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Lenses - Sticky Topic


Andrew Reid
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I mostly use native lens as I hate the wobble when doing critical focus with adapted lens and adapter, plus AF is crap with adapted lens and drain more battery.. Hence I have dual native Sony E mount and MFT lens lol.

Though I mostly buy 2nd hand lens which MFT is pure bargain (up there with Canon), Sony one is still more expensive, i can get both 12-40 and 35-100 2.8 for the price of one used Sony 70-200mm F4 OSS and still lighter.

18-105 on FS5 and Sony 28-135mm on A7S is my fav lens, too bad Pana doesn't have equivalent PZ lens on their setup which is a bummer.

I used to have Leica F1.2 and Voigtlander 0.95 lens, but since I got Osmo X5 I just use small primes for gimbal stuff as I mostly use zooms nowadays for my shooting, and don't shoot night much at all.

 

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3 hours ago, ntblowz said:

I mostly use native lens as I hate the wobble when doing critical focus with adapted lens and adapter, plus AF is crap with adapted lens and drain more battery.. Hence I have dual native Sony E mount and MFT lens lol.

Though I mostly buy 2nd hand lens which MFT is pure bargain (up there with Canon), Sony one is still more expensive, i can get both 12-40 and 35-100 2.8 for the price of one used Sony 70-200mm F4 OSS and still lighter.

18-105 on FS5 and Sony 28-135mm on A7S is my fav lens, too bad Pana doesn't have equivalent PZ lens on their setup which is a bummer.

I used to have Leica F1.2 and Voigtlander 0.95 lens, but since I got Osmo X5 I just use small primes for gimbal stuff as I mostly use zooms nowadays for my shooting, and don't shoot night much at all.

 

Video AF and AFC is crap (or non existent) with EF lenses on M43 but AFS is pretty much native.      EF to E is much slower with most E mount cameras though I believe the later ones are much better.

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@Cinegain I always enjoy your insights, and it's refreshing to hear someone taking into account the fun factor. But I still believe lenses, LED lights, microphones, tripods, sliders, gimbals and so on are a better investment than cameras, since we usually hold onto them for many years or even decades,  whereas we often trade in or sell camera bodies every few years. Why is that? I'll get to that in a moment, but first...

I'd make a graph but my computer skills are nil, so I'll just have to type it out the old-fashioned way ?.

1 Leica Nocticron - $1,200/10 years = $10/month investment

3 camera bodies - $2,000 pc./10 years, sell two on eBay for $1,000/each... ?

BTW, my math skills are nil too!

Of course, I'm guessing many of us will own more than three camera bodies over the course of 10 years.

Returning to the fun factor. Take a look at any of the forum threads for cameras, and you'll see lots of hand wringing, dozens upon dozens of criticisms about ergonomics, features, jello, noise, frame rates, codecs and so on. Now, check out the lens subforum. So quiet! Hardly a single dissatisfied user to speak of. Take the Leica 12-60mm f/2.8-4 lens, for example, the one I spent all my energy on trying to dissuade readers from purchasing. ? Nary a murmur. 

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Which I think is actually a point that speaks against it I'd say... because, will you still be shooting micro four thirds in 10 years? That's especially where people with multiple systems have a hard time picking MFT over Canikon mount lenses.

Within say the next three years there's a chance that atleast one of the following will have something compelling to offer... Be it Sony that might get their shit together... Canon might finally embrace enthusiast cameras with exciting features for consumers, Nikon might enter the mirrorless world and Fuji might continue the good thing they've got going on, they just need to loosen up a little (goes for any of them: less tradition, more forward thinking). We might even see BlackMagic do a handheld compact all-in-one shooter with S35 sensor?

The real benefit of Panasonic then is the size of the lenses that ultimately makes it a compact system. I don't like the Sony system that priortizes fullframe lenses for their camera systems, Canon has a so-so compact mirrorless line-up, Nikon isn't in it and Fujifilm does alright, but a lot of lenses without stabilization and a body without sensor stabilization has become a hard sell. There are speedboosters and smart adapters for MFT, so it's very compatible... the real question is... is it very capable as well? Personally I can move within the boundaries of MFT cameras, but that does mean it takes a lot for you to consider when shooting, that ultimately makes you a better shooter, but it would be so so nice to have some of these restrictions lifted. Like I find dynamic range still a little on the challenging side... of course noise performance has been improved, but ISO6400 would really be nice to have clean. Set stuff is one thing, being out in a city at night or something, you might not have the means to go about it another way. Instead of looking for alternatives that do work, you're then just in the moment without 2nd guessing if it would turn out alright or not. That's a nice thing to have. Also, I do find a Canon, Nikon or Fujifilm a little richer/more organic. Partly color, partly crop, probably just different sensor interpretation making it less videoey.

I'd say that it's likely that in the next few years I'll make the switch to S35.

Also, speaking of stuff that lasts. Although a 1299 lens is epic to have, what if you don't buy the flagship lenses and spend a bit more of your budget on support gear, lighting and audio for example? Or renting a serious camera and some anamorphics.

-- btw, I agree with you that a camera body is probably the least significant thing you can upgrade. Last year I figured that by now I would probably have already replaced the E-M1 and GH4 with their successors, but I find myself not really caring too much about the new ones right now. Guess in summer, when the updates have rolled out, I will upgrade to the GH5 though, but I'm quite liking both GX80 and G80 right now, might not be as productively laid out... but they're troopers when it comes to fun. Really loving sensor stabilization and adapting non-stabilized primes. That Leica 15mm f/1.7 is so neat too... it's super compact, nicely designed (though would've been cool to have had the Olympus manual focus clutch here), Leica mojo, affordable. You haven't checked that one out yet, now have you? And yeah, totally, when it comes to lenses everybody is always so enthusiastic about 'em. Guess it's like people, everybody has their own character, but we can all mutually accept and appreciate one another (well... sorta, the world is a messed up place, guess some people are more messed up than some vintage lenses). Lenses are the canvas, the paint and the brushes all at once. It's what paints the picture. Guess that's why it's gear that perhaps speaks to us the most on an emotional level and why we are so fond of them?

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14 minutes ago, Cinegain said:

Which I think is actually a point that speaks against it I'd say... because, will you still be shooting micro four thirds in 10 years? That's especially where people with multiple systems have a hard time picking MFT over Canikon mount lenses.

Within say the next three years there's a chance that atleast one of the following will have something compelling to offer... Be it Sony that might get their shit together... Canon might finally embrace enthusiast cameras with exciting features for consumers, Nikon might enter the mirrorless world and Fuji might continue the good thing they've got going on, they just need to loosen up a little (goes for any of them: less tradition, more forward thinking). We might even see BlackMagic do a handheld compact all-in-one shooter with S35 sensor?

The real benefit of Panasonic then is the size of the lenses that ultimately makes it a compact system. I don't like the Sony system that priortizes fullframe lenses for their camera systems, Canon has a so-so compact mirrorless line-up, Nikon isn't in it and Fujifilm does alright, but a lot of lenses without stabilization and a bodies without sensor stabilization had become a hard sell. There are speedboosters and smart adapters for MFT, so it's very compatible... the real question is... is it very capable as well? Personally I can move within the boundaries of MFT cameras, but that doesn't mean it takes a lot for you to consider when shooting, that ultimately makes you a better shooter, but it would be so so nice to have some of these restrictions lifted. Like I find dynamic range still a little on the challenging side... of course noise performance has been improved, but ISO6400 would really be nice to have clean. Set stuff is one thing, being out in a city at night or something, you might not have the means to go about it another way. Instead of looking for alternatives that do work, you're then just in the moment without 2nd guessing if it would turn out alright or not. That's a nice thing to have. Also, I do find a Canon, Nikon or Fujifilm a little richer/more organic. Partly color, partly crop, probably just different sensor interpretation making it less videoey.

I'd say that it's likely that in the next few years I'll make the switch to S35.

Also, speaking of stuff that lasts. Although a 1299 lens is epic to have, what if you don't buy the flagship lenses and spend a bit more of your budget on support gear,  lighting and audio for example? Or renting a serious camera and some anamorphics.

I'm all about support gear, I hear you on that. And if Veydra ever came out with an anamorphic lens for m43, that would be killer too, and a reason I might actually go out and buy the GH5, something not offered by other manufacturers at the moment. For what it's worth, I'm not insisting anyone spend their entire paycheck on glass - there are so many alternatives to spending $1,000 on a kit lens, though - you pointed out several very interesting ones in your previous post that I still need to take a look at - it's just so disheartening to see so many purchasing slow, variable aperture universal zooms in the name of 'versatility'. Versatility invariably entails compromises, something I'm not too fond of. Compromises like edge sharpness, compromises at the long end of the zoom, compromises in terms of speed, compromises in terms of bokeh, what have you. Whatever I buy now or in the future, f/2.8 lenses just don't get my heart racing. I prefer APS-C as well, especially for DR and low light, but Fuji would really have to begin offering zebras, touch screen, a usable app and IBIS to ever get my money again. And frankly, I don't see that happening any time soon. And Sony would have to offer a camera whose LCD screen was visible in daylight and didn't overheat on 90 degree days. 

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Oh, 1000%. That f/2.8-4... it's just not for me either. I don't really get it. I mean, for that price you can probably get a Nikon speedbooster with the Tokina AT-X Cinema lenses in their stills versions (11-16, 16-28 & 50-135mm), f/2.8 throughout... boosted on top of it! Probably has better mojo too, because to be honest, there's nothing about the f/2.8-4 I've seen that really screams 'Leica' like their primes do. Then again, I'm thinking about video use and MF, probably follow focus, set-ups. I guess enough people want a versatile daytime walkaround lens with a certain quality level for shooting stills, for that, this might be sorta alright. But as I said before... I wonder how much the Leica then adds over the Lumix... except for a couple of hundos in price, it just doesn't offer much more 'fun' to stick with that. The Leica kits are sold out all over the place here, so people are taking the bait, just... I'm not particularly convinced either.

Yeah, exactly, Fuji needs to embrace the future, add that sensor stabilization, front-facing touchscreen, overlays, etc! Sony needs to address those issues! What use is a small compact body (cause for the issues) when you hardly offer any interesting APS-C lenses and have neglected that line-up for years in favor of everything fullframe? Axx00 cameras are now only good as a stepping stone for fullframe? For people who want a A7/A9 series camera but can't afford it? They should make it a focus. Just to make a proper APS-C camera and eco system. If Panasonic and Olympus can make incredible camera bodies... and even Samsung and Fujifilm are ahead of you... you have to re-think things. But like I said... three years, give or take? Wouldn't someone finally figure out something proper? It's a wait 'n see game for now. Showing MFT some conservative love in meanwhile.

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One thing that's becoming increasingly apparent about Fuji is that the corrections that they have going on with their lenses don't play nice when you're using them in video mode.

God knows what it would look like of they added their own version of IBIS into the equation.

 

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I have to agree regarding the new Leica kit lens. People seem to be very positive about it but all I care for is what the picture looks like in the end from an aesthetic point of view (I don't need perfect sharpness, don't really care about vignetting, I can live with some mild distortion, etc.) and no one would get excited about a 24-120mm f/5.6 - 8 lens for his 5D III regarding what the results look like. I bought a cheap, used Olympus 12-40mm f/2.8 but I find to only use it at the both extreme ends of the range (might sell it and get a small wide angle for gimbal work + one of the 42.5mm lenses instead). m4/3 only really works with the primes in my opinion but, as I probably mentioned multiple times before, I also wouldn't want to shoot lenses slower than f/2.8 on a FF camera when it comes to photography.

Then there's the blah quality of many m4/3 lenses that gets tarted up in-camera or automatically in most raw converters. I always heard in the beginning of mirrorless how lenses could be smaller, cheaper and better because they have to cover less sensor real estate. But then you get examples like the Olympus 12-40 f/2.8 with a smashing 8.5% distortion at 12mm (maybe they can even increase it and market it as a fisheye zoom?), that by far exceeds the 4.3% of the Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L which by most regards is considered a rather mediocre lens in image quality. Most of the really good lenses are anything but cheap & small.

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8 hours ago, jonpais said:

Let's be honest with ourselves for a moment... would you run out and spend a grand on this lens based on images like this?

Screen Shot 2017-05-24 at 3.54.55 PM.png

 

Yeah Shane Hurlbut was not a fan of the GH4. Although I think he was a little tough on that camera, he wasn't a hundred percent wrong either. 

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On 24-5-2017 at 10:56 AM, jonpais said:

Let's be honest with ourselves for a moment... would you run out and spend a grand on this lens based on images like this?

[..]

I'd probably own one if it had gotten legendary status by now (I guess the 17.5mm is close to that!). Not too familiar with their glass, but usually f/0.95, like my SLR Magic is pretty soft wide open. Cool if you don't mind a bit of a dreamier look, but if you're going for quality, you'd better stop it down a tad bit. When you start a comparison like that, better compare them at the same aperture, so f/1.2 or more. And probably then the Leica still wins, but then again, hopefully, for that price! :grin:

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As mentioned in the other thread for @jonpais and @mercer here are some grabs from a G7 to compare a Contax Zeiss 50mm f1.7 with a modern Nikon 50mm AFS f1.8G.

Not the most thrilling of shots but set up to compare colour, sharpness and DOF on a typical MFT camera.

Profile on the G7 was set to Cinelike D

Lenses were both mounted on inexpensive basic C/Y and Nikon G to MFT adapters. 

I'd originally planned to use speedboosters but as per the other thread last week the C/Y to MFT adapter I've got is more or less a very expensive soft focus filter.

The guitar was 1.8metres from the camera and the focus and colour charts an additional 60cm behind it and then obviously a distant background.

Shots were at f1.7 (Nikon had to be exposure matched as its max aperture is f1.8) and f5.6.

The four compilations here show focus on guitar and then charts at both apertures.

In each one, the Contax Zeiss is the image on the top and the Nikon on the bottom.

All compilations are from JPEG frame exports of uncorrected clips from a 4K FCPX timeline.

Draw your own conclusions obviously but any marked difference is not leaping off the screen really.

Cost wise, there isn't a lot in it either with a used Contax Zeiss being around £150 on eBay and more or less the same for a used Nikon as tested here.

Plus point for the Nikon is obviously if you have a Nikon camera to put it on then you also get AF.

Plus points for the Contax Zeiss are very slightly wider aperture, manual aperture ring, a bit more of a forgiving focus ring IMO and a more compact form factor.

 

lenses.jpg

1.7.jpg

1.7 2.jpg

5.6.jpg

5.6 2.jpg

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2 hours ago, BTM_Pix said:

As mentioned in the other thread for @jonpais and @mercer here are some grabs from a G7 to compare a Contax Zeiss 50mm f1.7 with a modern Nikon 50mm AFS f1.8G.

Not the most thrilling of shots but set up to compare colour, sharpness and DOF on a typical MFT camera.

Profile on the G7 was set to Cinelike D

Lenses were both mounted on inexpensive basic C/Y and Nikon G to MFT adapters. 

I'd originally planned to use speedboosters but as per the other thread last week the C/Y to MFT adapter I've got is more or less a very expensive soft focus filter.

The guitar was 1.8metres from the camera and the focus and colour charts an additional 60cm behind it and then obviously a distant background.

Shots were at f1.7 (Nikon had to be exposure matched as its max aperture is f1.8) and f5.6.

The four compilations here show focus on guitar and then charts at both apertures.

In each one, the Contax Zeiss is the image on the top and the Nikon on the bottom.

All compilations are from JPEG frame exports of uncorrected clips from a 4K FCPX timeline.

Draw your own conclusions obviously but any marked difference is not leaping off the screen really.

Cost wise, there isn't a lot in it either with a used Contax Zeiss being around £150 on eBay and more or less the same for a used Nikon as tested here.

Plus point for the Nikon is obviously if you have a Nikon camera to put it on then you also get AF.

Plus points for the Contax Zeiss are very slightly wider aperture, manual aperture ring, a bit more of a forgiving focus ring IMO and a more compact form factor.

 

lenses.jpg

1.7.jpg

1.7 2.jpg

5.6.jpg

5.6 2.jpg

Thanks, I'll have to check these out when I get home.

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Here in Vietnam, I see tons of photographers shooting with adapted lenses with cameras like the Sonys and Fujis. Many are mounting Nikkors with cheap Chinese adapters to the X-T2, for example. A young filmmaker here also uses adapted glass on the GH3 and GH4 cameras I sold him. But they're doing so not so much because they prefer legacy or vintage lenses (though some actually do) but out of economy. Few here in Vietnam can afford to spend $600.00 USD (or even NZ!) or more on modern lenses. On the other hand, many in the online community choose to shoot with legacy lenses to soften up the 4K image, while others avoid Panasonic and Olympus lenses entirely because they find them too sterile or clinical looking. Then there are those who go on about the character of older glass, which I guess translates into imperfections, such as lens flare, aberrations, unusual bokeh and so forth. I'm sure not a few also purchased a Nikkor AIS because it was within their budget, only to discover they preferred the image quality to that of glass that gets the highest ratings over at sites like DXOMark. In a recent video posted on YT, I watched a comparison between the GH5 with a Minolta lens and the Red, which I think had Zeiss optics. On their own, the images shot with the Minolta looked truly lovely, but when viewed side-by-side against the Zeiss, it paled. I'm not even sure if they were shooting with Zeiss, I'd have to watch the video again, and we all know I'm too lazy to do that, preferring instead to spin ideas out of thin air. I realize we're talking about different sensors here, but nobody can deny the choice of glass is critical. On a side note, many erroneously believe that just throwing a full frame lens and adapter on their mft camera is going to magically transform their footage into cinema.

I've railed against the haphazard use of universal zooms for a while now, not only because of their lack of speed and compromises in image quality, but because the carefully considered choice of the correct focal length for each and every shot may be even more critical to achieving a 'cinematic' look than any other single factor.  Of course, this could all be total bs, if so let me know your thoughts. Anyhow, returning to my original query, what properties are you looking for when choosing vintage glass?

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In my opinion vintage glass has more character to the image. Sometimes that character can lend to a more cinematic look. Different lens brands are known for different properties. My recommendation if you want to try out vintage lenses, the first get is a Takumar. They're inexpensive and insanely well built. The 50mm 1.4 is a nice lens and also the Takumar 35mm f3.5 is an amazing lens. If it's too slow for your tastes, then the f/2 version is really nice as well. 

Minolta lenses are amazing. Just the right amount of sharpness and character. The 35mm 1.8 is probably the silkiest, creamy lens I've ever used. Also the PG 50mm 1.4 lens could be the nicest 50mm lens ever made.

The next step up would be Canon FDs. Their L series are epic. There's a 24mm 1.4 that I've been drooling over for years. FDs are known to have a very cinematic look.

The next step up and in some ways the most cinematic of the photographic lenses at a modest price point would be the Nikkors, then the Contax Zeiss.

I didn't even mention the Soviet lenses or the East German lenses.

Just be warned... when you start using vintage lenses, it can easily become addicting and there is a very good chance you will not be interested in those modern, clinical lenses of yours any longer. 

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I have had soooo many vintage lenses over the years.

Some of them were not quite so vintage when I got them though.

First reason I got many of them was I wanted whatever I could afford that fit my camera (stills) and I like to experiment and try things that people tell me I cannot do.

With the arrival of mirrorless and adapting a much wider range of mounts my choices expanded exponentially and then more so with Sony FF E mount.

I got a little bit more money a few years ago and so could get some better gear for a while so tended to stop buying the lower vintage lenses and started getting some nicer ones both vintage and modern.

I found I prefer adapting modern lenses more than I like adapting vintage for the most part though it was fun trying the same lens on a Pentax Q, M43, APSC and FF at times.

I have got rid of many of my old lenses, some through selling and some just fell apart from over use.

I am now back to being as poor as ever but have most of what I want now for stills and my video use is limited but I think I am set for my needs there also.

I still haunt pawn shops and charity shops looking for bargains and still look on Ebay for cheapies but don't NEED anything.

Current favourite vintage lenses I still have are not so many but include the Tamron adaptall 300 2.8 and these two old warriors

 

 

 

DSC05461.jpg

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28 minutes ago, noone said:

I have had soooo many vintage lenses over the years.

Some of them were not quite so vintage when I got them though.

First reason I got many of them was I wanted whatever I could afford that fit my camera (stills) and I like to experiment and try things that people tell me I cannot do.

With the arrival of mirrorless and adapting a much wider range of mounts my choices expanded exponentially and then more so with Sony FF E mount.

I got a little bit more money a few years ago and so could get some better gear for a while so tended to stop buying the lower vintage lenses and started getting some nicer ones both vintage and modern.

I found I prefer adapting modern lenses more than I like adapting vintage for the most part though it was fun trying the same lens on a Pentax Q, M43, APSC and FF at times.

I have got rid of many of my old lenses, some through selling and some just fell apart from over use.

I am now back to being as poor as ever but have most of what I want now for stills and my video use is limited but I think I am set for my needs there also.

I still haunt pawn shops and charity shops looking for bargains and still look on Ebay for cheapies but don't NEED anything.

Current favourite vintage lenses I still have are not so many but include the Tamron adaptall 300 2.8 and these two old warriors

 

 

 

DSC05461.jpg

There's that damn 24mm f/1.4 FD that's been haunting my wallet. Do you have any videos with that lens?

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41 minutes ago, mercer said:

There's that damn 24mm f/1.4 FD that's been haunting my wallet. Do you have any videos with that lens?

No sorry.

My video use though consists mainly of setting the camera (A7s mainly) on a tripod or table or even trying to hand hold still (very carefully and pretty much unsuccessfully), getting everything in focus and shooting a rock/blues band and letting the band do the work.

For that, the lens I use the most is a Canon 17mm tilt shift lens.

I am curious now though so I will use the 24 FD instead and have a go as soon as I can (maybe tonight after work if I feel like it).    Will also see what I can do over the next few days (warning, it will be lame).

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If you're after vintage, cheap, big constant aperture zoom range and parfocal then have a look at some B4 stuff.

I got this Angenieux for the LS300 as I needed it for the press conference stuff I do but obviously with it now being MFT mount I put it on the GX80 for a laugh!

Its 8.7mm f1.7 with a 15x zoom.

With the GX80 you have to deploy the internal doubler on the lens to get the image to fill the frame so its then 18mm-ish and f2.8 but the LS300 just laughs at that kind of behaviour and uses its VSM to scale it so you don't need the doubler. And it then makes it a 30x zoom by using its Prime Zoom function as well !

£200 for the lens, £70 for the adapter and about £50 for the battery plate, cable and Sony NP battery to power the servo zoom.

It is ever so slightly unbalanced on the GX80 obviously !

I'll put a bit of footage up of it when I get a chance if anyone is interested.

 

Angenieux B4 001.jpg

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Lamest of the lame.

Mucking around with the A7s and FD 24 1.4 L    I used dual record and this is just the smaller MP4 straight from the camera (I don't want to post it on YouTube)

Tripod mounted and at ISO 16000  I think it was and at 1.4 and using clearzoom so zoomed from 2x to 24mm ETC.

DOF is extremely shallow close in at 1.4

MAH05561.MP4

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