Nikon D850 One Year Review | Best Dynamic Range Camera For Landscape Photography – Z7 mirrorless?


this is my nikon D850 there are many like
it but this one is mine I’ve owned it for over a year I’ve taken tens of
thousands of photographs with it and I figured it was high time for a proper
review I’ve used this Nikon d80 all around the world I’ve taken pictures
with it from a camel in Egypt from an ATV in British Columbia from a
helicopter blowing sandstorms in Death Valley
National Park or during spraying surf on the coast of Oregon and everywhere in
between I love this camera and I’m going to show you the pros and the cons from
what I have experience with this camera so that if you are considering buying it
or if you already own it and you just want to feel even better about the
purchase that you’ve made listen to my review
first thing is the glass it is so important that when you have a camera
body of this level of quality with a sensor that takes as high-resolution
photos as this one does then you had better have high high quality glass to
go with it it is a complete waste of money to have a camera body like this
and low quality glass and of course Nikon has its nikkor series of lenses
that are tried and true and there are so many other aftermarket lenses that fit
this camera and work so well with it the nikon d850 has a frame rate of seven
frames per second which is high and if you buy the extra battery grip which
costs about an extra thousand dollars you can get up to nine frames per second
that isn’t something that I use as a landscape photographer but if I was
shooting sports then definitely I would make that extra investment Nikon says
that the D850 can buffer 51 full frame RAW images at one time so that’s a lot
of images to shoot before those images need to buffer out onto your card
this is vitally important for a camera that is used extensively by landscape
photographers two cameras ago I had a Nikon d800 I was splashed by a wave on
the beach in Oregon and within one second that camera was completely dead I
don’t think the same would have happened with this D850 it has rubber protectors
that snap over all of the ports and Jack’s generally it is protected from at
least some level of water as well as sand the weather sealing is very
important and I’m certainly glad that this camera has that
the Nikon D850 has two different memory cards it has a conventional SD card and
it also has the relatively new format of the XQD card when I first bought the
camera I was upset about the XQD card because it was expensive to buy and it
was also difficult to get a hold of a card reader but now I am so happy that
the XQD card is part of this camera and in fact I wish that the camera had two x
QD cards instead of an x QD and an SD and the reason for that is that the XQD
card is so fast the camera almost never even has to buffer when you’re shooting
in rapid fire mode the upload from the XQD card into my computer is lightning
fast I’m talking like it feels like double the speed of an SD card
this camera is built tough it is a tank it’s got a magnesium alloy frame it’s
got a fantastic grip that I’ll talk about later it has some weight to it and
it just feels rugged it just has that kind of feel to it you know in fact if I
was photographing late at night on the wrong side of town and someone were to
come up and try and get this thing from me I would use this as the weapon this
thing is built like a tank they can have my D850 when they pry it from my cold
dead hands the screen for the live view is
absolutely fantastic it’s got 2.3 million pixels so you can
zoom in and review your photos at 100% it’s also very bright so you can see the
live view clearly on a bright sunny day and this screen is also a touch screen
so you can scroll through your photos you can DoubleTap on them to zoom in you
can also hit a button to rate your photos using the touch screen you can
use the touch screen to focus the camera to also use it for focus peaking also
the screen tilts up and down and this is a great feature to have although I
continually forget to use it two weeks ago I was shooting at the famous
Portland Japanese maple tree and I was down on my knees needing to get low to
the ground and I should have used the tilting live screen but unfortunately I
forgot about this feature it’s a great feature to have
the sensor on this nikon D850 is unparalleled
it has 45.7 steaming megapixels of raw 14 bit goodness that gets saved on to
that XQD card this means you have to expect that your file sizes on your
computer are going to be about 100 megabytes in size but what these large
file sizes allow you to do is to crop way down if there is the need for that
in post later on when you’re at home in addition you don’t have to be shooting
at the largest file size in RAW the camera has a setting where you can
choose large medium or small raw file sizes so if you’re shooting the family
birthday party you can set that file size to raw small and then save the size
on your hard drive the nikon D850 has 153 focus points and
99 of them are the cross-type this is great for moving subjects and it works
fairly well it’s not perfect but it isn’t really a feature that I use
because I’m more into landscape photography I prefer single point focus
I prefer manual focus and it works perfectly for me
the live view on the back of this camera is fantastic and I very much enjoy using
it especially for shooting panoramas where I’m moving that camera across a
number of shots I do find that the live view tends to suck the juice out of the
battery quite quickly but when you use live view
you also have an added feature of silent shooting and when nikon says we have
silent shooting they really mean it because it is silent and this is great
if you are taking candid shots of people or you are doing wildlife photography
and you’re trying not to alert an animal with your presence
on the back of the camera there is a thumb stick and this can be used to move
the focus point using live view so you can change your focus point around quite
quickly this is a great feature to have I really don’t use it all that much but
still I like having it in case I do need it
I love the time-lapse feature on this camera in Live View mode the nikon has a
built-in time-lapse function and this means that you can shoot 4k time lapse
videos without the use of an intervalometer like you need on other
cameras like the sony a7R3 the nikon d850 saves video time-lapse files in mp4
file format and you can also shoot 8k time-lapse if you are using the full
shutter what’s nice about the time-lapse feature in 4k mode is that you’re not
actually using the shutter on the camera and you’re not wearing that thing out
it’s all an electronic function and again it’s saving the video file as an
mp4 and it’s completely silent you can even set a timer within the camera to
start shooting time-lapse and to turn the back screen off to save your battery
this is great if you want to shoot a time-lapse of a sunrise but you don’t
actually have to be up in the morning in order to shoot that time-lapse you can
do the whole thing pre-programmed on a timer
I really like the viewfinder on this camera it has a point seven five times
magnification it’s wide it’s bright and it also has the little shutter opening
on it so that you can shut off the light from leaking into the camera during very
long exposure photography video is very important for me because I
am shooting stills and I’m also shooting video in the field this camera shoots 4k
video at 30 frames per second that’s not really a big deal because every camera
these days shoots video at that type of a standard what I wish this camera had
was in-camera stabilization for the 4k 30 frames per second video it doesn’t
have that and it needs that nikon if you are listening please put the image
stabilization in on the 4k video the camera also shoots 1080p video at 120
frames per second so you can slow down the motion of anything that you’re
shooting the video uses the rear screen while you’re shooting I find that the
focus system is good for subjects that are staying in the same place but if
we’re talking about a moving subject the focus system is not working all that
well but again I’m a landscaper and my subjects aren’t moving all that much so
the video system is great but it could be better
now the ISL functionality on this camera is exciting for me the ISO goes down to
64 and at 64 ISO this camera has the highest dynamic range of any camera in
its class this is the most important feature for me is dynamic range it means
everything this means that the camera can take a photo facing into a sunset it
will capture the highlights in the sky and also capture the darks in a dark
foreground so having that 64 ISO is very important to improve that dynamic range
the ISO also goes up to 25,000 plus and this is great for of course any type of
low-light shooting or Astro photography but I want to be clear that the dynamic
range on this camera is nothing short of amazing
and dynamic range really is the most important feature on an SLR camera for
me as a landscape photographer it’s more important than having a massive size
sensor to take these gigantic photos that rarely any of us are printing 10
feet wide but the dynamic range means everything and this camera performs it
absolutely meets expectations it exceeds expectations with dynamic range and
again as a landscape photographer all of my shooting situations usually involve
situations with very high dynamic range in between a sky and a dark foreground
in terms of the Khans for this camera I don’t want to sound picky and I don’t
even want to sound entitled by even mentioning them but if there were some
things for improvement here they are it is a little heavy but there’s nothing we
can do about that it’s got a lot of technology packed into this body I’m not
going to complain about the weight but it is something that when you’re going
on a long backpacking trip and every gram of weight counts then this is a
heavy thing to putting inside your pack with the 4k video it definitely needs
image stabilization in order to stay modern and to compete with the other
cameras that have it the camera does not have a built-in flash which is a nice
feature to have especially to control other flashes with it the Wi-Fi system
does not work well to upload your photos using Wi-Fi and when shooting video the
motion tracking focus does not work all that well I just find that the shooting
of video and the focus works best when your subjects are not moving closer to
the camera or further away from the camera those cons aside this camera is a
10 out of 10 I bought it a year ago I’ve taken tens of thousands of photos with
it and I love this camera it was money well spent I feel that it’s an
investment and I’m going to have it for at least another three to five years
this is like a companion I don’t want to leave home without it I certainly would
never go on a trip without it because it has given me the ability to create some
stunning photos in situations where my previous cameras would not have been
able to perform but what I’m curious about is your opinion and I
like to hear what you have to say about the nikon d80 do you own it or is it
something that you’ve considered buying what do you think about the features on
this camera what do you think about its capabilities please leave a comment
below I am always anxious to read what your
opinions are because I learn a lot from the opinions of others and if you found
this video of value then please give it a like by hitting the thumbs up button
and if you like videos about photography and landscape photography then please
consider hitting the red subscribe button and the little bell beside it
thanks so much for watching I will see you in my next video

100 Replies to “Nikon D850 One Year Review | Best Dynamic Range Camera For Landscape Photography – Z7 mirrorless?”

  1. It truly has fantastic weather sealing… and I’ve met plenty unexpected rain showers, but not sure any seal will do well against salt water.

  2. In body stabilization should have been put into the nikon d850 for video and for shooting handheld at slower shutter speeds.Other than that the d850 is a great camera.

  3. Heyy Tim. I do own Nikon D850. I just need to know one thing about it that is How to connect D850 with PC (tethering).

  4. I am really enjoying my new Nikon D850! This is my first full frame camera and it continues to amaze me daily! I also enjoy the fact that the D850 Batteries and Charger will work with my Nikon D7200! If you are on the fence about purchasing the D850 just go ahead and get it. You will not regret it! No way! No How!

  5. I'm not sure, but hasn't it been demonstrated that the ideal setting for file size is 12 Bit Lossless compressed? The file size is 41.5 MP as opposed to the 14 Bit Uncompressed file at 92 MB, and all the tests I've seen show basically no disadvantage to the smaller Raw file. It a) Gives you a lot more space on your expensive XQD card. b) Much faster for downloading. c) Easier for computer handling/work. d) Requires a lot less storage space.
    I suppose that for landscape, that might an exception, but would like to know what others think about this.

  6. I would like to buy a full professional dslr is it a good choice. I want to shoot scenic landscape and skyscrapers. So would it be a good choice pls reply

  7. I own the D850 for bit more than a year now and I love like you do. In my opinion it ist the best camera on the market at the moment. Yes, it is heavy but worth every Gramm you carry around. If you see the results after a photo trip you don’t care about the weight.

  8. I started with the 7100, then added the 750, this year will add the 850…as well as the Tamron 150 – 600 .

  9. I own it and LOVE it, however for some of the things I shoot I have decided to go back to my D750 and D7100 (my least favorite). I am a "Light Painter" using both the Magilight (of which I have 2) and the Pixelstick. When taking photos I will later use to create .BMP files for these tools I use very little of the resolution of any camera. Since XQD cards are still relatively expensive and I don't the the high resolution any of my DX camera will do. I also shoot a lot of "freeby" events for local organizations that do not have a budget for a photographer. This is good exposure for getting other work later. I have decide for these events to go back to my trusty D750. When shooting the actual Light Painting photos (for exhibition) or when I have a paid shoot I will of course use my D850. One feature you forgot to mention in the backlit buttons on the back of the camera, which are important to me, as I shoot a lot of long exposures at night.

  10. Tim: I just now came across your video review of the 850. You really did an outstanding job with this one! Thanks.

  11. The D850 has the reputation of stellar weather sealing. In fact, the Z7 references to the D850 level of weather sealing. That old 14-24mm can't handle the 45mp, go for the new Sigma Art 14-24, its way sharper in the corners and a touch sharper in the center. It demolishes the Tamron SP 15-35mm

  12. I have had my D850 for more than a year as well and I love it. I agree w some of you cons – I weigh under 100 lbs and for me it's heavy especially w good glass. I too wish the card slots were both XQD but do not miss the flash. Given these, I feel that my 850 is part of me and love photographing with it. It did take me a few months to improve my shooting as flaws are clearly visible with the sensor size. I used to be hesitant to crop and I still avoid it unless necessary but I can make large prints that are pristine from this camera. The grip is great, love ability to change image size right on the back as I often change to 4×5 or 1×1 in camera. Thank you; this was good to hear your review. Leslie

  13. same speech like in this video, https://youtu.be/ajIsfN4qPsE this could be a nikon ads campaign, after this I wont buy it for sure, only shit needs to be promoted

  14. What would you personally recommend as a good general purpose (but mostly landscapes/architecture) tripod / head combo for the d850 ?

  15. Just trying to figure out, what x250 regarding the Shutter Speed is; which comes right after the 30 seconds (how do people leave an exposure for 30 minutes, I wonder. Obviously not on this one). I will ask the Nikon tech support. While this camera might be technically a wonder, it is not perfect, pics come out dark and harsh with high contrast and shadows, I am trying to figure out why. Yes, high quality glass is a must, I agree. It is a heavy and robust camera for a walk around every day. Just too strong, if you are not producing prints.

  16. Thanks for the review! Do you use the built in HDR function or do it manually in post? Would love to hear if the automatic HDR function works properly!

  17. The D800 was made as well if not better than the D850 and weather sealing does not really mean anything. Any camera that is splashed by an ocean wave, will die…wether in one minute or in one week, they will all die. Salt water and electronics do not mix well, period. No one should ever have too much faith in their camera's so called "weather resistance!!!"

  18. When talking about the amazing sensor of the D850 you left out, probably the most important feature! It's a BSI sensor, which gives the D850 much better high ISO and also dynamic range!

  19. Ok thanks Tim. Of course, I found the Bulb setting on D850. I also found the Active D-Lighting in menu – Auto or Extra HIgh, just try to resolve the deep blacks and shadows, which are particularly obvious when using 50mm f1.8. Yes, I take tons of portraits shots. Thanks for now

  20. Hi Tim! Great video! Great camera! I am currently using a D810. I don't know if you would remember me from policing, a few decades ago. Keep up the great work! Subbed.

  21. I do own the D850. What I am most excited about is the ability to switch from full frame to crop. I do landscape as well as wildlife photography

  22. True, it's a best camera, but have a body like that, and if u want to have good pictures, u need best lens to equip it which I don't think so which will cost less. Since currently I m owning, Nikon 5300 which mid budget camera with Sigma lens, I wonder what lens would D850 will like to go. D850 is definitely my next camera soon.

  23. Hey tim! What is a good lense for photo shoots? Im looking into doing my families modeling portfolio!

  24. You've got me wanting to bail on Canon. Question…Is there an adapter for the Canon EF mount lens to use with Nikon D 850? Thank you! And clear skies!

  25. Thanks for your video. I was planing to buy it. Now after watching your video, I diffidently buy it. Thanks again.

  26. Great review, Tim. I went from a D500 to D850 and now face the confusing choice of an FX wide-angle lens. I've ordered a Nikon 16-35mm f/4, but now am wondering if I should have gone to one of the f/2.8 like the Nikon 14-24mm or Tamron 15-30mm G2. At some point I would like to do astrophotography, but Landscape is the main focus. Thanks! — Scott

  27. I AM a Motorsport Photographer, most of the time, and i have a D750. Ir worth investing on a D850 with the same fps? Or makes more sens to Invest on a Z7 with 9fps? The 1000€ more on batery grip battery and charger it makes very expensive the more 2 fps. Sorry for my English. And btw, great vídeo. Greatings from Portugal.

  28. This is my nikon d850. They are many like it but this one is mine. My camera is my best friend. Without me my camera is useless. Without my camera i am useless..
    Hahahaha

  29. Just ordered the D850 (looked at the Z7), will keep D700 as backup and when that dies, will upgrade to a mirrorless, next gen Z series as my 2nd body. Great review. Question: Which tripod and ball head are you using in this video?

  30. I bought this camera march of 2018, I am still learning this camera. I got some dust on the sensor, not much, but it drives me crazy looking at it thought the viewfinder. I hate parting with it for any amount of time, but I have to send it in for sensor cleaning. I shoot a lot with the sigma 14-24 lens, and I just bought the Tamron 24-70 G2. What do you think about my lens selections? I can't decide on a backup camera either, Mirrorless or another DSLR full-frame, Any ideas?

  31. Yes..I also love this camera and am always learning from it over past 6 moths of ownership. I love shooting in iso 64 as often as possible e….even for hi speed sports like the Indy 500 where I am a track photographer. It performs flawlessly and I look forward to some hi d f videos whereby I can slow or change the frame rate on playback for gorgeous interval shooting. I love this cam forcastrophotography but prefer a low iso so I found when mounted on a star tracker get amazing results with pinpoint accuracy and no far less need for stacking or post processing as I can shoot up to 3 min exposures with relative ease and no trails. Now I just wish I lived closer to an ideal dark sky spot. Took pics of synchronous firefly in spring when I couldn’t even see mountain trail in front of me and focus was not an issue. Love it! I also keep a Kirk L bracket on mine.

  32. I was considering buying it but now I am in doubt of buying this or the new sony a7RIIi .. what do you thing about that ?

  33. Well, seeing this now at the end of August 2019, I'm wondering if your views have changed Tim, now with the newer cameras on the market, & those still to come? Like you, I consider myself a landscape photographer, I don't sell images, as my image taking is for me only, so I'm happy with my D750 to date. I also don't have a super high end computer, as I have the 15" MacBook Pro with 16 GB Ram and 1 TB SSD hard drive, and even with RAW files half the size that the D850 puts out, the editing applications tend to be very slow, so I find my file size to be as high as I want them, thus a 24-25 RAW file size is plenty for me, of which I'll 'never' need the top end resolution for huge photo's for the wall. I've heard nothing but good for those with the D850, but honestly I have made slight considerations to upgrade, and quickly looked at the Z series, but wouldn't buy either, because they don't have dual card slots. So, perhaps a future Z series will come along with dual slots, and a few other goodies needed? I agree, in camera stabilization would be highly recommended for any and all new camera manufacturers, although most of my lenses have it, but I'd still like it 'in camera'. I do belong to a local Photography Club, and love the hobby of photography, so I'll definitely be watching for workshops and your video's Tim, as they are some of the best on Youtube, so thanks for taking the time to share them, as well as all the editing time, as I do realize it's many 'hours' of time spent doing so!

  34. Some great shots there Tim, thanks for the review.

    I just sold my D810 thinking it's time to upgrade after 3½ years. I am split between 5DsR, A7R3 and D850. None is perfect, with Canon strengths being sharpness, resolution and color science, Nikon strengths being iso 64 and the clarity and cleanness and 3D-ness of images there, and focus-peaking, and the Sony strengths being 4k video, focus peaking, and IBIS as I often find subjects for intimate landscape that are too tricky to set up a tripod on, or I'm just too lazy but still would like a sharp shot, and IBIS for intended small prints of such subjects would be great to help guarantee sharp images.

    One of the worst things for me about the D810 was blown highlights in blue skies (highlights too hot like their RAW processing added excess contrast, where Canon and SOny retained much more natural tonally rich skies), and the unnaturally cooler blue in D810 skies, where they lacked sufficient red content that was there to the naked eye.
    With the D850, do you find overly hot blue sky highlights and a red-lean, overly cool color palette? I liked a lot of things about the D810 but these blue sky weaknesses are a big negative for me and would make me look at Sony if they persist in the D850. thanks, Jim

  35. I am planning to upgrade from D800e to D850. I would wonder if it could provide a substantial improvement with respect to resolution, dynamic range, focusing speed, etc. Hoping to get the new camera having some practices before heading to my next destination for landscape photography.

  36. I mean, 45mp, 4K video when you need it.. and best of all 1,800 shots.. there is no DSLR that compares. Excellent camera. http://cameraenthusiasts.com/forums/index.php

  37. but do you like it?! i went from d600 to d500, but miss full frame for my wide angle primes. iso 51200 is actually usable! can't decide between trading up to the d850 or adding a lumix FF with lens adapter w/o af. i like the d500 for moto racing.

  38. I've currently had my Nikon D750 for 3+ years, and have been happy with my results, and my question would be, would the D850 honestly give me any better images than I currently get? Good glass is essential, and possibly why some of my images aren't dead on is that I use the 28-300mm for many of my shots 90% of the time. I do have the 70-200 F/2.8 and 16-35 F/4 but love the versatility of my longer 28-300 lens. I have a Manfrotto tripod, and two heads, one ball head and a gimbal, and the biggest hinderance to my photography generally is post processing, as I'm all thumbs in Lightroom! I've looked at moving up to the D850, and I realize there are different reasons for many people, but after doing some night photography, the lit back buttons would have been super helpful. I know there are a few other helpful aspects of the D850, but is it worth putting out another $2000. plus, to get it? Just starting on Tim's Photography Webclass….so I'm hoping for miracles….or at least, progress in getting 'quality' images compared to 1 in a 1000 as it is now.

  39. The D850 is a great camera but, we are moving into the mirrorless age and when the equivalent comes out (not Z6/7/50) it should be better than the D850. Which means to me should I invest in the D850 and all the lens or wait and invest in the mirroeless. I ain't rich!

  40. Excellent review. I haven't purchased it yet- but certainly plan on doing so. Which lens specifically do you recommend? Anyone?

  41. One key element of this camera is that you can switch from video to photo and back again seamlessly. That allows you to actually shoot dual photos and video like no other camera. Autofocus for video mode is obviously an afterthought and is not something a pro would use on any camera body imho.

  42. As a stills camera the D850 is close to perfect, Video it's not so outstanding.
    Wished you could turn on BEEP and flash in silent mode.
    If Nikon makes a better mirrorless then I'l buy it…

  43. I brought my D850 about 6 months ago. Its the best camera I have ever owned and use it mainly for portraits and commercial work. I havne’t used it for sports yet full time just here and there. I mainly work in rodeo arenas for sports and i just don’t want my new pride and joy to get all dirty. This camera is amazing and worth every penny

  44. IT IS A VALUED CAMERA. IT IS GOOD FOR THE BEGINNER PHOTOGRAPHY FROM 2020 TO 2026 I GUESS BUT FOR PROFESSIONAL EMMM MAYBE NIKON Z6 WOULD BE START FORM. I DIN'NT MENTION Z7 BECAUSE ITS NEARLY SAME AS 850 I FELT THOU THE RESOLUTION IS HIGH.

  45. I've just got one and i am very happy about it. Thanks for your comments. It's been almost a year since then..do you feel the same?

  46. Great video!! I own the D850 now for about 4 months, I'm new to photography for about 11 months, It's my go to camera, I also own a Nikon D500 and love that too but the D850 I would have to say does a better job of capturing low light unique images that takes your breath away! Great camera and yes the in body Ibis stabilization would make it dream come true! Hey but the D6 might have that?

  47. I wonder how much worse low light pictures are than with the D500. planning to sell my D500 to get a D850 because I have a dozen fine fx primes.

  48. Tim , i bought 2 D850. i am amazed . i am a fine art photographer and i mosty use manual focus lenses on my D850's. The Nikon D850 is the BEST .

  49. I’m thinking about upgrading to this camera from my D5500 but most of my lenses are DX, so new lenses more expense. 🙁🤔

  50. Hi Tim,
    I use a nikon D850 too, I love it, YES, his captor sensor is all that makes this camera good ( Dynamic Range ), and the 45 Mpxls helps too ( I think I won't be interested for more pixels, because it will be only a slighter better but as you know, you must select a faster speed to get the photo sharp and this is the only thing I reproach in Digital Photography, and this will disavandtage the camera ( Shutter Speed ). I don't like to improve in ISO, I know sometimes you have no choice, but when i can stay at 64 ISO I'm mindly secure ( I know it may be only in my mind ) to get the better quality this camera can offer.
    I'm not sure when you say that may be the D850 should have resist to the waves of the sea that killed your D800, I also had this one, It was already well built, I think it's only an opinion and I know you are not going to test to have an answer ( Let's stay in reason, it's not an experience to try ).
    I LOVE that the pop up flash has disappeared, some blame it, not me, it wasn't aesthetic according to me, but every one has a right to think diffrently( I use the Nikon SU 800 if I want a remote controler, of course, you must buy it separetely, but I have the chance to have one, and it's very useful and MORE aesthetic that the flash pop up ).
    I don't use video, but I try to see as any user does because of curiosity, and the AF is not good at all : for video, the solution is ML, for my opinion.
    I like the Nikon D850, its sensor captor ( It won the score of 100 on DXO Marks ), its built quality, this is the camera that could nearly be my life camera ( The nexts will be expensive, and the improvements will be to small ( Accordind to me of course ) compared to the price.
    I also own the Nikon 14-24, to see yours on your body makes me want to go out and take somes frames with this combo.
    Greetings from Reunion Island ( In Indian Ocean, somewhere down Africa, ).

  51. Thank you so much for not speaking too fast. I am not an american, some people are talking way too fast, but I understood everything that you said.

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