Sony Releases the a7R III With 42MP, 10fps, 15-stop DR, 5.5-stop IS and 4K Video

Sony a7R III with FE 24-70mm f/2.8

Sony has pulled all the stops with the release of the a7R III, an update to the highly successful and highly-acclaimed a7R II. It probably has everything you could ask for—a resolution of 42MP, 15-stop Dynamic Rage (DR) and shoots at up to 10fps with full AE/AF tracking. This is twice as fast as the 5fps offered by the a7R II Additionally, the in-body image stabilisation provides 5.5 stops of stabilisation—the world’s highest for a full-frame camera. The buffer is able to store up to 76 JPEG/RAW photos and 28 uncompressed RAW files, and the updated BIONZ X processing engine is able to process them at 1.8 times faster than the a7R II. This means that you can still use many of the camera’s key features while a batch of photos are still being written to the memory card.

The a7R II features a ISO range of 100-32,000, expandable to 50-10,2400, and at the low ISOs, the camera is able to achieve an extremely high dynamic range of 15-stops. There’s also a Pixel Shift Multi Shooting mode, similar to what Olympus have on their OM-D E-M5 II, which captures 4 separate photos shifted by 1 pixel to produce a 169.2MP image.

The AF system has been substantially improved, with 399 phase-detection AF points spanning 68% of the image area, in addition to 425 contrast-detect AF points. With this improvement, the a7R III can lock focus twice as fast as the a7R II in low light. Eye AF is also twice as accurate as the a7R II.

At the back of the a7R III is a 3.686M dot OLE EVF with coatings that reduce reflections, and dirt resistance. The refresh rate can be toggled between 60 and 120fps. Below the EVF is a 1.44M dot tilting LCD screen.

Sony a7R III back

On the video side of things, the a7R III can record 4K video using the full width of the sensor, and also shoot in super 35mm without pixel binning. There’s Hybrid Log-Gamma (HLG), S-Log2, S-Log3 and full HD recording at 120fps at up to 100Mbps.

The Sony a7R III will be available from November at US$3,200.


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Fujifilm Launches 24MP X-E3 and Touch Controls

Fujifilm has announced the X-E3, featuring 24 megapixels and 4K video recording. This is an update to the X-E2S launched previously. The X-E3 has several features trickled down from the flagship X-T2, including a 325-point AF system. The subject tracking algorithms has also been improved over the X-E2S, allowing the X-E3 to capture subjects half the size or moving twice as fast as before.

The X-E3 is the first X-series camera to offer Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) wireless communication. This allows photographers to pair the camera with a smartphone / tablet for easy transfer of pictures via the free Camera Remote application. The 3″ touch screen has a resolution of 1.04M dots, and the ability to select a focus area by tapping on it. There’s also intuitive smartphone-like gestures like double-tap to zoom, swiping between images, pinch to zoom etc. You can also create custom functions by swiping left, right, up, or down. Unfortunately, Fujifilm has removed the built-in flash on the X-E3, but a EF-X8 accessory flash is included in the box.

The Fujifilm X-E3 will be available in September for US$900 for the body alone, US$1300 with the XF 18-55mm kit lens, or US$1150 with the 35mm f/2R WR.

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Canon Launches EOS M100 MIrrorless Camera

Canon EOS M100


Canon has added a new mirrorless camera to the EOS M-series lineup with the M100. According to Canon, the new camera is targetted at those who are looking to step up from smartphone photography.

The M100 features a 24.2MP APS-C CMOS sensor and a DIGIC 7 Image Processor. It’s capable of a continuous shooting speed of 6.1fps with AF locked, and 4fps without. Like the recently launched EOS 6D II, there is no 4K video recording, but you can record 1080p up to 60fps.

Canon EOS M100 with LCD flipped up

At the back of the camera is a 3″ touch screen with a resolution of 1.04 million dots, which you can tap on to change the focus points. The screen also tilts upwards to face the front, making it a good camera for vlogging.

The M100 will be available in either black or white starting in October 2017 at US$600 when bundled with an EF 15-45mm f/3.5-6.3 IS STM lens, or US$950 bundled with a EF-M 15-45mm f/3.5-6.3 IS STM and EF-M 55-200 f/4.5-6.3 IS STM lenses.

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Sony Announces the Top-of-the-Line a9, a Blazing Fast 20fps Full-Frame Mirrorless Camera Perfect For Sports

Sony a9 with FE 24-70mm f/2.8 GM

Sony has announced what’s possibly the most advanced full-frame mirrorless camera at a live event at New York. The 24MP a9 is Sony’s new flagship and features a stacked CMOS sensor for super-fast readout. This allows the a9 to achieve a staggering 20fps for up to 241 compressed RAW frames before the buffer is full. If you shoot in JPEG mode, you can get up to 362 frames!

The a9 has a 693-point AF system providing 93% coverage, and AE/AF calculations are done at 60fps while also providing 60fps blackout-free live feed. Sony also claims improved subject tracking and Eye AF speeds, and focus down to -3 EV with F2 lens. This is a whole stop better than the a7R II. How does shooting at 20fps with no blackout look like? Check out this video by Hugh Brownstone of Three Blind Men and an Elephant Productions. With no blackout and a high frame rate, it looks as if he has not started shooting!

The Electronic View Finder (EVF) has a resolution of 3.68M dots (1280×960) and runs at 120fps, making it one of the fastest EVFs around. In comparison, thet X-T2’s EVF can only achieve 100fps in boost mode, and a resolution of only 2.36M dots. This should be quite something to look through. The shutter on the a9 is primary electronic, but it also has a mechanical shutter with a flash sync speed of 1/250s. There is also a 5-axis in-body image stabilisation providing 5 stops of stabilisation.

Sony a9 (Front)

On the video side of things, the Sony a9 shoots 4K downsampled from 6K worth of pixels, with full pixel readout without pixel binning. It is also able to record Full HD 1080p at up to 120fps with a data rate of 100Mbps.

Sony a9 (Rear)

Other improvements include dual SD card slots supporting UHS-II cards, an AF joystick and an AF mode dial. In addition to USB, an Ethernet port on the a9 alows for super fast data transfer. Sony also says that battery life has been improved by 2.2x with the new NP-FZ100 battery. A separately-available battery grip lets you double your shooting time by allowing the use of a second battery.

It looks like Sony has pulled all the stops for this, and it sure is a good contender for the stalwarts like the Nikon D5 and Canon 1DX II, both of which costs more than the a9.

Tempted? The a9 will be available in May 2017 at a cost of around US$4,500.

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Canon Announced the EOS M5 Mirrorless Camera With EVF

Canon EOS M5 with EF-M 15-45mm IS STM
Canon EOS M5 with EF-M 15-45mm IS STM

Canon has announced the EOS M5, a new addition to the EOS M line-up with a much requested EVF. Like other contemporary mirrorless with EVFs, the one on the EOS M5 has a resolution of 2.36 million dots. There is no mention of the refresh rate, though.

The EOS M5 features a 24.2MP CMOS sensor, with image processing duties performed by a DIGIC 7 image processor. ISO range can be set between 100 and 25,600. With Canon’s Dual Pixel CMOS AF, the M5 is the fastest focussing EOS M camera made to date. A Touch and Drag AF feature allows you to adjust the focus point by dragging the AF frame around the rear LCD, even when looking through the EVF. There is also focus peaking to assist in manual focussing.

The design of the camera has also been changed from the previous EOS M cameras. It now looks like one of the smaller Canon DSLRs instead of a large compact camera. On the back of the camera is a 3.2″, 162K-dot LCD screen which flips up 85º and down 180º, great for the selfie-loving crowd. Continuous shooting speed is up to 7fps (9 fps with AF lock). There is also an in-body, 5-axis digital image stabilisation for smoother video recording, even without IS glass. With compatible lenses, both in-body and lens stabilisation can be employed simultaneously.



On the connectivity side of things, the M5 features a low-energy Bluetooth Smart feature which maintains a persistent connection with your smart device. There is also NFC and WiFi as well.

Along with the EOS M10, Canon has also announced the EF-M 18-150mm f/3.5-6.3 IS STM lens which features 4 stops of image stabilisation. Used on the EOS M10, it gives an equivalent of 29-240mm.

Like the Nikon 1 series, the previous EOS M series of cameras have been rather lacklustre, with Canon not wanting to cannibilise the sales of their DSLRs. On paper, this seems like a big improvement. This being Canon’s 5th version of the EOS M, it remains to be seen whether this will finally be as good as the mirrorless cameras from the likes of Panasonic, Olympus, Fuji and Sony.

The EOS M5 will be available from November 2016 at US$980 for the body alone, or US$1099 with a 15-45mm lens. It’s also available with the newly announced 18-150mm lens for US$1479 from December.

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Fujifilm X-T2 Launched in Singapore. Plus Hands-On Impressions.


After weeks of anticipation, the Fujifilm X-T2 was finally launched in Singapore on 10 Aug 2016, a day after Singapore’s National Day. It was held in the Luxe Art Museum, a small museum near The Cathay at the end of Orchard Road. To cater to the large turnout, Fujifilm Singapore has organised two sessions of the launch event—one in the afternoon and the other in the evening. I attended the latter session.

The event started with Mr. Favian Loo, Divisional Marketing Manager of Fujifilm Asia Pacific giving us a rundown of the new features of the Fujifilm X-T2. Among them are an upgraded 24MP sensor (the same one used on the X-Pro 2), significant improvements in AF performance and 4K performance. There is also a specially designed vertical battery grip which further improves the performance of the X-T2, as well as to give a much longer battery life by allowing the user to use three batteries simultaneously. The two batteries in the grip will be consumed before the one in the camera body. As with modern-day electronic devices, the X-T2 batteries can also be charged using USB.

Mr. Favian Loo
Mr. Favian Loo talking about the improvements made in the Fujifilm X-T2.

Next to present is Ms. Mindy Tan, the first female Fujifilm X Photographer. Mindy presented a photo slide show about the hutong in Beijing, China and her experiences in using the X-T2 while shooting her photo project. Unfortunately, the projector and the purplish light used in the event doesn’t do justice to her work. Thankfully, they are also presented as prints in the event grounds.

Ms Mindy Tan
Ms Mindy Tan

Next up is Mr. Benny Ang, followed by Mr. William Chua, both wedding photographers. They shared with the audience their experiences of using the X-T2 for their shoots and how the small size of the X-T2 helped them get their shots more easily. In particular, William told us about how the smaller X-T2 (compared to a DSLR) enabled him to shoot more easily in Morocco, where the people are camera-averse.

Mr. Benny Ang
Mr. Benny Ang
Mr. William Chua
Mr. William Chua


After the presentation, we finally got to lay our hands on the Fujifilm X-T2. There are also two live studio shooting sessions hosted by photographers Benny Ang and Ivan Joshua Loh. I headed straight to the demo stations, where there are a few demo units.

Fujifilm X-T2 with XF 35mm f/2.0 WR lens.
Fujifilm X-T2 with XF 35mm f/2.0 WR lens.

In the hands, the X-T2 body feels similar to the X-T1. The hand grip is now slightly deeper, making for a nicer feel. The lock on the ISO dial—one of those things I hate on my X-T1—is now improved. It’s now a toggle switch—press once to lock, press again to unlock. This is much better as I can leave it unlocked for ease of changing settings. The same lock is also implemented on the shutter speed dial, though I think that doesn’t really require locking in the first place. But still a good usability improvement.

Also, as you can see from the photo above, the X-T2’s shutter button now has a threaded hole for those of you who wants to use a traditional mechanical plunger-type shutter release or a soft-release button. The exposure compensation dial of the X-T2 now lets you do up to ±5 stops of compensation. This is done by setting the dial to the “C” setting, and dialling in the desired exposure compensation using the front command dial.

Fujifilm X-T2 exploded view.
Exploded view of the Fujifilm X-T2.

On the back of the camera, the next major change is the flip LCD screen. Besides flipping up/down for high/low angle shots, the LCD also flips horizontally. Unfortunately, it only flips to the right. It would be nice if it could flip to the left as well. Though improved, I couldn’t tell much of a difference between the X-T2’s EVF compared with my X-T1.

Fujifilm X-T2 Rear LCD
Fujifilm X-T2 Rear LCD

Like the recently-launched X-Pro 2, the X-T2 also features a joystick controller at the back. This works much better in selecting AF points than the rather mushy D-pad of the X-T1. On the X-T2, the D-pad buttons were also improved. They click more positively now compared to the X-T1. Definitely an improvement. With 91 AF points, the joystick is a welcome addition to easy selection of the desired AF point or group.

Another new change is the SD card door. On the X-T1, the SD card door slides towards you to unlock, much like some Nikon DSLRs. On the X-T2, there is now a lock lever on it which you must press in order to unlock the door. This implementation, though possibly more secure, is more fiddly when you need to change SD cards quickly. It’s probably not something you can do quickly when wearing gloves.

I also tried to test out the improved AF speeds as well. However, the first unit of the X-T2 I laid my hands on had a XF 16mm f/1.4, which isn’t very fast. Also, the rather dim (and lit with purplish lighting) show ground isn’t the best place to test AF performance. I tested with an unit mounted with a XF 35mm f/2.0 and AF speeds were similar to my X-T1 which I had with me. At the live studio setup, however, the X-T2 AF speeds were pretty good, focussing almost instantly on the models. I believe the firmware is still not the final version and is still being improved. The production version should be much better.

A visitor checks out the Fujifilm X-T2 at one of the live shooting setups.
A visitor checks out the Fujifilm X-T2 at one of the live shooting setups.

Another highlight of the X-T2 is 4K video recording. Again, the lighting conditions on the show floor weren’t good for this. The rather short security cable which the demo units were tethered to didn’t help either. On the X-T2, Fujifilm has removed the dedicated movie record button from the body. Movie recording is now its own drive mode which you set on a dial below the ISO dial. Once in movie mode, the shutter button will start the video recording. The X-T2 is able to record to the SD card slots or to an external recorder via the HDMI output.

Image quality is excellent. Here is a shot taken at one of the studio shooting areas, using a X-T2 and XF 50-140mm f/2.8. It’s slightly cropped but no other image adjustments were made.

Fujifilm X-T2 sample.
Fujifilm X-T2 sample shot.
100% Crop
100% Crop

High ISO performance looks pretty decent too. Here’s a shot at ISO 12,800. This is the highest native ISO of the X-T2 before going into one of the boost modes.

Fujifilm X-T2 output at ISO 12,800.
Fujifilm X-T2 output at ISO 12,800. No noise reduction applied.
100% Crop of the above image.
100% Crop of the above image. No noise reduction applied.

Hopefully, we can get hold of a review unit of the X-T2 from Fujifilm as it’s really hard to test out the camera at the event. But as of now, I quite like the improvements which Fujifilm has put in. The camera is available for pre-order from Fujifilm’s authorised dealers at S$2,599 for the body alone, or $2,999 with the XF 18-55mm f/2.8-4 kit lens.

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Hasselblad Launches the X1D 50MP Mirrorless Medium Format Camera

Hasselblad X1D
Hasselblad X1D

After a couple of teasers and a leak yesterday, Hasselblad finally launched the X1D—the world’s first mirrorless medium format camera. Weighing at 725g (body only), it’s less than half the weight of a conventional digital medium format camera, Hasselblad says the 50MP camera is a game changer.

“The X1D marks a pivotal point in Hasselblad’s rich 75-year history. This camera makes medium format photography available to a new generation of Hasselblad users, while pushing the existing limits of photography to new heights.”

— Hasselblad CEO, Perry Oosting

Hasselblad X1D with 45mm f/3.5
Hasselblad X1D with 45mm f/3.5

The X1D is weather and dust sealed and sports a 50MP CMOS medium format sensor with 14 stops of dynamic range. ISO range can be set between 100 to 25,600. A completely new line of lenses has been developed to support the camera, offering a wide range of shutter speeds and full flash synchronisation up to 1/2000. A 45mm f/3.5 and 90mm f/4.5 will be available at launch, and the existing H system lenses can also be used via an adaptor. The camera also has a Nikon-compatible hotshoe.

At the back, there’s a 3″ 920K-dot touchscreen LCD, a 2.36M-dot EVF, dual SD slots, GPS and WiFi connectivity. It even shoots video at up to 1080/30p. A USB 3.0 Type C connector and mini HDMI ports are also available.

Hasselblad X1D's Rear LCD
Hasselblad X1D’s Rear LCD

Hasselblad’s wants to make this a “everyman” medium format camera, pricing it at US$8,995 for the body alone. This is probably not too bad if you consider the fact that the 50MP version of the H6D costs US$25,995, or the Leica S at US$16,900. It’s also available with the 45mm f/3.5 as a kit for US$11,290, with both the 45mm and 90mm at US$13,985. The lenses are available at US$2,295 and US$2,695 for the 45mm and 90mm respectively.


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Panasonic Announces the Lumix GX80/GX85 Micro Four Thirds Camera

Panasonic DMC-LX85
Panasonic DMC-LX85

Panasonic has announced the Lumix DMC-GX85, also known as the GX80 outside of North America. (What’s with naming things differently in different regions anyway?) This is cost-down version of the GX8, featuring a 16MP Live MOS sensor and no AA filter. It also has a redesigned shutter mechanism and 5-axis Dual IS consisting of both In-Body and Optical Image Stabilisation. Panasonic claims that the removal of the anti-aliasing filter supposedly improves fine detail resolution by 10%. The magnetically-driven shutter mechanism reduces the shutter sound as well as the vibration caused by shutter shock.

The GX85/GX80 features a Live View Finder (LVF) with 2764K-dots and 100% colour re-production, covering field of view of 100%. The rear LCD is a large 3.0″ one with approximately 1040K-dots with touch capability. It tilts up by up to 80º and down by 45º.

As with the trend these days, the GX85/GX80 features 4K at 30p or 20p video recording in addition to good old full HD at up to 60fps. There are also 3 different burst modes which allow you to: capture up to 30 still images at 8MP, record 30 frames before and after you capture a shot, and finally, a 4K cropping mode which lets you extract HD video from a 4K recording, adding zoom and pan effects within the camera.

A novel feature on the GX85/80 is Focus Bracketing. This is a Lytro-like “Post Focus” feature which lets you select the focus area after the image is taken. Other features include an ISO range of 100-25,600, WiFi and RAW recording.

The GX85/80 will be available with a 24-64mm f/3.5-5.6 kit lens for US$800 in late May.

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Fujifilm Announces the Highly Anticipated X-Pro 2


Fujifilm X-Pro 2 with XF 35mm f/1.4
Fujifilm X-Pro 2 with XF 35mm f/1.4

Fujifilm today announced the X-Pro 2, the highly anticipated and rumoured successor to the X-Pro 1 released in 2012. It was the first Fujifilm X camera to feature interchangeable lenses and is very popular with photographers looking for a high-quality, rangefinder-style mirrorless camera with interchangeable lenses.

The 16MP X-Trans II CMOS sensor used in the X-Pro 2, and many Fujifilm cameras after that, is getting a bit long in the tooth by now. The X-Pro 2 finally brought a change to this with the new X-Trans III with 24.3 megapixels, bringing it more in line with the other 24MP APS-C sensors used in other cameras.

The X-Pro 2 also features the X-Processor Pro Image Processor (what a mouthful) which Fuji says is 4x the speed of conventional image processors. Start up time of the X-Pro 2 is just 0.4s, and the continuous shooting speed is up to 8fps. Shutter lag is a low 0.05s and AF speed a mere 0.06s. This is a huge improvement over the original X-Pro 1!

The AF sensor has 273 AF points, out of which 77 are phase detect. These sensors cover 40% of the frame and the X-Pro 2 currently has the best AF performance among all the X-Series cameras.

Fujifilm X-Pro 2 Top Plate
Fujifilm X-Pro 2 Top Plate

Like the X-T1, the X-Pro 2’s body is weather-sealed, making it dust, splash and temperature proof down to 14ºF / -10ºC. The top of the camera features a combined shutter-speed/ISO dial reminiscent of the Nikon FM series—you pull up the outer ring of the shutter dial to adjust your ISO. Unfortunately, while this looks retro and cool somewhat, in practical use, it makes adjusting ISO on the fly difficult. I already found the X-T1’s locked ISO dial to be mildly annoying.

X-Pro 2 Electronic Rangefinder
X-Pro 2 Electronic Rangefinder

The hybrid viewfinder has been improved with a multi-magnification that switches its magnification depending on the lens that you are using. There’s also an electronic rangefinder which shows the EVF on top of the optical view. The EVF features 2.36M dots with frame rate of 85fps for smooth and detailed viewing.

Like a true professional camera, the X-Pro 2 has dual SD slots—the first X-camera to have this. Other improvements include a new ACROS film simulation mode, max ISO of 12,800 and 1080p/60fps video recording. The top shutter speed is also increased to 1/8000 and the flash sync speed, 1/250s.

The X-Pro 2 will be available for US$1700 (body only) from next month.

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Leica Launches the SL—Pricey 24MP Full Frame Mirrorless Camera

Leica SL with Vario Elmarit 24-90mm f/2.8-4
Leica SL with Vario Elmarit 24-90mm f/2.8-4

German luxury camera maker Leica has announced the Leica SL, an entirely new mirrorless camera in the likes of the Sony A7 series. In fact, it does look like the Sony A7 series of mirrorless cameras. Although the Leica M series are also technically “mirrorless” cameras, Leica and its aficionados would object to that moniker, preferring to call it a “digital rangefinder” camera.

The Leica SL has a 24MP full-frame CMOS sensor with a max ISO of 50,000. Like most modern cameras nowadays, there is no optical low-pass filter, ensuring the sharpest possible images at the expense of more chances of moiré.

Leica says that the SL has the “fastest autofocus in the market”, featuring a 2GB buffer that lets you shoot up to 11 full resolution photos in a second. It is able to save the images to the dual SD slot in both 8-bit JPEG and 14-bit RAW DNG formats simultaneously.

The most impressive feature of the SL is probably the EVF. It features a magnification of 0.8x and has 4MP, the highest we’ve seen in a mirrorless camera so far. This exceeds that of the Sony A7RII and the Fuji X-T1, both of which already have excellent EVFs.

Having said that, I really wonder if Leica really meant 4MP or 4 million dots. There’s a big difference between the two, since a LCD/EVF pixel is made up of 3 dots (subpixels.) If it’s really 4 million dots, the effective resolution is only 1.33MP, which is lower than both the Fuji and Sony.

Leica says that the EVF, dubbed the Leica EyeRes, has such a high refresh rate that the image will always be smooth and consistent. Pressing the shutter half-way lets you preview what the final shot will be like.

Leica SL EyeRes EVF
Leica SL EyeRes EVF

The LCD is a more common 1.04MP variety with a viewing angle of 170º. It is also touch sensitive and also scratch resistant. The Leica SL is built to be rugged and weather sealed, with a body made of solid aluminium. Other features include Wifi, GPS and 4K video.

Three lenses are announced together with the SL in what’s known as the “L” mount—a Leica Vario Elmarit SL 24-90mm f/2.8-4, Leica APO Vario Elmarit SL 90-280mm f/2.8-4 and Leica Summilux 50mm f/1.4. The 24-90 will be available together with the camera, while the other two will be available from early 2016 and late 2016 respectively. Existing Leica T lenses will be compatible with the SL, while S, M and R lenses will be usable via additional adaptors.

Leica - 3 lenses
Leica – 3 lenses

Interestingly, there’s also a Leica SF40 flash, which looks exactly like a Nissin i40. Of course, the red dot edition will also cost you a premium over the Nissin.

Leica SL with SF40 Flash Unit
Leica SL with SF40 Flash Unit

One thing I’ve noticed is that the Vario Elmarit 24-90mm f/2.8-4, which has a filter size of 82mm. When used with the SL, it makes the whole combination look humongous. And isn’t the idea of using a mirrorless camera to have a small and lightweight setup? With this kind of size, I think Leica users are more likely to use a small and light prime instead.

The Leica SL (Typ 601) will be available from November 16, 2016 with a cool price of US$7,450. The 24-90mm f/2.8-4 will be available at the same time for U$4,950.

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