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Why Doesn't the M4-P Get Any Love?
Old 05-02-2018   #1
Kumachrome
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Why Doesn't the M4-P Get Any Love?

As someome who has owned an M2, now an M4-P, I don't really get what's not so great about the M4-P. In my opinion, I actually feel more secure with it. Like it can take a bump and a trip in the rain without it exploding. When I used an M2, I felt like I had to be gentle. Like it's a fine precision watch. By no means is the M2 bad, I just felt like I had to be more delicate with it while my M4-P feels more industrial and no nonsense. I've also handled the M6, and the M4-P felt pretty identical to me in feel, just minus a light meter.
What's your opinion of why the M4-2/M4-P don't have that mysticism of the M2/M3/M6?
Please don't misunderstand! The M2, M3, and M6 are great cameras. By why doesn't the M4-P have that "allure" that they have?
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Old 05-02-2018   #2
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M4-P is plenty alluring to me ... don't know what else to say.
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Old 05-02-2018   #3
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M2 and M3 are classics... the M-4P is not. It really is as simple as that. The M-4P also has 6 different frame lines and some like a less cluttered VF. The M6 has a meter. My first Leica M was the M4-2 which was the cheapest M I could find in the early 90s. My next M was the M6. I preferred the meter.

The M4-2 and M4-P have the reputation of being made of cheaper materials. Whether that is true or not, I have no idea. They are both great cameras. I never cared.

PS: I think the red dot being in a strange location is one main reason too... it just isn't as elegant.
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Old 05-02-2018   #4
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I think your opinion is shared by many. At least with those whom handled the M4-P.
It's not quite as legendary as the classic M3, M2 or M4 but also not as refined esthetically as the later models.
When people eventually decide get themselves a Leica they read up on the different models and often stumble upon the history behind how the M4-2 & M4-P came to be and discard it for that reason. Never with any evidence to back it up however.

I've tried all models from the M3 to the M9 (and M2) and have had the M4-P as my main camera for the past years with no intention to replace it.
In my opinion the very last real classic Leica model.
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Old 05-02-2018   #5
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It does. Why wouldn't it?

As far as being a 'classic' I guess that depends on the definition of the word.

The first M I ever bought was an M4-2, and it's still a favorite of mine, although I no longer shoot an M body. These two models (and the 6) may have been built with cheaper materials to keep the cost lower, but the materials used were certainly not inferior in terms of long-term quality. That's been proven over decades.
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Old 05-02-2018   #6
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some leicaphiles abhor cost-cutting, which the m4-2 and m4-p exhibit to a very small degree, because they like having bragging rights.
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Old 05-02-2018   #7
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I forgot why I sold it.
Has yours M4-P outgassed into VF yet?
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Old 05-02-2018   #8
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Also, M4-2 and M4-P are the cameras that save Leica, so cut some slack to them

Great cameras. M4-P and M6 are the Leicas I use more often. Have one with 400 and the other with 100 film.

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Old 05-02-2018   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jsrockit View Post
M2 and M3 are classics... the M-4P is not. It really is as simple as that. The M-4P also has 6 different frame lines and some like a less cluttered VF. The M6 has a meter. My first Leica M was the M4-2 which was the cheapest M I could find in the early 90s. My next M was the M6. I preferred the meter.

The M4-2 and M4-P have the reputation of being made of cheaper materials. Whether that is true or not, I have no idea. They are both great cameras. I never cared.
"The M4-2 and M4-P have the reputation of being made of cheaper materials."

We been down this path for about a hundred times in the 14+ years I been on this forum.

They really are of a more non adjustable design (simpler maybe) than the earlier Ms, but some essential parts are actually made stronger like gears made of steel instead of bronze on the M4-2 and M4-P and non stress parts like the film frame counter dial is made of plastic instead of metal.

The real problem was many of the early new M4-2s had shutter curtain bounce and others had stiff film wind right out of the box when bought new, all were fixed long ago under warranty.

The mid production M4-2s also lost the light condenser in the RF geometry and the RF patch tended to flare out when front lit, very annoying.

But here is the catch, any film M Leica after these models was built on a similar cost cutting fashion, including the M6 and M7.
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Old 05-02-2018   #10
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I’ve had two M4-P bodies over the years. Never had a problem with either. Same goes for my present M4-2.

The fact that Leica moved to a more modern, less expensive manufacturing process and simpler, no less durable parts in some cases often offends purists. I could care less about that...
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Old 05-02-2018   #11
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Because it just works.
The M2, M3, M4 are the old-guard so to speak. The M4-P had the new finder, motor winder capability and just plain worked. Yes, once you took care of the potentially foggy viewfinder, you had a durable, perfectly fine modern workhorse. Kind of like the Nikon F4 not yet being a classic but still clicking reliably after a million of feet of film.
The squeaky wheel gets the oil and the oldest M4-P is still about 5 years younger than the newest M4, 12 years younger than the newest M2, and 14 years younger than the newest M3. All these are close approximates, as there are always debates on production dates.
I really loved my 70th Anniversary M4-P that Youxin customized for me. One of the nicest cameras I ever owned. Unfortunately I had to sell but I know it is getting used well by a fellow RFF member.

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Old 05-02-2018   #12
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Ko.Fe, Yes, I believe my viewfinder had some outgassing. I actually took the top plate off last night to clean it. It was quite simple to remove and clean off! I'm not sure what it is that I love about the M4-P as opposed to my M2. Perhaps I enjoy how industrial it looks. It's undeniably Leica, but perhaps without the elegance. Also, possibly an unpopular opinion, but I love the "gun-metal" black paint job of the M4-P. It's so serious and doesn't care about what you think! And with the matching Leica Meter Mr4 in black, it has pretty much everything I need in a camera, and I know I can rely on it. That, and I think it just looks cool!
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Old 05-02-2018   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by johnwolf View Post
Hey, let's face it; we humans like to classify, segregate, elevate and deprecate. Someone or something always needs to be at the top and bottom. Makes us feel better about ourselves, I guess.

John
The Zorki 4 cameras took a similar route as the film M Leicas.

I got a first year built 1956 model and a 1965 one and one from early 1970s

At KMZ they also simplified the model as years went by.

From glorious smooth winding engraved shutter dial to nice leatherette and large well built strap lugs in 1956.

To the still nice smaller strap lug engraved shutter speed dial 1965 model with different embossed but still nice covering fake leather to the last made 70s Zorki 4, with the paint on smudge shutter speed numbers and that cheesy horizontal line camera covering that peels off easily and no strap lugs on the body and stiffer film winding.
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Old 05-02-2018   #14
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My first M was an M4-P and frankly I loved it. Only reason I got an M6 is the lure of a built in meter (I was lazier when I was younger, now I'm just grumpy). I loved my M6, but as it was a 5th year anniversary gift from my now ex-wife, I loved it less.

There was something about zinc tops or something, but it never made a difference to me.

B2 (;->
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Old 05-02-2018   #15
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First and only M was an M4-P. Cheap- as far as Leica M is concerned- and reliable. Some people don't like the black chrome. Viewfinder was a bit cluttered but as a glasses wearer this was less of a problem for me... except I liked wide-ish lenses.
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Old 05-02-2018   #16
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Because it's the only M that when you hold it, your finger rests on a slippery logo...
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Old 05-02-2018   #17
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M4-P's reputation as a "bargain" is overrated IMO. For most folks, I think the M6 would be a better buy.
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Old 05-02-2018   #18
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Mine gets plenty of love along with its first cousins an M3 SS and a Wetzlar M6. The M3 has that great life size viewfinder image. My M6 film advance is as smooth as (smoother than the M6) silk...almost as if there are no gears but a fluid coupling. The meter is a nice to have here in NORCAL where the light can be extremely variable. Lastly my M4-P feels and operates like a real work horse. Purchased somewhere in the early 90's. One trip to Steve's in LA to clean the viewfinder and it has stayed in adjustment (shutter and rangefinder) all these years.
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Old 05-02-2018   #19
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I love mine. It has an operating feel, especially its shutter release, a lot like my M2, or other earlier Leicas. I know when the shutter will trip. And the lack of a meter means more thoughtful exposures using my Gossen, incident and reflected. And the frame lines are more accurate at my shooting distances. And it looks cooler than my M6.
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Old 05-02-2018   #20
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I got mine almost by accident; I bid on one offered on eBay because I felt sorry the seller wasn't getting any interest... and I won it for a ridiculous amount (something like $500). When I received it it knocked the socks off me: the finish looked like new, and with the exception of a bit of a haze in the viewfinder (which can be seen in the front but won't interfere when used), it looks like it came out of the box just now.

Since it has more framelines than the "classics," I use it with an Elmarit 28mm. I like it a lot, and have taken it to Perú and will take it to Spain next summer. The red dot? I was invisible in Lima when taking photos with that camera!

There are too many people who don't know what to complain about... Hmmph!
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Old 05-02-2018   #21
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Usually for a little more money I can get an M6 with the benefit of a meter or for even less money I can get an M4-2. It is just my practical decision not to buy an M4-P.
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Old 05-02-2018   #22
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I may be a minority. I like the logo on the front. Slippery? Whatever, its oddly attractive to me.

If I grab another film M body, it will likely be an M6TTL. However, if an M4-P pops up at a price I can't refuse....well I won't refuse. That's how much I like that logo on the front.
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Old 05-02-2018   #23
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Why? In a nutshell because most people are irrational and believe anything they read on the internet.

I don't think people should be allowed an opinion on cameras until they've owned one for a few weeks but that would upset a lot of people. It's the soundbite mentality in which complexity is reduced to something silly but very positive or very negative...

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Old 05-03-2018   #24
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I'm always puzzled when people post 'No Love for (insert camera name here)' threads. Almost like by initiating it, all of a sudden it becomes true.

Maybe I should start a 'No Love for the Hasselblad 500C/M' thread, or maybe a 'No Love for the Nikon F' thread, or something really left of center like 'No Love for the Linhof Master Technika', just for the heck of it.

Actually, I think I've figured out why there is absolutely no love for the M4-P. It's because it's....Canadian


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Old 05-03-2018   #25
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Yeah, it's seemed a bit odd to me too. I think for a lot of people it sits a little bit uncomfortably in the timeline of M cameras. Not quite a classic, not quite as functional (on paper) as the metered bodies. To me it's been the goldilocks choice though and I've put well over a hundred rolls through mine in the past few years. I like that it has the 28mm frame lines, rewind crank and quick load system. There's very little I'd change about it.

I've written a bit about my experiences with the M4-P over on my site, in case anyone's interested.
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Old 05-03-2018   #26
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My first Leica was an M4-P. Loved it. Eventually had to sell it. Missed it. Got an M6 and loved it even more because of the convenience of the meter. Great cameras IMO.
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Old 05-03-2018   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kumachrome View Post
As someome who has owned an M2, now an M4-P, I don't really get what's not so great about the M4-P. In my opinion, I actually feel more secure with it. Like it can take a bump and a trip in the rain without it exploding. When I used an M2, I felt like I had to be gentle. Like it's a fine precision watch. By no means is the M2 bad, I just felt like I had to be more delicate with it while my M4-P feels more industrial and no nonsense. I've also handled the M6, and the M4-P felt pretty identical to me in feel, just minus a light meter.
What's your opinion of why the M4-2/M4-P don't have that mysticism of the M2/M3/M6?
Please don't misunderstand! The M2, M3, and M6 are great cameras. By why doesn't the M4-P have that "allure" that they have?
"Some" (perhaps "many" on these kinds of forums) are preoccupied with "classic" cameras (or anything else, think cars, etc.). And, that's fine for collectors, I suppose.

Perhaps the underlying assumption in their thinking is that classic cameras make (or made) classic photographs. It's a cart and horse problem, really. I'd prefer to think that classic (talented and lucky) photographers make (made) classic photographs and they happened to be using < fill in the blank here > camera when doing so.

By this line of reasoning, any clean and mechanically functional camera is more than adequate to the task of making the "classic" photograph.
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Old 05-03-2018   #28
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Yup! The Canadian origins that saved Leica. Eh!
Maybe not as well made but still working after decades.
It's the 'feel' and 'view' compared to the spartan M3 and M2.
I have both, the M3 since '67 the M2 since 71(bought second-hand unused) .
The M3 feels "male" and named Ziggy (Sigmund).
The M2 'feels' feminine, so named Zag (Czarina).
The M6 TTL feels cheap but already almost 20 yrs old!
Oh! My daughter who used my cameras called the M6 'pixie'.
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Old 05-03-2018   #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by leicapixie View Post
The M3 feels "male" and named Ziggy (Sigmund).
The M2 'feels' feminine, so named Zag (Czarina).
The M6 TTL feels cheap but already almost 20 yrs old!
Oh! My daughter who used my cameras called the M6 'pixie'.
You name your cameras?
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Old 05-03-2018   #30
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Only the Leicas!
When a a camera, a source of income for plus 50 years, birth of kids and grandchildren, divorce, relationships and nearly out living me when a heart excitement, yes they got named!
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Old 05-03-2018   #31
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I got a good deal on a great condition recently cla'd M4-p for about $550 when purchased with a lens and have really enjoyed it so far. I sort of wanted an M6 with the built in meter, but I got a VC meter II instead and really enjoy metering from the hip and then composing.
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Old 05-03-2018   #32
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Originally Posted by Vince Lupo View Post
I'm always puzzled when people post 'No Love for (insert camera name here)' threads. Almost like by initiating it, all of a sudden it becomes true.

Maybe I should start a 'No Love for the Hasselblad 500C/M' thread, or maybe a 'No Love for the Nikon F' thread, or something really left of center like 'No Love for the Linhof Master Technika', just for the heck of it.

Actually, I think I've figured out why there is absolutely no love for the M4-P. It's because it's....Canadian


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Old 05-03-2018   #33
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You name your cameras?
I am tempted to name mine Garry Winogrand, Henri Cartier-Bresson and Vivian Maier. I think that would make me a better photographer!
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Old 05-03-2018   #34
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I thought the M4-2/M4-P were less favored because they were made in Canada. End of story.
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Old 05-03-2018   #35
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I thought the M4-2/M4-P were less favored because they were made in Canada. End of story.

Ha! A more clear statement would be that after the M5 'disappointment' Leica found themselves in a bit of a pickle, financial and marketing wise. Dipping their toes into nostalgia, which has served them quite well since, and wisely using up leftover parts, they determined that lowering labour costs and swapping in a few plastic parts would further help the bottom line. It seems to have worked.
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Old 05-03-2018   #36
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I'd gladly take a nice example of an M4-2 or M4-P for ~$500, but usually what I see at that price are battered, while cleaner examples have asking prices in the $900 range - too close to M6 prices to be tempting, IMO.
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Old 05-03-2018   #37
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Originally Posted by ptpdprinter View Post
I thought the M4-2/M4-P were less favored because they were made in Canada. End of story.
Some late IIIfs and some IIIg Leicas and M3 and M2 Leica assembled in Canada are much sought after, by collectors at least.

For example, my Midland made M4 will bring in more money on a sale than a Wetzlar made one.
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Old 05-03-2018   #38
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Originally Posted by xayraa33 View Post
"The M4-2 and M4-P have the reputation of being made of cheaper materials."
......

But here is the catch, any film M Leica after these models was built on a similar cost cutting fashion, including the M6 and M7.
Not the M7. Leica switched back
to brass unlike the zinc on the M6. Also the shutter mechanism
was new and still the most. accurate offered in a film Leica as it is electronically controlled.

I picked an early M4-2 over the M4-P as it has a less cluttered finder. Early ones were also made of brass.
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Old 05-03-2018   #39
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Quote:
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Not the M7. Leica switched back
to brass unlike the zinc on the M6. Also the shutter mechanism
was new and still the most. accurate offered in a film Leica as it is electronically controlled.

I picked an early M4-2 over the M4-P as it has a less cluttered finder. Early ones were also made of brass.
Other than going back to brass, the M7 is built on the same cost cutting formula as the M4-2 and M4-P

Other than the affection for worn brass camera patina by some, the zinc casing will not make a difference on how the camera performs.

I tend to like pure mechanical shutter M Leica film cameras, and have heard stories about reliability problems on the electronically controlled shutter on the first generation M7
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Old 05-03-2018   #40
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I'm also an arachnologist and working on phylogenetics. When I was bored, I scored a binary matrix to describe the Leica M family tree based on the changes and similarities known to me.
Analysis under the parsimony criterium (Occam's razor - the shortest possible solution is likely to be the correct one) results in a single tree.


Compared to Barnack Leicas, all M share a combined view- and rangefinder and, of course, the M-bajonett. All Ms, except for the M3 share 35mm framelines; the M2 has a unique framecounter (disc). M4 and later Ms share a quickrewind and the quickloading system. M5 and later Ms have steel gears (not sure on the M5 here) and a hotshoe in common. M4-2 and later Ms have no selftimer. M4-P and later Ms have 28mm framelines. M4-P and M6 have a zinc top plate. M6 and M7 have a built-in lightmeter and lost the bulb flashport. At the M7 the top plate was switched back to brass and it has aperture priority mode. The M5 has a lightmeter that is different from the one in the M6/7 and it differs from all other Ms by its design.
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