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Canon EOS 1Ds Mark III

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50 87365 Aug 27, 2013
Recommended By Average Price
94% of reviewers $6,422.32
Build Quality Rating Price Rating Overall Rating
9.87
8.09
9.6
1dsmk3

Specifications:
The Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III is an engineering tour de force which, true to the EOS-1 legacy, redefines the state of the art in no uncertain terms. An entirely new 21.1-megapixel full-frame Canon CMOS sensor delivers astounding image quality and creates new photographic possibilities. Dual "DIGIC III" Image Processors work in tandem to speed up data handling and camera operation, while further refining imaging performance. Tough, high-durability body and shutter designs, combined with the unique EOS Integrated Cleaning System, set new standards for professional dependability. Cutting-edge features-such as a large 3.0-inch LCD monitor with Live View Function, and a fast, precise 45-point AF system-make the EOS-1Ds Mark III powerful and versatile. And, of course, the EOS-1Ds Mark III is part of the unparalleled EOS System, which, with more than 50 EF lenses, 15 interchangeable focusing screens, and extensive wireless remote control and lighting accessories, is the most advanced and powerful digital photography system in the world.

Superb image quality: entirely new 21.1 Megapixel Full-Frame Canon CMOS Sensor, Highlight Tone Priority, and 14-bit A/D conversions for outstanding color tones.

Dual "DIGIC III" Image Processor for excellent image quality and processing speed.

Live View Function capabilities, displayed on the large 3.0-inch LCD monitor.

Outstanding durability thanks to a shutter durability-tested to 300,000 cycles, dust- and water-resistant design, and EOS Integrated Cleaning System.

Up to 5 fps, burst rate up to 12 consecutive RAW images or 56 full-resolution JPEGs, and compatible with newest UDMA high-speed CF cards.

Fast and precise AF system, with 19 high-precision, cross-type AF points with f/2.8 or faster lenses and 26 additional "Assist Points."

Compatible with wireless file transmitter WFT-E2A, extensive remote control accessories, and 15 different interchangeable Ec-series focus screens.


 


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Bruce Sawle
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Registered: Sep 26, 2006
Location: United States
Posts: 4167
Review Date: Dec 17, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $5,200.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: IQ, Autofocus, Build, Noise control
Cons:
None

This camera is unbelievable. The resolutions and colors out of camera are second to none. I own both the 1Ds MK III and 1D MK III my MK III has been relegated to limited duty. The high ISO noise of the 21mp RAW files if exposed correctly are absolutely unbelievable. ISO 3200 is equal to my MK III in all areas.

Dec 17, 2008
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dave chilvers
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Registered: Jan 11, 2002
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 1691
Review Date: Sep 7, 2008 Recommend? | Price paid: Not Indicated

 
Pros: This is an update
Cons:

I finally have unleashed the IQ of the 1dsmk3 by getting together a number of Contax manual focus lenses. what a difference.

Sep 7, 2008
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Joe Roback
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Registered: Oct 16, 2006
Location: United States
Posts: 1
Review Date: Aug 26, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $7,800.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: 21MP, Fast AF, build quality is extremely high, 5fps with 21MP, battery life is incredible, live view, 45 AF points
Cons:
230,000 dot LCD, SD card slot instead of 2 CF slots

The 1Ds3 is my first 1-series camera from Canon. Previously a 40D and before that a 350D.

1Ds3 is a lot of camera. Compared to both my previous cameras, the AF is faster, more accurate. I did the focus test chart v2.1 with all my lenses, 17-40/4L, 24-70/2.8L and 70-200/2.8L IS and all were spot on. I couldn't believe it. With all the haters and bull-crap being posted into the forums are focus issues, I was a little worried about buying a $8k camera and it not focusing to highest of standards. Well I am more than happy and just smile when I think about picking up the 1Ds3 and shooting.

The metering is also better, IMHO. Shooting the same scene with my 1Ds3 and 40D, I find 1Ds3 exposures are consistently better. Overall I am extremely happy with both my 1Ds3 and 40D from Canon.

The only wish I would have, and its something I believe would never really be an option ... would be for Canon to offer an upgrade to the LCD to 920,000 dot TFT display in the new 50D. I been out shooting with a friend who shoots a D3 (which was ironically have focus issues with 70-200/2.8VR), but the LCD on the back was amazing. I really can't afford to buy the 1Ds4 or 1Ds3n just for the LCD ...


Aug 26, 2008
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Daan B
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Registered: Aug 15, 2007
Location: Netherlands
Posts: 7591
Review Date: Aug 12, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $6,700.00

 
Pros: see below
Cons:
see below

The first one I got didn't recognize the batteries nor the AC adapter. I returned it to the store and received a second one (without any complaints from the seller). This second one had some nasty AF issues. It suffered from weird, erratic and random mis-focus on all the 19 selectable AF points with all my lenses. Canon Service calibrated the body and all my lenses to it (three times), but the AF issues remained. Probably some kind of internal (either software or hardware) malfunction. Finally they swapped my second copy for a third one. This last one has no issues at all and functions fine (date code May 2008, FW 1.1.2). At last!!!

A proper working 1Ds3 is a joy to use. A malfunctioning 1Ds3 is a nightmare. I was kind of shocked to find out that there were these severe QC issues with Canon's (very expensive) flagship.

Now on to my review (of a proper working 1Ds3):

Autofocus: the AI Servo is surprisingly stable. There is almost no reason to use One Shot anymore, expect when the area of focus has lots of fine details. In that case AI Servo hunts (as expected). Also, I am under the impression that lenses and body must be carefully calibrated. If there tolerances are too loose, AF reliability and accuracy take a severe penalty. Especially when using outer AF points on wide angle lenses like the 35L and 24-70L (under 50mm). This is a precision tool. Which is good when everything is adjusted properly. It also seems that lenses that have the latest AF algorythms (like the 70-200mm f/4 IS, 16-35mkII) generally perform better (more reliable) on the 1Ds3 as opposed to older lens designs. I am not impressed with low light AF. I think my 5D does slightly better in this regard. The 1Ds3 AF also seems to have some difficulties with strong backlighting and when shooting through windows. All in all I would say, if you keep it's strengths and weaknesses in mind, the AF is at least just as reliable and accurate as that of other DSLR's. And there is always the big and bright VF to make MF very easy and enjoyable Wink

Handling/ergonomics/built: this cam really fits my hand (the grip is fantastic). The buttons are well placed. I can change the ISO while looking through the VF easily. I like the dedicated AF-ON button for keeping the AI Servo activated while releasing with the shutter. I also like the AF point selection by using the joystick (FW 1.1.2). The whole body feels like it is made out of high quality materials. Sturdy and durable. Good weather sealing. The batteries last forever. The LCD is big enough, but more resolution is desirable for judging critical focus/sharpness (especially with wider lenses). The camera menus are easy to navigate.

Features: I love using LiveView. In fact, if the situation calls for it, I mount the cam on my tripod, switch to MF and use LV (10x magnification) to get supersharp pics. The Micro Adjustment is a big help. It has helped me to get most of my lenses spot on. It is especially useful with fast primes where DOF is really thin. However, zooms are a bit more tricky to micro adjust. In order to get them spot on over the entire focal range, I prefer to rely on a proper calibration by Canon Service. Also, when not all the AF points are properly alligned MA is almost useless, because it shifts all the AF points at once. In order to make things really perfect MA should work individually on all 19 AF points - would probably be way too complicated though (LOL).

Metering: metering is very accurate and most of the time spot on. The AWB is very good under natural light. But under mixed indoor lighting it tends to be off. In these cases it is better to use one of the WB presets or custom WB.

Shooting: it must be the high pixel density in combination with large number of pixels, but when shooting this cam I need at least double the focal length as a shutterpeed to be on the safe side when shooting handheld (with longer lenses). However, it is possible to use lower shutterspeeds and get good results, but there is a higher risk involved in comparison to shooting with a 5D for example. In low light situations a flash, IS or a tripod comes in very handy. For what I use this cam for (mostly people photography), 5FPS is more than enough. I have shot some BIF with it and got good results. But when shooting 5FPS RAW the buffer will fill up very quickly. Using the fastest cards will stretch the buffer to some degree. Shooting sRAW or JPEG will of course also stretch the buffer.

Image quality: 1Ds3 files are BIG and wonderful. The color rendition is very natural and realistic. Tonal graduations are subtle and smooth. The resolution is awesome. You have so much room to crop and still get a decent sized pic. Capture of incredible detail is possible. Lots of preserved detail in areas of (deep) shadow too. RAW files are already very good straight out of the cam (LR/PS CS3) and need very little PP. But if extensive PP is needed or desired, the files can take a lot of it before they fall apart. The JPEG quality is impressive too. Shooting JPEG at ISO 1000 doesn't even need a cleaning. You better make sure to use the best lenses and have them properly calibrated (or use MA for that) in order to get the most out of the resolution. When done so, images are very sharp straight out of the cam. Just a sharp as with my 5D. When upgrading 5D files to the size of 1Ds3 files (or the other way around), I would say both cameras show the same amount of noise at higher ISO's. The color noise is easily corrected. The luminance noise looks very film like. The 1Ds3 is very clean up to ISO800 and very usable at ISO1600 (when color noise is removed). At ISO3200 1Ds3 files need a bit of cleaning IMO (color and/or luminance noise - depending on the output/look).

Coming from a Canon 5D, the "upgrade" was more than worth it. Better AF (expect for some minor details), better handling/ergonomics/built, better metering and better features (LiveView and Micro Adjustment). However, when not doing extensive PP or printing under 50cmx70cm, the differences in IQ between the 5D and 1Ds3 are only marginal. It is only when doing a lot of (intensive) PP or when printing above 50cmx70cm that the 1Ds3 will be a big improvement over the 5D. YMMV Smile


Aug 12, 2008
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HMZRHS
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Registered: Apr 10, 2007
Location: Brunei
Posts: 62
Review Date: Aug 6, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $7,481.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Suprisingly Fast for Full Frame
Cons:
LCD display



Aug 6, 2008
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babakn
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Registered: Jul 5, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 427
Review Date: Jul 8, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Viewfinder, resolution, battery, review screen, image quality.
Cons:
Expensive

Compare to 1ds Mark II:
Picture quality is not really noticeable, bigger view finder, different shutter click sound, little bit lighter. Sure its a nicer camera, I like it.
I shoot with Mark 2 and Mark 3. Yes I like mark 3 better, because of bigger viewfinder and it shoots, feels and sounds better in your hands.
I wish it would have not only Small-Raw function, but Medium-Raw as well. That would be nice. And the price would be around 5 or 6 thousand.
But 1ds2 is a great camera still!

Check out my review sample images:CLICK HERE!


Jul 8, 2008
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ajkessler
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Registered: Dec 19, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 3367
Review Date: Jun 30, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $7,500.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: IQ, file sizes, ergonomics, functionality
Cons:
None

MUCH LIGHTER than the 1dsII. Handles better, shoots better, performs better. Battery smokes the 1dsII. Files are cleaner, marginally bigger. 14-bit is a definite improvement. 1-2 stop ISO advantage. This camera is better than it's predecessor in every way. AF is much better as well. Live view (though I thought it was a gimmick) is extremely useful for manual focusing. The joystick is such an improvement over the stupid two-handed design of the Mark II. Menu's and presets are also easier to use, and you can actually see something on the screen. Again, this camera is better than it's predecessor in every way. If you can afford it, you simply can't buy a 1ds2 anymore.

Jun 30, 2008
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John Daniel
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Registered: Jun 6, 2004
Location: Canada
Posts: 1337
Review Date: Jun 16, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $7,500.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Magic! unbeatable image quality. For a 21 Mpix at 14bits, this camera is quite fast. You could finally get quality matching medium format. I love the 3D image effect.
Cons:
none



Jun 16, 2008
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KETCH ROSSI
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Registered: Sep 11, 2007
Location: United States
Posts: 318
Review Date: Jun 15, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $7,999.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: As for all the 1D bodies, incredibly well build, ergonomics and overall design greatly improved form previous versions, a powerhouse in continuos shooting mode when considering the Huge file sizes it produces when shooting RAW, very responsive, produces images like I have never seen before, unless shooting with a $30+ camera, you pay for what you get, I believe that and it is true for this camera.
Cons:
N/A

After shooting for awhile with this new Monster of a camera, I can say that Canon has for sure surpassed all my expectations on this one, I had purchased and used for a while the 1D III, fantastic camera as well (despite the initial issues with the AL Servo) sold it and replaced with the 1Ds III, for the need of FF, and more MP Power for large prints. I shoot mainly Portraiture and Lingerie, but love Landscapes as well. Detail in the images produced by this camera are just stunning, the use of "L" series glass becomes a must on this Beast, my new favorite lens to use on the 1Ds III is the EOS 200mm f/2L IS.

As time permits I will upload pics to be viewed here:

http://ketchrossi.smugmug.com/


I'm extremely happy with this camera and I would recommend its purchase despite the price, as it is not all that bad when you see what you get!


Jun 15, 2008
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Sharmy
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Registered: Nov 2, 2005
Location: Australia
Posts: 0
Review Date: Jun 13, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Full frame, resolution, tone detail
Cons:
None

My 1D2 was a great machine but at the end of the day, the resolution is just not enough for those times when you want to crop and zoom.

The 1Ds3 is a sublime machine with acres of resolution headroom. The increase from 12 to 14 bit is also most welcome - just look at the tone control now available to you.

Those complaining about price - this camera is not meant for you. Look lower down the EOS series and you will find something suitable.


Jun 13, 2008
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Andy M
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Registered: Sep 10, 2006
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 9
Review Date: May 28, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Resolution & Build.
Cons:
Viewfinder misalignment problem.

I've seen many a magazine review knock the 1Ds 3 for its average out-of-the-camera JPEGs, but why the hell would you shoot JPEG-only with a camera like the 1Ds?!

I've found the 1Ds' RAW files to really sing once converted in Lightroom & CS3, and having bought a Nikon D3 at the same time as the 1Ds, kept the Canon through much preferring its files.

This camera has been perfect, but for the viewfinder misalignment problem. See: http://www.northlight-images.co.uk/article_pages/cameras/canon_1ds3_tilt.html

You can see the 1.3 degree tilt of the horizon in this shot: http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3257/2443343409_116d7548f8_o.jpg

That Canon released its premium camera with such a fault is astonishing, especially given the problems experienced with the 1D mk 3.

Now that this issue has been rectified - I used Lehmanns Direct to repair mine - the camera is a pleasure to use once more.

My only other problem is that the camera really highlights and deficiencies of your lenses. Where previously my 17-40L was found to be 'good', on the 1Ds it is mush, especially in the corners. Chromatic aberration especially can be very pronounced.
When will Canon release an excellent wide angle lens? The mk2 versions of the 14L and 16-35L definitely are not it. I'm personally looking to buy a Nikon 14-24 and have it adapted to fit the Canon.

In all I can highly recommended the 1Ds mark III, and am very glad to have bought mine.


May 28, 2008
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technodom
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Registered: May 25, 2005
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 0
Review Date: May 6, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Better colour, resolution, handling by quite a margin over using the 5D. Had 3 shoots since purchasing and loving it.
Cons:
none

This camera is really lovely. Handling is so fluid - buttons where my fingers want them (not use if I'll use the FEL button though but sure others would).

I shot an event at the weekend and never need big images for this so used SRAW for the first time - simply ideal.

My images have an analog feel and texture which I've not experienced before and I'm loving them.

Got so many things I want to go an re-shoot now :-)


May 6, 2008
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Glassbottle
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Registered: Jan 17, 2006
Location: South Africa
Posts: 567
Review Date: May 4, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $9,200.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Resolution, image quality, big bright viewfinder, build, handling and interface.
Cons:
Price!

Overpriced, yes. A great leap forward in image quality? Not exactly. But I'm still a satisfied customer.

In-camera JPGs aren't bad at all but this camera truly shines in RAW. Spectacular detail (no out-of-the-ordinary softness due to AA filter on my sample). Best of all, the files can take amazing punishment in Photoshop without going crunchy.

Colours and tonal graduations are rendered really nicely and, I think, accurately. I get a strong sense of realism from pictures taken by this camera.

Postprocessing in general is easier and more effective than with my previous digital cameras (the best of them a 5D). There's an innate punch and clarity to images out of this camera that's not to be sneezed at. It's subtle but it's there.

Noise, per pixel, is a tiny bit worse than the 5D but by the time you equalise the file sizes the 1Ds3 has the edge.

So, yes, these are subtle refinements as far as image quality is concerned, but a real advance nonetheless.

Camera handling is superb. The silly multi-button-press interface of the previous 1-series is (hooray) dispensed with. And now that the latest firmware makes it possible to select AF points with the joystick, there's scarcely a word to be said against the interface.

Battery life is prodigious. It goes on and on and on.

Buy a UDMA CF card. You get 11 RAWs before you fill the buffer at 5fps; better than 7 with an ordinary card.

Back to the price. It's horrific; enough to make you faint. And unwarranted, surely. How can this cam be worth twice as much as a 1D3?

But that's just the way it is. If you need lots of megapixels combined with top-end autofocus, there's simply no alternative. Nothing that can shoot five frames a second, anyway.


May 4, 2008
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dhphoto
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Registered: Feb 15, 2003
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 9942
Review Date: Apr 28, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $9,200.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Fantastically well built, smooth lines, improved interface, huge number of pixels, big viewfinder, can use USB (not just firewire), ISO in Viewfinder, My Menu, more latitude in 14 bit RAW files, sRAW, configurable backup, ISO button
Cons:
Ridiculously expensive (twice 1D3, come on Canon), no mirror lockup button, not significantly better than 5D at high ISO's (although needs less enlargement obviously), dodgy Canon Windows software, expensive batteries

This is a great digital SLR, no doubt about it. But it is TOO EXPENSIVE, especially in the UK. I could have bought in the US but I was concerned with the warranty.

Coming from a 1D2N this feels much more modern, most functions are now one handed and it is easier (if not easy) to use mirror lock up.

Live View is good but a bit incongrous, once you have focused (only manual available) you press zoom-in to zoom-out, daft. Why not a proper grid? If you're going to offer one, why not make it useful for architecture?

It's beautifully made and seems to work well and shift data at a massive rate.

Is there a MASSIVE improvement in image quality? Well, there are an awful lot of pixels so you need to enlarge less and can crop more, but the files are very typically Canon - a bit red heavy and oversaturated by default to my taste.

If I sound disappointed I think I was expecting just a bit more for such a huge amount of money. If it were cheaper I'd have given it a 10, as it is it's 9 for build and features and a 4 for value.


Apr 28, 2008
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nickstills
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Registered: Nov 3, 2007
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 0
Review Date: Apr 26, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Improved image quality over the Mark 2 version.
Cons:

I am very happy with the improved image quality compared to my Mark 2 version.(better dynamic range, richer colour, all in all, more filmy)

The larger screen and simpler control systems are nice to have too.


Apr 26, 2008
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crimson400
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Registered: Mar 21, 2008
Location: United States
Posts: 0
Review Date: Apr 25, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $6,500.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: IQ, build, weather-proofing, autofocus, dust reduction, lens-specific focus compensation
Cons:
No dedicated WB button, no ISO 6400+, PRICE!

Unbelievable image quality. Solid, rugged build. Weather-proofing everywhere. Ultra-fast autofocus. Overall, the camera is heavier than a 5D (duh) but it actually balances out things when you have a heavy long lens. Dust reduction is a nice new feature.

Cannot select all focus points at once. No dedicated WB button and no ISO 6400+ (even though the D3 softens images at that ISO.) Two Compact Flash card slots would have been nice instead of CF and SD. Price is out of this world - for now.

Through August, Canon gives you a $100 repair voucher just for registering the camera + 20% off all repair parts.

You can't use this without being noticed. Make sure you get insurance when you travel with it. A body like this screams, "Steal me! I'm expensive."


Apr 25, 2008
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Canon EOS 1Ds Mark III

Buy from B&H Photo
Reviews Views Date of last review
50 87365 Aug 27, 2013
Recommended By Average Price
94% of reviewers $6,422.32
Build Quality Rating Price Rating Overall Rating
9.87
8.09
9.6
1dsmk3


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