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Author Topic: Olympus E-3  (Read 115155 times)
Quentin
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« on: December 08, 2007, 12:51:21 PM »
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A few days ago, I purchased an Olympus E-3 which I am using with a some 4/3 lenses, including the cheapo 14-42mm, the 14-54mm F2.8-3.5, the 50mm F/2 macro and the Sigma 30mm F1.4.  

Amongst all the excitement generated by the latest Canon and Nikon gear, the Olympus E-3 might seem underspecified in the pixel department but its a pro body, splash and dust proof, with an ultrasonic dust removal system that works for much less than other pro bodies and highly capable with excellent high ISO performance.

Here is a quick sample taken today of a good photographer friend on mine in his studio, shot with the Sigma 30mm F1.4 at F1.6, 200ISO, decoded from raw in SilkyPix


[image removed from site]

Its not an MF digital camera (I use a Mamiya ZD also), but it will generate files capable of excellent A3+ or bigger prints.

Quentin
« Last Edit: December 17, 2007, 03:06:37 AM by Quentin » Logged

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« Reply #1 on: December 09, 2007, 10:26:55 AM »
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I've always liked the little sigma 30/1.4 except for its wonky triangular bokeh it exibits sometimes. Olympus is really proud of their lenses if you know what I mean but on the other hand there really isnt a dud in the bunch. My main reasons for ditching oly a few years ago was terrible noise problems above iso 200, primitive autofocus and soft'ish files. But on the other hand it always rendered great color and was much more compact at the time, i had an e-300, than other systems. I would really like to try one of the new bodies and one of the leica zooms in combination with the 25/1.4.
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Quentin
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« Reply #2 on: December 09, 2007, 12:35:39 PM »
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I've always liked the little sigma 30/1.4 except for its wonky triangular bokeh it exibits sometimes. Olympus is really proud of their lenses if you know what I mean but on the other hand there really isnt a dud in the bunch. My main reasons for ditching oly a few years ago was terrible noise problems above iso 200, primitive autofocus and soft'ish files. But on the other hand it always rendered great color and was much more compact at the time, i had an e-300, than other systems. I would really like to try one of the new bodies and one of the leica zooms in combination with the 25/1.4.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=159469\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]


The ISO performance s now pretty good up to and including 800 ISO, and usealble at 1600 ISO.  I suspect 4.3 will never be as noise free at high ISO as the best larger formats.

The Autofocus is now very fast and the files pin sharp - so I guess they have cured the main problems you encountered.    Image quality is about on a par with, say, a Nikon D300.   The E-3 is weather sealed as are the better lenses.  It's a sensible high image quality alternative choice with some funky features.  Great fun!

Quentin
« Last Edit: December 09, 2007, 12:35:55 PM by Quentin » Logged

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« Reply #3 on: December 09, 2007, 04:46:04 PM »
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Here is a quick sample taken today of a good photographer friend on mine in his studio, shot with the Sigma 30mm F1.4 at F1.6, 200ISO, decoded from raw in SilkyPix


Its not an MF digital camera (I use a Mamiya ZD also), but it will generate files capable of excellent A3+ or bigger prints.

[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=159282\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

I'm not trying to be rude or funny, but that bokeh on you're friend's left shoulder (our right) literally makes me nauseous.  It thought that the bokeh in my Canon 100-400 with 2x of TCs was bad (donut-ty), but that has to be the worst Bokeh I've ever seen.
« Last Edit: December 09, 2007, 06:04:25 PM by John Sheehy » Logged
Quentin
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« Reply #4 on: December 09, 2007, 05:48:58 PM »
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I'm not trying to be rude or funny, but that bokeh on you're friend's left shoulder (our right) literally makes me nauseous.  It thought that the bokeh in my Canon 100-400 with 2x of TCs was bad (donut-ty), but that has to be the worst Bokeh I've ever seen.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=159561\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Is not the bokeh, its partly movement: this was shot at 1/20 sec in dim light and partly the shape of the stitch (I've checked the full size image to confirm.  Bokeh is great with this lens.  Unfortunately image stabilization cannot counteract subject movement or clothes design.  

I'm not being rude or funny; you'll just have to throw up somewhere else.

Quentin
« Last Edit: December 09, 2007, 05:57:32 PM by Quentin » Logged

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« Reply #5 on: December 09, 2007, 06:08:03 PM »
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Is not the bokeh, its partly movement: this was shot at 1/20 sec in dim light and partly the shape of the stitch (I've checked the full size image to confirm.  Bokeh is great with this lens.  Unfortunately image stabilization cannot counteract subject movement or clothes design.   

I'm not being rude or funny; you'll just have to throw up somewhere else.

[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=159572\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

I really meant that.  I get a very uncomfortable feeling looking at certain kinds of blur; ones that suggest certain kinds of motion.  I've looked at images that literally made me feel like my eyes or the subject were vibrating; I can't stand to look at them.
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« Reply #6 on: December 09, 2007, 06:38:04 PM »
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I really meant that.  I get a very uncomfortable feeling looking at certain kinds of blur; ones that suggest certain kinds of motion.  I've looked at images that literally made me feel like my eyes or the subject were vibrating; I can't stand to look at them.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=159573\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Fair enough, but its not the camera or lens, thats my point.   More a dodgy taste in jumpers.

Still, its a bit off topic, and I don't see a rush of interest here over the E-3.  Not surprising because I had not intended to buy one until I tried it out and it's not going to win the Megapixel Gold Cup at Aintree.  But it is a fine camera with some superb lenses (leaving the Sigma, which I think is itself excellent, aside for the moment).

Quentin
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« Reply #7 on: December 09, 2007, 07:52:04 PM »
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I think it is a photography style thing.  Most landscape photographers would take a 4x5" sensor if they could get it at a reasonable price.
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« Reply #8 on: December 10, 2007, 03:01:01 AM »
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I think it is a photography style thing.  Most landscape photographers would take a 4x5" sensor if they could get it at a reasonable price.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=159589\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

I'd take an 8x10....

Actually there is a rumor going around that Oly are working on a medium format back using stitched 4/3 sensors.  Might be real, might be nonsense, but it is sort of logical.

Quentin
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« Reply #9 on: December 10, 2007, 10:04:42 AM »
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Quentin,

    I am following with interest the experiences of professionals like you trying out the E-3 and assessing the place for 4/3" alongside other format sizes. But ...

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Actually there is a rumor going around that Oly are working on a medium format back using stitched 4/3 sensors.[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=159637\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
For my money, that rumour is pure fantasy, either of the poster or the anonymous sales rep. attributed as a source (do sales reps ever have such detailed advanced knowledge?). That same rumour post contained lots of other common "forum fantasies" that gibe badly with everything Olympus has said or done in DLSR's. And the sensor dimensions did not even add up: it would take about eight 4/3" sized sensors to make one MF one, not four. And larger sensors are not made by making smaller ones and then stitching them together: the so-called "stitching" is done on the silicon by etching a single device in several side-by-side exposures on the stepper.

Trust me:
There will be no new MF systems.
The DMF market is already somewhat overcrowded relative to the now small market share with its current three systems.

In fact at this stage, I predict that there will be no new DLSR systems or formats requiring new lens systems, so no upsizing from any camera maker beyond the format covered by its current lenses. (Cynically, the main purpose of making SLR's is to sell lenses!)


P. S. Is that the famous "Jono" in the portrait?
« Last Edit: December 10, 2007, 10:06:21 AM by BJL » Logged
phoTOMgraphy
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« Reply #10 on: December 10, 2007, 10:40:40 AM »
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hi quentin, hi everyone,
this is my first post hereat this forum.
i'm an austrian hobby-photographer.
currently using an olympus e-1 with several olympus lenses.
my favorite is nature and landscape photography

a was waiting for the e-3 since 2006 but now i'm not quite satisfied in terms of resolution.
so i didn't buy it yet.    

in fact after watching the llvj#16 i found myself looking for higher resolution in middle format digital systems.
but in my case the only system that's nearly affordable, is the mamiya zd.

as i saw this post from you - and you mentioned that you are using the mamiya zd and the olympus e-3. my eyes were wide open - thats what i looked for. someone who could tell me how big the difference is between these two cameras - only in terms of imagequality.

logically the zd must win the race, but how big is the distance.

90% of my prints are sized at A3. but i would like to print more at A2.
are there such big differences as the numbers seem to tell?  

would it be worth, to spend 10.000 dollars, or are images printed from both cameras and viewed side by side not as different as i believe. i have no experiences in this way.

it would be great, if you could take 2 pictures from the same scene with same FOV  to compare the difference (outdoor images if possible). i would like to download the raw files and print them on my ipf5000.
i don't wanna sell them, so please don't get me wrong...  
i just want to have peace in mind by choosing the future system of my hobby.

best regards
thomas

ps.: sorry for my english  
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Quentin
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« Reply #11 on: December 10, 2007, 03:28:39 PM »
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hi quentin, hi everyone,
this is my first post hereat this forum.
i'm an austrian hobby-photographer.
currently using an olympus e-1 with several olympus lenses.
my favorite is nature and landscape photography

a was waiting for the e-3 since 2006 but now i'm not quite satisfied in terms of resolution.
so i didn't buy it yet.   

in fact after watching the llvj#16 i found myself looking for higher resolution in middle format digital systems.
but in my case the only system that's nearly affordable, is the mamiya zd.

as i saw this post from you - and you mentioned that you are using the mamiya zd and the olympus e-3. my eyes were wide open - thats what i looked for. someone who could tell me how big the difference is between these two cameras - only in terms of imagequality.

logically the zd must win the race, but how big is the distance.
90% of my prints are sized at A3. but i would like to print more at A2.
are there such big differences as the numbers seem to tell?   

would it be worth, to spend 10.000 dollars, or are images printed from both cameras and viewed side by side not as different as i believe. i have no experiences in this way.

it would be great, if you could take 2 pictures from the same scene with same FOV  to compare the difference (outdoor images if possible). i would like to download the raw files and print them on my ipf5000.
i don't wanna sell them, so please don't get me wrong...  
i just want to have peace in mind by choosing the future system of my hobby.

best regards
thomas

ps.: sorry for my english 
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=159697\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Hi Thomas,

Interesting idea, I was thinking of doing the same myself for fun.  I suspect you might be surprised :-).

Of course, any comparison is ripped to shreds here (rightly) because you can never completely equalize shooting conditions with such different formats.  I won't have a chance to do it for a few days, so be patient.

Cheers

Quentin
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« Reply #12 on: December 10, 2007, 11:31:52 PM »
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Hi Thomas,

Interesting idea, I was thinking of doing the same myself for fun.  I suspect you might be surprised :-).

Of course, any comparison is ripped to shreds here (rightly) because you can never completely equalize shooting conditions with such different formats.  I won't have a chance to do it for a few days, so be patient.

Cheers

Quentin
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=159747\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
 

Hi! Quentin,
That could be fun and very informative. Both cameras have the same aspect ratio so I don't see why it should be difficult to equalize shooting conditions, although it might be the case the ZD requires a tripod because of the slower shutter speed whereas the E-3 doesn't, but no harm done using a tripod for the E-3 even if it doesn't require one.

I'm really surprised at the confusion that exists in the spate of recent comparisons I've seen amongst different formats on this site. It's almost as though the testers have forgotten all the basic rules about photography, field of view, DoF, choice of aperture etc.

For example, why should it be necessary to use f11 or f14 with the smaller format simply because that's what was used with the larger format. And why choose f14 for either format if the actual depth of field in the scene doesn't require it.

No purpose is served by trying to force a match between settings such as shutter speed and aperture. The main requirement is that the subject or target be the same in both cases and that the photographic intention be the same in both cases.

We can then see the strengths and weaknesses of both cameras being tested. If the field of view is not the same, then of course the subject is not the same. If the DoF is not the same then the photographic intention is not the same. If the shutter speed is not the same, it doesn't necessarily matter provided both cameras are on a tripod and provided there's no movement in the subject. If there is movement in the subject and it becomes necessary to bump up the ISO of the larger format to get an adequate shutter speed, then the (perhaps) higher noise of the larger format is highlighted as a disadvantage, which is something useful to know.

If the cameras being compared are different formats, then of course aperture, shutter speed and/or ISO should be different. They should be chosen for each camera as though that were the only camera being used to take the best possible shot of the scene.
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« Reply #13 on: December 11, 2007, 02:22:43 AM »
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Still, its a bit off topic, and I don't see a rush of interest here over the E-3.  Not surprising because I had not intended to buy one until I tried it out and it's not going to win the Megapixel Gold Cup at Aintree.

Well the initial consignment of E3's did sell out on a pre-order basis, so people must have wanted them urgently, and I would bet a fair number of of those people would be pro's. And of course it is sometimes forgotten but there is still choice involved in choosing a format for any situation, whether landscape or wedding photography, and that choice still doesn't have to be driven by a pixel count.

As an aside, once upon a time even Ansel Adams would 'choose' to use a 6x6 over his 5x4 or 10x8. Joel Meyerowitz happily uses 35mm and 10x8 without 'worrying' about people standing to close to the photograph. Indeed I have seen his 35mm images blown up larger than his large format images. Nowadays it seems pixels are the one thing that mainly rules the photographers mind where film formats never did, no?
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« Reply #14 on: December 11, 2007, 02:47:57 AM »
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If the cameras being compared are different formats, then of course aperture, shutter speed and/or ISO should be different. They should be chosen for each camera as though that were the only camera being used to take the best possible shot of the scene.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=159811\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

thats what i think too.

and i'm very very curious for this comparison  

i'm sad of postings about noise of this or that sensor. sometimes noise/high iso seems to be the only crucial factor of a camera. but what about details in a shot, or accurate colors.
99% of my shot are taken at 100 iso. and if there is less light, i use a tripod. so good or bad high iso is not a big issue to me.

but i wanna have fine detail in my landscapes. that was the main reason i chose the olympus e-system (in late 2003) not because of the image resolution but because of the lenses and i was hoping for higher resolution in the future.

and i would have been satisfied, if the e-3 has got 12/14 mpx, i know that makes not a big difference but only to give me the feeling that the e-system is moving forward, and against most critics of this sensor - it's not reaching the end of its potentiality.

but 10mpx (after such a long time of development and the high expactation) looks more like a slow down and reaching the end.

too little too late?
otherwise i never would have thought about MF because of the prize. but if i have to change the system and sell all my equipment, it might be worth thinking about it.

ok enough. i'm recuring... sorry!

i'm looking forward to the comparison of quentin, and maybe it's surprising      


regards
tom
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Quentin
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« Reply #15 on: December 11, 2007, 06:39:49 AM »
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the aspect ratio point that Ray menjtioned is one I had thought of and a problem we can avoid with this comparison.  Of course there will always be variables.  Lenses are different, ISO, depth of field etc.  No comparison of this type can be perfect.  I will probably use the 55mm lens on the Mamiya, about the equivalent of a 38 mm on 35mm, and use the zuiko 14-42mm F2.8 -F3.5 on the E-3.  Thats a zoom v a prime, but the only primes I have for the E-3 are the Sigma 30mm F1.4 and the 50mm Macro, and 4/3 lenses are generally very good, plus I can exactly equalise the field of view to the Mamiya.  Well see.

I also think we tend to obsess about megapixels too much.  Around 10mp seems to be the point where you can get a great looking A3 print, and as you get larger prints, so viewing distances increase.  I'm not sayimg sheer MP horesepower is not important - heck, I have a drum scanner and an 8x10 camera for a reason - but other things also matter, like getting the shot in the first place,  having a camera with you, and enjoying the experience (the E-3 is a lot of fun to use).

Quentin

PS The Mamiya has exceptional highlight recovery.  I'd expect it to be a lot better in this department than the E-3, which is OK, but no better than the small format competition.
« Last Edit: December 11, 2007, 06:42:37 AM by Quentin » Logged

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« Reply #16 on: December 11, 2007, 08:19:17 AM »
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and use the zuiko 14-42mm F2.8 -F3.5 on the E-3.  Thats a zoom v a prime, but the only primes I have for the E-3 are the Sigma 30mm F1.4 and the 50mm Macro, and 4/3 lenses are generally very good, plus I can exactly equalise the field of view to the Mamiya.  Well see.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=159846\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

wouldn't it be better to use the 14-54mm on the e-3 ?
in my opinion this lens should be better than the 14-42mm.  

do you know how big the dynamic range of the e-3 is?
the zd should have 12 stops is this correct?

tom
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« Reply #17 on: December 11, 2007, 11:04:24 AM »
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Ray,
    good thoughts, with one small disagreement
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If the cameras being compared are different formats, then of course aperture, shutter speed and/or ISO should be different.

They should be chosen for each camera as though that were the only camera being used to take the best possible shot of the scene.[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=159811\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
That is the essence of it, and acceptance of this might solve many holy wars between formats. But there is one exception about ISO speed because of this observation:
Quote
If the shutter speed is not the same, it doesn't necessarily matter provided both cameras are on a tripod and provided there's no movement in the subject.[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=159811\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
And that means that ISO speed can be the same in this situation, which is probably rather common in medium format work. Or to be precise, ISO speed can be at the optimal value for each camera, which is maybe 50 for ZD, 100 for the E-3.

Of course I expect the Mamiya ZD system to do better in this situation, while the E-3 probably does far better in many hand-held situations, where it can use far lower ISO speed due to in-body IS and such.

For me the most interesting question is how much better the medium format system is on its natural turf of being able to work at optimal, low ISO speed. I expect better resolution and dynamic range, but for example
- How big do prints have to be before resolution differences are visible and significant?
- How high does the Subject Brightness Range have to be before the DR advantage of the larger format shows a benefit? (Probably most scenes do not have a wide enough SBR for DR considerations to be relevant at low ISO speeds, but of course some scenes do.)


P. S. Quentin: on the subject of DR and SBR, have you tried the E-3's "Auto Gradation", for handling high SBR scenes automatically during in-camera JPEG output? It may be just a lazy alternative to proper tone curve adjustment in RAW conversion, but I am lazy enough sometimes to value good options for getting ready to use JPEGs from the camera.
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« Reply #18 on: December 11, 2007, 11:52:01 AM »
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P. S. Quentin: on the subject of DR and SBR, have you tried the E-3's "Auto Gradation", for handling high SBR scenes automatically during in-camera JPEG output? It may be just a lazy alternative to proper tone curve adjustment in RAW conversion, but I am lazy enough sometimes to value good options for getting ready to use JPEGs from the camera.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=159880\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

I never shoot jpeg     Auto gradation sounds great as a conceot.  I'm still learning the camera.

And Tom, you are right, I meant the 14-54, not the other flavours around that focal length Oly seem to have a penchant for producing.  I got confused.  Mind you, the new 14-35 F.2.0 sounds pretty special, and also expensive.

And please, nobody get started on choice of raw software... I'll be in enough hot water with the purists over my testing "methods" as it is  

Quentin
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« Reply #19 on: December 11, 2007, 03:43:16 PM »
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The 'Auto Gradation' in the E3 is pretty well what 'Fill Light' does in ACR if you use it in RAW conversion, or in 'Shadow/Highlight' manipulation in PS3. The Olympus Master 2 software gives options in RAW to switch 'embedded' Gradation to other modes, but ACR ignores it and gives the RAW file without any in camera processing embedded by default. From my experience so far ACR and PS3 does a more refined job than the OLY software, not just generally but also with the 'gradation' of shadows/midtones, and especially now ACR 4.3.1 is available. But the 'Auto Gradation' would seem an excellent idea for JPEG's, not that I use them though.
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