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Forums Lobby GET TO KNOW YOUR CAMERA & MASTER IT Nikon D60/D50/D40 (Public) topic #27952
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Subject: "Is D40 better than D60?" Previous topic | Next topic
Marsbar67 Registered since 25th Apr 2008Fri 25-Apr-08 03:21 PM
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"Is D40 better than D60?"
Fri 25-Apr-08 04:11 PM by Marsbar67

AU
          

After many months of research I had more or less decided to bypass the new D60 and go for the 'original' D40 purely because I had read that the sensor is better.
I have very specific requirements for a DSLR:
1. I want to shoot hand held in low light (I am not interested in megapixels - just a great sensor)
2. I don't like AF - I prefer to manually focus
3. I will be mainly using a 50mm f1.4 lens (I prefer to use my zoom-legs)
4. I want something small, light and easy to use

I found a D40 with 18-55mm non VR kit lens for AUS$699 and I will get the 50mm f1.4 separately. I'm not planning on using the kit zoom lens to be honest but it comes with the package.
I have now found a D60 body only available for AUS$730. Bearing in mind I don't want the kit lens, should I just get the D60 body with the 50mm lens as it's roughly the same price?

The main question is: Is the D60 body actually better than the D40? Or am I reading the reports correctly that the D40 takes a better picture - just without the bells and whistles of the D60?

The 18-55mm lens may be a useful spare lens. The electronic 'rangefinder' on the D60 may be useful if I mainly use manual focus.

Any opinions?

  

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Subject Author Message Date ID
Reply message RE: Is D40 better than D60?
blw Moderator Awarded for his high level of expertise in various areas
25th Apr 2008
1
Reply message RE: Is D40 better than D60?
Marsbar67
25th Apr 2008
2
     Reply message RE: Is D40 better than D60?
mtpenmaker
26th Apr 2008
3
     Reply message RE: Is D40 better than D60?
Marsbar67
26th Apr 2008
4
          Reply message RE: Is D40 better than D60?
FE Fan Silver Member
26th Apr 2008
5
     Reply message RE: Is D40 better than D60?
fenris
26th Apr 2008
6
          Reply message RE: Is D40 better than D60?
Marsbar67
26th Apr 2008
7
               Reply message RE: Is D40 better than D60?
fenris
26th Apr 2008
8
               Reply message RE: Is D40 better than D60?
Replytoken Silver Member
28th Apr 2008
9
Reply message RE: Is D40 better than D60?
texasbluesplayer
29th Apr 2008
10
Reply message RE: Is D40 better than D60?
RoadKingMoe
30th Apr 2008
11
Reply message RE: Is D40 better than D60?
blw Moderator Awarded for his high level of expertise in various areas
30th Apr 2008
12
Reply message RE: Is D40 better than D60?
FE Fan Silver Member
30th Apr 2008
13
Reply message RE: Is D40 better than D60?
ruca2k8
30th Apr 2008
14
Reply message RE: Is D40 better than D60?
Replytoken Silver Member
30th Apr 2008
15
     Reply message RE: Is D40 better than D60?
RoadKingMoe
30th Apr 2008
16
          Reply message RE: Is D40 better than D60?
Replytoken Silver Member
30th Apr 2008
18
Reply message RE: Is D40 better than D60?
bonna aquino
30th Apr 2008
17
Reply message RE: Is D40 better than D60?
Marsbar67
30th Apr 2008
19
     Reply message RE: Is D40 better than D60?
Replytoken Silver Member
30th Apr 2008
20
     Reply message RE: Is D40 better than D60?
MotoMannequin Moderator Awarded for his extraordinary skills in landscape and wildlife photography
01st May 2008
21

blw Moderator Awarded for his high level of expertise in various areas Nikonian since 18th Jun 2004Fri 25-Apr-08 05:23 PM
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#1. "RE: Is D40 better than D60?"
In response to Reply # 0


Richmond, US
          

I'm not really sure it comes down to much better - especially if you shoot raw, there isn't that much difference once you eliminate the megapixel difference. I am pretty sure that I couldn't identify which camera produced an 8x10, given the same lens and the same size image, for example.

You should be sure that the 50mm is sufficient. Do remember that there is a 1.5x crop factor in play, so 50mm behaves as if it's a mild telephoto, and not a "normal" lens.

Finally, even if you're accustomed to manually focusing with an older SLR, be sure that this is OK with the DSLRs. They have focusing screens that are designed to optimize AF, and the lower models (including both the D40 and D60) have small, relatively dim viewfinders that make manual focusing CONSIDERABLY more difficult than, say, the finders we had in the old F2/F3/FM2n/FE2 era. That's not to say that it's impossible, just that it's a lot harder. A lot of people manually focus regularly, but a lot of people find that they can't.

_____
Brian... a bicoastal Nikonian and Team Member

My gallery is online. Comments and critique welcomed any time!

  

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Marsbar67 Registered since 25th Apr 2008Fri 25-Apr-08 11:46 PM
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#2. "RE: Is D40 better than D60?"
In response to Reply # 1


AU
          

Thanks for that. Perhaps it is then best for me to get the D60 as it does have the electronic viewfinder which may help me until I get used to manually focusing.
However, I can't seem to find out if this works on a non AF-S lens (the 50mm is just an AF).
Do any D60 owners know this?

  

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mtpenmaker Registered since 23rd Aug 2007Sat 26-Apr-08 12:59 AM
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#3. "RE: Is D40 better than D60?"
In response to Reply # 2


Billings, US
          

The D40 also has an electronic rangefinder feature which is pretty handy. I use a 55mm Micro-Nikkor f/2.8 AIS lens on my D40 quite often and the little green dot helps me confirm the focus.

Gerry Rhoades
Montana Pens
www.montanapens.com
F4, FM2n, D40, N90s and not enough glass

  

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Marsbar67 Registered since 25th Apr 2008Sat 26-Apr-08 03:58 AM
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#4. "RE: Is D40 better than D60?"
In response to Reply # 3


AU
          

Thanks for the advice guys: I've now decided to go for the D40 - it's just less pretentious... and I'm looking forward to testing my focal skills with the 50mm lens!

Jack

  

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FE Fan Silver Member Nikonian since 18th Oct 2004Sat 26-Apr-08 04:20 AM
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#5. "RE: Is D40 better than D60?"
In response to Reply # 4


Silver Spring, US
          

Jack,

Welcome to Nikonians! I hope you enjoy your soon-to-be D40. I was just out this evening shooting night scenes (a fairly bright outdoor mall) with a manual focus 35/2. Coming from MF film bodies I was very concerned that I would have trouble with the smaller, dimmer finder.

I found that if I just concentrated on the focus point, I almost always nailed the focus according to the focus assist (little green dot) - even in very dim light. I say trust your instincts, then use the green dot to double check yourself, especially when the DOF will be limited.

Bart
D300s D40 F3HP FE FM2n Nikkormat FTN

Everything is a subject. Every subject has a rhythm. To feel it is the raison d'être.
The photograph is a fixed moment of such a raison d'être, which lives on in itself.
- Andre Kertesz


My Nikonians Gallery

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

  

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fenris Registered since 30th Mar 2008Sat 26-Apr-08 09:21 AM
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#6. "RE: Is D40 better than D60?"
In response to Reply # 2


US
          

I have a D40 and regularly use my old 50mm 1.4 Ai-S lens with great results. It takes a little time to adjust but its worth it, oh there are also the kats eye screens that will help you with your manual focus if you decide you need a little something extra.

  

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Marsbar67 Registered since 25th Apr 2008Sat 26-Apr-08 03:48 PM
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#7. "RE: Is D40 better than D60?"
In response to Reply # 6


AU
          

Thanks for all your help guys. I've just bought the D40 (didn't hang around!) and I've been practicing manual focusing using the kit lens. I've had no problems getting it spot on - in fact the depth of field seems much more 'creative' than auto focus. I have to wait a few days to get the 50mm.
I'm taking it to Rome on holidays next week so as long as I can keep thieving eyes away from it, I hope to bring back some classic shots with me.
Thank you Nikonians!

  

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fenris Registered since 30th Mar 2008Sat 26-Apr-08 05:47 PM
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#8. "RE: Is D40 better than D60?"
In response to Reply # 7


US
          

yeah to limit the exposure to those "thieving eyes" when you aren't using the camera you might want to use a bag that doesn't scream camera bag.

  

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Replytoken Silver Member Nikonian since 08th Mar 2008Mon 28-Apr-08 05:35 AM
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#9. "RE: Is D40 better than D60?"
In response to Reply # 7


Seattle, US
          

I had a close friend who shot a lot of PJ and street photography. He always put a piece of black-cloth gaffers tape over the camera name so everything looked a bit cheaper and more generic. Something you might want to consider if you are still worried.

(Given the amount of D300's being purchased, I would think that any thief who knows their equipment would not have a hard time targeting an expensive rig. I am amazed at how many people are buying D300's, especially those who have never owned a DSLR before.)


--Ken

  

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texasbluesplayer Registered since 29th Apr 2008Tue 29-Apr-08 08:30 PM
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#10. "RE: Is D40 better than D60?"
In response to Reply # 0


Oklahoma City, US
          

Well I guess it's too late for my input now that you've already bought the D40

I was having the same dilema a few days ago as to which camera to buy D40, D60 or D80. I don't believe the D40 is better than the D60. I know Ken Rockwell's website and a whole lot of other people try to downplay the D60 as just being a D40 with more megapixels but it's newer technology. More megapixels means you can crop and get just the right prints you want. Cropping capability is more limited on lower MP cameras. The D60 also has a neat feature that lets the viewscreen rotate the information as you rotate the camera. Great for when taking switching from vertical to horizontal shots / portraits, I hear the D60 also has the image processing engine of the D300 which obviously has to be better since it comes from a higher end camera. The D60 also has a dust removal system which I hear only comes in high end cameras also. Not to mention the D60 has a Vibration Reduction (VR) lens with the standard Kit. Sure it's a little more expensive than the D40, but it's a 10MP camera!! I almost bought the D40 but decided the extra $200 was worth it for a better camera. The size weight and fun factor that Ken Rockwell and others claim about the D40 also applies to the D60 since it's the same size. I compared samples from the dpreview website of the D40 vs the D60 and although they were close, the D60 was superior because it's high MP sensor. Nikon always tries to improve on the models. They wouldn't go backwards so the D60 is the newest prosumer camera therefore it has to be better than it's predecessors (D40, D50, D70 and D80). Once the D90 comes out, then that's another story.

  

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RoadKingMoe Registered since 01st Apr 2008Wed 30-Apr-08 01:00 AM
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#11. "RE: Is D40 better than D60?"
In response to Reply # 10


US
          

I believe we should use the term "better" here in the context of which camera is better for the individual. That's what really matters most. For some of us, the higher resolution, the VR lens, and the other additional features of the D60 are "better," certainly enough to justify the price. For others, these features may not be as valuable and they don't see the D60 as "better enough" or they may view the D40 or D40x as better, especially when it comes to the price.

It's good to explain one's rationale for purchasing the model they did, especially in response to a question that asks for it. But no one should feel like they have to defend their choice or assert that it was better than someone else's. They're all great little cameras.

  

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blw Moderator Awarded for his high level of expertise in various areas Nikonian since 18th Jun 2004Wed 30-Apr-08 01:23 AM
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#12. "RE: Is D40 better than D60?"
In response to Reply # 11


Richmond, US
          

There's not just "better" or "best" but "good enough." More megapixels are great. But how many do you NEED? You can make a fine 16x20 from 4mp - I've done it. How many 16x20's does one print?

_____
Brian... a bicoastal Nikonian and Team Member

My gallery is online. Comments and critique welcomed any time!

  

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FE Fan Silver Member Nikonian since 18th Oct 2004Wed 30-Apr-08 02:38 AM
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#13. "RE: Is D40 better than D60?"
In response to Reply # 12


Silver Spring, US
          

I agree, you have to buy what works for you. For me, trying digital in a low ($$) risk way was very important. I wasn't sure if I was going to like it and wanted to manage the risk.

It turns out that 6MP seems to work very well for the type of shooting I do. It even allows for reasonable cropping. Then again, I try to compose as much as possible in the camera. I guess it's a habit developed from shooting slides.

I will say one area in which I really like the lower resolution is file size. It saves on SD cards and makes post processing and storage a bit less resource intensive on my home computer.

In the end, I don't think I would let the pixel count in and of itself deter someone from the D40. There is no doubt that we are in the midst of a pixel race, and the additional pixels undoubtedly benefit many shooters, but I don't think the lower pixel count of the D40 is always a disadvantage.

Bart
D300s D40 F3HP FE FM2n Nikkormat FTN

Everything is a subject. Every subject has a rhythm. To feel it is the raison d'être.
The photograph is a fixed moment of such a raison d'être, which lives on in itself.
- Andre Kertesz


My Nikonians Gallery

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

  

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ruca2k8 Registered since 27th Feb 2008Wed 30-Apr-08 08:42 AM
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#14. "RE: Is D40 better than D60?"
In response to Reply # 11


Cascais, PT
          

>I believe we should use the term "better" here in
>the context of which camera is better for the individual.
>That's what really matters most.

That's where I think KR's rationale falls short. What's good for him MUST be good for everyone.

I know the D40 is highly capable of shooting EXCELLENT pictures. Yet I got a D40x and would get a D60 if I was buying now.

Wanting to shoot surfing, and knowing some breaks are FAR, I won't be able to afford a 500 or 600mm any time soon, since I needed an f2.8 to shoot indoor and other closer-up sports, like soccer. So I'll shoot as well as I can and have margin to crop (maybe to the equivalent of a 6MP or even less if need be) and still get great prints at "normal" sizes.

  

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Replytoken Silver Member Nikonian since 08th Mar 2008Wed 30-Apr-08 04:46 PM
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#15. "RE: Is D40 better than D60?"
In response to Reply # 10


Seattle, US
          

I think that its important to remember that more MP on a sensor often (notice I did not say always) means more image noise. So, more is not always better, especially when the OP mentioned they wanted to shoot in low light situations.

--Ken

  

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RoadKingMoe Registered since 01st Apr 2008Wed 30-Apr-08 05:52 PM
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#16. "RE: Is D40 better than D60?"
In response to Reply # 15


US
          

I hesitate to comment on the D40 vs D60 or low MP vs high MP noise performance, because for me to have any confidence in a position either way, I'd have to be viewing NEF files of identical scenes with identical settings from each camera in Capture NX, with noise reduction and sharpening unchecked. Even with these features turned off in the camera, some is still applied by the camera at high ISOs and you can see that (and turn it off) in CNX. As far as I can remember, there is no option to not have these when generating a JPEG in the camera, only when doing so in CNX.

That said, the noise pictures in the D40 and D60 reviews at dpreview.com are jpegs, I assume generated in the camera. They show the D40 with lower noise at ISO 800, but the D60 with a little lower noise at ISO 1600 and 3200. I'm not sure how meaningful that is for sensor performance, given the in-camera processing is allegedly different (by Nikon's claims better on the D60).

While there may be a greater number of noise artifacts with a greater number of pixels, it seems to me they should be smaller artifacts from smaller photosites, i.e. a finer grain. Maybe not. Here's an example of D60 noise one owner went to the trouble to document.

http://www.pbase.com/andrease/d60noise

I've shot quite a bit at 1600 and 3200 with the D60 and find the noise more than acceptable considering the settings.

  

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Replytoken Silver Member Nikonian since 08th Mar 2008Wed 30-Apr-08 08:12 PM
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#18. "RE: Is D40 better than D60?"
In response to Reply # 16


Seattle, US
          

>I hesitate to comment on the D40 vs D60 or low MP vs high MP
>noise performance, because for me to have any confidence in a
>position either way, I'd have to be viewing NEF files of
>identical scenes with identical settings from each camera in
>Capture NX, with noise reduction and sharpening unchecked.
>Even with these features turned off in the camera, some is
>still applied by the camera at high ISOs and you can see that
>(and turn it off) in CNX. As far as I can remember, there is
>no option to not have these when generating a JPEG in the
>camera, only when doing so in CNX.
>
>That said, the noise pictures in the D40 and D60 reviews at
>dpreview.com are jpegs, I assume generated in the camera.
>They show the D40 with lower noise at ISO 800, but the D60
>with a little lower noise at ISO 1600 and 3200. I'm not sure
>how meaningful that is for sensor performance, given the
>in-camera processing is allegedly different (by Nikon's claims
>better on the D60).
>
>While there may be a greater number of noise artifacts with a
>greater number of pixels, it seems to me they should be
>smaller artifacts from smaller photosites, i.e. a finer grain.
> Maybe not. Here's an example of D60 noise one owner went to
>the trouble to document.
>
>http://www.pbase.com/andrease/d60noise
>
>I've shot quite a bit at 1600 and 3200 with the D60 and find
>the noise more than acceptable considering the settings.
>
>
I do not disagree, and have no ill feelings towards the D60, hence the conditoning of my prior statement. But, the quality of a sensor is determined by more than its MP count, and I wanted to call attention to other factors, like noise, for readers who may not be familiar with what needs to be considered when choosing a camera. The poster did allude to other considerations such as software/firmware improvements, but seemed to place a very strong emphasis on the gain in resolution. But you are correct, I would not make any kind of definitive statement about the D40 and D60 without actually comparing some controlled images.

--Ken

  

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bonna aquino Registered since 30th Apr 2008Wed 30-Apr-08 07:19 PM
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#17. "RE: Is D40 better than D60?"
In response to Reply # 0


PH
          

Hi! I just bought my d60 a week ago..
having 2 friends with d40x and another one with d80..
One thing i like about mine is the "image sensor cleaner"
it automatically cleans the sensor everytime you turn it on/off..
cool feature

  

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Marsbar67 Registered since 25th Apr 2008Wed 30-Apr-08 11:09 PM
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#19. "RE: Is D40 better than D60?"
In response to Reply # 17


AU
          

Okay.
Now the bad news.
As my purpose was to use prime lenses, I thought I would be fine with manual focus. I love the feel of the D40 (and obviously the D40x and D60) and love the interface. The 50mm lens is exactly what I wanted. Wonderful shots with beautiful bokeh. What I naively didn't realise was that the 50mm lens would ONLY work in Manual mode and i couldn't utilise ANY of the shooting modes. As I don't want to use a big zoom lens this posed a very restricting problem. What was I to do? Where can I find a small, portable and easy to use DSLR that will allow me flexibility with prime lenses? As I'm a DSLR beginner I would like to use aperture and shutter priority modes too.
The only way I could find what I was looking for was to go over to the dark side.
Yes, that's right, I exchanged my D40 kit for a Canon 400D body (thanks to Paxtons in Sydney who offer 45 day money back guarantee).
Sorry but I had no choice.
This enabled me to get a fantastic 50mm f1.4 AND a 24mm f2.8 lens that will work on ALL modes.
And before I get hate mail, this is Nikon's fault not mine. How could Nikon omit such a major function from even their latest model, the D60? Is flexibility of lenses not more important than being able to produce stop motion animation or having a screen that rotates?
The D80 is just too big (and more expensive) compared to the 400D so that wasn't an option.
I want to thank all the Nikonians for your input and advice, it's just that Nikon doesn't make a product that suits my needs.
If it makes it any better, I've put black tape over all the Canon branding. Although this is only slightly to do with shame and more to do with thief protection in Rome.
Sorry again.

  

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Replytoken Silver Member Nikonian since 08th Mar 2008Wed 30-Apr-08 11:15 PM
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#20. "RE: Is D40 better than D60?"
In response to Reply # 19


Seattle, US
          

There were some other options, but I am sure that you will be well served by your new set-up. Have a great trip!

--Ken

  

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MotoMannequin Moderator Awarded for his extraordinary skills in landscape and wildlife photography Nikonian since 11th Jan 2006Thu 01-May-08 03:30 AM
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#21. "RE: Is D40 better than D60?"
In response to Reply # 19


Livermore, CA, US
          

The Canon is an excellent camera and you'll be very well served with either option. There's no reason to feel shame - go out and take some great pictures!

I assume since you've gone that route you may not be back, but for future potential Nikonians browsing this thread, the D40/D40x/D60 will absolutely meter, and use all camera features & shooting modes (except auto focus) on all Nikon's AF & AF-D primes. Either you had an older AI or AI-S prime, or (since you said above you had an AF prime) I think you reacted rashly without taking time to learn the system. That's not Nikon's fault, although I do blame them for being slow to release AF-S primes. The Nikkor 50mm f/1.8D costs about $110 and the 50mm f/1.4D about double that. Either of these would have been excellent lenses and perfect for what you wanted to do with the D60.

Larry - a Bay Area Nikonian
My Nikonians gallery

www.tempered-light.com

  

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