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Recommendation for my first binoculars

beginner binoculars
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#1 FernanOrtega

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Posted 19 January 2021 - 01:51 PM

First of all, I'm a new user here and I'm glad to be able to participate in your forum.

 

I've been interested in astronomy for a long time and, indeed, I usually observe the sky with the naked eye. Specially when something interesting occurs (full moons, eclipses, conjunctions, comets, meteors...).

 

I decided now to deep dive into this hobby and that's the reason why I wish to buy my first binoculars since I discarded the idea of a telescope as many sites and forums recommends for newbies.

 

I pasted here some of the questions that I found here to help you to make a better recommendation. Sorry if some of them provide overlapped information:

 

Will your binoculars be used primarily...
For astronomy? Yes
For daytime use? No
Under dark skies? Occasionally I'd like to move to Class 6 bortle places
Under urban skies? Semi-urban
Handheld? (casual viewing) Yes, sometimes
With a Tripod? (examining DSOs and double stars) Yes, sometimes

 

For lower-power/widefield views? I think it's better to observe and learn
For higher-power/restricted-field views? For now I'm not sure if I need this. I’ve just returned a Bresser Spezial-Astro 20x80 with a FOV of 3.2º. I've used for 4-5 days before discarding it because of low quality, heavy weight (even with a tripod) and some decollimation problem. Even though, I've enjoyed some details that I've seen before (Pleiades, Orion...)

 

What is your binocular/stargazing experience? Naked eye.
Do you have a price range in mind? 100-250€ (120-300$). I'm from Spain and I'm not sure about the price differences.

 

Do you know your Inter-pupilary distance (IPD)? I think it’s about 6-6.5cms.

Do you know how large your eye pupils are? No, but I'm 34 years old.

Will you observe in very low light conditions? I live in a Class 7-8 Bortle town. I might move occasionally to a Class 6 place to observe.

Do you demand a waterproof binocular, or simply a weatherproof binocular? Not really.

Have you any experience hand-holding binoculars? No, just a few times with a smaller one and with a big one (20x80).
 

So what is your goal? As many sites and forums recommends, this must be my first tool to observe the sky. Maybe in the future (or not) I will buy a telescope, but for now, I just want to use binoculars to discover celestial objects that I’ve never seen with naked eye.

 

I hope this answers clarify my profile in order to get good recommendations.

 

Thanks in advance.


Edited by FernanOrtega, 20 January 2021 - 07:47 AM.

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#2 Cestus

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Posted 19 January 2021 - 02:01 PM

Many will advise a 10x50, which can be hand held or used on a tripod. At your age you can probably hand hold it. Some may go up a notch to 12x50. Oberwerk is a good company and their deluxe is quite good. Nikon Action Extreme is good. They would be in your price range. Both are porro prism.


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#3 sg6

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Posted 19 January 2021 - 02:05 PM

My suggestion is the fairly common and standard 8x42's.

 

I have found that even stars in them will bounce a little and certainly bounce in even 10x.

50mm objectives are basically heavier and hand holding weight is best avoided or minimised.

 

Just because someone sticks "Astronomy" on or in the description doesn't make them "Astronomy binoculars".

 

So I suggest the rather boring approach of a good pair of 8x42's.

 

Bit concerned about the "celestial objects". Just not sure what you expect.

 

I tend to consider that binoculars are to look around, whereas a scope is to look at.

And as you sy you want to look at celestrial objects I am a bit unsure.

 

As information: I use Bushnell 8x42 Natureviews for myself, and Bushnell 8x42 H2O's for in the car and outreach. The Natureviews are the better by some way. Unsure of Spainish prices and costs. Actually no idea of Spanish available brands at all.


Edited by sg6, 19 January 2021 - 02:07 PM.


#4 astro42

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Posted 19 January 2021 - 02:09 PM

I would recommend the Pentax 20x60.

Doesn't cost a lot and you get 60mm of a aperture with a flat field.

Some complain about the narrow field of view but it's really not that big of a deal.



#5 gene 4181

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Posted 19 January 2021 - 02:23 PM

 The consensus  from reading is 10x50 .  Even though  I prefer  a 7x50 porro for stargazing / night terrestrial ,  "They" say  a 10x    brings out the DSO's better  and i can't argue  with that .  


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#6 theskywatcher

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Posted 19 January 2021 - 03:11 PM

Regarding the posting above from astro42 - I have a pair of Pentax 20x50 PCF binoculars.  He recommended the 20x60.  I bought the 20x50 as used, with a cheap tripod.  I bought this after using a 4 inch telescope for a little bit, due to my interest in binocular astronomy.  I was very surprised just how much I loved the views through these binoculars- while mounted on a tripod. 

 

The 20 magnifying power is great.  But even a young guy like you will not be able to hand hold these for very long without some shake.  My pair weighs about 1 kilogram - not much more really than a typical set of 10x50 binoculars.  But with 20 power, every hand held shake is greatly magnified unless you are leaning against something, resting your elbows on something, etc.  The 20x60 will let you see more due to the extra 10 mm that my pair lacks, and these will also weigh more than mine.

 

The tripod I have is cheap, yet effective.  I have the 20x50 always mounted on the tripod, and when I am too lazy to haul out my APM 100 mm binoculars, I can grab the Pentax set with one hand, and the set-up time is immediate.  I often use this pair when the skies are partly cloudy, so I anticipate that my viewing time isn't worth hauling the heavier APM 100 set outside.  In other words, just because I now have a bigger, better, pair of binoculars in my APM 100, doesn't make my Pentax unused.

 

Since the binoculars you want, are to be used mainly for astronomy instead of daytime use, the Pentax 20x60 or 20x50 would be a good start for you, because they have 20 power with decent optics.  But I highly recommend a tripod with them.  The 20 power views will satisfy you more than you can anticipate.  The views will be better if steadied, such as with a tripod.

 

Cosmos above recommended a pair of 8x42.  Such a pair would also be a good start, and could be used during the day even if right now, you don't expect to use them during the day.  You could likely hand hold such a pair for quite a while without too much fatigue.  But after a few nights, you will wish you had a zoom button on them to get a better view.  The 20 power Pentax will do that for you.

 

Whatever you choose, good luck with it!



#7 Erik Bakker

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Posted 19 January 2021 - 03:40 PM

From your location with the sky quality you mention, I feel a 4-5mm exit pupil is the best compromise. For allround versatility, an 8x42 or 10x42 are a good choice. For astronomy use, a 10x50 will show you the most. And that is important if it is your only instrument. Higher magnifications and larger apertures make an instrument to specialized for your intended uses. 8-10x will make things easy to find and you will learn to navigate your way around the stars and brighter deep sky objects. On the moon, a good 10x is already very powerful and s step up from 8x.

 

On the budget you mention, get the best 10x50 porro you can afford. It will get you the brightest and sharpest views for the money. A roof binocular of similar quality is easy 2x the price.


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#8 Mark9473

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Posted 19 January 2021 - 04:12 PM

Before you do anything else, re-check your IPD.

8 cm is huge, it would rule out all but a few binoculars.


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#9 Northern

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Posted 19 January 2021 - 04:14 PM

I will keep saying it.. Fujinon 10x50 FMT-SX2

 

Costly, but made in Japan and will last you a lifetime.

Its more then your budget..  but I would save up a few months for this one!

 

 

.


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#10 Grimnir

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Posted 19 January 2021 - 04:30 PM

In your budget I would recommend the Nikon 10x50 AE.

 

I firmly do not recommend the Pentax 20x60 as a first binocular, with its high magnification and very narrow field it is a target-specific binocular which does not have great ease-of-view so I think you would be better off with a Milky Way sweeper.

 

The 10x50 format is the standard recommendation for such an instrument and with good reason! The Nikon 10x50 AE is the best 10x50 I know of in your budget range. The Oberwerk Ultra may be worth consideration but I have no experience of it.

 

Graham


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#11 Grimnir

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Posted 19 January 2021 - 04:33 PM

p.s. I recommend you measure your IPD - it will not be 80mm!

 

Graham



#12 j.gardavsky

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Posted 19 January 2021 - 04:48 PM

Hello Fernan,

 

if you can spend around 100 EUR more, then a very good choice are the 10.5x70 MX Marines from Teleskop Express,

https://www.teleskop...gen-filled.html

very good optics for their price, robust buildt like the tactical binoculars, and IPD up to 74mm, which should be enough even for the big boys. They also have a long eye relief.

 

I am using these binos, and also with the nebular filters fastened into the eyeguards.

 

As the BA8 series of the binoculars from Kunming Optics (China) has been discontinued, Teleskop Express offers these for a reduced price. The new series with the ED lenses is more expensive.

 

Best,

JG



#13 gwd

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Posted 19 January 2021 - 07:10 PM

I'd add to the 10X50 advice to make sure you can attach it to a tripod or other mount.   If you stick with stargazing there is a bright comet in your future.   

 

If you get a small scope, the 10x50 is a good tool for planning star hops in the scope.   You will learn to flip the orientation around in your mind.   

 

I think saving for higher quality equipment is a good idea.   


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#14 sevenofnine

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Posted 19 January 2021 - 07:26 PM

If your primary use is scanning the night sky then 10x50 porro prism binoculars are a good choice. If holding them steady becomes a problem then a monopod or tripod solves it. Most find that they can support the binoculars adequately by bracing their elbows in a beach lounge chair or better yet a zero gravity style chair. I have the Nikon AE 10x50's and like them a lot but there are many good ones out there. Good luck with your choice!



#15 Nate1701

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Posted 19 January 2021 - 07:49 PM

In your budget I would recommend the Nikon 10x50 AE.

 

I firmly do not recommend the Pentax 20x60 as a first binocular, with its high magnification and very narrow field it is a target-specific binocular which does not have great ease-of-view so I think you would be better off with a Milky Way sweeper.

 

The 10x50 format is the standard recommendation for such an instrument and with good reason! The Nikon 10x50 AE is the best 10x50 I know of in your budget range. The Oberwerk Ultra may be worth consideration but I have no experience of it.

 

Graham

I agree.  Nikon 10x50AE or Pentax 10x50 SPWP or Bushnell Legacy 10x50. Especially for just starting those are very safe and reliable choices. Anything bigger and you are going to need to mount it. However i've never used a 10.5x70  - the weight might help steady it.

 

Depending whats in Europe a Vortex in 10x or 8x or Athlon Midas in  8x42 would be on the high end.

 

As much as i absolutely like my 20x60, i wouldn't recommend for a first bino. It's only a good second choice if you want more power but very light weight.



#16 duck2k

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Posted 19 January 2021 - 08:10 PM

If it is convenient for the OP, I would contact Kevin at Oberwerk.  The points you listed for bino use should be in your discussion with him.  He is wonderful to deal with and will answer all questions you may have.:)



#17 DrJ1

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Posted 19 January 2021 - 08:42 PM

I performed and experiment with my 2 kids and their significant others.  All four are age 24 - 27 with better than 20/20 vision and all are accomplished athletes (3 in eye hand coordination sports).  We went out on two clear nights and I had 5 excellent binoculars for them to try:  B&L 8x36 Custom Nat. Audubon, B&L 8x42 Discoverer, B&L Discoverer 10x50, Nikon Action Extreme 12x50, and Pentax 16x60.  We had good deck chairs with arm rests.  I anticipated that the 10x50 would be preferred but was surprised to learn that all 4 liked the Pentax 16x60 first with the Nikon 12x50 a close second. (The 10x50 Discoverer probably has a slight edge in sharpness and bigger sweet spot).  They all seemed to prefer magnification over FoV or resistance to shake.  The two women did get a bit tired holding the heavy porros, but when I gave then a break and handed them the lightweight 8x36, they soon looked for more power.  All four liked looking at the craters in the moon and could easily see Jupiter's moons with more power.  So, if I were to buy binocs for these 25 yr olds starting out, I'd buy a good, new 12x50 and a used, legacy 8x40 which could be had for $30 - 40 with some patience.  Your taste may differ.  Good luck.  DrJ1


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#18 Nate1701

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Posted 19 January 2021 - 10:03 PM

I performed and experiment with my 2 kids and their significant others.  All four are age 24 - 27 with better than 20/20 vision and all are accomplished athletes (3 in eye hand coordination sports).  We went out on two clear nights and I had 5 excellent binoculars for them to try:  B&L 8x36 Custom Nat. Audubon, B&L 8x42 Discoverer, B&L Discoverer 10x50, Nikon Action Extreme 12x50, and Pentax 16x60.  We had good deck chairs with arm rests.  I anticipated that the 10x50 would be preferred but was surprised to learn that all 4 liked the Pentax 16x60 first with the Nikon 12x50 a close second. (The 10x50 Discoverer probably has a slight edge in sharpness and bigger sweet spot).  They all seemed to prefer magnification over FoV or resistance to shake.  The two women did get a bit tired holding the heavy porros, but when I gave then a break and handed them the lightweight 8x36, they soon looked for more power.  All four liked looking at the craters in the moon and could easily see Jupiter's moons with more power.  So, if I were to buy binocs for these 25 yr olds starting out, I'd buy a good, new 12x50 and a used, legacy 8x40 which could be had for $30 - 40 with some patience.  Your taste may differ.  Good luck.  DrJ1

Now that is interesting. I like those experiments. 12x50 is the sweet spot for me. I did at test with my wife when introducing her to birding, she used 10x50 all day. The next outing she had 10x50 for a few minutes before i handed her the 12x50. She never asked for the 10x50 again, when i offered to trade she said "no i like these better".

I should have never let her try my 15x50 IS.....   grin.gif you know who uses those for any outing from now on....


Edited by Nate1701, 19 January 2021 - 10:03 PM.

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#19 hallelujah

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Posted 19 January 2021 - 10:33 PM

 

I anticipated that the 10x50 would be preferred but was surprised to learn that all 4 liked the Pentax 16x60 first with the Nikon 12x50 a close second.

They all seemed to prefer magnification over FoV or resistance to shake. 

The two women did get a bit tired holding the heavy porros, but when I gave then a break and handed them the lightweight 8x36, they soon looked for more power. 

All four liked looking at the craters in the moon and could easily see Jupiter's moons with more power. 

  DrJ1

Love that Pentax 16x60mm Porro binocular. waytogo.gif

 

Stan

 

 


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#20 Nate1701

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Posted 19 January 2021 - 11:43 PM

Love that Pentax 16x60mm Porro binocular. waytogo.gif

 

Stan

I wish they still made them....



#21 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 20 January 2021 - 02:10 AM

Fernan:

 

Hello and :welcome: to Cloudy Nights.  

 

My recommendation is to start out with binoculars that can be easily hand held.  The reason to choose binoculars over a small telescope is that binoculars are better for learning to navigate the night sky, learning the larger features, the constellations in detail, the relationships between objects and parts of the sky.

 

The freedom that hand held binoculars offer makes this much easier.  

 

My personal choice would be 10x50s like the Nikon Action extremes. The 6.5 degree field of view is wide enough to find your way around, to see reasonably large pieces of the night sky. And the 10x magnification with the 5mm exit pupil is enough to see many clusters even some nebulae.  

 

If the binoculars need to be tripod mounted, then you lose that freedom and comfort, straight through binoculars mounted on a tripod are very awkward and uncomfortable when viewing much of the night sky. If you are going to mount the instrument, then I think a smaller wide field telescope is a better choice.  It will have a 90 degree diagonal so viewing the vast majority of the night sky will be comfortable.  You will be able to increase the magnification to see more detail in objects, the planets will come alive.  

 

If you begin with 10x50s, they will be useful if and when you purchase a telescope.  I think everyone needs a good pair of 10x50s.  I have some quite large telescopes, no electronics, just star hopping as one does with binoculars.  I always have at least one pair of binoculars with me, 10x50s for sure and usually some 7x35s.  When I decide to look at the galaxies in a small region of the sky with one of my larger scopes, the first thing I will do is sit down in a chair with a pair of binoculars and figure out that small corner of the sky.  Then I will use the finder of the telescope and finally the telescope itself to locate and observe the objects.

 

It all starts with the binoculars.

 

An alternative to the 10x50s would be the Nikon 7x35 Action Extremes.  They offer a 9.3 degree field of view which is good for learning the sky and how it is put together but there are fewer objects to be seen, it's more about the stars unless the skies are darker.  I think 10x50s are the best balance,

 

I do not recommend the Pentax 20x60s, their field of view is 2.2 degrees.  That is too narrow by far to learn how the sky is put together, An 8 inch Dob is capable of a 2.2 degree field but will show you far more and it will have a finder.  

 

Your starting with binoculars, a good way to go.  You need binoculars that are good to begin with.

 

Jon


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#22 alder1

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Posted 20 January 2021 - 04:44 AM

Lots of good advice here. I’ve spent many, many hours stargazing with my Orion 10x50’s, both handheld and with a tripod. The cost is very reasonable and I’ve found the optics to be excellent. I have other telescopes and binoculars yet I keep coming back to these. Simple and deeply enjoyable.

https://www.telescop...10x50 binocular
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#23 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 20 January 2021 - 05:39 AM

Lots of good advice here. I’ve spent many, many hours stargazing with my Orion 10x50’s, both handheld and with a tripod. The cost is very reasonable and I’ve found the optics to be excellent. I have other telescopes and binoculars yet I keep coming back to these. Simple and deeply enjoyable.

https://www.telescop...10x50 binocular

 

I have also have the Orion 10x50 Ultraviews.  I really like them.  I find them a little brighter than the Nikon AEs and a somewhat sharper across the field of view.  Mine were made in Japan, your's were probably made in Japan. 

 

Recently, they moved production to China so how the newer Ultraviews compare to the older ones is difficult to say.

 

Two things the Nikon AEs have going for them.  

 

Much better warranty.  Nikon is 25 years, Orion's is 1 year.  

 

The Nikons are waterproof, the Orion's are not.

 

Jon


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#24 FernanOrtega

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Posted 20 January 2021 - 07:58 AM

Wow, I'm astonished with the amount of answers in less than one day since I published my post. I really appreciate that.

 

 

Before you do anything else, re-check your IPD.

8 cm is huge, it would rule out all but a few binoculars.

You're right, it was a typo when writing my post. It is more or less 6-6.5cm (around the average) I've already updated it

 

 

Fernan:

 

Hello and welcome.gif to Cloudy Nights.  

 

My recommendation is to start out with binoculars that can be easily hand held.  The reason to choose binoculars over a small telescope is that binoculars are better for learning to navigate the night sky, learning the larger features, the constellations in detail, the relationships between objects and parts of the sky.

 

The freedom that hand held binoculars offer makes this much easier.  

 

My personal choice would be 10x50s like the Nikon Action extremes. The 6.5 degree field of view is wide enough to find your way around, to see reasonably large pieces of the night sky. And the 10x magnification with the 5mm exit pupil is enough to see many clusters even some nebulae.  

 

If the binoculars need to be tripod mounted, then you lose that freedom and comfort, straight through binoculars mounted on a tripod are very awkward and uncomfortable when viewing much of the night sky. If you are going to mount the instrument, then I think a smaller wide field telescope is a better choice.  It will have a 90 degree diagonal so viewing the vast majority of the night sky will be comfortable.  You will be able to increase the magnification to see more detail in objects, the planets will come alive.  

 

If you begin with 10x50s, they will be useful if and when you purchase a telescope.  I think everyone needs a good pair of 10x50s.  I have some quite large telescopes, no electronics, just star hopping as one does with binoculars.  I always have at least one pair of binoculars with me, 10x50s for sure and usually some 7x35s.  When I decide to look at the galaxies in a small region of the sky with one of my larger scopes, the first thing I will do is sit down in a chair with a pair of binoculars and figure out that small corner of the sky.  Then I will use the finder of the telescope and finally the telescope itself to locate and observe the objects.

 

It all starts with the binoculars.

 

An alternative to the 10x50s would be the Nikon 7x35 Action Extremes.  They offer a 9.3 degree field of view which is good for learning the sky and how it is put together but there are fewer objects to be seen, it's more about the stars unless the skies are darker.  I think 10x50s are the best balance,

 

I do not recommend the Pentax 20x60s, their field of view is 2.2 degrees.  That is too narrow by far to learn how the sky is put together, An 8 inch Dob is capable of a 2.2 degree field but will show you far more and it will have a finder.  

 

Your starting with binoculars, a good way to go.  You need binoculars that are good to begin with.

 

Jon

Hello Jon.

 

Nikon 10x50 AE has been my prefered candidate. I think its features have a great balance for my status of beginner. Many answers confirmed that and I'll probably buy it.

 

Again, thank you all for the help. I confirmed that this is a great place to read, learn and share experiences about astronomy.


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#25 kelvinvan

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Posted 25 January 2021 - 05:49 AM

Recommending Yozaa desert 10x50 .

 

Received them weeks ago and now they are my favorite! Great optics, wide (6.5°) FoV, 18mm eye relief.

A little bit heavy (34oz) for longtime hand holding, I'm using them with tripod.




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