Review - OEM IPC-B5442E-ZE 4MP AI Varifocal Bullet Camera With Starlight+

Wildcat_1

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All, thanks to Andy (@EMPIRETECANDY ) we have a new 4MP AI camera for testing. This camera has been provided by Andy in exchange for a fair and honest review. This camera is using the OEM model number of IPC-B5442-ZE which is the equivalent of the Dahua IPC-HFW5442-ZE for reference. The IPC-B model number is an OEM specific to Andy @EMPIRETECANDY. This is a varifocal bullet cam with a 2.7mm to 12mm optical zoom.

Full specs below and will be adding pics/vids in post 2 as well as initial thoughts, findings etc in post 3 as I test the night destroying capabilities and overall performance of this cam.

In addition to the review of the cam by itself, I also plan on testing against
  • 5231 (1/2.8” 2MP HD sensor) - Comparison in post#22
  • 2831 (1/1.8” 8MP 4K sensor) - Comparison in post #2
  • 5831 (1/2.5” 8MP 4K sensor)
From an image perspective only I may also put this up against a SD6CE225U-HNI PTZ (1/2.8” 2MP HD sensor) dialed in to similar distances/lighting conditions :)

I plan to review in multiple lighting conditions including extreme low light to test the Starlight+ features. Also intend to list some of the unique features of this particular camera not limited to its AI functionality but also FW differences as well.

If there is anything anyone wants to see specifically, please let me know and will try to accommodate.

Price from @Empirectecandy is approximately $210 and can be purchased here:

Aliexpress link - US $210.0 5% OFF|New Model IPC B5442E ZE 4MP WDR IR Bullet AI Network Camera IPC B5442E ZE , free DHL shipping-in Surveillance Cameras from Security & Protection on Aliexpress.com | Alibaba Group

Amazon link - https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07SYFLGZ...EBQGJF&qid=1560403164&s=merchant-items&sr=1-1


SPECS
4MP WDR IR Bullet AI Network Camera


> 1/1.8” 4Megapixel progressive scan CMOS
> H.265&H.264 triple-stream encoding
> 25/30fps@2688×1520
> WDR(120dB), Day/Night(ICR), 3D DNR, AWB, AGC, BLC
> Multiple network monitoring: Web viewer, CMS(DSS/PSS) & DMSS
> 2.7mm ~12mm motorized lens
> 2/1 Alarm in/out, 1/1 audio in/out
> Max. IR LEDs Length 50m
> Micro SD memory, IP67, IK10




Further Specs - Sheet Attached As Well

Image Sensor - 1/1.8” 4Megapixel progressive scan CMOS
Effective Pixels - 2688(H) x 1520(V)
RAM/ROM - 1GB/128MB
Electronic Shutter Speed - Auto/Manual, 1/3~1/100000s
Minimum Illumination - 0.0024Lux/F1.8 ( Color,1/3s,30IRE), 0.059Lux/F1.8 ( Color,1/30s,30IRE), 0Lux/F1.8 (IR on)
IR Distance - Distance up to 50m (164ft)
IR LEDs - 4
Focal Length - 2.7mm~12mm
Max. Aperture - F1.8
Angle of View - H: 114°~47°, V:62°~26°
Optical Zoom - 4.4x
Close Focus Distance - 1.2m(3.94ft)

DORI Distance - Detect (D), Observe (O), Recognize (R), Identify (I)
Wide

D = 56m(184ft)
O = 20m(66ft)
R = 9m(30ft)
I = 4m(13ft)

Tele
D= 125m(410ft)
O= 50m(164ft)
R = 22m(72ft)
I = 11m(36ft)

Artificial Intelligence

Face Capture - Supports face image capture
Face Attributes - Support 6 kinds of face attributes extraction: Age, Gender,Expression(Jolly/Surprise/Normal/Rage/Sad/Disgusted/Confused/Frightened), Glasses,Mouth Mask, Mustache & Beard

Perimeter Protection - Tripwire, Intrusion(Human & Vehicle classification), People Counting, Line crossing people counting, Region people counting

General Intelligence

Event Trigger - Motion detection, Video tampering , Scene changing, Network disconnection , IP address conflict, Illegal Access,Storage anomaly
General Intelligence - Object Abandoned/Missing

Construction

Dimensions
- 273.2mm×95.0mm×95.0mm (10.76”×3.74”×3.74”)
Net Weight - 1.11Kg (2.44lb)
Gross Weight - 1.51Kg (3.33lb)

Now onto some CAMERA EYE CANDY !

Camera Image.jpg Camera Image 2.jpg Camera Image 3.jpg

Adjustment Screw.jpg Camera Connections.jpg Memory Card Slot.jpg

Already installed in place and ready to be put through its paces, pics below:

Camera Install 1.jpg Camera Install 2.jpg
 

Attachments

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Wildcat_1

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First Comparison - B5442E-ZE vs 2831T-ZS

I wanted to get some initial pics up as I start to compare this camera to others. Some quick notes:
  1. Cameras set at identical configs noted above each set of pics
  2. Only shutter speed and gain changed when completing this first test (unless noted like in the 1/120 capture)
  3. Pics pulled straight from the cam JPG captures, not doctored or altered in any way, only titles changed
  4. Time stamps are accurate
  5. Scene is lit directly with 2 x 100w bulbs only (apart from ambient lighting across street etc) the bulbs are about 30 feet apart (1 each side of the driveway). On driveway test each cam has 1 of these bulbs directly near them (within 12”)
  6. Driveway is about 46 feet to street for reference
  7. The B5442E-ZE 4MP AI camera will always appear on the left and comparison cam on the right for easy navigation. However depending on post layout I also titled the Channels so you can reference the name there as well.
  8. BMP images are used (again pulled straight from cam) and converted to JPG (noted by higher image sizes in JPG) where ‘snapshots’ were not captured by a cam during an event
  9. No dialing in of cameras completed in this first test. Cams set back to defaults except any changes mentioned as above (shutter/gain). Will follow up with more ‘ideal’ settings and suggestions soon but wanted to show how these look against each other with as plain a config as possible
  10. Auto is used for IR which on the B5442-ZE has a more pronounced spotlight affect in the middle of the image. However in the 1/120 test I switch to ZoomPrio just to show the more even / balanced approach to lighting the image vs subject that you see in this mode with this cam.
  11. We all know positioning is key. In my testing this camera needs to be installed ‘slightly’ higher than usual with a more pronounced angle so you have more versatility when dialing in the optical zoom and benefit from the optimum sweet spot based on this cameras optics. With that said my current location for this is about 12” too high so I will be adjusting that as well.
  12. I wanted to show image capture from a moving seen captured by the cams as theses are generally what we’ll rely on when looking to ID an individual or object etc.
So with all that said, first up I compare against another 1/1.8” sensor, the one in the 2831. I know the 2831 is a 4K (8MP cam) but wanted to compare sensor performance and also answer questions asked directly on how do 4K cams compare to lower megapixel Starlight+ cams at night and or in extreme lighting conditions.

More to come as I look to compare against the 5231 & others. Will also be posting my thoughts, findings in post 3.

Lots of pics here but stick with it and be sure to check out the more dialed in image ** of the B5442E-ZE at the end

Forced Color

1/30 - 0 to 50 Gain

F - In Motion 1:30 5442 50 Gain #1.jpg F - 2831 - 1-30 0 to 50 gain #1.jpg

1/60 - 0 to 50 Gain - 2 Images Per Cam Here

F - 5442 1-60 0 to 50 gain #1.jpg F - 5442 - 1:60 5442 50 Gain #2.jpg F - 2831 - 1:60 gain 0 to 50 #1.jpg F - 2831 - 1:60 gain 0 to 50 #2.jpg

1/100 - 0 to 50 Gain - 2 Images Per Cam Here

F - 5442 - 1:100 5442 50 Gain #1.jpg F - 5442 - 1:100 5442 50 Gain #3.jpg F - 2831 1:100 gain 0 to 50 #1.jpg F - 2831 1:100 gain 0 to 50 #2.jpg

1/250 - 0 to 50 Gain. The 2831 Didn’t Detect At The Default Settings In This Lighting So Did Not Upload Those. The Image Below Is Therefore From The B5442E-ZE

F - 5442 - 1:250 Gain 50 #1.jpg


Black & White - IR On

1/30 - 0 to 50 Gain

F - 5442 - 1:30 Gain 50 #1.jpg F - 2831 0 to 50 gain #1.jpg

1/60 - 0 to 50 Gain

F - 5442 1:60 0 to 50 gain #1.jpg F - 2831 1-60 0 to 50 gain #1.jpg

1/100 - 0 to 50 Gain

F - 5442 1-100 0 to 50 gain #1.jpg F - 2831 1-100 to 50 gain #1.jpg


1/100 - Optically Zoomed 50%. This Time There Are 2 Images Per Cam

F - 5442 1:100 Gain 50 Zoom 50% #1.jpg F - 5442 1:100 Gain 50 Zoom 50% #2.jpg F - 2831 1-100 0 to 50 gain Optically Zoomed 50% #1.jpg F - 2831 1-100 0 to 50 gain Optically Zoomed 50% #2.jpg

** B5442E-ZE - 1/120 - 0 to 50 Gain **

I hadn’t captured a 1/120 image the other night so dialed this one in a little more (reduced gamma, NR and optically zoomed to a better spot) and took this one yesterday. This is the B5442E-ZE only as the 2831 really doesn’t like this extreme low lighting once it starts pushing past 1/100. For reference the highest usable image (with a lot of work) in this kind of lighting for the 2831 was 1/120 (in my testing) but with about 80 gain therefore not an apples to apples comparison.

On the flip side this 1/120 gain 50 image dialed in (within camera) from the B5442E-ZE really does show the potential for better image clarity when aligning positioning (very important as we all know) with gamma, NR, shutter speed adjustments etc. As mentioned above, ZoomPrio was dialed in here as well which provided much better balance to the IR light than Auto. Some spotlighting can still exist but the cam does a much better job at adjusting as motion works across the image. Will be tweaking the cam further but wanted to show you an initial more dialed in version.

F - 5442 1:120 0 to 50 gain NR, Gamma & Zoom Dialled In #1.jpg F - 5442 1:120 0 to 50 gain NR, Gamma & Zoom Dialled In #2.jpg

 
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Wildcat_1

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Thoughts / Findings / Conclusion

After spending over a week with this cam, I wanted to post some thoughts, pro’s, con’s and my conclusion for what its worth. I’ve marked in bold and * those issues I think/am hopeful can be fixed/tweaked in future firmware. @EMPIRETECANDY hopefully this feedback regarding firmware can be useful for future firmware updates/releases.

Warning all, long read but hopefully useful.

Pro’s
  • Sharpness of the 5442. It looks over sharpened or as if I have added sharpness but this is all default, the edge detailing is much crisper than the 5231 which is a plus especially as that gives you room to decrease some sharpness as you see fit
  • The sharper image does help with ID work and as you can hopefully see from the pictures I uploaded, adds much needed detail in a number of situations
  • ID is assisted further by the fact that you can effectively digitally zoom (not recommended) a little more after image capture, benefiting from double the MP resolution on the 5442. That said Optical Zoom is of course always the better way to go when you can plan ahead
  • B5442E-ZE is more vibrant, doesn’t seem to crush colors as much as the 5231
  • B5442E-ZE is much more responsive than the 5231 in terms of WebUI performance (compared both bullet cam & turret 5231s). Accessing images from storage, moving from menu to menu, saving changes etc. This is potentially due to the SOC used in the cam plus the additional RAM/ROM but this thing feels much snappier than the 5231 in navigating around the camera. Even when layering multiple AI or IVS rules this camera just keeps up, even when recording to on-board storage plus offloading streams to NVR as well
  • AI, it works ! The object filtering for Human & Vehicle works very well. The Face Detection, Loitering etc all do what they say they will and don’t skip a beat
  • SSA is present ! Great to see this in the 2.6.xxx firmware, hope this remains as always nice to have this option
  • 20k bitrate ! Although most won’t or generally don’t use this I can say that from my testing, having more headroom on the bitrate does help in reducing some of the noise seen on the 1/1.8” sensors. both @wopi82 and I mention this in our reviews/thoughts on the 1831 & 2831 respectively that having the higher bitrate option does help albeit is not the end solution. Therefore hope this bitrate remains in firmware revisions to come and is re-introduced on the 1831/2831 firmware
  • Can take on and even surpass (in my testing) the image from a 5231 even at night
  • Brings a usable 4MP image. We all know that Megapixel (MP) is not a game you want to chase for the sake of it, luckily with this specific cam it doesn’t come at the sake of too many compromises

Con’s (but not necessarily dealbreakers)
  • 1/1.8” sensors are noisy (I commented on this on the 1831/2831 as well) especially when the lights go down. This can be overcome when dialing in (more below) which is needed so you don’t lose detail to noise. Noise is never great BUT if you can mitigate it then that can help and hopefully what I share here can help. Hoping that more work can be done in *firmware* to improve the 1/1.8” performance in this area.
  • Continuing the point on noise, these sensors ‘pulse’ more than on the 1/2.5” but in raising bitrate, reducing gamma and playing with NR you can make this a more ‘pleasant’ noise. With the 1831/2831 this pulsing is more evident but through the tweaking on this cam turns into more of a crawl in the 5442
  • B5442E-ZE is a little less bright than the 5231 with identical shutter speeds, this of course is most evident at night. Therefore if running at a 1/120 on the 5231 you would ideally (if you don’t want to mess with Gain, artificial brightness etc) run the 5442 at 1/100 to achieve roughly the same image
  • On the subject of the shutter speed differences, you can adjust for the issue above using exposure & picture settings if you wish In my testing add about 8 to 10 on gain to the 5442 if you want to run at the same shutter speed but achieve the same overall brightness. Understand this will of course introduce some noise and therefore dialing down gamma a tad (-5) and potentially raising NR 1-4 points will again achieve roughly the same image
  • 5442 leans towards Red when using Auto White Balance (WB) therefore adjustment using manual WB is currently the best option to correct

Neutral
  • H265 encoding DOES make a difference to the image and not necessarily a great one. Specifically on the 1/1.8” sensors I notice that black details (especially shadows) are impacted a lot when using H265 therefore have moved back to H264H for these specific cams. Hope the algorithm could be fixed in *firmware*, if not then can mitigate using H264H
  • Auto Iris or recovery is slower to respond in IR situations, therefore image can (if too close) be washed out with IR and take approx 2 seconds to adjust. Could be fixed in *firmware* to adjust sensitivity and therefore response time
  • The AI IVS type of Fast moving only seems to capture in center of the image which isn’t great because your capture window is vastly reduced. Hoping this can be tweaked in *firmware* to detect outside of the center point and take into account motion detection on the edges of the cam
  • The IR on the B5442E-ZE is super powerful. At times it can easily wash out the image on Auto. I found Manual or ZoomPrio to be the best options and dial in accordingly. Don’t get me wrong, would prefer strong IR in case needed but Auto is definitely a wash out with spot focus in the center of the image. This again hopefully can be tweaked in *firmware* for the Auto setting only
  • The 5442 model is only available in fixed lens turret but is available in varifocal in bullet & dome. Can be a pro or con depending on your situation therefore marking neutral


Conclusion

So the question that a lot of people have asked me is ‘would you choose this over/or to replace a 5231 ?’. The answer to that is a little complicated. Let me break this out a little more:
  • Do I think this camera (B5442E-ZE) can go toe to toe with a 5231 ?, YES.
  • Do I think the B5442E-ZE image is on par with the 5231 even at night ?, YES and to be honest I think its better in part due to the sharpness, edge detail (that you can tweak of course) and gaining double the resolution giving you a little more to play with in a final captured image for ID etc.
  • Would I recommend purchasing this over a 5231 bullet, vari cam ? YES (if not in the market for the Z5 or Z12 variants as they don’t current exist in the 4.0 series for 4MP’s although there is a 5MP in the Z5 variant but different sensor with different specs)
  • Would I recommend anyone in the market to purchase a 5231 or replace one instead purchase a 5442……..DEPENDS


Let me first state that the DEPENDS answer is not based on this camera per se but more on the body / style options currently available in this line (4.0 AI Pro) and your specific needs.

This is where I say its complicated in that unfortunately the current model lineup for the 5442 is somewhat limited (depending on your installation needs) in that you are having to choose between fixed lens for turrets and move to a bullet cam for vari. For me this more than works for a driveway/parking lot/backyard/side of property kind of installation without any issue and I also made this work on the porch (for testing) by putting ‘mr camera’ in the face of everyone coming up to my door. However turrets generally look better in a porch/enclosed/discrete kind of situation plus you gain the benefits of in-cam audio. For some, turrets is the only body type they will use for discretion, cleaner install, finished look etc no matter where they are installing and therefore may be a dealbreaker having to opt for bullet cams or domes (which as we all know can be very limited from an install location perspective) to get varifocal.


Turret Shoppers - For turret uses specifically, If you know your installation site well, can accommodate one of the 3 fixed lens options (2.8, 3.6, or 6mm), have no need for optical zoom then I would absolutely looking at the 5442 turrets.

Bullet Cam Shoppers - For those in the market for a bullet style vari-cam and were considering a 5231 then in my opinion the B5442E-ZE is a definite replacement and I would recommend purchasing one (taking into account the caveats above). Just remember that right now a Z5E (5x) and Z12E (12x) does not exist but I hope Dahua will bring these to market as would be a great potential successor to the 5231E-Z12E for LPR duties.​


So in short, YES I personally believe (from my testing at this time) that this is in line to be a 5231 successor (again with the caveats above) and provides a great image. With that said, I really hope Dahua focuses on expanding the 1/1.8” sensor cams into further options in the lineup (motorized, optical turret, Z12 options etc) for both 4K and under so we can gain the benefits these sensors are starting to offer but with more installation options.

Hope that helps and if anyone has any questions or anything else they want to see, please let me know. Will post all of the videos as soon as the Youtube account issue gets resolved.
 
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aristobrat

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Minimum Illumination -
0.0024Lux/F1.8 ( Color,1/3s,30IRE),
0.059Lux/F1.8 ( Color,1/30s,30IRE),
0Lux/F1.8 (IR on)
That's interesting... seems like a notable variance from the fixed-lens 5442 turrets (below). Bigger f1.6 on the fixed-lens enough to make that big of a swing, or just weird Dahua specs?

Minimum Illumination -
0.0016Lux/F1.6 ( Color,1/3s,30IRE)
0.015Lux/F1.6 ( Color,1/30s,30IRE)
0Lux/F1.6(IR on)
 

Wildcat_1

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That's interesting... seems like a notable variance from the fixed-lens 5442 turrets (below). Bigger f1.6 on the fixed-lens enough to make that big of a swing, or just weird Dahua specs?
@aristobrat it could be a spec issue on the Dahua site as many have seen before. Not to say we don't see lens sensitivity differences on the vari's vs fixed lenses but it does seem a little odd especially when paired with the same sensor. I will say that what I can tell you is that from what I've seen already since install, this cam really does perform well.

More on this as I continue to test and add to the review but I'm putting it through some challenging lighting situations and it appears ready for the challenge :)
 
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reeves1985

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Now this looks interesting I will be rqfg8ng along as I'm in the market again for another camera, and debating whdfhrf to try a 4mp variant
 

Wildcat_1

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I mentioned in posting the thoughts/findings updates as I review that I would also focus on FW differences / nuances. I thought I would keep this as a separate post in this thread so as not to confuse with overall findings. Therefore let me start with a few of these as well.

  • The B5442E-ZE came pre-loaded with v2.680.0000000.5.R with Build Date 2019-04-04

FW Version.jpg

  • I was surprised to see this vari focal features EIS as you can see here in the menu. Nice to have depending on installation area but I would imagine most will leave this off

Picture Menu With EIS.jpg

  • Nice return to the FW is SSA, now available again (at least in this build)

SSA Option In Backlight.jpg

  • Custom bitrates are extended to 20k in this build

Customized Bitrate To 20k.jpg

  • ZoomPrio featured here in IR Light as in the 5231s but SmartIR replaced with Auto

IR Light Options.jpg

  • Voltage Detection added to Abnormality section in Events. Hadn't seen this one before but could come in useful depending on installation/application

Voltage Detection Anomalies.jpg

  • Additional Rule Types added to IVS. BTW loitering works really well and you can define in seconds the amount of time you class as loitering in an area etc. Fast Moving is biased towards the center of the image so potentially some work needed here in FW to help this identify objects on the outer edges quicker.

Additional Rule Types for IVS.jpg

  • Object filtering for the AI functions, Human & Vehicle. Works really well in differentiating between both types

Addition of Object Filter For Humans or Motor Vehicles.jpg

  • Wasn’t sure how many people had seen heat map reports before so thought I would include a screen grab of what those look like as well. Its worth pointing out that the Heat Map Report features a slightly reduced quality image as the system clearly only uses it as an overlay.

Heat Map Report.jpg
 

fixxxer0

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is this or will this camera be available in turret (with varifocal)?
 
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EMPIRETECANDY

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The motorized lens will be on dome only. The turret one is bit smaller, hard to put motorized lens inside.
 

fixxxer0

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interesting... so do people think this is a better performer than the 5231 in low light?
 

Wildcat_1

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interesting... so do people think this is a better performer than the 5231 in low light?
Fixxxer, I intend to put the B5442E-ZE to this exact test by placing it directly up against a 5231 in the coming days. More to come as I will relocate this cam directly next to one of my 5231's for the head to head. Will also be posting daylight images and other capture situations as well. I will say that at this time I am pleasantly surprised with the performance this 4MP cam has in the extreme low light I showed above (2 x 100w bulbs). Again, more to come in this review as I continue to test. When I get this in place next to the 5231 I will also do a 'no direct lighting' test where IR plus any spill over ambient light is the only source the cam will have if people would be interested in that as well.
 

reeves1985

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Fixxxer, I intend to put the B5442E-ZE to this exact test by placing it directly up against a 5231 in the coming days. More to come as I will relocate this cam directly next to one of my 5231's for the head to head. Will also be posting daylight images and other capture situations as well. I will say that at this time I am pleasantly surprised with the performance this 4MP cam has in the extreme low light I showed above (2 x 100w bulbs). Again, more to come in this review as I continue to test. When I get this in place next to the 5231 I will also do a 'no direct lighting' test where IR plus any spill over ambient light is the only source the cam will have if people would be interested in that as well.
Look forward to these tests as I'm seriously considering trying a 4mp cam or 2
 

zape

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Please compare resolution against 2831 camera in the daylight
 

Wildcat_1

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All, I intend to move the camera (B5442E-ZE) tomorrow or Thursday at the latest for the direct comparison right next to the 5231 so will update as soon as I have that in place. In the meantime before I move it, @zape I will capture daytime comparisons vs the 2831 and post here as well. Thanks
 

Andydogga

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Hi Wildcat, I would be very interested in the 5231 comparison using each camera's IR only. I have been installing the 5231 bullets in rural settings and very impressed with them but would like a bit more resolution during the day. :)
 
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