 sensor measures

While the two cameras under review share the same sensor size, the E-PL7 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-PL7 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). In this context, it should be noted, however, that the E-PL7 is a somewhat more recent model (by 1 year) than the GX7, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time that at least partly compensate for the smaller pixel size.

The Olympus PEN E-PL7 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 200 to ISO 25600, which can be extended to ISO 100-25600. The corresponding ISO settings for the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX7 are ISO 125 to ISO 25600 (no boost).

Technology-wise, both cameras are equipped with CMOS (Complementary Metal–Oxide–Semiconductor) sensors. Both cameras use a Bayer filter for capturing RGB colors on a square grid of photosensors. This arrangement is found in most digital cameras.

E-PL7 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 adjacent table reports on the physical sensor characteristics and the outcomes of the DXO sensor quality tests for a sample of comparator-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-PL7 Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/30p22.712.487372
2.
 
Panasonic GX7 Four Thirds 15.8 4592 34481080/60p22.612.271870
3.
 
Olympus E-PL9 Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34564K/30p23.112.8116274
4.
 
Olympus E-M10 III Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34564K/30p23.112.8112074
5.
 
Olympus E-PL8 Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/30p23.012.6103073
6.
 
Olympus E-M10 II Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/60p23.112.584273
7.
 
Olympus E-M10 Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/30p22.812.388472
8.
 
Olympus E-P5 Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/30p22.812.489572
9.
 
Olympus E-PL6 Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/30p22.512.071768
10.
 
Olympus E-PL5 Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/30p22.812.388972
11.
 
Panasonic G6 Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/60p21.311.563961
12.
 
Panasonic GX1 Four Thirds 15.8 4592 34481080/60p20.810.670355
13.
 
Panasonic GH2 Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/60i21.211.365560
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 can also record movies. Both cameras under consideration are equipped with sensors that have a sufficiently high read-out speed for moving images, but the GX7 provides a faster frame rate than the E-PL7. It can shoot movie footage at 1080/60p, while the Olympus is limited to 1080/30p.

Feature comparison

Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the GX7 has an electronic viewfinder (2760k dots), which can be very helpful when shooting in bright sunlight. In contrast, the E-PL7 relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. That said, the E-PL7 can be equipped with an optional viewfinder – the VF-4. The table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Olympus E-PL7 and Panasonic GX7 in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras.

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Core Features
    Camera
Model
Viewfinder
(Type or
000 dots)
Control
Panel
(yes/no)
LCD
Specifications
(inch/000 dots)
LCD
Attach-
ment
Touch
Screen
(yes/no)
Max
Shutter
Speed *
Max
Shutter
Flaps *
Built-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Built-in
Image
Stab
1.
 
Olympus E-PL7optional n3.0 / 1037 tilting Y 1/4000s 8.0/s n Y
2.
 
Panasonic GX72760 n3.0 / 1040 tilting Y 1/8000s 5.0/s Y Y
3.
 
Olympus E-PL9none n3.0 / 1040 tilting Y 1/4000s 8.6/s Y Y
4.
 
Olympus E-M10 III2360 n3.0 / 1040 tilting Y 1/4000s 8.6/s Y Y
5.
 
Olympus E-PL8optional n3.0 / 1037 tilting Y 1/4000s 8.0/s n Y
6.
 
Olympus E-M10 II2360 n3.0 / 1040 tilting Y 1/4000s 8.0/s Y Y
7.
 
Olympus E-M101440 n3.0 / 1037 tilting Y 1/4000s 8.0/s Y Y
8.
 
Olympus E-P5optional n3.0 / 1037 tilting Y 1/8000s 9.0/s Y Y
9.
 
Olympus E-PL6optional n3.0 / 460 tilting Y 1/4000s 8.0/s n Y
10.
 
Olympus E-PL5optional n3.0 / 460 tilting Y 1/4000s 8.0/s n Y
11.
 
Panasonic G61440 n3.0 / 1036 swivel Y 1/4000s 7.0/s Y n
12.
 
Panasonic GX1optional n3.0 / 460 fixed Y 1/4000s 4.2/s Y n
13.
 
Panasonic GH21534 n3.0 / 460 swivel n 1/4000s 3.0/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 GX7 has one, while the E-PL7 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 E-PL7 has an articulated LCD that can be turned to be front-facing. This characteristic will be appreciated by vloggers and photographers who are interested in snapping selfies. In contrast, the GX7 does not have a selfie-screen.

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 Olympus E-PL7 and the Panasonic GX7 both have 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-PL7 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 PEN E-PL7 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
Mic / Speaker
Microphone
Port
Headphone
Port
HDMI
Port
USB
Port
WiFi
Support
NFC
Support
Bluetooth
Support
1.
 
Olympus E-PL7Ystereo / mono--micro2.0Y--
2.
 
Panasonic GX7Ystereo / mono--mini2.0YY-
3.
 
Olympus E-PL9Ystereo / mono--micro2.0Y-Y
4.
 
Olympus E-M10 IIIYstereo / mono--micro2.0Y--
5.
 
Olympus E-PL8Ystereo / mono--micro2.0Y--
6.
 
Olympus E-M10 IIYstereo / mono--micro2.0Y--
7.
 
Olympus E-M10Ystereo / mono--micro2.0Y--
8.
 
Olympus E-P5Ystereo / mono--micro2.0Y--
9.
 
Olympus E-PL6Ystereo / mono--mini2.0---
10.
 
Olympus E-PL5Ystereo / mono--mini2.0---
11.
 
Panasonic G6Ystereo / monoY-mini2.0YY-
12.
 
Panasonic GX1Ystereo / mono--mini2.0---
13.
 
Panasonic GH2Ystereo / monoY-mini2.0---

Both the E-PL7 and the GX7 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on ebay. The GX7 was replaced by the Panasonic GX85, while the E-PL7 was followed by the Olympus E-PL8. Further information on the features and operation of the E-PL7 and GX7 can be found, respectively, in the Olympus E-PL7 Manual (free pdf) or the online Panasonic GX7 Manual.

Review summary

So how do things add up? Is there a clear favorite between the Olympus E-PL7 and the Panasonic GX7? Which camera is better? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.

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Advantages of the Olympus PEN E-PL7:

  • More selfie-friendly: Has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (8 vs 5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • More compact: Is smaller (115x67mm vs 123x71mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
  • Less heavy: Is lighter (by 45g or 11 percent) and hence easier to carry around.
  • More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (40 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More modern: Is somewhat more recent (announced 1 year after the GX7).

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Reasons to prefer the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX7:

  • Better video: Provides higher movie framerates (1080/60p versus 1080/30p).
  • Easier framing: Has an electronic viewfinder for image composition and settings control.
  • 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 fill-in: Has a small integrated flash to brighten shadows of backlit subjects.
  • Easier device pairing: Supports NFC for fast wireless image transfer over short distances.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in August 2013).

If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the GX7 comes out slightly ahead of the E-PL7 (7 : 6 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 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-PL7 06:07 GX7

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Olympus E-PL7 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 says little about, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance of the E-PL7 and the GX7 in practical situations. 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 (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.

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Expert Camera Reviews
     Camera 
 Model 
 AP 
 score 
 CL 
 score 
 DCW 
 score 
 DPR 
 score 
 EPZ 
 score 
 PB 
 score 
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
1.
 
Olympus E-PL74/5+....5/54/5 Aug 2014 599ebay.com
2.
 
Panasonic GX74/5+..79/1005/55/5 Aug 2013 999ebay.com
3.
 
Olympus E-PL9..+....4.5/54/5 Feb 2018 599ebay.com
4.
 
Olympus E-M10 III..+5/580/1004.5/54.5/5 Aug 2017 649ebay.com
5.
 
Olympus E-PL8........4.5/54/5 Sep 2016 549ebay.com
6.
 
Olympus E-M10 II4.5/5+ +..80/1005/55/5 Aug 2015 649ebay.com
7.
 
Olympus E-M104/5....80/1005/55/5 Jan 2014 699ebay.com
8.
 
Olympus E-P55/5+ +..78/1004.5/55/5 May 2013 999ebay.com
9.
 
Olympus E-PL6............ May 2013 599ebay.com
10.
 
Olympus E-PL53/5+ +....4.5/54.5/5 Sep 2012 599ebay.com
11.
 
Panasonic G64/5+ +....5/54.5/5 Apr 2013 599ebay.com
12.
 
Panasonic GX13/5+..77/1004.5/54.5/5 Nov 2011 699ebay.com
13.
 
Panasonic GH25/5+ +..79/1004.5/55/5 Sep 2010 899ebay.com
Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.

The above review scores should be interpreted with care, though. The assessments were made in relation to similar cameras of the same technological generation. 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. Also, kindly note that some of the listed sites have over time developped their review approaches and their reporting style.

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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-PL7 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-PL7 Panasonic GX7
    Camera Type Mirrorless system camera Mirrorless system camera
    Camera Lens Micro Four Thirds lenses Micro Four Thirds lenses
    Launch Date August 2014 August 2013
    Launch Price USD 599 USD 999
    Sensor Specs Olympus E-PL7 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 1080/30p Video 1080/60p Video
    ISO Setting 200 - 25,600 ISO 125 - 25,600 ISO
    ISO Boost 100 - 25,600 ISO no Enhancement
    Image Processor TruePic VII Venus
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) 72 70
    DXO Color Depth (bits) 22.7 22.6
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) 12.4 12.2
    DXO Low Light (ISO) 873 718
    Screen Specs Olympus E-PL7 Panasonic GX7
    Viewfinder Type Viewfinder optional Electronic viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 100%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.70x
    Viewfinder Resolution 2760k dots
    LCD Framing Live View Live View
    Rear LCD Size 3.0inch 3.0inch
    LCD Resolution 1037k dots 1040k dots
    LCD Attachment Tilting screen Tilting screen
    Touch Input Touchscreen Touchscreen
    Shooting Specs Olympus E-PL7 Panasonic GX7
    Focus System Contrast-detect AF Contrast-detect AF
    Manual Focusing AidFocus PeakingFocus Peaking
    Max Shutter Speed (mechanical) 1/4000s 1/8000s
    Continuous Shooting 8 shutter flaps/s 5 shutter flaps/s
    Electronic Shutterno E-Shutterup to 1/8000s
    Time-Lapse PhotographyIntervalometer built-inIntervalometer built-in
    Image StabilizationIn-body stabilizationIn-body stabilization
    Fill Flash no On-Board Flash Built-in Flash
    Storage Medium SDXC cards SDXC cards
    Single or Dual Card Slots Single card slot Single card slot
    UHS card support UHS-I UHS-I
    Connectivity Specs Olympus E-PL7 Panasonic GX7
    External Flash Hotshoe Hotshoe
    USB Connector USB 2.0 USB 2.0
    HDMI Port micro HDMI mini HDMI
    Wifi Support Wifi built-in Wifi built-in
    Near-Field Communication no NFC NFC built-in
    Body Specs Olympus E-PL7 Panasonic GX7
    Battery Type BLS-50 DMW-BLG10
    Battery Life (CIPA)350 shots per charge350 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 115 x 67 x 38 mm
    (4.5 x 2.6 x 1.5 in)
    123 x 71 x 55 mm
    (4.8 x 2.8 x 2.2 in)
    Camera Weight 357 g (12.6 oz) 402 g (14.2 oz)
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