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Friday, 02 October 2020


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"And I watched the full moon set over the bluff early this morning, from the neighbors' dock down by the water.".......

Mike, I have looked and looked, but I can't seem to find the 'pitchah'


I did try to take pictures, but...well, let me put it this way: my father used to like to cook French-style omelets, and he had an expression: "Sometimes you get an omelet, sometimes you get a mess of eggs." --Mike]

I find very nice both Z 6 and 7, BUT I don’t like such big, heavy lenses designed for them...

I love my Z6, and the lenses Nikon's made in the Z mount are the most compelling reasons to use the system. I've gone from shooting dance (my primary shooting subject) with a 2-body system with a D500 and D850 to just a single Z6 on silent shutter with the 85/1.8S lens because the camera is good enough, the sensor output very malleable (and dare I say it, beautiful?!), and the lenses, especially the 85mm, are spectacular.

Yes it has faults, but they are nowhere nearly as debilitating as some reviews make them out to be: with practice, you can get around almost all of them. AF is consistent and fast enough, and my misfocus rate is far lower than either of the DSLRs, which have lenses that are AF fine-tuned to the bodies. I don't generally use the smart mode, and move the cursor with the joystick myself. Speaking of which, the joystick is not as nice to use as either the D850's or D500s, but breaks in over time: it's a little vague feeling especially in diagonal movements

I wish the camera had 1 more custom function button, and things were spaced just a little further apart. Also I wish there was a good vertical handgrip for it like the DSLRs'. Lag in the EVF is noticeable, but if you time movements off the EVF instead of the actual action, it's easy to catch things at the right time.

Battery life for stills is great, and proportional to the time the sensor is on, like other cameras. That said, I've shot over 2000 frames on one battery with some chimping, on single-frame advance, with a couple bars left to spare. Video use however will drain the battery very quickly.

The only thing I don't use the Z6 for, and still use the D850, are studio shoots with strobes. I want the higher resolution for retouching and other post-processing activities, and the Z6's sync speed is a little slower than the D850's.

Anyway, I don't have any photos to post here, but almost every photo on my Instagram from November 2018 on is done with the Z6. As I mentioned, my main subjects are dancers both in the studio and in the theater, and that's how I've evaluated the camera. The video capabilities of the camera are also excellent.

I bought a Nikon Z6 in December of 2018 shortly after they were introduced.

I was hoping that since they had been trying to make their older lenses usable that they might have taken that approach on the new mirrorless.

Sadly they did not do it very well. They don’t offer an adapter that will allow AF with older AF-D lenses, only the newer AF-S lenses. And they don’t allow you to focus those AF-D lenses at full aperture. Irritating enough that they are really not very usable. They would be quite usable with wide open focus. They don’t stop all the way down to the selected aperture, but they do stop down to about f5.6 which makes manual focus very difficult. And this is just a software issue, it could be changed any time.

When we get to older AIS lenses it gets worse, much worse. They could have but an aperture coupling ring on the ZTF adapter but did not. And they could have allowed us to focus older manual focus lenses at full aperture (or near it) like an SLR but did not. I admit, it would have required a more expensive adapter, able to stop the lenses down for exposure, but some of us would have been willing to pay the price.

And as a final kick in the whatever, they turn off the manual exposure display when using an AIS lens. They didn’t need to do that, Sony and others leave it on. Their tech support claim that they had to turn it off because the meter does not know the aperture of the lens mounted. That’s wrong of course, a nice combination of ignorance and arrogance. OK, the histogram is still there and you can switch back to a different exposure mode and get a regular exposure reading, but for $2,000 and 34 years with their system I should not have to.

At least they have that nice AF-MF switch on their S series lenses, that should be better than diving into menus on the Sony, right? Sadly not. Focus by wire can get you close to correct focus, but the Nikon does not get you all the way there. And if you let the camera sit for a few moments it will knock the image out of focus, way out fortunately. And the image enlarge button is much more clumsy in it’s location and use than Sony or Leica.

I did keep the Z6 and 24-70, it’s much better than my Sony a7 and cheap kit lens, but when I want to work slowly on a tripod (and that is my serious, paying work) I use manual focus lenses and deal with the metering hassle, or use the Sony.

I should add,

Would I buy a Nikon Z6II and newer, more expensive adapter to get those few features? Yes, I would. I do make money at this and spending a bit to make it easier and more reliable is worth it to me.

I was just looking through the images I did from my first job with the Nikon. And I saw this guy on the second row, behind Gov. Greg Abbot and thought, wow, is that Chuck Norris? And yes it was. Easy to see in what I did with the Sony back-up camera, not so easy with the Nikon because it was focussed 10' in front of the subjects.

Cool. Thanks, Mike. I'm particularly interested in people's adapter+lens experiments. If I get the Z6, I *guess* I'd eventually get the Z 35mm and the Z 85mm, the two focal lengths I love. But then those lenses seem to be a bit bigger than I want. The body is a nice size, but boy those lenses!

Maybe I'd first play with a smaller, adapted lens. And then maybe Nikon would someday offer up some Z auto-focus primes that are a bit more compact, pretty please?

I'm ready to adopt my next "dozen-year system." An updated Z6 sounds very promising but I'm getting cold feet just looking at the limited lens offerings. Adapting some old lenses is what got me hooked on Olympus and then eventually m4/3rds fleshed itself out nicely.

Glad to hear you had a beautiful summer. Here in Northern California on the other hand, well, it's better to not talk about it.

I follow a photographer Morton HILMER EX SWEDISH SAS ARTIC SLED DOG patrol, great stuff, gave up using D5 for Z6 , uses monster 500 600 zoom lenses, figure gd enough for him all weather, good enough for me, but will wait Z6/Z7 11, or really like that Hassey x1d used.

Really wanting to love the Zs - I’ve been a Nikon shooter forever - but, meh...
It’s probably that the natives primes are too large physically rather than the bodies (make ‘em slower if necessary, Nikon). Here’s hoping for the ZIIs.

Hi Mike, would it be a stretch to also ask TOP readers if they have any thoughts re the Z6 in comparison to the D750 or D780?
Disclosure - my last purchase was a 2nd hand D750 (over a refurb’d D600), and I’m definitely NOT in the market for a new body (I’m all gassed out on lens purchases) - just curious, is all. :~)

Assuming you are using a mac, you can very easily convert all images to jpg/sRGB/800px wide in one command using imagemagick. All you have to do is use the terminal to input:

for i in *jpg *png *tif; do convert -resize 800px -colorspace srgb $i $i.jpg; done

You can also create Automator shortcuts to do similar things from Finder.

I am happy to explain in more details if you need.

I am still on the fence . I will not jump into mirrorless and change my echo system with the cost inflicting of infant mirrorless drip by drip milking strategy of Nikon until they roll out the global sensor e shutter.

In reference to the sensor in the viewfinder that switches from EVF to LCD ...

Mike asks: Can't you turn the latter off? On many cameras you can disable that.

Yes. A button on the side of the VF housing will toggle the camera output to EVF only, LCD only, or automatic switching between the two depending on whether the sensor on the rear of the VF thinks your eye is back there. It works fine, but often I just want to see what the frame looks like from a lower point of view without doing a deep knee bend or downward dog yoga pose. My complaint isn't a show stopper. It's just one of those things a six-foot-four, 62-year-old photographer notices.

Took me a bit to get it set up. The menu is dense but the Z6 is simply a pleasure to shoot with. I really do like the 24-70 and the 50 is remarkable. I thought f4 would be a problem but auto ISO is just a real treat. I have had it for over a year now and I use it more than any other camera I own and I have way too many

I've already commented once on this topic, but the more I thought about it, and the more I read other comments, the more annoyed I got. What's hard to understand about the idea of a compact *system*? How does a compact camera paired with a system of oversized lenses make sense? My first serious camera was Pentax Spotmatic with three lenses, and the whole kit could be carried in what today would be considered a tiny camera bag. And it made pretty good images. Then, the bloat set it.

I think there might be a serious market for a Z6/Z7-sized camera paired with *excellent* -- you notice I didn't say *perfect* -- lenses that might be a bit slower (f4.) For most photographers and photo enthusiasts, travelers, street shooters, that would be plenty good enough. For others, using the same kit, post-production work done in Lightroom and Photoshop would bring the quality up to, or close to, what you might get out-of-camera with the huge lenses. This is particularly true of the Z6, the lower-resolution Z, where you're really not starting with the idea of ultimate 35mm quality.

Anyway...blowing off steam. The Z6 is barely larger than my m4/3 cameras; but even the single focus lenses are nearly as large as the camera itself. (The 85 is only four ounces less than the body.) I would kill for the kind of FF kit that several commenters are suggesting would be welcome.

I like mine, photographing in tandem with a D810 and legacy lenses, though I have the very nice 85mm S lens too. There are negatives, mainly the tiny body / massive lens disparity - it looks and feels a bit ungainly and the 85 isn't even the worst offender. Also, the cards are stupid expensive and I am a bit concerned they are going to be discontinued. Battery life is meh. But the viewfinder, the focus, picture quality, low-light performance, proper implementation of silent shutter? All very good to excellent.
When I am photographing an event (not very often nowadays owing to Covid but never mind) I find myself reaching for the Z6 over the D810 a lot of the time, though I try and avoid using my Sigma Art 50 and 35 lenses on the mirrorless, keeping them for use with the DSLR - they are beautiful and can produce gorgeous results but are very heavy and large and just feel all wrong on the Z body when attached with the adapter.
If you are looking to get a mirrorless system I would recommend Nikon but, if you have a lot of money invested in "old" lenses, prepare to feel a bit disappointed by the ergonomics of using them with the new cameras.

Mike, It is always fun to talk about a camera you love. I have fallen head over heels for my Z6. It is fun to use, feels great in the hand, can carry it all day and never know I have it, and it actually takes great images. I have been a Nikon guy for about 35 years, always like the way the camera fit in my hands, I have owned the F100 film camera the D70 digital camera, the D200, D700, D7000, D7100, D750, Nikon 1, and finally the Z6. I also own or have owned several Fuji's, panasonic's and Olympus cameras. I have always been looking for the one camera that would last me into the sunset years. I think I found it with the Z line of cameras. I am using mostly the native lenses for it and found them to be quite good. When I travel I take the 24-70 f 4 plus a prime; however, I now own the 24-200 all purpose lens specifically designed for the z system. It is a great lens and one that will go with me whenever we can travel again. I don't want to go over all the technical specifics we can watch on You Tube or read on the internet, but I will just say that the Z6 works perfectly for me and meets my needs as a travel and landscape photographer. I am not a professional just a serious amateur. This is a recent picture that I took with the Z6 and the relatively large 24-70 f 2.8 lens; https://flic.kr/p/2jrRW4o. I do hope the picture came through here. The f 2.8 24-70S lens is one of the best lenses I have ever used. I have never used Leica lenses so maybe they are better? I could go on, but I think I have made my point, it is a camera that I have taken to and hope to use for my remaining years. More images can be seen on my website. Thanks for asking Eric

This crowd-sourced review format is genuinely informative. (John Camp's comments rang true.) Hoping for a crowd-sourced Z5 review but not quite as late in the product life cycle :) Perhaps there'll be some good, smallish primes available by then.

Nikon is my main digital camera brand, even though did branch out to m8 which after 1 year only like 1 abd only 1 photo, not to mention verbal abuse in person of dare to use a 1930 leica and modem cheap lens on m8. From d70 up to d810 the major live event and school events are taken. Z came out and at that time struggled with upgrade to d850 or ... finally got a z7 instead and so far do not like it. Just too digital :-). Hard to see what you get. Strange to say that but d810 you can sort of pre-imagine the photo will come out, after so many years with the photo image chain of this nikon process. Z7 actually show you and one might think it should be even better. But somehow the final photo back home feel different from the screen on the back. And somehow not happy about it.

Anyway finally non nasa Hasselblad 907x come. Might sell all others when (and if) can get hold of one. Then might concentrate on camera one lens (swc) one back until I regret it. (Most of my digital photos now is from the old digital back on the swc anyway. At least less bring out a metal measurement tape to take photograph :-)).

In parallel to the film branch.

This sound more try to tell myself to give up nikon more than a review i apology.

For the past 5 years I've used a D800 with AIS lenses, and always liked the handling and the files it produced, so I find it interesting to read about the hands-on experience from actual users of this new system.

My own work often requires deep depth of field. Even with a 50mm, this can be challenging and frequently requires small apertures and precise fine-tuning of the focussing distance in live view. Now, from what Douglas Chadwick wrote, I get that the Z cameras do not offer depth of field preview beyond f/5.6. Did I understand that correctly?

Also, are those cameras able to display the current focus distance to which the lens is set, so that it is possible to set a reproducable focus distance? The Fuji T20, for example, can do that.

If these two features -- depth of field preview and display of the focus distance -- were missing, Z cameras would be very cumbersome to use for my kind of work. Given the not unsubstantial price of cameras and lenses, I don't think I would compromise about these constraints.

Best, Thomas

From a long-time Nikon DSLR user here, what the Z system needs is a set of primes about the size of the old AF-D screw drive Nikkors, such as the 24 mm f/2.8, 35 mm f/2, 50 mm f/1.8 and the 85 mm f/1.8. Not everyone wants to use those large super-duper-sharp Z system lenses, certainly not all the time and not for small prints or viewing on a monitor. Lenses are what are keeping me from buying a Z camera.

I'm longtime Nikon guy, and I don't have a Z camera. Just a brief observation after reading the comments here that it seems the "pixel peepers" are winning the marketing battle. New lenses, like Sigma Art, Tamron and now Nikon Z are big. The idea of compact lenses is nowhere to be found in full frame for Nikon Z.

I've lamented for quite a long time the lack of compact primes for Nikon DX. The Z50 with compact primes would be great. The Z6 even with compact primes would be great. Seems to me it won't happen, although Nikon does have 28mm and 40mm small primes on the road map, all else will be pretty much what they've been producing so far, my guess anyway.

I appreciate this crowd source, a compact Z camera has great appeal, but I also am not looking to buy one because the lenses don't match up in compactness, and I'm happy with my F Mount on D750 if I'm going to have a more bulky set up anyway.

Morning all, given the commentary re disproportionate size of Z6 to S lenses - what’s the Z6 like with the smaller manual focus AI /s lenses, or say CV 40/2 & 20/3.5? Or does the FTZ offset the lens size?

Nikon Z6; 50/1.8 S.


Now about 15 months into the Z6 and most of the time with a matched pair. When the 14-30 became available, that was the time to jump... For the previous five years, I've mainly been shooting M43 both Oly and Panasonic. They're quiet and small and a joy to use and when I needed to capture a video clip, it was simply press another button for HDR. Traveled all over the US and several trips to eastern Europe and Asia with them. Their size and no noise kept me under the radar... But even with spectacular lenses, low light was a struggle with focus and required lots of tweaking the files for noise and color. The bodies just were not holding up though on eBay, quite reasonable to replace. So after breaking one in a fall and having another fail shortly after a trip, it was time to make the move...

Though I have several Fx Nikons including D800/F3/D700, in looking at what my present shooting is, 45MP is total overkill and since I tend to shoot in marginal light, 24MP and a pair of Z 6 bodies is what I settled. A plus on it all besides a compact 24-70mm lens is the FTZ adapter for my current lens collection. But wait, there's more! A few years ago, I came into a collection of 50s-80s Leica M and LSM lenses along with a few I already had stashed away. With an inexpensive adapter, these all became useable to me without buying a Leica M9/M10 or shooting film with my M4 bodies. (I wish I had more time and patience to simply go out and shoot Tri-X regularly...).

Did I mention, some of my Leica lens collection didn't age well with fogging, element separation, scratched coatings, and other issues... Something that can't be simulated easily in Photoshop. Then there's by Summicrons and the vintage 8-element 35mm... Quite tack-sharp and so compact! Even the 15mm Vöigtlander works well, all quite small to the Z lenses... It's sort of a Leica digital nirvana! As a bonus, the in-body stabilization brings these old lenses into the 21st century!

For landscape work, the Z 6 is quite adequate. I created a 60x40 gallery wrap for the local courthouse with one of the images and it looks great on the wall there! For weddings, plenty of dynamic range and low-light quality to shoot documentary-style with ambient lighting or formals with my Elinchrom.

In low light, piece of cake! Yesterday shooting a baptism outside in the hazy sun and minutes after, entering a dimly-lit church for the child's presentation to the altar and a few family pix, ISO 100 to ISO 10000 automatically! No issues with autofocus either.

Battery life is better than my M43 system (I used 3-4 per camera per day during travel and shooting long events, especially if I had to do lots of video. It's true that the EN-EL15 doesn't last as long in a Z 6 as a D800, but it's not all that bad, maybe 60-70% the life.

Having the ability to shoot square is also nice, though on the Z 6 it only gets you 16MB. It's just nice to have that feature for me since I come from years of shooting Rollieflexes and H'blads and loved the format for some of my work.

A single slot? No big deal. Cards are large, fast, reliable. 20 years ago shooting film we didn't worry, just shot a second body. Early digital bodies had a single slot and it wasn't that critical, IMO.

The clincher for me is that I'm getting quite close to digital nirvana especially for travel. Nikon just released the 24-200mm and it makes the grade. It's tough to find but its range covers 85-90% of a lot of what I do. With the 24-30mm, I could probably do everything I need while traveling.

For video, the Z 6 gets me 4k, slo-mo and 24 fps and 30 to 60 fps rates. Flip a switch and press a button and I can quickly produce a clip of motion.

My only complaint is dust and clumps on the sensor. They are back and as annoying as ever, especially shooting small apertures to get more DOF and sun stars. It was an issue for years shooting my other Nikon digital and the Z 6 has the same issue. I seldom has this problem with the M43 bodies, maybe because I shot a lot at wider apertures, but maybe it was the thicker AA/sensor glass that was the reason.

But despite the dust issues, files are easier to tweak through ACR and the color is nice. Lowlight is definitely much improved over older Nikon bodies and especially compared to my M43 captures.

In dark places just like my M43, the EVF on the Z 6 is a delight to use! Going back to a DSLR in similar conditions, it's simply difficult to see what one is shooting at times.

Overall, this iteration of Nikon Z bodies makes the grade and though larger and heavier than a similar M43 system, gives me better IQ, low light and color and overall a step in the right direction.

Nikon needs to design the next camera to recognize the postural orientation of the external display. Maybe one of those devices that orients a smart device display seamlessly can be used with some logic in the firmware to disable the automatic switching when the LCD is articulated. I suppose it's a little late to ask Nikon to incorporate this into the soon to be released Z6II and Z7II.

I'm not looking to see this comment (or my previous elaboration concerning the switching) posted with the other comments. I just wanted you to know I don't just whine. Sometimes, my mind can find a solution to a problem.

There have been a number of reviews that cover the Z line down to the smallest of details; all of its strengths, weaknesses, and controversies are well known by this point, so there is no use in rehashing them. The only thing I can offer is perspective from someone who has used a Z6 nearly every day since it was available for purchase in the US (I have a full-time gig as a photographer for a city government communications division, and freelance on the side).

Bottom line is the Z6 is a solid mirrorless camera suitable for nearly any use. It is a quintessentially modern image-making tool; fast, responsive, comfortable to use, reliable in extreme conditions, and allows one to deliver great images consistently. It is not the best in any particular category, nor is it the worst; Nikon has struck a nice balance of specifications, features, performance, and price. There are some compromises, the camera is not perfect, and has its share of peculiarities and differences. Basically, the same that can be said of the majority of cameras currently on the market right now. The Z lenses are as good as everyone says, and no, they are not that large compared to similarly-performing lenses in other full-frame mounts. Price is certainly relative, but again, compared to other similarly-performing lenses, they are not out of line. The 14–30 f/4 and 24–70 f/4 are simply marvels, and should deflate any argument that the Z system has no good compact lenses available. My only criticism of the Z6 is that its very exposed sensor tends to attract dust at every opportunity, requiring more care when changing lenses and more frequent cleaning.

I do think that the Z’s were, and continue to be, unfairly maligned (even here on TOP). It is difficult to tell if this stems from Nikon’s own hype prior to release, poor marketing since, or the continuously unrealistic expectations and fickle temperament of the internet — or a combination of all three. If you don’t find the Z system to your liking for some reason, there is no shame in pursuing another brand or type of camera.

I see my Z6 differently to most here.
It's not that the lenses are too big more that the camera is too small. I added a Smallrig l-bracket to make it taller but the Z6 makes the 24-70/2.8 so front heavy I don't use it.
When Nikon make a mirrorless the same size as my D810 or even better my D3s I'll be first in the queue.

I've been taking photos for 30 years and I'm in my late 40s. Once upon a time, I used to do paid wedding events with 3 Nikon DX DSLRs + 17-55/2.8 + 70-200/2.8 + a bunch of other lenses.

These days, I value lightweight and fun more than other factors. My primary cameras are - to be really honest - my iPhone (70%?), and m43 Panasonic GM5 (20%?) and GX85 (10%?), with prime lenses. But the Olympus saga forced me to consider the possibility of the death of the m43 ecosystem and switching to something else.

I thought I would move to Fuji. But the lens sizes put me off. e.g Fuji 90/2 vs Olympus 75/1.8. (Ironically when I was a teenager I used to own a Nikkor AIS 135/2 which is about the same size as the Fuji.) By the same token, between Z 85/1.8 vs Panasonic 42.5/1.7, I will stick to the latter.

However, I guess if I were a young wedding photographer, Z7 + 24-70S + 70-200S would be a killer combo.

Nikon's marketing fumbles aside, all you have to do is adjust your rationalization process. The Z cameras aren't smaller replacements for your m4/3s but they are incredible replacements for medium format digital cameras.

Compared to a 2014 Hasselblad or Phase One the Zs win in almost every way. I'll put my 50/1,8S up against the much heavier Zeiss lenses I used to use. High ISO runs circles around even the current MFD cameras, same for auto-focus and buffer.

Where the Z saves weight and size is compared to carrying a full sized DSLR with a heavy Zeiss lens. You get at least equivalent performance in a far lighter and more compact package for less money.

[Jeez, Frank, I was just thinking of you today. Came across an old comment by you on Photrio, and I thought, there's a name I haven't seen in a while, someone who doesn't read TOP any more but used to. And then I come back to the site and here you are. How's that for a coincidence? --Mike]

Is anybody else here noticing something funny?

In film days, none of these obsessions and complaints about size would have been made. A camera was as you found it; lenses as they turned out to be, and if you were into Nikon at least, you didn't have to worry about quality control: it happened at the factory, not by punters post-purchase. Fondly remembered times!

Today, the focus is mostly the equipment and fewer and fewer people are that concerned about the heart of the stuff that they actually shoot, only whether it is sharp as sharp can be.

I think that in the amateur world, digital photography has just become another game per se, rather than an additional tool in the expression of something personal. We are now obsessed with the science and not the art. It might truthfully be said that today's photographers have entered their decadent age.

Thomas Rink,

If you are using AIS lenses on the Z6, presumably with the ZTF or perhaps other adapters, you will be preview depth of field all the time, they stay at the selected f/stop. If you want larger f/stops for quick easy focussing you will have to open up, and unless you are using aperture preferred auto exposure you will have to adjust the exposure to properly view the image. But I am guessing you work rather slowly, perhaps on a tripod? If so it will work for you I think. That is how I have used both the Sony a7 and Nikon Z6. I don't use small f/stops, when I need DoF indoors I use lens tilt (a cheap Chinese tilt adapter) but it should work out I think. Outside I can do most of the focus on the focussing scale. And having image magnification easily viewable on a high resolution eyelevel finder is such a huge luxury. I never find my 8x Schneider loupe in my pocket at the end of the day anymore.

It's the automatic lenses, Z mount or F mount (AF-S) that seem view mainly at f5.6. I have not tried to make them stop down, just not something I have needed to do.

But if you intend to try to use those automatic lenses in manual focus mode I suspect you will not like the results, as least I find them entirely unacceptable. But the Z lens does have a crude focus distance indication. I have not tried to use it.

Oh, and my 50mm f1.4 AIS works quite nicely on the Z6, as it did on the Sony a7. And who knows a 1.8 might be just as good or even better.

And people like me are pining for compact prime lenses. Two are on the roadmap, a 40mm which I would find interesting and a 28mm. Right now I have a 35mm f2.8 Zony on an AF E-mount to Z-mount adapter. I am not crazy about the combination, doesn't seem to focus as well as it does on the a7 (though my Sony 28-70 focusses better (how irritating is that?)

I have also used my 40mm Summicron on an M-mount to Z adapter, but have not really gotten comfortable with it, even though it was my main lens on the Sony a7 at first.

Remember, all you lens size weenies, compact 28 and 40 primes are on the way, to back up the f/4 zooms you must already have.

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