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Sony a7 original model: "Camera Error. Turn power off then on."


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I try to use cameras periodically to keep the internal batteries charged, but the battery in one camera was down to 36% when I turned it on yesterday.  This a7 I bought used and it came showing this, with the shutter half locked or locked closed, but some Googling and some fiddling got the shutter functioning again.  The a7 I bought new and my a6000 have been fine.  

 

At this point, I can get single shots off by switching the camera off and pulling the battery and pushing the shutter button for 30 seconds, then reseating the battery and turning the camera back on.  Sometimes, this takes two tries.   Using the movie mode seems unaffected.  I've done a reset and several automatic sensor cleanings.   I'm going to leave the camera on until the current battery is at 50% to see if the internal battery not having charge is playing any part (doesn't seem likely that it is). 

 

I do have the other a7 (bought so I would have another full frame Sony if something happened to one of them).  Google seems to be saying that at this point, the camera that locks the shutter down after takes one or two shots needs to go to a repair shop.  Or I try buying a shutter assembly from Alibaba and try opening the camera and fixing it myself (saw the YouTube video yesterday).  Or explain to Luis, my helper how to get single shots off for now, how to do movie mode (except he doesn't have a computer, but I have DaVinci Resolve on this computer and could give him an account on it), and give it to him with the understanding that if the camera completely fails, I get the lens back.   Or I keep it for possible parts for the other a7.

 

Seems like there were more than usual shutter and In Body Stablization problems with some of the later Sony cameras.  I've been suspicious of IBS in cameras and had planned to, if I ever could afford it, to replace my a6000 with a a6400 which has better autofocus but no IBS.   Still have the a6000 with the very good Sony/Zeiss 24mm lens and the other a7 (bought new with the Sony/Zeiss 55mm, Batis 18mm, and two adapted lenses (105 Nikkor f2.5 which is quite nice and a Yashinon 50mm f/1.7 which is also very sharp and my "out in dodgy places" lens for either APSC or full frame).   The Sony 35mm f 2.8 would go with the dodgy a7 if I give it to Luis.

 

Given the realities of our business, I don't plan to buy a second full frame camera (also the realities of medical and dental expenses for me and the cat and dog).  The shutter assembly is something like $150 plus shipping from China.  Couple of Jinotega people do work on phones and might be willing to tackle a camera with the help of YouTube.  One kid who used to be in town bought used point and shoot digital cameras that were broken, bought parts, fixed them, and sold them, but I don't know where he is now. 

 

Any other non-invasive suggestions?  

 

 

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Recently on a trip to the Mojave desert, the shutter of my A99 got stuck, obviously due to sand ingress. Since I use ancient gear I wasn't particularly fussed and was fully prepared to either a) buy another one or b) bodge it myself. When I got back to the motel I figured I had nothing to lose so I removed the battery and lens, and gave the body a thump on the table. It's worked fine ever since. Worth a try as it sounds like you don't have much to lose?

 

I don't know about the newer cameras, but I wouldn't say there is anything particularly suspect about the IBIS in the older cameras we have. The older versions don't work nearly as well as the OIS of the day (I find at best I'll get 1-2 stops advantage over no IS) but they do help stabilise any old lens. They can fail, but depending on the mode of failure it may not affect your shooting, instead the camera will just work as if it has no IBIS.

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don't try this, but I once dropped a canon 6d onto a marble floor while on vacation, thankful the mirror didn't break and shutter was still fine, but the interval from one shutter actuation to another slowed way down. after two days of this, everything just went back to normal.

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42 minutes ago, Cal said:

Recently on a trip to the Mojave desert, the shutter of my A99 got stuck, obviously due to sand ingress. Since I use ancient gear I wasn't particularly fussed and was fully prepared to either a) buy another one or b) bodge it myself. When I got back to the motel I figured I had nothing to lose so I removed the battery and lens, and gave the body a thump on the table. It's worked fine ever since. Worth a try as it sounds like you don't have much to lose?

 

I don't know about the newer cameras, but I wouldn't say there is anything particularly suspect about the IBIS in the older cameras we have. The older versions don't work nearly as well as the OIS of the day (I find at best I'll get 1-2 stops advantage over no IS) but they do help stabilise any old lens. They can fail, but depending on the mode of failure it may not affect your shooting, instead the camera will just work as if it has no IBIS.

 

Checked when I bought the used camera and it was Feb. 2016, so six years old, not really worth paying for repairs considering.  I've tried various strengths of tapping, but turn off (which won't make the message go away), then pull the battery, hold down the shutter button for 30 seconds, then reseat the battery and turn on again closes the shutter for at least one shot (got two first thing in the morning, but then back to one per this routine).

 

The a7 was manufactured up until 2019.  My second one was bought new and probably arrived late November or early December 2017, and has had no problems so far. 

 

The used one came with one of the "Camera error. Turn power off the on" messages, but managed to behave after some following of instructions that I can't find now, and worked from then to yesterday.  

 

I have no idea how old or what sort of handling the used one had, other than someone apparently wiggled lenses against the mount and I replaced the stock mount with Tough E-mount LT.   Both cameras I bought new have never had any wiggles in the original camera lens mounts.  It's possible that the camera was dropped or damaged in some way that didn't show before I bought it.   I think it was B&H's Condition 9.

 

I kinda think giving the problem a7  to Luis would be too frustrating for him, so I'll keep it and store it somewhere as a thief lure camera and for any useful spare parts, like the Tough E-mount LT (when I did that replacement, it looked like the first owner had been there before me but if he installed a Tough E-mount, he didn't leave it on.   The Sony 35mm f.2.8 lens is rather more useful than I want to give away.

 

I still have a back up camera, just not a full frame back up camera.   Sony appears to still selling a6000 after all those years, and I've seen that a number of Alamy photographers use it.  

 

If it's a mechanical problem, maybe the shutter will go back to working, but the method for getting it working for one shot seems more likely to be an electronic fault.

 

And if I can ever afford a new a7 *** Sony with IBS, it is good to know that if that flakes out, one can still shoot with that turned off.   

 

At six years old, getting the thing repaired by the nearest Sony repair facility (not in Nicaragua) would cost more than it's worth now.  And the stock biz doesn't justify getting anything new.  

 

 

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@Rebecca Ore Have you tried calling Sony? I had a weird locking problem with one of the knobs on my Sony A7riv a few months after the warranty expired and they found me an easy workaround and now it works fine. They are very helpful and hopefully they have an 800 number you can call from where you are. 

 

I had a similar issue once with my Sony A7rii and once I switched to a different battery it worked fine. When I recharged the other battery, it was fine too- a few years since then and the problem hasn't recurred.

 

BTW, I bought a double charger that comes with two extra batteries for each of the cameras on Amazon from a US company called RAV Power - The two batteries and charger cost about the same as a single Sony battery and all of the RAV Power batteries last longer than the Sonys - I've had the ones for the A7rii since 2019 and never had a problem with them. I usually buy all my camera gear from B&H but I read about RAV Power somewhere (maybe Wirecutter?) and glad I gave them a try. So, if you need a new/extra batteries, I'd recommend them. 

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Hi Rebecca, did you buy new batteries when you bought the camera second hand? All batteries have a limited shelf life /maximum number of recharges before they start dropping off with their performance. Might be worth a new battery, cheaper than a new camera....

Steve

Edited by Steve F
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20 minutes ago, Marianne said:

@Rebecca Ore Have you tried calling Sony? I had a weird locking problem with one of the knobs on my Sony A7riv a few months after the warranty expired and they found me an easy workaround and now it works fine. They are very helpful and hopefully they have an 800 number you can call from where you are. 

 

I had a similar issue once with my Sony A7rii and once I switched to a different battery it worked fine. When I recharged the other battery, it was fine too- a few years since then and the problem hasn't recurred.

 

BTW, I bought a double charger that comes with two extra batteries for each of the cameras on Amazon from a US company called RAV Power - The two batteries and charger cost about the same as a single Sony battery and all of the RAV Power batteries last longer than the Sonys - I've had the ones for the A7rii since 2019 and never had a problem with them. I usually buy all my camera gear from B&H but I read about RAV Power somewhere (maybe Wirecutter?) and glad I gave them a try. So, if you need a new/extra batteries, I'd recommend them. 

 

I've used a couple of different Sony batteries today and yesterday.  Two are gray stripe (older) and one came with a new camera (hologram).   I'll try the hologram newer one.  It gives the same message.   Have to turn the camera off (which doesn't work to take the message away), pull the battery, reset some (?) electronics by holding down the shutter button, and then engaging the battery and turning the machine back on.  79% charge on this battery. 

 

I bought this Sony used, and given the lens mount looks like it had been fiddled with, whatever I did to bring it back when it arrived here isn't something I could find again.  The fix was good from the week I received it from B&H to yesterday. 

 

Sony did have a page on this problem with a7 Mark I's but it's been pulled since.   The reset that holding down the shutter button with the battery out resets the focus illuminator.  

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Posted (edited)
15 minutes ago, Steve F said:

Hi Rebecca, did you buy new batteries when you bought the camera second hand? All batteries have a limited shelf life /maximum number of recharges before they start dropping off with their performance. Might be worth a new battery, cheaper than a new camera....

Steve

 

The other two cameras are working fine.   It's close to impossible to get Sony lithium ion batteries in Nicaragua.  My gray stripes were old new stock for $16 each.  New batteries are something like $60 for Sony, and Sony Store closed in Managua.  And turning the power off doesn't eliminate the "Camera Error. Turn power off then on." message.   I tried to get someone to bring in batteries when I had money, but I've got residency renewal coming up in late August/early September, and getting in batteries would take a chunk out of that.  Neither Adorama nor B&H ship Sony batteries to Nicaragua for all sorts of reasons (possibly a Sony restriction because very few new Sony cameras can be shipped to Nicaragua.  EU had one of my packages that had been sent first to Nigeria instead of Nicaragua going back and forth between Brussels and Amsterdam for a few round until someone found some way to get the package to Miami.

 

I did buy a new Sony 7 from Adorama which did come with a new battery a year after buying the used Sony.  I think that one also came with a hologram battery rather than the older gray stripe.

 

Easier to get a new camera than batteries, unfortunately.   Thought about asking my Nicaragua/Swedish friend about getting them there, but wasn't seeing a problem until yesterday and that with the camera that had a similar shutter problem when it arrived here.

 

Given my limitations, I think I'd go for a plug-in attachment for this camera and see if that helped.   Tried it with two different lenses.   Maybe I'll try it with one of the adapted lenses.  I can reliably get the shutter open by turning the camera off, popping the battery off the contacts, holding down the shutter button for 30 seconds, reseating the battery, and turning the camera back on, which opens the shutter again for one shot.

 

Testing with an manual adapted lens: same error.  Shutter resets when I do the ritual described in the paragraph above.

 

My a6000's flash stopped working but everything else is functional and it's older than this camera, though it was bought new. 

 

When I have patience to call a US 800 number, I might see if Sony can help, but I suspect this is some kind of electrical fault.

 

Edited by Rebecca Ore
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Firstly the original a7 has no IBIS.

Secondly this message usually comes up when a lens is jammed stuck.

Have you tried it without lens and with another lens?

 

wim

 

edit: similarly, have you tried electronic first shutter on/off?

Edited by wiskerke
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Posted (edited)
8 minutes ago, wiskerke said:

Firstly the original a7 has no IBIS.

Secondly this message usually comes up when a lens is jammed stuck.

Have you tried it without lens and with another lens?

 

wim

It's a stuck shutter.  It was a stuck shutter when I got it.  I know it doesn't have IBIS, but that's showing up as another problem with Sony a7***s when I search on the error message.

 

I've tried it with and without lenses, and just tried it with an adapted manual lens.  And now with no lens again, same error and same error message persistent when turning the camera off, same as when I got it if I'm remembering correctly.  Something worked last time and stayed okay until yesterday. 

 

I've had it for six years, don't know how long the original owner had it.  The a7 original model was released in Oct. 2013, so the thing could be nine years old. 

Edited by Rebecca Ore
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The message can mean many things. They must have hired someone from Microsoft for the UX.

 

Have you looked at the curtain? Is it sitting completely straight? If not, use a soft stick to gently push up the corner that is hanging low. I usually use a stiff cotton swab or a normal one without the cotton for stuff like this.

 

Have you tried to read the shutter count?

https://tools.science.si/

 

wim

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Posted (edited)
40 minutes ago, wiskerke said:

The message can mean many things. They must have hired someone from Microsoft for the UX.

 

Have you looked at the curtain? Is it sitting completely straight? If not, use a soft stick to gently push up the corner that is hanging low. I usually use a stiff cotton swab or a normal one without the cotton for stuff like this.

 

Have you tried to read the shutter count?

https://tools.science.si/

 

wim

 

Looks like 7150 on that one.  I have ExifTools on this computer so I can check with that, too.  Same count.   I use the a6000 more than either a7.  The problem a7 came with a very low shutter count, no more than 500 if I'm remembering correctly.

 

Shutter doesn't appear to be cockeyed.  Lock up covers the entire sensor. 

Edited by Rebecca Ore
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1 minute ago, Rebecca Ore said:

 

Looks like 7150 on that one.  I have ExifTools on this computer so I can check with that, too.  Same count.   I use the a6000 more than either a7.  It came with a very low shutter count, no more than 500 if I'm remembering correctly.

 

That is really low. Especially for it to fail.

With the A7 series I have seen the message only once I think, with a rental RIII or IV (mid shoot where it was my main body) and got the instruction to clean the lens contacts and that resolved it. With the RX100's I have seen it numerous times and it always was either a lens problem or the excessive G aka fall shut off feature. That one must have been enabled btw. Which I always do, because it's an easy fix and I like to know.

 

wim

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6 minutes ago, wiskerke said:

 

That is really low. Especially for it to fail.

 

 

I'd say it's well within the bathtub curve for early failures. For this reason whenever I look for a second hand camera, barring one being in much worse condition than the other, I'd usually prefer to buy one with, say, 30,000 actuations than one with 5,000. Statistically, one that has reached the 30,000 mark (for example) is likely to last until at or beyond its MTBF figure, whereas one with low actuations could be a lemon.

Edited by Cal
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3 minutes ago, Cal said:

 

I'd say it's well within the bathtub curve for early failures. For this reason whenever I look for a second hand camera, barring one being in much worse condition than the other, I'd usually prefer to buy one with, say, 30,000 actuations than one with 5,000. Statistically, one that has reached the 30,000 mark (for example) is likely to last until at or beyond its MTBF figure, whereas one with low actuations could be a lemon.

 

Google searches showed early failures for a range of the a7 family of cameras.  I'm suspecting that it was doing intermittent faults for the first owner, who didn't disclose to B&H.   I think the owner also worried lenses on the camera.   Lens Rental guy said that he suspected most of the dodgy a7 original models' mount wobble came from that (or possibly using really heavy telephoto lenses on the a6000 and a7 models).

 

So yeah.  My a6000 has a shutter count of 10729 using ExifTools.  Only problem was the pop-up flash failure.

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3 minutes ago, Rebecca Ore said:

 

 

Google searches showed early failures for a range of the a7 family of cameras.  I'm suspecting that it was doing intermittent faults for the first owner, who didn't disclose to B&H.   I think the owner also worried lenses on the camera.   Lens Rental guy said that he suspected most of the dodgy a7 original models' mount wobble came from that (or possibly using really heavy telephoto lenses on the a6000 and a7 models).

 

So yeah.  My a6000 has a shutter count of 10729 using ExifTools.  Only problem was the pop-up flash failure.

 

So you've got a family of cameras which potentially had issues early on (from anecdotes) and that has a low shutter count well within the upper "curve". I think it's safe to say yours has just bit the dust then!

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You also tried switching the batteries right?

And repeatedly releasing the shutter without lens as some report online? And with electronic first shutter?

 

wim

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Just now, Cal said:

 

So you've got a family of cameras which potentially had issues early on (from anecdotes) and that has a low shutter count well within the upper "curve". I think it's safe to say yours has just bit the dust then!

 

I can still use it for videos, apparently.   I'll probably keep the stainless steel mount on it unless one of the other two cameras starts having problems with their mounts.   My heaviest lens is the Nikkor 105mm f/2.5 manual focus lens.

 

As for the a6000, shoe mounted flashes still work fine.  I think one of the little gismos that hold pop up flashes pointed up may have stressed the connections in the pop-up flash. 

 

Basically, I can't afford to repair the formerly owned by someone else a7.  And unless I'm making supplemental income from something, I'll just keep using the two cameras I have, and will either recharge the batteries on the Sony battery charger or use the Sony plug in USB charger to charge batteries in the cameras (had been charging with with either power banks or on the charge port on a TrippLite USB hub).

 

 

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14 minutes ago, wiskerke said:

You also tried switching the batteries right?

And repeatedly releasing the shutter without lens as some report online? And with electronic first shutter?

 

wim

 

Yes, tried a couple of the gray arrow ones and the one hologram one that's newer, and released with and without various lens, with and without electronic first shutter.  Only thing I haven't tried is reinstalling the latest firmware, but it has the latest firmware installed.

 

If I press the shutter once after getting the shutter open, I can't push it again without running through the off, battery popped, shutter button pushed for 30 seconds, and sometimes I have to do that more than once.  I did an "Initialize" which didn't do anything useful.   This was one of the tips given on-line. 

 

If it's an electric fault in the shutter mechanism, then probably some day when $150 from Alibaba isn't a big deal and I'm willing to learn by breaking stuff, I'll give a shutter transplant a try and photograph the sequence.   A repair bill that costs $300 or more would go further buying a a6400 or another a6000. 

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4 minutes ago, Rebecca Ore said:

 

Yes, tried a couple of the gray arrow ones and the one hologram one that's newer, and released with and without various lens, with and without electronic first shutter.  Only thing I haven't tried is reinstalling the latest firmware, but it has the latest firmware installed.

 

If I press the shutter once after getting the shutter open, I can't push it again without running through the off, battery popped, shutter button pushed for 30 seconds, and sometimes I have to do that more than once.  I did an "Initialize" which didn't do anything useful.   This was one of the tips given on-line. 

 

If it's an electric fault in the shutter mechanism, then probably some day when $150 from Alibaba isn't a big deal and I'm willing to learn by breaking stuff, I'll give a shutter transplant a try and photograph the sequence.   A repair bill that costs $300 or more would go further buying a a6400 or another a6000. 

Agree. But if it turns out to have been a main board error all along it would have been good money thrown at bad money. That's the problem with fixing it without the ability to test it first.

BTDT very recently. The replacement costing 299 Eur will arrive tomorrow by UPS. (Not a camera.) 🤦‍♂️

I got the 50 Eur replacement part installed. I cannot say with no problem, just with minor problems. Youtube was a great help. However there probably had been an underlying problem all along. So I could should have saved me 3 months of exasperation plus those 50 Euros. But hey I didn't.

You know what they say about experience. It's risk taking that hasn't killed you. 😎

 

wim

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5 minutes ago, wiskerke said:

Agree. But if it turns out to have been a main board error all along it would have been good money thrown at bad money. That's the problem with fixing it without the ability to test it first.

BTDT very recently. The replacement costing 299 Eur will arrive tomorrow by UPS. (Not a camera.) 🤦‍♂️

I got the 50 Eur replacement part installed. I cannot say with no problem, just with minor problems. Youtube was a great help. However there probably had been an underlying problem all along. So I could should have saved me 3 months of exasperation plus those 50 Euros. But hey I didn't.

You know what they say about experience. It's risk taking that hasn't killed you. 😎

 

wim

 

I think I'll use it like I used a broken cell phone.  A former Philly landlord who worked as a handy man for a large rental company said that burglars go for shiny and easy.  Thieves don't test stuff.  At least, Lester Lenin who was the sometime boyfriend of another gringa who was holding my keys didn't test when he stole the broken cell phone (and some stuff I was mad about him stealing, like a REI rain jacket that I miss most of the rainy season here).  He was responsible enough to lock up after himself (he robbed his ex too).

 

I've tried the non-invastive fixes I've found on line.  Since I have two cameras and I've taken most of my photos with the a6000, I'll live with what I have.  

 

I thought I saw some a6000 cameras at Radio Shack in Leon, but a friend who checked with someone in management for all Radio Shacks in Nicaragua said they weren't carrying the a6400.

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7 minutes ago, Rebecca Ore said:

 

I think I'll use it like I used a broken cell phone.  A former Philly landlord who worked as a handy man for a large rental company said that burglars go for shiny and easy.  Thieves don't test stuff.  At least, Lester Lenin who was the sometime boyfriend of another gringa who was holding my keys didn't test when he stole the broken cell phone (and some stuff I was mad about him stealing, like a REI rain jacket that I miss most of the rainy season here).  He was responsible enough to lock up after himself (he robbed his ex too).

 

I've tried the non-invastive fixes I've found on line.  Since I have two cameras and I've taken most of my photos with the a6000, I'll live with what I have.  

 

I thought I saw some a6000 cameras at Radio Shack in Leon, but a friend who checked with someone in management for all Radio Shacks in Nicaragua said they weren't carrying the a6400.

Wonderful story. With a name like that! I bet he liked cats too.

 

And then all of a sudden drag and drop doesn't work. (It did 8 hours ago.) Maybe it doesn't like Lenin or cats.

Because I wanted to include one of the Lenin with cat images from here on Alamy. Google finds 6 real ones on Alamy and Alamy itself finds 3 real ones out of 17.

 

wim

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Gave it to my helper with the manual Yashinon lens and an explanation and demonstration of how to charge it and how to get the shutter to re-open between shots, and set the stills format to extra fine jpeg and the movie format to MP-4.  Also gave him the manual (has section in Spanish, set the language to Spanish, and he'll ask his photography teacher for more help.   I think I should have set it to pure manual mode, but will try that with the other a7 and my Nikkor 105mm.  He has one battery for it at this point. 

 

I have the 55mm Sony and the 35mm f/2.8, in full frame, and the 35mm and 24mm in APS-C,  so those focal lengths are covered closely enough w/o the Yashinon 50mm f/1.7. 

 

 

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The RAV Power batteries are sold on Amazon.

 

I got through to Sony very quickly on the 800 number. I'd try that before spending any money or junking the camera. They are very nice and will help answer questions even when you're out of warranty. They even gave me some ideas about a 29-year-old video camera with a stuck tape in it. And resolved the stuck dial issue on my A7riv

 

I love my Sony cameras, but they clearly are not hardy workhorses like my Nikons or even my tiny Olympus mirrorless. But they take amazingly detailed images.

 

Good luck getting it resolved or, alternatively, enjoying your other cameras. 

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