262 of 270 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Top of a Star-Studded field!
It's a great time to be buying a 10 megapixel SLR, as all the top manufacturer's have new, 5-star models. So let's examine: What do we want most? Great photos, a well made camera, and features that will let us achieve our photographic goals. The K10D delivers.
All the top contenders will deliver excellent results that can be made into poster size prints with...
Published on November 19, 2006 by Hiram Grant
57 of 69 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Some issues prevent this from being THE camera to beat
I've personally owned the following digital SLR cameras:
Original Canon Digital Rebel, Nikon D70, Canon 20D, Pentax K10D, and now the Nikon D300
Out of all the DSLR's on that list, the only one I ever returned was the Pentax K10D. Prior to purchasing it, I read every review I could find and felt that I was making a well informed decision. None of the...
Published on January 2, 2008 by D. Kim
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262 of 270 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Top of a Star-Studded field!,
This review is from: Pentax K10D 10.2MP Digital SLR Camera with Shake Reduction and 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 Lens (Electronics)It's a great time to be buying a 10 megapixel SLR, as all the top manufacturer's have new, 5-star models. So let's examine: What do we want most? Great photos, a well made camera, and features that will let us achieve our photographic goals. The K10D delivers.
All the top contenders will deliver excellent results that can be made into poster size prints with great color and detail. Although we can point so some shortcomings (like the poor performance of the Sony Alpha 100 at ISO 1600), image quality is something that is still in the eye of the beholder.
However, features are features, and the K10D has loads. The first thing you'll notice is the solid feel in your hands. It feels robust, and the shutter has been tested to 100,000 shots (same as Canon's bigger brother 30D). But to this, we add something else not found in any other camera in the class: weather-proofing. The body contains 72 seals to help keep dust, dirt and moisture on the outside (the optional grip has 38 seals).
When you put on the optional grip, it really does feel like a part of the camera, not a wiggly thing that might come off.
To get those great photos, the K10D has all the standard feature set, plus a few new ones (like "sensitivity" mode), which will come in hand for some people, but of more partical use to many will be the ability to define what "Auto ISO" range the camera can use. Want the camera to be able to use 1600? Done. Pentax's metering systems have always been well thought of, but you'll get center-weighted and spot metering as options, too. Their "digital preview" can be very handy in setting up the proper white balance.
The viewfinder is the largest in it's class (although the D80 is the smallest fraction behind). When viewing through it, you'll see the 11-point autofocus. What you don't see is that the nine central segments are "cross basis" points, meaning they focus on both vertical and horizontal lines. The other competitors simply have one, the center segment, that is cross-basis. This may not help it focus faster, but it should improve accuracy. Additionally, the focusing mode is easy to change. A switch up front allows you to select manual, single or continuous autofocusing, while a dial on back allows you to change from spot focus (only the center zone), wide (allows the camera to select) or free-floating (you select any of the eleven zones, and can change it quickly with the key-pad on the back of the camera).
The choice of the SD/SDHC cards is great. This small cards avoid the dreaded "bent pin" issue of the compact flash cards, and the SD are compatible with a hugh number of compact cameras as well. Another nice touch is the optional remote control. It can trigger the camera from the front AND from BEHIND the camera, and can store inside the optional grip. I also love the fact they included the .dng standard for RAW images, as this is an open standard developed by Adobe.
And there is one feature that Pentax now leads: Shake Reduction (or VR, or IS, or SteadyShot). First, like the Sony, the SR is built into the camera. So for a modest cost up front, ALL your lenses get some stabalization...even older manual focus lenses! And as a side benefit, you get a slight benefit in keeping the sensor clean. But what most people don't understand about Pentax SR system is that it is a THREE AXIS anti-shake system, something that no other maker offers. In-lens, or the Sony rail system, compensate for you shaking left/right & up/done. By combine these two, it compensates for diagonally, too. What they do not compentate is for "rotational" shake. Imagine a line running through the camera lens to the subject, rotating the camera around this axis. The Pentax SR system uses magnets and bearings to allow the sensor to free float compared to the body. Tremendous technology.
Pentax has been a bit light on their lens selection, but keep in mind that this uses every Pentax 35mm lens ever made, and 3 exciting new lenses that they recently announced (16-50 f2.8; 50-135 f2.8; and 60-250 f4.0, all weather sealed with ultrasonic motors) make them very competitive. For a first lens, the 18-55 is hard to beat. It's well made, featuring a metal lens mount, and the internal focusing allows for easier use of filters and a more efficient, included, lens hood.
Buy the Canon XTi, Nikon D80 or Sony Alpha 100, and you'll get a terrific camera. But for my money (yes, I did buy one), the Pentax K10D is the best.
115 of 118 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars very good camera !,
This review is from: Pentax K10D 10.2MP Digital SLR Camera with Shake Reduction (Body Only) (Electronics)A million words have been written about this thing, and this is not an attempt at a comprehensive review, so look above or on dpreview-com for complete info.
I looked at Canon, Nikon, Pentax and Sony DSLRs. The Sony makes sense if you already have a bag full of Minolta lenses, which I don't. Canon and Nikon put their image stabilization in the lens, which makes their 'good' lenses significantly more expensive. Canon EOS is not backward-compatible with their old FD lenses, of which I -do- have a bagful. Pentax is backward-compatible with all K-mount lenses made since the 1970s, and will even take 645 and 6x7 lenses, with adapters.
Sooo, I set out to ease into DSLR ownership with a K100D, then started reading the reviews, and it was a bunch of little things that made me want the K10D. The viewfinder has an actual prism, not a mirror cage like cheaper cameras, the displays are backlit, and the low-res mode (1800 x 1200px) is exactly what I want for certain applications. With 10 Mpx, I can point & shoot if I have to, and crop (somewhat) more later. And the controls are more 'classic' camera-like than the 'scene modes' on beginner cameras. Not to say this would be worth the price difference to everyone, but I bought the K10D, and the Pentax 12-24mm / 4.0 lens, and am very happy with both.
Digital cameras use less of the image projected by the lens, so your lenses are 'longer' than they would be on a film camera. Downside: for a 'journalist lens', had to buy the 12-24mm, which is equivalent of 18-36mm on a film camera. Upside: my old 50mm / 1.4 is now equivalent of that top-of-the-line portrait lens I never felt I could afford. Pentax plans to introduce in 2007 a 16-50mm / 2.8 and a 50-135mm / 2.8, which sound fantastic - but let's see what they cost before we get too excited. Meanwhile, Sigma, Tokina, and Tamron offer some very adequate alternatives.
Camera and lens together are pretty heavy, just like an older SLR, and the LED screen cannot be used as a live viewfinder - no image gets to the sensor while the mirror is down - so you have to hoist the camera to your eye to compose a shot. No problem, I'm used to it, and it's common to all DSLRs.
((My personal feeling is that the SLR platform is just about done. It's hard to see the need for the mirror box in a digital camera, which can use the actual sensor to compose the shot through the lens and display it on the back. Future top-end digital cams will probably be a lot flatter, like the old rangefinder cameras. Look at the Olympus E330 or Panasonic DMC-L1 to see what direction I think we should be headed.))
Having said, I am very happy with the Pentax K10D, it behaves as it's supposed to, and an affordable (barely) 12-24mm rectilinear lens was unthinkable just a few years ago. This camera has a ton and a half of features and capabilities, and I am still sorting them out. There is definitely a learning curve if you are to get the most out of the camera, but there are also two full program modes, including 'green zone', so you can start shooting right away with good results. Pictuers come out great. Colors, brightness, and contrast need almost no adjustment or photoshop-ing, which has not been true of any other digi-cam I have ever owned. Happy with this, until the next big thing comes along.
91 of 93 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Innovative features rocket K10D to front ranks in prosumer DSLR race,
This review is from: Pentax K10D 10.2MP Digital SLR Camera with Shake Reduction (Body Only) (Electronics)The marriage of Pentax camera expertise, and Samsung's bottomless R&D war chest ("SamTax"), has spawned the great-leap-forward K10D DSLR that promises well-earned laudits for a camera maker inexorably squeezed by wealthier competitors. Pentax' first entry into the DSLR world (the oddly-named *istD), although a fine performer, failed to compete pricewise with comparable Canon or Nikon entries. The smaller and better market-positioned 6MP *istD-S (which I own) arrived too late to give the hugely successful Canon Rebel a serious run for its money; and Pentax eventually retrenched with cheaper penta-mirror products just to keep a foot in the US market (ironically, the digital Rebel series had cut costs from the start with a seldom-mentioned penta-mirror).
The tradeoff for any low cost DSLR, as against the costlier pro models, was the substitution of menu-driven operations for the latter's simpler and faster buttons and dials -- a maddeningly tedious and unintuitive cost-cutter, made all the more frustrating in bright light on small LCD displays. Even selecting the focus point (grid, spot or select) meant a trip through pages of menus, not aided at all by the infamous penchant for inscrutable abbreviations. In effect, the time lost in flipping the camera to scroll through on-screen menus all too often meant either photo opportunities lost, or just reverting to a digicam's one focus mode fits all. Moreover, adequate as 6MP might be for most, the megapixel race to 8 (then 10) MP sensors left Pentax bringing up the rear of the pack.
But no more! The K10D is an altogether different beast, a handsome sturdy 10MP workhorse, with enough racing blood to lead the current (Dec 2006) DSLR pack. I shan't repeat here the praise for its fine quality pictures, but instead focus on the more arcane issues that affect purchasing choice between 2 or 3 finalists such as sensor dust removal, image stabilization, solid glass pentaprism, and retrograde lens and accessory compatibility. The exposure mode dial now is all professional, with just a single intelligent automatic setting - gone are the smiley face and jogger icons - while adding a novel mode selection for ISO-sensitivity priority.
Pentax has tackled the bugaboo of dust attracted by the electrostatically charged CCD sensor -- a gotcha when changing DSLR lenses -- on 3 fronts: a new dust-repellant sensor coating; sensor vibration at startup (employing the sensor stabilization mechanism) to shake off dust; and -- a laudable first in the prosumer field -- a fully dust and splash sealed body that lets you take `clean' pictures in the desert as readily as in the rain forest [just don't change lenses in the open!].
Image Stabilization (IS) counteracts the problem of muscle tremors and pulsatile blood flow that destabilize the hand-held platform, by moving either a lens element or the camera sensor mount in the opposite direction -- allowing longer exposures (extra `stops') without incurring motion blur -- an impressive advantage when shooting fast action or in low light. There are two approaches to IS: In-the-lens IS (as used by Nikon and Canon) builds a gyroscopic element into the lens assembly, offering speed and specificity, but adding front-end weight, expense and complexity; the pro is that in-lens stabilization is fast and can be transferred to same-make camera bodies (with matching power contacts), the con is that you pay dearly for the IS mechanism each time you purchase a new lens. In-camera IS (as used in the K10D and Sony alpha), conversely, moves the sensor so as to counteract platform instability -- once you purchase the camera body, you'll always have IS, whatever lens is mounted. This makes for full backward compatibility so that you can attain IS with your older lenses. The con is that the sensor's counter-movement must be matched to the lens characteristics, thus is slightly slower than the in-lens system. The in-camera sensor-moving mechanism, moreover, performs double duty as a sensor-shaking dust removal feature. The K10D further refines IS by floating the sensor electromagnetically, adding rotational to linear stabilization. Oversimplifying: if you need to shoot sports, races, or wildlife for a living, go for the Canon/Nikon in-the-lens stabilization; if your requirements are less extreme, stick to in-camera stabilization for a wider choice of less-expensive lenses to expand your system.
On paper at least, the K10D's 22-bit A/D converter sounds attractive, but realize that even RAW images still remain at 12-bit depth; the claim of enhanced color rendition remains to be proven by benchmark testing. Contacts are in place to accommodate forthcoming lenses with hypersonic focusing motors, speeding autofocusing towards the Canon/Nikon range. Indeed, other than for slightly slower auto-focusing, PopPhoto benchmarking rates the K10D's resolution and image quality as Excellent, and noise from Very Low to Low at ISO 800-1600.
In sum: The Pentax K10D (and its GX-10 Samsung sibling) emerges as a company breakthrough, in that it offers outstanding image quality, very low digital noise, and image stabilization inside a dust & splash sealed body -- all that with some of the highest-rating metal-mount kit lenses around. The well illustrated manual too has benefited from the new regime. Unless you require ultra-fast auto-focus in low light, the slightly slower autofocusing should not deter you; better yet, new USM lenses are on the way. In-camera IS makes the K10D a windfall for Pentax lens owners; its innovative features are a challenge to the "big guys".
ADDENDUM: I stick by my original review of "Great Leap Forward", except (as I learned) for quality control over suppliers. About 2 1/2 years, and several thousand clicks later the K10D, in the midst of a shoot suddenly showed straight horizontal lines that - on 1:1 inspection - proved to be very dead pixels. Out of warranty, service diagnosed malfunctioning logic board; total cost for labor and parts etc came close to three C-notes. Offered to pay for labor, but felt defective electronics ought to be Pentax' responsibility. Rather than fooling around got a K20D instead.
61 of 62 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I just can't put it down,
This review is from: Pentax K10D 10.2MP Digital SLR Camera with Shake Reduction and 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 Lens (Electronics)This is my 3rd dSLR and will probably be my last. I can't see where it can be improved. I know, all cameras have flaws and can be improved, but this one is so near perfect it is hard to believe.
From the moment I handled it and played with the focus i was hooked. It locked on focus fast, very fast even in very dim light. You always (well almost always) knew exactly what was going on and how well the shot would be. Playback of just shot images is good, expecially with the ability to blow it up to 20x to check focus.
So lets look at a few of the cameras important features.
1. It has 11 point focusing, 9 of which are cross which means it easily grabs focus on difficult objects. And the viewfinder shows you what part of the scene is the focus point. With two adjustment wheels you can easily switch settings.
2. shot to shot time is fast and in JPEG you can shoot until you are out of memory without slowing up.
3. switch to RAW and back to JPEG without moving your eye from the viewfinder. And you can control how the button responds, i.e., just one shot or all the rest until you turn it off.
4. weatherproofing so that you can keep shooting even when it gets misty
5. solidy built, plastic over a stainless steel case. It will survive most hard knocks.
6. In camera shake reduction which means that any lens becomes image stabilized when mounted on the camera
7. the ability to set shutter and aperture and have the ISO automatically adjust for the shot
8. easily moves from a beginners camera (when in the "green" mode) to a pro camera with almost all the features a pro needs.
9. four channel histogram to better evaluate your shots
10. long battery life. 300+ on a charge.
11. very wide selection of lenses going back to the 1970s that are usable and are image stabilized when used on the camera.
12. wireless remote both front and back.
There are a lot more very nice features and a few that are not, but nothing that makes my question my purchase even the slightest. As is so typical, the manual is not the easiest to navigate. Even after a month there are some features I still haven't gotten comfortible with but am getting there. I like the backlight for the top LCD and would like the numbers in the viewfinder to be a little bigger or brighter or both.
During the 2 + years i have been teaching a digital photography course (Intro to Digital Photography at Emeritus college in Santa Monica, CA) I have owned 3 dSLR and at least 12 other digital cameras. This one is far superior to anything that I have tried, researched, or finally bought. It is hard to put it down, both figuritively and physically.
5.0 out of 5 stars Best value in pro-am DSLR cameras,
This review is from: Pentax K10D 10.2MP Digital SLR Camera with Shake Reduction (Body Only) (Electronics)I bought my K10D in Dec 06 after owning a number of Pentax cameras over the years and being very pleased with the engineering. The combination of features, if executed properly, make this camera the best buy in 10MP DSLRs right now. I postponed my review because I wanted to get some real field experience. I just went to Mexico, and panicked because I left the camera instruction manual behind. I can now report on that trip. I did a little fumbling at first, mainly because I didn't have the manual, but I was soon able to find the combinations I wanted, and the camera performed both flexibly and intuitively. The AF button and the exposure compensation button are very well placed. I found myself in difficult lighting situations often, and both AF and exposure metering worked quite well. I also took some hand-held shots that I normally would use a tripod with (such as at 450mm), and very few came out fuzzy because of camera movement. In a few cases, I used bracketing, and was easily able to obtain a good balance of details in one or more of the bracketed shots. Exposure metering worked so well that I stopped bracketing. I particularly liked the display modes: I could boost the brightness to see the display even in bright daylight, and deep zooming gave me a good check of whether a shot was "soft" or not right at the scene. The rechargeable Li Ion batteries, although not readily available in stores, seem to last forever (even using power zoom, and full-bright display, and some fill flash). I believe that I could have shot all week (700 shots in RAW (DNG) + JPEG) with the battery grip attached. In summary, this camera was a pleasure to hold, very easy to use and manipulate, and resulted in a high percentage of crisp photos (even if the percentage of well-composed shots was lower because of the photographer). I bought it because of its compatibility with Pentax lenses, 10MP sensor, shake-reduction technology, larger display, and especially the dust and water seals. But what makes me quite happy about it is its overall ease of use and good results. I am still discovering its features, but I already know that this camera frees me to be creative in ways that other cameras have not in the past. Some of the features on this camera are unique (new program lines) and some are available only on cameras costing several hundred dollars more, making the K10D a good choice and a best buy. Once again for Pentax, the engineering is supurb.
25 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Shooting "out of the box...",
I previously owned a Canon EOS-10D 6.3MP Digital SLR with a Canon EF 17-40mm f/4L USM Ultra Wide Angle Zoom Lens & a Canon EF 75-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM Telephoto Zoom Lens with the usual filters and accoutrements - I owned the whole kit since 2003 and used it extensively through Mexico, the States, Europe & Africa - all in all an excellent camera and lenses.
After recently becoming "savvy" on the new technology available - I decided to "upgrade" myself to bigger resolutions and newer "pluses" - I did extensive research and finally decide on three candidates:
1- Leica DIGILUX 3 7.5MP Digital SLR Camera (with Leica D 14-50mm f/2.8-3.5 ASPH Lens) with Optical Image Stabilization.
2 - Sigma SD14 14MP Digital SLR.
3 - Pentax K10D 10.2MP Digital SLR Camera (with Shake Reduction.)
After extensive research and reading many reviews regarding these three cameras - I came to the conclusion that the Pentax was going to be the better choice for the money over the amount of features, reliability and brand performance - in other words I definitely think that I'm getting more "bang-for-my-buck" over my other two choices. The reasons I did not choose the other two were:
Leica - of course is legendary and their lenses are superb - unfortunately this camera was compared too often to the Panasonic DMC-L1 - actually it was a joint venture between the two companies - that kind of "cheapened" the Leica on my view - no offence to Panasonic Lumix owners - is not just what I was looking for / "not my cup of tea." Also, the technology / features that the kit contained were too little for the price. My other choice in Leica was the M8 - just a dream of a camera, but way out of my regular "Joe Blow" budget! - This is the camera I would have if price was no object - but reality strikes you hard!
Sigma SD14 - I am still very intrigued by this camera and the technology it uses - maybe when it is a bit more proven and upgraded in a few features I will do the "jump" into the Sigma realm - the experts keep calling it the "wildcard."
As for the brand I used - Canon - nothing wrong with it - it is just that the competition - Pentax and Sigma are offering a better rounded package than what they are offering at the moment - I was interested on the Canon EOS 5D - which I could've used my old lenses - but for the price and the offerings, others give more.
So... I finally decided to "shoot out of the box..." and leave the market dominated by Canon and Nikon and try a different flavor this time around.
Conclusion: I am extremely pleased with my choice of the Pentax K10D over the other venerable brands (especially Leica!) - the camera does have some issues: speed of auto focus (not consistent, but adequate) - speed of continuous shooting (again not consistent, but adequate) - the battery grip is useful as it can automatically switch to a 2nd battery - very handy - I just wish that they would've applied the same concept to the SD card compartment - it is just for storage - it does not switch for photo recording purposes - I just find it a bit silly to stop and remove the card from the compartment, do the "switcharoo" with the used card and replace the compartment back on the grip - I know... moans-and-complaints!
Overall compared to my previous equipment - this is by far the best camera that I've owned.
I've used: Minolta (film) - Olympus (film) - Leica (film) - Sony Mavica (digital) - Canon (digital.)
I've already tried it using both lenses in a variety of sceneries - high daylight, dawn, lots of shadows, nature, etc - and I am nothing but extremely pleased with the results!
24 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Pentax for Professionals,
29 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pentax rewrote their playbook and delivered,
This review is from: Pentax K10D 10.2MP Digital SLR Camera with Shake Reduction and 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 Lens (Electronics)I have only owned or used Pentax cameras for the past 23 years From P-3, to SF-10 to PZ-1, 645 and then the ist D and have been published with everyone of them. I know the K10D is taking my photography to a new level. This camera deserves the pro grade label vs the "advanced amateur" label of prior products by the photography elite. Having shot near 500 frames since this month, I am very impressed with the AWB accuracy and the antishake. I shoot alot of manual focus macro and recently was late day on the backside of Mt Hood and could shoot snow crystals hand held at 1/25th of a second without a tripod. Could never do that with any other camera. They claim 3 frames a second, but I clocked mine at 4 frames per which is plenty fast. One other item is the extended autobracketing to a total of 5 frames. Though I need to work with this more, I am very impressed with the ability to also bracket on white balance. Gone are the days of filters, now you can add the equivalent of the old 81B warming filter within the same sequence of shots. I still need to add the vertical grip, to give better vertical control but this camera is quickly become a value added enabler to my creativity. The amount of control I can exercise is pro level, yet if you are a first time buyer, the program function user interface will enable anyone to take great shots right out of the box. Firmware is stable and I have not had a single issue with this product. Well done Pentax!
39 of 42 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Glad I waited,
I really waited a long time to get the K10D and almost bought the D80, but I'm glad I waited. The K10D is perfect for me since I don't have lots of money to spend on lenses with VR or IS. Also, although Pentax does not have as many lenses as Nikon or Canon, the Pentax lenses are cheaper for their optical quality. I personally bought the 18-55 kit lens and the 50-200 lens and both feel really solid, have metal lens mounts, and are optically pretty good compared to the competition.
Another thing that was really important to me was the weather seals on the K10D. Although I wont use them that often (to my knowledge Pentax hasn't released any sealed lenses yet), but I'm glad I have it now. I remember last time I was in Hawaii it was raining during a trip through the rainforest and I was unable to use my camera since I was afraid it might get ruined. With the K10D I hopefully wont miss anymore pictures in the rain and I read that even unsealed lenses are very hard to ruin with water. It's a shame I didn't have weather seals before since I most likely wont go to the Hawaiian rainforest again.
I have had some problems with the K10D though. The noise is pretty bad at high iso (800-1600), but less than pictures I've seen taken with the A100. The 18-55 lens has some vignetting at 18mm and also the aperture is not constant it's 3.5-5.6 on the 18-55 and 4-5.6 on the 50-200. The lens cap is sort of tricky to take off with the hood on. My K10D also front focuses sometimes (rarely) which can be annoying, but I read that this happens with most other DSLRs, and it also has some problems focusing in low light. I really haven't used it enough to see if the dust system really works, but so far I've had zero problems with dust.
Overall I'm extremely happy with the K10D and I can't imagine using a different camera. It feels extremely solid and if I dropped it I doubt it would break. The TAv mode is priceless and I'm set to that 90% of the time. I can't believe no other companies have that feature. Anyway, I can't give the camera 5 stars since it does have some flaws and I will no doubt find more after using it longer since I've only had mine for about a week (I've taken about 500 pictures).
22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great price for a great dSLR with lots of features,
- Incredible image quality, even at ISO's of 800 or more.
- Solid body. Feels like it will last longer then the others I looked at such as the N80 and D20.
- The shake reduction is an added plus. There is not need to spend extra $$ to get this feature in lenses.
- Selection of lenses is limited. Tamron and Sigma have limited availability of Pentax mounts.
- A bit bulkier then expected. None of the photo shops around me had the K10D in stock, but it was described as being about the same size and weight as the K100D's that they had to play with. The K10D is a bit heavier, and the form is a bit different from the predecessor.
- I read in another review on a photo site that there is a thud heard when you move the camera side to side while it is off. Mine does the same thing. I now know that it's the orientation sensor.
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