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05-02-2009, 07:08 AM   #16
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photo of aperture blades

Had a difficult time getting a shot of the aperture blades. Counted more carefully - 15 blades. Received an initial response from Pentax Canada - they are forwarding the question about the heritage of this lens to Japan. (Like waiting for paternity test results...) Attaching photo of aperture blades.

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05-02-2009, 12:16 PM   #17
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QuoteOriginally posted by SF1 Quote
Thanks for your input Luis. It is well documented that Pentax made the Cosmicar lenses for TV cameras (a few later K-Mount lenses were made under Cosmicar brand too - but not this vintage.) Would be great to get feedback from someone who used TV cameras back in the 60s-70s. Cheers!
Hi SF1,

Now that I've written and reviewed this, I see it's a bit long winded but here goes!

I had first hand experience with "C" mount TV lenses in the 1969 to 1973 time frame. Our public school system in Glassboro, New Jersey, had an early video production and distribution system. The installation probably began in 1965 with the town and schools being wired for cable distribution and a Sylvania black and white TV set placed in every classroom of our five (or six) schools. The mobile production van arrived in late '66 or early 67. It was a standard Chevrolet van kitted out as a mobile control room. It carried two Sylvania black and white vidicon cameras, a Sony 1" black and white video tape recorder, switcher-fader console and monitors. I entered High school in the fall of 1969 and immediately signed up for the video crew. During the following four years I spent much time handling lighting and miking, setting up and running the cameras and an occasional stint in the assistant director's chair.

I remember the cameras and lenses well. Camera One was equipped with an Angenieux 10 to 1 ratio zoom lens of f-2.8 maximum aperture. It had a completely manual iris. The aperture ring had two sets of engravings. The first being conventional f stops, the second being "T" stops. "T" stood for transmission. The many surfaces of the zoom lens made a significant change in the amount of light reaching the vidicon. An f-2.8 setting resulted in the equivalent light of f-3.2 reaching the tube. The T stops began at 3.2 and ran down the scale to about 18 or 20.

Camera two used four fixed focal length lenses on its turret. All were C - mount with manual iris. From wide to long they were: Soligor 12.5mm f-1.4. It was finished in silver. By its size, I think it was a retro focus design. No idea who made it. I see one on E-Bay periodically; Canon 25mm f-1.4. Probably a dedicated cine/TV lens of the period; Canon 50mm f-1.4. I think this was the 35mm Canon RF lens in a dedicated C-mount configuration. Canon 100mm f-2. The Canon 35mm long focus lens used on the RF cameras and Canonflex SLRs in a dedicated C-mount configuration. Again, all were configured as TV and cine lenses, no threaded adapters to use them in C mount applications.

Later, we purchased a Macro Kilar. It required an adapter to use on C-mount. We also acquired an industrial/surveilance type camera for dedicated easel/graphics use. It may have been equipped with a C-mount Cosmicar TV lens of 25mm focal length.

Regards the 135/2.8 Cosmicar, I go along with Luis Alegria on its origins. A T2 mount pre-set lens bought whole from its manufacturer, labeled and distributed by Cosmicar for various cine and TV applications up to 24 X 36mm format with appropriate adapter. I don't think its origins lie in Asahi optical company.

Bill
05-02-2009, 06:09 PM   #18
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Thanks Bill - great info :)

Thanks so much for those recollections! That does help to clarify the age of the lens. You should check out some of the TV camera museums online - it will be a trip down memory lane. It's wonderful that people are preserving examples of that technology.

I do understand the logic that it would seem extreme for Pentax to fully manufacture a T2 135mm lens when others were already being made by other manufacturers. I guess there's probably some debate today comparing Pentax lenses to similar lenses by other manufacturers. I don't know if any of the major camera manufacturers make all of their parts from scratch.

Still, I'm enjoying the nice aperture of my lens - a step up from what I've seen in some of the other T-mount 135s. I can't recall the brand, but I had a T2 135 that I gave away to the fellow who bought my istDL2. It had no lens coatings and a lower-quality feel - it was ok, I don't miss it.

I did find images of some non-T c-mount Cosmicar lenses with exactly the same label and trademark as my 135 2.8 --- so maybe it was a case of Pentax deciding not to reinvent the wheel since a T mount would work on a TV camera for this focal length. It looks like Cosmicar also went with the T mount for their 100mm "Television Lens" (found on a Bolex on Ebay.)

Wider-angle TV lenses seem to have had rear elements that were much closer to the sensor of the TV camera - - so it looks like they could not go with the T-mount for normal/wide TV lenses. Obviously Cosmicar marketed these lenses for Television - or they wouldn't have put "Television" on them - and this time period was long before Pentax's experiment with selling some cheap quality K-mounts under the Cosmicar brand (although those lenses seem to have been made by Pentax - not some 3rd party - but just made with lower-quality coatings.) Whether or not it was a successfully marketed lens is another question. With no data on how many were made - I'm unable to say.

The extent to which (if at all) Cosmicar marketed lenses from outside of the Asahi optical company - Is not something that I've been able to find out. Is a lens ordered to Asahi specifications still an Asahi lens? I guess that's a debate for another thread. The only thing I've established so far - is that this particular lens seems to be quite hard to find - but it's been fun learning about the early days of television cameras.

Cheers!
05-03-2009, 11:25 AM   #19
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In my early LBA-eBay-frenzy days (10 months ago) I bought a Cosmicar 12.5/1.8 and 50/1.9 and a C-M42 adapter, all cheap. Put'em on my K20D, absolutely no go, not even for macros. Just now I read this thread, tried the 12.5 on my ZX-M, still haven't even tried for a shutter release to see if the rear element would impede the mirror. Infinity focus is just way too close, like about 1/4 inch. Since the front element is in a 1-inch well, that's a major problem. Guess I'll have to get a 16mm or CCTV cam, or a Pentax 110 SLR, to make any use of these. Bother.

05-03-2009, 03:33 PM   #20
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Ebay days....

Sorry to hear that your lenses didn't work out - but glad that you didn't damage your mirror.

I can guarantee that the 135 2.8 Cosmicar will work - as I've been using mine a lot. It also looks like the 100mm Cosmicar has a T mount but I've only seen it on Ebay in combination with a Bolex camera - not by itself.

Looks like people using that Panasonic DSLR with the electronic viewfinder have had some luck using the old c-mount lenses --- but I'm not about to switch camera brands -- have always been happy with Pentax. You might be able to get some very close macro out of the old lenses - but for objects about 4 inches from the lens - probably not useful enough to carry them around.

I mounted an old 110 24mm lens on a body cap - and it can do macro of very close objects (like a few inches away) -- it's so light that I just leave it in a pocket of my backpack. There's a thread on those lenses here:

https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-slr-lens-discussion/52322-pentax-110-lens-dslrs.html

One idea you might want to try.... I held a 50mm Pentax 110 lens in front of a 2X converter and with the lens backwards I am able to get infinity focus. Maybe some combination with a 2X can work for your c-mount lenses.

Cheers!
05-03-2009, 05:58 PM   #21
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today's photos on Cosmicar 135 2.8

Some more shots from today. One comparison on D FA 100 2.8.
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05-04-2009, 02:22 PM   #22
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QuoteOriginally posted by SF1 Quote
Sorry to hear that your lenses didn't work out - but glad that you didn't damage your mirror.
Only the 12.5mm (which came with extension tubes!) could have done that, and with the previewed image a formless blur, I wasn't even tempted. And I just tried it on a 2x TC and it's still no go, but at least no chance of damage.

QuoteQuote:
Looks like people using that Panasonic DSLR with the electronic viewfinder have had some luck using the old c-mount lenses --- but I'm not about to switch camera brands -- have always been happy with Pentax. You might be able to get some very close macro out of the old lenses - but for objects about 4 inches from the lens - probably not useful enough to carry them around.

I mounted an old 110 24mm lens on a body cap - and it can do macro of very close objects (like a few inches away) -- it's so light that I just leave it in a pocket of my backpack. There's a thread on those lenses here:

https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-slr-lens-discussion/52322-pentax-110-lens-dslrs.html

One idea you might want to try.... I held a 50mm Pentax 110 lens in front of a 2X converter and with the lens backwards I am able to get infinity focus. Maybe some combination with a 2X can work for your c-mount lenses.
There's some interesting ideas in here, such that I was just impelled to shuffle through my throng of excess/offbrand lenses (destined for eBay Real Soon Now) to find the other Cosmicar, a 50/1.9. That's a moderate tele in cine, and it looks like one... and it works just fine for 4-inch macros on the K20D! Using extant adapters is tricky, as the C-M42 is just a fat threaded ring with nothing to stop the lens, so it needs to be taped in place on a M42-PK non-infinity adapter, and it's still a bit wobbly. I'll have to try mounting it on a PK lens cap.

I'm not fretting much about the Cosmicar C's, there's just the two and they were cheap and I may get some 16mm/CCTV gear one of these days. But besides those, I have much varied odd glass (LTM, Sockel, Argus C3, etc) that I'm not likely to use - but you mention reversing lenses on a TC. Oh snap, now I'll have to scan the whole batch, see what works, decide what to sell, what to keep... calculate whether my SO will kill me if I keep too much. Decisions, decisions...

[Warning: I just tried putting the Cosmicar 50 on a 2x TC - the C-M42 adapter fell into the TC and needed a lens tool for extraction. A Series V ring was an adequate bushing, but watch out for those adapters, they're tricky devils.]

Last edited by RioRico; 05-05-2009 at 05:34 AM.
05-04-2009, 04:52 PM   #23
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Adapting lenses...

Very cool that you've made one of your Cosmicars work as a macro. I've got a shamefully bad web-page with some of my cheezy lens-hacks here:

Making the "Crack Baby"

I'm very lucky that my SO tolerates my clutter... if kept in the basement...

05-04-2009, 05:44 PM   #24
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QuoteOriginally posted by SF1 Quote
Very cool that you've made one of your Cosmicars work as a macro.
It's pretty easy to make almost any lens usable for macros, as long as it can be reversed. But I don't really need 80 macro lenses, so I'll sell off a bunch.

QuoteQuote:
I've got a shamefully bad web-page with some of my cheezy lens-hacks here: Making the "Crack Baby"
Hey, I'm a supporter! I actually paid US$1 on eBay for the PDF! Might even use it some day.

QuoteQuote:
I'm very lucky that my SO tolerates my clutter... if kept in the basement...
My cave used to be a large downstairs area, but that was the last house. Now I get a 4x5 meter room (lined with shelves, stuffed with two loaded desks) for all my photo and systems needs. Funny how we get a larger house with less space. Doesn't that violate some law(s) of physics?

Last edited by RioRico; 05-04-2009 at 11:56 PM.
05-05-2009, 04:27 PM   #25
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Response from curator of Television Museum

I asked TV camera authority Chuck Pharis about the 135 2.8 Cosmicar lens. The closing sentence really nailed it.

Here's the quote:

Hi, glad you enjoy my collection.
As for your lens, many television companies used (adapted) lenses for their tv cameras.
Back in the 40s, RCA used Ektar lenses with special mounts for their RCA TK series B&W and Color cameras.
Also Canon, Ilex, Wolensack and other lenses were adapted for tv camera use.

There is a very simple answer to your question:
If you can fit any lens on a camera, either still, motion picture, or tv, and it makes a nice image, then it WILL WORK.

Good luck,
Chuck



His museum page is here:
Chuck Pharis Web Page : Television (Updated, June 1, 2008 NEW PHOTOS ARE HERE!!!!!!!!!!!
05-05-2009, 05:41 PM   #26
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Message from Pentax Canada's CCTV division

After a wait while she checked around - Linda at Pentax Canada's CCTV division very kindly took the time to provide this information about the 135 2.8 Cosmicar.

Hello:

So far, I have found out that in the late 1970's, early 1980's, the CCTV division of Pentax, Cosmicar, produced 2 low end lenses to compliment the SLR line. The 135 f2.8 was one of theses lenses.

We are trying to find out what the other one was J. It is old enough that anyone who worked here at the time has since left the company.

Best regards

LindaMB


> Hello:
>
> We don't have any information on this lens in our
> files, so we are
> checking with Japan . It will be about a week until we can
> have an
> answer as the gentleman we need to speak with is currently
> away from the
> office.

> Is it possible to get a picture of the lens?

> Best Regards

> LindaMB


I don't expect that this response will fully satisfy everyone... but when you summarize the thread so far:
- all sorts of lenses used on 35mm were also used on TV cameras (it's not that much of a stretch to think that a lens branded for "TV" could also be marketed to 35mm users)
- I've identified other Cosmicar "Television" lenses of varying focal lengths (T-mount and non-T C-mount) that have identical branding on the bezel
- I've looked at many images of lovely 135mm T-mounts from different manufacturers and all have had significant differences in metal parts that would not likely happen if Cosmicar simply re-branded an item off-the-shelf from another manufacturer (and Pentax/Cosmicar certainly had the ability to build this lens themselves - they were likely quite used to building short runs of product as TV lenses would not have been sold in the same quantity as mass-marketed 35mm lenses)
- there's no evidence that Cosmicar/Pentax was known to have another company wholly manufacture make their "Television" lenses

“If it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, looks like a duck, it must be a duck”

There's still a lot of questions. It would be great to narrow down the date of manufacture, the quantity produced, etc. Some rainy day I may see if my local reference library has old photography magazines available on microfiche (do they still use microfiche?) Maybe I'll find an advert for the lens (but it doesn't look like the kind of lens that advertising money would have been spent on)...

For now - I'll just enjoy the lens and its funky bokeh. Maybe it was a horrible "low end" lens on 35mm - lacking an auto aperture, it was technologically out-dated from the start - but my DSLR 's smaller sensor likes what it sees - and (thanks to friction) you just can't seem to get a 15 blade aperture on "auto" lenses with blades that must snap down instantly with each shot.

While this Cosmicar lens doesn't have a perfect Pentax pedigree, it's a useful little mutt to keep around.

Many thanks for all of the thoughtful and insightful responses. Still hoping to hear from another user of this lens --- but given its apparent rarity --- that may be a long wait...

Cheers!
05-05-2009, 07:11 PM   #27
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Thanks for the support RioRico. Inspired me to put one of those hacked lenses on my camera today. Posted a few of the images with the original strand:

https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/general-talk/34003-diy-crackbabies-lens-h...y-product.html
05-26-2009, 08:30 PM   #28
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Two evenings slogging away at the reference library.....

Well,

The date given to me by Pentax Canada seemed a bit off (it was terribly kind of them to indulge my request at all --- but the question just pre-dated anyone on their staff.) I was sure that the lens had more of a feel of the older screw-mount Spotmatic lenses... nothing plastic like the lenses of late 70s early 80s.

So... I googled until my eyes were red and did find out a bit more Cosmicar info:


The following is an abstract from an article by Derek White in Spotmatic magazine, No. 7 (01/96).

Pentax Lens Variants: Non-SMC K-Bayonet Lenses Pentax Lens Variants: Non-SMC K-Bayonet Lenses
by Derek White by Derek White

For many years Asahi Optical have been making closed circuit television (CCT) lenses in many forms, under the trade name Cosmicar. This name was reserved for all such lenses produced. However, in 1984 a budget zoom lens for 35mm SLR's was introduced. Initially the 35mm-70mm f3.5-f4.8, polycarbonate bodied lens was supplied as part of a kit for the A3, the first integral motor wind body from Pentax. The lens was also available with the Program A and ME Super bodies, but it was not sold on its own. In the UK this lens was called Profile. It was not popular with photographers and was dropped from the Pentax list within a year. However, in Germany and the Netherlands, this lens was available as a separate item for several years where it was marketed under the name MC Cosmicar-A. The lens can also be found secondhand in the UK bearing the name MC Finex, but it has not been pos***le to ascertain in what countries it was sold under this name when new. The Finex name has also turned up on another popular lens produced by Asahi Optical Co. The 70mm-200mm f4 Takumar-A, which was later changed to Pentax-A, can also be found as an MC Finex. All of these lenses fall within the same serial number range and are not SMC coated. The 70mm-200mm lenses the same serial number range and are not SMC coated. The 70mm-200mm lenses are metal bodied and seem to be of better construction than the 35mm-70mm versions. All were produced with the KA bayonet mount. For many years Asahi Optical have been making closed circuit television (CCT) lenses in many forms, under the trade name Cosmicar. This name was reserved for all such lenses produced. However, in 1984 a budget zoom lens for 35mm SLR's was introduced. Initially the 35mm-70mm f3.5-f4.8, polycarbonate bodied lens was supplied as part of a kit for the A3, the first integral motor wind body from Pentax. The lens was also available with the Program A and ME Super bodies, but it was not sold on its own. In the UK this lens was called Profile. It was not popular with photographers and was dropped from the Pentax list within a year. However, in Germany and the Netherlands, this lens was available as a separate item for several years where it was marketed under the name MC Cosmicar-A. The lens can also be found secondhand in the UK bearing the name MC Finex, but it has not been possible to ascertain in what countries it was sold under this name when new. The Finex name has also turned up on another popular lens produced by Asahi Optical Co. The 70mm-200mm f4 Takumar-A, which was later changed to Pentax-A, can also be found as an MC Finex. All of these lenses fall within the same serial number range and are not SMC coated. The 70mm-200mm lenses the same serial number range and are not SMC coated. The 70mm-200mm lenses are metal bodied and seem to be of better construction than the 35mm -70mm versions. All were produced with the KA bayonet mount.


Basically, Pentax Canada mistook my Cosmicar 135 f2.8 for the KA mount low-end Cosmicar lenses that were made by Pentax and were marketed in the 80's. Those K-mount Cosmicars (never intended for CCTV use) are listed here:
MC COSMICAR 28-80/3.5-4.5 Nov. '84
MC COSMICAR-AZ 35-70/3.5-4.5 May '87
MC COSMICAR-AZ 35-70/3.5-4.8 Oct. '87
MC COSMICAR 1:2.8 28mm (no date found for this lens)


So... almost back at square one... I spent two evenings slogging away at the reference library. I started by looking in Industrial Photography Magazine for 1970 (Published by United Business Publications, inc.) and BINGO! An ad for a very similar looking Cosmicar 200mm f3.5 that was shown with the same T-mount to C-mount adapter as my 135mm f2.8. The text of the ad made it clear that the lens was being marketed for CCTV and 16mm. No retailers were listed - the interested professional buyer would need to contact Cosmicar directly. In another issue from that year I found a Cosmicar advert that featured 3 other lenses with shorter focal lengths. It looks like the 135mm was easy to design on a T-mount system, but that the other focal lengths needed to be built differently and would sadly not be adaptable to today's Pentax dslr's (rear element too close to the mirror = crash!) The text of this ad showed that Cosmicar was trying to establish knowledge of its brand among industrial photographers in the US:

"These lenses are on more than fifty 16mm cine cameras used by a television station with the broadest coverage in Japan for daily news photography. This is just one of the companies using these lenses."
(1970 - Industrial Photography Advert)

Again, no North American dealer was listed - it looks like you had to send away to Japan for a catalog.


This ad confirmed my original opinion that these lenses were far less mass-marketed than the 35mm consumer market Pentax lenses. Asahi's Cosmicar division was really focusing on the CCTV/industrial market. A later ad from a 1971 issue of the same magazine showed an "electric eye" diaphragm CCTV lens and gives us an indication that the types of lenses they were making were evolving quickly alongside improvements to television technology.

I'd love to find one of the original Cosmicar catalogs.... but I don't know if one of those will ever turn up. After finding the lenses in the "Industrial" magazine, I needed to investigate "amateur" photography magazines to see if the Cosmicar lens was ever marketed along with other T-mount lenses in Europe or North America.... I browsed through volumes of photography magazines from 1969-1972 including The British Journal of Photography, Popular Photography, Amateur Photographer, Modern Photographer, etc. and found not one mention of Cosmicar in either name-brand advertising or retail-store advertising. Most of these magazines were chock full of advertising - lots of Soligor, Komura, and other T-mount brands but no Cosmicar. Even in the small print of the classifieds I couldn't find a Cosmicar lens... I found no evidence that the Cosmicar lenses of this period were ever marketed to amateur 35mm users. (Found lots of lovely "Just Hold a Pentax" ads., lots of stunning B&W images and some interesting articles along the way --- it wasn' t all work... but it was a bit of a grind.)

I think that my research efforts have established that this 135mm f2.8 lens was made by Asahi's Cosmicar division around 1970. The lens was marketed as a c-mount lens for television/cine/industry and was not marketed for 35mm in competition with the Pentax division (which makes sense since it is the same parent company.) How much the Cosmicar's components had in common with the Pentax lenses of the time is something that's probably impossible to determine.. but Asahi was a big company with the capability to easily make such a simple lens and there is no evidence that any Cosmicar lenses were just re-branded from another manufacturer. My 135 f2.8 has a feel and a quality of finish that is very much like the old screw-mount Takumars of the same period. (Found a pre-set 135mm Takumar on one Pentax collector's page that had similar - possibly identical - aperture blades.)

It's just a neat coincidence that some of Cosmicar's telephoto lenses were sold with C-Mount adapters that can easily be replaced and thus enable the use of these vintage lenses on today's DSLRs. A friend recently tried my lens on his Canon using the EOS T2-mount adapter that came with his cheapo 500mm mirror lens (not his best ebay purchase.) He was quite happy with the results and was struck by the visible change to depth-of-field when stepping down the lens. I'd highly recommend snapping up one of these Cosmicar's if you find a good deal on one. It looks like the 100mm, the 135mm, and the 200mm had the removable c-mount which you can switch for a cheap K, EOS, Nikon, etc. T2 mount of your choice. (Avoid any shorter focal-lengths as they would get in the way of the mirror - although some people have used them successfully on other brands of cameras with an electronic viewfinder instead of an optical prism.) I've used the m42 to K adapter with another lens and I do find the T2 mount to be a way more secure option (with no worries about an auto pin on an m42 lens damaging the camera... and the ability to use the adjustment screws and rotate the T2 adapter so that everything lines up nicely.) The 15blade aperture beats the bokeh of any other lens that I've got (unless they are wide open.) It's just a blast to be using this lens from the past --- and I am going to keep an eye out for the 200mm version if one ever shows up. Not sure if the lens is valuable (beyond its usefulness to me) ... but it does seem to be more rare than similar SLR lenses of that period.

Thanks to all who have contributed to this thread. My apologies for the length of this piece --- but it was fun to research it!

Cheers!

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05-27-2009, 05:17 AM   #29
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Excellent research SF1! The 12.5/1.4 in the full page ad is a ringer for the Soligor of the same spec. that I referred to in my post. Good job!!
05-27-2009, 02:57 PM   #30
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thanks Casualcollector

Thanks - I noticed an incredible number of Soligor items in the retail advertising of those old magazines. I'm guessing Soligor and other t-mount brands would have had higher mark-ups than the original manufacturer's products --- providing a great incentive for stores to really promote them. I should have taken a photo of my favourite T-mount lens ad: "The Girl-Watcher Lens" (I think it came with a free trench-coat.)
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