Fisheye lenses, with their unique distortion and wide field of view, offer a fresh perspective in photography. While a fish eye lens has challenges, understanding how to use them can open up a new world of creativity in your work.
Whether you’re interested in landscape, architectural, or abstract photography, a fisheye lens could be a valuable addition to your toolkit. From the iconic Canon and Nikon fisheye lenses to other brands, a wide array of options are available to suit different needs and budgets. So why not try a fisheye lens and see the world from a new angle?
Introduction to Fish Eye Lenses
Definition of a Fish Eye Lens
A fish eye lens is a distinctive ultra-wide-angle lens designed to achieve broad panoramic or hemispherical views. With its unique perspective, the lens mimics a fish’s eye, hence the term “fish eye”. The visual distortion created by these lenses results in creative and engaging photographs, offering photographers a world of novel visual opportunities.
Brief History of Fish Eye Lenses
The fish eye lens has a fascinating history begins in the early 20th century. It was first developed for meteorology to study the sky and cloud formations. By the mid-20th century, this lens type had made its way into photography. The fisheye lens was initially patented by physicist Robert W. Wood in 1906 as a “panoramic lens.” Still, it wasn’t until 1924 when the term “fisheye” was coined by American inventor and professor Robert W. Wood, based on how a fish would see an ultra-wide hemispherical view from beneath the water.
Different Types of Fish Eye Lenses
There are two main types of fish eye lenses: circular fisheye lenses and full frame or diagonal fisheye lenses. Circular fisheye lenses capture a full 180-degree view in all directions, resulting in a circular image on the sensor. Full-frame fisheye lenses also provide a 180-degree view, but only diagonally across the image sensor, producing a more traditional rectangular image while still delivering the distinctive fisheye distortion.
General Uses of Fish Eye Lenses
Fish eye lenses are versatile and used in various genres of photography. They are prevalent in sports, landscape, and architectural photography due to their ability to capture a wide breadth of view. Furthermore, they are also used in scientific applications, such as in the study of the sky or cloud formations. Their distinctive look also allows for creative, abstract, or artistic photography.
Fish Eye Lens: Top Picks on Amazon
|Features||Top Pick: Canon EF 8-15mm f/4L Fisheye USM Ultra-Wide Zoom Lens||Runner Up: Nikon AF DX NIKKOR 10.5mm f/2.8G ED Fixed Zoom Fisheye Lens||Best Value: OM SYSTEM OLYMPUS M.Zuiko Digital ED 8mm F1.8 FISHEYE PRO|
|Lens Mount||Canon EF||Nikon DX||Micro Four Thirds|
|Suitable for Full Frame||Yes||No (Only for DX-format)||No (Only for Micro Four Thirds)|
|Lens Construction||UD glass, Subwavelength coating||Extra-low Dispersion (ED) glass, Close-Range Correction (CRC) technology||High-performance optics|
|Pros||Wide-angle and fisheye versatility, Exceptional image quality and sharpness, Reliable and durable construction, Fast and accurate autofocus||Unique fisheye perspective, Compact and lightweight design, Fast aperture, High-performance CRC technology, Excellent color accuracy and image clarity||Fast aperture, Weather-sealed design, Wide-angle perspective, Silent autofocus, Minimum working distance|
|Cons||Limited zoom range, Distortion and vignetting at extreme focal lengths, Large and heavy lens, Higher price point||Manual focus may be challenging, Not suitable for full-frame Nikon cameras, Fisheye perspective may require careful composition||Larger and heavier compared to other fisheye lenses, Limited focal length range, Higher price point|
Canon EF 8-15mm f/4L Fisheye USM Ultra-Wide Zoom Lens
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Top Pick: Not surprisingly, Canon tops the list with the EF 8-15mm f/4L Fisheye USM Lens. It delivers great results with features like UD glass for chromatic aberration suppression and a Subwavelength coating for reduced ghosting. Built to the highest standards of Canon’s L-series lenses, it combines superior optics, durability, and performance to inspire creativity in every shot.
- Advanced Optics For Professional Imaging: Experience professional-level image quality with the advanced optics of this lens, ensuring sharpness, clarity, and vibrant colors.
- Quiet and Fast Autofocus and Low-Light Performance: The lens features a fast and accurate autofocus system, allowing you to precisely capture your shots. Its low-light performance ensures exceptional results even in challenging lighting conditions.
- Built for Professional Performance: Designed for professional use, this lens meets the rigorous standards of Canon’s L-series. It offers outstanding construction, durability, and reliability to withstand demanding environments.
- Wide-angle and fisheye versatility for creative photography
- Exceptional image quality and sharpness
- Reliable and durable construction
- Fast and accurate autofocus for capturing decisive moments
- Suitable for both full-frame and APS-C cameras
- Limited zoom range compared to other zoom lenses
- Distortion and vignetting at extreme focal lengths
- Relatively large and heavy lens
- Higher price point compared to other wide-angle lenses
Although The Canon EF 8-15mm f/4L Fisheye USM Ultra-Wide Zoom Lens has some limitations, its versatility and ability to deliver outstanding results make it a valuable addition to your photography toolkit. And for filmmakers and photographers seeking a unique perspective, this lens offers an extraordinary focal length range and exceptional image quality.
Nikon AF DX NIKKOR 10.5mm f/2.8G ED Fixed Zoom Fisheye Lens
Runner Up: The Nikon AF DX NIKKOR 10.5mm f/2.8G ED Lens is the runner up, and it is designed exclusively for use with Nikon’s DX-format. This lens offers a frame-filling fisheye perspective with an impressive 180-degree angle of view.
- Wide-angle fisheye perspective: Capture stunning images with a frame-filling 180-degree angle of view, providing a distinctive and immersive visual experience.
- Close-Range Correction (CRC) technology: Achieve sharper images when capturing subjects up close, thanks to the high-performance CRC feature.
- Compact and lightweight design: Designed specifically for DX-format cameras, this lens offers portability without compromising optical quality.
- Extra-low Dispersion (ED) glass: Minimize chromatic aberration for superior image clarity and color accuracy.
- Precise distance information: The Nikon D-type design provides accurate distance information for flash and ambient light exposure processes.
- Unique fisheye perspective for creative and immersive photography
- Compact and lightweight design for portability
- Fast aperture allows for low-light shooting and creative depth-of-field control
- High-performance Close-Range Correction technology for sharp close-up images
- Excellent color accuracy and image clarity with Extra-low Dispersion glass
- Manual focus may be challenging for fast-moving subjects
- Not suitable for full-frame Nikon cameras (DX-format only)
- Fisheye perspective may require careful composition for optimal results in certain scenarios
While the Nikon AF DX NIKKOR 10.5mm f/2.8G ED Fixed Zoom Fisheye Lens has some limitations associated with the fisheye effect, its portability and optical precision make it a valuable tool for unleashing your creative vision. Its compact and lightweight design, fast aperture, and autofocus capabilities make it a versatile tool for small business owners.
OM SYSTEM OLYMPUS M.Zuiko Digital ED 8mm F1.8 FISHEYE PRO
Best Value: The OM SYSTEM OLYMPUS M.Zuiko Digital ED 8mm F1.8 FISHEYE PRO lens delivers the best value. It has fast aperture, weather-sealed design, and silent autofocus to explore various shooting scenarios and get great results.
- Fast and Furious Fisheye: Enjoy the unique and dramatic fisheye effect with the fast F1.8 aperture, allowing for creative depth of field control and impressive low-light performance.
- Weather-Sealed Design: Designed to withstand various weather conditions, this lens is ready to accompany you on your outdoor adventures.
- Wide Angle: Capture expansive scenes with the wide-angle perspective, providing a broader view and immersive storytelling opportunities.
- Silent Autofocus for Movie-Still Compatibility: The lens features silent autofocus, making it suitable for both movie and still photography without disrupting the audio recording.
- Minimum Working Distance: Get up close and personal with your subjects, thanks to the minimum working distance of 2.5cm from the end of the lens.
- Fast aperture allows for creative depth of field control and low-light shooting.
- Weather-sealed design for durability and reliability in various weather conditions.
- Wide-angle perspective captures expansive scenes and enhances visual storytelling.
- Silent autofocus enables seamless transition between movie and still photography.
- Minimum working distance allows for unique close-up shots and creative perspectives.
- Larger and heavier compared to some other fisheye lenses.
- Limited focal length range may not suit all photography styles.
- Higher price point compared to entry-level fisheye lenses.
The OM SYSTEM OLYMPUS M.Zuiko Digital ED 8mm F1.8 FISHEYE PRO lens has some limitations. However, its performance, reliability, and unique features make it an excellent choice for those looking to expand their photography horizons.
Sony SAL-16F28 16mm f/2.8 Fisheye Lens
The Sony SAL-16F28 16mm f/2.8 Fisheye Lens offers an extremely wide angle of view with curvilinear distortion. With corner-to-corner sharpness and the ability to maintain crisp focus from as close as 8 inches to infinity, this lens unlocks endless creative possibilities.
- Unique photographic perspective: The 16mm (35mm equivalent) f/2.8 fisheye lens delivers expansive images with a distinct wide-angle view and curvilinear perspective.
- Corner-to-corner sharpness: Enjoy exceptional image sharpness from edge to edge, ensuring high-quality results.
- Extended depth of field: Capture vast vistas with everything in sharp focus, thanks to the extended depth of field even at the maximum aperture.
- Built-in filters: The lens comes with four built-in filters (Normal, 056, B12, A12), providing added convenience and creative options.
- Quick filter selection: Easily switch between different filters using the simple rotating dial for quick adjustments.
- Unique and captivating curvilinear perspective for creative photography
- Excellent corner-to-corner sharpness for high-quality images
- Versatile depth of field for capturing expansive landscapes
- Convenient built-in filters for quick and easy creative adjustments
- Simple and intuitive filter selection dial for on-the-fly customization
- Limited focal length range may require additional lenses for different shooting scenarios
- Curvilinear distortion may not be desirable for certain architectural or precise photography genres
- Relatively larger and heavier compared to standard lenses
With its exceptional wide-angle view, corner-to-corner sharpness, and extended depth of field, the Sony SAL-16F28 16mm f/2.8 Fisheye Lens allows you to capture images with a distinct visual impact. Its built-in filters, quick filter selection dial, and overall performance make it a valuable addition to a lens collection.
Sigma 15mm f/2.8 EX DG Diagonal Fisheye Lens
The Sigma 15mm f/2.8 EX DG Diagonal Fisheye Lens lets you capture unique and eye-catching images with a digitally optimized diagonal fisheye perspective with a 180-degree field of view. Its advanced multi-layer coating technology reduces flare and ghosting while ensuring accurate color balance and high-definition results.
- Digitally optimized diagonal fisheye lens: Capture stunning images with a unique perspective and a 180-degree field of view.
- Advanced multi-layer coating technology: Minimize flare and ghosting while maintaining accurate color balance and high-definition image quality.
- Minimum shooting distance of 5.9 inches: Get up close to your subjects and achieve impressive close-up shots.
- Gelatin filter holder: Conveniently attach gelatin filters for creative effects and customization.
- Lightweight and compact design: Easy to carry and handle for on-the-go photography.
- Unique diagonal fisheye perspective for captivating and creative images
- Advanced coating technology reduces flare and ghosting, ensuring high-quality results
- Close minimum shooting distance allows for impressive close-up photography
- Versatile 180-degree field of view captures exaggerated perspectives and distortion
- Lightweight and compact design for portability and ease of use
- Limited focal length range may require additional lenses for different shooting scenarios
- Distortion may not be desirable for certain architectural or precise photography styles
- Compatibility limited to Sigma SA Bayonet mount cameras
The close focusing capability and large depth of field of the Sigma 15mm f/2.8 EX DG Diagonal Fisheye Lens allow for close-up photography that encompasses the surroundings of the subject. This lens unlocks endless possibilities, whether you’re capturing exaggerated perspectives, distortion, or creative close-ups.
Samyang 8mm F2.8 II Fisheye Manual Focus Lens
Tthe Samyang 8mm F2.8 II Fisheye Manual Focus Lens allows you to explore the world of ultra-wide-angle photography with its ultra-wide-angle fish-eye design. With the latest generation multi-layer anti-reflection ultra multi-coating (UMC), it minimizes flare and ghosting, ensuring optimal image quality.
- Ultra-wide-angle fish-eye lens: Capture expansive and distorted images with a unique perspective.
- Latest generation multi-layer anti-reflection UMC coating: Minimize flare and ghosting for superior image quality.
- Built-in petal-type lens hood: Provides additional protection and enhances contrast.
- Minimum focusing distance of 0.3m: Capture impressive close-up shots with excellent detail.
- Smooth focus ring: Enjoy precise manual focusing control for creative flexibility.
- Unique and creative ultra-wide-angle fish-eye perspective
- High-quality image rendering with minimized flare and ghosting
- Built-in lens hood for added protection and improved contrast
- Impressive close-up capabilities with a short minimum focusing distance
- Precise manual focus control for full creative freedom
- Manual focus may require more time and practice for optimal results
- Limited to manual focus operation, may not be suitable for fast-paced photography
- Distorted perspective may not be suitable for all subjects or photography genres
- Compatibility limited to Sony E-mount cameras
The Samyang 8mm F2.8 II Fisheye Manual Focus Lens also has built-in petal-type lens hood that provides added protection and enhances image contrast. With a minimum focusing distance of just 0.3m, you can capture impressive close-up shots with stunning detail. The smooth focus ring allows for precise manual focusing, giving you full control over your creative vision.
PANASONIC LUMIX G FISHEYE Lens, 8MM
The PANASONIC LUMIX G FISHEYE Lens, 8MM, offers a 180-degree diagonal angle of view, equivalent to 16mm, on a full-frame camera. The adoption of an Extra-low dispersion glass (ED) lens ensures sharp and stable image quality with minimal chromatic aberration and distortion.
- 180-degree diagonal angle of view for expansive and unique perspectives
- Compact and lightweight design for portability
- ED lens for enhanced image quality and reduced chromatic aberration
- Inner focus system for a long working distance and close-up capabilities
- Smooth and silent focusing for improved shooting experience
- Distinctive 180-degree diagonal angle of view for creative photography
- Compact and lightweight design for enhanced portability
- High-quality image rendering with minimal chromatic aberration
- Versatile close-up capabilities with a long working distance
- Smooth and silent focusing for comfortable shooting experience
- Manual focus operation may require additional effort and practice
- Limited to the fisheye effect, which may not suit all subjects or genres
- No optical image stabilization for handheld shooting in low-light conditions
- Front filter mounting not possible, limiting filter options
The PANASONIC LUMIX G FISHEYE Lens, 8MM, has an inner focus system that enables a long working distance, capturing extreme close-ups from far away. With its smooth and silent focus, this lens enhances photo and movie recording capabilities.
Nikon AF-S FISHEYE NIKKOR 8-15mm
The Nikon AF-S FISHEYE NIKKOR 8-15mm lens is the widest NIKKOR fisheye lens yet and the first with zoom capability. It allows you to capture epic 180-degree circular images or frame-filling fisheye shots, providing a new level of creative expression.
- Widest NIKKOR fisheye lens with zoom capability
- Capture epic 180-degree circular images and frame-filling fisheye shots
- Close focusing up to 0.5 inches for macro-style fisheye images
- Weather-sealed design for use in harsh conditions
- Suitable for still photography and video work
- Versatile zoom capability for different fisheye perspectives
- Captures unique and creative 180-degree circular images
- Close focusing ability for impressive macro-style fisheye shots
- Weather-sealed design ensures durability in challenging conditions
- Provides edge-to-edge sharpness and consistent image quality
- Manual focus operation may require additional skill and precision
- Zoom range limited to 8-15mm, which may not cover all focal length needs
- Variable maximum aperture (f/3.5-4.5) may limit low-light performance
- Relatively larger and heavier compared to non-zoom fisheye lenses
The Nikon AF-S FISHEYE NIKKOR 8-15mm lens offers small business owners a versatile and high-quality tool for creative photography and videography.
The zoom capability of theNikon AF-S FISHEYE NIKKOR 8-15mm lens allows for a range of fisheye perspectives. The lens’s close focusing ability and weather-sealed design make it suitable for a range of shooting conditions.
Rokinon HD8M-C 8mm f/3.5 HD Fisheye Lens
The Rokinon HD8M-C 8mm f/3.5 HD Fisheye Lens has a 167º diagonal field-of-view allowing it to capture rounded images on APS-C size image formats, while still providing unique and captivating results on compatible full-frame digital cameras or 35mm film cameras.
- Ultra-wide-angle 8mm fisheye lens with exaggerated perspective
- Manual focus control for precise image capture
- 167º diagonal field-of-view for rounded images on APS-C size formats
- Hybrid aspherical elements for sharp and defined images
- Improved HD optics and super multi-layer coating to reduce flare and ghost images
- Removable petal-shaped lens hood for added convenience
- Unique and dramatic perspective for captivating photographs
- Exceptional image quality with sharpness and minimal distortion
- Versatile compatibility with both APS-C and full-frame cameras
- Compact and lightweight design for easy handling
- Wide aperture range for creative control over depth of field
- Manual focus requires skill and precision for optimal results
- Not suitable for telephoto or zoom capabilities
- Lacks image stabilization for handheld shooting in low light
The Rokinon HD8M-C 8mm f/3.5 HD Fisheye Lens is constructed with hybrid aspherical elements, delivering sharp, defined images with minimal distortion. The improved HD optics and super multi-layer coating reduce flare and ghost images, ensuring clear and vibrant results. With a minimum focusing distance of 11.8 inches and an aperture range from F3.5 to F22, you can achieve enhanced close-up shots and control over depth of field.
Moment Fisheye Lens – 14mm 170º
If you want to the fish eye lens experience for your smartphone, than the Moment Fisheye Lens – 14mm 170º is for you. It provides versatility and convenience with compatibility across various phone models, tablets, and webcams. Mount the lens with a Moment Case or M-series lens mount and unleash its full potential, including advanced manual controls through the Moment Pro Camera App.
- 14mm focal length with a 170º field of view for ultra-wide and immersive images
- Compatible with iPhone, Google Pixel, Samsung Galaxy, and more
- Works with dual phone camera lenses for enhanced versatility
- Handmade from premium cinema-quality glass for superior optical performance
- Cinema design process adapted for mobile phone accessories
- Unique and captivating fisheye perspective for creative photography and videography
- Wider field of view compared to standard ultra-wide phone lenses
- Versatile compatibility with various smartphone models and devices
- Premium glass construction ensures superior image quality
- Works with Moment Case and offers advanced manual controls for enhanced creative control
- Requires additional accessories for mounting on specific phone models
- Manual controls may have a learning curve for optimal usage
- Distortion and curvilinear effect may not be suitable for all subjects and compositions
With its ultra-wide 170º field of view, the Moment Fisheye Lensthis lens captures immersive and unique perspectives with Android and iPhone model smartphones and tablets.
Features of Fish Eye Lenses
The main feature of a fisheye lens is its ultra-wide-angle view. Fisheye lenses capture a far broader scene than conventional wide-angle lenses, often encompassing up to 180-degrees. This expansive view creates a strong visual impression and can add a dramatic touch to photographs.
Fisheye lenses are known for their distinctive distortion, often described as a ‘barrel’ or ‘bulbous’ effect. This results from the lens’s unique ability to project a hemispherical view onto a flat sensor. Straight lines not passing through the center of the image will appear curved. This distortion can provide a unique aesthetic in images, adding a surreal and dramatic touch to landscapes, architecture, and other expansive scenes.
Close Minimum Focusing Distance
Another notable feature of fisheye lenses is their short minimum focusing distance. Many fisheye lenses can focus on subjects just a few centimeters away from the lens, enabling photographers to capture detail-rich close-ups while maintaining an ultra-wide background. This characteristic is beneficial for macro photography and situations where dramatic emphasis on the subject is needed.
Depth of Field Characteristics
Fisheye lenses are known for their extensive depth of field, which is a byproduct of their short focal length. Even at wider apertures, a fisheye lens can keep a large portion of the scene in sharp focus. This makes them excellent tools for capturing sweeping landscapes or detailed interior scenes where maximum sharpness throughout the image is desired.
The construction of fisheye lenses is complex and requires precision engineering. A fisheye lens typically comprises multiple lens elements, including aspherical and extra-low dispersion elements, to handle the extreme refraction of light. Some fisheye lenses also feature anti-reflective coatings to reduce flare and chromatic aberration. The lens barrel is usually designed to accommodate the bulging front element, which is characteristic of fisheye lenses.
Benefits of Using Fish Eye Lenses
Creativity and Visual Interest
Fisheye lenses can inject creativity into your photography. Their distinctive distortion can transform otherwise ordinary scenes into unique, eye-catching images. Photographers can use this distortion to their advantage, creating playful, abstract, or visually intriguing compositions that are impossible to achieve with conventional lenses.
Capturing Expansive Scenes
With their ultra-wide field of view, fisheye lenses excel at capturing expansive scenes. They’re excellent tools for landscape or cityscape photography, where the ability to encompass a vast view can portray the grandeur of nature or the breadth of urban environments. Fisheye lenses can also bring a fresh perspective to architectural photography, emphasizing the scale and complexity of structures.
Unique Perspective in Close Spaces
Fisheye lenses can produce unique perspectives in confined spaces where using a regular wide-angle lens might not be possible. For example, in interior photography, a fisheye lens can capture the entirety of a room or interior space in a single frame. This can also be a boon in nature photography, where the lens can capture sweeping vistas even in tight forest settings.
Adding Depth to Images
The large depth of field provided by fisheye lenses can add a sense of depth to your images. By keeping the foreground and background in sharp focus, fisheye lenses can create a feeling of “being there” in the viewer, making your images more immersive.
Inexpensive Alternative for Wide Angle Photography
While wide-angle and ultra-wide-angle lenses can be costly, fisheye lenses often come at a fraction of the price. This makes them an affordable option for photographers experimenting with wide-angle photography. While the fisheye look might not be suitable for every scene or genre, these lenses offer an exciting entry point into wide-angle photography, allowing one to capture unique images without investing heavily.
Boosting Business Image Quality
The usage of fisheye lenses is not limited to personal photography alone. Businesses that use visual content can greatly benefit from their distinct capabilities.
Delivering Impactful Marketing Imagery
Marketing often thrives on standing out from the competition. Using fisheye lenses can give your brand a creative edge, making promotional images pop with their unique perspective. For businesses in the real estate or hotel industry, this can be particularly useful as fisheye lenses can capture the full extent of property interiors or room spaces.
Making your Event Coverage Stand Out
Event photographers can use fisheye lenses to get comprehensive crowd shots or venue images, adding an engaging depth to their coverage. The wide field of view and distinctive look of fisheye photos can create a comprehensive and visually captivating story of an event.
Enhancing Product Photography
In product photography, using a fisheye lens can emphasize the product, especially if it’s a larger object or an assembly, as the lens will keep both the product and its environment in sharp focus.
The notable benefits of using fisheye lenses for businesses include:
- Creating engaging visual content for marketing campaigns
- Capturing compelling interior shots for real estate or hospitality businesses
- Adding an extra dimension to event coverage with expansive crowd and venue shots
- Enhancing product photography by keeping both the product and its surroundings in sharp focus
Accessibility and Affordability
Furthermore, the affordability of fisheye lenses makes them a cost-effective choice for small businesses and freelancers looking to enhance their photography without making a significant investment. This easy accessibility of fisheye lenses coupled with their unique features allows businesses to explore new ways to convey their message, making their visual content more intriguing and impactful.
How does a fish eye lens work?
A fisheye lens works by capturing a wide field of view up to 180 degrees, and bending or ‘distorting’ straight lines in the process. Unlike traditional lenses, which aim to reproduce the scene as faithfully as possible, a fisheye lens intentionally distorts the image to create this wide panoramic or hemispherical view.
When should I use a fish eye lens?
A fisheye lens is best used when you want to capture a wide view of a scene, such as in landscape, architecture, or interior photography. It’s also useful when you want to create unique, artistic images with exaggerated perspectives.
What are the main challenges of using a fish eye lens?
The main challenges of using a fisheye lens involve managing its distortion and composing images. Because fisheye lenses distort straight lines, they can make images seem unnatural or skewed if not used properly. Also, their ultra-wide angle of view can make it difficult to compose images, as they capture much more of the scene than typical lenses.
How can I minimize distortion when using a fish eye lens?
While the distortion from a fisheye lens can’t be entirely eliminated, you can minimize its impact by composing your shots carefully. For instance, placing the horizon line in the center of the frame can help reduce distortion. You can also use software in post-processing to correct some of the distortion.
Can I use a fish eye lens for professional photography?
Yes, fisheye lenses can be used for professional photography. While their distinctive distortion might not be suitable for all types of photography, they can be extremely effective in certain genres like landscape, architecture, and creative or abstract photography.
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