CAMERAS Fujifilm X30 Review

Fujifilm X30 Review

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Fujifilm X30 Review

Home CAMERAS Fujifilm X30 Review

Fujifilm X30 Review: Premium compact Fujifilm X30 with fast autofocus –  Goodbye optical viewfinder, welcome EVF!

Fujifilm is introduced the X30, a greatly modernized successor to the X20. Among other things, the optical viewfinder had to make way for an EVF, but not just any EVF, but the largest, highest resolution, and fastest electronic viewfinder in its class. The autofocus was also accelerated considerably, now using a hybrid technology of contrast and phase comparison autofocus.

Brief assessment

Pros

  • Advanced equipment that leaves hardly anything to be desired
  • WiFi functionality for transferring pictures and remote control of the camera
  • Very fast autofocus and fast series
  • Numerous bracketing functions including film simulation
  • Folding display and excellent electronic viewfinder

Cons

  • Large, bulky housing
  • Manual zoom ring rather unsuitable for video recordings
  • Picture quality is solid, but is partly behind the X20

The Fujifilm X30 no longer has an optical viewfinder, but a large, fast and high-resolution electronic one. [Photo: Fujifilm]

In the generational leap from X20 to X30, Fujifilm has not just been doing model maintenance, but has thoroughly modernized the inner workings. These include WiFi functionality on the one hand and accelerated autofocus, which uses phase comparison measurement or contrast autofocus depending on the situation and light. With the X30, Fujifilm also says goodbye to the optical viewfinder and replaces it with a superlative electronic one. The display on the back can be folded up and down.

The Fujifilm X30’s foldable 7.6 cm screen allows you to shoot from low or high positions. The three-inch display of the Fujifilm X30 can be folded up and down. It is complemented by an excellent electronic viewfinder [Photo: Fujifilm]

Built-in flash and hot shoe have been retained on the Fujifilm X30. New is an electronic control ring located behind the manual zoom. [Photo: Fujifilm]

Under ideal conditions, the autofocus should take only 0.06 seconds to focus, making it one of the fastest in the compact camera class. As with the X system cameras, this is achieved with pixels integrated on the sensor for phase comparison measurement. On the side of this is a contrast autofocus for fine adjustment. Depending on the situation and light, the camera electronics decide which autofocus to use. The 2/3″ sensor is an X-Trans CMOS II with 12 megapixel resolution. Thanks to the special color filter arrangement that mimics the randomly distributed film grain, no resolution-reducing low-pass filter is needed to suppress moirés. Furthermore, the color resolution is better than that of the usual Bayer sensors, since every row and column contains every color information. The CMOS sensor is supported by the fast EXR Processor II, the pair achieves twelve continuous frames per second and records Full HD films at up to 60 frames per second. Optionally, the films can also be recorded at frame rates of 50, 30, 25 or 24 frames per second, and storage at 36 Mbps ensures high quality. Also particularly fast are the image sequence of 0.3 seconds and the switch-on time of 0.5 seconds.

The electronic viewfinder has a magnification factor of 0.65 relative to 35 mm, offers a 2.36 million pixel OLED display and is practically instantaneous at 0.005 seconds. The viewfinder brightness is automatically adjusted to the ambient light, but can also be adjusted manually. The rear 7.6 centimeter (3″) screen has a resolution of 920,000 pixels and can be folded up and down, making it easier to take pictures from a frog’s or bird’s eye view. Help lines and an electronic spirit level can be displayed on the screen. When focusing manually, the photographer is assisted by focus peaking, which highlights (sharp) contrast edges.

The lens is still a 4x zoom from 28 to 112 millimetres corresponding to 35 mm, the speed ranges from F2.0 in wide angle to F2.8 initial aperture in telephoto position. It consists of 11 glass elements, including three aspherical lenses and two ED glass elements. All lenses have HT-EBC multi-coating to minimize reflections and stray light. The lens is also equipped with an optical image stabilizer. The camera is switched on using the manual zoom ring on the lens, which simultaneously extends the lens mechanism. In addition, behind the manual zoom ring, an electronic one is built in which settings such as aperture, ISO, exposure time and film simulation modes can be adjusted. The “Classic Chrome” is a new addition. With the film simulation the camera is supposed to imitate classic negative and slide films. Additionally, there are filter effects like “Pop Color”, “Pinhole Camera”, “High-tone”, “Dynamic Color Depth” and some more. Exposure can be either fully automatic with scene recognition or classic exposure programs with more manual intervention options up to semi-automatic and manual exposure for experts or those who like to experiment. The operation can be adapted to the photographer’s preferences with six individually assignable buttons, and the Q-menu also provides quick access to the most important shooting settings.

The Fujifilm X30 also offers a 4x zoom of 28-112 mm (KB) at F2-2.8 and a 12 megapixel 2/3″ sensor with X-Trans technology. [Photo: Fujifilm]

The Fujifilm X30 is available since October 2014 for just under 550 EUR in black and silver-black. [Photo: Fujifilm]

The Fujifilm X30 uses the NP-95 battery, which offers 1.8 times the capacity of the X20’s battery, and a battery life of 470 images according to the CIPA standard (including using the built-in flash for every second shot). Also new is the possibility to charge the battery via USB. Furthermore, the X30 is equipped with an integrated WLAN module that allows images to be transferred to mobile devices. Alternatively, the camera can be remotely controlled by them via app, with the live image being displayed on the mobile device. Supported are iOS and Android.

Since October 2014, the Fujifilm X30 is available in silver-black as well as in black for just under 550 EUR. As an accessory, Fujifilm offers for example the leather case LC-X30 for almost 100 EUR. The Japanese manufacturer also has a sun visor, external flashes, a stereo microphone and a remote trigger for the X30 in its range of accessories.

The Fujifilm X30 is a noble compact camera with a retro look and exemplary features. [Photo: Fujifilm]

The battery of the Fujifilm X30 has gained enormously. According to CIPA, it can take around 470 shots at a time, almost twice as many as with the X20. [Photo: Fujifilm]

The battery of the Fujifilm X30 has gained enormously. According to CIPA, it can handle around 470 shots at a time, almost twice as many as the X20. [Photo: Fujifilm]

Ergonomics and Workmanship

The Fujifilm X30 compact camera with a fixed quadruple zoom lens has a sophisticated retro look with grained imitation leather, lots of metal and numerous control buttons, most notably the exposure correction knob. Unfortunately the construction of the X30 also has its disadvantages. With a weight of 423 grams and dimensions of 119 x 72 x 60 millimetres, it is the most powerful of the compact models. Zooming and releasing does not work with one hand and the handle on the front of the camera is not very pronounced. The fact that the X30 nevertheless fits well in the hand is largely due to the rough coating, which makes it difficult to slide off. In general, the X30 is very well made. Merely the covers to the battery compartment and the various connections look a bit cheap.

The X30 owes its voluminous appearance above all to the three-inch moving display, the electronic viewfinder and the system shoe for external flash units, an exception in the compact class. Although the display cannot be swung to the side, it can be folded up and down. The resolution of the screen is appropriately high at 920,000 pixels. There is no touch function. You can switch to the electronic viewfinder depending on your preference or in unfavorable lighting conditions. A sensor detects when the eye is approaching and automatically switches from the display to the viewfinder image. Fujifilm is countering prejudices against pixilated, time-delayed viewfinders, which in addition do not show the exact image section, with an OLED display with a resolution of 2.36 million pixels, a magnification factor of 0.65 and a virtually unmeasurable and perceptible delay of 0.005 seconds. This makes working with the EVF quite comfortable and is a good alternative to the display.

As retro as the operating concept with its numerous knobs and wheels may seem at first glance, it proves to be appropriate to the needs of modern digital photography on the second. The main menu, which is very extensive due to the high equipment volume of the X30, rarely needs to be attempted. The quick menu, which is hidden behind the Q button, individually assignable buttons and the control ring on the lens allow the camera to be adjusted quickly. And a separate rotary wheel for exposure correction is a fine thing. The focal length between 28 and 112 millimetres converted to 35 mm format is set manually on the zoom ring of the lens. It is used to switch the camera on at the same time. This is a bit unusual, but it saves time, because the lens also goes into standby immediately. If one works with a tripod, the battery and the memory card can be changed anyway. However, the tripod thread is not on the optical axis of the lens. Fujifilm has made improvements to the power supply and almost doubled the battery capacity from X20 to X30. According to the CIPA standard measurement procedure, 470 images are now possible. Practical application confirms a very long service life.

Equipment And Features

If the X30’s numerous controls are too much for you to handle, you can also use it as a snapshot camera. In addition to the regular automatic mode, Fujifilm has included the SR+ program on the mode dial. It performs the same functions as the fully automatic system in terms of aperture and shutter speed, but additionally analyses the subject for other components such as lighting, portrait or landscape and selects from 17 suitable subject programs or scene modes. With a selection of various filters from pinhole camera to High Tone and partial color tones, you can let off steam creatively. The special thing about a Fujifilm camera is the film simulation. A total of eleven options expand the photographer’s creative scope, including black-and-white films with an additional color filter for enhanced contrasts, for example when photographing the sky. The film simulation can also be selected from the numerous series of shots. Which films the camera simulates can be determined exactly. Of course, exposure series can also be made for the classics such as exposure, ISO, dynamic range and white balance – a bonus that not every noble compact offers. The X30 is also distinguished by the variety of settings and the possibility of configuring almost all buttons completely freely according to your own ideas.

With a weight of 423 and dimensions of 119 x 72 x 60 millimetres, the Fujifilm X30 is very large and heavy for a compact camera. [Photo: Fujifilm]

The Fujifilm X30 has numerous wheels and buttons, many of which can be individually assigned. All in all, the operating concept enables smooth and uncomplicated work with the X30. [Photo: Fujifilm]

The X30’s new processor raises the continuous frame rate to twelve frames per second, which is a very good value. Although the X30 only holds out for just under three seconds at the highest speed in the super-fast series, it continues to shoot photos continuously, albeit a little slower. A total of four speeds plus autofocus tracking are available. There is also the HighSpeed series, where images are stored before the actual release and afterwards. How many is to be determined in the setup next to it. Not only the series but also the autofocus was accelerated. The combination of contrast and phase comparison autofocus provides the camera with the appropriate technology in every situation. In practice, the X30 can definitely be recommended as a fast snapshot camera with limitations in diffuse light situations. At parties with dim lighting, the autofocus was not convincing.

When shooting movies, the X30 also benefits from the fast autofocus. Although manual adjustment of the zoom ring is not particularly suitable for filming, the autofocus tracking works reliably and without annoying focus pumping. When you use the manual or semi-automatic mode, the camera uses the settings previously selected in the photo mode for filming. The nice thing is that you can level the sound and thus prevent overmodulation. An external microphone can be used via the system shoe or a jack plug if the sound is to be perfect. The X30 doesn’t offer time-lapse or slow-motion shooting, but you can set the ISO number specifically for filming and set a photo or video priority. If you take a picture during a movie recording, the camera will interrupt the movie recording for the picture or continue filming without interruption. Compared to its predecessor, the X30 can now also work at 60 frames per second – naturally in full HD resolution with 1,920 x 1,080 pixels.

With WiFi functionality, the X30 offers a contemporary way to share pictures via a smartphone or tablet. The camera can also be remotely controlled via the Fujifilm Camera Remote app. In contrast to many other apps, the Fujifilm application offers a lot of setting options and is not limited to stubborn triggering. In addition to exposure compensation, ISO values can be adjusted, the self-timer can be used, the flash mode can be set, the macro mode can be activated, and the white balance can be set. Of course you can also use all film simulations. A further advantage is the focusing by fingertip. Since the X30 has no touchscreen, this bonus is only available via a smartphone or tablet. Fujifilm offers a separate app for image transfer, but this is actually not necessary. Image transfer can be started immediately from the recording window by pressing the play button. The connection between camera and mobile device was no problem in the test and always easy to establish. But for sharing images and geotagging, the X30 needs a mobile device. It is not able to do this on its own and sending pictures to a computer only works via the app and not directly from the camera.

Image quality

With an initial aperture of F2.0 to F2.8 the lens is very fast, although the crop factor of the 2/3 inch CMOS sensor of 3.9 puts this advantage into perspective and the play with depth of field is only moderately successful. The X-Trans CMOS II with 12 megapixel resolution has a special color filter arrangement that eliminates the need for a low-pass filter, thus increasing the usable resolution. Since every row and column contains every color information, the color resolution is also better than with the usual Bayer pattern. The EXR Processor II helps the X30 get up to speed.

The lens of the Fujifilm X30 is very fast with a maximum aperture of F2.0 to F2.8. [Photo: Fujifilm]

Although the position of the tripod thread on the Fujifilm X30 allows the battery and memory card to be changed when the camera is mounted on a tripod, it is not possible to change the battery or memory card when the camera is mounted on a tripod. But it is not on the optical axis of the lens. [Photo: Fujifilm]

Selective resharpening of image edges was already a problem with the X20, and the X30 is no exception. If up to and including F5.6 there is hardly any blurring, then from F8 the center of the image becomes clearly blurred, at F11 the measurement curve looks devastating. The internal image processing of the camera sharpens the edges so much that they are eventually sharper than the center of the image. This is also supported by the sharpness artifacts, which, although they do not disturb at any time, are more pronounced at the edges than in the center, except at wide angle. Edge dimming is not a problem at any aperture setting and distortion is not a problem either. Color fringes can appear from F5.6 on in wide-angle position and in the medium focal length range, but they do not carry much weight. If you measure the actual resolution of the sensor, the X30 is not a winner here. In the open apertures it still scratches at the 40 line pairs per millimeter, but it never gets above that and with the large apertures the picture looks very meagre. Here, the resolution is higher at the edges than in the middle – which reinforces the above-mentioned suspicion of selective edge sharpening – and the values are all in the basement. When measuring the signal-to-noise ratio, the X30 slides below the critical limit of 35 dB at ISO 800, above which disturbing noise overlays the image details. The curve is very flat overall. The X30 already starts quite low with only around 37 dB, but even at ISO 12.800 it only falls just below 30 dB. The texture sharpness leaves a lot to be desired from ISO 1.600 on, the image details look muddy. Luminance noise becomes visible from ISO 1,600, while color noise is never a problem.

The X30 is disappointing in terms of input dynamics – at least when compared to its predecessor. While it was still able to reach a level of 9.7 f-stops, the X30 dithers at nine and drops well below that from ISO 6.400. That’s all in all still okay. Nevertheless, one wonders why the X30 cannot do what was possible before. With the representable tonal value range of 256 gray scales in total, the X30 also keeps itself covered. It doesn’t have more than 175 greyscales, but below 128, it only goes above ISO 800. Despite the new autofocus system, which should be much faster, the X30 can’t catch up with the X20 even at the speed in the lab test. With 0.34 and 0.43 seconds it is even slightly worse. Overall the value is good, but not excellent.

Conclusion

The Fujifilm X30 lives up to its reputation as a fine compact camera. It is nobly processed and designed, but in terms of volume it is a moderately ergonomic block. Thanks to many buttons and a high degree of customizability, it is nevertheless very easy to operate. The equipment of the X30 is exemplary and leaves nothing to be desired. It is suitable for beginners and advanced users and offers a contemporary WiFi function. The camera shoots fast series, focuses quickly and has a very fast, powerful lens. There are limitations, however. Nevertheless, the Fuijifilm X30 meets all the expectations one has of the class and does a very good job up to ISO 800. The details are washed out over this.

Profile

Profile
Manufacturer Fujifilm
Model X30
Price approx. EUR 550 at market launch
Sensor Resolution 12.3 megapixels
Max. Image resolution 4.000 x 3.000
(aspect ratio) (4:3)
Lens F2.0-2.8/28-112mm
Filter thread optional 52 mm
Viewfinder electronically
Enlargement 0.65-fold
Field of view 100 %
Resolution 2.36 million
(1,024 x 768 pixels)
Dioptre compensation yes
LCD monitor 3″
Resolution 962.000
rotatable
swiveling yes
as Viewfinder yes
Video output HDMI
Automatic programming yes
Automatic aperture control yes
Automatic timer yes
manual exposure yes
BULB long time exposure yes
Scene modes
Portrait yes
Children/baby
Landscape yes
Macro yes
Sports/action yes
More 10 additional scene modes
Exposure metering Multi-field, centre-weighted Integral, Spot
Flash yes
Flash connection System hot shoe
Remote release optional
Interval recording yes
Storage medium SD/SDHC/SDXC
Video mode yes
Format MOV
Codec H.264
Resolution (max.)
1.920 x 1.080
at frame rate
60 frames/s
Sensitivity
automatically 100-3.200
(upper limit adjustable)
manually ISO 100-12,800
White balance
Automatic yes
Sun yes
Clouds yes
Fluorescent lamp yes
Incandescent lamp yes
Miscellaneous Underwater, fine correction, manual colour temperature selection
Manually yes
Autofocus
Number of measurement fields 49
AF auxiliary light White
Speed approx. 0.3-0.4 s
Languages English
More 34 additional languages are available
Weight
(Ready for operation)
423 g
Zoom
Zoom adjustment at the lens
One-hand operation
(zoom and shutter release)
Trip during
.Saving possible.
yes
Battery life about 450 pictures (according to CIPA)
– = “not applicable” or “not available

 

Brief assessment

Pros

  • Advanced equipment that leaves hardly anything to be desired
  • WiFi functionality for transferring pictures and remote control of the camera
  • Very fast autofocus and fast series
  • Numerous bracketing functions including film simulation
  • Folding display and excellent electronic viewfinder

Cons

  • Large, bulky housing
  • Manual zoom ring rather unsuitable for video recordings
  • Picture quality is solid, but is partly behind the X20

Firmware update 1.03 for the Fujifilm X30: screen went dark

Fujifilm has released new firmware version 1.03 for the X30. This fixes a problem with the movie recording mode: If videos were recorded in VGA resolution, the screen went dark after 30 minutes. The update can be downloaded from the Fujifilm website and installed by the user. However, Fujifilm only describes the procedure in English. Those who need help with the update should contact their dealer or the Fujifilm service.

Fujifilm X30 Data Sheet

Electronics

Sensor CMOS sensor 2/3″ 8.8 x 6.6 mm (crop factor 3.9
)12.3 megapixels (physical), 12.0 megapixels (effective)
Pixelpitch 2.2 µm
Photo resolution
4.000 x 3.000 pixels (4:3)
4.000 x 2.664 pixels (3:2)
4.000 x 2.248 pixels (16:9)
2.992 x 2.992 pixels (1:1)
2.816 x 2.112 pixels (4:3)
2.816 x 1.864 pixels (3:2)
2.816 x 1.584 pixels (16:9)
2.112 x 2.112 pixels (1:1)
2.048 x 1.536 pixels (4:3)
2.048 x 1.360 pixels (3:2)
1.920 x 1.080 pixels (16:9)
1.536 x 1.536 pixels (1:1)
Image formats JPG, RAW
Color depth
Metadata Exif (version 2.3), DCF standard
Video resolution
1.920 x 1.080 (16:9) 60 p
1.920 x 1.080 (16:9) 50 p
1.920 x 1.080 (16:9) 30 p
1.920 x 1.080 (16:9) 25 p
1.920 x 1.080 (16:9) 24 p
1.280 x 720 (16:9) 60 p
1.280 x 720 (16:9) 50 p
1.280 x 720 (16:9) 30 p
1.280 x 720 (16:9) 25 p
1.280 x 720 (16:9) 24 p
640 x 480 (4:3) 30 p
640 x 480 (4:3) 25 p
Video format
MOV (Codec H.264)
Audio format (video) WAV

Lens

Focal length 28 to 112 mm (35mm equivalent
)4x zoom7
.1 to 28.4 mm (physical)
Sharpness range 50 cm to infinity (wide angle
)80 cm to infinity (telephoto)
Macro area 10-300 cm (wide angle
)50-300 cm (telephoto)
Aperture F2 to F11 (wide angle
)F2.8 to F11 (telephoto)
Autofocus yes
Autofocus functions Single AF, Continuous AF, Tracking AF, Manual, AF Assist Light (LED), Focus Peaking, Focus Magnifier
Sharpness control Depth of Field Control
Filter thread 52 mm, optional filter thread

Viewfinder and monitor

Monitor 3.0″ (7.5 cm) TFT LCD monitor with 920,000 pixels, tilts 90° up to 45° down
Video finder Video viewfinder (100 % field coverage) with 2,360,000 pixels, magnification factor 0.65x, dioptre compensation (-4.0 to 2.0 dpt)

Exposure

Exposure metering Center-weighted integral measurement, matrix/multi-field measurement over 256 fields, spot measurement
Exposure times 1/4,000 to 1/4 s (Automatic
)1/4,000 to 30 s (Manual)
Exposure control Fully Automatic, Programmed Automatic, Shutter Priority, Aperture Priority, Manual, Automatic Motif
Exposure bracketing function Exposure bracketing function with a maximum of 3 shots, step size from 0.3 to 1 EV
Exposure Compensation -3.0 to +3.0 EV with step size of 1/3 EV
Photosensitivity ISO 100 to ISO 3,200 (automatic
)ISO 100 to ISO 12,800 (manual)
Remote access Cable release, remote control via smartphone/tablet
Scene modes Flowers, various motif programs, documents, fireworks, landscape, night scene, portrait, sunset, beach/snow, and animals
White balance Auto, Clouds, Sun, White balance bracket, Fine tuning, Shadow, Underwater, Fluorescent, Tungsten, Kelvin input, Manual
Continuous shooting Continuous shooting function max. 12 fps at highest resolution and max. 18 stored photos
Self-timer Self-timer with 2 s interval, special features: or 10 s (optional)
Timer Timer/interval recording, start time adjustable
Recording functions AEL function, live histogram

Flashgun

Flash built-in flash (flip up) Flash shoe: Fujifilm, standard center contact
Flash range 0.3 to 7.0 m at wide angle0
.5 to 5.0 m at telephoto flash range
at ISO auto
Flash functions Auto, fill-in flash, flash on, flash off, slow sync, red-eye reduction

Equipment And Features

Image stabilizer Lens shift (optical)
Internal memory yes (55 MByte)
Panorama Sweeping panorama
11.520 x 1.624 pixels (360°)
11.520 x 1.080 pixels (360°)
5.760 x 1.624 pixels (180°)
5.760 x 1.080 pixels (180°)
3.840 x 1.624 pixels (120°)
3.840 x 1.080 pixels (120°)
Microphone Stereo
Power supply unit Power supply connection
Power supply 1 x Fujifilm NP-95 (lithium-ion (Li-Ion), 3.6 V, 1,800 mAh
)470 images according to CIPA standard
Playback functions Red-eye retouching, cropping, image rotation, playback magnifier, image index, slide show function, zoom out
Voice memo Voice memo (WAV format)
Face recognition Face recognition
Grille can be faded in during recording yes
Special functions Electronic spirit level, Live View
Connections Data interfaces: USBUSB type
: USB 2.0 High SpeedWLAN
: available (Type: B, G, N)
Audio input: yes (2.5 mm jack (stereo))
Video output: yes (HDMI output Micro (Type D))
Supported direct printing methods Exif Print, PictBridge
Tripod thread 1/4″ not in optical axis
Special features and miscellaneous Movie simulation bracketing (Provia/Standard, Velvia/Vivid, Astia/Soft, Classic ChromeDynamic circumference bracketing
(DR 100%, DR 200%, DR 400%)
ISO bracketing ( /- 1/3, 2/3 or 1 EV)
Distance indicatorDog
and cat recognitionFocus controlRAWbuttonFocuscontrolRAW buttonFocusadjustmentFocus adjustmentFocus adjustmentFavorite PlaybackPhotobook Wizard

Size and weight

Weight 423 g (ready for operation)
Dimensions W x H x D 119 x 72 x 60 mm

Miscellaneous

standard accessory Fujifilm AC-5VT Special Battery ChargerFujifilm
NP-95 Special Rechargeable BatteryUSB Connection CableLens CapStrapBeltImage Processing SoftwareRAW Converter
additional accessories Fujifilm EF-20 Tilt Reflector FlashFujifilm
EF-42 Tilt Reflector FlashFujifilm
EF-X20 Small Flash UnitFujifilm
LH-X10 (Lens Hood)
Fujifilm RR-90 Remote Cable ReleaseChargerBattery ChargerBC-65N Removable Memory CardStereom MicrophoneMIC-ST1Leather Case
LC-X30
USB
USB 2.0 High Speed

 

Peter Dench
I am Peter Dench. Digital Photographer, born in London 1972, currently living in Deerfield, near Chicago. I have numerous photography expositions and also working in model photography. In this website, PhotoPoint, I usually review cameras provided by local dealers in Illinois and by the manufacturers. Sometimes I, Peter Dench, review lenses too, but only when I have a suitable camera for them. Please let me know in the comments if I can improve any of these articles.

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