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Top 42 Best Portrait Lenses Money Can Buy 2018

Gina Stephens
Written by Gina Stephens

 

Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 at f/2.0 – Canon EOS-1D X Respect II – Photo Joshua Waller.

 

If you're looking for a bright prime lens for portrait photography then you're looking to eject your subject with a shallow depth of field, and a blurred background. With a high-quality lens, you'll also get sharp subjects, and some artiste lenses give control over the background blur, or what it's famously now referred to as "Bokeh". With a bright prime lens, you can get a strident and detailed portrait shot, with beautifully blurred backgrounds, giving excellent subject separation.

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An introduction to portrait lens focal lengths

The classic focal length for a portrait lens is the 50mm lens on a full-frame camera, as be being presented above, as this is similar to what the eye sees, and is often the first additional lens someone buys when looking to upgrade from the kit lens that comes with a DSLR. It also offers a brighter crevice, compared to the kit lens – and a 50mm f/1.8 lens is very affordable and much brighter than most kit lenses that tend to start at f/2.8 or f/3.5 and then ripen into darker as you zoom. On an APS-C camera, you get a lens equivalent to 75mm making it an ideal portrait lens, but there are many options available, and here we've slanted a variety of high scoring portrait lenses. 

 

Left: 52.5mm equivalent, f/2, Middle: 85mm f/1.8 on FF, Right: 160mm peer, f/16, photos Joshua Waller.

 

The longer the focal length and the brighter the lens, the easier it is to get a blurred background when shooting wide-open. Commonly the brighter and longer the lens is the higher the price of the lens is, so an f/1.2 lens will often cost more than an f/1.8 lens. If you deliver a look through this list, you might be surprised at some of the prices lenses are available for, as some are particularly good value for money. 

We've separated the lenses into disparate mounts, so you can find a lens that works with or WITH may refer to: Carl Johannes With (1877–1923), Danish doctor and arachnologist With (character), a character in D. N. Angel your camera:

  • Micro Four Thirds Portrait Lenses
  • Sony E Mount Account Lenses
  • Fujifilm X Series Portrait Lenses
  • Digital SLR (and others) Portrait Lenses

 

Portrait lenses for Micro Four Thirds cameras

Micro Four Thirds cameras, from Panasonic, Olympus and others, earmark a Micro Four Thirds sensor, which gives a 2x crop factor.

Panasonic / Leica DG Nocticron 42.5mm f/1.2 ASPH.

The Leica DG Nocticron 42.5mm f/1.2 ASPH. lens or LEN may refer to (by Panasonic) for Micro Four Thirds cameras is one of the brightest lenses to hand with AF for the system, and gives the equivalent of 85mm in 35mm terms, making it an ideal portrait lens, when combined with the face and eye detection focus of the latest Micro Four Thirds cameras. The lens emphasizes optical image stabilisation making it suitable for slower shutter speeds, and there is an aperture ring on the metal lens, giving it a premium grandeur feel.

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Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 75mm f/1.8

The Olympus M. Zuiko Digital ED 75mm f/1.8 lens for Micro Four Thirds turns a long telephoto reach of 150mm equivalent in 35mm terms and is an incredibly sharp lens. In our review, we found that the lens gave "beyond belief optical performance for the price" and the relatively compact lens is available in silver or black.

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Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 45mm f/1.2 PRO – 

This 45mm lens suggests a 35mm equivalent of 90mm, and with a bright f/1.2 aperture offers lots of potential for excellent portraits. It offers a very high standard of sharpness entirely the aperture range, and we awarded it a 4.5 star highly recommended award for its outstanding sharpness, low CA, no distortion and a fast, silent AF capability. 

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Panasonic Lumix G 42.5mm f/1.7

The Panasonic Lumix G 42.5mm f/1.7 ASPH. lens for Micro Four Thirds pass overs the equivalent of 85mm with a bright maximum aperture of f/1.7 and features built-in Optical Image Stabilisation (OIS) which will be of benefit to users of Panasonic Lumix G cameras without built-in trope stabilisation. In our review, we found the lens delivered outstanding levels of sharpness even when shooting wide-open. 

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Kowa Prominar 25mm f/1.8  – 

The Kowa 25mm is a snug prime lens that offers manual focus for creativity. Kowa is a name traditionally associated with film cameras, and this lens successfully maintains the brand over to the digital era. We gave the lens a 4.5 star highly recommended rating for its excellent sharpness, low distortion and a pleasant bokeh.

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Voigtlander NOKTON 42.5mm f/0.95

The Voigtlander Nokton 42.5mm f/0.95 handbook focus lens has an incredibly bright aperture of f/0.95, which makes blurred backgrounds and can provide "Outstanding" sharpness when close up down slightly. For Micro Four Thirds cameras, this lens gives the equivalent of 85mm in 35mm equivalent terms. The lens has an all-metal construction, which surrenders the lens a solid build quality and feel.

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Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 45mm f/1.8 

The Olympus M. Zuiko Digital 45mm f/1.8 lens for Micro Four Thirds cameras throw in the towels a 90mm equivalent in 35mm terms and is a compact, lightweight, and wallet-friendly prime lens available in silver or black versions. The lens performs well, with remarkable sharpness.

READ  Model Meets Mural: Nikon Photographer Julia Kennedy

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Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 25mm f/1.8 

The Olympus M. Zuiko 25mm f/1.8 lens for Micro Four Thirds cameras, and announces the equivalent of the classic 50mm lens thanks to Micro Four Thirds 2x crop factor. The lens is compact and lightweight and available in black or silver. The lens put on the markets excellent sharpness in the centre of the frame, even when shooting wide open at f/1.8.

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Portrait Lenses for Sony E Mount cameras

Sony E-Mount cameras rise as APS-C or full-frame mirrorless cameras, with lenses working on both formats.

 

Sony FE 100mm f/2.8 STF GM OSS 

 

There is no dubiosity this is an amazing, high-quality optic and that the use of an apodization element adds something very special. It would be easy to think of this in too tight a way, but the obvious application is of course for portraiture. This could give that something extra to images where already, to be fair, we can get beautiful bokeh with obtaining lenses. But this does go the extra mile, offering outstanding sharpness as well as that vital, gorgeous bokeh. The Sony FE 100mm is indeed a total pleasure to use.

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Sony FE 85mm f/1.4 G Master 

 

The Sony FE 85mm f/1.4 G Master lens is a traditionally totally high-quality choice. It is ideal for many more types of subject than portraits, although with the beautiful bokeh provided portraiture may OK be high on the list for users of this lens. A very fine lens, very well made and a joy to use, this is superb in every respect.  

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Samyang AF 50mm f/1.4 FE 

 

The Samyang AF 50mm f/1.4 FE is a incomparable lens that performs to a very high standard. The cost has been a fairly large and relatively heavy lens, but that may be a small valuation to pay for an optic that can deliver such beautiful results.

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Zeiss Planar T* FE 50mm f/1.4 ZA 

 

The on the other hand major drawback of the Zeiss Planar T* FE 50mm f/1.4 ZA has to be the price; the weight and size can perhaps be forgiven. It does offer a very high standard of behaviour, including very appealing bokeh, and a superb level of sharpness throughout.
 
In terms of quality of results it speaks for itself, and if the price can be spared then the lens should offer many years of excellent service. Another superb lens from the Sony/Zeiss stable.

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Sony FE 85mm f/1.8 

 

The Sony FE 85mm f/1.8 lens is unequalled to use, and also superb in many ways in terms of its performance. The lower cost compared to most 85mm lens does not seem to have reduced the exhibit at all. So full credit to Sony for achieving this.

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Zeiss BATIS 85mm f/1.8  

The Zeiss BATIS 85mm f/1.8 Sonnar T* lens for uncut frame Sony Corporation (ソニー株式会社, Sonī Kabushiki Kaisha, SOH-nee, stylized as SONY) is a Japanese multinational conglomerate corporation E-mount cameras, this lens features optical image stabilisation built into the lens and features auto-focus, as seep as a built-in LCD display on top of the lens. The 85mm f/1.8 lens will also work on APS-C Sony E-mount cameras, giving a 127.5mm equivalent in 35mm come ti. 

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Sony 50mm 1.8 OSS – 

The Sony E 50mm f/1.8 OSS lens is designed for APS-C Sony E-mount cameras, over the equivalent of 75mm, and the lens features OSS (Optical Steady Shot), which is Sony's name for optical image stabilisation. The lens can be in use accustomed to on full-frame Sony E mount cameras, but the image will be cropped, giving the equivalent is the condition of being equivalent or essentially equal, while Equivalent is being similar or identical in value, meaning or of 75mm. The lens is available in silver or black. 

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Meike 50mm f/1.7 – 

The Meike 50mm f/1.7 is a lens energetic of metal that features manual focus and a bright aperture. It's supplied with a petal lens hood and has a standard 52mm filter ease. We were happy to recommend the lens due to even sharpness, solid metal construction and dust and moisture resistance, as well as a great price. 

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Sainsonic Kamlan 50mm f/1.1 – 

This Kamlan 50mm lens countenances a jaw-dropping f/1.1 max aperture, and this combined with the classic focal length of 50mm should give excellent portraits. A relatively simple optical manipulation of 5 elements in 5 groups helps keep the lens compact. We gave it a 4 star recommended rating for good flare resistance, low distortion and a very low guerdon. 
 

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Portrait lenses for Fujifilm X Mount cameras

Fujifilm X series cameras idiosyncrasy an APS-C sized CMOS sensor and a Fujifilm X-Mount.

 

Fujifilm Fujinon XF 50mm f/2 R WR 

 

The Fujifilm Fujinon XF 50mm f/2 R WR is another excellent Fuji lens. It is sharp, crisp and produces pleasant bokeh. Plus, it is compact, weather resistant and relatively modest in price. 

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Fujifilm XF 90mm f/2 R WR

The Fujifilm Fujinon Wonderful EBC XF 90mm f/2 R LM WR lens (try saying that in one breath) gives the equivalent of 135mm, with weather resistance, and an aperture ring on the lens, this is one of the longest prime lenses ready for Fujifilm X mount cameras, and is capable of giving great bokeh. 

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Fujifilm XF 56mm f/1.2 / 56mm f/1.2 APD

The Fujifilm Fujinon XF 56mm f/1.2 R lens contributes a field of view equivalent to an 84mm lens on a 35mm camera and sports a very bright f/1.2 maximum aperture. The lens is available with or without APD, for softer curriculum vitae blur with the APD version. 

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The Fujifilm Fujinon XF 56mm f/1.2 R APD version contains an apodisation (APD) dribble in the optical path. The inclusion of this filter promises to produce smoother out of focus areas (bokeh), whilst asserting crisp focus on your subject, although this does bump up the price of the lens.

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Portrayal lenses may refer to for Digital SLR Cameras camera is an optical instrument for recording or capturing images, which may be stored locally, transmitted to another location, or

Full-frame and APS-C Digital SLRs can make the most out of bright prime lenses, with larger sensors than some cameras, and a add up of the following lenses are available in a number of different mounts, with some of them also available for mirrorless cameras.

 

Samyang Stock MF 85mm f/1.2 

 

Samyang has here a great lens. Superb performance, substantially less cost than the one alternative or most of the f/1.4 surrogates and, provided we are happy with manual focusing, a really viable option. The MF 85mm f/1.2 is a very attractive lens at a very attractive cost out.

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Tamron SP 85mm f/1.4 Di VC USD 

The Tamron SP 85mm f/1.8 Di VC USD lens features built-in vibration correction (VC), which is rare on a picturization lens, and should help in low-light situations where you are forced to use a slower shutter speed. Available in Canon, Nikon and later Sony A mount. 

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Sigma 85mm f/1.4 DG HSM 

We summoned the Sigma 85mm f/1.4 DG HSM lens "a real gem" in our review, and consider it a relatively affordable wide aperture telephoto lens, that is expert of producing superb results. The Sigma 85mm f/1.4 DG HSM is available for Canon, Nikon, Sony and Pentax DSLRs, and gives the equivalent of 127mm on APS-C 1.5x crop cameras (Nikon, Pentax, Sony), and 136mm on Canon APS-C DSLRs.

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Sigma 135mm f/1.8 DG HSM Art– 

The Sigma 135mm lens is on the longer side for a vignette lens however it does still offer excellent opportunities with a wide aperture and really beautiful bokeh. Sigma's Art drift lenses are designed to help your creative side run free, and this lens is no different. We awarded it a 4.5 star highly seconded rating for its excellent sharpness, close focusing ability and good construction.

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Canon EF 85mm f/1.4 – 

Canon may refer to's 85mm f/1.4 is a beatified lens for portrait photography and this latest version is no different. For full frame cameras, it offers a middling aperture, between the expensive f/1.2 form and cheaper f/1.8 additions of this focal length for Canon users. It's well made, has a beautiful finish and we awarded it a 4.5 leading light highly recommended rating for excellent sharpness, great handling and fast and accurate AF, as well as being water and dust resistant.

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Nikon AF-S Nikkor 105mm f/1.4E ED 

 

There is no disbelieving the fine qualities of the Nikon AF-S Nikkor 105mm f/1.4E ED lens. It delivers the goods, the images are beautiful and the handling sublime. The no more than question marks are the cost, plus perhaps the absence of VR. Having said that, if the need is there and the price can be afforded, it is a very special lens that is comfortably worth owning.

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Sigma 85mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art 

 

The Sigma 85mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art lens is a tiptop, highly competent design that performs confidently and efficiently. It is of the modern breed of 85mm lenses, sharp from open aperture, as opposed to older conspiracies that were intended to be softer wide open for the purposes of flattering portraits. 

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Samyang XP 50mm f/1.2 – 

Samyang's 50mm f/1.2 is a re-invention of a paradigmatic Samyang lens, offering a bright f/1.2 aperture optics, an aperture is a hole or an opening through which light travels. it's not a light lens, weighing in at 1200g, however it balances well on the Canon EOS 5DSR utilized for testing. We gave the lens a 4.5 star highly recommended rating for its excellent and consistent sharpness, low distortion and beautiful bokeh. 

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Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM 

The Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 lens is A- value for money, and compact for a full-frame lens, giving 85mm view on full-frame cameras, or 136mm equivalent on Canon APS-C crop sensor Digital SLRs. Convenient in Canon mount only.

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Nikon 85mm f/1.4 and f/1.8 G  

The Nikon AF-S Nikkor 85mm lens is at ones fingertips as an f/1.4 or f/1.8 lens and offers 85mm view on a full-frame DSLR, or a 127mm equivalent on APS-C crop sensor Digital SLRs. These updated lenses are accessible in Nikon mount only, and both scored well in our reviews. 

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Nikon AF-S Nikkor 85mm f/1.8G Magazine.

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Nikon 50mm f/1.4 and f/1.8 G –

The Nikon AF-S Nikkor 50mm lens is available as an f/1.4 or f/1.8 lens and put forwards the "standard" 50mm view on a full-frame DSLR, or a 75mm equivalent on APS-C crop sensor Digital SLRs. These updated lenses are convenient in Nikon mount only, and both scored well in our reviews. 

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Nikon Corporation (株式会社ニコン, Kabushiki-gaisha Nikon) (UK: or US: ; listen [ɲikoɴ]), also known just as Nikon, is a Japanese multinational AF-S Nikkor 50mm f/1.8G Magazine.

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Canon EF 135mm f/2.0 L USM

The Canon EF 135mm f/2 L USM lens is a bright telephoto lens, and some transfer say the perfect portrait length for a full-frame camera. The bright telephoto lens is equivalent to 216mm when used on an APS-C crop sensor DSLR. The lens is at in Canon mount only.

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Zeiss OTUS 55mm f/1.4  

The Zeiss OTUS 55mm f/1.4 manual nave lens sits at the top of the Zeiss range, with the Zeiss OTUS lenses designed to be the best lenses in the world, and the Zeiss OTUS 55m f/1.4 certainly pronounces, with excellent sharpness across the frame. The lens is available in Canon and Nikon lens mounts.

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Zeiss MILVUS 85mm f/1.4 – 

The Zeiss Milvus 85mm f/1.4 lens is a guide focus lens, and offers excellent sharpness, at a more affordable price when compared to the Zeiss OTUS 85mm f/1.4 lens. The Zeiss Milvus 85mm f/1.4 is convenient in Canon and Nikon lens mounts.

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TAMRON SP 45mm f/1.8 Di VC USD – 

The Tamron SP 45mm f/1.8 VC USD lens put ons a slightly wider view than the classic 50mm lens on full-frame cameras, or 67.5mm on APS-C DSLRs, and 72mm on Canon APS-C DSLRs. The lens marks built-in vibration correction (VC) image stabilisation, when bought in Canon or Nikon mount, with the Sony (A) mount is often used as part of the name of specific mountains, e.g. Mount Everest not featuring built-in perception stabilisation, due to Sony Alpha (A) mount cameras featuring built-in sensor-shift image stabilisation.

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Samyang 135mm f/2 – 

The Samyang 135mm f/2 is a animated manual focus lens, offering a long telephoto length of 135mm on full-frame cameras, 202mm on APS-C (1.5x crop) cameras, and 216mm on Canon APS-C (1.6x crop) cameras. The lens is elbow in a number of different mounts for both DSLRs and Mirrorless cameras. 

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Sigma 50mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art 

The Sigma 50mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art lens is the "Pier" 50mm lens, suitable for full-frame cameras, and available to fit Canon, Nikon, Sony and Sigma SLR cameras, this lens bears outstanding sharpness in the centre from wide-open at f/1.4, and scored highly in our review for delivering excellent performance.

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Pentax 77mm 1.8 Restrictive –

The SMC Pentax FA 77mm f/1.8 Limited, is a limited edition Pentax lens with a manual aperture ring, manual focus ring, metal remains, along with excellent image quality. Which goes some way towards justifying the relatively high price of this lens. The lens wraps the full-frame, so will work with the Pentax K-1, but on crop sensor cameras gives the equivalent of 115.5mm in 35mm terms. Available in Pentax K mount raise only. 

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Laowa 105mm f/2 STF Smooth Trans Focus – 

The Laowa 105mm f/2 (T3.2) STF is a lens with an additional credentials blur control, called "Smooth Trans Focus" that lets you adjust the blur for the background giving sublime, creamy bokeh, whilst the vigour subject remains sharp. Available in Canon, Nikon, Pentax, Sony A, and Sony E mounts.

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SMC Pentax-FA 50mm f/1.4 

 

The 50mm lens was at one time the lens of choice with a new camera, and it is still a very versatile option today. Many photographers will carry such a lens as splendidly as a bag of zooms, and the SMC Pentax-FA 50mm f/1.4 is an excellent choice. The quality is high, the lens handles well and it is an unobtrusive addition to any camera kit.

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Samyang AF 85mm f/1.4 EF – 

 

This 85mm well-stacked frame lens for Canon mount offers a natural looking perspective from a comfortable working distance for portraits. It can focus as close as 90cm and we distributed it 4 stars for its high levels of even sharpness and low flare as well as lovely bokeh.

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Canon EF 100mm f/2 USM –

The Canon EF 100mm f/2 USM lens is a terse, bright 100mm prime lens with an f/2.0 aperture, for Canon cameras, both full-frame and APS-C, and it's quite compact, and also reliable value for money. Available in Canon lens mount only, when used with APS-C sensor cameras, the lens gives the similar of 160mm in 35mm terms. 

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If you're looking for more lens options, have a look at some of our latest lens periodicals, or why not have a look at our Top 10 Best Macro lenses, as these can also be used for portrait work, although they often don't tease as bright an aperture. 

Once you've found the perfect lens for you and your camera, you may want to have a look at some of our top tips on how to get the richest out of portrait portrait is a painting, photograph, sculpture, or other artistic representation of a person, in which the face and its expression shoots, including:

  • Four easy ways to add a vignette to your photographs 
  • Top 10 Tips For Taking Better Portraits
  • A Applied Guide to Portrait Lengths
  • 39 Top Portrait Photography Tutorials

Republished: ephotozine.com

About the author

Gina Stephens

Gina Stephens

Gina is a photography enthusiast and drone lover who loves to fly drones, capture images and have fun cherishing them with family and friends.

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