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 Post subject: Photography
PostPosted: Sun Feb 12, 2006 3:43 pm 
This thread from 4x4's viewtopic.php?t=370&start=15

chrstjrn wrote:
Kaptain von Klepper wrote:
Why do you suppose so many photographers prefer to shoot old mechanical Nikons "Beyond the Black Stump" or in the boonies?


I'm still loving the Nikonos II that Mike (Administrator of this forum) sold to me. No batteries! I use it for backpacking trips, snowshoeing in cold, hiking in storms... but not much for kayaking. I've used "snapsights" more in the kayak.


Through the Lens

If there's a topic besides SAAB's, horses, bicycles or Kleppers that I can write a dissertation on :wink:, it would be photography. I'll try to keep it short. :)

I've dreamed of owning a Nikonos II for years. I love snorkelling and I continue to kick myself for not getting my basic scuba certification when I was living in Hawai'i. There was an outfit offering basic certification for just US$200, just down the road from where I was living/working, but that's another story... Needless to say, I've always wanted to take underwater pics and I'll probably go to a Nikon School (TM) seminar on underwater photography one day.

Unfortunately the Nikonos II isn't the best choice for general photography, but it's great for rugged wet conditions, -someone mentioned Vietnam War corrospondants here, somewhere. The essential problem for the Nikonos line is the basic set of prime lenses due to the difficult nature of underwater photography. Water has a 5-7% magnification property, + poor light quality + oft times limited visability. To compensate for all of this, underwater cameras usually use wide angle prime lenses, -28mm or 35mm. These not only compensate for the water magnification, but allow for the photographer to get close enough to her/his subject for a photographic strobe to be effective in the low light/visibility conditions, but also have a wider frame for the subject.

Above the water, for the subject to appear the same size to the naked eye as through the lens, the lens needs to be a 50mm to 75mm "normal" lens. Any lens 45mm or wider is called a wide angle lens, and the subject begins to appear smaller and spacial distortion begins.

The 1st 35mm camera I had for my own use was my parent's Leica M3 (Same camera Lindemann used in his adventures, -not to mention that almost every German WW II corrospondant (including U-boats) used its forerunner). Unfortunately I only had 1 lens, a 45mm prime, -(Leica doesn't have zooms for their range finders). Though Zeiss lenses are unsurpassed in quality, I couldn't help but be somewhat disappointed as Jurgen (my brother) and my teenage "death defying" exploits in mountaineering became recorded on film somewhat distorted. Subjects became tiny and steep mountain sides (Our teenage counterparts would insert "cliffs" here :lol: .) became alpine meadows.
My point here is that the wrong lens in certain circumstances can give less than desirable results.

It's come to my attention that yatching editorial photographers use regular 35mm SLR's. Salt water spray is murderous on any regular camera and these photographers hold to a life expectancy of 1 year for FM's (fully mechanicals). The more electronics a camera has the faster the degeneration is.
I have to say that for years I bragged on Nikon's F3HP and FM2. The F3 was Nikon's 1st camera w/ automatic exposure ability. Almost indestructable, this camera can be relied on to select accurate exposure values and even has an exposure compensation dial to help account for extremes such as white or black surfaces subjects. Unfortunately the F3's achillis heal is that it needs a battery to drive the shutter. The F3 can be fired w/out a battery, but only at 1/90th sec and not w/ the normal shutter release, but w/ a second shutter release located by the mirror lock up lever. It also required special additional equipment to use a flash.

The FM2 was for years the journalist's work horse. It didn't have automatic exposure settings and only needed a battery for its internal light metre. If the battery failed, the photographer could still fire the camera using the "Sunny 16 Rule". Essentially this rule of thumb is: On a clear sunny day, if the aperature is set at f16, than the shutter speed should be set at the nearest value to the ISO or film speed. This still requires some guess work, but let's say one has a roll of 200 ISO/ASA film and the day is clear and sunny; set the aperature for f16 and the shutter speed for 1/250 sec, for 100 ISO/ASA, 1/125 sec, etc. It's well beyond the scope of this article, but if you've developed an instinct for stop values, you can compensate this rule for other light condtions or to use other aperatures or shutter speeds.

I recently sold my last FM2. In Sept. of 2004, I purchased a new FM3a (A is for automatic). This, in my opinion is the best camera Nikon has ever produced. It has all of the critical features of the F3 (But not the High Eye Point, but that's another story...) and all the critical features of the FM2, all rolled into one. This will undoubtably be Nikon's last "Great Journalist's Camera".
What made the F and FM series such a favourite among journalists was its "takes a licking and keeps on ticking" ability. These cameras have seen every corner of the globe in all sorts of conditions. They weather dust and humidity w/ equal indifference. The famous photographer Susan McCarty refuses to put hers down and has been known to carry two FM2's on just casual strolls in her adopted home town of NY City.

One might get the impression that I don't shoot digital. I do. In my busy times, I shoot more than 1000 frames a week of digital. For my clients that don't have "I needed this yesterday" dead lines, and my personal photography, I prefer my new FM3a. I still have and love my F3 and my Leica M3, and I occasionally dust them off and shoot...

Oops... I digress and I didn't keep my promise of not writing another dissertation. :?

-Kap'n


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Feb 13, 2006 8:17 pm 
lord high faltbotmeister

Joined: Fri Apr 15, 2005 8:44 am
Posts: 553
Location: Colorado
Quote:
Oops... I digress and I didn't keep my promise of not writing another dissertation.


Somehow I doubt the sincerity of your promise. This one reads more like an
autobiography than a dissertation. :wink:

Tom


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Feb 13, 2006 9:44 pm 
knight of the folding kayak realm
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Joined: Thu Apr 14, 2005 4:49 pm
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Location: Ireland
My favourite camera is the Asahi Pentax Spotmatic SPII. It's the camera I watched my father use when I was small, the camera I learnt proper photography on, the camera I judge all others by. It's simple to use and utterly reliable.

But I don't really do proper photography any more, just point and click. That's OK too, but I always mean to get back to more serious stuff, the sort that changes how you look at the world. But life is crowded and other things have my attention, so my little Pentax Optio is all I need for now.

I'll probably never do film photography again, and in an odd way I'm sorry. I used to enjoy larking about in dark rooms, and the strange magic of the image appearing on paper. In a few years all that will be as quaint as a 78 record was when I was young, or as an LP is to this generation. Photoshop just doesn't have the same mystique, does it?

Nohoval.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Feb 13, 2006 10:25 pm 
Site Admin

Joined: Thu Apr 14, 2005 12:34 pm
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Location: Southeast Michigan
My father taught me darkroom work when I was a very young child- I think I made my first print when I was 5. And to tell the truth, I don't miss darkroom work at all ;-)

I do miss the resolution of a 4x5" Pan-X negative, but I have little use for it. Most of what I do goes on the web, and 2Mpixel is too much. My D70 suffices for everything else.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Feb 15, 2006 1:04 am 
I don't recall if the Asahi Pentax Spotmatic was Bayanet or thread mount.:?

The one thing I really like about my Nikons is that they've used the same mount for 27 years, so even though all my current lenses are auto focus, I can use them manually on my FM's. This really saves on the cost of glass! I can shoot my D100 (digital) and turn around and shoot the same lens on my FM3 or F3 (film).

I really don't have the budget for another digital SLR at the moment and I'm waiting for Nikon's answer to the most recent 18m Canon. I get spoiled on Nikon's really great glass, though I've seen decent results from my S.O.'s Canon Powershot. I've heard of at least one pro that's used the Powershot for underwater photography with a special water proof case. I haven't followed up on this yet, but the size may prove to be more manageable than an SLR as well. Any thoughts?

Now if Leica would just make a digital back for my old M3! :?

Dark rooms: There's nothing I miss about a colour dark room! Unlike B&W, you have to stumble about the entire time in the dark, the chemicals are all the more unhealthy, and stain everything! And thats before one even speaks of colour management! Digital definitely has made that end of photography more friendly. Just a couple clicks of the mouse in Photoshop and voila! Too red? A couple more clicks and presto! And I can do it all over breakfast and I don't have to worry about tainting my coffee or food with nasty chemicals, -just getting crumbs on the keyboard! :)
There is something nostogic to me about the B&W dark room. I store all my current kit in my dark room, and everytime I go in there, there's something kind of sad about the old enlarger collecting all that dust. :( I don't sell it because I have a rather famous photographer friend that insists B&W film will experience a renewed interest in a few years and that people will be looking for people to teach dark room. :)

-Kap'n


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Feb 15, 2006 10:11 am 
knight of the folding kayak realm
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Joined: Thu Apr 14, 2005 4:49 pm
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Location: Ireland
Quote:
I don't recall if the Asahi Pentax Spotmatic was Bayanet or thread mount.


Thread mount, and a bit fiddly and delicate. That may be why I've never heard of professionals using them.

Quote:
Dark rooms: There's nothing I miss about a colour dark room!


No! I only did colour dark room a couple of times, and the results were terrible. Much too much trouble. With B&W I always found I could concentrate better on pure composition. Once colour is involved, the number of variables shoots up exponentially, so for "pure" photography I've always preferred B&W.

Quote:
...there's something kind of sad about the old enlarger collecting all that dust. I don't sell it because I have a rather famous photographer friend that insists B&W film will experience a renewed interest in a few years and that people will be looking for people to teach dark room.


I'm rich! Well not yet, but come the B&W film revival, my fortune is made! I may as well start spending now...

Nohoval


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Feb 15, 2006 10:24 pm 
Site Admin

Joined: Thu Apr 14, 2005 12:34 pm
Posts: 1694
Location: Southeast Michigan
Kaptain von Klepper wrote:
...
The one thing I really like about my Nikons is that they've used the same mount for 27 years...
...
Dark rooms: There's nothing I miss about a colour dark room!...


Nikons: Yeah, which is why I have four increasingly unsalable Nikon bodies ;-)

Ever do 4x5 zone system in trays? an hour of shuffling negatives with tongs... ick.

(And Pentax was threaded- in fact, it's the source of the T-mount.)


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Feb 16, 2006 2:08 pm 
lord high faltbotmeister

Joined: Fri Apr 15, 2005 8:44 am
Posts: 553
Location: Colorado
Nikon announced just last week that they are getting out of the consumer / prosumer
film camera market to concentrate on Digicams. However, they plan to continue
production of their top of the line film camera's....Should I read a "for now" into that
statement ? :)

I've owned 5 digicams, and my dark room consists of my PC ,and it's photo and
graphics software. My Nikon and Pentax film SLR's went bye-bye long ago.
But then again, I'm not a " pro" like some of you....

BTW - Pentax just announced another new 6MP waterproof digicam.

http://www.dpreview.com/news/0602/06021503pentaxw10.asp

Regards,

Tom


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Feb 18, 2006 4:21 pm 
I forgot to add about the Nikon FM3a: It DX codes or can be manually over-riden, and was only introduced a couple of years ago. Hopefully it goes down in history as the greatest fully mechanical SLR film camera ever manufactured and not just a footnote at the end of the film age. I was recently shopping for an upgrade for my digital SLR and was shocked to find that my FM3a is actually more valuable than my "dinosour" D100! (Anyone familiar w/ Licas probably wouldn't be shocked to find that my 40 year old M3 is worth more than the D100 and the FM3 combined.)

For anyone that wonders why photographers charge the same for shooting digital as film, keep in mind that a $1500 (low end) digital pro-body is obsolete by the time it gets into the photographers hands and that it will need to be replaced along with various pc/macs, printers, and software within a year or 2. On the other hand, a high end fully mechanical SLR will still be a "great" camera in 20 years. -We call this progress! :?

Yostwerks wrote:
Nikon announced just last week that they are getting out of the consumer / prosumer film camera market to concentrate on Digicams. However, they plan to continue production of their top of the line film camera's....Should I read a "for now" into that
statement ? :)

I've owned 5 digicams, and my dark room consists of my PC ,and it's photo and
graphics software. My Nikon and Pentax film SLR's went bye-bye long ago.


By all means, digital photography is largely consumer friendly. I shoot nearly 25,000 digital images a year, of which under 10% is actually seen by my clients. (In contrast I shoot just under 1000 images a year in film, of which about 30% is seen by my clients.) Most consumers have PC's (or Macs) and printers are getting better every year. Most printers or pc's now come w/ decent consumer photography programme software.

For me, this is a 2 edged sword. Nothing replaces basic photographic knowledge, so there will always be a strong demand for professionals, even as magazines are making the leap into virtual publishing. On the other side, I get friends and relatives that ask if I can "shoot" their kids or weddings. I don't "do" family studio portraits or weddings, but that's another story... but I will shoot for friends or their relatives. This is the clencher: Digital photography is perceived to be cheaper than film. People that come asking for "favours" are generally looking to cut a budget somewhere anyhow. They simply can't understand how it is that I insist that I can't show up for a wedding for less than US$400, film or digital, (We're talking transportation, lodging, meals, etc.) and by the time I provide a basic set of prints for bride/groom, parents, etc. (w/out albums), it's usually US$700. (If I drive w/in a 2hr distance). "But digital is so inexpensive...!" My minimum retail on that same "basic" shoot (If I "did" weddings!) would be US$1200-1500, depending on variables. "But "Uncle Joe" has a digital camera and said he'd do it for free..." Then "Uncle Joe" is your man! (But his digital camera is probably a (now obsolete) point & shoot, he was going to the wedding anyway, he has no professional lighting, and he doesn't realize it yet, but his final printing bill from the non-professional, marginal colour management one-hour photo lab is going to be over US$250. :twisted: -Oh, and he doesn't yet realize how much "home work" is involved!)

And people wonder why I don't do weddings! Hmm... Lets see... a professional art director soliciting 1 to 5 images of fascinating places, things, or people for a minimum US$1000 photo fee + a not overly haggled expense budget, (and the images belong to me and have a potential stock value or an overstressed, demanding non-professional that wants a minimum of 300 images to choose from of an incredibly dull "been there, done that" subject, for a furiously haggled fee, and the images have 0 stock value. (-Oh and I have to do all of the production work.) :?

Just thought I'd share that... By the by, if any of you out there paddling on Cyber Sea happen to have some fast Nikon autofocus prime lenses or some Lica primes as ballast, we might be able to come up with a fair price... :)

Regards,

-Kap'n

P.S. Cheers Tom on the tip about that new waterproof digicam!


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Feb 19, 2006 10:38 am 
lord high faltbotmeister

Joined: Fri Apr 15, 2005 8:44 am
Posts: 553
Location: Colorado
Quote:
.....keep in mind that a $1500 (low end) digital pro-body is obsolete by the time it gets into the photographers hands and that it will need to be replaced along with various pc/macs, printers, and software within a year or 2. On the other hand, a high end fully mechanical SLR will still be a "great" camera in 20 years. -We call this progress!


You raise a very good point regarding obsolescence of "here today, gone tomorrow" digital camera's. That is a perfect example of how rapidly the technology is changing and improving, and that improvement is going to continue to the point that the film camera will be a collectors item in the 20 years you mention. Professional or not ! Ten years ago, no one had any idea that the digicam and it's associated hardware / software would be so good, so cheap, ...so soon !

I liken it to PC's. When first introduced, they were quite limited in capacity and capability, but just look at them today. We are posting on this site today because of the technology explosion. I can only imagine what the next 20 years will bring us on this front.

Welcome to the 21st century. :)

Regards,

Tom


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Feb 19, 2006 3:25 pm 
Tom:
I was just showing my FM3 to a friend/competitor. We were both lamenting the speed at which new digital cameras approach obsolescense, -literally before we can find one to buy off the shelf. The only thing we really have going for us is that so far in recent years, Nikon and Canon have kept the same lens mounts, -the most expensive part of any photography kit is the glass.
My friend greatly admired my FM for both function and its robust feel. I made the digital leap in a very "Who Moved my Cheese?" sort of way. It was a sink or swim decision.

How to Design a Digital Camera

Let's say Nikon... well... uhmm... just happened to asked my opinion on what feature I most crave for a future camera developement. I'd ask them to develop digital backs for their best film cameras. All the great film cameras used to have Poloroid backs. This was just what the name implied: an attachment that allowed the photographer to shoot Poloroid film instead transperency or negative film.

Technology is getting so compressed that I really don't see why this it couldn't be developed for 35mm SLR's. Hassablad has had these for a few years now for large format, I just can't drop US$65,000 for a camera! :shock:

The way I see it, it would simply be a digital camera that fits inside/on back of a film camera. If I taylored one for my FM3, it would simply replace the rear film door. The flash card would probably fit into a slot on the left, or opposite of the take up spool and batteries would probably be fit into some sort of grip below the camera body, -it might even be integrated w/ a motor drive (to reset the shutter). When the shutter was tripped it would simply record the light on the image processing sensor and the CP would automatically advance to the next image. The light metre/ISO coupling is probably the simplest. Either the photographer would programme the ISO into the digital back and then the DX code reader would tell the light metre what ISO value to read, or the photographer could manually select the ISO on the camera body and the DX code reader would tell the digital back what ISO to be set on.* All the normal functions of a digital SLR could be integrated into the digital back such as white balance, image quality control, LCD display, etc. Like most digital SLR's the LCD would only need to display image/information when selected by the photographer, -this would save the battery life.
All other functions would be controlled by either the photographer as in the case of an FM, and/or the camera as in the case of auto focus (AF)bodies.

The way I see it, this would lower the production cost of developing new cameras, -and these cameras would still be able to shoot film or digital. According to my understanding, part of the issue in play with developing new cameras is that it costs so much to develop new pro cameras that companies such as Nikon struggle to recouperate their developement costs. They make most of their money in the consumer/prosumer market because it's so much larger. Most consumers balk at plopping down more than US$1500 for just a camera body w/out lens. By developing a digital back, Nikon or Canon would still be in play w/ leading digital technology (where it counts most) and consumers might even spring for better cameras. If a significant breakthrough in AF or body driving came through, the company could just develop a new body.

If Nikon persued this angle, Mike (Mje) or christjrn could even shoot their Nikonos II digitally.

Regards,

-Kap'n


* Cameras such as my Leica have no code reader, but the back could be programmed with the desired ISO, and the body would be manually set to match.

P.S. Scratch the pipe dream, Leica's just done it for their SLR's! http://www.leica-camera.com/produkte/rs ... dex_e.html I may have to switch to Leica. Nikon better hurry up! And all this time I though Leica was being left in the dust! :o


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Feb 20, 2006 6:40 am 
Brotherhood of the Golden Paddle
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Joined: Thu Apr 14, 2005 4:47 pm
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Location: Arlington, VA (i.e. Wash DC)
On the "here today, obsolete tomorrow" issue... this is starting to moderate a bit. I bought a laptop in early 2003, and it is still going strong (despite a year breathing the dust and dirt of Afghanistan!) and (get this!) now you can't buy a laptop as fast as mine! Mind you-- that's because they realized that my chip will burn your leg with the heat it pumps out-- but the point is that many aspects of computers reached the limitations of physics a couple of years ago.

I just re-did my home-entertainment and computing situation (the laptop relegated to secondary status, despite still being 100% serviceable and current (I still have frequent use for it)). I got a desktop computer with a refrigeration coil built in to keep the microchip's heat under control and television- and DVD-burning-ability. This won't become obsolete TOO soon, and if it does then desktop computers have become absurdly cheap anyway. I got a projector to replace my TV (I'm about to move from an NTSC to a PAL country, so my old TV was soon-to-be a boat anchor)-- this gives a me a 108" screen and takes every format, including HD, that has been thought of to date-- won't become obsolete too soon. And a nice big LCD monitor-- LCD monitors are a relatively good long-term investment and mine can double as a TV when I am not using the projector. I'm embarrassed at how much it all cost, but after two weeks I already use this system for everything, all evening, every evening that I'm home. It's even the only way that I talk to my parents (i.e. through Skype).

_________________
Chris T.
~'91 Klepper A2 w/ BSD schooner rig.
'64 Klepper Passat/Tradewind and T12 restoration projects.
Non-folding: '84 Hobie 16; early '90s Old Town Canoe.
Previously owned '04 Pakboat Puffin II and '05 Swift.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Feb 21, 2006 3:31 pm 
Site Admin

Joined: Thu Apr 14, 2005 12:34 pm
Posts: 1694
Location: Southeast Michigan
If *I* desigted a digital camera... it would look not unlike a Hasselblad. It would be short enough that all sorts of lenses, from screw-in Leica lenses to Nikon SLR lenses could be fitted with an adapter. In place of the mirror, it would have an LCD screen on top and a pentaprism so that the screen would be usable in bright sunlight.

It would have full auto and manual modes, and be usable with auto lenses of various makers, with suitible adapters. Maybe there would even be an auto-focusing adapter mount for manual lenses and even barrel mount lenses. The exposure/focus program could be user updated. You'd be able to add user-defined programs for different lenses, so you could automate that old Zeiss Softar you've been saving.

The imaging chip would be mounted behind a piece of optical glass with a vacuum between the two, so the imaging chip could be cooled by a Peltier device for low noise at long exposures.

And it would cost $99.95 ;-)


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 21, 2006 5:08 pm 
Brotherhood of the Golden Paddle
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Location: Arlington, VA (i.e. Wash DC)
Phew... I'm glad I didn't start a "computers" thread!

_________________
Chris T.
~'91 Klepper A2 w/ BSD schooner rig.
'64 Klepper Passat/Tradewind and T12 restoration projects.
Non-folding: '84 Hobie 16; early '90s Old Town Canoe.
Previously owned '04 Pakboat Puffin II and '05 Swift.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Feb 28, 2006 10:19 pm 
mje wrote:
The imaging chip would be mounted behind a piece of optical glass with a vacuum between the two, so the imaging chip could be cooled by a Peltier device for low noise at long exposures.

And it would cost $99.95 ;-)


Amen! :wink:

chrstjrn wrote:
Phew... I'm glad I didn't start a "computers" thread!


Well, so far (cross fingers) I haven't seen any pressing needs to kayak or camp with my labtop. :wink: -Has anyone seen the recent "kayaking" Toyota advert? http://www.mainekayak.com/images/toyota01.jpg The copy reads: "What would you do without the internet, video games and text messaging?"

Yostwerks wrote:
Welcome to the 21st century. :)


I suppose those University courses in horseshoeing, horse driving, etc. may have been misguided... :wink:


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