The best Sony lenses are typically the company's G Master lenses, which are big, beautiful but expensive. There are lots of alternatives, however, for photographers and videographers who need lenses which are lighter, smaller or just not quite so darned expensive! And many of these are so good in their own right that they can give Sony's G Master optics a real run for their money.
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The best Sony lenses aren't just designed for Sony's full-frame models (which are among the best cameras for professionals (opens in new tab)), but there are also a number of great lenses out there for Sony's large range of APS-C models that are more for hobbyists and enthusiasts, like the Sony A6400 (opens in new tab) or the Sony ZV-E10 (opens in new tab) vlogging camera. And don't forget that you can use full frame E-mount lenses on APS-C models too, and often this can be the best choice for telephotos, macro lenses and other longer focal length options. But with standard zooms and ultra-wide lenses you must get a lens designed for an APS-C format camera. And, if you haven't decided which model to buy, then do also check out our best Sony camera (opens in new tab) guide.
While some up-market Sony lenses are produced in conjunction with legendary optical manufacturer Zeiss, Sony now also produces its own premium ‘G’ and top-flight ‘G Master’ lenses as well. These aim for the ultimate in all-round performance and image quality, especially in terms of sharpness and bokeh (the quality of defocused areas within images). A prime example of this is Sony's 50mm F1.2 G Master (opens in new tab) lens, which is quite possibly the best 50mm lens (opens in new tab) on the market right now.
The best Sony lenses also tend to be the biggest, which isn't helpful if your work is travel or street photography, or you are a vlogger capturing fast-moving events. It's really exciting, then, that Sony is turning its attention to smaller, more compact lenses for users like these.
We've added in Sony's FE 28-60mm F4-5.6 (opens in new tab), a remarkably compact retracting kit lens originally launched with the Sony A7C (opens in new tab), but now available on its own. It's not much of a zoom range, but it makes for a very compact camera kit.
What we've been really impressed by, though, is Sony's trio of tiny full frame primes: the Sony FE 24mm F2.8G (opens in new tab), the Sony FE 40mm F2.5 G (opens in new tab) (included in this guide) and the Sony FE 50mm F2.5 G. All three sacrifice a little in maximum aperture to gain massively in portability and it's a fresh approach that we're delighted to see.
Note: We've arranged our guide to the best Sony lenses in families, according to focal length types and uses, so that it's easier to find the type of lens you're looking for. Just use the navigation tab on the left to jump to the type of lens you're interested in.
Best Sony lenses in 2022
Sony FE standard lenses(opens in new tab)
Leapfrogging the Zeiss badged FE 24-70mm f/4 ZA OSS, this G Master lens is as good as it gets for an own-brand Sony standard zoom. And so it should be, costing about five times the price of the FE 28-70mm f/3.5-5.6 OSS kit lens. The weather-sealed construction of the lens feels really solid and sturdy, and the lens features a customizable focus hold function, along with AF/MF and zoom lock switches. There’s no shortage of quality glass in the 18-element line-up, including one ultra-high-precision XA (eXtreme Aspherical) element, two further aspherical elements, one ED (Extra-low Dispersion) element and one Super ED element. Autofocus is blazing fast for stills and provides smooth and near-silent autofocus transitions during movie capture. There’s no optical stabilizer but this is only an issue with first edition Sony mirrorless full-frame cameras that lack in-body stabilization. Image quality is spectacular in all respects: even when shooting wide-open, sharpness is simply phenomenal, throughout the entire zoom range.(opens in new tab)
We rate Sigma’s 24-70mm f/2.8 Art lens for Canon and Nikon full-frame DSLRs very highly. The newer ‘DN’ edition for Sony full-frame E-mount cameras isn’t just a tweak of the original, but rather a complete redesign. The all-new optical path includes no less than six FLD (‘Fluorite’ Low Dispersion) and two SLD (Special Low Dispersion) elements. Top-notch construction includes comprehensive weather-seals and a super-fast, virtually silent stepping motor autofocus system. Barrel distortion at 24mm and vignetting at f/2.8 are rather noticeable when uncorrected in-camera but overall handling, performance and image quality are excellent, and it’s ultra-sharp. Bokeh is enhanced by an 11-blade diaphragm, whereas the DSLR version of the lens only has nine blades.(opens in new tab)
The Sony FE 24-105mm f/4 G OSS (opens in new tab) isn’t Sony’s ‘best’ standard zoom lens for its full-frame cameras. However, compared with the top-flight Sony 24-70mm f/2.8 G Master, this lens is smaller, lighter and feels better balanced on A7-series bodies. It also has a more generous zoom range and adds optical stabilization which is lacking in the bigger lens, and it only costs about two-thirds of the price. Sure, you lose an f/stop in aperture rating compared with the G Master lens, but we think the 24-105mm is the best Sony lens for affordable everyday photography.(opens in new tab)
The Sony FE 28-60mm f4-5.6 is surprising in a couple of respects. One is that for a kit lens it has an extremely modest 2.1x zoom range. Is it enough? Only if you are prepared to compromise on the sort of shots you can get, or you tend to shoot in a narrow focal range anyway. That’s the bad news. The good news is that it performs extremely well – far better than you might expect from a retracting kit lens. As a kit lens it’s limiting, but still rather good. It was initially launched as the kit lens for the Sony A7C, but now it's available separately and when it's fitted to a regular Sony body you get a camera/lens combo that's really compact for a full frame camera.(opens in new tab)
Sony’s own-brand FE 28-70mm f/3.5-5.6 OSS is a popular lens, not least because it’s frequently sold as a kit lens with A7-series bodies. However, sharpness away from the centre of the image frame is lacklustre and the aperture shrinks to a fairly narrow f/5.6 at the long end of the zoom range. This Tamron lens beats the Sony on both counts, with razor-sharp image quality right into the edges and corners, and a fast f/2.8 aperture rating that remains constant throughout the entire zoom range. That makes it two full f/stops faster at the long end, enabling faster shutter speeds and a much tighter depth of field. It’s perfect for everyday shooting and a brilliant buy at the price.(opens in new tab)
Although this lens feels quite bulky on a Sony mirrorless body, it’s still fairly compact and reasonably lightweight for an f/1.2 lens. Even so, it goes extra-large in terms of features and performance. The weather-sealed construction feels of fully professional-grade quality, there are two customizable function buttons that fall naturally under the thumb in both landscape and portrait orientation shooting, and the manual aperture ring comes complete with a de-click switch for stepless control during video capture. Unlike most ultra-fast lenses, the Sony maintains spectacular sharpness across the entire image frame, even when shooting wide-open. Bokeh is beautifully smooth and both lateral and axial color fringing are very negligible. There’s noticeable vignetting when shooting at f/1.2 but this pretty much disappears by f/2, and automatic in-camera correction is available anyway.(opens in new tab)
The Sony FE 40mm f/2.5G is the middle lens in Sony’s new series of compact full frame mirrorless lenses. For anyone fed up of the front-heavy feel of Sony’s big, heavy zooms, its perfect, completely changing the balance and feel of the camera. Like the other two primes in this new series, it’s small and light, and has an aperture ring which can be de-clicked for video. These three lenses are even the same size and weight (near enough), and share the same 49mm filter thread. We've been complaining long enough that Sony lenses are too big, and now we've got these – and they are brilliant. The 40mm is our favorite of the three – just – for its handy standard/wide focal length and edge to edge sharpness.
Sony FE telephoto lenses(opens in new tab)
The Sony FE 70-200mm f/4 G OSS is a great lens that’s smaller and much lighter than the f/2.8 edition, and only costs half the price. It's true that a 70-200mm f/2.8 is seen as a 'must have' lens in any professional system, but you pay the price very literally, and there's a weight penalty with the f/2.8 version (below) too. This f/4 lens is cheaper, lighter, a lot less expensive and only one f-stop slower. See our full Sony FE 70-200mm f/4 G OSS review (opens in new tab).(opens in new tab)
The Sony FE 70-200mm f/2.8 G Master OSS is one seriously well-specced optic. A feast of glass includes one double-sided XA (Extreme Aspherical) element, two other aspherical elements, four ED (Extra-low Dispersion) elements and two Super ED elements. There’s not one but two autofocus systems, incorporating a double linear motor plus an RDSSM (Ring Drive Super Sonic wave Motor), the latter being used for the heavier forward focus groups. The construction is fully weather-sealed and includes a fluorine coating on the front element. Handling is particularly refined, with an autofocus range limiter, customisable focus hold buttons, and dual-mode stabilization for static and panning shots.
All this translates into decent performance. Image sharpness is very good indeed wide-open at f/2.8, throughout the entire zoom range, becoming excellent at f/4. Color fringing is minimal but distortion is a little worse than average for this type of lens. In our tests, autofocus speed proved slightly underwhelming compared with competing lenses in its class. The 2-stop optical stabilizer is less effective than in most similar lenses, but its performance is boosted in later Sony cameras that add in-body stabilization into the equation.(opens in new tab)
Larger and nearly twice the weight of many 85mm f/1.4 lenses on the market, this Sigma 85mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art is quite a handful. A relative latecomer to Sigma’s Global Vision party, it wasn’t launched until late 2016, some two and a half years after the 50mm Art lens. Similar in design to the 50mm Sigma, this lens has one aspherical elements and two rather than three SLD elements, along with a nine-blade diaphragm. Build quality and handling feel almost identical, although the newer 85mm lens adds weather-seals in its ‘dust- and splash-proof’ construction. Sharpness is exceptional across the entire image frame, even at the widest aperture of f/1.4, while colour fringing and distortion are minimal, and bokeh is beautifully smooth. All in all, it’s a large optic that goes extra-large in image quality, making it a one of the best portrait lenses (opens in new tab).(opens in new tab)
This Sony lens ticks all the right boxes for portraiture on a full-frame camera, with its 85mm focal length and fast f/1.4 aperture. As such, it works really well for isolating the main subject against a blurred background. As well as being super-sharp, the quality of bokeh is wonderfully soft and dreamy, and remains so even when stopping down a little, helped by a very well-rounded 11-blade diaphragm. It’s undeniably a very pricey lens but we've estabished that its performance more than justifies the cost.(opens in new tab)
Fallen in love with Sony's premium FE 85mm f1.4 GM, but want something cheaper? Sony's own FE 85mm f1.8 is the answer! It's only about a third of the cost and less than half the weight of its f/1.4 G-Master stablemate, so it lightens the load for handheld shooting and is much easier on your bank balance. Handling is refined, build quality is impressive and image quality is excellent in all respects: center-sharpness is absolutely outstanding, even when shooting wide-open, and it remains highly impressive right out to the extreme corners of the frame. Indeed, there’s virtually nothing to be gained in sharpness by stopping down to f/2.8. The quality of bokeh doesn’t match that of the f/1.4 G-Master lens but it’s nevertheless very dreamy, and remains smooth when reducing the aperture a little.(opens in new tab)
While the FE 85mm f/1.4 G Master will be seen as the most ideal portrait lens by many, this 135mm version gets you closer to you sitter while maintaining a natural shooting distance, thus working really well for close-up portraits, and any other shooting scenario that calls for impeccable image quality at this focal length. The high-grade optical path includes XA (eXtreme Aspherical), Super ED and regular ED elements, along with an 11-blade diaphragm that maintains a particularly well-rounded aperture when stopping down a bit. For hands-on aperture control, there’s a physical aperture control ring with one-third f/stop click steps and a straightforward de-click switch to enable smooth transitions during movie capture. Along with impressive sharpness and contrast, the lens delivers sumptuously smooth bokeh, helped not only by the long focal length but also by the sheer optical quality. The only slight niggle is that defocused lights near the edges and corners of the frame can take on a very elliptical appearance.(opens in new tab)
The Samyang AF 135mm F1.8 FE goes head to head with Sony’s own-brand Sony FE 135mm f/1.8 G Master lens. It boasts many of the same high-end features and handling exotica, as well as a tough, weather-sealed construction, but costs less than half the price to buy. It’s ideal for tight head shots in portraiture, as well as for sports and wildlife photography, and any time you want medium telephoto reach with a fast aperture for isolating the main subject with a tight depth of field, or for freezing motion under low lighting conditions. Autofocus is both fast and virtually silent, and it works particularly well with Sony’s eye-tracking AF mode in portraiture. The lens also features Samyang’s Astro-Focus Mode complete with LED Index for accurate infinity focusing at night. Although sharpness is very impressive, the quality of bokeh is arguably a bigger plus point in terms of image quality. It’s beautifully smooth when shooting wide-open at f/1.8 and remains excellent when stopping down a little. The 11-blade aperture diaphragm ensures that bokeh disks, formed by defocused bright spots, remain very well rounded.(opens in new tab)
There’s no denying that the Sony FE 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 G Master OSS (opens in new tab) is a large lens, but surprisingly, it’s barely any bigger than the 70-200mm f/2.8, slightly less heavy and no more expensive. That’s despite having twice as much telephoto reach, albeit with a variable aperture that shrinks to f/5.6 at the long end of the zoom range. Although physically only 5mm longer than the 70-200mm, it lacks an internal zoom mechanism so the inner barrel extends when zooming toward the long end of the zoom range. Up-market build and handling characteristics are very similar to those of the 70-200mm f/2.8 G Master lens, but this one adds a variable torque adjustment for the zoom ring. Again, the Optical SteadyShot is very effective and the autofocus system is super-fast, this time based on a combination of double linear motor and DDSSM (Direct Drive SSM) systems.(opens in new tab)
Fast supertelephoto lenses on full frame cameras are always expensive, and the Sony FE 200-600mm F5.6-6.3 G OSS is no exception, but compared to fast supertelephoto primes it's actually not THAT expensive, and probably just about falls within an achievable price range for keen amateurs. It doesn't boast Sony's G Master badge of optical excellence, and it does have a relatively restricted maximum aperture of f/5.6-6.3, but in the stratospheric world of full frame super-telephotos, this one is both effective and achievable.
Sony FE wide-angle lenses(opens in new tab)
Following on the heels of Sony’s FE 12-24mm f/4 G zoom, the new G Master edition delivers the same ultra-wide viewing angles but goes an f/stop wider in aperture. The f/4 lens is still on sale and a lot cheaper, so don't rule it out. By necessity, the front optical elements of this f/2.8 version are considerably larger but the lens is reasonably lightweight and easily manageable. It certainly goes large in terms of performance, with outstanding image quality and rapid autofocus, making it well worth the typically high asking price for a G Master lens. Before, the Sony FE 16-35mm f/2.8 G Master was the widest f/2.8 G Master lens in the Sony range, but the new Sony FE 12-24mm f/2.8 G Master has stolen its crown.
Featuring exotic glass that includes two ultra-high-precision XA (Extreme Aspherical) elements, the Sony FE 16-35mm f/2.8 G Master (opens in new tab) was Sony’s top-quality wide zoom until the arrival of the even wider Sony FE 12-24mm f/2.8 G Master (opens in new tab). Having said that, many might find the 16-35mm range just a little more usable, and it does take conventional filters where the 12-24mm lens does not.. Other highlights include nano-structure coatings, a keep-clean fluorine coating on the front element, and extensive weather-seals. There’s a fast and constant f/2.8 aperture and, when stopping down, the aperture remains extremely well-rounded thanks to an 11-blade diaphragm. The DDSSM autofocus system is incredibly accurate and the lens also features a customisable focus hold button on the barrel. For outright quality, this is the best Sony lens for landscapes, interiors, travel and other subjects where space is tight.(opens in new tab)
Neatly picking up the baton from Tamron’s 28-75mm standard zoom, this 17-28mm lens takes you into ultra-wide-angle territory. It very much follows suit, with the same high-end, weather-sealed build quality, fast and constant aperture rating, quick and virtually silent RXD (Rapid eXtra silent stepping drive) autofocus system and, best of all, the same terrific image quality. Corner-to-corner sharpness is particularly impressive for an ultra-wide-angle lens, even when shooting at the widest aperture. It doesn’t quite match Sony’s 16-35mm lenses for maximum viewing angle but it comes very close, and it’s great value at the price.(opens in new tab)
There’s a raft of 20mm ultra-wide-angle prime lenses for E-mount full-frame cameras but for a long time, they’ve only been available from independent manufacturers like Sigma, Tamron, Samyang/Rokinon and Tokina. Sony finally joined the fray with its own rather fabulous 20mm f/1.8 lens. It has a tough, weather-sealed construction and a top-grade optical path. High-speed autofocus combines with excellent handling, helped by the inclusion of a high-precision manual focus ring, a customisable autofocus hold button and an aperture ring with a de-click switch. Image quality is absolutely phenomenal in all respects, with stunning sharpness, gorgeous colour rendition and absolutely minimal coma, distortion and colour fringing. It’s a pricey lens, but you get what you pay for.(opens in new tab)
Tamron offers a trio of wide-angle primes for Sony full-frame E-mount cameras, with 20mm, 24mm and 35mm focal lengths. But if you're going to go wide, it may as well be the widest of the bunch. All three lenses share a common aperture rating of f/2.8 and a filter size of 67mm. The primes have a tough act to follow, as we’ve been hugely impressed with the Tamron 17-28mm and 28-75mm constant-aperture f/2.8 zooms. Keeping in step, this 20mm lens is very lightweight in build and price tag, but goes large on performance with sumptuous image quality.(opens in new tab)
Smaller and lighter than Sony's 20mm f/1.8, yet almost as fast, Sigma's 20mm F2 is a simply superb wide prime. Despite being such a lightweight lens, it features a robust, full-metal construction and high-quality optical path. Intuitive handling combines with impressive image quality: the Sigma delivered very good levels of sharpness in our real-world tests, right out to the corners of the frame even when shooting wide-open at f/2. Vignetting is quite severe at apertures wider than f/5.6 but in-camera corrections are generally available for this as well as for distortion. Autofocus is fast and near-silent, based on a stepping motor. Overall, this is an ideal ultra-wide-angle lens for architectural interiors, sweeping landscapes, astrophotography and more besides.(opens in new tab)
Small and lightweight for a 24mm f/1.8 lens, this Samyang lens nevertheless feels strongly built and incorporates weather-seals. It also packs a real punch, with fast, virtually silent and consistently accurate autofocus, as well as excellent image quality in all respects. Handling is enhanced by a customizable autofocus hold button and a customizable dual mode switch, while the neat LED illumination makes infinity focusing easy for use as an astrophotography lens. The combination of a wide viewing angle and fast aperture rating further enhances the appeal to astrophotographers, but this lens is just as useful for everything from sweeping landscapes to architectural interiors. As usual, this Samyang lens is also available under Rokinon branding in North America, as the Rokinon 24mm F2.8 AF Sony E.(opens in new tab)
While the Sony Distagon T FE 35mm f/1.4 has been around for a while now, Sony's now got another fast 35mm prime in the shape of the FE 35mm f/1.4 G Master: a premium option that sits above the older optic. A mix of an ultra-fast maximum aperture and modest wide-angle focal length mean it's a very versatile lens, suited to anything from portrait and weddings, to landscape and astro photography. As you'd expect, it isn't cheap, but it delivers a spectacular optical performance. It's not the smallest 35mm prime we've seen, but the handling really impressed, with a perfectly weighed ‘de-clickable’ aperture ring, to the smooth and light focus ring. A lovely lens, but it inevitably comes at a hefty price.
Sony FE Macro lenses(opens in new tab)
At its minimum focus distance of 0.28 metres, the Sony FE 90mm f/2.8 Macro G OSS lens delivers full 1.0x or 1:1 magnification. That basically means that small objects are reproduced on the camera’s image sensor at full life size. Naturally, if you’re filling the whole image frame with something as small as a postage stamp, the potential for massively enlarging tiny details is enormous. Beautifully built, this lens has up-market handling attractions including a customisable focus hold button, autofocus range limiter switch and Optical SteadyShot. Given that manual focusing is often preferred for extreme close-up shooting, there’s also a handy push-pull mechanism in the focus ring, for switching between auto and manual focus modes. Autofocus lives up to its billing in terms of speed and accuracy, while the OSS (Optical SteadyShot) system works well in general shooting but is relatively ineffective in macro photography. Image quality is very good in all respects, with excellent sharpness even wide-open at f/2.8, and the edges and corners catch up nicely when stopping down a little. More importantly for a macro lens, sharpness remains very good at narrow apertures, often required to get more than a tiny depth of field.
Sony E-mount APS-C lenses(opens in new tab)
There aren't too many ultra-wide zooms out there for Sony APS-C mirrorless cameras, but this offering is conveniently compact and lightweight while still packing a punch with good overall performance, a constant f/4 aperture rating throughout the zoom range, and 3-stop optical stabilization. The latter is quite rare on an ultra-wideangle zoom lens, and very useful if you have one of Sony's un-stabilized A6000-series cameras. In terms of image quality, centre-sharpness is excellent throughout the zoom range but corner-sharpness is relatively lackluster at 10mm, even when stopping down the aperture. Thankfully, color fringing is pretty negligible at any combination of focal length and aperture setting, even towards the corners of the image frame, and distortion is quite well controlled.(opens in new tab)
Given that Sony's A6000-series APS-C cameras are built for speed, it makes sense to get a lens that can keep up with them. Step forward, Samyang's AF 12mm F2.0 E, a highly capable Sony E-mount lens with super-snappy autofocus, and enough image quality to make the most of those APS-C sensors. The previous 12mm f/2 from Samyang was manual-focus only, which doesn't really suit the vibe of the A6000 series, so it's good to see this new optic correcting that issue.
Images from the Samyang AF 12mm F2.0 E look fantastic, with excellent sharpness even when shooting wide open. You might notice some lateral chromatic aberration throughout the aperture range, but this can be easily corrected in-camera; same goes for the minor vignetting and fringing that can crop up occasionally. This lens really punches above its weight for an optic at this price, and is a tremendous addition to the kit-bag of any Sony APS-C user.(opens in new tab)
There is an older Sony Vario-Tessar T E 16-70mm f/4 ZA OSS which is cheaper and lighter than this lens and has optical stabilization, but the maximum aperture is f/4, so the new Sony E 16-55mm f/2.8 G is, we think, the best 'pro' lens for Sony APS-C cameras. As a standard lens with a classic zoom range, the Sony E 16-55mm f/2.8 G ticks nearly all the right boxes. It delivers sumptuous image quality with fabulous sharpness and contrast, along with pleasant bokeh. Handling is very refined, with the addition of a customizable focus hold button, strong build quality and weather-seals. Autofocus is super-fast and deadly-accurate. The only downside is the lack of optical stabilization.(opens in new tab)
The choice of standard zoom lenses for Sony's APS-C mirrorless cameras is narrower than you'd expect. The 16-50mm 'pancake' standard zoom sold with many A6000-series cameras is very small and convenient but not terribly good optically. Otherwise the Zeiss Vario-Tessar (above) is a good buy but has a constant f/4 maximum aperture, and while the brand new Sony E 16-55mm F2.8 G fixes that with a constant f/2.8 aperture, it's big and expensive... and none of them have much of a zoom range. This is why we really rate the Sony E 18-135mm F3.5-5.6 OSS. It's compact, neat and affordable, it offers a really good zoom range and – unlike almost every other long-zoom lens – it holds it performance even at full zoom. If you use a raw processing program that doesn't automatically apply lens corrections you'll see how much the digital corrections are needed, but if that's the price you pay for this level of optical quality, we'll take it!(opens in new tab)
The Sony E 30mm f/3.5 Macro is really inexpensive and gives good performance. The only drawback is that due to its 35mm focal length, the closest focus distance of 9.5cm for full 1.0x macro magnification puts the front of the lens just 2.4cm from the object you’re shooting. This can cast a shadow over the object if shooting under ambient lighting, as well as scaring away bugs and other tiny creatures you may be trying to shoot. Still, if you only shoot macros occasionally and don't want to spend a fortune on a lens you won't use very often, this lens is simply perfect.(opens in new tab)
The Sony E 70-350mm f/4.5-6.3 G OSS is a really welcome addition to the Sony lens line-up. Designed specifically for APS-C format Sony E-mount cameras, it sports a 5x zoom range equating to 105-525mm on a full-frame body. It might not have an ultra-fast maximum aperture, but the modest f/4.5-6.3 aperture rating enables a much more compact, lightweight build, at a more affordable price. Image quality is also very impressive for a lens of this class and while it doesn’t have the world’s most effective optical stabilizer, you can still expect a good hit rate of sharp handheld shots. Overall, this is a lens that’s big on performance but refreshingly small and lightweight for handheld shooting. See our full review (opens in new tab).
How we test lenses
We test lenses using both real world sample images and lab tests. Our lab tests are carried out scientifically in controlled conditions using the Imatest testing suite, which consists of custom charts and analysis software that measures resolution in line widths/picture height, a measurement widely used in lens and camera testing. We find the combination of lab and real-word testing works best, as each reveals different qualities and characteristics.
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