POLL: Which file is from the Leica and which from the Fuji? Can you tell?

UPDATE: The top image was from the X100, NOT the X1. The Bottom image was from the X1. The full comparison is HERE.


Hey everyone! It’s Saturday and I’ve been hanging around the house today doing some comparisons between the Leica X1 and Fuji X100 just so I could see once and for all which camera I prefer when shooting both side by side. I will be working on this for the next three days, and should have something up by Tuesday. For now, just for fun I decided to post one image along with a poll to see if you guys can guess which image was shot with the Leica X1. I may put one or two more up before Tuesday, just for fun.

The answer will be posted in my comparison this week.

Both images were shot at f2.8 and processed with default RAW settings in CS5. No PP.


[polldaddy poll=5071448]


  1. They both look close. They both look like, “Bad lighting for Portraits”. If it were the X100s, its JPEGS are the best for people shoots. Fujifilm, flim, they know good color. The X100 sold like hot cakes. The X1, not so much.

  2. This post is PERFECT! Hahaha it shows once and for all that all that BS about Leica bokeh, Leica colors, Leica 3D etc is just that, BS. Look at how many people got it wrong, claiming with authority that the X1 look is better!

    Too funny, this really made my day.

  3. If you put a Canon G12 photo there will look similar; however, the price tag is only a fraction. Sometimes people buy camera is not for photo but for the feeling of holding a precious machine. Same applies to our purpose of life!

  4. Daaaamn i was wrong.
    i still think the top image is better to my eyes. de facto, the x100 is one hell of a good camera.
    i only own an x1 and very happy with it, and despite how good the x100 is, i don’t think i will buy it though. will wait for the next gen stuff to pop up. πŸ™‚

    thanks for the test. very insightful!

  5. Again, on both polls I was wrong. Doh! With that said, I like the top photo better. It just seems clearer and more detailed. I sold my X1 and I’m waiting on my X100.

  6. Lol best thing was to read the comments from all who were so sure about which one the Leica was, based on it’s superiority! πŸ˜€

  7. I thought bottom was x1 based, on the compression in the face, even 1mm of focal length seems have a difference in the appearance of face

  8. Huahahahaha… I was wrong then… x_x

    Good job, Steve. But this is fun! Let’s do it again…

  9. Wonderful, Steve, this was real fun. I was wrong as were obviously many. Perception dominates reality:)

  10. The top one looks little narrower to me, meaning shorter focal length, assuming both are taken from the same distance, I would say the bottom one is leica which seems little more flatter.

  11. Well, this is the ultimate test for all those wise guys saying ‘Leica is the better one because…. and Leica has much better IQ for sure…. and I bought me a Leica because it’s sooooooo much better….’
    It’s easy guys, take the less $$$ one πŸ™‚ !!

  12. Well if the difference is that close…..than Fuji with X100 is the better choice …price/performance

    the rest is belony

  13. The top is from Leica, you can see this when you click for a larger version. If you look at the background you can see that the bokeh is sweether than the Fuji (who is stronger)

  14. Getting a real kick out of the comments regarding “Leica Tone”, “Leica Bokeh”, “Leica 3D”, “Leica Colors”.

    Yet y’all are picking different photos! Very amusing.

    Can’t wait for Steve to reveal the answer. If nothing else, this little exercise has proved how difficult it is to tell these two lenses apart and how great a determinator personal preference is.

  15. I like both πŸ™‚

    will you do another poll with studio settings?

    and oh buy the way, Lloyd Chambers compare the Fujix with the M9 and even the D3s…


  16. Top is X1. White balance is bit off. Better bokeh, better sharpness in the corner.
    Bot si X100. Better white balance, skin looks more neutral unlike the Leica…

  17. I guessed the bottom photo. I am one that does not believe in the Leica look (in spite of owning my share of Leica stuff). Really can’t tell between the two.

  18. The bottom one is X1. It has that Leica tone, slightly greenish, but more natural and pleasing to the eyes. X100 at top looks cleaner, whiter.

  19. The 1st shot is the X1…no mistaking it. The flare and doubling of the mortar seams in the back ground are X100 finger prints. I hope the saying “You get what you pay for” is the case here….or the X100 will be a X1 killer for sure!

  20. Top one X1, cooler colours, slightly more 3D rendering, less creamy and warm feel to the photo. I slightly prefer the top one but would be happy with either which shows how good both cameras are.

  21. I find the bottom to be X1. The top is more dreamy to me and has not color fringing in OOF areas and that was my impression from the Fuji lens. I would not look at colors – I bet Steve adjusted them to confuse us more πŸ™‚ But I am indeed curios. This shot also shows how little difference in real life there is between the cameras (I know that these are not full size samples, but still … ).

  22. Like everybody else, i could be wrong, but my guess is the top one is the x1. I own an x1 and I am just not recognizing the amount of bokeh as well as how strong it is, on the second shot. Even if both are shot at 2.8
    And if i’m wrong, i think it will be time to buy an x100 hehe! as first shot is clearly better to my eyes, with more dynamic range in the upper hair section, more defined areas and sharpness, better color rendering. Heck i hope i’m not gonna hate my x1 because of you steve! :):)

  23. I voted for the top image being from the X1. Based on how the images rendered on my iPhone, I think the second had the more Fuji like color rendition.


  24. I have an x1 and I think it’s the top one because of the dynamic range. The air is overexposed on the bottom picture. X100 dynamic range sucks, x1 has wider grayscale.

  25. They’re both X1 (LOL sorry couldn’t resist).

    I”m probably way off but I’ll say the top image is from the X1. Not due to the saturation or sharpness but, rather, the unsharpness in the wall behind your son. In the top image the unsharpness is much smoother and less digital-ly. This is evident in the mortar ‘seams’ of the blocks. The Elmarit is a champ at this stuff. But BOTH images are quite good.

  26. I like the second one better (more micro detail), whichever that one is I’ll buy, how’s that for a decision??

  27. 1400+ votes and counting, and just barely a 4% difference. In other words, the X100 is holding its own against the X1 as far as any of us can tell …

    As for one of your future crazy comparison posts, mix things up: the X100 and the X1 are a given, the M9 pretty much expected, but throw something old-school in there, a DP2 to represent the early large-sensor compacts …

  28. Now that I voted and saw the eloquent results (almost equity between contenders), it confirms what I already thought: differences are minute, no regular eye (like mine, like almost anyone’s) is capable of tracing significative differences among the two cameras (and I think between a lot of cameras. If I put a file from my D90, certainly I wouldn’t recognize it). Of course, half the people is gonna be right, the same amount as a coin would be.
    So, letΒ΄s face it, there are no differences between both cameras but in two aspects: price and “personal feeling”.
    (For me, price goes a long way, of course. And the OVF/EVF. And the looks. And video and pano capabilities… oh, oh, seems differences are minute only IQ-wise…)
    I rest my case.

    • You hit the nail. IQ wise it’s a draw. Except at f2.0 and iso 6400;). But on a more serious note, VF, F2, ND filter, excellent high iso make for a compelling package. And having
      video, pano, film modes on board is not a disadvantage either. So irrespective of price… Am loking forward to Steve’s detailed side by side comparison.

  29. 2nd associated poll:

    Which photo is Steve’s son and which is Michael Pitt?

    (either photo is OK to me, anyway)

  30. I voted X1 on the bottom
    the magenta skin tone on the top image reminds me of shooting Fuji RDPII or RDPIII, I’ve never shot with the X1 or X100, so that’s what I’ll go with.
    They are close, but there is definitely a difference.
    On a personal level I also like the bottom image more!

  31. The Bokeh looks smoother on the top image, the bottom image shows some doubling for edges in the OOF regions. I’ve seen some online X100 images that seem to be similar. Of course, i always reserve the right to be wrong.

    I prefer the top image.

  32. I was never good at guessing Leica vs other brands, especially if those other brands had fast primes on their cameras. I think both of these came out nice. I prefer the rendering in the second photo. Don’t know what that means in regards to which camera.

  33. I picked the top one as it subjectively looks better to me. Will be interesting to see what camera it is.

  34. Well, I reckon the top one is the X1 on account of the better highlights in the hair and the less busy rendering of the OOF mortar on the wall. Having said that though I actually much prefer the overall look and colour of the bottom shop, looks more 3D to me. The overall quality is what I tend to look for rather than the individual components within the image, much the same as to when I listen to music. Music more than HiFi, image more than detail.

  35. Assuming the same exposure settings for both shots, I’d say the top is the X100, which seems to underexpose compared to the X1.

  36. The bottom is from the X1. I don’t own either but I remember someone mentioning something about the X100’s image as being “flat”. Looking forward to seeing the answer next week.

  37. I voted and prefer bottom for the X1.
    I’m a Leica fan but really if it’s this close the X100 has already won by far. Price/VF/Price/Charm/F2.

  38. Well, my guess would be the top one is Leica. Only have two question about the distance it was taken from, and whether it was a Manual or an Auto Focus? πŸ™‚
    with best regards,

  39. I don’t own neither X1 nor X100, so I have no don’t really know which one is which, but I prefer the top image more than the lower one.
    the wall at the far left hand side of the second image does not look as good as the first one – the second one just looks a bit fuzzy and busy, imo.

    i like the bokeh of the first image, it is a nicer blur.

    • I love how different we all are on here…. great pick up Allen!

      I noticed the same thing but came away w/ the opposite impression. To my eye, the bokeh in the first image seems tentative. In the second image the highlights in the grout look solid. I guess like my blur to have bit more pop then smear.

  40. My friend gave me some advice tonight which I think is applicable. If deciding between two similar options seems difficult, it is because there is probably not enough difference between the two for the choice to really matter.

    In other words, since the difference is not apparent even after serious deliberation, they are not different enough for it to really be an issue. Either one is perfectly fine as far as image quality, which means that other factors should be considered ahead of IQ.

  41. Going by the framing and what one would more likely frame when holding camera out in front of them at arms length (Leica) or to the eye with a VF (Fuji). That’s all I could do as they look the same to me and I own neither of them. I guess top is X1 – looks like the camera was held lower down and not high up to the eye.

    • Wow – I wrote this at 2:52 AM – even though it is well in the PM here. Isn’t there an option that can/should be set in Word Press to use local or UTC time as opposed to stamping everything with the server’s time?

    • This may be a stretch but in the second image, if you zoom to 100% and look at the reflection in the eye, it appears that you can see Steve’s left arm. The arm is held at an angle, as it would be if holding the camera out in front of you – your arms generally fall to a vertical position when shooting with the camera up to your eye.

      There is also no silver reflection where the camera should be so perhaps he has a black X1?

      I noticed this after I made my decision on other factors but I think it is funny how you basically need to resort to cheating in order to tell these two images apart!

      • They could BOTH be from the SAME camera for all us arm chair critiques would know.

        Steve’s double blind test with a double placebo.

        Someone else said it when talking about music vs HIFI. I like a bit of fun with a chance to guess and play a light hearted game. But at the end of the day. It has NOTHING to do with photography – they are just light tight boxes.

  42. i prefer the top one,and i guess the top is x1,i do not like fuji,it’s too yellow color and not sharp enough,that’s terrible,it means fuji lens can not let us see clearly enough.i insist that.

  43. 1: X100 – technically the better image
    2: X1 – IMO the better photograph

    shot #2 IMO has more depth and life to it, sharpness isn’t everything

    nice work Steve, keep them coming

    • I agree with you.
      #1 has more detail in the skin, #2 has less detail, and a chromatic aberration in the hair, but for me the second picture is more life like and pleasant.

      if you look for “leica x1 portrait” or “fuji x100 portrait” in flickr , this is evident, at least for me. but everyone can have his own concept of “life like”, so it’s relative. I say x1 is the bootm one.

  44. Wow, Steve, this is great! I wish there were more images but this will do, too. You know what? I think Leica should print and hang these two pictures in their X2 product development room (if they are still developing it, of course). The images are so close!

    As a portrait I like the top one better but that is irrelevant here in this comparison vote.

    I voted for the bottom image as the X1. But honestly I am not completely sure which is which. My vote was based on three factors: colour, overall sharpness at f2.8 and detail edge sharpness. My own experience with both cameras tells me that Fuji tends to have warmer colours with a bit or reddish tint; that Fuji seems to be sharper edge-to-edge at f2.8; and that Fuji seems to have less edge sharpness in fine details, especially in the centre.

    This is all subjective, of course, and I may be all wrong in my assumptions.

    I look forward to seeing the real answer.


  45. I no longer have the X1 and I don’t have X100 yet (I am sticking to one-wife, one-car, one-camera, one-everything etc rule :p). So, I can’t tell much from sharpness, color and shadow/highlights. But frankly, within seconds, I can pick up a difference in the two pictures with regards to illusion of depth.

    Regardless of which camera it is, here’s my weekend take on this weekend poll:

    In the top picture, my brain doesn’t have to think hard that Brandon is actually standing in front of a wall at some distance. It’s natural and immediate. The interpretation of the scene is very pleasing and kind to my eyes-brain relationship. No struggling tug-of-war here.

    In the bottom picture, my brain has to pause and think for a minute (maybe 2 hehe) to separate Brandon from the wall. It looks like he is submerged in the wall (which I am sure he wasn’t πŸ™‚ )

    Would like to see more.. This is very interesting and cool! Thanks, Steve…

    Just my experience…

    • And again, by this interpretation, I am not claiming the title of “3D experts” which are better deserved by the actual engineers/artists/designers/animators who draw 3D for a living (this caveat emptor is intended to brother Retow :D, peace brotha…LOL). I did have some 3D CAD/CAM design classes in my university year ages ago but that certainly was never enough to ever claim that title. ROTF LMAO. Don’t you just love that guy? I laughed so hard I actually wet my pants a bit, seriously… Oh my gosh, I just loved that sarcasm, not getting enough this day. It’s very funny IMO.

      All the above are just MY TAKE on the subject, that’s all… Simple.

    • Andrew,

      You are going to have to see a Dr. about all those headaches that the Fuji gives you, especially after you picked it here. πŸ™‚

      I think you are looking too hard for something that doesn’t exist – that’s what makes your brain hurt.

      Just giving you a hard time…c’mon, you set yourself up for a little maybe? πŸ™‚

  46. trick question – they are both X1! lol

    Seriously though, they are both great photos. Colour rendition is different of course so ultimately you go with the colours you like. That said, technically they are both stunning and I would be happy with both if I taken them. What a great time to be a photographer when one cannot (easily) distinguish between an affordable camera and a more expensive Leica. Happy days!

  47. Can’t you add a poll: which image do you like most?

    I think the upper is the better image, but after several looks I like the bottom more. For me it is more silent, a better atmosphere. Since I don’t own these cameras it’s only guessing which camera it is. So my guess: the upper is the Fuji.

  48. Top one is the X1, I can see the wall at some distance behind Brandon. Not flat/purged/merged like the second one. The wall on the right is like characteristic I see from other X100 pictures so far.

    I don’t know, I can be wrong though…

  49. I say the top one is the X1 too. I agree with the above comment that there is less color saturation in the top photo. Furthermore, the bottom photo has a smoother feel, keeping in line with what Fuji is known for. Another sign is that the hair is sharper on the top photo. I also feel that the top photo has more dimension to it, another X1 quality. I prefer the top photo and I’m going out on a line here by saying that I’m certain that, “the top photo is the X1”. With that said, both of these photos are excellent. I still prefer the X100 camera for its other features, build quality, and internal viewfinder. In the end, the image quality of these cameras are so similiar and capable, it is up to the photographer to take great photographs.

  50. Steve, hello! In 100 there is a feature – in the shadows of the color becomes purple – blue. And its lens is better, more natural bokeh, lens than X1. This is what we see on upper picture. But bottom photo is more volume, it more than the correct color and better convey a semitone. My opinion-upper-X100, low-X1.

      • In a number of comparisons one could observe that the Fuji lens blurs backgrounds more than the Elmarit at the same aperture. I thought both are taken at f2.8 as well and picked the top shot as the Leica one because of less blur (among other reasons).

        • It is pretty close. In the comparison I did it looked like the X100 had a more shallow DOF but it may have just been that focus was off on the X1 shot.

          Ideally, you need to bracket your shots and pick the best focus from both groups. Steve said he is going to add more of these which one tests so we’ll be able to see if this is a one off or a trend. On all 8 of my X1 vs X100 comparison shots, I could clearly see more detail in the X100 shots and this seems to be confirmed by the test done over at Leica Rumors so I’m very curious if Steve’s copies produce similar results.

  51. I’d say the top one is from the X1, but it’s pure guessing. Reason: difference in color saturation, skin tone and oof rendering.
    I’d like to hear “the 3D experts” now, who explained at length in one of the other threads that the X100’s output is flat compared to the X1. Am sure they will be able to pick the Leica shot one eyed (sarcasm intended).

    • That would be me?? Hahahaha. Go ahead, use my name. I don’t care hahahaha. Very funny guy. Thanks for the sarcasm and the title of “3D experts” LOL…

      So this would earn you “Sarcasm King”?

      On a serius note, I am no way claiming to be a 3D expert (if you read my responses carefully on the other post). It’s just my opinion and personal preference, really. You may like blue, I like white. Does it make either of us bad? I don’t think so.

      Thanks anyway.. LOL. You made my day.. πŸ™‚

  52. There’s still something to be said for the photographer. The detail and sharpness from both cameras on the single strands of hair falling in front of the eyes is on par with something you expect from a DP2 or a SD15.

    There’s definitely a different story with the comparison shots on DPReview where both cameras (whether through lack of sharpening or raw processing) lose out to the likes of the E-PL2 and GH2.

  53. Top is Leica i think but both images plenty good enough. Would not buy the Fuji or X1 anyway because of the poor user interface.Have stopped buying and using digital cameras now because I hate using menus.Prefer to use my Leica and Contax film cameras. Excellent article on Luminous Landscaoe now
    about why menus are bad.
    Summary goes like this…imagine driving a car and someone steps across the road in front of you. You suddenly realize there is no steering wheel only a computerized control system.
    So you… press menu.
    select steering. enter
    press swerve enter
    press left or right. enter….
    Too late! You have already hit the poor person in front of you!

    Same clumsy controls on most digital cameras. Check out the article..It is right on the money!

    • All the settings you can change on your film Leica can be changed on the X100 without going into a menu or looking at a screen, except for iso and distances for ZF.

      • How often do you change ISO on a film camera without reloading film πŸ˜‰

        I’d say minor menu diving is worlds more convenient.

        • On the iso I certainly agree. What would make the X100 even more compelling would be a lens ring for MF with distance scales.

        • @ Chad

          You don’t shoot much film do you? One does change the ISO a lot – even with the same film/roll. And we aren’t even suggesting the use of a compensating developer yet either….

          ISO is a quite a bit “Dumbed Down” in the digital context versus how it is approached with film.

          • I shoot a ton of film Richard and was not referring to minor ISO changes used for exposure compensation. The point remains, depending on the camera, you need to stop, take your eye away from the VF, adjust a manual control, etc. Adjusting ISO on the X1 or X100 is not the big deal you are making it out to be and is likey more efficient.

          • @ Chad

            I am not making a big deal out of how much of a deal it is to adjust or not ISO on a digital or other camera. I am correcting you on your incorrect point that suggested that ISO changes on a film camera are rare outside of the instance of a film canister change.

            Not only is it a common task – but also reinforcing my comment initially about it being “dumbed down”; it is often done for many reasons but seldom due to “exposure compensation”.

            Now to help set the record straight with respect to what is misunderstood.

            On digital it is a mathematical absolute (ISO that is) with how a sensor will relay a reading from an exposure.

            In film we talk about “Exposure Index” and the ISO ratings on boxes are merely a recommendation – often called “Box speed”.

            One then adjusts the ISO quite readily within a role, based on the desired development, desired contrast for a constant development (since this ain’t single sheet cut film) as well as how we would like flash, be it fill or otherwise to spread in a frame from near to far – with something other than the aperture to control it.

            To name but a few of the reasons I “ride” the ISO. Others far more experienced that I would have their own reasons too I am sure.

            ISO with film is fluid and not static as it is with digital. I am not attacking or insulting you. Just correcting you on a statement that you made in error.

          • Richard,

            Why are you on a website that focuses predominately on digital cameras if you disdain them so much. You are adding nothing to this conversation.

            Arguing that you don’t buy digital cameras because of their menus has nothing to do with this post.

          • Richard,

            Thank you for the “correction” but you are missing the point. For all the intricacies and contortions you refer to when adjusting ISO and development times, the same is done simply and easily with digital ISO adjustment and PP. But we’ve gone off the reservation a bit here haven’t we?

            The original poster was making the statement that he doesn’t use digital cameras because they have menus, at which point Retow reminded him that you don’t need to use menus to control exposure on the X100 with the exception of ISO and zone focus. Retow’s point is accurate as is mine that changing ISO through the Fn button is likely more efficient than using a mechanical control.

          • Yes – off the reservation.

            A control is a control and should be easy to use for each person. And we are all different.

            One control that I LOVE on my F80’s is that no matter what weird ISO setting I have set for whatever reason. As soon as the back is opened the camera RESETS itself to DX coding detection. So one can never have a screwed up ISO setting.

            I have done that on digital camera’s when I briefly owned them. :-s

          • @ Chad

            Also not missing any point. I was responding to your thread/question/statement and not the original poster/question.

            We all need to save a bit of face now and then – however fair is fair….

          • Saving face? Let’s be clear, you can shoot film all day, every day and never change your ISO unless you are replacing a canister and your average film shooter operated in that manner. Your response was dripping with pretention, with your “You don’t shoot much film do you?, as if (a) I’ve never manually changed ISO on a film camera and (b) anyone that shoots film and doesn’t “ride the ISO” is a hack. Please.

            I do in fact change ISO but for the reason I mentioned, exposure compensation when using cameras like the XA or 35RC where I don’t have full manual control. I certainly respect the technical savvy of a film shooter that develops and makes their own prints using the techniques you quoted but the number that do are so minuscule in relation to the readership here and in the general population that I fear you are making an esoteric argument about something that has no relation to the original point.

          • Since you don’t own a digital camera, I guess my original response to Steve Jones, that I attributed to you still stands?

            What exactly are you adding to the post? We are here to play this fun little game of which camera took which photo, not “Film Luddites will troll”.

          • As I said Chad. We all need to save a little face now and then. You are free to represent yourself and your opinions as much as you want.

            However just please refrain from misrepresenting mine. That is all that I asked.


  54. Blown highlights in the second with a bit of flare (on the hair). Me guessing the top one is Leica, bottom Fuji (considering how so many people have complained of flare issues with the fuji).

  55. I’m guessing the bottom image is the Fuji at f/2. I’m also glad that this little exercise didn’t involve putting my money where my mouth is.

    I know that both cameras are capable of making great images, but I really appreciate being able to look through the Fuji at eye level, through either the ovf or evf. It may show my age preferring an eye level finder, but the jury’s still out for me on whether I prefer ovf or evf. It is nice to have both.

  56. I’ve no idea but the bottom image looks much better to my eye. Will be fun to see which is which.

  57. I haven’t shot an X1, BUT I do have an x100 – #1 looks like the drawing of the Fuji to me. Bottom X1 shot(?) is more modern looking.
    They are both fine cameras.
    Good shot Steve.

  58. The bottom is x100. Higher dynamic range, slightly more accurate skin colour, and the close-up shot is not quite sharp at f2.8. I know my x100 haha..

  59. I look at the eyes, the reflection in the first picture had clearly shows that the top is taken by a better camera. Now which is the better camera? X1 or X100?

  60. I’m gonna say top one X1.

    They are both good and there really is not much difference either way.

  61. With the large aperture I guess it’s difficult to judge based on the corner resolution. But then my intuition tells me the bottom is X1!!!!

  62. I voted for the bottom image as the X1, top is the X100. I’m basing this on the comparable levels of rendered detail which is higher in the top image.

    Based on my own comparison and the one over on Leica Rumors, the X100 out resolves and has sharper edge detail at f/2.8 (and I would say through f/5.6).

    Otherwise, this is a good example of how alike the two lenses are!

  63. Hi. Owning neither and having a vague recollection about earlier shots you reprted on–I didn’t look– I thought the top was the Leica because of the out-of-focus area. The mortar between the bricks is more clearly defined. My suspicion was that the “creamier” look below was the Fuji.

  64. Maybe Steve should throw in a M9 with 35mm cron into the mix also, that’ll be interesting hehe

  65. I’ll go with the top one. I remember loving the colors from the X100, and other people loving them as well, and I really like the colors from the bottom one. Other than that, I have no experience with either camera to really tell a difference.

    But I think both of them look great!

  66. Interesting… with over 80 votes there are no comments. I wonder if it’s because people are afraid to be wrong πŸ™‚

    I voted the top is the Leica because there seems to be less lens distortion. It also seems to have a little more dimension than the second, and people say Leica has more of a 3-d quality. That’s just my guess.

    I own the x100 myself.

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