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Author Topic: Zeiss Otus Questions ... honest answers, please.  (Read 4535 times)

JKoerner007

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Re: Zeiss Otus Questions ... honest answers, please.
« Reply #20 on: June 29, 2017, 09:38:23 AM »

I have all of the Otus series and I consider the Zeiss 135mm APO f/2 Sonnar as an Otus, but one without the f/1.4. The 135mm is as sharp (or sharper) than the other Oti.

I have perhaps an extreme view, so it’s hardly worth my posting here, but I shall for completeness sake. I find the Oti the best lenses I own, along with some few exotic scanner, LF, or enlarger lenses. And I have a lot of lenses.

Curious how you would rate your old favorite that 125mm f/2.5 Apo-Voigtländer next to the 135 f/2 and Otii.

My Zeiss 135 f/2 arrives tomorrow, so I will do my own comparison. One of them will likely go ...



I tried to break out to other brand lenses, but have not been able to have much success, other than a couple of Leica Elmarit-R lenses converted to Nikon-F format. In the last year or so, I have purchased and returned (or cancelled) the following lenses.

Nikon AF-S Fisheye Nikkor 8-15mm f/3.5-4.5E ED

Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 105mm f/1.4E ED Lens

Zeiss Milvus 18mm f/2.8 ZF.2 Lens for Nikon F

Nikon PC NIKKOR 19mm f/4E ED Tilt-Shift Lens

The above all are “nice,” but just not in the same ballpark as the Otus series. I know many would disagree with this, but I’m only representing my view here.

Have no interest in any of these, save the 105 f/1.4E ED. Not for macro work, but for travel. Will probably purchase the 28 f/1.4 E, the 50mm f/1.4 E (when it comes out), and the 105m f/1.4 E.



I also purchased and eventually returned the Pentax K3 and K1, the Hasselblad X1D system, and the Fuji GFX system, all of which (when all is said and done) turned out to not be as useful to me as my aging D810 and the lenses that work with that camera. I was very disappointed not to be able to break away from the D810, which is long overdue for an upgrade. I did purchase the Sony A7RII and have kept that.

I had, and enjoyed, the D500 ... but I recently sold it because the image quality was just not what the D810 is. The only thing I don't like about my D810 is a crappy Live View (very dark at low shutter speeds), but other than that it's the best camera I've ever owned.



I try these things out and only return them if they fail to measure up to what I need. Of course the Oti lenses are heavy and bulky, but I do not measure lenses (for my work) by anything other than what they do for me photographically, not how much of a PITA they are to use. I will cart them around happily, if they perform.

How do you like your Otii next to the 135 f/2 in terms of build quality, esp. the rubber ring?

...



My two cents, since I have skin in this game.

Thanks for your input.

Michael Erlewine

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Re: Zeiss Otus Questions ... honest answers, please.
« Reply #21 on: June 29, 2017, 09:53:01 AM »


"Curious how you would rate your old favorite that 125mm f/2.5 Apo-Voigtländer next to the 135 f/2 and Otii."

I would never part with my CV-125, since it still is the best all-around close-up/macro lens I am aware of. I don't use it as much as I did, but it represents the best group of features. It could be sharper, but sharpness is not my only requirement.


"I had, and enjoyed, the D500 ... but I recently sold it because the image quality was just not what the D810 is. The only thing I don't like about my D810 is a crappy Live View (very dark at low shutter speeds), but other than that it's the best camera I've ever owned."

It is not "crappy" IMO, but it could be improved and if the LV screen were movable, that would help.


"How do you like your Otii next to the 135 f/2 in terms of build quality, esp. the rubber ring?"

As mentioned, I have always considered the 135 f/2 as an Oti and I like the build. I am not bothered one bit by the rubber rings.

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Michael Erlewine
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JKoerner007

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Re: Zeiss Otus Questions ... honest answers, please.
« Reply #22 on: June 29, 2017, 10:14:09 AM »

I would never part with my CV-125, since it still is the best all-around close-up/macro lens I am aware of. I don't use it as much as I did, but it represents the best group of features. It could be sharper, but sharpness is not my only requirement.

The CV-125 is pretty sharp. I enjoy it as well.

Trouble is, for most "walk around" macros I am using a 300mm lens, with Otus-level rendering, and even w/ a converter, it's comparable to what I get with the macro, from standing 7' away.

I tend to use the Voightlander when I don't feel like lugging a telephoto lens around ... but will compare how it works next to the Zeiss 135 w/ a small extension ring to allow closer approach.





It is not "crappy" IMO, but it could be improved and if the LV screen were movable, that would help.

For your purposes, probably not.

When using it for flowers and such, it works fine.

However, when using it to go 2:1 and 3:1, with reversed primes, at shutter-speeds of 1/5, in anything but the brightest light, it is virtually pitch black and extremely grainy.

The D500 had a much better Live View than the D810 (and, yes, the articulation was also nice). I am hoping the D850 will have a much improved Live View.



As mentioned, I have always considered the 135 f/2 as an Oti and I like the build. I am not bothered one bit by the rubber rings.

Appreciate your input, thanks.

Michael Erlewine

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Re: Zeiss Otus Questions ... honest answers, please.
« Reply #23 on: June 29, 2017, 10:16:21 AM »


I tend to use the Voightlander when I don't feel like lugging a telephoto lens around ... but will compare how it works next to the Zeiss 135 w/ a small extension ring to allow closer approach.

There is no comparison (IMO) between the CV-125 and the Zeiss 135mm f/2, except that the Zeiss is not a close-up lens, much less a macro. It takes extension, but not that well for my work. It is, however, tack sharp. I use (and love) the 135mm Zeiss a lot, but none of the Oti can do all that the CV-125 can do. What I need is an Otus macro lens. And the older Zeiss 100mm Macro has horrible CA, so that it is essentially unusable IMO.

The Zeiss 135mm is way better than the CV-125, but you are distant from close-up objects, but it can be cropped quite well.
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Michael Erlewine
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JKoerner007

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Re: Zeiss Otus Questions ... honest answers, please.
« Reply #24 on: June 29, 2017, 10:45:43 AM »

There is no comparison (IMO) between the CV-125 and the Zeiss 135mm f/2, except that the Zeiss is not a close-up lens, much less a macro. It takes extension, but not that well for my work. It is, however, tack sharp. I use (and love) the 135mm Zeiss a lot, but none of the Oti can do all that the CV-125 can do. What I need is an Otus macro lens. And the older Zeiss 100mm Macro has horrible CA, so that it is essentially unusable IMO.

Hmmm, the irony may be that I get rid of the Zeiss.

The Voigtländer is "walk around friendly," and the fact that it goes 1:1 is of great value. It essentially does everything the 135 f/2 does, and then some. I want to see for myself "how much" difference there is between the two; otherwise they are kind of duplicative focal lengths. However, if the Zeiss is that much superior to the Voigtländer, the latter will probably go.(Can't ever imagine carrying around both.)

If I decide to go with an Otus, it will be the Otus 28mm, as it is "double" the focal length of the 15mm Zeiss Distagon I already do have. I seldom shoot in the 50-100mm range, so have no use for the 55/85 Oti.

Another factor is Nikon is likely to come out with a 200 f/2E FL ED, which will not only beat out the 135/f/2, but will likely beat out all the Otii once it gets tested. The conundrum of AF vs. MF will then be the chin-rubber, seeing as both have advantages/disadvantages.

Artistically, I far prefer MF.
However, situationally, if a fleeting moment presents itself, lightning-fast AF is nice to have.



The Zeiss 135mm is way better than the CV-125, but you are distant from close-up objects, but it can be cropped quite well.

Michael Reichmann agreed with you.

At the time of the writing, he called the Zeiss 135 f/2 "the best lens in the world."

Michael Erlewine

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Re: Zeiss Otus Questions ... honest answers, please.
« Reply #25 on: June 29, 2017, 11:13:42 AM »


"The Voigtländer is "walk around friendly," and the fact that it goes 1:1 is of great value. It essentially does everything the 135 f/2 does, and then some. I want to see for myself "how much" difference there is between the two; otherwise they are kind of duplicative focal lengths. However, if the Zeiss is that much superior to the Voigtländer, the latter will probably go.(Can't ever imagine carrying around both.) "

Well, we differ here. I would never get rid of the CV-125. It is just too useful and lovely. I use the CV-125 and the Zeiss 135 f/2 for different things.

"So have no use for the 55/85 Oti."

Here again, we differ. The Otus 55mm takes extension well and is very, very useful in my work.

I have many lenses, some of them of the same focal length, but having different qualities and IQs.

I get rid of lenses that have bad CA and related issues. I tend to judge lenses as to how corrected they are.

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Michael Erlewine
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JKoerner007

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Re: Zeiss Otus Questions ... honest answers, please.
« Reply #26 on: June 29, 2017, 12:17:22 PM »

Well, we differ here. I would never get rid of the CV-125. It is just too useful and lovely. I use the CV-125 and the Zeiss 135 f/2 for different things.

Would you care to share an example of where you'd use the 135 f/2 and not the 125 f/2.5? (Again, to me, they seem duplicative.)



Here again, we differ. The Otus 55mm takes extension well and is very, very useful in my work.

Not for me. I am either shooting landscape (terrain) shots 28mm or wider ... or I am zeroing-in and shooting macro (or telephoto) at much longer focal lengths.

Very rarely do I use my Nikkor 50mm f/1.2 AIS, and do not forsee the need to spend the kind of money it would take to get an Otus of this approximate focal length.



I have many lenses, some of them of the same focal length, but having different qualities and IQs.
I get rid of lenses that have bad CA and related issues. I tend to judge lenses as to how corrected they are.

Understood. I will probably be duplicating my primes into two categories (MF and AF).

My MF primes are themselves eventually going to be divided into two categories "elite" MF primes vs. "tough" macro-reversible MF primes.

Right now, with the exception of the Zeiss 15 mm, and the CV-125, all of my MF primes are Nikkor AIS. This will change when I get the Zeiss 135mm tomorrow.

None of the Otii are reverse-macro friendly; none of the Otti are "tough" like a Nikkor AIS lens is tough; and, finally, no way would I carry 2 Zeiss Otii in a pouch, with another at the end of my camera, while hiking mountains and deserts: they're too heavy and too fragile. The CV-125 is the only "fragile" lens I carry in my pouch.

The smaller, lighter, much tougher Nikkor AIS lenses are perfect for hiking in any conditions. While not Otus-like in image quality, they are pretty darned good. Better still, I can reverse any of these lenses to get 1:1, 2:1, 3:1 and 4:1 life-size magnification right there in the field. Would not want to do this with an Otus, either, even if it were possible (which it is not— their filter threads are too large).

Yet I would like to get some pristine MF lenses, of similar focal lengths as my AISes, for use around the home, the garden, as well as for my work. Would also to get AF lenses of similar focal lengths, for moments when I don't believe I will have the time to compose + focus manually. So I "get" having two lenses of similar focal lengths, with each having its advantages/applications.

However, with the CV 125 and the Zeiss 135, they each essentially do the same thing IMO, with the CV 125 having the 1:1 macro advantage. Thus, the Zeiss 135 will have to be significantly better than CV 125 to remain. In that case, I may have to bite the bullet and keep both :o

So I am curious where you find the need to use the Zeiss 135 over the CV.

Michael Erlewine

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Re: Zeiss Otus Questions ... honest answers, please.
« Reply #27 on: June 29, 2017, 12:19:58 PM »

"However, with the CV 125 and the Zeiss 135, they each essentially do the same thing IMO, with the CV 125 having the 1:1 macro advantage. Thus, the Zeiss 135 will have to be significantly better than CV 125 to remain. In that case, I may have to bite the bullet and keep both."

As this discussion progresses, it is like the Robert Frost poem, "Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both..."

The character of the CV-125 and the Zeiss 135 are very different, and so I use them differently. Just because their focal length is similar is not the way I think. I am more interested in their IQ and rendering style and, to me IMO, these are two very different lenses. Why not wait until you have tried the Zeiss 135 to your satisfaction and then see how you feel. I must have ten or so 55mm lenses... etc.
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JKoerner007

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Re: Zeiss Otus Questions ... honest answers, please.
« Reply #28 on: June 29, 2017, 03:57:01 PM »

I guess you chose to ignore my opening question last post.


Instead you said:
The character of the CV-125 and the Zeiss 135 are very different ... and so I use them differently ...
and, to me IMO, these are two very different lenses.

I guess this begs the question, different in what way?



Why not wait until you have tried the Zeiss 135 to your satisfaction and then see how you feel.

I will do so over this long weekend.

Have a good one,

Michael Erlewine

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Re: Zeiss Otus Questions ... honest answers, please.
« Reply #29 on: June 29, 2017, 04:19:48 PM »

I guess you chose to ignore my opening question last post.


Sorry, am on deadline to finish a book today.

The CV-125 has its own special character of warmth and saturation that the Zeiss 135 does not have or has less of. The 135 is much sharper, takes a small amount of extension well (K-1 ring), and gives the user much more distance back from the subject. The CV-125 is 1:1, if needed, so it is my fallback lens if I need a traditional macro lens. The 135 is not a macro lens, so cropping (for me) is part of using it. The 135 also is a better APO lens, while the CV-125 compared to the Oti, the printing Nikkors, and other highly-corrected lenses is less well-corrected.

However, I value the CV-125 and can't imagine not having one. Another great APO lens with a long focus throw is the Leica 100mm Elmarit-R.

Got to run. Hope that helps.
« Last Edit: June 29, 2017, 04:26:00 PM by Michael Erlewine »
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Michael Erlewine
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JKoerner007

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Re: Zeiss Otus Questions ... honest answers, please.
« Reply #30 on: June 29, 2017, 07:50:53 PM »

Sorry, am on deadline to finish a book today.

The CV-125 has its own special character of warmth and saturation that the Zeiss 135 does not have or has less of. The 135 is much sharper, takes a small amount of extension well (K-1 ring), and gives the user much more distance back from the subject. The CV-125 is 1:1, if needed, so it is my fallback lens if I need a traditional macro lens. The 135 is not a macro lens, so cropping (for me) is part of using it. The 135 also is a better APO lens, while the CV-125 compared to the Oti, the printing Nikkors, and other highly-corrected lenses is less well-corrected.

However, I value the CV-125 and can't imagine not having one. Another great APO lens with a long focus throw is the Leica 100mm Elmarit-R.

Got to run. Hope that helps.

It did help, thank you.

Like you say, seeing is believing. I really like my CV-125 ... but have read yours and others' gushing reviews of the Zeiss Apo Sonnar.

I  understand what you mean: once you get to know the lens, you instinctively select the right one for the job.

Good luck on your book; they are time-consuming ... as is web development :)

Appreciate the insight.

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Re: Zeiss Otus Questions ... honest answers, please.
« Reply #31 on: July 01, 2017, 02:59:18 PM »

Received my Zeiss 135 f/2 Apo Sonnar.

It is very heavy--much heavier than the CV-125 [920g (2.02 lb) compared to 690g (1.52 lb)]--it even weighs more than the D810 itself (880g).

I see what you mean, it is much sharper than the CV.

My concern at this point is the affect on the lens mount; seems heavy enough that the lens should have come with a tripod collar (but can't take one).

I will do some more testing with it, but while the weight/fragility concern me, its unmistakable quality is immediate.

Jim Kasson

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Re: Zeiss Otus Questions ... honest answers, please.
« Reply #32 on: July 01, 2017, 03:39:21 PM »

Received my Zeiss 135 f/2 Apo Sonnar.

It is very heavy--much heavier than the CV-125 [920g (2.02 lb) compared to 690g (1.52 lb)]--it even weighs more than the D810 itself (880g).

I see what you mean, it is much sharper than the CV.

My concern at this point is the affect on the lens mount; seems heavy enough that the lens should have come with a tripod collar (but can't take one).

I will do some more testing with it, but while the weight/fragility concern me, its unmistakable quality is immediate.

I've used the 135/2 Apo-Sonnar on D800E, D810, 17R, and a7RII since it first shipped. I, like you, was worried about the weight, but haven't seen any mount problems whatsoever. By the way, the 135/2 DC-Nikkor weights 818 g.

Jim

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Re: Zeiss Otus Questions ... honest answers, please.
« Reply #33 on: July 01, 2017, 04:12:36 PM »

I've used the 135/2 Apo-Sonnar on D800E, D810, 17R, and a7RII since it first shipped. I, like you, was worried about the weight, but haven't seen any mount problems whatsoever. By the way, the 135/2 DC-Nikkor weights 818 g.

Jim


That is nice to know, thanks.

I have never used a lens this heavy, without a tripod collar :-\

However, is people such as yourself, and Michael, have used it as such, then I suppose there is no reason to worry.

Thanks again.

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Re: Zeiss Otus Questions ... honest answers, please.
« Reply #34 on: July 01, 2017, 04:18:45 PM »


That is nice to know, thanks.

I have never used a lens this heavy, without a tripod collar :-\

However, is people such as yourself, and Michael, have used it as such, then I suppose there is no reason to worry.

Thanks again.

Sure. And another data point: I used the DC Nikkor for about 25 years on F4s, F5s, and D-pick-a-number without any problems.

I've also had no compunction about handholding the 70-200 zoom (current version 1.54 kg and a bigger lever arm) over the years.

Jim

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Re: Zeiss Otus Questions ... honest answers, please.
« Reply #35 on: July 02, 2017, 08:59:20 PM »

Sure. And another data point: I used the DC Nikkor for about 25 years on F4s, F5s, and D-pick-a-number without any problems.

I've also had no compunction about handholding the 70-200 zoom (current version 1.54 kg and a bigger lever arm) over the years.

Yet another data point. I was using the Otus 85/1.4 on the a7RII today.

http://blog.kasson.com/the-last-word/fuji-1102-on-gfx-otus-841-4-on-a7rii/

I have used it a lot on the D810. It weighs 1.2 kg. I have never had a problem.

Jim

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Re: Zeiss Otus Questions ... honest answers, please.
« Reply #36 on: July 03, 2017, 01:22:25 AM »

Yet another data point. I was using the Otus 85/1.4 on the a7RII today.

http://blog.kasson.com/the-last-word/fuji-1102-on-gfx-otus-841-4-on-a7rii/

I have used it a lot on the D810. It weighs 1.2 kg. I have never had a problem.

Jim

Thanks again, Jim.

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Re: Zeiss Otus Questions ... honest answers, please.
« Reply #37 on: July 03, 2017, 02:57:35 AM »

Hey Jim, does your Fuji 110 f/2 perform as expected?  It looks like your copy is a good one.

What do you make of diglloyd's claim that his copy is the "worst lens" he's ever seen?  https://diglloyd.com/blog/2017/20170702_2202-FujifilmGFX-110f2-aseries-FaceInBoulder.html

Is this guy the most annoying gear reviewer on the Internet, or is he just extremely unlucky?
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Michael Erlewine

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Re: Zeiss Otus Questions ... honest answers, please.
« Reply #38 on: July 03, 2017, 11:19:28 AM »

Is this guy the most annoying gear reviewer on the Internet, or is he just extremely unlucky?

Lloyd Chambers is about the only serious lens/camera reviewer left. Thom Hogan more or less stopped doing that, Bjørn Rørslett still comments, but not as much, and Ken Rockwell's lens reviews, while good for the specs, don't do it for me.

I, for one, am very grateful to Lloyd Chamber for keeping on keeping on and doing a good job. He has saved me a small fortune and cost me plenty, as well. My current interest via his reports is the new Zeiss Milvus 35mm f/1.4. I have to try it.
« Last Edit: July 03, 2017, 11:26:22 AM by Michael Erlewine »
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Michael Erlewine
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Re: Zeiss Otus Questions ... honest answers, please.
« Reply #39 on: July 03, 2017, 11:20:05 AM »

Hey Jim, does your Fuji 110 f/2 perform as expected?

It does not. It performs far better than I expected. The LoCA is just amazing; this lens is better corrected for LoCA than the Otus 85, and that lens is no slouch in that department.

I didn't make much of this in the blog post, but another thing that is shockingly good about the 110 is the lack of appreciable light falloff wide open as you go off axis. Much better than the Otus 85 at the equivalent aperture. I suspect that this has a lot to do with the throat and FFD in the Fuji lens mount, and not the lens itself.

Let me be clear about the comparison of the Otus 85/a7RII and the 110/2/GFX: you'll have to print very large and inspect closely for the Fuji's advantages to matter in a landscape like my test subject.

It looks like your copy is a good one.

What do you make of diglloyd's claim that his copy is the "worst lens" he's ever seen?  https://diglloyd.com/blog/2017/20170702_2202-FujifilmGFX-110f2-aseries-FaceInBoulder.html

Is this guy the most annoying gear reviewer on the Internet, or is he just extremely unlucky?

I respect and admire Lloyd. His and my methods are quite different, and we often arrive at the same conclusions. Sometimes we don't. Our experiences with the GFX seem to have been immensely different. Here's an example. He has dinged the camera for difficulty in manual focusing; I have discovered and published a workaround that lets me focus more accurately than I can with the a7RII, and far more accurately than I can with the D810, which leaks peaking. (BTW, I have used an external monitor on the D810 to add peaking and that works well, but is cumbersome.)

Both Lloyd and I have found difficulties with AF on some Fuji lenses at some apertures. We have the same opinion of the Fuji (and anyone's for that matter, in at least my case) focus by wire system.

I suspect that Lloyd's lens was damaged in shipment. I also suspect that the 110/2 is more fragile than most. When you roll the lens end to end, you can feel something heavy shift inside. I think that is probably the lens elements that are moved to focus the lens. I suspect that the lens uses a VCA for focusing and does not park the elements when the camera is turned off. If my guesses are right, this lens will need to be handled with care.

Jim

« Last Edit: July 03, 2017, 11:23:27 AM by Jim Kasson »
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