Highlights from the 2014 LA Auto Show

Panasonic's new DMC-GH2 with touch-control, 1920x1080/60i video, 3D interchangeable lens and the world’s fastest auto focus

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September 21, 2010

Panasonic's new DMC-GH2 with touch-control, 1920x1080/60i video, 3D interchangeable lens a...

Panasonic's new DMC-GH2 with touch-control, 1920x1080/60i video, 3D interchangeable lens and the world’s fastest auto focus

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Panasonic's ambitions to make LUMIX a major camera brand took a major leap at the Photokina imaging expo in Cologne this morning when it showed the LUMIX DMC-GH2, the new “flagship” of the LUMIX G Micro System. The DMC-GH2 offers a range of significant improvements over the GH1 including the world's fastest auto focus (approx 0.1 seconds), an ingenious touch-screen control for focusing and a range of other functionality access on the fly, full HD 1920x1080/60i movie recording, cinema-like 24p movie recording with a bit rate of 24 Mbps, variable frame rates, a new EX Tele Conversion function which enables the user to “extend” the zoom in both photo and movie shooting mode, a simultaneous HDMI output while recording images and several new lenses including a 3D lens LUMIX G 12.5mm / F12 (H-FT012) which transforms the GH2 into a 3D movie and still camera. One wonders just how good the cameras will be that we'll be using five years from now, such is the progress of development.

Panasonic's new DMC-GH2 with touch-control, 1920x1080/60i video, 3D interchangeable lens a...
Panasonic's new DMC-GH2 with touch-control, 1920x1080/60i video, 3D interchangeable lens a...
Panasonic's new DMC-GH2 with touch-control, 1920x1080/60i video, 3D interchangeable lens a...

The official extended press release reads as follows:

The Touch-Control Creative HD Hybrid Digital Camera DMC-GH2

Featuring Full HD 1920x1080/60i Movie Recording and the World’s Fastest Level of Light Speed AF *

Cologne, Germany (September 21, 2010) – Panasonic has unveiled at photokina 2010 the LUMIX DMC-GH2 as a latest member of the New Generation System Camera LUMIX G Micro System.

Fully compliant with the Micro Four Thirds System standard, the LUMIX G Micro System combines a downsized body with advanced functions that achieve both high performance and operational comfort. Featuring an intuitive touch control, the new DMC-GH2 boasts its world’s fastest* level Light Speed AF of approx. 0.1 second to capture the subject in spur-of-the-moment in sharp focus*.

The key components including the sensor and the image processing engine are totally refined to achieve even higher performance of the camera to render a stunning image with high resolution, beautiful gradation and high sensitivity - all worth for the flagship camera of LUMIX G Micro System DMC-GH2.

For the hybrid digital camera, recording movie is no longer an additional function but a right option for saving memories according to the subject and situation. The DMC-GH2 is innovative in the point it features full HD 1920x1080/60i smooth, high quality movie recording with powerful 60p output**.

The cinema-like 24p movie with the bit rate of max. 24 Mbps provides overwhelming image quality with richly expressive afterimage. Furthermore, together with the Cinema mode, which is newly added as an option of popular Film mode, 24p movie enables the movie to have a characteristic superior gradation shown in movie.

The new Variable Movie mode makes it possible to record motion images in variable frame rate for creating a fast/slow-feed movie to look it unusual. Activating the newly added EX Tele Conversion function, user can virtually extend the zoom beyond the original limit to get the subject even closer, which is available in both photo and movie. The simultaneous HDMI output while recording images is convenient for even professional users to monitor images on the separate screen.

The intuitive touch-control shooting, which is popular with the DMC-G2 for its outstanding usability, also comes with DMC-GH2. Combined with easy-to-see free-angle Intelligent LCD and the newly developed Multi Aspect Wide Screen LVF (Live View Finder), the DMC-GH2 achieves highest ever operational comfort for users to concentrate on the shooting.

Expanding variety of interchangeable lenses is another advantage of the LUMIX G Micro System which boasts a total of 11 exclusive lenses including new single focal length lens LUMIX G 14mm / F2.5 ASPH (H-H014), telephoto zoom lens LUMIX G VARIO 100-300mm / F4.0-5.6 / MEGA O.I.S. (H-FS100300) and 3D lens LUMIX G 12.5mm / F12 (H-FT012).

The new 3D lens introduced simultaneously is the world’s first development. Not only seeing in 3D but also shooting in 3D is now available. The popular My Color mode and the Film mode including new Cinema mode also adds users’ intention to the photo and movie.

The iA (Intelligent Auto) mode is constantly evolving and the Intelligent D-range Control is newly integrated in the DMC-GH2. The Intelligent Resolution has new “EXTENDED” option for more natural looking to be printed in large size.

Enforced by the high-performance based on the new components and advanced technologies, the creative HD Hybrid DMC-GH2 is now offering even higher level of creative possibility and intuition for every enthusiastic user to explore realms of not only photography but also of videography even at the same time.

* The time for focusing on the subject is measured with the DMC-GH2 attaching LUMIX G VARIO HD 14-140mm / F4.0-5.8 ASPH. / MEGA O.I.S. (H-VS014140)* to move the lens to “2m” from “infinity” position. The zoom position is in wide range. Panasonic measurement method.*The firmware must be updated to Ver. 1.3 or later.

** Full-HD (1,920 x 1,080) movies are recorded at 50i (PAL). HD (1,280 x 720) movies are output and recorded by the image sensor at 50p (PAL).

Main Features

1. Crystallization of advanced technologies to exceed the limit of expressive possibility

The DMC-GH2 boasts its high performance to make the photographic experience even more comfortable and fun. It features the world’s fastest* level Light Speed AF of approx. 0.1 second* which is achieved by reducing the detection time for focusing by doubling the drive speed from 60 fps to 120 fps. Not only the accuracy but also the speed excels by far than the high-end DSLRs with phase difference AF with the advanced contrast AF system in DMC-GH2. Combined with the Touch AF control, setting and focusing at the subject is incredibly easy and quick, never missing the spur-of-the-moment.

Panasonic also refined its comprehensive digital imaging technologies for every camera of LUMIX G Micro System to raise the level of image quality that rivals or even surpasses D-SLR cameras. The newly developed 16.05-megapixel multi-aspect Live MOS Sensor adopts the high speed digital νMaicovicon. In addition to the high speed, which is an advantage of the CMOS sensor, Panasonic adds its original pixel mix technology.

A dedicated process exclusively for νMaicovicon of DMC-GH2 is newly developed by applying the top-class high performance transistor and its interconnection process needed for the high speed operation of digital circuit to make low-noise photodiode and transistor with reduced wiring to achieve both high resolution and high aperture-ratio as DMC-GH1.

The result is both high resolution and excellent S/N are realized with more than 3dB improvement of noise and 200% high sensitivity in DMC-GH2. Plus, it helps to realize the high speed burst shooting at 5 fps in 16.05-megapixel full resolution using a mechanical shutter and max.40 fps using an electronic shutter.

For the image processor, the new Venus Engine FHD is incorporated that features exceptionally advanced signal processing capabilities in both photo and movie recording. By separating chromatic noise from luminance noise even more accurately by applying the optimal noise reduction to each, you can capture clear and beautiful images even when shooting at high ISO sensitivity levels. By preventing the color mixture which tended to occur around the edges, any chromatic noise, not only the in gradation part but also in the edge part, are described clearly.

The engine also provides selective noise reduction to the outline part to let it have more naturally-balanced curve without deterioration of the resolution. In addition, the spot-type noise which can be often seen in the dark area of the picture taken in low light situation or color bleeding on high luminance area generated by the chromatic aberration. The Intelligent Resolution technology is another feature of the Venus Engine FHD. With the Intelligent Resolution technology, 3 areas - outlines, detailed texture areas and soft gradation areas are automatically detected.

The outline parts are enhanced effectively to give edges more clearness while giving a moderate accentuation to the texture areas to look more finely detailed. To the soft gradation part, superior noise reduction system of the Venus Engine FHD is applied to make it smoother. Apart from the uniform enhancement of sharpness, the innovative technology Intelligent Resolution precisely performs signal processing pixel by pixel in the most effective way for it. As a result, images are naturally clear and crisp in both photo and movie recording.

Linking smoothly with the Live MOS sensor, the Venus Engine FHD processes a large amount of signals at high speed, making it possible to record high resolution consecutive shots and full-HD movie recording.

*The time for focusing on the subject is measured with the DMC-GH2 attaching LUMIX G VARIO HD 14-140mm / F4.0-5.8 ASPH. / MEGA O.I.S. (H-VS014140)* to move the lens to “2m” from “infinity” position. The zoom position is in wide range. Panasonic measurement method.*The firmware must be updated to Ver. 1.3 or later.

2. Elevating the potential of movie recording to be a “true-hybrid” digital camera There are always two options to record spur-of-the-moment scenes – high-quality photos or movies. The user can simply choose the one that saves precious memories most beautifully with DMC-GH2.

The predecessor DMC-GH1, which was substantially the first full HD movie recording interchangeable lens system camera with practical AF system. The AVCHD format features almost twice the recording time in HD quality than the conventional Motion JPEG. A special, dedicated button on the top lets the user instantly start recording movies while shooting photos without any having to make any extra settings.

Now the DMC-GH2 can record high-resolution full-HD 1920 x 1080 movies in astonishing smooth 60i, doubling the sensor output from 25p/24p to 50p/60p. The DMC-GH2 also supports 1080/24p native mode with 24 Mbps, the highest in AVCHD format bringing impressive afterimage to the movie.

The newly added Cinema mode option (selectable in the Film mode) gives the movie rich, cinema-like gradation. Now the image recording is more flexible fun with the DMC-GH2. It is possible to choose the suitable frame rate of the movie among 80%, 160%, 200% and 300% according to the recorded contents with the new Variable Movie mode. The Touch AF in movie recording also lets users enjoy professional-like rack focusing. Just by pointing the subject, the focus is shifted to it and let it stand out to attract attention.

Now the DMC-GH2 can take a 14 megapixel photo (16:9) while recording movie by just pressing a shutter button. Plus you can save a frame of movie as photo during playback.

The Extra Tele Conversion function virtually extends the zoom range up to 2.6x, thus the max.728mm in AVCHD Cinema/FSH mode, max. 1092mm in AVCHD SH mode and Motion JPEG HD / WVGA mode and max.1344mm in Motion JPEG VGA/QVGA mode is available with the LUMIX G VARIO HD 14-140mm / F4.0-5.8 ASPH. / MEGA O.I.S. which is developed to be exclusively compatible with movie recording.

High quality sound can be recorded with Dolby® Digital Stereo Creator, and optional accessory Stereo Microphone (DMW-MS1) can be attached to the DMC-GH2. A Wind Cut function is also available to block out most of the noise from background wind. The wash-out areas are indicated with lighting highlight when recording movie, too.

The DMC-GH2 is newly capable of image output via an optional HDMI mini cable to the external monitor, which is suitable for the professional image recording that requires serious confirmation of the images.

* Full-HD (1,920 x 1,080) movies are recorded at 60i (NTSC) / 50i (PAL). HD (1,280 x 720) movies are output and recorded by the image sensor at 60p (NTSC) / 50p (PAL).

** In the high speed burst shooting at 40 fps, the picture size is max. 4-megapixel (4:3), 3.8-megapixel (3:2), 2-megapixel (16:9) or 3-megapixel (1:1). ·Motion images can be recorded continuously for up to 29 min 59 sec in European PAL areas ·Continuous recording exceeding 2GB is not possible when recording motion JPEG. Remaining time for continuous recording is displayed on the screen. ·Use a card with SD Speed Class with "Class 4" or higher when recording motion pictures in [AVCHD]. Also, use a card with SD Speed Class with "Class 6" or higher when recording motion pictures in [MOTION JPEG]. * SD Speed Class is the speed standard regarding continuous writing.

3. The intuitive touch-control changes the way of operation with dramatic freedom and comfort

To elevate its operability even higher, the DMC-G2 adopted touch-control shooting for the first time in the world as an interchangeable lens system camera*. Taking this epoch-making advantage in the DMC-GH2, the perception of operating a digital interchangeable lens system camera should drastically change. The focus is immediately set to the subject by just touching it on the large, 460,000-dot LCD and you can even release the shutter.

Once you lock on the subject by a touch, the camera tracks the subject with the AF tracking function even if it moves. Just a touch on the screen lets you select the part and the size of AF area with the 1-area AF. The 1-area AF in Face Detection even allows you to set finer focus on the eyes while capturing human face bright and clear. The Multi-area AF with 23 AF areas allows to set a group of AF point according to the composition.

With the Intelligent Scene Selector in the iA mode, the camera automatically switches to the appropriate mode according to the subject touched. For example, a touch on a human face switches to the portrait mode and a touch on the background or scenery to the scenery mode while a touch on the subject close to the camera to the close-up mode. In the manual focusing, you can enlarge the part by just a touch to select 1x, 5x or 10x and smoothly move the part by dragging it on the screen.

The touch operation dramatically shortcuts the action of setting in the menu, too. The touch-screen operation excels not only for shooting but also for playing back images with outstanding visibility. You can play back the image you want out of hundreds of stocks by touching in the thumbnails. To play back images one by one in order, you can drag the image over the screen with a finger to browse the collection of photos as you flip over the pages of the book. Max. 16x of enlargement is also operated easily with touches.

The large, high resolution with wide-viewing angle rotates 180° to the side and tilts 270° up and down offers approx. 100% of field of view. The free-angle LCD with a touch-screen operation makes both monitoring and touching at any physical position. Both LCD and LED backlight are newly designed to realize vivid, impressive color reproduction by 25%**. The primary colors-red, blue and green- are reproduced more clearly true to the original natural colors.

The LUMIX G Micro System's large, bright 1,440,000-dot equivalent LVF (Live View Finder) retains the outstanding viewability of an optical viewfinder and can also display information about camera settings that the user can see without taking his or her eyes off the subject. Now the LVF is newly designed to be Multi Aspect Wide Screen LVF for DMC-GH2.

Increasing the display area to 1,530,000-dot equivalent resolution, the new Multi Aspect Wide Screen LVF boasts the 0.71 x magnification and 100% field of view. Reducing the color breakup by half in principle, the new LVF assures stunning image view for any subject in any scenes.

Together with the 60 fps Live View is made possible by the Live MOS sensor, which takes signals directly from the image sensor and sends them continuously to the LCD, in real time. This allows the user, when composing a shot, to check the framing accurately from corner to corner. The image output between the LVF and the LCD is switched automatically with the eye sensor on the LVF, which features options of sensitivity - high, low and off - to reduce false operation during touching on the LCD.

Pursuing the operational comfort, now the number of function button of DMC-GH2 is increased to control directly shortcut to the frequently-used settings. Users do not have to going in the menu and are able to concentrate on the shooting without getting an eye off the subject even when using the LVF.

The DMC-GH2 is also refined externally with various improvements of parts pursuing ergonomics including newly designed easy-to-hold grip.

*For an interchangeable lens system camera as of March 7, 2010 **In-house comparison with the previous model based on the CIE 1976 UCS Color Temperature Coordinate ・There are some limitations to other functions depending on the lens to attach.

4. A pallet of options for both photo and movie to stimulate photographers' creativity

With the world’s first* introduction of digital interchangeable lens to make 3D shooting possible with an interchangeable lens system camera, Panasonic proposes to enjoy high-quality shooting in 3D with DMC-GH2. This new compact 3D-capable interchangeable lens allows easier handling and instant 3D shooting with cameras without a special structure for 3D shooting.

It produces 3D images without distortion or time lag between left and right images, even for moving objects. The 3D images, even close-up shots, taken with this lens are easy on the eyes when viewed on 3D VIERA televisions. Panasonic made a breakthrough by adding this special way of unprecedented expression in photography with outstanding ease with the innovative technology.

The DMC-GH2 provides an array of features that let users capture precisely true-to-life images and create their own beautifully expressive images. The DMC-GH2 features the My Color mode with a total of 7 preset effects — Expressive, Retro, Pure, Elegant, Monochrome, Dynamic Art, and Silhouette while inheriting the previous Custom mode, which lets users manually set the color, brightness and saturation levels.

With the Full-time Live View function, users can see how these settings will affect the images before they shoot, which makes it easier to capture the exact mood or atmosphere desired. For even more elaborate effects, users can choose from a total of 10 Film modes including the new Cinema mode, and set the contrast, sharpness and saturation levels for each. A custom function lets users store their favorite settings in memory. The DMC-GH2 also provides a total of 22, and most of these modes can be used when shooting motion images too, letting users create movies with dramatic, theatrical effects without having to edit after they shoot.

The exposure meter can be displayed in the P/A/S/M shooting modes. The correlation between shutter speed and aperture is shown, with a color-coded warning that alerts users when the settings are not in the proper range. For newcomers to system camera photography, this makes it easy to learn proper settings both visually and logically, enhancing their photography skills. The exposure compensation can now be set in ±5 steps and the white balance settings can be memorized in 4 patterns for finer control according to the wider range of shooting situations. Auto bracket mode can be set within ±3 steps and the Multi Aspect Bracket is also available.

* For a digital interchangeable lens of September 21, 2010

5. Advanced iA (Intelligent Auto) mode to enhance the operability and potential of the camera

The DMC-GH2 has advanced functions that will satisfy experienced photographers, yet is easy enough for beginners to use comfortably. It's ideal for compact camera owners who want to step up to higher-quality photos — but without having to worry about the need of technique. Panasonic achieved this superb ease of use by continuing to improve iA mode — with its shooting assist functions that have proven extremely popular in LUMIX compact cameras — and adding it to the advanced imaging technologies of the LUMIX G Micro System. The iA mode is available not only in photo but also movie recording.

This iA mode is further advanced to newly include Intelligent D-range Control and new Intelligent Resolution for DMC-GH2. The new Intelligent D-range Control offers even more natural looking by optimizing the exposure for each part of an image, preventing blocked shadows and blown highlights and helping ensure that gradation and details are reproduced beautifully including the blue color of the sky. An automatic backlight compensation function is activated whenever the camera detects the subject in backlight.

The new Intelligent Resolution technology features even more natural-looking with better-balanced sharpness to the detail part and the edge part, suitable for printing in large size.

With AF Tracking, the DMC-GH2 can lock onto any subject and keep it in focus even if it moves — making it easy to get beautiful, clear shots when a great photo opportunity suddenly arises. Simply aim, lock, and shoot. The Face Recognition function remembers registered faces to give an appropriate AF/AE on the people. In playback, you can choose to display only photos that contain a specific registered face using Category Playback.

In addition to the advanced functions mentioned above, the iA mode inherits fundamental functions users need in a good digital still camera. These include MEGA O.I.S., which helps prevent blurring from hand-shake, and Intelligent ISO Control, which reduces motion blur by adjusting the ISO sensitivity if the subject moves as the shot is taken.

Intelligent Scene Selector automatically detects the most common shooting situations — Portrait, Night Portrait, Scenery, Night Scenery, Close-up and Sunset — and switches to the appropriate Scene mode. The user can activate all of these useful, convenient shooting-assist functions by simply selecting the iA mode.

·Some functions in iA mode may not be available depending on the lens that is mounted.

6. Enjoy watching high quality photos and movies on large HDTV — VIERA Link networking even in 3D

Both still images and motion images in AVCHD recorded on SD Memory Cards are easy to view on a Panasonic VIERA TV with dynamic HD resolution. The user simply inserts the card into the VIERA Image Viewer (SD Memory Card slot) on a VIERA TV or DIGA Blu-ray Disc Player* to play the content.

Alternatively, an optional HDMI mini cable can be used to output still and motion images recorded with the DMC-GH2 directly to the TV for easy VIERA Link operation. This makes it possible to take maximum advantage of the camera's playback functions, including slideshows in which both still and motion images are played sequentially, or calendar displays and so on. All control is possible using only the TV's remote control. Especially, the pictures taken with the interchangeable 3D lens LUMIX G 12.5mm / F12 can be viewed in 3D via the 3D Image Viewer offering users a whole new exciting experience.

In addition, with the included software PHOTOfunSTUDIO 6.0 BD Edition, it is easy to view and edit your recorded contents. You may also choose to upload your videos to YouTube or burn them onto a Blu-ray or DVD disc for archiving. *AVCHD motion images recorded onto an SD Memory Card or a DVD cannot be played on a device that does not support the AVCHD standard.

7. Rich options for further expandability

The Micro Four Thirds System products are joining today's Four Thirds System products to provide customers with even higher levels of performance in a digital interchangeable lens camera. In addition to LUMIX G lenses, the LUMIX DMC-GH2 and LUMIX G Micro System can use any interchangeable lens that complies with the Four Thirds System standard via an optional mount adaptor DMW-MA1 and with the prestigious Leica M/R Lenses via DMW-MA2M or MA3R. This gives the user access to the unlimited number of lens properties. With the LUMIX G Micro System and the growing assortment of lenses becoming available, the expressive possibilities are unlimited. The LUMIX DMC-GH2 system camera offers a wide variety of options to choose from to match every shooting situation and shooting style.

Mount Adaptor: DMW-MA1, DMW-MA2M, DMW-MA3R External Flash: DMW-FL220 (GN22) / DMW-FL360 (GN36) / DMW-FL500 (GN50) PL Filter: DMW-LPL52/ LPL62 ND Filter: DMW-LND52/ LND62 MC Protector: DMW-LMC52/ LMCH62 Stereo Microphone: DMW-MS1 Zoom Lever: DMW-ZL1 [New] Battery Pack: DMW-BLC12 [New] DC Coupler: DMW-DCC8 [New] AC Adaptor: DMW-AC8 [New] Remote Shutter: DMW-RSL1 Soft Case: DMW-CG2 Soft Bag: DMW-BAG1, DMW-CZ18 Leather Bag: DMW-BAL1 Shoulder Strap (Stylish): DMW-SSTG1-A/C/R/K Shoulder Strap (Woven): DMW-SSTG2-W Shoulder Strap (Leather): DMW-SSTG3-T Shoulder Strap (Leather): DMW-SSTL1 HDMI mini Cable: RP-CDHM15/RP-CDHM30

·Some functions on the DMC-GH2 are not available depending on the lens that is mounted. ·Some accessories are not available in some countries. .

8. Just shooting is not the goal - Included softwares

With the DMC-GH2, PHOTOfunSTUDIO 6.0 BD Edition for easy organization of photos and movies, the SILKYPIX® Developer Studio 3.1 SE for RAW file development and Super LoiloScope (trial version) come bundled.

The PHOTOfunSTUDIO 6.0 BD Edition makes it possible to sort and organize photos not only of those newly taken but also of those stored in your PC with quick start-up and fast read-in of images. The Face Recognition function that recognizes the faces in the picture automatically sorts the photos by the registered faces without picking out each photo one by one when you only want pictures of a specific person. You can also enjoy slideshows with a variety of effects and use your iTunes music library as background music and burn it onto a Blu-ray or DVD disc in MPEG2. Motion pictures can be uploaded directly to YouTube.

The original image data in RAW file format recorded with the DMC-GH2 allows images to be developed according to your intention using highly advanced functions of the SILKYPIX® Developer Studio 3.1 SE software utility. It features unique combination of high resolution and extraordinary color separation performance. The Super Loilo Scope lets you experience high speed HD movie editing.

* Four Thirds and Micro Four Thirds and Four Thirds and Micro Four Thirds Logo marks are trademarks or registered trademarks of Olympus Imaging Corporation, in Japan, the United States, the European Union and other countries. *The "AVCHD" is a high definition (HD) digital video recording / playback format jointly established by Panasonic Corporation and Sony Corporation. *Dolby and the double-D symbol are trademarks of Dolby Laboratories. *HDMI, the HDMI logo and High-Definition Multimedia Interface are trademarks or registered trademarks of HDMI Licensing LLC. *YouTube is a trademark of Google Inc. *All other company and product names are trademarks of their respective corporations. *This unit is compatible with both SD/SDHC/SDXC Memory Cards. You can only use SDHC Memory Cards on devices that are compatible with them. You cannot use SDHC Memory Cards on devices that are only compatible with SD Memory Cards. (When using an SDHC Memory Card on another device, be sure to read the operating instructions for that device.) *Some accessories are not available in some countries. *The use of recorded or printed materials that are protected by copyright for any purpose other than personal enjoyment is prohibited, as it would infringe upon the rights of the copyright holder. *Design and specifications are subject to change without notice

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About the Author
Mike Hanlon After Editing or Managing over 50 print publications primarily in the role of a Magazine Doctor, Mike embraced the internet full-time in 1995 and became a "start-up all-rounder" – quite a few start-ups later, he founded Gizmag in 2002. Now he can write again.   All articles by Mike Hanlon
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