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Panasonic GM5 vs GX1

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-GM5 and the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX1 are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in September 2014 and November 2011. Both the GM5 and the GX1 are mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras that are equipped with a Four Thirds sensor. Both cameras offer a resolution of 15.8 megapixels.

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

Headline Specifications
Panasonic GM5
versus
Panasonic GX1
Panasonic GM5   Panasonic GX1
Mirrorless system camera Mirrorless system camera
Micro Four Thirds lenses Micro Four Thirds lenses
15.8 MP – Four Thirds sensor 15.8 MP – Four Thirds sensor
1080/60p Video 1080/60p Video
ISO 200-25,600 ISO 160-12,800
Electronic viewfinder (1166k dots) Viewfinder optional
3.0" LCD – 921k dots 3.0" LCD – 460k dots
Fixed touchscreen Fixed touchscreen
5.8 shutter flaps per second 4.2 shutter flaps per second
220 shots per battery charge320 shots per battery charge
99 x 60 x 36 mm, 211 g 116 x 68 x 39 mm, 318 g
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Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GM5 and the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX1? 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 Panasonic GM5 and the Panasonic GX1 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 GM5 can be obtained in two different colors (black, silver), while the GX1 is only available in black.

Size Panasonic GM5 vs Panasonic GX1
Compare GM5 versus GX1 top
Comparison GM5 or GX1 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Panasonic GX1 is notably larger (33 percent) than the Panasonic GM5. Moreover, the GX1 is substantially heavier (51 percent) than the GM5. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the GM5 nor the GX1 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.

Concerning battery life, the GM5 gets 220 shots out of its DMW-BLH7 battery, while the GX1 can take 320 images on a single charge of its DMW-BLD10 power pack.

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.
 
Panasonic GM5 99 mm 60 mm 36 mm 211 g 220 n Sep 2014 749ebay.com
2.
 
Panasonic GX1 116 mm 68 mm 39 mm 318 g 320 n Nov 2011 699ebay.com
3.
 
Olympus E-M10 II 120 mm 83 mm 47 mm 390 g 320 n Aug 2015 649ebay.com
4.
 
Olympus E-M10 119 mm 82 mm 46 mm 396 g 320 n Jan 2014 699ebay.com
5.
 
Panasonic G7 125 mm 86 mm 77 mm 410 g 350 n May 2015 649ebay.com
6.
 
Panasonic FZ1000 137 mm 99 mm 131 mm 831 g 360 n Jun 2014 899ebay.com
7.
 
Panasonic G6 122 mm 85 mm 71 mm 390 g 340 n Apr 2013 599ebay.com
8.
 
Panasonic GM1 99 mm 55 mm 30 mm 204 g 230 n Oct 2013 749ebay.com
9.
 
Panasonic GX7 123 mm 71 mm 55 mm 402 g 350 n Aug 2013 999ebay.com
10.
 
Panasonic G3 115 mm 84 mm 47 mm 336 g 270 n May 2011 599ebay.com
11.
 
Panasonic G10 124 mm 84 mm 74 mm 388 g 380 n Mar 2010 499ebay.com
12.
 
Panasonic GH2 124 mm 90 mm 76 mm 442 g 330 n Sep 2010 899ebay.com
13.
 
Ricoh GR II 117 mm 63 mm 35 mm 251 g 320 n Jun 2015 699 amazon.com
14.
 
Ricoh GR 117 mm 61 mm 35 mm 245 g 290 n Apr 2013 799ebay.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 manufacturer’s suggested retail prices give an idea on the placement of the camera in the maker’s lineup and the broader market. The GX1 was somewhat cheaper (by 7 percent) than the GM5 at launch, but both cameras fall into the same price category. 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 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. 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.

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.

Panasonic GM5 and Panasonic GX1 sensor measures

The two cameras under review do not only share the same sensor size, but also offer an identical resolution of 15.8 megapixels. This similarity in sensor specs implies that both the GM5 and the GX1 have the same pixel density, as well as the same pixel size. It should, however, be noted that the GM5 is much more recent (by 2 years and 10 months) than the GX1, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time.

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-GM5 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-GX1 are ISO 160 to ISO 12800 (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.

GM5 versus GX1 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. Of the two cameras under review, the GM5 provides substantially higher image quality than the GX1, with an overall score that is 11 points higher. This advantage is based on 1.3 bits higher color depth, 1.1 EV in additional dynamic range, and 0 stops in additional low light sensitivity. 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 GM5 Four Thirds 15.8 4592 34481080/60p22.111.772166
2.
 
Panasonic GX1 Four Thirds 15.8 4592 34481080/60p20.810.670355
3.
 
Olympus E-M10 II Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/60p23.112.584273
4.
 
Olympus E-M10 Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/30p22.812.388472
5.
 
Panasonic G7 Four Thirds 15.8 4592 34484K/30p22.812.490471
6.
 
Panasonic FZ1000 1-inch 20.0 5472 36484K/30p22.111.751764
7.
 
Panasonic G6 Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/60p21.311.563961
8.
 
Panasonic GM1 Four Thirds 15.8 4592 34481080/60i22.311.766066
9.
 
Panasonic GX7 Four Thirds 15.8 4592 34481080/60p22.612.271870
10.
 
Panasonic G3 Four Thirds 15.8 4592 34481080/60i21.010.666756
11.
 
Panasonic G10 Four Thirds 12.0 4000 3000720/30p21.210.141152
12.
 
Panasonic GH2 Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/60i21.211.365560
13.
 
Ricoh GR II APS-C 16.1 4928 32641080/30p23.613.7107880
14.
 
Ricoh GR APS-C 16.1 4928 32641080/30p23.613.597278
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, and both provide the same movie specifications (1080/60p).

Feature comparison

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. For example, the GM5 has an electronic viewfinder (1166k dots), which can be very helpful when shooting in bright sunlight. In contrast, the GX1 relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. That said, the GX1 can be equipped with an optional viewfinder – the DMW-LVF2. The following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Panasonic GM5, the Panasonic GX1, and comparable 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.
 
Panasonic GM51166 n3.0 / 921 fixed Y 1/500s 5.8/s n n
2.
 
Panasonic GX1optional n3.0 / 460 fixed Y 1/4000s 4.2/s Y n
3.
 
Olympus E-M10 II2360 n3.0 / 1040 tilting Y 1/4000s 8.0/s Y Y
4.
 
Olympus E-M101440 n3.0 / 1037 tilting Y 1/4000s 8.0/s Y Y
5.
 
Panasonic G72360 n3.0 / 1040 swivel Y 1/4000s 7.0/s Y n
6.
 
Panasonic FZ10002359 n3.0 / 921 swivel n 1/4000s 12.0/s Y Y
7.
 
Panasonic G61440 n3.0 / 1036 swivel Y 1/4000s 7.0/s Y n
8.
 
Panasonic GM1none n3.0 / 1036 fixed Y 1/500s 5.0/s Y n
9.
 
Panasonic GX72760 n3.0 / 1040 tilting Y 1/8000s 5.0/s Y Y
10.
 
Panasonic G31440 n3.0 / 460 swivel Y 1/4000s 4.0/s Y n
11.
 
Panasonic G10202 n3.0 / 460 fixed n 1/4000s 2.6/s Y n
12.
 
Panasonic GH21534 n3.0 / 460 swivel n 1/4000s 3.0/s Y n
13.
 
Ricoh GR IIoptional n3.0 / 1230 fixed n 1/4000s 4.0/s Y n
14.
 
Ricoh GRoptional n3.0 / 1230 fixed n 1/4000s 4.0/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 GX1 has one, while the GM5 does not. While the built-in flash of the GX1 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 GM5 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 GM5 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 GM5 and the GX1 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 Panasonic Lumix DMC-GM5 and Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX1 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.
 
Panasonic GM5Ystereo / mono--micro2.0Y--
2.
 
Panasonic GX1Ystereo / mono--mini2.0---
3.
 
Olympus E-M10 IIYstereo / mono--micro2.0Y--
4.
 
Olympus E-M10Ystereo / mono--micro2.0Y--
5.
 
Panasonic G7Ystereo / monoY-micro2.0Y--
6.
 
Panasonic FZ1000Ystereo / monoY-micro2.0YY-
7.
 
Panasonic G6Ystereo / monoY-mini2.0YY-
8.
 
Panasonic GM1-stereo / mono--micro2.0Y--
9.
 
Panasonic GX7Ystereo / mono--mini2.0YY-
10.
 
Panasonic G3Ystereo / mono--mini2.0---
11.
 
Panasonic G10Ymono / ---mini2.0---
12.
 
Panasonic GH2Ystereo / monoY-mini2.0---
13.
 
Ricoh GR IIYstereo / mono--micro2.0YY-
14.
 
Ricoh GRYmono / mono--micro2.0---

It is notable that the GM5 offers wifi support, while the GX1 does not. Wifi can be a very convenient means to transfer image data to an off-camera location.

Both the GM5 and the GX1 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on ebay. The GX1 was replaced by the Panasonic GX7, while the GM5 does not have a direct successor. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Panasonic website.

Review summary

So how do things add up? Is the Panasonic GM5 better than the Panasonic GX1 or vice versa? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.


Arguments in favor of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GM5:

  • Better image quality: Scores substantially higher (11 points) in the DXO overall assessment.
  • Richer colors: Generates images with noticeably better colors (1.3 bits more color depth).
  • More dynamic range: Captures a larger spectrum of light and dark details (1.1 EV of extra DR).
  • Easier framing: Has an electronic viewfinder for image composition and settings control.
  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (921k vs 460k dots).
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (5.8 vs 4.2 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • 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 (99x60mm vs 116x68mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
  • Less heavy: Is lighter (by 107g or 34 percent) and hence easier to carry around.
  • Easier file upload: Has wifi built in for automatic backup or image transfer to the web.
  • More modern: Reflects 2 years and 10 months of technical progress since the GX1 launch.


Reasons to prefer the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX1:

  • Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/4000s vs 1/500s) to freeze action.
  • Longer lasting: Gets more shots (320 versus 220) out of a single battery charge.
  • Easier fill-in: Has a small integrated flash to brighten shadows of backlit subjects.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been around for much longer (launched in November 2011).

If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the GM5 is the clear winner of the match-up (12 : 4 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.

GM5 12:04 GX1

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Panasonic GM5 and the Panasonic GX1 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 GM5 and the GX1 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 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], 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.
 
Panasonic GM53.5/5+..77/1005/54.5/5 Sep 2014 749ebay.com
2.
 
Panasonic GX13/5+..77/1004.5/54.5/5 Nov 2011 699ebay.com
3.
 
Olympus E-M10 II4.5/5+ +..80/1005/55/5 Aug 2015 649ebay.com
4.
 
Olympus E-M104/5....80/1005/55/5 Jan 2014 699ebay.com
5.
 
Panasonic G74/5+ +..80/1005/54.5/5 May 2015 649ebay.com
6.
 
Panasonic FZ10004/5+ +..82/1004.5/54.5/5 Jun 2014 899ebay.com
7.
 
Panasonic G64/5+ +....5/54.5/5 Apr 2013 599ebay.com
8.
 
Panasonic GM13/5+..78/1005/54.5/5 Oct 2013 749ebay.com
9.
 
Panasonic GX74/5+..79/1005/55/5 Aug 2013 999ebay.com
10.
 
Panasonic G33/5+ +..75/1004.5/55/5 May 2011 599ebay.com
11.
 
Panasonic G103/5....70/1004/54/5 Mar 2010 499ebay.com
12.
 
Panasonic GH25/5+ +..79/1004.5/55/5 Sep 2010 899ebay.com
13.
 
Ricoh GR II........4.5/54.5/5 Jun 2015 699 amazon.com
14.
 
Ricoh GR5/5....79/1004.5/54.5/5 Apr 2013 799ebay.com
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. A score, therefore, has to be seen in close connection to the price and market introduction time of the camera, 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.

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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: Panasonic GM5 vs Panasonic GX1

    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 GM5 Panasonic GX1
    Camera Type Mirrorless system camera Mirrorless system camera
    Camera Lens Micro Four Thirds lenses Micro Four Thirds lenses
    Launch Date September 2014 November 2011
    Launch Price USD 749 USD 699
    Sensor Specs Panasonic GM5 Panasonic GX1
    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 15.8 Megapixels 15.8 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 4592 x 3448 pixels 4592 x 3448 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 3.77 μm 3.77 μm
    Pixel Density 7.04 MP/cm2 7.04 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability 1080/60p Video 1080/60p Video
    ISO Setting 200 - 25,600 ISO 160 - 12,800 ISO
    ISO Boost 100 - 25,600 ISO no Enhancement
    Image Processor Venus Venus FHD
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) 66 55
    DXO Color Depth (bits) 22.1 20.8
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) 11.7 10.6
    DXO Low Light (ISO) 721 703
    Screen Specs Panasonic GM5 Panasonic GX1
    Viewfinder Type Electronic viewfinder Viewfinder optional
    Viewfinder Field of View 100%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.46x
    Viewfinder Resolution 1166k dots
    LCD Framing Live View Live View
    Rear LCD Size 3.0inch 3.0inch
    LCD Resolution 921k dots 460k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen Fixed screen
    Touch Input Touchscreen Touchscreen
    Shooting Specs Panasonic GM5 Panasonic GX1
    Focus System Contrast-detect AF Contrast-detect AF
    Manual Focusing AidFocus PeakingFocus Peaking
    Max Shutter Speed (mechanical) 1/500s 1/4000s
    Continuous Shooting 5.8 shutter flaps/s 4.2 shutter flaps/s
    Electronic Shutterup to 1/16000sno E-Shutter
    Time-Lapse PhotographyIntervalometer built-inno Intervalometer
    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 Panasonic GM5 Panasonic GX1
    External Flash Hotshoe Hotshoe
    USB Connector USB 2.0 USB 2.0
    HDMI Port micro HDMI mini HDMI
    Wifi Support Wifi built-in no Wifi
    Body Specs Panasonic GM5 Panasonic GX1
    Battery Type DMW-BLH7 DMW-BLD10
    Battery Life (CIPA)220 shots per charge320 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 99 x 60 x 36 mm
    (3.9 x 2.4 x 1.4 in)
    116 x 68 x 39 mm
    (4.6 x 2.7 x 1.5 in)
    Camera Weight 211 g (7.4 oz) 318 g (11.2 oz)
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