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Mark Wikkerink

Used Buying Guide: Canon 5D Mark II


If you are looking for a camera that is new to you, consider purchasing a Canon 5D Mark II. It is an excellent camera for shooting both photos and HD videos, and with all the features it has, is is a great bargain for those on a budget!

used-canon-5d-mark-ii

The Canon 5D Mark II was introduced in 2008, and it immediately changed the photography world for the better. The reason? This camera was the first full frame DSLR to be able to shoot 1080P HD video.

Having such a large sensor (24×36mm) with the ability to record high quality video allowed many photographers (and cinematographers) to create dynamic, compelling footage using their existing canon EF mount lenses. Because of the large sensor, the camera operator can create footage that has very shallow depth of field using Canon prime lenses with large apertures. Common lenses used for shooting video with this camera are

Regardless of whether you are a photographer or cinematographer, the Canon 5d Mark II is a great camera to own – I know, I own one! It has a high megapixel count (21.1), 3.9 frames per second, a large 3.0 inch LCD screen, and 9 auto focus points.

There are a few downsides to this camera though, and if you can't live without these, check out the 5D Mark III, Canon 7D Mark II, or even the Canon-1D X

The biggest downside to the Canon 5D Mark II is while the 9 auto focus points do a good job, they aren't particularly amazing. In the successor to this camera, the 5D Mark III, Canon upgraded the auto focus system to include 61 auto focus points, 41 of those being cross type points. The 9 point system in the 5D Mark II was carried over from the original 5D, and while it performs well for portraits, landscape, weddings, or studio work, if you are a sports or action photographer, a more recent camera might be a better fit for you.

The other downside to the Canon 5D Mark II vs newer cameras is the low light performance. While it was greatly enhanced from the original 5D, newer Canon cameras have pushed the standard even higher, and can shoot at up 204,800 ISO, or higher!

Buying a used Canon 5D Mark II is a great idea for photographers who are just starting out but want something that will last a few years, and has most of the bells and whistles of the current crop of cameras. This camera is one of the best cameras for a portrait photographers, and you are getting a great camera for a low price!

At Used Photo Pro, we offer an 180 day warranty on all of our products (except those rated F or As-Is), as well as a 14 day exchange/return policy.

buy-used-5d-mark-ii

 



John

Sony QX1 on Remote Camera Work


The Sony QX series cameras first arrived in the fall of 2013 and were intended to bridge the gap between small digital cameras and cell phones.  I wrote about these cameras last year when they first hit our shelves.  The biggest impression they left me with was the freedom of positioning the camera.  Sony has taken the QX system another major step forward with the brand new QX1 (available for pre-order).   The QX1 features an APS-C sized image sensor commonly used in entry level DSLRs from Canon, Nikon, Sony and others!

Sony QX1

 

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Derek

Photokina's Coming Up All The Lenses I Can't Even.


Nikon's not the only one having fun in the pre-Photokina run up. We're hearing that Sigma, Tamron, and Sony have also been announcing some new lenses, and we figured we should probably drop in and mention a thought or two on them for y'all.

a012_2

People might argue with me, but for my money the coolest of the bunch is Tamron announcing the development of a 15-30mm f2.8 constant full-frame ultra-wide zoom... with image stabilization! Yup, joining the 24-70 and 70-200 will be a stabilized full-frame zoom on the wide end, completing Tamron's own holy trinity of lenses. Holier, really, once you factor in that theirs are all stabilized, and not just the 70-200. It'll be noted as model A012, and have 18 elements in 13 groups including a so-exotic-I-think-they-made-it-up XGM (eXpanded Glass Moulded aspherical) element. It'll also sport update coatings (including being Tamron's first fluorite coated lens) and a special copy of Silky Pix for working with images shot using the new SP line of Tamron lenses. Though, when it's coming and for how much are anyone's guess.

Preorder a Tamron SP 15-30mm f2.8 VC

After the Tamron, second most interesting has to be Sigma, who decided that announcing just one lens of a type was for chumps and actually announced two completely different 150-600mm f5-6.3 lenses at the same time. One is in their "Sport" line and is a pro caliber lens with heavier build and superb quality, the other is in their "Contemporary" line and offers a smaller, lighter lens in exchange for some of the quality and cost.

The Sport 150-600mm

The Sport 150-600mm

 

The "Contemporary" 150-600mm

The "Contemporary" 150-600mm

 

Both versions offer OS "optical stabilization," which is good because on zooms this big you'll need that unless you travel everywhere with a heavy-duty tripod at hand. The Sport model is splash proof and features 24 elements in 16 groups and takes a jaw-dropping 105mm filter on front. Oh yeah, and 2 of those lenses are FLD and 2 are SLD, so, dispersion ought to be pretty well addressed. The Contemporary model steps back ever so slightly from the ledge, topping out at 20 elements in 14 groups (only 1 FLD, but still 3 SLD), and a 95mm filter thread that doesn't quite manage to be reasonable either. Both lenses are solidly TBA in both the arrival and price categories, so, keep an eye out for more news as it comes.

Sigma 150-600mm Sport

Sigma 150-600mm Contemporary

If you prefer to get your super-telephoto lengths through more conventional means, they've also announced they're making a new 1.4x and 2.0x teleconverter, both of which are splash proof and autofocus up to f8 (so, yanno, not on the leviathans pictured above). If you're guessing that TBA is the trend here too, you're pretty good at this guessing thing then.

1.4x Teleconverter

2.0x Teleconverter

And, to close us out we have Sony, who's turning in the gnarliest looking lens I've seen in a while:

selp28135g

Those of you who this lens is meant for will know already, but those spikey rings everywhere aren't just a defense system or a way of attracting mates. The FE PZ 28-135mm F4 G OSS here is born to be a cinema lens, and all those are the tracks for easier use of cinematic zoom and focus rings, knobs, and other contraptions. Now, the FE designation lets us know this is an E-mount lens of the full-frame variety, meaning it's for use on the A7 family (A7,A7r,A7s) of mirrorless cameras. Care has been put into it to minimize breathing while focusing, and it'll maintain its focus point while zooming like a proper cinema lens. The three rings control the zoom, focus, and iris. All-in-all, a solid show of Sony's commitment to making the A7 family true stand-outs in the hot 4k video space. Availability I don't know, but the price for this bad boy will be around $2500 once we start getting them.

Sony FE PZ 28-135mm



Marc Lebryk

The Right Lens Part 2...


Welcome to part 2 of a three part installment in what my favorite lenses for portraits are. Just in time for the the soon to be changing leaves for fall, when I know you'll want to make some beautiful portrait images. (You can find Part 1 about lenses for Sports HERE). You may not have all, or any of the lenses I talk about in this series of blogs, but this will also help you add to your bag when you are ready to either get started, or make that jump to the good stuff. Lets get started yes?

upp-test

OK, so there are lots of variables for portrait photography to consider when getting started in lens selections and there are links to ALL of the lenses listed in this blog at the bottom of the post. Do you need a specific lens, or kind of lens to shoot portraits? Simple answer is no. The more complicated answer is that if you're looking for a specific effect, then yes. First lets get started with Depth of field. As I tell workshop attendees, or students in general, depth of field in a photo is created by three factors. Focal Length, Aperture, and distance from the camera. When shooting in a studio on bright white, none of the information about these lenses means as much. I don't shoot with a 85F1.4 in the studio to shoot bright white because that's shot usually at F10 or higher, which honestly I can shoot at any lens that has an 85mm Focal length. When on location though, or looking for a certain effect that means that just about any lens can be used as a portrait lens depending on what you need out of it. In fact, this shot here was shot using a 400mm F2.8.

_M4S1445s(Nikon D4s, 80ISO, Nikon 400mmF2.8VR, 1/250th@F3.5. Paul C Buff Einstein set to 1/32nd power above Ashley shot through a 47" Octabox. Paul C Buff Einstein unit bare bulb behind the background set to 1/16th to give a little bit of an outline. Both Einsteins fired by PockeT Wizard Plus X Units from another in the Camera hot shoe).

The 400mm lens compressed the background so that even though she was only a few feet from the background it's nice and out of focus, along with her taped hands. The shot was really focusing on her face/eyes and I couldn't get that with anything other than the 400mm (trust me I tried other things). If you are wondering about long lens compression, check out this example using a cat! Compression and depth of field are only two factors in choosing a lens for a portrait though. Shooting in a Studio is different than shooting for effect. As I mentioned above, shooting on bright white you can use just about any lens, at any focal length because you are generally shooting at F8 or F10. The lenses in question here are going to be more specialty, but for depth of field purposes and not low light purposes. Generally folks think of low light when they think of a 50mm F1.4 or F1.2 lens, but today I want you to think Depth of Field and backgrounds. When I want to shoot a portrait, I have a few go to specialty lenses in my bag. I have a Nikon 24F1.4, a Nikon 50mm F1.4, and a Nikon 85mm F1.4D lens. Normal lenses in my bag for studio portraits include a Nikon 24-70F2.8G, and a Nikon 70-200F2.8VR2. Quite the collection, I know. (you can actually see ALL of the gear that I own and use on my Gear Page). It took years to get them all, and there is still one lens I would love to add to that list that I haven't yet, but I'll get there. Each of those lenses has their own purpose, not to be abused. They aren't the only lens options either, but I'll get to that.

ML42635

(Nikon D4, 400ISO, Nikon 70-200F2.8VR2@115mm, 1/100th@F2.8. Nikon SB900 in the Rogue XL Pro Lighting kit set to Strip softbox mode above to the right of our Nurse of the Year set to iTTL, and a Nikon SB-800 Speedlight zoomed to 105 set to fire via SU-4 Dummy slave set at 1/8th Power shot into the flags. The SB900 was controlled by a SU800 Speedlight commander on the Cameras Hot Shoe.)

In the sports blog I mentioned using a 70-200mm and it can be used for quite a bit more than just sports. It's a great range for portraits as well especially at F2.8. I own a Nikon 70-200F2.8VR2, but there are lots of options out there in the land of the 70-200. Obviously Canon has it's Equivalent 70-200F2.8IS2, but Sigma and Tamron also have their hats in the ring with their 70-200's. Over the last two years I've been incredibly impressed with Sigma's build and image quality and when I teach I recommend Sigma when someone may not be ready to spend the big bucks on the Nikon or Canon equivalent. The point is that the 70-200 is a major staple of any photographer's bag, and if you don't have one then you should start there. This is why so many companies make them. This is why a Nikon 80-200F2.8 was the first big boy Pro lens I ever bought. In fact when I sold it to buy the next one, I even got as much as I paid for it. Just like for Sports, the 70-200 is great for portraits with a wide open aperture. I prefer Nikon, but whether you like Canon Sigma or Tamron check here!

Jane23

(Nikon D3s, 500ISO, Nikon 50mmF1.4, 1/100th@F1.4. Nikon SB900 set to iTTL shot through a 32" umbrella held over the models head triggered by a Pocket Wizard TT1 in the camera hot shoe, which also triggered two Dynalite 400UniJR units set to full power in the barn in the background attached to a Pocket Wizard TT5 each).

SO you have a 70-200, or you are looking for something a little more specialized but not wanting to break the bank. Then you should look into what I think EVERY photographer should own. The 50mm Prime. It's considered a "normal" lens, and it's a pretty standard focal length. Great for street photography, great for walking around. Anyway, you don't buy a prime lens to shoot it at F10. No, you buy a 50mm F1.8 or F1.4 to shoot at F1.8 or F1.4. You know, the place where all other lenses can't go? Yea. Exactly. The 50mm can run you anywhere between $75 for a used 50mm F1.8 (in Canon OR Nikon) Or you can get the F1.4 version for a few hundred. (Nikon's is $400 refurbished and Canon's F1.4 is about the same.) Beyond the $400 version, the wizards at Nikon, Canon and otherwise have masterminded even better 50mm (or equivalent) lenses for public and professional consumption. Canon makes a 50mm F1.2 lens, and Nikon makes a 58mm F1.4 lens. These lenses are supposed to be the cream of the crop in terms of 50mm Primes. At $1600 and $1700 respectively they aren't for the feint of heart or wallet. This is probably a good time to mention the alternatives to the Canon and Nikon lenses. Until Recently a 50mm lens was a tough thing to mess up. Sigma has proven that 50mm lenses should all be the mecca of quality considering as a lens they have been around a very long time. To prove it, they have released their 50mm F1.4 Art lens to compete with the Canon and Nikon super high end equivalents. I recently reviewed this lens for Roberts (you can read that review HERE). I love my Nikon 50mm F1.4, but Sigma has knocked it out of the park. If you've got the money go for the Sigma 50mm F1.4 Art lens on this one. Otherwise, 50mm F1.8's are cheap and awesome!

Guy13

(Nikon D3s, 200ISO, Nikon 85mmF1.4D, 1/4000th@F2. Nikon SB900 Speedlight with a SD-9A Battery pack shot through a 32? umbrella held by Tom above the subject to camera right zoomed to 105mm set to iTTL +1.7EV fired by Pocket Wizard Flex TT5 unit triggered by a Pocket Wizard MiniTT1 Unit on the camera with an SU-800 in the hot Shoe.)

Why shoot at F1.4? Well it provides a very silky smooth bokeh (out of focus portion of the image) that you can't get with any other lens. That's why a 24-70mm at 50mm F2.8 will give you the same viewing angle, but not the same depth of field. The wide open aperture is what these prime lenses are all about. If you're really looking for an even creamier wide open F1.4 though, you should look for the 85mm F1.4 lens like seen above. The 85mm F1.4 lens is a staple in the portrait photography world because of the incredible depth of field it provides wide open. It will provide such a shallow depth of field that when focused on someone's eye, their nose will be out of focus in the image. The important part is the background though. Totally gone. Beautiful out of focus portions. It really draws your subject out of the background, and puts them at attention in your frame. The 85mm is expensive, but when it comes to portrait lenses, this really is the big one. Nikon and Canon both make a 85mm F1.8 and F1.4. Canon actually makes a 85mm F1.2 instead of a F1.4, and you pay a premium for it. Both Canon and Nikon's 85mm F1.8 can be had for $400-$500 and they are beautiful copies of the lens. I actually own an older Nikon 85mm F1.4D which you can still buy for about $900. The Brand new Nikon version will set you back around $1700, but the Canon 85mm F1.2 will set you back almost $2200! Sigma also has a 85mm F1.4 lens, but it's not of the newer Art lens variety. I've heard good things, but I've got my money waiting on their 85mm F1.4 Art lens when it's time. The Canon or Nikon 85mm F1.4 lens is kind of a stretch in cost for a lot of folks but there are few better portrait lenses that I've the same depth of field. I love my F1.4, but there can be some awesome deals on 85mm F1.8 lenses out there. If you're getting an 85 for the first time, look at the 85mm F1.8 lenses first and you might just save a ton!

Joe1

(Canon 5D Mark II, 100ISO, Sigma 35mm F1.4, 1/200th@F1.4. Photogenic light shot through a 36?x36? softbox set to minimum power pointed mostly towards the background to help diffuse the light enough to use such a wide aperture)

Ok, so not just longer lenses have fast apertures. What if you want that shallow depth of field at a wide angle? Nikon and Canon have taken care of you there too with their 24mm and 35mm F1.4 lenses. I personally prefer the Sigma 35mmF1.4 lens over the Canon and Nikon because again you get 97% of the performance of the Nikon or Canon Counterpart for 50% of the price. I said the same thing when I reviewed the Sigma 35mm F1.4 Art lens a few years ago. Nikon and Canon also have 24mm F1.4 lenses, which are a lot more specialty than they are necessary, but I own one and I love it. When shooting a portrait, I regularly find a shot where I can use the nice wide angle and shallow depth of field created by these lenses. Absolutely beautiful. When it comes to the wider fast primes, I again have to say the Sigma 35mm F1.4 is by far my first choice for the 35mm version, but the Nikon 24mm F1.4 is my first for the wider because Sigma doesn't make one of those (yet). Again, if you're just getting into it definitely check out the F1.8 lenses too because they as usual can save you a ton if you aren't sure if it's for you! That said I've also heard incredible things about the Sigma 18-35F1.8 zoom lens. A F1.8 zoom lens? Yea, not a typo. I haven't actually seen one, but I've heard nothing but incredible things about it.

IUAlumni045

(Nikon D4s, 50ISO, Nikon 24F1.4N, 1/250th@F1.4. Paul C. Buff Einstein set to 1/32nd power shot through a 47" Paul Buff Octabox overhead held by a C Stand. Einstein triggered via Pocket Wizard Plus X unit via a Pocket Wizard X unit in the cameras Hot shoe.)

So there you have it. That's a quick rundown of the lenses that I love for Portraiture in no particular order. yes there are Lots of lenses out there that can be used for portraits, but the Fast Aperture Primes are usually the best. A friend of mine absolutely loves his 100mmF2.8 Macro for portraits. While I don't own a 100mm F2.8 Macro personally, I can attest that the shots he's gotten out of it for portraits have been wonderful. They keys are to shoot at a shallow depth of field in enough light, and your portraits will be much more pleasing. Nikon has really started filling out it's lineup with a lot of F1.8 lenses which cost significantly less than their F1.4 counterparts. If I didn't own a large portion of the F1.4 counterparts already, I'd probably own the F1.8 versions due to cost. They create exceptional images, and are a truly valuable piece of gear in anybody's bag. Hopefully that helps narrow it down.

GuioCards

Remember, what's the effect you are looking to achieve? What's the angle of view you want? Those two things will determine what portrait lens is right for you, and your shots! The shot above was much much more than a bit of fast glass, but none of it Photoshop. If you're looking for something more like what's above than you'll just have to stay tuned, because that's a whole other story for a whole other day. More Soon.



John

Profoto AIR TTL-N


Do you own a Nikon camera?  Have you been waiting to shoot TTL with no wires, more modifiers than you can shake a stick at and 500 watts of color correct and exposure accurate power?  Your wait is nearly over.

Profoto's incredible new battery powered monolight the  Profoto B1 500AIR TTL unit has received rave reviews since its release with a Canon TTL transmitter early this year.  It was certainly one of my favorite new products of the year and one of the most innovative lighting tools in as many years as I've been taking pictures.

Read a hand's on review of the B1 here.

Hit this link for the Preorder

 



Walt Kuhn

Announcing a new class with Walt Kuhn: "Free" Canon Rebel camera class


If you purchased your Canon Rebel at Roberts, begin the process of learning how to use the camera to it's fullest. Learn what the buttons and dials on the camera do! You paid good money for your camera - now let us teach you how to us it.  Free to anyone who purchased a Canon Rebel at Roberts. $30 to anyone who did not purchase the camera at Roberts

Presented ByWalt Kuhn
Cost:$0
When:September 15th, 2014 - September 15th, 2014
Times:6-8pm
Where:Jewish Community Center
6701 Hoover Road
Indianapolis, IN 46260
Register Today


John

Roberts Sponsors Winona School


Roberts Camera is proud to sponsor Winona School of Photography 2014 in Brown County, IN this June 22-25! Winona is an affiliate school of Professional Photographers of Indiana and Professional Photographers of America. http://winonaschool.org/

Winona School Indiana | The Winona Experience
www.winonaschool.org
2014 Instructors Dennis Hammon, Woody Walters, Bridget Harmon-Smith, Michele Gauger, Kevin Hudson & more!


Meredith Reinker

Nikon Day...err...Nikon Week at Roberts!


Each year, one of my favorite weekends here at Roberts is Nikon Day.  We love having our friends from Nikon to our great city to talk gear, show off long glass, and answer our questions...but more importantly is that Nikon likes to buy our customers lunch!  The only catch is that we have to cook it.  Luckily, I have a husband who would rather be in front of his grill than anywhere else!

While Nikon Day is always a great event with good deals on Nikon gear, we are taking it up a notch this year and cramming lots of great events into one week.  Here is what we have going on starting on June 12th.

Thursday, June 12th: Advanced Nikon DSLR Seminar - Focus on D7000/D7100/D600/D610 series - taught by Nikon Super Guy Alex Podstawski - Hampton Inn in Carmel

If you are passionate about photography and intrigued by high-end technology then this seminar on Nikon Digital SLR cameras is for you! Spend two hours with a Nikon expert learning about the advanced features, menus and controls and see what all of the "buzz" is about with Nikon D-SLR cameras.

  • We will explore the HD movie features found through out the line up of Nikon Digital SLRs
  • Learn about the Creative Lighting System and how to control light with built-in wireless flash capabilities in Nikon D-SLR cameras.

Here is some additional info on Alex...Alex Podstawski has been working as a Nikon Technical Representative since early 2012. At age 13, he began shooting on his first camera, a Nikon FE and has been working with light and cameras ever since. Working in the photo industry since age 16 and shooting weddings only two years later, Alex has gained experience uncommon for someone his age. His specialties include infrared and ultraviolet photography, portrait, landscape, wedding, event, wireless flash, and auto racing, among others. With years of experience working in photo labs and specialty stores, as well as a diverse professional career, Alex is eager share his knowledge and enthusiasm for photography at every opportunity.

If this sounds like a great class to you and something that you could benefit from - please sign up - we would love to have you! It's only $25 to register AND we will give you a $25 gift card at the class to be used towards your Nikon purchase on Nikon Day.

 

Friday, June 13th: FREE Nikon Photo Walk around Downtown Indy

While I love our classes, I am always a sucker for a photo walk, especially this photo walk because it will be my FIRST (my two kids and all-the-time job don't leave me a lot of time for photo walkin')! The idea of walking around our beautiful city, talking with our great customers, learning about photography, taking pictures and getting to use gear that I could never otherwise afford sounds like a really awesome Friday night to me.  Fingers crossed for good weather.  Our Nikon reps will join us and bring some loaner lenses to try out, but BYOC (bring your own camera).  If this sounds like a great night to you too, make sure you register because space is limited for this one.

 

Saturday, June 14th: Nikon Cookout in Carmel!

Our Nikon reps will be on-site at our Carmel store from 10am to 3pm! They will answer your questions - try and stump them...it's hard, they know so much! And, they can help you find the perfect camera.  Stop in to register for a $500 Roberts/Nikon gift card!!  Yes, you read that right - we did not accidentally add an extra '0.' That is a $500 gift card to be used at Roberts towards your purchase of Nikon gear.  You can register for the gift card at either store location, but the reps will only be hanging in Carmel.  We will have some great close-out deals on Nikon point and shoot cameras, and we have a ton of Nikon refurb on hand - so come in and check it all out.

If that's not enough to get you in the door...you haven't tried one of our hot dogs.  We will be grilling up some awesome hot dogs (we will even have a vegetarian Tofurky dog option), chips, drinks, and cookies courtesy of our friends at Nikon.  My husband will be manning the grill himself, and like I said, it is one of his favorite places to be.

We know it's a lot to digest, but the main take-away here is if you like Nikon, next week is your time to shine! We hope you can join us for some of our events!  Cheers!

 



Derek

Just Added: Nature Photography Class with Rich Clark


Photo by Rich Clark

Photo by Rich Clark

So, how's everyone liking our new Education & Events department? Did you even notice we had one, filled with way more classes and workshops than we've ever done before? if you haven't taken a look, maybe now's a good time. We just added a new special workshop we're doing next month with nature photographer Rich Clark. He's kind of A Name, especially here in Indy, and he has a lot of really pretty pictures in his portfolio. And, for $49 (plus $3 to get into Eagle Creek Park) you could take a three hour workshop on nature photography with him May 31st from 5-8pm yourself. Neato, right? If you're interested, you should reserve your seat here.

Also, I'd be remiss if I didn't help our Canon rep out and point out in our Events section that we have another session of Canon's popular EOS Discovery Day around the corner to support our equally-upcoming Canon Day shopping event.

DSICOVERY DAY LOGO

 

It's the sort of event where the Canon tech gurus teach you how to make the most of your EOS camera, and what you can do with flashes and all those settings and features that make Canon what it is. It's technically a free event, but to keep the powers that be happy and show y'all love you some Canon we charge $25 upfront, and then you'll get it back at the event in the form of a shiny $25 Roberts gift card. If you're interested in getting the most from your Canon, follow this link here and sign up: EOS Discovery Day.



John

Great Gear for the Great Outdoors


Take nothing but pictures, leave nothing but footprints.  I remember my grandfather saying this to me when I was very young and it rooted in me a strong purpose to be conscientious of my effect on the outdoors.  Moreover, this succinct thought encourages us to be less encumbered by what we bring with us and concentrate on the experience of being outside.  On the flip-side, Ansel Adams when asked what tripod he brings with him was quoted as saying "the biggest one he could find."  Whatever your mindset, the gear we choose to take with us can quickly determine how successful we will be when photographing outdoors.

Here are some suggestions to keep you nimble and capable when your taking in the sights.

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