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Fuji FinePix 2650 Digital Camera

Camera QuickLook
Review Date
01/29/03
User Level
Novice to experienced amateur
Product Uses
Family / Travel / Special Events
Digicam Design
Point and Shoot
Picture Quality
Good, 2.0-megapixel CCD
Print Sizes
Good prints to 5x7
Availability
Now
Suggested Retail Price
$199

 

Review Links
Overview
Picky
Details
Design
Operation
Recommended Accessories
Test Images
Specifications
Conclusion

Introduction

Well-known among professional photographers and consumers alike for great color, Fuji has also made great strides with their line of FinePix digital cameras. Refusing to compromise quality for portability, Fuji consistently produces compact, travel-worthy digicams that take great pictures and have a no-hassle user interface. Though the FinePix 2650 isn't the most compact model in the line, it still retains small dimensions and light weight, and upholds Fuji's well-earned reputation for color quality. The 2.0-megapixel CCD is perfect for snapshots and slightly larger prints, and the camera's point-and-shoot simplicity will appeal to a wide audience of consumers. The 2650 updates the previous 2600 model with xD-Picture Card memory storage, but in all other aspects, the two cameras are nearly identical.


Camera Overview
Expanding Fuji's ever-growing line of consumer-friendly, point-and-shoot digicams is the FinePix 2650. Though not the smallest member of the FinePix family, the 2650 is fairly compact at 4.0 x 2.6 x 2.0 inches (100 x 65 x 52 millimeters). Its slightly thick, all-plastic body won't fit into small shirt pockets, but the 2650 should be at home in larger coat pockets and most average-size purses. A 2.0-megapixel CCD offers good resolution, suitable for printing images as large as 5x7 inches, and its fully automatic exposure control keeps things simple. Loaded with batteries and memory card, the 2650 weighs about 8.5 ounces (240 grams), which is reasonably light. With the lens retracted, and the sliding cover closed, the 2650's front panel is mostly flat, so you can stash it in a pocket or purse quickly. Though the camera comes with a small wrist strap, I'd recommend picking up a small camera case for protection on long trips.

Equipped with a Fujinon 3x zoom, 6-18mm lens (the equivalent of a 38-114mm zoom on a 35mm camera), the 2650 offers an automatically-controlled aperture range from f/3.5 to f/8.7 (with maximum and minimum values dependent on the lens' zoom position). Focus ranges from 2.6 feet (80 centimeters) to infinity in normal mode, with a Macro setting ranging from 3.9 inches to 2.6 feet (10 to 80 centimeters). In addition to the 2650's 3x optical zoom, the camera also offers up to 2.5x digital zoom. (Maximum digital enlargement depends on the image resolution.) I always remind readers that digital zoom decreases the overall image quality, since it only enlarges the center pixels of the CCD image. The 2650 has both a real-image optical viewfinder and a 1.5-inch color LCD monitor for framing shots. A limited information display reports camera settings on the LCD monitor, and a framing guideline option displays an alignment grid. The grid divides the image area into thirds, both horizontally and vertically, making it easier to line up tricky subjects.

Exposure control is fully automatic, despite the 2650's offerings of Auto and Manual exposure modes. The Manual setting simply expands the Record menu to include Exposure Compensation and White Balance options. Shutter speeds range from 1/1,000 to 1/2 second, but the 2650's LCD display doesn't report it or the lens aperture. To determine the best exposure, the 2650 employs a TTL (through-the-lens) 64-zone metering system, which averages readings taken throughout the frame for the best overall exposure. Through the camera's Record menu, you can increase or decrease exposure from -2.1 to +1.5 in one-third-step increments. White balance options include an Auto setting, as well as Outdoors, Shade, Daylight Fluorescent, Warm White Fluorescent, Cool White Fluorescent, and Incandescent presets. Though it's not adjustable, the 2650's sensitivity is equivalent to ISO 100, which limits the camera's low-light shooting capabilities.

The 2650's built-in flash is effective from 0.6 to 9.8 feet (0.2 to 3.0 meters) depending on the zoom position, and operates in Auto, Red-Eye Reduction, Forced, Suppressed, or Slow-Synchro modes. A Self-Timer mode provides a 10-second delay between a full press of the Shutter button and the time that the shutter actually opens, helpful in self-portraits or group photos. The 2650 also features a Movie mode, which captures movies without sound. Two resolutions are available (320 x 240 and 160 x 120 pixels). Maximum recording times vary, depending on the resolution and amount of available memory space, with a maximum of 20 seconds for 320 x 240-pixel movies, and a maximum of 80 seconds for the 160 x 120-pixel size.

The 2650 stores images on xD-Picture Cards, and comes with a 16MB starter card. Though the 16MB card will hold 25 full-sized images, I advise picking up a larger capacity card right away, for uninterrupted shooting (the 128MB card holds as many as 204 full-size files). The 2650 uses two AA-type batteries for power, either alkaline or NiMH, and an optional AC adapter is available. A set of single-use AA alkaline batteries comes with the camera, but I strongly recommend purchasing a couple of sets of high-capacity NiMH batteries and a good charger, and keeping a spare set of batteries charged at all times. Click here to read my "battery shootout" page to see which batteries currently on the market are best, or here for my review of the Maha C-204F charger, my longtime favorite.

Basic Features

  • 2.0-megapixel CCD delivering image resolutions as high as 1,600 x 1,200 pixels.
  • Real-image optical viewfinder.
  • 1.5-inch color LCD monitor.
  • Fujinon 3x, 6-18mm lens, (equivalent to a 38-114mm lens on a 35mm camera).
  • 2.5x digital zoom.
  • Automatic exposure control.
  • Adjustable white balance with seven settings.
  • Sensitivity equivalent to ISO 100.
  • Aperture range from f/3.5 to f/8.7.
  • Shutter speeds from 1/1,000 to 1/2 second.
  • Built-in flash with five modes.
  • xD-Picture Card storage (16MB card included).
  • Power supplied by two AA-type batteries or optional AC adapter.
  • Interface software and USB drivers included for Windows and Macintosh computers.

Special Features

  • Movie mode (without sound).
  • 10-second Self-Timer for delayed shutter release.
  • DPOF (Digital Print Order Format) compatibility.
  • USB cable for connection to a computer (driver software included).

Recommendation
Light weight and portable, the FinePix 2650 is a good option for photography novices or anyone new to digital imaging. With fully automatic exposure control, users can literally point the camera at the subject and press the Shutter button, and still get great snapshots. Exposure Compensation and White Balance adjustment options are available as well, for those times when you want to exercise a little control over color cast and exposure. A straightforward user interface keeps camera operation simple, and the 2.0-megapixel CCD captures good-quality images suitable for printing up to 5x7 inches or smaller resolutions for distributing via email. Overall, a good choice for an entry-level camera, priced very competitively for one equipped with a zoom lens.


Design
Measuring 4.0 x 2.6 x 2.0 inches (100 x 65 x 52 millimeters), the 2650 isn't quite small enough for shirt pockets, but should fit into larger coat pockets and purses with no problem. With batteries and memory card installed, the 2650's shooting weight is only 8.5 ounces (240 grams), thanks to the all-plastic camera body. The included wrist strap secures the camera in-hand, but a soft camera case would be ideal for protecting the camera during long excursions. The 2650 is an uncomplicated camera, with mainly automatic exposure control and a few menu options. External controls are also limited, and the LCD menu system is short and to the point.

An oval, sliding lens cover keeps the front panel flat when closed, and reveals the lens when opened. The telescoping lens extends about a quarter-inch from the camera body when powered on. Just above the lens are the flash, flash sensor, and optical viewfinder window, and a small self-timer lamp is just over the top left side of the lens. An indentation in the lens cover provides a finger grip, and balances nicely with the raised thumb grip on the rear panel.

The right side of the camera (as viewed from the rear) holds only the eyelet for the wrist strap.

The opposite side of the camera features the USB and DC In connector terminals, both uncovered.

On the 2650's top panel is a sliding Power switch and the combined Shutter button and Mode dial.

The few remaining camera controls are on the rear panel, sharing space with the optical viewfinder and LCD monitor. A small round Display button sits above the narrow, paired Menu/OK and Back buttons along the right side of the LCD monitor, while a set of arrow keys are in the top right corner. The center arrows are actually part of a two-way rocker button, controlling optical and digital zoom.

The 2650's bottom panel is flat, with the plastic, threaded tripod mount just off center. The xD-Picture Card and battery compartment is adjacent, with a hinged door that slides out before opening. Though I typically prefer to have access to the battery and memory card compartments while a camera is mounted to a tripod, I doubt this issue will come into play much on the 2650, given it's very portable nature.


Camera Operation
With automatic exposure control and only a couple of manual adjustments available, the 2650's user interface should take no time to learn. The Mode dial instantly sets the camera mode, and the LCD menu system is simply laid out. Thus, the 2650 shouldn't take much time to get acquainted with, and even the least digicam-savvy user should have no trouble.


External Controls


Shutter Button
: Located on the camera's top panel, this button sets focus and exposure when halfway pressed, and fires the shutter when fully pressed.

Mode Dial: Surrounding the Shutter button on top of the camera, this dial controls the camera's main operating mode. The following three options are available:

  • Still Image Record: Places the camera under automatic exposure control, with limited user options available through the Record menu.
  • Playback: Displays captured still images and movie files, with options for deleting, protecting, and printing files.
  • Movie: Records moving images without sound, with the maximum recording length depending on the resolution setting and memory card space.


Power Switch
: To the left of the Shutter button, this switch turns the camera on and off.


Display Button
: Adjacent to the top right corner of the LCD monitor, this button controls the LCD monitor's display, and activates the framing grid. It also disables the LCD monitor, so you can save battery power by framing images with the optical viewfinder.


Menu/OK Button
: Just below the Display button, this button displays the settings menu in Playback or Record modes. It also serves as the "OK" button, to confirm any menu selections.


Back Button
: Below the Menu/OK button and adjacent to the lower right corner of the LCD monitor, this button backs out of camera menus without making changes.


Zoom Rocker and Arrow Buttons
: In the top right corner of the back panel, these three buttons serve as the arrow keys, for navigating through menu screens and captured images. The center button is a two-way rocker button, which controls optical and digital zoom in any record mode. In Playback mode, the right and left arrow keys scroll through captured images, while the up and down rocker button controls digital enlargement.

Camera Modes and Menus

Still Image Record Mode: Marked with a red camera icon on the Mode dial, this mode allows the camera to capture still images. Exposure is automatically controlled, though the Record menu offers a few options.

Playback Mode: The standard green playback icon marks this mode on the Mode dial. Here, you can review captured images and movies, as well as manage files.

Movie Mode: Identified on the Mode dial with a red movie camera, this mode records movies without sound, for as long as the memory card or internal memory has available space.

Record Menu: The following menu items appear whenever the Menu button is pressed in any Record mode. However, not all menu options are available in all modes.

  • Exposure Compensation: Adjusts the overall exposure from -2.1 to +1.5 exposure equivalents (EV) in one-third-step increments.
  • Quality: Sets the image resolution to 2M-F (1,600 x 1,200 pixels), 2M-N (1,600 x 1,200 pixels), 1M (1,280 x 960 pixels), or 0.3M (640 x 480 pixels). Movie mode options are 320 x 240 pixels or 160 x 120 pixels.
  • Flash Mode: Places the built-in flash into Auto, Red-Eye Reduction, Forced, Suppressed, or Slow Synchro modes.
  • Macro: Activates or disables the macro shooting mode.
  • White Balance: Sets the white balance to Auto, Outdoors, Shade, Daylight Fluorescent, Warm White Fluorescent, Cool White Fluorescent, or Incandescent.
  • Option/LCD Brightness: Lets you adjust the brightness of the LCD display.
Option/Setup Menu: Activates the Auto or Manual menu selections, adjusts the LCD brightness, and offers the following setup menu options:
  • Postview: Turns the post image capture review screen on or off.
  • Power Save: Turns the power save option on or off. If on, the camera will shut down after 30 seconds of inactivity.
  • USB Mode: Sets the USB mode to DSC or PC Cam. PC Cam mode lets Windows users use the 2650 as a webcam.
  • Date & Time: Sets the camera's internal clock and calendar.
  • LCD: Turns the LCD monitor on or off. If on, the LCD monitor automatically comes on whenever the Mode dial is set to the Still Image Record position. If off, you must enable the display via the Display button.
  • Beep: Enables the camera's beep sounds, with options for Low, High, or Off.
  • Language: Sets the menu language to English, German, or French.
  • Reset All: Resets all camera settings to their defaults.


Playback Menu
:

  • Erase: Deletes the current frame, all frames, or formats the xD-Picture Card.
  • Protect: Write-protects the displayed image, preventing it from being accidentally erased or manipulated (except via card formatting). Also removes protection, and offers options to protect or unprotect all images on the card.
  • DPOF: Marks frames for printing on DPOF devices, with an option to include a date and time overlay.
  • Setup Menu: Displays the same settings as under the Record menu, minus the Auto and Manual exposure options.

Test Images
The thumbnails below show a subset of my test images. Click on a thumbnail to see the full-size photo. See the full set of my test images and detailed analysis here.

Outdoor
Indoor
Indoor Flash
 

 

 

House
Musicians
Macro
 

 

 

Davebox
Resolution
Viewfinder Accuracy

 

"Gallery" Photos
For those readers interested in a set of less "standardized" photos from the P10, here are some thumbnails of more random shots snapped with it. Click on one any of the thumbnails below for a larger view. Click on the larger view again to see the original image from the camera. (Photos in this gallery were shot by Gibbs Frazeur or Stephanie Boozer. Thanks Gibbs and Stephanie!)

NOTE: that these are big files, so be aware that (a) they'll take a while to download, and (b) they'll chew up a pretty good chunk of bandwidth on us. (Read the "support this site" blurb at the top the carrier pages, and think about it while you're waiting for the images to download.

NOTE TOO: Some browsers have difficult with very wide images, and distort them a lot when they display them. (I don't know about others, but IE 5.0 on the Mac definitely does this. If the full-sized images appear to be stretched horizontally, you may need to just download them to your hard drive and view them in an imaging application, or possibly try another browser.)

Click to see YDSCF0001.JPG
YDSCF0001.JPG
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Shutter: 1/ 220
Aperture: F8.7
Exposure EV: 14
ISO Speed: 100
Click to see YDSCF0002.JPG
YDSCF0002.JPG
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Shutter: 1/ 200
Aperture: F8.7
Exposure EV: 13.8
ISO Speed: 100
Click to see YDSCF0003.JPG
YDSCF0003.JPG
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Shutter: 1/ 85
Aperture: F8.7
Exposure EV: 12.6
ISO Speed: 100
Click to see YDSCF0004.JPG
YDSCF0004.JPG
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Shutter: 1/ 300
Aperture: F8.7
Exposure EV: 14.4
ISO Speed: 100
Click to see YDSCF0005.JPG
YDSCF0005.JPG
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Shutter: 1/ 180
Aperture: F8.7
Exposure EV: 13.7
ISO Speed: 100
Click to see YDSCF0006.JPG
YDSCF0006.JPG
607.3 KB
Shutter: 1/ 120
Aperture: F8.7
Exposure EV: 13.1
ISO Speed: 100
Click to see YDSCF0007.JPG
YDSCF0007.JPG
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Shutter: 1/ 125
Aperture: F8.7
Exposure EV: 13.2
ISO Speed: 100
Click to see YDSCF0008.JPG
YDSCF0008.JPG
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Shutter: 1/ 140
Aperture: F3.5
Exposure EV: 10.7
ISO Speed: 100
Click to see YDSCF0009.JPG
YDSCF0009.JPG
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Shutter: 1/ 180
Aperture: F3.5
Exposure EV: 11.1
ISO Speed: 100
Click to see YDSCF0010.JPG
YDSCF0010.JPG
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Shutter: 1/ 210
Aperture: F3.5
Exposure EV: 11.3
ISO Speed: 100
Click to see YDSCF0011.JPG
YDSCF0011.JPG
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Shutter: 1/ 240
Aperture: F3.5
Exposure EV: 11.5
ISO Speed: 100
Click to see YDSCF0012.JPG
YDSCF0012.JPG
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Shutter: 1/ 60
Aperture: F3.5
Exposure EV: 9.5
ISO Speed: 100
Click to see YDSCF0013.JPG
YDSCF0013.JPG
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Shutter: 1/ 3
Aperture: F3.5
Exposure EV: 5.1
ISO Speed: 100
Click to see YDSCF0014.JPG
YDSCF0014.JPG
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Shutter: 1/ 3
Aperture: F3.5
Exposure EV: 5.1
ISO Speed: 100
 


Specifications
See the specifications sheet here.


Picky Details
Information on shooting speed, battery life, etc. can be found here.


Test Results
The FinePix 2650 turned in a good performance in most areas, particularly in light of its very competitive price. Its white balance system had a little trouble with the strong yellowish color cast of my "indoor portrait" test, but color otherwise was very good, and resolution was on a par with the general run of 2-megapixel cameras. See the FinePix 2650's sample pictures page for the full results of my testing, but meanwhile, here's a summary of my findings:

  • Color: Like most Fuji digicams, the FinePix 2650 produced accurate, pleasing color under most shooting conditions. The one exception was that it struggled somewhat with the strong yellow cast of the household incandescent lighting used in my "indoor portrait" test. Color otherwise showed a slight tendency toward a yellow cast, but was generally bright, accurate, and pleasing.
  • Exposure: The 2650's exposure was generally pretty accurate, requiring only the usual amount of exposure compensation on the Indoor and Outdoor Portrait tests. I also found that the Indoor Portrait with Flash shot came out a little dark, and there was no way to compensate for it, since the 2650's exposure compensation adjustment doesn't affect flash exposures. When the flash exposed accurately though, it showed an excellent range, reaching to 14 feet in my tests. Like many digicams I test, the 2650 is prone to losing detail in strong highlights thanks to a somewhat high internal contrast setting, but it isn't any worse in this regard than the majority of cameras out there
  • Resolution/Sharpness: The FinePix 2650 performed pretty well for its two-megapixel class on our "laboratory" resolution test chart, although it's more prone than most cameras to artifacts in vertically-arranged detail. It started showing artifacts in the test patterns at resolutions as low as 300 lines per picture height vertically, and as low as 600 lines horizontally. I found "strong detail" out to at about 850 lines horizontally, but in the vertical direction, strong aliasing and artifacts led me to rate it at only 700 lines of resolution. "Extinction" of the target patterns didn't occur until about 1,050 lines vertically, and about 980 lines horizontally.
  • Closeups: The FinePix 2650 turned in about an average performance in the macro category, capturing an average-size minimum area of 3.69 x 2.77 inches (94 x 70 millimeters). Resolution was high, with strong, well-defined detail in the dollar bill, coins, and brooch of my test target. There was a little softness to be seen in all four corners, but no more than I commonly encounter on this shot with other cameras. The wide-angle lens position required by the Macro setting does result in noticeable barrel distortion though. The FinePix 2650's flash had trouble when shooting up close, actually throttling down too much and underexposing the shot. - It's coverage is also rather uneven when shooting this close. Overall, not a bad macro performance, but plan on using external lighting of some sort for the closest shots, and look elsewhere if you need to shoot subjects smaller than a few inches on a side.
  • Night Shots: The FinePix 2650's fully automatic exposure system and maximum shutter time of 1/2-second severely limited its low-light shooting capabilities. The camera produced clear, bright, usable images only down to about four foot-candles (44 lux) which is roughly four times brighter than average city street lighting at night. Plan on using the 2650's built-in flash for any shots after dark.
  • Viewfinder Accuracy: The FinePix 2650's optical viewfinder was very tight, showing only 78 percent frame accuracy at both wide angle and telephoto zoom settings. The LCD monitor fared much better, showing 99+ percent accuracy at both wide-angle and telephoto zoom settings. Given that I like LCD monitors to be as close to 100 percent accuracy as possible, the FinePix 2650's LCD monitor is essentially perfect in that regard, but I'd really like to see a more accurate optical viewfinder.

  • Optical Distortion: Optical distortion on the FinePix 2650 is higher than average at the wide-angle end, where I measured approximately 1.02 percent barrel distortion. The telephoto end fared better, with only 0.44 percent pincushion distortion, but that's still higher than average. Chromatic aberration is very low, showing only two or three pixels of faint coloration on either side of the target lines. (This distortion is visible as a very slight colored fringe around the objects at the edges of the field of view on the resolution target.) The only other distortion I noticed throughout testing was some slight softness in the corners, but it did not extend far into the image area.
  • Battery Life: The FinePix 2650 showed much better than average battery life in my tests, with a worst-case run time (in capture mode, with the LCD turned on) of nearly three hours, with a set of AA cells having a true 1600 mAh capacity. Better yet, with the LCD off, you can literally leave the camera turned on all day and still have plenty of juice left in the batteries. (Too bad that the optical viewfinder isn't more accurate, it'd make it easier to leave the LCD turned off all the time.) I always recommend buying at least two sets of high-capacity AA batteries and a charger, but the 2650 is so thrifty in its power usage that you may seldom need to break out the second set of batteries. (See my battery shootout page for the latest info on the best-performing rechargeable AA batteries, and my review of the Maha C-204F charger to read about my favorite charger.)

In the Box
In the box are the following items:

  • Fuji FinePix 2650 digital camera.
  • 16MB xD-Picture Card.
  • Two single-use, AA-type alkaline batteries.
  • Wrist strap.
  • USB cable.
  • Software CD-ROM.
  • Instruction manual and registration card.


Recommended Accessories

  • Larger capacity xD-Picture Card. (I'd recommend 32MB as a bare minimum, 64MB would be preferable.)
  • Two sets NiMH rechargeable batteries and charger.
  • Soft camera case.


Recommended Software: Rescue your images!
Just as important as an extra memory card is a tool to rescue your images when one of your cards fails at some point in the future. I get a lot of email from readers who've lost photos due to a corrupted memory card. Memory card corruption can happen with any card type and any camera manufacturer, nobody's immune. A surprising number of "lost" images can be recovered with an inexpensive, easy to use piece of software though. Given the amount of email I've gotten on the topic, I now include this paragraph in all my digicam reviews. The program you need is called PhotoRescue, by DataRescue SA. Read our review of it if you'd like, but download the program now, so you'll have it. It doesn't cost a penny until you need it, and even then it's only $29, with a money back guarantee. So download PhotoRescue for Windows or PhotoRescue for Mac while you're thinking of it. (While you're at it, download the PDF manual and quickstart guide as well.) Stash the file in a safe place and it'll be there when you need it. Trust me, needing this is not a matter of if, but when... PhotoRescue is about the best and easiest tool for recovering digital photos I've seen. (Disclosure: IR gets a small commission from sales of the product, but I'd highly recommend the program even if we didn't.) OK, now back to our regularly scheduled review...

 

Conclusion
Free Photo Lessons

Check out the Free Photo School program for lessons and tips on improving your photographs!
Simple pro lighting and use tips let you snap stunning photos. Check out our free Photo School area!

Fuji's FinePix line of digicams consistently offer good image quality and color at affordable prices, and the 2650 is no exception. With only a handful of user-adjustable exposure options, the 2650's few external controls and limited menu options make it an easy to use "point-and-shoot" camera, that delivers good-looking photos under typical shooting conditions. It might not be your first choice if you expect to shoot a lot of photos under household incandescent lighting, and it's also pretty limited when it comes to low-light work. For everyday picture taking though, the 2650 is an exceptional bargain, tailor-made for novices looking for a good, basic, zoom-equipped digicam. Clearly one of the better bargains on the market.

 

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