Contact printing question
Old 09-21-2017   #1
rbiemer
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Question Contact printing question

I've been pretty happy with my 4x5 negative processing but not with my scanning so far.

So, I thought I would look at contact prints.
My ultimate goal is a "real" darkroom and a 4x5 enlarger but that's not happening soon.

In the meantime, I've searched around the web for some basic starting points and, holy cow there is lots and lots of somewhat conflicting info!

What I need to do, again, for now, is a basic paper/negative/glass "sandwich" under a suspended bare bulb type of set up.

What I am having a tough time sorting are two main things: bulb size(watts) and distance above the paper.

I've found contact print paper and am hoping to get exposure times of 30 seconds or so--I'm not sure I can consistently control times at the short duration for enlarging paper. Though if I can get that 10 to 30 second exposure time with "regular" paper, that would work for me too.

Yes, I will be testing my specific set up but when I read things like "15 watts 3 or 4 feet above the paper" as well as "90 watt () bulb 2 feet above the paper" , I think I need a bit of help to minimize paper/chemistry waste.

Thanks!
Rob
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Old 09-21-2017   #2
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True contact printing paper has a silver chloride emulsion that requires a strong UV light source for printing. Whereas more conventional papers respond to UV, blue and some green light. So the required printing time has to do with more than just wattage, but spectra.

For economic testing its a good idea to use test strips rather than whol e sheets of paper.

Good luck and keep us posted.
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Old 09-21-2017   #3
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I did my 4x5 contact prints under regular enlarger as light source. You don't need to blast it...

Check in classifieds or remaining photo stores for contact printing frame. I had one specifically made 4x5 and MF, but it was more memorabilia than practical solution.
Instead I'm using classic contact printing frame for 35mm film. It is metal base, with removable foam on top if it, negative+paper are placed on foam and then hinged glass door comes on top.

4x5 contact prints could be done on postcard sized RC paper which last time I checked was sold 100 cards for 20$. It is not big deal to determine how long exposure needs to be. With practice and not over-concentrated developer, you'll do it with very first try.

This is contact print from digital negative on same kind of paper and contact print frame I did recently:

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Old 09-21-2017   #4
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You don't need a UV source for contact printing. I would suggest setting up your sandwich in the dark, or under red light, then exposing a sheet in strips. Move an opaque card every 10 seconds for a minute, so you get 6 differently exposed areas: 10s, 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s, and 60s. If it's all underexposed, increase the time, or decrease the distance.

Don't get closer than a couple feet, or the distance from the bulb to the corner of the paper will be significantly longer than the distance to the center.

Good luck!
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Old 09-22-2017   #5
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Yes, using an enlarger would make this simpler (sort of!), but that's not happening for a while.

Test "strips" are going to be a good way to sort the exposure time but I will be doing as Chris101 suggests--and thank you, Chris, for the point about distance affecting illumination across the negative!

After I posted yesterday, I found that Stearman Press (the folks that make the daylight tank I'm using for 4x5 ) are offering Fomalux 111 cut specifically for their tanks. It is listed as "Grade #2, contact speed" so that ought to mean exposure times should be fairly long--enough that I can be consistent. Stearman have the data sheet for this paper on their site and I emailed them to ask about some kind of starting point.

Rob
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Old 09-22-2017   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rbiemer View Post
Yes, using an enlarger would make this simpler (sort of!), but that's not happening for a while.

Test "strips" are going to be a good way to sort the exposure time but I will be doing as Chris101 suggests--and thank you, Chris, for the point about distance affecting illumination across the negative!

After I posted yesterday, I found that Stearman Press (the folks that make the daylight tank I'm using for 4x5 ) are offering Fomalux 111 cut specifically for their tanks. It is listed as "Grade #2, contact speed" so that ought to mean exposure times should be fairly long--enough that I can be consistent. Stearman have the data sheet for this paper on their site and I emailed them to ask about some kind of starting point.

Rob
When you said Stearman Press it didn't ring a bell at first. I have one of their daylight tanks. I guess I need to get that out and use it.

But I am really interested in the contact paper. I think I might get some of that. Thanks for the lead.
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Old 09-22-2017   #7
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A UV source is only needed for alternative printing like platinum.

A 15 watt bulb abou 3 feet above the paper and a piece of glass over the neg is all you need. I'm not sure there are any contact speed papers made any more. A couple of years ago Lodima was made but was a specialty product made in small runs to order. I'd suggest Foma papers in fiber base. I've found the Foma papers to be about the slowest speed available. I've been very pleased with their paper and use it when I want to do a brown tone. In dilute brown toned it produces a beautifuly rich print with excellent tonal scale. It reminds me of the papers of the 50's and 60's.

I've been in Edward Weston's old darkroom and all he used was a contact frame with a small bulb a few feet overhead.
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Old 09-22-2017   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by x-ray View Post
A UV source is only needed for alternative printing like platinum.

A 15 watt bulb abou 3 feet above the paper and a piece of glass over the neg is all you need. I'm not sure there are any contact speed papers made any more. A couple of years ago Lodima was made but was a specialty product made in small runs to order. I'd suggest Foma papers in fiber base. I've found the Foma papers to be about the slowest speed available. I've been very pleased with their paper and use it when I want to do a brown tone. In dilute brown toned it produces a beautifuly rich print with excellent tonal scale. It reminds me of the papers of the 50's and 60's.

I've been in Edward Weston's old darkroom and all he used was a contact frame with a small bulb a few feet overhead.
x-ray, did you check the Foma contact paper being sold by Stearman Press? The data sheet is at https://cdn.shopify.com/s/files/1/12...27819143883936.

I was wondering if it looked like it might measure up to what you had been used to?
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Old 09-22-2017   #9
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I'd not seen that. I still shoot some 8x10 and would love to try it. Azo and Velox were the last contact speed papers I used so that tells you how long it's been.

Thanks!
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Old 09-22-2017   #10
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Originally Posted by x-ray View Post
I'd not seen that. I still shoot some 8x10 and would love to try it. Azo and Velox were the last contact speed papers I used so that tells you how long it's been.

Thanks!
If you do I would appreciate your opinion of it.
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Old 09-22-2017   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oftheherd View Post
When you said Stearman Press it didn't ring a bell at first. I have one of their daylight tanks. I guess I need to get that out and use it.

But I am really interested in the contact paper. I think I might get some of that. Thanks for the lead.
I am very happy with their tank, I don't have any LF experience to compare it to, but it has been easier to load and to use than the last time I did 35mm in a daylight tank.

As well, I don't know anything about the paper they've got on offer but it seems to be almost the only choice now for new production. I can't quite tell if the Lodima is available currently or not. Seems to maybe be available in larger sizes but I don't know.

Rob
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Old 09-22-2017   #12
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Originally Posted by oftheherd View Post
If you do I would appreciate your opinion of it.
Will do. I need to see if B&H or Freestyle carry it.
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Old 09-23-2017   #13
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Originally Posted by oftheherd View Post
x-ray, did you check the Foma contact paper being sold by Stearman Press? The data sheet is at https://cdn.shopify.com/s/files/1/12...27819143883936.

I was wondering if it looked like it might measure up to what you had been used to?
Unfortunately it appears that it's no longer available.
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Old 09-23-2017   #14
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Unfortunately it appears that it's no longer available.
It's still showing on his site at the moment, and even on sale: https://shop.stearmanpress.com/colle...ut-99-x-124-mm

This assumes that your talking about 4x5 contact paper.
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Old 09-23-2017   #15
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It's still showing on his site at the moment, and even on sale: https://shop.stearmanpress.com/colle...ut-99-x-124-mm

This assumes that your talking about 4x5 contact paper.
I saw that but I was looking for 8x10. The way it looks, it's been discontinued and a limited supply of 4x5 #2 is all that's a available.

I think I have 25 sheets of Fomabrom in the freezer still. It's very slow in comparison to other papers and is a really beautiful paper. Tones are warm and rich and a little toning in Viradon or brown toner produces a really lovely print. I have a pretty quiet week and will do a few 8 x10 contacts if I have some paper.
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Old 10-13-2017   #16
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I contact print too. my solution for a contact frame is a bit strange, but effective. My friend gave me a broken office scanner. I use its cover together with the glass to print. Easy and ready avaliable. As for the light - ditto what the others said - I use MF enlarger together with timer to control exposure. I tried using overhead light but it was too strong.
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Old 10-13-2017   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by x-ray View Post
A UV source is only needed for alternative printing like platinum.

A 15 watt bulb abou 3 feet above the paper and a piece of glass over the neg is all you need. I'm not sure there are any contact speed papers made any more. A couple of years ago Lodima was made but was a specialty product made in small runs to order. I'd suggest Foma papers in fiber base. I've found the Foma papers to be about the slowest speed available. I've been very pleased with their paper and use it when I want to do a brown tone. In dilute brown toned it produces a beautifuly rich print with excellent tonal scale. It reminds me of the papers of the 50's and 60's.

I've been in Edward Weston's old darkroom and all he used was a contact frame with a small bulb a few feet overhead.
Xray,

Lodima still distributes Kodak AZO the silver cloride paper. This paper has mucho long tonal range. This seems to be the ultimate paper for contact printing.

michaelandpaula.com/mp/Azo_Notice.html

Contact printing is of interest to me. The new Piezography Pro allows for making digital negatives without requiring an ink change and is now fully developed into a turnkey system. I eventually would like to print negatives from files created by my Monochrom. Contact printing silver wet prints from digital image capture for me would require a large vacuum frame and a pretty big studio space.

Cal
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Old 10-13-2017   #18
Emile de Leon
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The best prints I ever made were Azo..LF neg..halogen office light..long 3 to 5 min exposures..
The Halogen light had 3 settings..low/med/high...
The glass I had was pretty thick and heavy..and I requested they pick a perfect piece for me from the glass supplier..no defects..
Prints you can be proud of..
They glow..there is nothing better..
My wife who is an artist said when she saw the first azo prints in 5x7 ..wow..and all you did was switch paper to get that result...jeeze..
So simple..so easy..to get a great print this way as long as the neg is good..
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Old 10-13-2017   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Calzone View Post
michaelandpaula.com/mp/Azo_Notice.html
I always hear about Azo and see 40-year-old paper occasionally selling for silly amounts of money. I want to try it just because of the mystique, and seeing these prices I was in for a 500 sheet box - but then I realized this is really outdated. Right? This is just an old website.

The link above it that says "Azo" goes to a page about Lodima, and prices are 3x the "Azo" prices.

I assume these are not two different products.
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Old 10-13-2017   #20
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Originally Posted by Corran View Post
I always hear about Azo and see 40-year-old paper occasionally selling for silly amounts of money. I want to try it just because of the mystique, and seeing these prices I was in for a 500 sheet box - but then I realized this is really outdated. Right? This is just an old website.

The link above it that says "Azo" goes to a page about Lodima, and prices are 3x the "Azo" prices.

I assume these are not two different products.
C,

From what I understand Paul and Linda somehow have access by being sole distributors of the original Kodak AZO. This is current production and not dated paper.

Seems to be touted for the darkest blacks available and a very long tonal range. Likely the ultimate for fine art printing.

Paul and Linda are fine art printers, and it was in their own best interest to keep AZO going. I remember having to pre-pay and having to wait for the paper to be manufactured. Not really sure how it is today. I do know that originally it was only available in grade 2, but then a grade 3 was added. Evidently there is enough demand to keep production going.

The pricing is high, but not in the realm of fine art printing. I understand that Paul and Linda do very well selling their prints. I know they are at Art Basil every year. Their work is very popular with collectors.

Cal
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Old 10-13-2017   #21
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I've been contact printing a lot this year, since building out a darkroom in my basement. 4x5 and 6x17 negatives, and moving forward I want to shoot my 8x10 and 8x20 more as well.

I am very happy lately with contacts/enlargements made on Ilford Warmtone paper dev'd in Ansco 130. But I do love playing with different materials to see what is out there, which is why I've tried every (film) developer I can get my hands on.

Anyway, I'm still confused if the "Azo" advertised on the linked page, and the "Lodima" advertised elsewhere is the same thing? Is the page you linked current? I guess I could just email them. Interesting about Art Basil. I was supposed to go last year (not as an exhibitor, my friend and I were just going to take it in) as I live in GA, so not really that far. If I go I will definitely stop by. I very rarely see modern silver gelatin prints (as opposed to gallery prints made before I was born) - those that I know personally doing SG printing are generally using very typical materials - Ilford MG fiber and Dektol. I would love to see other materials used by good printers. Effusive praise online by old pros is all well and good but I want to see it before I drop a boatload on trying something new.

If it gave me a significantly better print then great. The good thing is I generally print straight with no filter and have good enough negatives to do that, so graded papers are not a problem since I basically always print at a Grade 2.
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Old 10-13-2017   #22
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Originally Posted by Calzone View Post
C,

From what I understand Paul and Linda somehow have access by being sole distributors of the original Kodak AZO. This is current production and not dated paper.

Seems to be touted for the darkest blacks available and a very long tonal range. Likely the ultimate for fine art printing.

Paul and Linda are fine art printers, and it was in their own best interest to keep AZO going. I remember having to pre-pay and having to wait for the paper to be manufactured. Not really sure how it is today. I do know that originally it was only available in grade 2, but then a grade 3 was added. Evidently there is enough demand to keep production going.

The pricing is high, but not in the realm of fine art printing. I understand that Paul and Linda do very well selling their prints. I know they are at Art Basil every year. Their work is very popular with collectors.

Cal
It's Michael and Paula, not Paul and Linda.

Azo was discontinued along with all other Kodak B&W papers when Kodak abruptly got out of the B&W paper business back in 2005. Any Azo that you see for sale now is old stock, often very old stock. (Azo does tend to have a very long shelf life, so even very old stock can still be usable.) Lodima is a new paper that Michael and Paula commissioned as a replacement for Azo after that was discontinued.
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Old 10-13-2017   #23
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Originally Posted by Corran View Post
I've been contact printing a lot this year, since building out a darkroom in my basement. 4x5 and 6x17 negatives, and moving forward I want to shoot my 8x10 and 8x20 more as well.

I am very happy lately with contacts/enlargements made on Ilford Warmtone paper dev'd in Ansco 130. But I do love playing with different materials to see what is out there, which is why I've tried every (film) developer I can get my hands on.

Anyway, I'm still confused if the "Azo" advertised on the linked page, and the "Lodima" advertised elsewhere is the same thing? Is the page you linked current? I guess I could just email them. Interesting about Art Basil. I was supposed to go last year (not as an exhibitor, my friend and I were just going to take it in) as I live in GA, so not really that far. If I go I will definitely stop by. I very rarely see modern silver gelatin prints (as opposed to gallery prints made before I was born) - those that I know personally doing SG printing are generally using very typical materials - Ilford MG fiber and Dektol. I would love to see other materials used by good printers. Effusive praise online by old pros is all well and good but I want to see it before I drop a boatload on trying something new.

If it gave me a significantly better print then great. The good thing is I generally print straight with no filter and have good enough negatives to do that, so graded papers are not a problem since I basically always print at a Grade 2.
C,

You are already in a great space/place and are well ahead of me. Here in NYC I am mucho constrained for space. Decades ago I was a very good analog wet printer, and today I'm a much better photographer.

Here is what I know. Azo is only single weight and if not handled correctly it is easily damaged. For framing it generally requires dry mounting. Amadol is the prefered developer and if you do your data mining outlined is a way to extend the contrast grade of Azo via using a water bath. Basically you are exploiting a compensating effect like with film, except with paper.

I am like you: seeing is believing. Know that only recently did I buy a 4x5 Linhof Tech IV, but realize that the way I shoot both digital and analog is more in the style of a large format shooter in that like you I pretty much straight print. I'm a big believer in optimizing the shot at image capture. A friend who is a large format shooter was looking at some of my 6x9 negatives and said, "With negatives like this you don't need a 4x5."

I'm really lucky to see and know great wet prints because I live in NYC. I get to see shows that otherwise I might not see if I lived elsewhere.

All the best. BTW I hope to try to make it to Art Basil in February. Perhaps I'll see you there.

Cal
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Old 10-13-2017   #24
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It's Michael and Paula, not Paul and Linda.

Azo was discontinued along with all other Kodak B&W papers when Kodak abruptly got out of the B&W paper business back in 2005. Any Azo that you see for sale now is old stock, often very old stock. (Azo does tend to have a very long shelf life, so even very old stock can still be usable.) Lodima is a new paper that Michael and Paula commissioned as a replacement for Azo after that was discontinued.
O.G,

Thanks for the clarity. At least I got it right that Lodima is fresh paper.

Cal
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Old 10-13-2017   #25
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When I first started shooting 4x5 I only made contact prints. I just used a 7w nightlight bulb about 4'-5' or more above the paper. Printing times varied but from what I remember were around 5-10 seconds. It worked quite well.
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Old 10-13-2017   #26
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Stumbled on this on Freestyle - just searched the site for "Azo"

http://www.freestylephoto.biz/58925-...8x10-25-Sheets

Per the item description, supposed to be a replacement for Azo paper - anyone tried it? More to the OP's questions, the tech sheet gives suggestions about how to use it:

http://www.freestylephoto.biz/static...-Datasheet.pdf

May have to give it a try...recently acquired a 4x5 and may not have access to an enlarger for a while.
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Old 10-13-2017   #27
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Contact printing papers are offered only in fixed contrast grade, which either means stocking multiple paper grades if they are available, or tailoring exposure and development on a sheet-by-sheet basis to fit whatever the available grade happens to be.

Variable contrast papers are a major convenience in contact printing as they are in enlarging. I use the same VC papers for both.
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Old 10-16-2017   #28
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Contact printing papers are offered only in fixed contrast grade, which either means stocking multiple paper grades if they are available, or tailoring exposure and development on a sheet-by-sheet basis to fit whatever the available grade happens to be.

Variable contrast papers are a major convenience in contact printing as they are in enlarging. I use the same VC papers for both.
O.G,

Some flexibility is possible with graded papers via using a water bath.

Cal
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Old 10-16-2017   #29
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Stumbled on this on Freestyle - just searched the site for "Azo"

http://www.freestylephoto.biz/58925-...8x10-25-Sheets

Per the item description, supposed to be a replacement for Azo paper - anyone tried it? More to the OP's questions, the tech sheet gives suggestions about how to use it:

http://www.freestylephoto.biz/static...-Datasheet.pdf

May have to give it a try...recently acquired a 4x5 and may not have access to an enlarger for a while.
Contact printing is certainly expensive. This Adox Lupex is even more expensive than Lodima, which is itself priced pretty high.

The other problem seems to be availability. I think Lodima is still available by phone order but Fomalux seems long gone, apart from what Stearman Press has, and they are reducing their price to sell it off. At least that is what I would guess since Fomapan appears to have discontinued it.

Once you get used to a paper it seems to up and disappear. It would be nice if you could coat your own.
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Old 10-16-2017   #30
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O.G,

Some flexibility is possible with graded papers via using a water bath.

Cal

Yes, a good point! Also by having a second tray of low contrast paper developer to go with your standard developer - the Photographers' Formulary still offers a Selectol Soft clone, or you can mix your own from published formulas.
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