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Panasonic GF1 vs Sony H200

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF1 and the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-H200 are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in September 2009 and January 2013. The GF1 is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera, while the H200 is a fixed lens compact. The cameras are based on a Four Thirds (GF1) and a 1/2.3-inch (H200) sensor. The Panasonic has a resolution of 12 megapixels, whereas the Sony provides 15.2 MP.

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

Headline Specifications
Panasonic GF1 versus Sony H200
Panasonic GF1 Sony H200
Mirrorless system camera Fixed lens compact camera
Micro Four Thirds lenses 24-633mm f/3.1-5.9
12 MP, Four Thirds Sensor 15.2 MP, 1/2.3" Sensor
720/30p Video 720/30p Video
ISO 100-3,200 ISO 100-3,200
Viewfinder optional No viewfinder, LCD framing
3.0 LCD, 460k dots 3.0 LCD, 460k dots
Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive) Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)
3 shutter flaps per second 0.8 shutter flaps per second
380 shots per battery charge240 shots per battery charge
119 x 71 x 36 mm, 385 g 123 x 83 x 87 mm, 530 g

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF1 and the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-H200? 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 Panasonic GF1 and the Sony H200 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.

Size Panasonic GF1 vs Sony H200
Compare GF1 versus H200 top
Comparison GF1 or H200 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Sony H200 is notably larger (21 percent) than the Panasonic GF1. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the GF1 nor the H200 are weather-sealed.

The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the H200 has a lens built in, whereas the GF1 is an interchangeable lens camera that requires a separate lens. Attaching the latter will add extra weight and bulk to the setup. You can compare the optics available for the GF1 and their specifications in the Micro Four Thirds Lens Catalog.

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.

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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.
 
Panasonic GF1 119 mm 71 mm 36 mm 385 g 380 n Sep 2009 749i
2.
 
Sony H200 123 mm 83 mm 87 mm 530 g 240 n Jan 2013 249 i
3.
 
Canon SX520 120 mm 82 mm 92 mm 441 g 210 n Jul 2014 399i
4.
 
Nikon B500 114 mm 78 mm 95 mm 541 g 600 n Jan 2016 299i
5.
 
Nikon L840 113 mm 78 mm 96 mm 538 g 590 n Feb 2015 299i
6.
 
Olympus E-P1 121 mm 70 mm 36 mm 355 g 300 n Jun 2009 799i
7.
 
Olympus E-P2 121 mm 70 mm 36 mm 355 g 300 n Nov 2009 799i
8.
 
Panasonic LX100 115 mm 66 mm 55 mm 393 g 300 n Sep 2014 899 i
9.
 
Panasonic GX1 116 mm 68 mm 39 mm 318 g 320 n Nov 2011 699i
10.
 
Panasonic G10 124 mm 84 mm 74 mm 388 g 380 n Mar 2010 499i
11.
 
Panasonic G2 124 mm 84 mm 74 mm 428 g 360 n Mar 2010 599i
12.
 
Panasonic GF2 113 mm 68 mm 33 mm 310 g 300 n Nov 2010 549i
13.
 
Panasonic GH2 124 mm 90 mm 76 mm 442 g 330 n Sep 2010 899i
14.
 
Panasonic GH1 124 mm 90 mm 45 mm 385 g 300 n Mar 2009 899i
15.
 
Panasonic G1 124 mm 84 mm 45 mm 360 g 410 n Sep 2008 599i
16.
 
Sony H400 130 mm 95 mm 122 mm 628 g 300 n Feb 2014 319 i
17.
 
Sony H300 128 mm 89 mm 92 mm 590 g 350 n Feb 2014 219 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 H200 was launched at a lower price than the GF1, despite having a lens built in. 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.

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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. 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 Panasonic GF1 features a Four Thirds sensor and the Sony H200 a 1/2.3-inch sensor. The sensor area in the H200 is 88 percent smaller. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 2.0 and 5.6. Both cameras feature a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 4:3.

Panasonic GF1 and Sony H200 sensor measures

Despite having a smaller sensor, the H200 offers a higher resolution of 15.2 megapixels, compared with 12 MP of the GF1. 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 1.36μm versus 4.33μm for the GF1). However, it should be noted that the H200 is much more recent (by 3 years and 4 months) than the GF1, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that make it possible to gather light more efficiently. Coming back to sensor resolution, it should be mentioned that the H200 has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.

The resolution advantage of the Sony H200 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the H200 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 25.9 x 14.7 inches or 65.8 x 37.2 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 20.7 x 11.7 inches or 52.7 x 29.8 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 17.3 x 9.8 inches or 43.9 x 24.8 cm. The corresponding values for the Panasonic GF1 are 20 x 15 inches or 50.8 x 38.1 cm for good quality, 16 x 12 inches or 40.6 x 30.5 cm for very good quality, and 13.3 x 10 inches or 33.9 x 25.4 cm for excellent quality prints.

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF1 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 3200. The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-H200 offers exactly the same ISO settings.

GF1 versus H200 MP

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 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.
 
Panasonic GF1 Four Thirds 12.0 4000 3000720/30p21.210.351354
2.
 
Sony H200 1/2.3 15.2 5184 2930720/30p........
3.
 
Canon SX520 1/2.3 15.9 4608 34561080/30p........
4.
 
Nikon B500 1/2.3 15.9 4608 34561080/60i........
5.
 
Nikon L840 1/2.3 15.9 4608 34561080/60i........
6.
 
Olympus E-P1 Four Thirds 12.2 4032 3024720/30p21.410.453655
7.
 
Olympus E-P2 Four Thirds 12.2 4032 3024720/30p21.510.450556
8.
 
Panasonic LX100 Four Thirds 12.7 4112 30884K/30p22.312.555367
9.
 
Panasonic GX1 Four Thirds 15.8 4592 34481080/60p20.810.670355
10.
 
Panasonic G10 Four Thirds 12.0 4000 3000720/30p21.210.141152
11.
 
Panasonic G2 Four Thirds 12.0 4000 3000720/30p21.210.349353
12.
 
Panasonic GF2 Four Thirds 12.0 4000 30001080/60i21.210.350654
13.
 
Panasonic GH2 Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/60i21.211.365560
14.
 
Panasonic GH1 Four Thirds 12.0 4000 30001080/24p21.611.677264
15.
 
Panasonic G1 Four Thirds 12.0 4000 3000none21.110.346353
16.
 
Sony H400 1/2.3 19.9 5152 3864720/30p........
17.
 
Sony H300 1/2.3 19.9 5152 3864720/30p........

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, and both provide the same movie specifications (720/30p).

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Feature comparison

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The GF1 and the H200 are similar in the sense that neither of the two has a viewfinder. The images are, thus, framed using live view on the rear LCD. That said, the GF1 can be equipped with an optional viewfinder – the DMW-LVF1. The adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Panasonic GF1 and Sony H200 along with similar information for a selection of comparators.

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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.
 
Panasonic GF1optional n 3.0 460 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
2.
 
Sony H200none n 3.0 460 fixed n 1/1500s 0.8 Y Y
3.
 
Canon SX520none n 3.0 461 fixed n 1/2000s 1.6 Y Y
4.
 
Nikon B500none n 3.0 921 tilting n 1/4000s 7.4 Y Y
5.
 
Nikon L840none n 3.0 921 tilting n 1/4000s 7.4 Y Y
6.
 
Olympus E-P1none n 3.0 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 n Y
7.
 
Olympus E-P2optional n 3.0 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 n Y
8.
 
Panasonic LX1002764 n 3.0 921 fixed n 1/4000s 11.0 n Y
9.
 
Panasonic GX1optional n 3.0 460 fixed Y 1/4000s 4.2 Y n
10.
 
Panasonic G10202 n 3.0 460 fixed n 1/4000s 2.6 Y n
11.
 
Panasonic G21440 n 3.0 460 swivel Y 1/4000s 2.6 Y n
12.
 
Panasonic GF2optional n 3.0 460 fixed Y 1/4000s 2.6 Y n
13.
 
Panasonic GH21534 n 3.0 460 swivel n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
14.
 
Panasonic GH11440 n 3.0 460 swivel n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
15.
 
Panasonic G11440 n 3.0 460 swivel n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
16.
 
Sony H400210 n 3.0 460 fixed n 1/2000s 0.7 Y Y
17.
 
Sony H300none n 3.0 460 fixed n 1/1500s 0.8 Y Y

The GF1 writes its imaging data to SDHC cards, while the H200 uses SDXC or Memory Stick PRO Duo cards.

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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 Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF1 and Sony Cyber-shot DSC-H200 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.
 
Panasonic GF1Ymonomono--mini2.0---
2.
 
Sony H200-monomono---2.0---
3.
 
Canon SX520-stereomono--mini2.0---
4.
 
Nikon B500-stereomono--micro2.0YYY
5.
 
Nikon L840-stereomono--micro2.0YY-
6.
 
Olympus E-P1Ystereo---mini2.0---
7.
 
Olympus E-P2Ystereo---mini2.0---
8.
 
Panasonic LX100Ystereomono--micro2.0YY-
9.
 
Panasonic GX1Ystereomono--mini2.0---
10.
 
Panasonic G10Ymono---mini2.0---
11.
 
Panasonic G2Ystereomono--mini2.0---
12.
 
Panasonic GF2Ystereomono--mini2.0---
13.
 
Panasonic GH2YstereomonoY-mini2.0---
14.
 
Panasonic GH1Ystereo-Y-mini2.0---
15.
 
Panasonic G1Y----mini2.0---
16.
 
Sony H400-monomono--micro2.0Y--
17.
 
Sony H300-monomono--micro2.0Y--

It is notable that the GF1 has a hotshoe, while the H200 does not. This socket makes it possible to easily attach optional accessories, such as an external flash gun.

The H200 is a recent model that features in the current product line-up of Sony. In contrast, the GF1 has been discontinued (but can be found pre-owned on eBay). As a replacement in the same line of cameras, the GF1 was succeeded by the Panasonic DMC-GF2. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Panasonic and Sony websites.

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Review summary

So how do things add up? Which of the two cameras – the Panasonic GF1 or the Sony H200 – has the upper hand? Is one clearly better than the other? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.

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Advantages of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF1:

  • Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
  • Better image quality: Features bigger pixels on a larger sensor for higher quality imaging.
  • Richer colors: The pixel size advantage translates into images with better, more accurate colors.
  • More dynamic range: Larger pixels capture a wider spectrum of light and dark details.
  • Better low-light sensitivity: Larger pixels means good image quality even under poor lighting.
  • More framing options: Can be equipped with a hotshoe-mounted accessory-viewfinder.
  • Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/4000s vs 1/1500s) to freeze action.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (3 vs 0.8 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • More flexible: Accepts interchangeable lenses, so that lens characteristics can be altered.
  • More compact: Is smaller (119x71mm vs 123x83mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
  • Longer lasting: Can take more shots (380 versus 240) on a single battery charge.
  • Better lighting: Features a hotshoe and can thus hold and trigger an external flash gun.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in September 2009).

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Arguments in favor of the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-H200:

  • More detail: Has more megapixels (15.2 vs 12MP), which boosts linear resolution by 19%.
  • Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
  • Ready to shoot: Has an integrated lens, whereas the GF1 necessitates an extra lens.
  • Sharper images: Has stabilization technology built-in to reduce the impact of hand-shake.
  • More affordable: Was introduced at a lower price, despite coming with a built-in lens.
  • More modern: Reflects 3 years and 4 months of technical progress since the GF1 launch.

If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the GF1 is the clear winner of the match-up (13 : 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.

GF1 13:06 H200

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Panasonic GF1 and the Sony H200 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera and Best Superzoom Camera listings 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 incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the GF1 or the H200 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.

Expert reviews

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], 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.
 
Panasonic GF1..85/10069/1004.5/54.5/5 Sep 2009 749i
2.
 
Sony H200......3.5/53.5/5 Jan 2013 249 i
3.
 
Canon SX520..+..3.5/53.5/5 Jul 2014 399i
4.
 
Nikon B500..+..4/53.5/5 Jan 2016 299i
5.
 
Nikon L840..+ +..3.5/54/5 Feb 2015 299i
6.
 
Olympus E-P1..+66/1004/54.5/5 Jun 2009 799i
7.
 
Olympus E-P23/5+69/1004/54.5/5 Nov 2009 799i
8.
 
Panasonic LX1005/5+ +85/1005/55/5 Sep 2014 899 i
9.
 
Panasonic GX13/5+77/1004.5/54.5/5 Nov 2011 699i
10.
 
Panasonic G103/5..70/1004/54/5 Mar 2010 499i
11.
 
Panasonic G2....72/1004/54.5/5 Mar 2010 599i
12.
 
Panasonic GF23/582/10070/1004.5/54.5/5 Nov 2010 549i
13.
 
Panasonic GH25/5+ +79/1004.5/55/5 Sep 2010 899i
14.
 
Panasonic GH1..+ +72/1004.5/54.5/5 Mar 2009 899i
15.
 
Panasonic G1..+ +70/1004/54.5/5 Sep 2008 599i
16.
 
Sony H400..o..3.5/53.5/5 Feb 2014 319 i
17.
 
Sony H300..+..4.5/54/5 Feb 2014 219 i
Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.

The above review scores should be interpreted 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. It should also be noted that some of the review sites have over time altered the way they render their verdicts.

Panasonic GF1:
Check Ebay offers
Sony H200:
Check Amazon price

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.

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    Specifications: Panasonic GF1 vs Sony H200

    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 Panasonic GF1 Sony H200
    Camera Type Mirrorless system camera Fixed lens compact camera
    Camera Lens Micro Four Thirds lenses 24-633mm f/3.1-5.9
    Launch Date September 2009 January 2013
    Launch Price USD 749 USD 249
    Sensor Specs Panasonic GF1 Sony H200
    Sensor Technology CMOS CCD
    Sensor Format Four Thirds Sensor 1/2.3" Sensor
    Sensor Size 17.3 x 13.0 mm 6.17 x 4.55 mm
    Sensor Area 224.9 mm2 28.0735 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 21.6 mm 7.7 mm
    Crop Factor 2.0x 5.6x
    Sensor Resolution 12 Megapixels 15.2 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 4000 x 3000 pixels 5184 x 2930 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 4.33 μm 1.36 μm
    Pixel Density 5.34 MP/cm2 54.10 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter no AA filter
    Movie Capability 720/30p Video 720/30p Video
    ISO Setting 100 - 3,200 ISO 100 - 3,200 ISO
    Image Processor Venus HD BIONZ
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) 54 ..
    DXO Color Depth (bits) 21.2 ..
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) 10.3 ..
    DXO Low Light (ISO) 513 ..
    Screen Specs Panasonic GF1 Sony H200
    Viewfinder Type Viewfinder optional no viewfinder
    Viewfinder Magnification
    LCD Framing Live View Live View
    Rear LCD Size 3.0inch 3.0inch
    LCD Resolution 460k dots 460k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen Fixed screen
    Shooting Specs Panasonic GF1 Sony H200
    Focus System Contrast-detect AF Contrast-detect AF
    Continuous Shooting 3 shutter flaps/s 0.8 shutter flaps/s
    Fill Flash Build-in Flash Build-in Flash
    Storage Medium SDHC cards MS or SDXC cards
    Second Storage Option Single card slot Single card slot
    UHS card support no no
    Connectivity Specs Panasonic GF1 Sony H200
    External Flash Hotshoe no Hotshoe
    USB Connector USB 2.0 USB 2.0
    HDMI Port mini HDMI no HDMI
    Wifi Support no Wifi no Wifi
    Body Specs Panasonic GF1 Sony H200
    Battery Type DMW-BLB13 4xAA
    Battery Life (CIPA)380 shots per charge240 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 119 x 71 x 36 mm
    (4.7 x 2.8 x 1.4 in)
    123 x 83 x 87 mm
    (4.8 x 3.3 x 3.4 in)
    Camera Weight 385 g (13.6 oz) 530 g (18.7 oz)

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