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Astro-Tech 102ED vs 102EDL

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#26 GSBass

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Posted 26 March 2021 - 10:16 PM

.95+ I thought was premium figure?

There are kind of three levels with Apos. Entry level with FPL51 equivalent glass. Premium glass. And premium glass, premium figure. The EDL is the middle.

I am debating whether or not to buy a NV device. $3k is more appealing than $4k. But if I get the $3k one and think it is really cool, am I going to regret not spending an extra grand to get the high end model? Similar issue here. I got a middle level, Chinese FPL53 doublet. I was happy with it when I was using other Chinese scopes. When I started upgrading my scopes, it eventually became apparent that the Chinese Apo wasn’t quite keeping up anymore so I replaced it with a Japanese Apo. One might argue I could have saved money just starting out with that in the first place.

So you just have to evaluate your interest level and spending priorities. If you see yourself eventually continually upgrading your gear, then you probably want to spend more now to maybe save an upgrade step. But maybe you have other hobbies to spend money on, and the ED will do just fine because your world doesn’t revolve around stargazing.

Scott



#27 gwlee

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Posted 26 March 2021 - 11:23 PM

Champagne taste and champagne budget go for a premium scope, such as a Tak, AP or similar “sensibly perfect” $3-4k scope. Beer taste and beer budget, go for the $600 ED scope. Beer budget and champagne taste, go for $1,100 EDL scope.

 

The performance differences are not that great, so suggest the ED unless you know from experience that you definitely want a 4” scope, know you definitely want something a little better than the average 4” scope, and are willing to pay what it costs to get it, keeping in mind that $1100 buys a good quality 4” ED scope and a good quality 8” Dob. 


Edited by gwlee, 26 March 2021 - 11:31 PM.


#28 GSBass

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Posted 26 March 2021 - 11:48 PM

For me it came down to photography and build quality on the edl, nicer focuser, better glass, better figure.... if I were just doing visual though I probably would have been fine with the Ed because visually I feel sure they are very close, the edl is worth the extra for what I wanted but it’s also not my only scope. It will serve mostly for lower power wide field 

Champagne taste and champagne budget go for a premium scope, such as a Tak, AP or similar “sensibly perfect” $3-4k scope. Beer taste and beer budget, go for the $600 ED scope. Beer budget and champagne taste, go for $1,100 EDL scope.

 

The performance differences are not that great, so suggest the ED unless you know from experience that you definitely want a 4” scope, know you definitely want something a little better than the average 4” scope, and are willing to pay what it costs to get it, keeping in mind that $1100 buys a good quality 4” ED scope and a good quality 8” Dob. 



#29 gwlee

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Posted 27 March 2021 - 12:51 PM

For me it came down to photography and build quality on the edl, nicer focuser, better glass, better figure.... if I were just doing visual though I probably would have been fine with the Ed because visually I feel sure they are very close, the edl is worth the extra for what I wanted but it’s also not my only scope. It will serve mostly for lower power wide field 

I have been tempted by the EDL for visual use for the same reasons, a little better glass, figure, and focuser. Think it might be my choice too if I was in the market for another scope for low power, wide field use. 


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#30 GSBass

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Posted 27 March 2021 - 01:14 PM

It really does seem to be the best option out there at the 1k price point, once I decided to go the doublet route I initially was going to get a vixen ed81s but I ran in to some trouble ordering one and started researching again, the edl I expect will be every bit as good as the vixen optically, better when you consider the extra 21mm aperture and dual speed focuser and actually a few dollars cheaper

I have been tempted by the EDL for visual use for the same reasons, a little better glass, figure, and focuser. Think it might be my choice too if I was in the market for another scope for low power, wide field use. 


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#31 MrJones

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Posted 27 March 2021 - 01:18 PM

Have to say I am happy with what the AT102ED is and love mine. I've gone back and forth on the AT102EDL and even tried to get the SV102 Access during the closeout but was too slow. Ultimately though I really wish the AT102EDL was f/7.5 or even better f/8 to be that much better. The AP and Tak 4" doublets are those FLs for good reason!


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#32 GSBass

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Posted 27 March 2021 - 02:01 PM

F7 ended up being pretty close to the sweet spot for me as a supplement for my mak, not only to cover power levels below 100x with my existing eyepieces but also for compatibility with my cameras, I couldn’t have gone much faster, if I end up needing a field flattener for the 485c I’ll probably have to find one that doesn’t reduce much. And of course a slower scope starts to narrow FOV too much , probably could have gotten away with f6.5 or f7.5 but when you decide to own multiple scopes you have to take that all in to account... also the 102edl is right at my weight limit for the secondary side of my mount

Have to say I am happy with what the AT102ED is and love mine. I've gone back and forth on the AT102EDL and even tried to get the SV102 Access during the closeout but was too slow. Ultimately though I really wish the AT102EDL was f/7.5 or even better f/8 to be that much better. The AP and Tak 4" doublets are those FLs for good reason!



#33 SeattleScott

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Posted 27 March 2021 - 03:33 PM

.95+ I thought was premium figure?

95 Strehl can be premium. Or not.

First of all, who is providing the test report? The manufacturer? Hmm they want to sell scopes. They have an inherent bias to inflate the Strehl. Strehl can be subjective. What wavelength was the test done in? Have a 91 Strehl lens that you need to bump up to 95 in order to sell it? Do the test in red rather than green. There have also been reports of users getting budget Apos with supposed 95+ Strehl but they produce rather mediocre views. Sometimes the test report bears little resemblance to the actual optics, like they just took one good test result and made a bunch of copies to ship out with every scope. For awhile SV was selling the Access models, the earlier version of the AT102EDL. They claimed 95 Strehl. Eventually they dropped the claim of 95 Strehl because it simply isn’t possible to achieve that level of optical excellence at that price point. Which is about the same as the AT price point. Now maybe things have changed in the last few years and AT is really able to deliver on the promise of 95 Strehl where SV could not. Do you want to gamble on that?

Strehl is also not a total comprehensive measure. You can have a scope that legitimately tests at 95 but still only provides mediocre views. Think of it this way. A Ford F-250 and a Shelby Mustang have roughly the same horsepower. But only one will haul a boat effectively.

With a premium brand you are typically getting 97-99 Strehl. Which doesn’t seem like a big difference, but that means maybe 2% less than perfect instead of 5%, so likely less than half the optical error in the lens figure. But they are also going to test the lens figure comprehensively to make sure it really performs like a high end scope. Their name is on it and they want to maintain their reputation. They are building to a certain quality level rather than building to a price point.

There is sample variation among the budget Apos. Apparently some rival premium brands. Mine didn’t. But there are a few who swear they can’t see any difference compared to premium brands. Are they biased? Is there eyesight not as keen as it was in their younger years? Or are their samples really as good as premium brands? Idk. I have heard of astro shop owners opening up and testing several Chinese Apos and evaluating them in order to cherry pick one that rivals premium brands. So there are some out there that are at least darn close to typical premium brands. But there are a lot that aren’t. Normally you hear the budget Apos lag a little behind a Tak, but the difference isn’t enough to make the owner of the budget Apo regret their decision and go out and buy a Tak or whatever. Ultimately at some point you start paying a lot of money for small improvements. You just have to decide on your approach. Do you want to spend big bucks on a premium brand and never have any regrets, other than when you check your account balance? Or do you want the entry level $600 Apo because you are more of a DSO observer anyway, and you can buy a Dob with the price difference? Or go for the middle, like the AT102EDL, so you are getting excellent CA control. And possibly an excellent lens figure to go with it. Most likely at least a pretty good one. That is good enough for most people.

Scott

#34 GSBass

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Posted 27 March 2021 - 04:13 PM

I trust Mike, I do not think he would make the claim if he was not confident the company he is dealing with can deliver, I did bet on that.

95 Strehl can be premium. Or not.

First of all, who is providing the test report? The manufacturer? Hmm they want to sell scopes. They have an inherent bias to inflate the Strehl. Strehl can be subjective. What wavelength was the test done in? Have a 91 Strehl lens that you need to bump up to 95 in order to sell it? Do the test in red rather than green. There have also been reports of users getting budget Apos with supposed 95+ Strehl but they produce rather mediocre views. Sometimes the test report bears little resemblance to the actual optics, like they just took one good test result and made a bunch of copies to ship out with every scope. For awhile SV was selling the Access models, the earlier version of the AT102EDL. They claimed 95 Strehl. Eventually they dropped the claim of 95 Strehl because it simply isn’t possible to achieve that level of optical excellence at that price point. Which is about the same as the AT price point. Now maybe things have changed in the last few years and AT is really able to deliver on the promise of 95 Strehl where SV could not. Do you want to gamble on that?

Strehl is also not a total comprehensive measure. You can have a scope that legitimately tests at 95 but still only provides mediocre views. Think of it this way. A Ford F-250 and a Shelby Mustang have roughly the same horsepower. But only one will haul a boat effectively.

With a premium brand you are typically getting 97-99 Strehl. Which doesn’t seem like a big difference, but that means maybe 2% less than perfect instead of 5%, so likely less than half the optical error in the lens figure. But they are also going to test the lens figure comprehensively to make sure it really performs like a high end scope. Their name is on it and they want to maintain their reputation. They are building to a certain quality level rather than building to a price point.

There is sample variation among the budget Apos. Apparently some rival premium brands. Mine didn’t. But there are a few who swear they can’t see any difference compared to premium brands. Are they biased? Is there eyesight not as keen as it was in their younger years? Or are their samples really as good as premium brands? Idk. I have heard of astro shop owners opening up and testing several Chinese Apos and evaluating them in order to cherry pick one that rivals premium brands. So there are some out there that are at least darn close to typical premium brands. But there are a lot that aren’t. Normally you hear the budget Apos lag a little behind a Tak, but the difference isn’t enough to make the owner of the budget Apo regret their decision and go out and buy a Tak or whatever. Ultimately at some point you start paying a lot of money for small improvements. You just have to decide on your approach. Do you want to spend big bucks on a premium brand and never have any regrets, other than when you check your account balance? Or do you want the entry level $600 Apo because you are more of a DSO observer anyway, and you can buy a Dob with the price difference? Or go for the middle, like the AT102EDL, so you are getting excellent CA control. And possibly an excellent lens figure to go with it. Most likely at least a pretty good one. That is good enough for most people.

Scott


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#35 Joe1950

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Posted 27 March 2021 - 05:26 PM

I have the AT-102ED, but have never looked through the EDL. I can only say that the scope I have is excellent as far as visual performance is concerned. I don’t know what the Strehl of the scope is and frankly it isn’t important to me. Looking through the eyepiece is what counts.

 

One thing I noticed about the AT-102ED is the superb contrast it offers. That is a result of a good figure and good mechanical build, especially the baffling.

 

Also, from other reports here on CN, the quality of the scope is consistently high. I have to disagree with the conclusions some seem to have that a lower price point automatically translates to a lower quality optic. Whatever the manufacturer is doing to produce this scope, they are doing it right.

 

And it isn’t because I have one. I’m sincerely surprised with the quality of the scope. If I had it right next to the EDL or a Tak and did a direct comparison, perhaps I would easily see a difference. But since I don’t and won’t be comparing those scopes, what I see is more than good enough for me.

 

As Jon mentions, if you are really concerned with seeing more detail in Jupiter’s cloud belts on in lunar craters, get a larger aperture. Not saying the EDL is not worth the extra coin. It’s a personal choice as to what one spends their money on. Bottom line, enjoy and use whatever you decide on.


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#36 GSBass

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Posted 27 March 2021 - 05:41 PM

Might go a step further and say if you want to study cloud belts and craters then get a 7” mak, I’m buying a refractor to fill the gap below what it can do

I have the AT-102ED, but have never looked through the EDL. I can only say that the scope I have is excellent as far as visual performance is concerned. I don’t know what the Strehl of the scope is and frankly it isn’t important to me. Looking through the eyepiece is what counts.

 

One thing I noticed about the AT-102ED is the superb contrast it offers. That is a result of a good figure and good mechanical build, especially the baffling.

 

Also, from other reports here on CN, the quality of the scope is consistently high. I have to disagree with the conclusions some seem to have that a lower price point automatically translates to a lower quality optic. Whatever the manufacturer is doing to produce this scope, they are doing it right.

 

And it isn’t because I have one. I’m sincerely surprised with the quality of the scope. If I had it right next to the EDL or a Tak and did a direct comparison, perhaps I would easily see a difference. But since I don’t and won’t be comparing those scopes, what I see is more than good enough for me.

 

As Jon mentions, if you are really concerned with seeing more detail in Jupiter’s cloud belts on in lunar craters, get a larger aperture. Not saying the EDL is not worth the extra coin. It’s a personal choice as to what one spends their money on. Bottom line, enjoy and use whatever you decide on.


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#37 gwlee

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Posted 27 March 2021 - 09:47 PM

Might go a step further and say if you want to study cloud belts and craters then get a 7” mak, I’m buying a refractor to fill the gap below what it can do

I appreciate 3-4 inch refractors for their portability and wide fields. They bridge the performance gap between a handheld binocular and a larger general purpose instrument, so I don’t expect them to perform as well for me on planets or DSOs as a larger scope. A premium small refractor doesn’t change this fundamental relationship, but they are undeniably nice instruments. 


Edited by gwlee, 27 March 2021 - 09:53 PM.

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#38 GSBass

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Posted 27 March 2021 - 09:57 PM

Yeah, I think many get it in their mind they want to buy one perfect scope but really you need two or three, instead of buying a huge light bucket though I am intrigued by the night vision stuff, hopefully prices will come down on that stuff so I could consider it

I appreciate 3-4 inch refractors for their portability and wide fields. They bridge the performance gap between a handheld binocular and a larger general purpose instrument, so don’t expect them to perform as well for me on planets or DSOs as a larger scope. 


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#39 SeattleScott

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Posted 28 March 2021 - 12:35 AM

Yeah, I think many get it in their mind they want to buy one perfect scope but really you need two or three, instead of buying a huge light bucket though I am intrigued by the night vision stuff, hopefully prices will come down on that stuff so I could consider it

I have been intrigued by NV for a decade or so. The price hasn’t come down, other than some deals on some early stuff that comes up used. The technology has improved though. But it hasn’t gotten any cheaper, nor do I expect it to anytime soon.

Scott
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#40 GSBass

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Posted 28 March 2021 - 09:32 AM

I guess the key is government protection, until the tech can be manufactured and sold overseas the price will remain high. I think it’s possible it could happen soon though, other applications besides hunting might drive demand and invention outside the U.S..... I’m only a customer at the 1000 dollar price point so it has a long way to go

I have been intrigued by NV for a decade or so. The price hasn’t come down, other than some deals on some early stuff that comes up used. The technology has improved though. But it hasn’t gotten any cheaper, nor do I expect it to anytime soon.

Scott



#41 gwlee

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Posted 28 March 2021 - 11:08 AM

I guess the key is government protection, until the tech can be manufactured and sold overseas the price will remain high. I think it’s possible it could happen soon though, other applications besides hunting might drive demand and invention outside the U.S..... I’m only a customer at the 1000 dollar price point so it has a long way to go

I would want to test drive night vision technology before buying into it. I understand that there are firms that rent the gear for that purpose, but I haven’t gotten around to it yet. Perhaps when the pandemic ends and star parties resume there will be more opportunities to experience it without making a large financial commitment. 
 



#42 GSBass

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Posted 28 March 2021 - 01:29 PM

Yeah that would be smart, would mostly be curious how things actually look through a 4” refractor.... lots of examples are shared through big dobs.... and from my limited reading my f15 mak would be very noisy... apparently f ratio is a major deal with these, I did a little more browsing and it seems agm makes a third gen they sell for 2800 but that’s about the cheapest I’ve seen, I may start keeping an eye on some hunter classifieds just to see if any great deals pop up. It’s still a major investment though, almost as much as I have in my entire kit including the new edl

I would want to test drive night vision technology before buying into it. I understand that there are firms that rent the gear for that purpose, but I haven’t gotten around to it yet. Perhaps when the pandemic ends and star parties resume there will be more opportunities to experience it without making a large financial commitment. 
 



#43 daquad

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Posted 04 April 2021 - 06:49 PM

For me it came down to photography and build quality on the edl, nicer focuser, better glass, better figure.... if I were just doing visual though I probably would have been fine with the Ed because visually I feel sure they are very close, the edl is worth the extra for what I wanted but it’s also not my only scope. It will serve mostly for lower power wide field 

Why better figure?  Just because it costs more?  The additional cost is primarily due to the lower dispersion glass and the mechanics -- collimatable cell and more robust focuser.  You are not guaranteed a better figure because of the higher cost.

 

Dom Q.


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#44 gwlee

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Posted 04 April 2021 - 07:30 PM

Why better figure?  Just because it costs more?  The additional cost is primarily due to the lower dispersion glass and the mechanics -- collimatable cell and more robust focuser.  You are not guaranteed a better figure because of the higher cost.

 

Dom Q.

I believe the EDL is supposed to meet a minimum strehl specification, and its less expensive cousin doesn’t have to clear that hurdle. 
 

“AT102EDL doublet refractor optics: 102mm (4”) ... with a .95 strehl ratio minimum guarantee.”

 

So, if the claim is factual, I assume it doesn’t have better figure because it costs more, it costs more because it has better figure. 


Edited by gwlee, 04 April 2021 - 07:43 PM.


#45 Joe1950

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Posted 04 April 2021 - 07:51 PM

Here we go. fingertap.gif



#46 SeattleScott

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Posted 04 April 2021 - 10:46 PM

Yeah I would take that strehl claim with a grain of salt. Historically it hasn’t really meant much in prior incarnations of this scope.

Scott
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#47 Joe1950

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Posted 04 April 2021 - 11:33 PM

Strehl numbers on any optic, in of itself, is not a complete indicator of quality. Anyone who knows optics will tell you this. It is only a part of the total picture and that only if done properly. Strehl numbers can vary considerably depending on the equipment used (Zygo interferometer?) and the individual doing the test.

 

Further, a single Strehl number for a refractor is a very weak indicator of anything. In assessing the performance of a refractor tests must be done at three wavelengths, not one to determine the amount of spherochromatism. One Strehl number, perhaps done in the green part of the spectrum says nothing of the correction at blue and red. It’s missing 2/3rds of the picture. 

 

Ask Roland of AP, probably the best in the world at figuring refractor lenses, and his determination of quality is what percentage of the light energy from a Star is concentrated in the central Airy disc as opposed to the diffraction rings. Strehl numbers and traditional inner and outer focus star tests can be very misleading.

 

The MTF (modulation transfer function) of a scope’s optics tells a lot about the contrast of an image. The closer the MTF is to ideal, the better the contrast. Another of many variables used in determining quality.

 

“...I assume it doesn’t have a better figure because it costs more, it costs more because it has a better figure.”

Well, by that thinking you should purchase a Takahashi 200mm APO. It cost 3 times as much as your EDL, so I guess it has a 3 times better figure?

 

 

I go by what I see at the eyepiece and nothing else. I could care less about a number that, in of itself, means very little.


Edited by Joe1950, 05 April 2021 - 03:27 AM.

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#48 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 05 April 2021 - 12:34 AM

Which is about the same as the AT price point. Now maybe things have changed in the last few years and AT is really able to deliver on the promise of 95 Strehl where SV could not. Do you want to gamble on that?

I think that in general, Mike provides more scope for the dollar than the other guys.  That's been the Astronomics MO.  It's probably cheaper to live in Norman OK than in the Sacramento area.

 

As far as Strehl goes, if the test is done right, higher is better but I don't have enough experience with scopes that were actually tested, properly tested. to say just how important it is.  Is a true Strehl of 0.96 significantly better than a true Strehl of 0.93?  

 

The test that Peter Ceravolo conducted with scopes of various qualities a Stellarfane suggests that most of us can't tell the difference. 

 

Jon


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#49 GSBass

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Posted 05 April 2021 - 08:17 AM

I think it’s obvious when you read through all the different scope reviews for a long time now, that although  it’s not 100% true, it’s 95% true that opticians have a higher standard figuring expensive glass over normal.... it’s the one thing you can count on to increase your chances of getting a great scope.... it’s definitely true that you can get a great scope with regular ED, just believe your odds increase, the factory has a box for venders to check, for a price they will ensure the extra attention. Mike decided to check that box on the edl and has stated he unchecked the box for a case to keep the price down.... so that’s my rationale for believing the edl will most likely have a better figure..... if this same ota shows up without the strehl claim then I would bet they are the rejects.... does not mean they are bad scopes, just means the vender didn’t check the box


Edited by GSBass, 05 April 2021 - 08:17 AM.


#50 GSBass

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Posted 05 April 2021 - 08:35 AM

Scott, just wanted to let you know I’ve changed my opinion on NV, more of an acceptance that I want one and it’s going to cost me :) it might be a year down the road before availability,bank account and the right deal aligns but decided a l3 unfilmed white phosphorous ab mod3 is in my future.

I have been intrigued by NV for a decade or so. The price hasn’t come down, other than some deals on some early stuff that comes up used. The technology has improved though. But it hasn’t gotten any cheaper, nor do I expect it to anytime soon.

Scott


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