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Author Topic: Your Camera Does Matter  (Read 190355 times)

mfunnell

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« Reply #120 on: March 15, 2008, 05:44:20 am »

I think the major difference is that MR tries to write what he believes and tries to stand behind his words - or acknowledge things when he's wrong or changes his mind.  KR (seemingly) tries to be "provocative" - making categorical statements he subsequently tries to weasel out of, because he was only joking or writing for a different audience or oversimplifying or whatever...

I note in one of his recent responses he references another "great photo taken with a crappy camera".  The camera in question is a Canon EOS 650. Crappy??  No doubt KR could point out that these days they sell cheaply on eBay.  But cheap is not the same as "crappy".  The EOS 650 is a good camera and in its day was not cheap.  So his "evidence" does not support his contention - in KR's world "so what" seems the most likely response.

I say: if he doesn't want to be taken seriously then I'm happy to oblige.  But that doesn't stop - or help - his (IMO unfortunately numerous) fans.

   ...Mike
« Last Edit: March 15, 2008, 05:44:55 am by mfunnell »
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Rob C

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« Reply #121 on: March 15, 2008, 05:50:03 am »

Woke up this mornin´ feelin´ fine
Hope of somethin´ different
On my mind...

Oh well, we live in hope.

Rob C

barryfitzgerald

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« Reply #122 on: March 15, 2008, 07:02:17 am »

Talk is cheap, so I shall tell and show my story.

Now if you like the shots, is down to taste..but its about time someone threw something up to at least make some point.

I went out for the day a few years ago, went to a well known spot outside dingle, ireland. Had no intentions of doing any serious photography..family day out etc. But I grabbed a panasonic fz-5 camera anyway.

Well the light was good, I could see that..so we stopped off at this area outside lispole. You have a drive in viewing area here, so I nipped out and grabbed the fz-5. Having not planned to do anything serious, I forgot my tripod, had no ND grad filters or anything else..just my £250 at the time panasonic.

I got chatting to a tourist, nice guy..over from Virginia, setting up his canon 5d, 24-70 f2.8L, nice tripod too pano head..cannot remember the make. Cut a long story short, we exchange emails..in fairness he never mocked my cheap camera. I took my 8 shots, only 8..for the pano, he took probably 10 times that no. bracketing etc.

I knew this was a well shot location, so I decided to let the highlights go on the right, and crop in tight on the skyline, in an attempt to get something a bit different. I got an email from the guy and we shared some photos, he was not so happy with his shots, they were ok..but he would say himself, not too great. He liked my pano, a lot..

Few months later I got an email from a publisher who did a web search, they wanted to use my shot for an article they were doing on Ireland. Ok no problems, so I asked for a fee..and they published it.




Not only did I not have a camera that was  not very expensive, or ideal for landscape work, but I had none of the usual stuff people use for panoramic shots, no tripod, no pano head, Just my 5mp FZ-5, I used autostitch for the pano, that cost me nothing, its free.

I got a better shot that day, because I knew what I wanted, I could have taken it on a £99 compact, or a top grade camera and L grade lenses.

A few years earlier I was passing through pembroke in wales, and stopped off. I only had a cheap Olympus 35mm compact, again nothing fancy..it was ok for what it is, not exactly ideal landscape stuff, no real WA, no controls or manual modes bar flash cancel. You could buy this on ebay for about £10 if you wanted to, probably cost about £100 brand new when it was ist out.

Bit of luck here, but the camera goofed the exposure, underexposed it somewhat, not great with the film I had loaded..just some cheap agfa stuff. Anyway correcting this led to a really grainy looking image..but one that IMO is not half bad.

I got this..






Now the point of this story is, not that I am a great landscape photographer, plenty out there who are far more talented than I am. It's not even that I have a shoddy technique at times! (or rather dont take the better quality stuff I have out), it is just this...two cameras, neither anything amazing or special..had very little impact on getting the shots I wanted. Not having a pano head top tripod (or any tripod come to that), didnt count for a can of beans..

So to those who still say the gear matters, well it can def help you out, and sure, you cannot do some shots with some cameras. But what counts for a lot lot more, and way more than 50% as some say, is what you do with "what you have" at the time.

I dont cry myself asleep wondering if I could have got sharper shots on those two with better cameras and lenses, just happy enough I got 2 shots that I think, are fairly decent.

Good pictures are taken by good photographers, not good cameras. It sure is nice to have quality gear, but not always needed.
« Last Edit: March 15, 2008, 07:08:08 am by barryfitzgerald »
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Quentin

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« Reply #123 on: March 15, 2008, 07:39:06 am »

Quote
Talk is cheap, so I shall tell and show my story.

............

Good pictures are taken by good photographers, not good cameras. It sure is nice to have quality gear, but not always needed.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=181659\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Exactly.  Case proven.

Quentin
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mfunnell

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« Reply #124 on: March 15, 2008, 08:22:05 am »

Quote
Exactly.  Case proven.

Quentin
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=181665\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
[a href=\"http://mfunnell.deviantart.com/art/Lace-Monitor-1-38168669\" target=\"_blank\"] . Sure, I could have got a good photo with my Stylus Epic (I've taken quite decent photos with it) but I was, um, happier using a camera that had a telephoto option .

I admire anyone who thinks a fixed wide-angle lens camera is ideal for taking close-ups of hyenas at the kill, but I wouldn't sell them insurance!

   ...Mike
« Last Edit: March 15, 2008, 08:38:40 am by mfunnell »
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Jonathan Wienke

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« Reply #125 on: March 15, 2008, 08:50:16 am »

I used a 350mm lens with close-up adapter to get this image...



I could have used a shorter lens, but black widows dislike having their webs disturbed for some reason, and having a poisonous spider angry at me didn't seem prudent. The longer lens got me enough stand-off distance that my tripod wasn't touching her web. It also guaranteed me some reaction time on the occasions when the viewfinder abruptly went vacant...
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Satch

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« Reply #126 on: March 15, 2008, 09:18:29 am »

Quote
I think what Statch means is that his 'job' is not photography related (directly). Apparently the ads on his website earn his money therefore, yes, his job is computer related. Good for him if he is making money out of the internet - even if the information he is peddling is weak.

It therefore seems that his income is derived from talking about photography, rather than doing photography. He mentions his work hanging in private collections but gives no examples and of work in 'hard cover books' but again no examples.

Here's a cliche : "Those who can do, those who can't teach".

Actually I don't agree with this since there are some wonderful do-ers who are very proficient in their subject professionally but who choose to teach as well. However, in the case of Ken Rockwell, well, you be the judge.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=181592\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

The guy's only real talent is self-promotion.  You know that if his landscape work was ever published in any significant magazine or book, or he was actually paid for something in a significant "public collection" he'd be trumpeting it to the heavens.

It's impossible to take the guy seriously because he just doesn't have the goods.
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dchew

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« Reply #127 on: March 15, 2008, 11:21:04 am »

From Ken's Article:  "Sure, if you're a pro driver you're good enough to elicit every ounce of performance from a car and will be limited by its performance, but if you're like most people the car, camera, running shoes or whatever have little to nothing to do with your performance since you are always the defining factor, not the tools."

This gets to the heart of why I don't like Ken's article.  In order to take his position, you need to assume a certain audience.  He is stereotyping by saying "most people..."  The internet makes this all the worse because there is no way to know your audience.

Michael, I think your article is exactly right.  Get to know something about the individual who asked the question in the first place.  Then the response can be relevant to them.
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schrodingerscat

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« Reply #128 on: March 15, 2008, 01:40:28 pm »

Quote
Talk is cheap, so I shall tell and show my story.

Now if you like the shots, is down to taste..but its about time someone threw something up to at least make some point.

I went out for the day a few years ago, went to a well known spot outside dingle, ireland. Had no intentions of doing any serious photography..family day out etc. But I grabbed a panasonic fz-5 camera anyway.

Well the light was good, I could see that..so we stopped off at this area outside lispole. You have a drive in viewing area here, so I nipped out and grabbed the fz-5. Having not planned to do anything serious, I forgot my tripod, had no ND grad filters or anything else..just my £250 at the time panasonic.

I got chatting to a tourist, nice guy..over from Virginia, setting up his canon 5d, 24-70 f2.8L, nice tripod too pano head..cannot remember the make. Cut a long story short, we exchange emails..in fairness he never mocked my cheap camera. I took my 8 shots, only 8..for the pano, he took probably 10 times that no. bracketing etc.

I knew this was a well shot location, so I decided to let the highlights go on the right, and crop in tight on the skyline, in an attempt to get something a bit different. I got an email from the guy and we shared some photos, he was not so happy with his shots, they were ok..but he would say himself, not too great. He liked my pano, a lot..

Few months later I got an email from a publisher who did a web search, they wanted to use my shot for an article they were doing on Ireland. Ok no problems, so I asked for a fee..and they published it.


Not only did I not have a camera that was  not very expensive, or ideal for landscape work, but I had none of the usual stuff people use for panoramic shots, no tripod, no pano head, Just my 5mp FZ-5, I used autostitch for the pano, that cost me nothing, its free.

I got a better shot that day, because I knew what I wanted, I could have taken it on a £99 compact, or a top grade camera and L grade lenses.

A few years earlier I was passing through pembroke in wales, and stopped off. I only had a cheap Olympus 35mm compact, again nothing fancy..it was ok for what it is, not exactly ideal landscape stuff, no real WA, no controls or manual modes bar flash cancel. You could buy this on ebay for about £10 if you wanted to, probably cost about £100 brand new when it was ist out.

Bit of luck here, but the camera goofed the exposure, underexposed it somewhat, not great with the film I had loaded..just some cheap agfa stuff. Anyway correcting this led to a really grainy looking image..but one that IMO is not half bad.

I got this..

Now the point of this story is, not that I am a great landscape photographer, plenty out there who are far more talented than I am. It's not even that I have a shoddy technique at times! (or rather dont take the better quality stuff I have out), it is just this...two cameras, neither anything amazing or special..had very little impact on getting the shots I wanted. Not having a pano head top tripod (or any tripod come to that), didnt count for a can of beans..

So to those who still say the gear matters, well it can def help you out, and sure, you cannot do some shots with some cameras. But what counts for a lot lot more, and way more than 50% as some say, is what you do with "what you have" at the time.

I dont cry myself asleep wondering if I could have got sharper shots on those two with better cameras and lenses, just happy enough I got 2 shots that I think, are fairly decent.

Good pictures are taken by good photographers, not good cameras. It sure is nice to have quality gear, but not always needed.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=181659\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

So I take it that you've now dumped all your other gear and just use these two, as they are obviously all thats needed.

Quentin - What's that thing you're leaning on, just a prop?
« Last Edit: March 15, 2008, 01:41:54 pm by schrodingerscat »
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pss

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« Reply #129 on: March 15, 2008, 02:03:33 pm »

i am not sure what is more scary....the blind following of master michael (who can do no wrong and cannot be questioned...ever....) or that some people here actually believe that a more expensive camera will make them better photographers....

a pro driver will beat me on the racetrack in a golf even if i drive a porsche....lance armstrong will beat me on a tricyle even if i ride the most advanced, expensive bike out there....

a great sport shooter with a g9 will make a little league game look more interesting then a bad photographer with all the gear at the superbowl.....

no: if you want to shoot wildlife/animals in the wild, a wide angle won't help you and every idiot with a 500 can get a shot of a lion when he is close enough....which is why we amire every shot of a lion available these days...yawn..every idiot and my aunt can go to afrika and get that shot....here is the lion, here is the elefant,....
i would still much rather flip through the shots the pro got with his wide angle.....obably more interesting and more telling about the place and the atmosphere....

nobody (including KR) disputes that everybody needs the right tool for the job, whatever that might be but it is still much more important HOW you use the tool...

i am a gearhead like most photographers but i never tricked myself into believing that THAT camera or THIS lens will get me THAT job or will make my photos better...it will enable me to take them, nothing more....

there is a profile on a (very successfull) photographer...she does not even own a camera..only a lightmeter....rents everything according to the job...extreme and i could never work like that, but still interesting....

someone here said about the old ansel adams quote that it is worse to have a fuzzy picture of a fuzzy concept....this totally misses the point: at worst they would be both equally worthless because of the concept....with a sharp image, this would be even more obvious and faster detectable....with fuzziness there might be a certain mistery which might distract the viewer and veils the lack of concept....either way great shots are not judged wether they are fuzzy or not....

i am not on KRs side or michael's...both articles are rants and as such to be taken as a whole and not dissected word by word....and as a whole KR is correct and michael seems a little upset about something.....but then again, the only shots i have seen from michael are on this website, as jpegs and i read the captions and (since they are jpegs) they could all be from the same camera....but they say P45, ricoh, dsIII..whatever....

everybody should take a look at nick devlin's stroll with the g9 on this website....and after that tell me that everybody would have come home with the same quality (!) from that walk....this is with a 400$ camera....if someone does not get that, please go out and get yourself a P45 (michael has one!) and be happy and bore us to tears with extremely detailed shots of your backyard and all the flowers and spiders in it....

actually safe some cash, you can bore us just as much with shots from the g9! or not..it is up to YOU
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Petrjay

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« Reply #130 on: March 15, 2008, 03:39:59 pm »

I'd just like to extend my thanks to Michael for finally putting this debate to rest once and for all. That ought to quiet things down hereabouts.  
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dchew

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« Reply #131 on: March 15, 2008, 03:49:32 pm »

Quote
i am not sure what is more scary....the blind following of master michael (who can do no wrong and cannot be questioned...ever....) or that some people here actually believe that a more expensive camera will make them better photographers....

Interesting that you made this comment.  I actually don't think anyone here, "...believes that a more expensive camera will make them a better photographer."  

Some may believe that in certain situations a better camera gives them better results, but I don't know that anyone has stated it makes them a better photographer.  

However, let's see if I can justify such a statement.  Two examples:

1.  When a photographer uses her view camera it causes her to slow down and pay more attention than she would have with her D3/1Ds/superwhatever.  Her results are better.  Did that make her a better photographer?

2.  A photographer uses his MF with a waist level viewfinder (let's say handheld so this is not about sharpness).  Everything is flipped because of the viewfinder, which makes this particular photographer pause and pay more attention to the graphic elements in the photograph than he would have with his G9.  His results are better.  Did that make him a better photographer?

Perhaps in each case the camera did not make the person a better photographer, but instead brought out the best in that particular photographer.

I for one have my good days and bad days.  Sometimes my mind is just elsewhere.  If a tool makes me concentrate more on my craft, then I would argue it makes my results better.  

I don't think any of the cameras I've owned have made me a better photographer.  But my tripod sure has!
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dalethorn

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« Reply #132 on: March 15, 2008, 05:35:44 pm »

I started with a small camera doing B&W lab work in the 60's, then bought Leica M's in the 70's, then nothing new until my first digital in 1998. My early digital photos were well-conceived and edited, and I had several years of digital editing exp. prior to 1998, yet with each new camera I've acquired since, the quality of the images has improved markedly. Not the composition or presentation, just the basic quality which can clearly be seen as a product of better sensors, more pixels, better colour mgmt., etc. How do the latest compare to the Leica images? Hard to say exactly, but about the same.
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kaelaria

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« Reply #133 on: March 15, 2008, 08:21:25 pm »

So we go from - a POS that produces useless pics but is 'having fun' is a good thing, because skill makes the shot not the equipment: http://www.luminous-landscape.com/essays/funkeycam.shtml

to equipment is important afterall?
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Nick Rains

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« Reply #134 on: March 15, 2008, 08:22:20 pm »

Quote
a pro driver will beat me on the racetrack in a golf even if i drive a porsche....lance armstrong will beat me on a tricyle even if i ride the most advanced, expensive bike out there....

i am not on KRs side or michael's...both articles are rants and as such to be taken as a whole and not dissected word by word....and as a whole KR is correct and michael seems a little upset about something.....

[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=181737\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Just like to pick you up on a couple of points here.

A pro driver in a golf (cart) is rather unlikely to beat you in a Porsche unless you are blindfolded and the car has 4 flat tyres. However, sure, I get your drift.

A lot of this thread has revolved around 'winning' or being better than someone else, which is not really the point. The anti-KR folks are merely arguing that the correct tools allow you to do a better job, at whatever level of photography you are at, than incorrect or inappropriate tools. Surely this is inarguable?

KR is correct, you say. What, precisely, is correct about his plain assertion that the 'camera does not matter'? We all know that a top photographer can make good images with most cameras but would a such a photographer choose to work with the wrong gear?

I looked at your website and your fashion images are exquisite. No doubt at web size they could have been shot on a G9, but I would assume they weren't. Regardless of what they were actually shot on I'd imagine that you chose the correct gear for the task like all good craftsmen would do.

A previous poster said this: "Perhaps in each case the camera did not make the person a better photographer, but instead brought out the best in that particular photographer."

Well put.

Regarding rants, Michael's was indeed a rant but KRs was actually not. It was put forward as a reasoned opinion intended to be taken seriously (caveat lector notwithstanding).

Now that's  scary.
« Last Edit: March 15, 2008, 08:24:16 pm by Nick Rains »
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Tim.Lewis

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« Reply #135 on: March 15, 2008, 08:40:06 pm »

Hi Nick

I think the Golf referred to may have been of the VW variety.

Cheers

Tim

(P.S. nice site)
« Last Edit: March 15, 2008, 08:42:06 pm by Tim.Lewis »
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barryfitzgerald

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« Reply #136 on: March 15, 2008, 08:46:06 pm »

My bad camera helped me!

Because it stuffed up the exposure, I got an instant "taken 100+ years ago" look ;-)
Had I used my DSLR, I know I would have just nailed the exposure, and got the shot, sure I could have spent a while pp'ing it to death. But as it was, luck was on my side.

Now I dont suggest you buy a camera that constantly underexposes, esp not good for film. (And being fair, it's most of the time good on exposure..bar this time)

So if I want to take "Olde majestic" shots of big castles like Pembroke, I know which camera to take with me. Its the one with sellotape on the battery door..that snapped years ago, its the one with the slightly soft corners on the lens, and the one that has no manual controls to twonk with, and a dusty mini lcd frame counter on top. You just have to point it at something good. Sometimes its liberating to use something basic and not so great.
« Last Edit: March 15, 2008, 08:58:15 pm by barryfitzgerald »
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pss

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« Reply #137 on: March 15, 2008, 09:49:42 pm »

Quote
Just like to pick you up on a couple of points here.

A pro driver in a golf (cart) is rather unlikely to beat you in a Porsche unless you are blindfolded and the car has 4 flat tyres. However, sure, I get your drift.

A lot of this thread has revolved around 'winning' or being better than someone else, which is not really the point. The anti-KR folks are merely arguing that the correct tools allow you to do a better job, at whatever level of photography you are at, than incorrect or inappropriate tools. Surely this is inarguable?

KR is correct, you say. What, precisely, is correct about his plain assertion that the 'camera does not matter'? We all know that a top photographer can make good images with most cameras but would a such a photographer choose to work with the wrong gear?

I looked at your website and your fashion images are exquisite. No doubt at web size they could have been shot on a G9, but I would assume they weren't. Regardless of what they were actually shot on I'd imagine that you chose the correct gear for the task like all good craftsmen would do.

A previous poster said this: "Perhaps in each case the camera did not make the person a better photographer, but instead brought out the best in that particular photographer."

Well put.

Regarding rants, Michael's was indeed a rant but KRs was actually not. It was put forward as a reasoned opinion intended to be taken seriously (caveat lector notwithstanding).

Now that's  scary.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=181801\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

i am referring to a VW golf...

nobody, including KR disputes that one needs the RIGHT tool for the right job...and of course lance armstrong races much better with his superbike then with my nieces tricycle....this goes without saying!

there are shots up on my website that were made with a nikon 950 coolpix (!).....and i bet you can't tell me which ones they are....the 950 coolpix was a 3mpix thing in 1997?8?..i think there are better phonecams out there nowadys...

and no i am not lusting after one right now for my next shoot....
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Nick Rains

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« Reply #138 on: March 15, 2008, 09:50:09 pm »

Quote
Hi Nick

I think the Golf referred to may have been of the VW variety.

Cheers

Tim

(P.S. nice site)
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=181810\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Ah, yes, missed that!
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Jonathan Wienke

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« Reply #139 on: March 16, 2008, 12:03:14 am »

Quote
there are shots up on my website that were made with a nikon 950 coolpix (!).....and i bet you can't tell me which ones they are....the 950 coolpix was a 3mpix thing in 1997?8?..i think there are better phonecams out there nowadys...

I'll bet the difference would be obvious in any print 8x10 or larger. That the difference is not obvious at web resolution is not particularly relevant to anything...
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