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Zeiss ZX1 vs Sony RX1R II

The Zeiss ZX1 and the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX1R II are two enthusiast cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in September 2018 and October 2015. Both the ZX1 and the RX1R II are fixed lens compact cameras that are equipped with a full frame sensor. The Zeiss has a resolution of 37.4 megapixels, whereas the Sony provides 42.2 MP. Read on to find out how these two cameras compare with respect to their body size, their sensors, their features, their input-output connections, and their reception by expert reviewers.

Headline Specifications
Zeiss ZX1   Sony RX1R II
Zeiss ZX1 Sony RX1R II
Fixed lens compact camera Fixed lens compact camera
35mm f/2.8 35mm f/2.0
37.4 MP, Full Frame Sensor 42.2 MP, Full Frame Sensor
4K/30p Video 1080/60p Video
ISO 80-51200 ISO 100-25600 (50-102400)
Electronic viewfinder (6221k dots) Electronic viewfinder (2360k dots)
4.3" LCD, 2765k dots 3.0" LCD, 1229k dots
Fixed touchscreen Tilting screen (not touch-sensitive)
3 shutter flaps per second 5 shutter flaps per second
142 x 93 x 46 mm, 800 g 113 x 65 x 72 mm, 507 g

Body comparison: Zeiss ZX1 vs Sony RX1R II

An illustration of the physical size and weight of the Zeiss ZX1 and the Sony RX1R II is provided 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.

Compare Zeiss ZX1 and Sony RX1R II
Compare ZX1 versus RX1R II top
Compare ZX1 or RX1R II rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Sony RX1R II is considerably smaller (44 percent) than the Zeiss ZX1. Moreover, the RX1R II is substantially lighter (37 percent) than the ZX1. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the ZX1 nor the RX1R II are weather-sealed.

The power pack in the RX1R II can be charged via the USB port, which can be very convenient when travelling.

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, just use the right or left arrows in the table to switch to the respective camera. Alternatively, you can also navigate to the CAM-parator app and make your selection from the full list of cameras there.

Camera Body Specifications
  Camera
Model
Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life
(CIPA)
Weather
Sealing
(yes/no)
Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Used
Price
(USD)
Camera
Model
 
Zeiss ZX1» 5.6 in 3.7 in 1.8 in 28.2 oz .. n Sep 2018 4,199 i i Zeiss ZX1
 
Sony RX1R II« 4.4 in 2.6 in 2.8 in 17.9 oz 220 n Oct 2015 3,299 i i Sony RX1R II
 
Canon 5DS« » 6.0 in 4.6 in 3.0 in 32.8 oz 700 Y Feb 2015 3,699 i i Canon 5DS
 
Canon 5DS R« » 6.0 in 4.6 in 3.0 in 32.8 oz 700 Y Feb 2015 3,699 i i Canon 5DS R
 
Leica Q2« » 5.1 in 3.1 in 3.6 in 25.3 oz 370 Y Mar 2019 4,995 i i Leica Q2
 
Leica C-LUX« » 4.4 in 2.6 in 1.8 in 12.0 oz 370 n Jun 2018 1,049 i i Leica C-LUX
 
Leica M10-P« » 5.5 in 3.1 in 1.5 in 23.3 oz 210 n Aug 2018 7,995 i i Leica M10-P
 
Leica M10« » 5.5 in 3.1 in 1.5 in 23.3 oz 210 n Jan 2017 6,595 i i Leica M10
 
Leica Q Typ 116« » 5.1 in 3.1 in 3.7 in 22.6 oz 300 n Jun 2015 4,249- i Leica Q Typ 116
 
Nikon P1000« » 5.7 in 4.7 in 7.1 in 49.9 oz 250 n Jul 2018 999 i i Nikon P1000
 
Panasonic FZ1000 II« » 5.4 in 3.8 in 5.2 in 28.6 oz 350 n Feb 2019 899 i i Panasonic FZ1000 II
 
Panasonic FZ1000« » 5.4 in 3.9 in 5.2 in 29.3 oz 360 n Jun 2014 899- i Panasonic FZ1000
 
Sony RX100 VI« » 4.0 in 2.3 in 1.7 in 10.6 oz 240 n Jun 2018 1,199 i i Sony RX100 VI
 
Sony RX1R« » 4.4 in 2.6 in 2.8 in 17.0 oz 270 n Jun 2013 2,799- i Sony RX1R
 
Sony RX1« » 4.4 in 2.6 in 2.8 in 17.0 oz 270 n Sep 2012 2,799- i Sony RX1

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 RX1R II was launched at a somewhat lower price (by 21 percent) than the ZX1, which makes it more attractive for photographers on a tight budget. 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: Zeiss ZX1 vs Sony RX1R II

The size of the imaging sensor is a crucial determinant of image quality. All other things equal, a large sensor will have larger individual pixel-units that offer better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and 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.

Both cameras under consideration feature a full frame sensor, but their sensors differ slightly in size. The sensor area in the RX1R II is 1 percent smaller. They nevertheless have the same format factor of 1.0. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.

Zeiss ZX1 and Sony RX1R II sensor measures

Despite having a slightly smaller sensor, the RX1R II offers a higher resolution of 42.2 megapixels, compared with 37.4 MP of the ZX1. 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 4.50μm versus 4.81μm for the ZX1). Moreover, it should be noted that the ZX1 is much more recent (by 2 years and 11 months) than the RX1R II, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that further enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixels. Coming back to sensor resolution, it should be mentioned that the RX1R II has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.

The Zeiss ZX1 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 80 to ISO 51200 The corresponding ISO settings for the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX1R II are ISO 100 to ISO 25600, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 50-102400..

ZX1 versus RX1R II MP

Since 2007, DXO Mark has published sensor performance measurements that have been derived using a consistent methodology. 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.

Sensor Characteristics
  Camera
Model
Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
Camera
Model
 
Zeiss ZX1» Full Frame 37.4 7488 49924K/30p----Zeiss ZX1
 
Sony RX1R II« Full Frame 42.2 7952 53041080/60p25.813.9320497Sony RX1R II
 
Canon 5DS« » Full Frame 50.3 8688 57921080/60p24.712.4238187Canon 5DS
 
Canon 5DS R« » Full Frame 50.3 8688 57921080/60p24.612.4230886Canon 5DS R
 
Leica Q2« » Full Frame 46.7 8368 55844K/30p----Leica Q2
 
Leica C-LUX« » 1-inch 20.0 5472 36484K/30p----Leica C-LUX
 
Leica M10-P« » Full Frame 23.8 5952 3992-----Leica M10-P
 
Leica M10« » Full Frame 23.8 5952 3992-24.413.2213386Leica M10
 
Leica Q Typ 116« » Full Frame 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.312.7222185Leica Q Typ 116
 
Nikon P1000« » 1/2.3 15.9 4608 34564K/30p----Nikon P1000
 
Panasonic FZ1000 II« » 1-inch 20.0 5472 36484K/30p----Panasonic FZ1000 II
 
Panasonic FZ1000« » 1-inch 20.0 5472 36484K/30p22.111.751764Panasonic FZ1000
 
Sony RX100 VI« » 1-inch 20.0 5472 36484K/30p----Sony RX100 VI
 
Sony RX1R« » Full Frame 24.0 6000 40001080/60p25.013.6253791Sony RX1R
 
Sony RX1« » Full Frame 24.0 6000 40001080/60p25.114.3253493Sony RX1

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 ZX1 provides a higher video resolution than the RX1R II. It can shoot video footage at 4K/30p, while the Sony is limited to 1080/60p.

 

Feature comparison: Zeiss ZX1 vs Sony RX1R II

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The two cameras under consideration are similar with respect to both having an electronic viewfinder. However, the one in the ZX1 offers a substantially higher resolution than the one in the RX1R II (6221k vs 2360k dots). The adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Zeiss ZX1 and Sony RX1R II along with similar information for a selection of comparators.

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)
Shutter
speed
(1/sec)
Shutter
flaps
(1/sec)
Built-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Built-in
Image
Stab
Camera
Model
 
Zeiss ZX1»6221 n 4.3 2765 fixed Y 1000 3.0 n n Zeiss ZX1
 
Sony RX1R II«2360 n 3.0 1229 tilting n 4000 5.0 n n Sony RX1R II
 
Canon 5DS« »optical Y 3.2 1040 fixed n 8000 5.0 n n Canon 5DS
 
Canon 5DS R« »optical Y 3.2 1040 fixed n 8000 5.0 n n Canon 5DS R
 
Leica Q2« »3680 n 3.0 1040 fixed Y 2000 20.0 n Y Leica Q2
 
Leica C-LUX« »2330 n 3.0 1240 fixed Y 2000 10.0 Y Y Leica C-LUX
 
Leica M10-P« »optical n 3.0 1037 fixed Y 4000 5.0 n n Leica M10-P
 
Leica M10« »optical n 3.0 1037 fixed n 4000 5.0 n n Leica M10
 
Leica Q Typ 116« »3680 n 3.0 1040 fixed Y 2000 10.0 n Y Leica Q Typ 116
 
Nikon P1000« »2359 n 3.2 921 swivel n 4000 7.0 Y Y Nikon P1000
 
Panasonic FZ1000 II« »2360 n 3.0 1240 swivel Y 4000 12.0 Y Y Panasonic FZ1000 II
 
Panasonic FZ1000« »2359 n 3.0 921 swivel n 4000 12.0 Y Y Panasonic FZ1000
 
Sony RX100 VI« »2359 n 3.0 1229 tilting Y 2000 24.0 Y Y Sony RX100 VI
 
Sony RX1R« »- n 3.0 1229 fixed n 4000 5.0 Y n Sony RX1R
 
Sony RX1« »- n 3.0 1229 fixed n 4000 5.0 Y n Sony RX1

One differentiating feature between the two cameras concerns the touch sensitivity of the rear screen. The ZX1 has a touchscreen, while the RX1R II has a conventional panel. Touch control can be particularly helpful, for example, for setting the focus point.

The reported shutter speed and shutter burst refer to the use of the mechanical shutter. In addition, the ZX1 features an 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).

Both the ZX1 and the RX1R II have built-in prime lenses. The ZX1 has a 35mm f/2.8 optic and the RX1R II offers a 35mm f/2.0. Hence, the ZX1 and the RX1R II provide the same angle of view. The RX1R II offers the faster maximum aperture.

The ZX1 writes its imaging data to an internal SSD, while the RX1R II uses SDXC or Memory Stick PRO Duo cards.

 

Connectivity comparison: Zeiss ZX1 vs Sony RX1R II

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 Zeiss ZX1 and Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX1R II and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.

Input-Output Connections
  Camera
Model
Hotshoe
Port
Internal
Microphone
Internal
Speaker
Microphone
Port
Headphone
Port
HDMI
Port
USB
Type
WiFi
Support
NFC
Support
Bluetooth
Support
Camera
Model
 
Zeiss ZX1»Ystereomono---3.1YYYZeiss ZX1
 
Sony RX1R II«YstereomonoY-micro2.0YY-Sony RX1R II
 
Canon 5DS« »YmonomonoY-mini3.0---Canon 5DS
 
Canon 5DS R« »YmonomonoY-mini3.0---Canon 5DS R
 
Leica Q2« »Ystereomono----Y-YLeica Q2
 
Leica C-LUX« »-stereomono--micro2.0Y--Leica C-LUX
 
Leica M10-P« »Y------Y--Leica M10-P
 
Leica M10« »Y------Y--Leica M10
 
Leica Q Typ 116« »Ystereomono--micro2.0YY-Leica Q Typ 116
 
Nikon P1000« »YstereomonoY-micro2.0Y-YNikon P1000
 
Panasonic FZ1000 II« »Ystereomono--micro2.0Y-YPanasonic FZ1000 II
 
Panasonic FZ1000« »YstereomonoY-micro2.0YY-Panasonic FZ1000
 
Sony RX100 VI« »-stereomono--micro2.0YYYSony RX100 VI
 
Sony RX1R« »YstereomonoY-mini2.0---Sony RX1R
 
Sony RX1« »YstereomonoY-mini2.0---Sony RX1

It is notable that the RX1R II has a microphone port, which can help to improve the quality of audio recordings by attaching an external microphone. The ZX1 does not feature such a mic input.

Both the ZX1 and the RX1R II are recent models that feature in their makers' current product line-up. The RX1R II replaced the earlier Sony RX1R, while the ZX1 does not have a direct predecessor. Further information on the two cameras, as well as related accessories, can be found on the Zeiss and Sony websites.


Review summary: Zeiss ZX1 vs Sony RX1R II

So what conclusions can be drawn? Is the Zeiss ZX1 better than the Sony RX1R II 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 Zeiss ZX1:

  • Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
  • Better video: Provides higher definition movie capture (4K/30p vs 1080/60p).
  • More detailed viewfinder: Has higher resolution electronic viewfinder (6221k vs 2360k dots).
  • Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (4.3" vs 3.0") for image review and settings control.
  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (2765k vs 1229k dots).
  • Fewer buttons to press: Is equipped with a touch-sensitive rear screen to facilitate handling.
  • Less disturbing: Has an electronic shutter option for completely silent shooting.
  • Faster data transfer: Supports a more advanced USB protocol (3.1 vs 2.0).
  • Easier wireless transfer: Supports Bluetooth for image sharing without cables.
  • More prestigious: Has the Zeiss luxury appeal, which ensures a high resale price.

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Advantages of the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX1R II:

  • More detail: Has more megapixels (42.2 vs 37.4MP), which boosts linear resolution by 6%.
  • Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
  • Better sound: Can connect to an external microphone for higher quality sound recording.
  • More flexible LCD: Has a tilting screen for odd-angle shots in landscape orientation.
  • Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (4000/sec vs 1000/sec) to freeze action.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (5 vs 3 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • Better light gathering: Has a lens with a wider maximum aperture (f/2.0 vs f/2.8).
  • More compact: Is smaller (113x65mm vs 142x93mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
  • Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 293g or 37 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
  • Easier travel charging: Can be conveniently charged via its USB port.
  • More affordable: Was released into a lower priced segment (21 percent cheaper at launch).

If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the match-up finishes in a tie (10 points each). 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.

ZX1 10:10 RX1R II

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 ZX1 and the RX1R II in practical situations. 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: Zeiss ZX1 vs Sony RX1R II

This is why expert reviews are important. The adjacent table relays the overall verdicts of several of the most popular camera review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, photographyblog).

Review Scores
  Camera
Model
cameralabs dpreview ephotozine imaging-resource photographyblog Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Used
Price
(USD)
Camera
Model
 
Zeiss ZX1»----- Sep 2018 4,199 i i Zeiss ZX1
 
Sony RX1R II«-82/100-o4.5/5 Oct 2015 3,299 i i Sony RX1R II
 
Canon 5DS« »+83/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Feb 2015 3,699 i i Canon 5DS
 
Canon 5DS R« »+83/1005/55/54.5/5 Feb 2015 3,699 i i Canon 5DS R
 
Leica Q2« »----- Mar 2019 4,995 i i Leica Q2
 
Leica C-LUX« »--4.5/5-4/5 Jun 2018 1,049 i i Leica C-LUX
 
Leica M10-P« »----4/5 Aug 2018 7,995 i i Leica M10-P
 
Leica M10« »--4/5-4.5/5 Jan 2017 6,595 i i Leica M10
 
Leica Q Typ 116« »-80/1004.5/5-4.5/5 Jun 2015 4,249- i Leica Q Typ 116
 
Nikon P1000« »+73/1003.5/5-3.5/5 Jul 2018 999 i i Nikon P1000
 
Panasonic FZ1000 II« »--4.5/5-- Feb 2019 899 i i Panasonic FZ1000 II
 
Panasonic FZ1000« »++82/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Jun 2014 899- i Panasonic FZ1000
 
Sony RX100 VI« »++83/1004/5-4.5/5 Jun 2018 1,199 i i Sony RX100 VI
 
Sony RX1R« »--4/5o4.5/5 Jun 2013 2,799- i Sony RX1R
 
Sony RX1« »-79/1004/54.5/54.5/5 Sep 2012 2,799- i Sony RX1
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. 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. It should also be noted that some of the review sites have over time altered the way they render their verdicts.

Zeiss ZX1:
Check Amazon price
Sony RX1R II:
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. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting.

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    Specifications: Zeiss ZX1 vs Sony RX1R II

    Camera Specifications
    Camera Model Zeiss ZX1 Sony RX1R II
    Camera Type Fixed lens compact camera Fixed lens compact camera
    Camera Lens 35mm f/2.8 35mm f/2.0
    Launch Date September 2018 October 2015
    Launch Price USD 4199 USD 3299
    Sensor Specs Zeiss ZX1 Sony RX1R II
    Sensor Technology CMOS BSI-CMOS
    Sensor Format Full Frame Sensor Full Frame Sensor
    Sensor Size 36.0 x 24.0 mm 35.8 x 24.0 mm
    Sensor Area 864 mm2 855.62 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 43.3 mm 43 mm
    Crop Factor 1.0x 1.0x
    Sensor Resolution 37.4 Megapixels 42.2 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 7488 x 4992 pixels 7952 x 5304 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 4.81 μm 4.50 μm
    Pixel Density 4.33 MP/cm2 4.93 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter no AA filter
    Movie Capability 4K/30p Video 1080/60p Video
    ISO Setting 80-51200 ISO 100-25600 ISO
    ISO Boost no Enhancement 50-102400 ISO
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) .. 97
    DXO Color Depth (bits) .. 25.8
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) .. 13.9
    DXO Low Light (ISO) .. 3204
    Screen Specs Zeiss ZX1 Sony RX1R II
    Viewfinder Type Electronic viewfinder Electronic viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 100% 100%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.74x 0.74x
    Viewfinder Resolution 6221k dots 2360k dots
    LCD Framing Live View Live View
    Rear LCD Size 4.3 inch 3.0 inch
    LCD Resolution 2765k dots 1229k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen Tilting screen
    Touch Input Touchscreen no Touchscreen
    Shooting Specs Zeiss ZX1 Sony RX1R II
    Autofocus System Contrast-detect AF Contrast-detect AF
    Maximum Shutter Speed 1/1000s 1/4000s
    Continuous Shooting 3 shutter flaps/s 5 shutter flaps/s
    Silent ShootingElectronic Shutterno E-Shutter
    Fill Flash no On-Board Flash no On-Board Flash
    Storage Medium Internal SSD MS or SDXC cards
    Second Storage Option Single card slot
    Connectivity Specs Zeiss ZX1 Sony RX1R II
    External Flash Hotshoe Hotshoe
    USB Connector USB 3.1 USB 2.0
    HDMI Port no HDMI micro HDMI
    Microphone Port no MIC socket External MIC port
    Wifi Support Wifi built-in Wifi built-in
    Near-Field Communication NFC built-in NFC built-in
    Bluetooth Support Bluetooth built-in no Bluetooth
    Body Specs Zeiss ZX1 Sony RX1R II
    Battery Type DD-PS1A power pack NP-BX1 power pack
    In-Camera Charging no USB charging USB charging
    Body Dimensions 142 x 93 x 46 mm
    (5.6 x 3.7 x 1.8 in)
    113 x 65 x 72 mm
    (4.4 x 2.6 x 2.8 in)
    Camera Weight 800 g (28.2 oz) 507 g (17.9 oz)

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