Sony A7III: Full Size Samples, and differences between the a7RIII and A9.

Sony A7III: Full Size Samples, and differences between the a7RIII and A9

Had some more time with the new Sony A7III and also had a private meeting today with Sony where I learned all about this new camera, and the differences between the A7RIII and A9 as well as the previous A7II.

Before I get to some full size OOC JPEGS, let me talk a little bit about what the A7III is, who it is for and why you may or may not want one.

If you saw my report last night, that was RIGHT after I received the camera, and I was pretty pumped about it due to the price point and what you get. After shooting with it more today, I have that same enthusiasm as this camera has astounding IQ (as they all seem to have) and it is FAST. Between this and the A9, for anything besides tracking a fast-moving subject, this is just as fast. Unless you want the BEST POSSIBLE tracking for sports, this camera can do all the A9 does and probably with a slight improvement in IQ and low light.

Here is how the A7III differs from the A7RIII that comes in at $1300 more.

  1. The A7III does not have pixel shift mode that the RIII has
  2. The A7III is 24 MP vs 42MP, so lower resolution (sweet spot IMO)
  3. Lower res EVF and LCD but to be honest, it was not that noticeable to me (though the RIII and a9 are crisper)
  4. Weather sealing is not the same as the RIII and A9, it still has it but not as extensive from what I gathered
  5. The backside does have some plastic parts where the RIII does not.

Sony is marketing the A7III to everyone, as it can do just about anything you want it to. But let me be clear,  they are not calling it a PRO camera, though I feel any PRO could use this, and I know a few who are buying one, or two. I would say the only reason one may want the RIII is for the extra resolution and the A9 the absolute best AF tracking one can get. I saw an AF tracking demo today that had the A9 beat all comers. The A7III beat the RIII and everyone else as well for tracking. So it is faster than the RIII and just under the A9. So if you do not need mega res, or mega speed the A7III would be it, and you could use the savings for glass.

Video? The A7III does the 6K thing and goes to 4K in 24 or 25P mode. This offers the best video quality with this camera. With it’s fast AF, and amazing video capabilities, this could be an amazing camera for creators.

Will be shooting some action tomorrow with the A7III so I look forward to that. So far it seems like an AMAZING buy for $2000. If you have been wanting to get into full frame, this is the one to get.

It has been 4 years since the A7II and this follow up, the A7III is quite the follow up. More than 2X as fast as the older version, and with so may more features. The Eye AF is amazing, and Sony is the only one who has continuous focus eye AF. So much tech, and more to come.

Below are a few images, full size JPEG from camera. I shot with the Sony 85 1.8 which is an AMAZING lens for the money. In fact. if you have been wondering about it JUMP as it is well worth the cost. 

Remember the images below were JPEG using the “Standard” color mode.

Of course you must click these to see full size… 

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104 Comments

  1. Hi Steve,
    Which would you recommend for wedding photography ? The A7III or the A7RIII ??

    • For weddings, if I were being paid? The A7rIII. The A7III can do weddings just as good but with the RIII you will have more resolution and crop power if ever needed. Both are fantastic. The RIII is also built a little better.

  2. Hey Steve, i think i read now every question and answer .. 🙂 Very interesting! I use Canon 5D3 for 5 years now and i love it. But after 10 hours of photographing weddings i hate it .. 🙂 I love the colours and the handling but on times it is too much weight! So now i thinking about Sony a7Riii oder 7iii. I bought the 7iii and i dont know if it is the right fit for me… The Colour sometimes is not to good from people and that is the most important for me. I shoot Video and take Pictures.. 24mp is enough. I took it with the metabones Adapters and my Canon Lenses and also the Sony 50mm 1.8. Thought about other Sony Lenses.. Or reund the 7iii and get the R. Kind Regards

  3. Steve – Thanks for the really helpful reviews – you seem pretty enthusiastic.

    Instead of a which model of A7, what about vs. an A99? I realize comparing mirrorless to SLT opens some issues up, but from a going forward perspective has Sony introduced a mirrorless that outperforms an SLT in most relevant ways?

    • The A7III outperforms the A99 easily, in all areas. As does the A9, A7RIII. I would not touch an A99 these days. Sony’s focus young forward is mirrorless.

  4. Hello Steve, in your experience which a7 body perform the best with Leica M lens?
    I been using my Leica M lens with X-T2 and would like to try out Sony.

    • Any of the MKIII versions work very good. A7RII does as well. A7SII does as well. A9 does good as well ; ) I would just avoid the 1st gen bodies. But with Sony you will get all of the lens character, where the Fuji will crop and thus you lose the look of the lens.

  5. Steve – great review – I shoot indoor volleyball and I was planning to purchase the A9 but now with the A7iii, I am on the fence. Indoor Volleyball is the majority of my photography and everything is normal stuff (not as niche as Indoor Volleyball). So poor lighting with speed and great focus are critical. I use Olympus OMD-EM1 MkII and about 15fps but I have trouble with focus lock in that environment. With that said, what would your recommendation be?

    • Well, the A9 would have the best AF performance without question, and is the recommended camera for sports or action. The III gets close but is not quite the same. I feel the 7III would work for you though.

  6. Hi Steve. I own a a7r2 and I frequently shoot church events in concert like settings. I find that I struggle with the AF but am happy with the IQ of the shots I get. My main issue (as well as the AF) is when reviewing my shots as it takes about a second for me to get to review the image.

    I’m considering the a7r3 due to its better AF (based on countless reviews) and hopefully a faster reviewing speed. Is it really worth a punt at it ?

  7. Hi Steve !
    Thanks for the review !
    I have a question, I would like to take landscapes’ pictures days and nights (“Astro photo” of the Milk Way with the landscape) and sometimes portrait’ photos.
    I would like to know which Camera will be more versatile between the A7RIII and the A7III. The A7RIII could be better during the day with its 42 Mpx but for the night the A7III with its 24 Mpx and better management in high ISO could be a good solution too.

  8. I have a EM1-II system & lenses, but want to get into FF mirrorless soon for better background bokeh blur in portraits, etc.
    I think Sony has done a (mostly) great job of introducing many different cameras and FF lenses.
    For me, I want the best possible EVF! Therefore I’ll skip the A7III, as the A7RIII has a better one.
    I can live with either 24 or 42 MP. The best eye-AF is desired, but I don’t want to pay A9 prices for it.
    I’d prefer real waterproofing in camera & lenses, but Sony doesn’t do it. But I can live with not filming in the rain.

    The worst thing about the A7/9 series is the menu system – it is embarassing in that it is so poorly designed.
    I know many don’t want any changes to it since they are used to it, and therefore I suggest Sony introduce an entire rewrite (with new people in charge of design) in a new A# model (A10 or whatever). If I’m going to pay big bucks for a stunning system, I want a simple & obvious interface I enjoy using! Sony – this is by far your most glaring weakness. Man up and fix it!

    • The A9 release marked a significant improvement to the menu system, though many would say it still needs work. The most important thing to me was the configurable pages. The A7R III, released only a few months later improved the menus significantly again and added several useful options. Unfortunately we are still waiting hopefully for these updates to be implemented (where possible) in a firmware update to to A9. After all, this is Sony’s most expensive camera and the first one they labeled “Professional. Features like being able to group shots taken in a burst would suit the A9 more than any other camera.

      I use the A9 and the A7R III side by side often on shoots but, unfortunately, I can’t set them up to behave exactly the same way (the way the A7R III does). The problem is exasperated when I need to shoot video in contrasty lighting (common for me), as the Sony annoyingly decided to omit video profiles on the A9. I also believe that 24mp is the sweet spot, certainly in my business. I bought the A9 because it was the best Sony camera available for this resolution. It is still under a year old but I think that, in most ways, the new A7III will be a more useful camera for many photographers, both amateur and professional. I really hope that Sony updates the A9 firmware to bring it into line with the more recent releases. Regrettably I am not that hopeful, given their poor record for adding features in firmware, compared to manufactures like Panasonic etc. Please Sony, we paid a lot of money for our A9s.

    • The “poor menu” thing is overblown in my opinion. Sony has responded to this issue by allowing users to create their OWN customized menu in the camera. So the menu issue really is no excuse anymore. Stop jumping on the bandwagon and do you OWN thing instead.

  9. hi steve,
    i’m a noob and just wanted to ask. so the 24mp(a7iii) vs. 42mp(A7rii and riii) will not have a sharper image when the pic is blown up to like 20 x 24 right? but for 8 x 10 or jpgs pics out of camera posted on the web will look pretty much the same as the A7rii or riii?

    • Well at 20X24 you may see more detail with the RIII, if you stand 6 inches from it. At normal viewing distance you would not see much difference. Web or 8X10, the A7III is more than enough.

  10. I don’t shoot JPG, but seeing the artifacting (bridge of nose around the highlights int he first photo, the hair on the second photo, and the skin in the fourth, and skin and hair of the fifth photo) in these files is disappointing. Is that from the baked-in noise reduction?

  11. thanks for the clear/great review…

    which (A7RIII/A7III) has less lag when shooting and operating (not autofocus, just functions, menu, EVF refresh rate)….?

    • Well, they are all very close. A9 has the fastest everything but the RIII and III are right behind it. These are the fastest handling Sony cameras to date. No lag with these at all.

  12. Hi Steve

    Thanks for the ongoing fantastic reviews.

    I have recently moved from Nikon to Sony with the A7RIII. Absolutely love it apart from having loads of issues with banding when shooting silent indoors at shutter speed 100 on my 24-70GM. I’m aware this is an issue however is this fixed on the A7III by the faster sensor output?

    Many thanks

    Nick

    • I doubt it. I do not use the silent shutter in certain lighting situations or you may have that issue. Usually at higher ISO and certain lighting. ALL Sony’s have had this until the A9 which does not have it or at least I haven’t seen it. As for the A7III, I saw it once though it was in an area where it would have happened (ISO 204k and Silent Shutter and Flourecesnt Light). Never saw it otherwise.

      • I’ve seen it a lot in my club footage for video as well. Setting camera @ 1/125 shutter seems to help, regardless of the frame rate…

  13. Steve, great stuff as always. You’ve always been so high on the OM-D E-M5 ii that I wonder what you think of the Sony A7 iii vs. that camera. I’ve been thinking of moving to FF…is this finally the time?

    • I always prefer full frame over APS-C and Micro 4/3. I prefer M 4/3 over any APS-C though. A7III is the best bang for the buck entry into full frame, ever.

      • Interesting…as I think whether I should get a m 4/3 or APS-C in addition to my A7Riii. I might just go for GX9 with a 15 summilux or 20/1.7.
        Also Steve, you have replied to another post about Leica lenses. I suppose anything wider than 50mm is still a problem? Could I use a 28mm lens like biogon or elmarit/cron? Thanks Steve.

  14. Hi Steve,
    I left Sony because of how much the AF would hunt indoors on my a7 and a7ii. Does the a7iii lock focus much faster and more accurately indoors and in lowlight compared to it’s predecessors?

    • As stated the a7III is almost a9 speed with focus. It’s blazing fast. I have never used any camera that focuses faster than the A9 or A7III. IN good light or low light. Forget the original and MKII, these are all new cameras.

  15. Regarding the shutter life, can Sony put a new shutter in if I ever got to 200,000? Thanks.

    • I’m sure they could. Though it would be costly if it was after the warranty was up. The new Sony PRO Support is phenomenal though. Quick turnaround, great support.

  16. I’ve just bought an A7R3 open box (work great) for $2800.
    For $800 different as compared to A7iii, do you think I should return the A7R3 and get the A7iii instead!
    I don’t have the opportunity to hold an A7iii yet so i don’t know how’s it look in reality

    • Only you can answer that. Do you want more resolution, higher res EVF, slightly better weather sealing and pixel shift mode or do you want lower resolution and slightly faster AF while losing the higher res EVF, better weather sealing, and pixel shift mode?

  17. Hey Steve!

    I have a few questions so get ready!

    1. For landscape and cityscape, the higher res and HDR of the r3 is obviosuly better, but how much better? That is 90% of what I shoot.

    2. If the r3 is rated for 500k shutter life, and the a73 is only 200k, wouldn’t the trade in value be much better for the r3? I’m trying to plan ahead so in a couple years, I may get much more value on the purchase even though initially it is higher price.

    3. I’m currently shooting a Nikon D3300 so this will be my first full frame. I keep hearing that I should take that extra money and invest in better glass. How true is this? Is this without a doubt a must?

    Thank you very much!

    • If you want high res or need it then there should be no discussion. Sounds like you want the RIII which is an amazing camera ; ) You gain the better EVF, Pixel Shift (Tripod only of course) and more resolution as well as better weather sealing.

      • steve,
        i would like to see you take a landscape shot with the new sony a73 and compare it with the same shot from the a7r2 or r3. thanks.

  18. I must say i find it hilarious in a fun way, that third party manufacturers like Sigma or Voigtlander are announcing new Lenses for the E-Mount and not just 2 or 3 altogether. Especially the 2 new lenses look delicious (110mm f/2.5 macro and 21mm f/3.5)
    Can’t wait to see them reviewed by you Steve.

  19. I notice focus peaking on the A7III hasn’t been mentioned. Does it have it?
    Great site BTW. Thanks!

    • They all have peaking. Standard for quite a few year now though I wouldn’t recommend using it as it can be inaccurate. Magnification is what I use when manually focusing and if your lens does not support auto magnify when focusing, you can program any button to turn it on and off.

  20. As luck would have it, I received my A7RIII the day the A7III was announced, so I was mildly irritated. I upgraded from an A7II, and would certainly have gotten the A7III had it been a choice. The fast autofocus is a plus, but I am more interested in low light performance. I was planning on getting the Voigtlander 40/1.2. Already have a 55/1.8 and the 85/1.8. I do portraiture and shoot music concerts and outdoor festivals. Should I return the A7RIII and get A7III instead? I’m not sure that the extra resolution is something I need though I appreciate being able to crop more. The A7II was more than adequate thus far.

  21. How do you compare their skin tone. I have A7rii , i was thinking of moving to A7riii because of better skintone but if A7iii gives similar result to A7riii then it might be better financially. What do you think

    • To me the output looks like the A9 and RIII. I never saw much of a difference between the A9 and RIII but saw a difference between last gens output and this gen. This gen has better color all the way around though AWB is still to perfected on any of them imo.

  22. A few take away’s here. 1. Why do people call a camera a beast. It is a metal and plastic box. I mean really. 2. Thanks for the review Steve. I recently bought a Hasselblad X1D (I played with it back in Japan in 2015 before it was released. A buddy is a Hasseblad rep). I love it. It has a few bugs here and there but the images produced are stunning. Simply stunning. With that in mind, I sold all of my Nikon gear (D850 and pro glass), and all related Nikon bits and bobs. I realized that I want another camera to do the things the X1D can’t do. I was again looking at the Oly OM-D EM1II, and the Fujifilm X-H1, but was leaning towards the A7RIII or the A7III. Your review helped me to decide on the A7III. I will pick up some glass for it and spend more time shooting and less time bitching.

    • IMO: Fuji X-H1 will produce brilliant colors!
      A7Riii for 42mp and full frame!
      Oly for fast action and movie!

    • I do not think it does as images are extremely sharp, even in JPEG, but I have not confirmed it. I do not see any evidence of it having one.

    • No and honestly I have no plans to. The DSLR is IMO, dead at Sony and I do not think they will continue developing them. I could be wrong but their laser focus is on mirrorless growth. I’d never buy an A7 series if I had A-Mount glass. I’d buy E mount. I do not own or have access to any A mount lenses.

  23. Steve, did Sony mention anything about a forthcoming A7SIII? If so, could you pass along any nuggets as to What and When? If you believe they will NOT be unveiling an A7SIII, please elaborate as to why you and/or Sony believe the current offerings make the “S” an obsolete distinction. Which of the available Sony cameras today are superior for shooting low-light video, in your opinion? Thank you!

    • Not at all, no hint, no mention, but I am sure they will release one eventually. They are all amazing in low light, even the A9 (which I think is one of the best low light cameras in their lineup) and from what I see, all three current gen models are about equal to the older S model in low light capabilities. I mean, I can get cleaner 100K ISO on the a7III than the a7SII. Will I use 100k? No, so either camera (RIII, SII, II, 9) at normal high ISO levels will be fantastic.

  24. Hi Steve, i love how your’s review follow fells and heart over everythink else. I want to swich Sony, and i don’t know if is better this A7iii or A7r ii, what do you think about?

    • My guess is that you will get the same results that we see on the a9, a7RIII. The wider the lens, the softer the corners it seems. But me, doesn’t bother me as I never need critical corners. It all depends on what you want out of your files.

  25. Did you notice any bad banding artifact like the ones on Dpreview samples ? Strong backlight, at the edge of the frame, giving some ugly banding in darker zones. It looks pretty bad, and backlight shots are not uncommon, at least surely not for me. So I’m really considering selling my A6300 to replace it with this A7III, but those samples made me wonder. Otherwise it seems to be a great value for the money at this price indeed !

    • I have not, but I am sure if they found it then it exits unless they have a body that has a bad sensor. I will test for this today and will set up a backlit scene to see if I can replicate it. Thank You.

    • I downloaded a raw file from Dpreview showing the issue and was able to solve the banding by using the free and open source software Rawtherapee (excellent program would recommend). My settings under the demosaicing tab or the checkerboard icon, vng4 for demosaicing algorithm, somewhere between 50-100 for line noise filter in the preprocessing tab. Then undo the slight softness of the vng4 demosaicing algorithm by using deconvolution sharpening with a radius of .80-.88 . Overall, I would recommend Rawtherapee, as it gets excellent results, and with the processing technique I laid out, there is no reason for you to not buy an a7iii if the banding issue is a deal breaker.

  26. I would eagerly like to know whether this sensor still shows corner smearing, vignetting and purpel color shift with Leica M / VC manuell wide-angle lenses.

    • Im sure it does as Sony has not made any advancements for M lenses. These latest gen Sony’s are great for some M glass but with wide angle I am sure you will still get some corner smearing. Wide angle M lenses will always work best on an M if you are critical of corners.

  27. Did B&H mess up when they listed pixel shift as a feature for the a7III? I’m hoping for a pleasant surprise.

  28. I wonder how video will look like. And the biggest issue of Sony mirrorless: overheating. If this is fixed and will work as panasonic this is my next camera.

    • Video is always beautiful from these Sony’s especially the latest. As for overheating, not sure yet as it can be an issue. My a9 overheated once, while I was out in 115 degree full sun, after 25 minutes. That’s to be expected I guess but I have not shot 30+ minutes of video on the a7III yet so can’t say. For me, overheating is not normally an issue as I do not shoot long segments, but it has been an issue, and I am also hoping Sony can get these video overheating issues solved. We will find out soon enough!

    • Consider you loose some creative possibilities like multiple exposure shots (playmemories support is gone) and in camera raw editing! Think twice before the switch, at least until BANDING ARTIFACTS ISSUE IS SOLVED!

  29. Thanks for the review and constant updates…I have been thinking of upgrading either my EM1i (to EM1ii) or my A7ii (to ??)….but not both due to lack of funds…and I am glad I did not upgrade the Em1i just yet as it may be better to upgrade the A7ii to A7iii as from your comments it looks like the AF is better on this than the EM1ii…I have no need for the Rii resolution or A9 speed.Thanks again.

  30. Steve,

    It looks like the color profile is getting better. Do you see that also? It seems to have far less of that “muted but contrasty” Sony-signature in the OOC JPEGs (which is mainly how I shoot due to time constraints), which I found very unpleasant. Almost looks like a Nikon color profile… not quite, but a lot closer.

  31. “Today I also learned that Sony has sold more mirrorless cameras than all other mirrorless brands combined. An amazing feat indeed and goes to show how Sony is changing the game. Yes, that means more Sony mirrorless cameras have sold than ALL Fuji, Olympus, Panasonic, etc combined. Sony is killing it in the mirrorless world, and no, they are not slowing down.”
    In the USA or in the world ?

    • Not sure, just telling you guys what Sony told us, and they did show graphs, charts and references but did not see the info on what you ask. I was kind of shocked to be honest, and if this is 100% true (and it should be otherwise they would not have made the claim) it is mighty impressive!

  32. Not upgrading the EVF resolution was a big miss. For those of us that manual focus classic glass, the EVF of the a7RIII doesn’t quite meet the performance of a Leica SL, but it is close enough to feel like a big step up from the a7RII. Unless the A7III looks way better with the increased magnification (doubt it), I think Sony missed the mark on this call. I’ve gone from being a buyer looking forward to the A7III to crossing it off my list because of the EVF spec. The product manager who made this call must not care about photographers that manual focus A7’s… The differential product component cost could’ve easily been partially offset by the savings from using the same EVF component across the model range.

    • The only option is the A9 /A7 RIII. honestly it bugs me as well. Because the EVF On A7R II that Im using right now is definitively not suitable for MF. As I have more out of focus shots on it then I had with nikon D600. The only way is to use magnification instead of peaking, because the resolution is just not ready for the small differences in dof. I’m mainly using samyang 135/2 and Nokton 40/1.2 for MF and keeper rate with peaking(on samyang)is no good in comparison with the optical viefinder. Its especially hard to see focus in more distant objects as the EVF blur everything together and is hard to see what is what. I was shooting a vintage house with the 50/1.4 and I just could not tell if it is in focus or the branches 2-3m in front of the house are in focus. You only find out after you load it on your big screen.

      But you have to admit that for the money, they had to cut down the cost somewhere. The EVF and LCD was the obvious choice. Especially if you need to impress the market with superior AF modul.

      • I can confirm Josef statement…it is impossible to check carefully focus with the A7Rii EVF and the one on A7iii is the same EVF in terms of resolution: this is a pity!

          • Confirmed.Me too find dificult to properly focus details in low light with the EVF of the Sony A7RII.
            I think it was related to my camera sample but after the checking the same have been found with my friend copy! Hope Sony listen and it can be improved with a firmware release…

          • EVF can not be changed with a firmware update, it is what it is. Same as the RII, which I used with M glass for years, manually focusing ; )

        • MAnfred, that’s the reason i got rid of the A7rii, i upgraded from an A7ii only too find out that even the 1 step magnification was good to focus manually, i had to jump to the next step alway and like Steve said in one of the comments above, focus peaking isn’t reliable. For someone that shoots with manual lenses that was a deal breaker. I think the A7iii will be a bit better since there won’t be scaling issues from the 24MP sensor plus the BSI and faster refresh rate do impact the EVF.

    • To be fair this has a fair bit of additional kit over the a7ii that is not getting much mention. Dual SD slot, Silent Shutter option, larger Z battery, joystick on back. All for $2k.

      • Because many are saying it’s the same as the A9 and A7III besides the speed and resolution which means, yes, we get all of the new stuff from those two bodies. Virtually the same body as the a7RIII which means dual slots, silent shutter, larger battery, joystick, etc.

    • This is a big one for me as well. I came here looking specifically for EVF update info because I didn’t see any mention of it anywhere during the Sony announcement or on any new video bloggers using the A7iii. I have the A7ii and was really impressed with all the new features of the new A7III I had been hoping for. Not upgrading the EVF is a big miss for me. Very disappointed to hear this. I’m a middle age guy and I can focus far better manually on my Canon 5DM2 than I can on the A7ii. Sure, I can magnify in when I’m not in a hurry but I want to be able to get sharp focus without having to do that. Peaking helps a little but it detects edges with contrast and isn’t that helpful when trying to focus with very shallow DOF. This is something that really affects my decision. Was seriously going to upgrade and now not sure if I’ll bother. I’m not a fan at all of my A7ii EVF and don’t want a better camera if it is the same dated EVF.
      How would you rate the EVF on the A7Riii by comparison? I really didn’t want to upgrade to that since I really don’t need such a high megapixel count. Wish the A7R3 had a 24mb raw option.

      • Again, I have NO ISSUE with the EVF of the A7III. I shot with the 40 1.2, manually quite bit, and nailed every shot. Had no issue, was not difficult and was crips and bright. Is it the same as the A9 and A7rIII? No, those look more like a HDTV, but you have to pay for that EVF. If Sony out that in this “basic” (as they call it) A7 model, it would have cost more, and made no sense as it would have been too close to the RIII. This one is for those who want to save $1300-$2500 and make some compromises to save that money. ; )

        • I mainly do portrait photography, and have the RIII. Do you think that this is a better overall portrait camera? Seems like it… Thinking of selling the RIII and picking this up instead.

          • No, not at all. It’s basically 42 vs 24 MP. That is the real change between the two. The others (older EVF, and no Pixel Shift feature) are really IMO, not a big deal. A7III will be slightly faster and better with continuous AF.

          • from steve’s pics shown above. the portraits look pretty darn good though. i would like to see some landscape shots from the a7iii by steve.

        • Thanks, Steve. I guess that is the consideration I must make.
          Keep up the great work here. Love your reviews!

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