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How good was the N Gold Ring Sentinel 8x35?

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Old Tuesday 6th December 2011, 15:21   #1
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How good was the N Gold Ring Sentinel 8x35?

NIKON-8x35-8-2-DEG-GOLD-RING on Ebay

Was it as good as the Nikon E2? This person wants $135 in the Oregon state US.

He has 10 good photos.

So far by reading the archives it says that the Gold Ring series was all multi-coated. There was a vague statement that the central sweet spot was not large, and edge focus was deficient.

Can anybody agree or disagree?

Rob.
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Old Tuesday 6th December 2011, 15:48   #2
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This is an inexpensive Nikon binocular from the late 80's. It's identical to the Action I except for the addition of multi-coating to the exterior surfaces only (not fully multi-coated). I used to have one long ago. Optics are quite nice, but eye relief is extremely short (spec is 9.2mm). It's not in the same class, optically or mechanically, with the EII. As I remember $135 is a bit more than it cost new.
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Old Tuesday 6th December 2011, 18:32   #3
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I sold my Nikon 8x35 WF last year. It was the sharpest Nikon "Action" I've tried, close to my 8x32 SE in an A/B test. The color contrast was more like the 8 EII.

It had a wide sweet spot, 8.2* FOV, and gradual fall off at the edges. Short ER like the Gold Ring. From the description you wrote above, the 8x35 WF version sounds better than the GR despite the hype about this model.

I got my 8x35 WF old new stock on eBay. The only thing I didn't like about it was the fast focuser, 1/2 turn from cf to infinity like the 8x32 HG. Fortunately, being a porro, the depth perception was better, so it didn't have a 2-D effect and didn't need as frequent focusing as the HG.

Keep your eye peeled on eBay, the WFs crop up now and then. There's also a 7x35 WF and 12x40 WF (which looks more like an "E" series with the focuser near the objectives).

Both are very good - wide sweet spot, gradual fall off at the edges. Better than the new Actions in that regard.

Brock
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Old Tuesday 6th December 2011, 19:30   #4
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Originally Posted by brocknroller View Post
From the description you wrote above, the 8x35 WF version sounds better than the GR despite the hype about this model.
Brock,

The original Actions and the Gold Sentinels were exactly the same binoculars except for two multi-coated surfaces, hardly enough to matter. I had all of them at one time or another. I agree that the optics were very fine, but they betrayed their low price point in the mechanical construction which was not Nikon's best. The objective tubes, for instance, were made of plastic. There were 7x35, 8x35, 7x50 and 10x50 models in both series, all using the same prism housing and mixing and matching different eyepieces and objectives to make the different models.

The 12x40 was a different animal, based on the E series. It was made by combining the 10x35 E eyepieces and prism housing with a longer focal length 40mm objective. There was an oddball 8x35 I've only seen pictured, probably from the 70's and apparently not using parts from any other Nikon binoculars. Look for an 8x35 with unusually long objective barrels.

Henry

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Old Tuesday 6th December 2011, 20:24   #5
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Brock,

The Actions and the Gold Sentinels were exactly the same binoculars except for two multi-coated surfaces, hardly enough to matter. I had all of them at one time or another. Optics were very fine, but they betrayed their low price point in the mechanical construction which was not Nikon's best. The objective tubes, for instance, were made of plastic. There were 7x35, 8x35, 7x50 and 10x50 models in both series, all using the same prism housing and mixing and matching different eyepieces and objectives to make the different models.

The 12x40 was a different animal, based on the E series. It was made by combining the 10x35 E eyepieces and prism with a longer focal length 40mm objective. There was an oddball 8x35 I've only seen pictured, probably from the 70's and apparently not using parts from any other Nikon binoculars. Look for an 8x35 with unusually long objective barrels.

Henry
Henry,

The WFs and Gold Sentinels do look very similar, but the description above about the "central sweet spot was not large, and edge focus was deficient" doesn't apply to the WFs I owned. The sweet spots were large and the fall off at the edges more gradual than the Action EX.

The prism housings are definitely metal since the 7x35 WF has some "brassing" on the edges. If the barrels are plastic, it's very hard plastic, I don't notice any difference pressing down hard on the barrels compared to the housings. Seems solid.

The WFs have a large, ribbed plastic center focuser, unlike the 12x40, which had the skinny wheel near the EPs similar to the E/SE series. VG edge performance on the 12x model. I think the FOV was 5.5*?

For birding, the 8x35 WF impressed me the most. Steve (mooreorless) tried this model and was impressed too. In fact, he opened his wallet and offered to buy it on the spot (a moth almost flew into my mouth :-).

We compared the 8x35 WF to a 505xxx 8x32 SE, and the images showed similar detail, looking at various objects at a distance including signs. I didn't notice a loss of detail going from the SE to the WF. The 8x35 WF was very sharp.

Then again, sharp images weren't a problem with 80s porros the way they were with un-phase coated roofs. The Nikon 8x36 Sporter 1 had noticeably softer images than the WFs.

The SE's colors were a bit more vivid in some parts of the spectrum (purple/blue), but the brightness and contrast in the WF were very good for an 80s bin. It had blue coatings like the 7x35 WF, but apparently this iteration was more advanced since the images were more color neutral compared to the 7x35 WF, which under low light shows a slight greenish/yellow tint.

The low ER on the 8x35 WF made it hard to see the field edge for me. Perhaps users with flatter facial features would have less problem.

Attached are some photos of the 8x35 WF.

Brock
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Old Tuesday 6th December 2011, 22:09   #6
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Originally Posted by brocknroller View Post
The WFs and Gold Sentinels do look very similar, but the description above about the "central sweet spot was not large, and edge focus was deficient" doesn't apply to the WFs I owned. The sweet spots were large and the fall off at the edges more gradual than the Action EX.
Brock,

Not the first time two different people have had different reactions to the same binocular.

I'm not surprised that you found them to be just as sharp as the SE. Why not?

I bought a pair of the original 7x35 Actions for $80 in 1985. I was so enamored that I ordered all three of the other models at the same time (you might call it my FrankD period ;-)). I preferred them to any of the alpha roofs of the time and preferred the 7x35 Action to the 7x35 E. Yes, the prism housings are metal. I found out about the plastic objective barrels when I bonked one and it popped off.

Here' a photo of the Action series page from a 1986 Nikon catalogue. Looks like they had already dropped the 7x35 at that point.

Henry
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Old Wednesday 7th December 2011, 18:05   #7
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Brock,

Not the first time two different people have had different reactions to the same binocular.

I'm not surprised that you found them to be just as sharp as the SE. Why not?

I bought a pair of the original 7x35 Actions for $80 in 1985. I was so enamored that I ordered all three of the other models at the same time (you might call it my FrankD period ;-)). I preferred them to any of the alpha roofs of the time and preferred the 7x35 Action to the 7x35 E. Yes, the prism housings are metal. I found out about the plastic objective barrels when I bonked one and it popped off.

Here' a photo of the Action series page from a 1986 Nikon catalogue. Looks like they had already dropped the 7x35 at that point.

Henry
Why not? Because I eyeball test bins and you bench test them. I was half expecting some hard numbers showing that the 8x32 SE was x arcseconds higher resolution than the 8x35 WFs. :-)

The WFs resolution seemed on par with the SE, using the test targets we had available (fruit farm signs, pumpkins, and various baskets of fruit). The contrast and color saturation were also very good for an 80s bin, and the edge sharpness was better than the current Action EX.

The fact that they dropped the 7x35 WF might explain why the 8x35 model had better coatings. The 7x35 has excellent depth of field and 3-D effect, and its focuser is not as "fast" as the 8x35.

One area where the WFs are weak vs. the SE is they are more prone to flare. Not the "veiling glare" kind, but just some flickering at certain angles to the sun. Could be due to the single coatings.

I guess we all go through a "Frank D." period (except Frank, who is never ending :-). With John Cota selling porros at bargain basement prices on Amart, it was hard not to sample as many bins as I could afford. Plus, he was usually open to trades, so I traded him back and forth a lot.

This got me a lot of experience with different porros, but then the roof explosion occurred, and nobody wanted to discuss porros or buy them anymore. Even John Cota, after buying just about every porro made, switched to buying roofs (though not alphas).

I took a flashlight ("torch" for those on the other side of the pond) and looked into the barrels of the 7x35 WF, and it does look like molded plastic. Edz said the Orion Ultraviews and Swift Jap. made Ultralites also have plastic barrels. I guess they were ahead of their time since polycarbonate is all the rage!

I've got to write Holger and see how he and Fan Tao are making out with the Chinese-made premium porro revival.

When perusing online stores for bins, I feel like a cat lover in a dog pound.

Brock
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Old Wednesday 7th December 2011, 18:34   #8
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Why do you two have to bring my name into your never-ending discussion of perception versus measurement?



...and I don't go and buy every bin in the lineup. I just go out and buy every bin.

:-p
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Old Thursday 8th December 2011, 03:59   #9
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Why do you two have to bring my name into your never-ending discussion of perception versus measurement?



...and I don't go and buy every bin in the lineup. I just go out and buy every bin.

:-p
Frank,

You have become the icon of the low to mid-price buyer/tester/seller. Btw, are you pabowhuntR on eBay? I almost bid on that nice 7x35 E but then saw the severely flared eyecups and decided against it, because Nikon probably doesn't stock replacements.

Tom probably buys even more low- to mid-priced bins than you do, from looking at his online sales, but you do more reviews. So you get the honor.

Brock
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Old Thursday 8th December 2011, 09:04   #10
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Well that sounds a bit better when you put it that way Brock.

...and, yes, that is my ebay "handle" as it were. Those 7x35 Es are in excellent condition....flared eyecups or not. Consider that if you can still find eyecups for the SE then you probably still good for the E series as well. I saw some come up on Ebay a few months ago but did not purchase them as I had no interest at the time.
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Old Thursday 8th December 2011, 14:23   #11
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Frank,

If you order eyecups make sure they're for the 7x35. Eyecups for the other E series models won't fit.

Brock,

I rummaged through my old optics stuff a little more and found that the 7x35 Action was back again in dealer lists from 1987 and was included in the Gold Sentinel series in 1989. I don't know why it was missing from that 1986 catalogue. I don't believe there were any coatings changes except for the partial multi-coating added to the Gold Sentinels. Remember, the Actions were the bottom of the Nikon line at the time. They used the same garden variety MgF2 as the E series, nothing better. If you see color differences it's likely either coatings batch variation or deterioration of the Canada Balsam cement.

Henry
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Old Saturday 10th December 2011, 03:57   #12
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Frank,

If you order eyecups make sure they're for the 7x35. Eyecups for the other E series models won't fit.

Brock,

I rummaged through my old optics stuff a little more and found that the 7x35 Action was back again in dealer lists from 1987 and was included in the Gold Sentinel series in 1989. I don't know why it was missing from that 1986 catalogue. I don't believe there were any coatings changes except for the partial multi-coating added to the Gold Sentinels. Remember, the Actions were the bottom of the Nikon line at the time. They used the same garden variety MgF2 as the E series, nothing better. If you see color differences it's likely either coatings batch variation or deterioration of the Canada Balsam cement.

Henry
Maybe or perhaps on the last gen. of WFs, Nikon incorporated partial multi-coating elements like they did on the GR series?

Do you know what color(s) reflected off the GR's lenses?

Brock
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Old Saturday 10th December 2011, 05:33   #13
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The Gold Sentinels were made in 1988 & 1989 and other than the multicoatings Henry mentioned, I believe the only differences to the previous Actions was the gold band on the objective, a modified pebbled leatherette covering, and the upgraded leather kidney bean case that was used by the E series. Reflections on the one I have seen is predominatly bluish.

Nikon acknowledged receipt of my 10x35 E's early in the week and I had requested they send a spare set of rubber eyecups when they return them after cleaning, so we'll see what happens.

And yes, I have been known to buy a bino or two. Bought one tonight while I was PMing Steve.

Tom
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Old Saturday 10th December 2011, 12:43   #14
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Maybe or perhaps on the last gen. of WFs, Nikon incorporated partial multi-coating elements like they did on the GR series?

Do you know what color(s) reflected off the GR's lenses?

Brock
Brock,

My recollection is that the exterior multi-coated surfaces reflected mainly green and the interior MgF2 surfaces were the usual blue/purple. It's an easy enough distinction to see without even looking through the binoculars. Since it was a selling point and one justification for the higher price of the GR's, I doubt that the original Actions ever had similar coatings.

Henry
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Old Thursday 22nd December 2011, 15:52   #15
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So, I am guessing that these are the 7x35 WFs you folks were discussing in this thread?

If so then I am happy I pay attention to all of the forum threads and not just the ones of bins that I have tried/owned. I picked these up on the bay a week or so ago and am entirely happy with them at this point. Good optical performance...flat field, large sweet spot, wide field of view, excellent apparent sharpness and a fairly neutral color representation. The focus is faster than I anticipated but I wouldn't call it "fast" in the grand scheme of things. Definitely a good purchase.

Removed the rubber eyecups so that I could see the full field of view.
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Old Thursday 22nd December 2011, 17:32   #16
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So, I am guessing that these are the 7x35 WFs you folks were discussing in this thread?

If so then I am happy I pay attention to all of the forum threads and not just the ones of bins that I have tried/owned. I picked these up on the bay a week or so ago and am entirely happy with them at this point. Good optical performance...flat field, large sweet spot, wide field of view, excellent apparent sharpness and a fairly neutral color representation. The focus is faster than I anticipated but I wouldn't call it "fast" in the grand scheme of things. Definitely a good purchase.

Removed the rubber eyecups so that I could see the full field of view.
Yes, that's the model I have. The depth of field and 3-D effect are very impressive, but as you noted, the ER requires an eyelash trimmer. It's hard for me to see the edge of the 9.3* FOV w/out tilting the bins.

The 7x35 Action EX has the same FOV. The edges are much fuzzier, however, the ER is much better ER.

Why can't Nikon make a WF 7x35 porro with good edges AND good ER? Is it too expensive to give an EP that combination of qualities at this price point?

Brock
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Old Thursday 22nd December 2011, 17:53   #17
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The answer to your last question has to be "yes". I cannot see any other reason why.

For me, without the rubber eyecups the view is absolutely acceptable. I see to many thinks to like about the optical performance. The view is easy because of the excellent depth of field, apparent sharpness and size of sweet spot and, unlike some of the older WF 7x35s, there is very little field curvature.

I tried finding out more info on this line via google and CN but came up with next to nothing. Found the 8x35 CF mentioned in the original post above...still listed on Ebay and I found your Astromart ad from last year. Nice description in the ad by the way.

Other than that these seem to be a bit of a "lost model".

Definitely keeping these.
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Old Tuesday 10th January 2012, 16:07   #18
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I wanted to revive this thread simply because I received a Nikon Gold Sentinel 7x35 yesterday evening. I have not yet compared it to the Nikon Action WF 7x35 but plan to do so right after work.

They do appear to be the same bin on casual inspection. The images certainly are similar but until I do a side by side I don't want to comment further. What I do want to comment on is the feel. The Gold Sentinels feel heavier. I would question whether the Sentinels had the plastic barrels or if that was something that only the original Action version had.

..and, for what it is worth, I also picked up the Naturalist II "Action" 7x35. I am assuming this was the next Action version in the lineup? The field of view is narrower at only 8.6 degrees but is seems to share a similar overall design/style.
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Old Tuesday 10th January 2012, 22:18   #19
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I wanted to revive this thread simply because I received a Nikon Gold Sentinel 7x35 yesterday evening. I have not yet compared it to the Nikon Action WF 7x35 but plan to do so right after work.

They do appear to be the same bin on casual inspection. The images certainly are similar but until I do a side by side I don't want to comment further. What I do want to comment on is the feel. The Gold Sentinels feel heavier. I would question whether the Sentinels had the plastic barrels or if that was something that only the original Action version had.

..and, for what it is worth, I also picked up the Naturalist II "Action" 7x35. I am assuming this was the next Action version in the lineup? The field of view is narrower at only 8.6 degrees but is seems to share a similar overall design/style.
Frank:
I will be interested in your comments. I have the Nat. II 7x35. My first good
binocular, I purchased it in 1993. I like it, and find it much superior to the current Nikon Action 7x35.
I still have the receipt, $69.99.

Jerry,

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Old Wednesday 11th January 2012, 13:36   #20
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I wanted to revive this thread simply because I received a Nikon Gold Sentinel 7x35 yesterday evening. I have not yet compared it to the Nikon Action WF 7x35 but plan to do so right after work.

They do appear to be the same bin on casual inspection. The images certainly are similar but until I do a side by side I don't want to comment further. What I do want to comment on is the feel. The Gold Sentinels feel heavier. I would question whether the Sentinels had the plastic barrels or if that was something that only the original Action version had.

..and, for what it is worth, I also picked up the Naturalist II "Action" 7x35. I am assuming this was the next Action version in the lineup? The field of view is narrower at only 8.6 degrees but is seems to share a similar overall design/style.
Frank,

According to the specs from Nikon brochures of the time there is no difference in weight (or anything else) between the original Action Series models and the Gold Sentinel models. If you have an accurate scale you could see for yourself. According to the specs they should both weigh 670g and your 7x35 Action II should weigh 580g.

Last night I started to go through my old Nikon material to see if I could construct a history of the early Action Series binoculars and their spin-offs like the Gold Sentinels and Stay-Focus Series. I can follow the progression from the introduction of the first Actions in the mid 1980's through the Action III in the early 90's. After that, my information has a gap and picks up again with the Action V in the late 90's. I'll try to put it all together and post something in the next day or so.

Henry

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Old Wednesday 11th January 2012, 15:24   #21
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Henry,

Thank you for the info. I will pull out the scale and check when time allows.

I am looking forward to reading your post about the history of the Action series. I have several of the models now but see several more than have me curious. Any and all info would be appreciated.
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Old Wednesday 11th January 2012, 21:13   #22
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Using old Nikon brochures I've tried to construct a partial history of the Action binoculars and their off-shoots. Here's what I have come up with so far.

Original Action: Introduced around 1985 as Nikon's budget line. No markings on the binoculars identifies them as Action series. The far left photo shows their specs from a 1986 catalogue. The 7x35 model is mysteriously omitted from the catalogue, but was almost certainly available in 1986.

Action II: Introduced in the late 1980's. Smaller, lighter, narrower fields and shorter eye relief than the originals, in general a step down in quality. At about the same time the original Actions were upgraded to the Gold Sentinel Series, which had the same optics, but with the addition of minimal multi-coating, a different leatherette covering and a better case. Physically, the only obvious difference is a thin gold band around the objective trim ring and green multi-coating on the exterior glass surfaces of the Gold Sentinels. The second photo from the left shows specs for the Gold Sentinels (same as original Actions) and what I call the Action II series to distinguish it from the originals. With this series Nikon begins to use Roman numerals for the individual models like the Naturalist II (7x35) and the Lookout II (10x50). The Action II is also available (including a 7x50 model) with a lockable center focus, called "Stayfocus Plus" Series

Action III: Introduced sometime in the early 1990's. Optical specs appear to be similar to the Action II, but the bodies are completely changed to a new "ergonomic" shape, with rounded prism housings and closely spaced objective tubes. There is also a lockable focus version based on the same design called "Stayfocus Plus II". The Roman numerals for individual models are bit confusing. The 7x35 is called "Naturalist III" and the 10x50 is called "Lookout III", but the zoom model is called "Scoutmaster II" because it's only the second zoom to appear in an Action series and the 8x40 is simply called "Egret" because it's the first 8x40 in an Action series.

Action IV: no information

Action V: Introduced in the late 1990's and very similar to the current Action Series. This series returns to the wide fields of the originals, but from what I've seen, except for light transmission, the optical quality of the original Actions and Gold Sentinels has never been equaled, much less surpassed, by any of the later versions.
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Old Thursday 12th January 2012, 01:51   #23
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Henry,

I may be able to help a bit as I just picked up an Action IV 7x35. I will post pics, etc... tomorrow. Thank you for all you have posted.
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Old Sunday 26th February 2012, 16:39   #24
b-lilja
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Y'all got me excited and I just picked up a mint 7x35 GS on ebay...
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Old Sunday 26th February 2012, 22:11   #25
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Those were mine that you bought for a steal. ;-)
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