Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ72

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Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ72

A 20 mm ultra wide-angle 60x optical zoom lens makes it possible to capture dynamic landscape and wild animals distant away. The 20 mm ultra wide-angl...

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Review of "Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ72"

published 27/03/2017 | elfbwillow
Member since : 07/02/2007
Reviews : 377
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Thanks to everyone for the ratings especially the E's - much appreciated I am back! I have missed you all!
Super
Pro Decent photo quality, easy to use in the main, good appearance and build
Cons Price too high, some settings difficult to work
exceptional
Picture Quality
Range & Quality of Features
Ease of Use
Durability
Reliability

"A BRIDGE TO GREAT PHOTOS"

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ72

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ72

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ72


A BRIDGE TO GREAT PHOTOS

Please note: I am not a very technical person and am in no way a professional photographer, so therefore, I apologise if I miss anything out or get anything slightly wrong.

I purchased this camera about a year ago give or take after my old camera decided to give up the ghost. I may not be a professional photographer, though taking photos is my hobby, especially since my daughter was born nine years ago. It is very rare that I am out without my camera – (to the annoyance of my family most probably!) - and so I wanted a good, solid camera that would take great photos, though at the same time, easy to use.

I can not quite remember the price I paid for it, though it is selling in PC World for £249.00 which is possibly around the price I paid. It does say on PC World's site that it has been reduced by over £100.00, so I would definitely recommend looking around for price comparisons.

Anyway, onto the camera itself...


GET CLOSER TO THE ACTION

A lot of people prefer camera phones, or the tiny digital cameras that can fit easily into a bag or even pocket, though I have always loved the feel of the 'big black cameras'. Perhaps, despite my novice status in cameras, it works to make me feel more professional! Either way, I spent a short time researching cameras and trying some out in shops before purchasing this particular one. I am not sure exactly what drew me to this one in the end, though I do know part of it was the photo quality (which I will cover further in this review).

THE APPEARANCE

The cameras appearance is quite usual for this type of camera, with a black matt finish for the main part of the camera with a more gloss shine for the lens area. The right side of the camera is specifically designed for ease and comfort in holding it, with an area that your fingers bend around as if they were made straight from your own hand cast. As I suffer a lot of pain in my hands, this feature was certainly an important one for me, and although the heaviness of the camera can become quite tricky for me, the design in the manner certainly makes things easier. When holding the camera in this position, the most used buttons or switches are all in fantastic places for you to reach easier when taking photos.

The back of the camera features a 3.0'' LCD screen and viewfinder so suits both preferences. The screen itself is my personal choice, and is very clear with great colouring. I do find that the image seen through this has subtle differences to the final photo in the sense of colour and focus, though this is not too bad of a negative point. I do quite often use the eye viewfinder for macro (close up) shots which does enable me to see the focal area a lot easier. To the left side on the back in the flash button which, when pressed, flips the flash upwards (which is situated on top of the camera). The main buttons on the back are situated to the right of the screen. Here you will find the switch to swap between viewfinder and screen, an AF/AE button which acts as a multi function button as well as used to lock the focus, not to be confused with the AF/AF-F button which switches the focus setting (these two I have only recently begun to understand more!), the rear dial which is used to determine certain settings and change setting types, the playback button to view videos and photos already on the memory, the main menu button that deals with deletion etc, the display button and finally, the MENU/SET button which comes with many other features around it, not only displaying menu options (such as cursor display and movement, options to do whilst recording, ISO sensitivity, white balance, self timer and yet another function button). Of course, with most menus and options, this is only the base line and a lot more can be performed with these buttons, some of which I will explain further on in the review.

To the front of the camera you will find the flash (top front), a small light which shows the self-timer as well as when auto focus is used in the dark, the lens barrel and lens. As far as I am aware, you can not buy extra lens' as this camera has a fixed lens option only. On top of the flash you will find the microphone used for taking videos with a small speaker area off to the left side. You can attach another flash, however only certain flash types are recommended. I do not have an external flash, though if you choose to get one, it clips easily onto a silver area behind the main camera flash. To the right side of the top, (front to back) you will find the manual digital zoom which slides from side to side easily, right next to the shutter button (to take the photo). The recording button sits closely behind near to the focus button (though I do not always use this as the cameras in built focus is quite good if you have the right settings etc). Finally, on the top, you have a rather big dial which is the mode dial. Here you can choose different picture setting (which I will go into more later) as well as video. The on/off switch to the camera is also on the side of this.

On each side of the camera you will find a little clip so that you can attach the shoulder strap securely to it. This came with the camera when I brought it and I am thankful to have it rather than always carrying around a large camera bag. It also came with a wrist strap which attaches to the same area, though I have never used this as I feel the camera is too heavy for easy use with it on your wrist.

To the right of the camera is two sockets under a flap for AV output and HDMI. The flap sits securely over these connections, though it does appear quite flimsy and does need some manoeuvring to get it back into place. On the bottom of the camera is a compartment for the battery and memory card. It is a click lock opening and much more secure than that of the AV flap. The battery came with the camera and is a 7.2v battery (model: DMW-BMB9E). This battery can be charged via a battery charger (external). It can not be charged via a cable to the camera. The memory card used is a SanDisc ultra (usual size memory card). This has to be brought separately.


SETTINGS AND START UP

When you first purchase this camera it is recommended that you charge the battery for approximately 155 minutes. If you remove the battery, wait until the LCD screen has gone off before removing it otherwise it may cause problems. Upon the LCD screen you will have a small battery icon which will show you how much battery life is left. Using the LCD screen to take photos and videos will use quite a bit more battery than using the viewfinder.

One thing I have noticed is that if you leave the camera on for a length of time whilst taking photos, the battery area does warm up considerably. I do not know if this is usual for cameras of this type, though I find that turning it off for a few minutes every now and again cools it down quickly. It does also have an automatic shut off feature to aid this.

Without a memory card inserted, you can take photos but it has a very small amount of space (35 photos), If you do decide to use this option, you can still easily transfer the photos to your computer via the cable. You can also copy the photos from internal memory to card. The camera also allows some recording but on internal memory this is very short. When you have a card inserted, obviously it depend on the size of the card, but you are able to record approximately half an hour without pause.

When setting up the camera, many options are dependant upon what you want. I have not set up all the things as I do not need to, though many people may wish to. These options can all be set from the menu/set button and include the date and time (these can be printed on the photo if required). These settings are reasonably straight forward to use.

TAKING PHOTOS

There are a number of options you may want to consider when taking actual photos. The main settings for this can be found on the main dial on top of the camera. To select the main setting, simply twist the dial. Settings which can be found here include:

P: Programme AE mode – this allows automatic shutter speed
IA: Intelligent Auto mode – Another setting which takes pictures with automatic settings
A: Aperture-Priority mode – This determines the aperture when taking photos
S: Shutter priority mode – Here you can select manual shutter speeds
M: Manual Exposure mode – You can determine both shutter speed and aperture here.
(Vid camera image) M: Creative video mode – Manual video recording
C: Custom mode – Use pre-set settings
Panorama shot
SCN: Scene mode – Choose between 18 different scenery effects (Portrait, soft skin, scenery, sports, panning, food, HDR, Handheld night shot, night scenery, night portrait, baby 1, baby 2, pet, sunset, high sensitivity, starry sky, through glass, 3D).
Creative Control: Choose picture effects (Expressive, retro, old days, high key, low key, sepia, dynamic monochrome, impressive art, high dynamic, cross process, toy effect, miniature effect, soft focus, star filter, one point colour)

I have to admit that I have not used all these settings apart from flicking through to see what they are, though it is easy to sort the settings on the basis. There are underlying options with some settings as well, though these are slightly more tricky to find as involve other dials etc.

IA: This is the easiest option to use as it is all automatic from scene detection to backlighting, red eye removal, zoom etc. This is the setting I admit I do use the most, possibly because I am lazy!

P: When using this option, settings are displayed on the LCD screen. These include aperture value, shutter speed, ISO sensitivity, focus display and AF area. If any of these flash or appear red then you may need to adjust things like the exposure which is done by twisting the small dial at the back.. A metre then appears so you are able to choose the right setting for you. When the camera is turned off, this setting is cancelled though it is also stored in the memory. This was not easy to understand without using the manual and to be honest, I still dont think I am doing it right everytime!

IA/A: The background focus can be changed in both these options, again with the small dial at the back. Settings once again shown on the LCD screen. In the IA mode, you can also adjust the colour, and brightness too.

AF Tracking: This option allows the focus to stay on the subject even if it is moving. This is the small AF button on the back. It can not be used in other colours such as sepia or black and white.

When taking a photo, the shutter has a two level push. You push it half way down until it focuses automatically, then continue to press to take the photo.

The flash, surprise, surprise, also have different settings such as Auto, red-eye, forced on or off, and slow sync. I tend to stick on auto for this.

Recording a video is just as simple, using the same button as you would take a photo with. Focus can also be obtained by pressing the focus button when recording.

To delete your photos, simply go into playback mode and delete one, multiple or all. There is also an opinion to lock photos in protective mode, and if this is the case then you have to deactivate it before you can delete it. This is handy when you are deleting 'all' as it will not touch those protective ones.

Although there are a lot of options (possibly fewer than other cameras), the camera is not so complex to use once you get used to it. You may be like me and not really use all the different settings, though if you do, they are quite well explained on the LCD screen and quite easy to pick up. Taking the actual photos and videos are made simple by the settings and easy use shutter button and flash as well as the comfortability of the camera itself.


PERFORMANCE

So now you have the basics of the camera, the most important thing is its performance. To me, I do not care how many settings there are and whether it beats another camera, nor do I overly mind what it looks like (even though these two aspects are great in this camera), but what I do want is great, clear photos. So how does this camera compare?

I have had a few problems taking photos with this camera, though this may just be me and not getting the settings right or simply shaking it too much as I do manage to take some great photos in between. I do find the colour and focus quite often becomes without edge and slightly unfocused, though as I do tend to stay on the automatic options more so, this could be the issue with some of the photos. I also find getting the back lighting and colour right quite difficult, though again, this is possibly due to my novice level opposed to the camera itself.

Anyway, let me delve deeper into the performance of this camera.

PHOTO TIME

One of the fun things I did enjoy playing with when I first got this camera is the settings. Certain ones are not worth it for me, such as black and white or sepia, as I am used to editing these options on my computer so rarely take them in these colours, though the other settings are great. I love the well rounded choice of options in this aspect. The scenery choices are a little odd (like baby and baby2), though some are quite interesting and do aid in the photo quality. The 3D option was one I was looking forward to using, though to be perfectly honest, it is not all its cracked up to be. Yes,I can see a slight difference compared to a non-3D photo, though it is not as strong a difference as I had hoped. Most have their elements to them which I find do give each photo a different edge, and certain options allow on photo text, though on the whole, these could have probably have been halved in number and I would still be happy. The artistic settings are also fun to use, though as I said before, many of these I simply edit on my computer, though my daughter likes to use these when I let her borrow my camera. The range is a decent one and no quality is lost when using these options which is good. Some are a little something and nothing, though on the whole, I do find this section fun.

The zoom is another aspect that I wanted to be good, and this zoom is above average. The zoom has two types; a digital zoom and an extra optical zoom. The zoom ratio and the zoom bar is shown on the screen though neither type can be used in certain settings such as 3D, and other settings such as Macro will only use digital zoom. The optical zoom has a range of 60x which is great, though as expected, you do lose pixels when you zoom in too far. This is much better than the camera I had before, though, and more often than not, I do not need far away photos. It would of course be nice to be able to take distant photos without losing the pixels, but oh well! The digital zoom is 5x and works well enough for what I use it for. The megapixels on this camera starts at 16.1, though this is lost when zooming unfortunately.

Another thing I like with this camera is the background blur, especially in my macro shots (I like taking close ups of flowers), though to get this setting to the right point is tricky, and to be honest, I am still working on perfecting it. It does its job though I have used cameras with a much easier background blur/soften than this and a much more efficient one.

One thing I do like, (though I can only compare it to my previous cameras and do not know the average in cameras like this), is the 20mm ultra wide zoom lens which allows me to show more in the photos I take. This is a noticeable difference to my last camera.

So what about the quality of the photos themselves?

With a lot of different effects and settings, the photo quality can seem interchangeable, though on the whole, the quality is definitely above average. The contrast is sharp in the majority of settings, with the colouring bright and beautiful. I do love the crisp look the photos give when I do manage to take one that is not blurry, and the way that the photos stand out is simply fantastic. The camera does have an automatic touch up feature, though this does not touch it enough in my opinion and I can perfect it better on my computer. You are able to crop on certain settings, and this is great on this camera, without losing the quality.

The video quality is also above average, so much so that I tend to use this feature rather than the movie feature on my phone or actual video camera. Sound wise, though, I would not say it is absolutely clear and precise, though picture wise it meets my standards. It is a shame there is no pause feature in the recording.


FINAL WORDS

Overall, I am happy with my purchase, even though there are a few things in which I feel could be better, like the pixel loss on a distant zoom and the macro zoom, though in the main, this is a good, solid camera which should last. The price, though, I think is a little too high for what it actually is, so do look around. In some places, the price seems to have gone up from what I paid a year ago, so definitely look for those lower prices. Do look for some deals which include other items as you may save money this way.

As mentioned, the camera does come with a small number of accessories such as the shoulder strap, the lens cover and the battery and charger, though you will need to purchase a bag and such like separate. I think this is the normal amount of accessories you can expect with a purchase such as this.

To sum it up, my ratings for each aspect is as follows;

Price: 6.5/10
Appearance and build rating: 8.5/10
Set up: 9/10
Settings: 9/10
Use of camera: 9/10
Ease of camera: 8.5/10
Features: 9/10
Photo quality: 8.5/10
Video quality: 7/10

And for those who want to quickly skim some of the features, please find these in brief below:

Size: 130.2 x 97.0 x 118.2 mm
Weight: Approx. 562g without Battery and SD Memory Card (1.24 lb)
16.1 Megapixels
Optical zoom: 60x
Intelligent zoom 120x
Focus: Normal / AF Macro / Macro Zoom / MF
HD video: 1920 x 1080 pixels
7.5cm (3.0") TFT Screen LCD Display
Built in flash
PHOTOfunSTUDIO 9.2AE software (included)

I apologise if I have missed anything and will endeavour to edit this review with any other information or thoughts.

So do I recommend this camera?

Certainly, though if you are looking for an ultra professional one, I would suggest looking at other cameras. This is great for a novice or a budding photographer, though it is lacking in many aspects which I believe that professionals will want/need.

A/N: I have added some photos I have taken with this camera to show you the type of quality you can expect from this camera.


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Comments on this review

  • Classicc published 26/05/2017
    Really well written
  • 1st2thebar published 23/05/2017
    Consumer friendly.
  • DodoRabbit published 05/04/2017
    Exceptional!
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Product Information : Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ72

Manufacturer's product description

A 20 mm ultra wide-angle 60x optical zoom lens makes it possible to capture dynamic landscape and wild animals distant away. The 20 mm ultra wide-angle lens captures approx. 140% wider angle of view compared with a 24 mm angle of view. The intelligent zoom extends the zoom ratio up to 120x equiv. with minimum deterioration of image quality. The POWER O.I.S. (Optical Image Stabilizer) effectively suppresses hand-shake vibration. The angular width that the DMC-FZ72 can compensate is more than 200% wider than the predecessor DMC-FZ62 at the tele-end, which realizes handheld 1200 mm super telephoto shooting. The Active Mode is equipped with DMC-FZ72 that encourages active video recording at wide angle such as shooting while walking without causing deterioration of image quality. The DMC-FZ72 records 1920 x 1080 Full-HD video in AVCHD/MP4. The sound quality is improved thanks to the newly developed wind shield zoom microphone that minimizes wind noise by approx. 70% compared with the DMC-FZ62. Externally, the special sealed structure prevents wind from hitting the microphone directly and the draft structure suppresses retention of air internally. With a substantial increase in volume by approx. 50%, the microphone boasts better S/N ratio to suppress noise in quiet circumstances to catch the target sound. The 16.1-megapixel high sensitivity MOS sensor is newly integrated in DMC-FZ72. Together with the Venus Engine, it elevates the response, sensitivity and image quality even to the higher level. Integrating the high speed digital signal output technology, the DMC-FZ72 shoot 9 fps in 16.1-megapixel resolution with mechanical shutter and 5 fps with continuous AF. It also contributes to the light speed AF. Together with the quick start-up time, the DMC-FZ72 never misses the most fleeting shooting opportunities.

Product Details

Product Description: Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ72 - digital camera

Product Type: Digital camera - compact

Memory Card Slot: SD card

Image Processor: Venus Engine

Sensor Resolution: 16.1 Megapixel

Max Video Resolution: 1920 x 1080

Lens System: 60 x zoom lens - 3.58 - 215 mm - f/2.8-5.9

Focus Adjustment: Automatic, manual

Min Focus Distance: 30 cm

Digital Zoom: 5 x, 120 x

Image Stabiliser: Optical (POWER O.I.S. with Active Mode)

Camera Flash: Pop-up flash

Viewfinder: Electronic - 0.2" - colour

Display: LCD display - 3"

Supported Battery: 1 x Li-ion rechargeable battery - 895 mAh ( included )

AV Interfaces: Composite video/audio, HDMI

Colour: Black

Dimensions (WxDxH): 13.02 cm x 11.82 cm x 9.7 cm

Weight: 562 g

Manufacturer Warranty: 1 year warranty

EAN: 5025232752270

Long Name: Lumix DMC-FZ72EB

Optical Sensor / Sensor Resolution: 16.1

Viewfinder / Viewfinder Type: without Viewfinder

Flash Memory / Form Factor: SD Memory Card

Lens System / Optical Zoom: 60 x

LCD Display Size: 3

Autofocus: TTL

Camera Flash / Type: Built-in Flash

Manufacturer: Panasonic

General

MPN: DMC-FZ72EB-K, DMC-FZ72LENSKIT

Product Type: Digital camera - compact

Enclosure Colour: Black

Sensor Resolution: 16.1 Megapixel

Optical Sensor Type: MOS

Total Pixels: 16,800,000 pixels

Effective Sensor Resolution: 16,100,000 pixels

Optical Sensor Size: 1/2.3"

Optical Zoom: 60 x

Digital Zoom: 5 x

Image Processor: Venus Engine

Image Stabiliser: Optical (POWER O.I.S. with Active Mode)

Auto Focus: TTL contrast detection

Auto Focus Points (Zones) Qty: 23

AE/AF Control: Face-priority AF, Subject-tracking AF

Digital Video Format: AVCHD, H.264

Image Recording Format: JPEG, RAW, RAW + JPEG, MPO, MPO + JPEG

Max Video Resolution: 1920 x 1080

AV Interfaces: Composite video/audio, HDMI

Exposure & White Balance

Light Sensitivity: ISO 100, ISO 800, ISO 400, ISO 200, ISO 1600, ISO 3200, ISO auto, ISO auto (1600-6400)

Exposure Metering: Multi-segment, centre-weighted, spot

Exposure Modes: Programme, automatic, manual, aperture-priority, shutter-priority

Shooting Programs: Portrait mode, night portrait, PET, scenery, food, 3D image, panorama assist, night scene, panning, sports mode, sunset, behind glass, high sensitivity, starry sky, soft skin, baby1, baby2, handheld night shot, Dynamic Range (HDR)

Special Effects: Black & White, Sepia, Vivid, soft focus, natural, monochrome, portrait, miniature, Cross Process, Retro, Happy, Expressive, high dynamic, Dynamic B&W, High Key, Low Key, Scenery, Toy effect, Star Filter, Impressive Art, One Point Colour, Old Days

White Balance: Custom, automatic, presets

White Balance Presets: Incandescent, cloudy, Flash, daylight, shade

Max Shutter Speed: 1/2000 sec

Min Shutter Speed: 60 sec

Exposure Compensation: ±3 EV range, in 1/3 EV steps

Auto Exposure Bracketing: 3 steps in 1/3, 1/2, 2/3, 1, 2 or 3 EV steps

White Balance Bracketing: Yes

Lens System

Type: 60 x zoom lens - 3.58 - 215 mm - f/2.8-5.9

Focal Length Equivalent to 35mm Camera: 20 - 1200mm

Focus Adjustment: Automatic, manual

Min Focus Distance: 30 cm

Macro Focus Range: 1cm

Zoom Adjustment: Motorised drive

Lens Construction: 12 groups / 14 elements

Features: ED glass, aspherical lens

Camera Flash

Camera Flash: Pop-up flash

Flash Modes: Fill-in mode, slow synchro, auto mode, flash OFF mode, red-eye reduction

Features: AF illuminator

Effective Flash Range: 0.3 m - 13.5 m : ISO auto ( wide lens ) ¦ 1 m - 6.4 m : ISO auto ( tele lens )

Additional Features

Continuous Shooting Speed: 2 frames per second, 5 frames per second, 9 frames per second, 10 frames per second (3MPix)

Self Timer Delay: 10 sec, 2sec

Additional Features: Direct print, built-in speaker, RGB primary colour filter, DPOF support, sharpness control, PictBridge support, histogram display, in-camera red-eye removal, cropping an image, resizing an image, saturation control, Dolby Digital AC-3 (2 channel) recording, highlight point display, in-camera film editing, contrast control, 1080p Full HD movie recording, Intelligent Resolution Technology, Exif Print support, HDR image enhancement technology, Intelligent Auto Plus (iA+), text stamp, Noise Reduction control, Light Speed AF, Creative Panorama function

Viewfinder

Viewfinder Type: Electronic

Viewfinder Colour Support: Colour

Viewfinder Diagonal Size: 0.2"

Viewfinder Resolution: 202,000 pixels

Field Coverage: 100%

Display

Type: 3" LCD display

Resolution: 460,000 pixels

Display Features: Built-in

Microphone

Microphone Operation Mode: Stereo

Microphone Features: Zoom, wind noise reduction

Connections

Connector Type: 1 x USB 2.0 ¦ 1 x HDMI output ¦ 1 x composite video/audio output

Memory Card Slot: SD card

Software

Software: Drivers & Utilities, Adobe Reader, Panasonic PHOTOfunSTUDIO 9.2 Advanced Edition

Miscellaneous

Included Accessories: Battery charger, lens cap, shoulder strap, USB cable, lens cap strap

Battery

Details: 1 x Li-ion rechargeable battery - 895 mAh ( included )

Battery Life Details: Photo shooting - 400 shots

Memory / Storage

Memory Card Slot: SD card

Supported Memory Cards: SD Memory Card, SDXC Memory Card, SDHC Memory Card

Image Storage: JPEG 4608 x 3456 ¦ JPEG 3648 x 2736 ¦ JPEG 3072 x 2304 ¦ JPEG 2560 x 1920 ¦ JPEG 2048 x 1536 ¦ JPEG 640 x 480 ¦ JPEG 4608 x 3072 ¦ JPEG 3648 x 2432 ¦ JPEG 3072 x 2048 ¦ JPEG 2560 x 1712 ¦ JPEG 2048 x 1360 ¦ JPEG 640 x 424 ¦ JPEG 4608 x 2592 ¦ JPEG 3648 x 2056 ¦ JPEG 3072 x 1728 ¦ JPEG 2560 x 1440 ¦ JPEG 1920 x 1080 ¦ JPEG 640 x 360 ¦ MPO 1920 x 1080 - 3D mode ¦ JPEG 3456 x 3456 ¦ JPEG 2736 x 2736 ¦ JPEG 2304 x 2304 ¦ JPEG 1920 x 1920 ¦ JPEG 1536 x 1536 ¦ JPEG 480 x 480

Video Capture: H.264 - 1920 x 1080 - 25 fps - 20Mbps ¦ H.264 - 1280 x 720 - 25 fps - 10Mbps ¦ H.264 - 640 x 480 - 25 fps - 4Mbps ¦ AVCHD - 1920 x 1080 - 50 fps - 17Mbps ¦ AVCHD - 1280 x 720 - 50 fps - 17Mbps

Manufacturer Warranty

Service & Support: 1 year warranty

Service & Support Details: Limited warranty - 1 year

Dimensions & Weight

Width: 13.02 cm

Depth: 11.82 cm

Height: 9.7 cm

Weight: 562 g

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