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Thread: Torn between Pentax 645d and IQ + RM3di

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    Subscriber and Workshop Member MGrayson's Avatar
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    Re: Torn between Pentax 645d and IQ + RM3di

    Alas, I see my mistake. I accumulated a bunch of Pentax 645 glass and a 645NII thinking that a 645D would be the only affordable way into MFDigital. I have no optical issues at all with any of these lenses, but have only used them on film.

    Two weeks ago I inherited a 500C/M, so now there is MF Zeiss glass in my life, and the possibility of CFV backs... but limited wide angle, no AF for the longer lenses, and anyway, cropping that beautiful 6x6 view seems sad.

    I suppose there's a reason these two systems are (relatively) affordable.

    ,

    Matt

    BTW, I *do* know what pictures I want to take - WA Landscape/Architecture (Zeiss 21, Leica 28 are my most used lenses on 35mm format) with some 100-200mm landscape details and portraits. I still go for the Canon for the portraits due to the AF (love that 70-200/2.8), and use an M9 for anything wider. It would be sensible to just stop there and be happy, but noooooo...

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    Re: Torn between Pentax 645d and IQ + RM3di

    Guy is right as usual again,

    Software designed around sensor, is the best way to go and only Phase / Leaf offer this via Capture One and there MF backs, yet at a price.

    Again not being a professional photographer, the price of a new Phase DF body and a P40+ or Leaf Aptus 8 was well over 17K, at least 70% more then the 645D, yep, you get what you pay for, and working on DNG files from my 645D in LR3, the default color is not very good, always have to make adjustments.

    Bottom line, you have to have a very good handle on your PP skills or you might as well shoot a p&s camera in jpeg mode.

    David, your point is well taken, used H3D2-39 and 4 HCD lens is a great setup, again at a price though.

    I would be interested to see how many GETDPI members are actual professional photographers, meaning this is there primary source of income as opposed to others like myself who love photography, but don't make there living from it.
    For me, it's all about having fun, and whether its with a MF 645D, Phase One DF, Arca Swiss RM3di, Alpa, etc, or even a FF 35mm camera Nikon, Canon, Sony, Leica..
    Just go out and have fun and if you are lucky you may get a great image that you can say "I took that"

    Steven
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    Workshop Member kuau's Avatar
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    Re: Torn between Pentax 645d and IQ + RM3di

    Matt,
    No question about it, 98% of all the Pentax lenses were made for film, and not digital, besides there new 55mm and 25mm lenses everything was for film, and the 645D quickly shows any defects on there lenses.

    From my own experience, having tried a 503CW and a CFV39 back with zeiss glass, basically the same problem as Pentax 645D, yes zeiss glass is better, but... yet again all the glass was designed for film, and the CFV39 back hanging off a 503CW body, you quickly see flaws in some of the zeiss glass, especially there WA lenses, like the 45mm CFE and 55mm CFI lens, not the greatest performers when matched with a CFV39 back.

    Steven

    Quote Originally Posted by MGrayson View Post
    Alas, I see my mistake. I accumulated a bunch of Pentax 645 glass and a 645NII thinking that a 645D would be the only affordable way into MFDigital. I have no optical issues at all with any of these lenses, but have only used them on film.

    Two weeks ago I inherited a 500C/M, so now there is MF Zeiss glass in my life, and the possibility of CFV backs... but limited wide angle, no AF for the longer lenses, and anyway, cropping that beautiful 6x6 view seems sad.

    I suppose there's a reason these two systems are (relatively) affordable.

    ,

    Matt

    BTW, I *do* know what pictures I want to take - WA Landscape/Architecture (Zeiss 21, Leica 28 are my most used lenses on 35mm format) with some 100-200mm landscape details and portraits. I still go for the Canon for the portraits due to the AF (love that 70-200/2.8), and use an M9 for anything wider. It would be sensible to just stop there and be happy, but noooooo...
    Steven Kornreich
    www.kuau.com

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    Re: Torn between Pentax 645d and IQ + RM3di

    Quote Originally Posted by MGrayson View Post
    Alas, I see my mistake. I accumulated a bunch of Pentax 645 glass and a 645NII thinking that a 645D would be the only affordable way into MFDigital. I have no optical issues at all with any of these lenses, but have only used them on film.

    Two weeks ago I inherited a 500C/M, so now there is MF Zeiss glass in my life, and the possibility of CFV backs... but limited wide angle, no AF for the longer lenses, and anyway, cropping that beautiful 6x6 view seems sad.

    I suppose there's a reason these two systems are (relatively) affordable.

    ,

    Matt

    BTW, I *do* know what pictures I want to take - WA Landscape/Architecture (Zeiss 21, Leica 28 are my most used lenses on 35mm format) with some 100-200mm landscape details and portraits. I still go for the Canon for the portraits due to the AF (love that 70-200/2.8), and use an M9 for anything wider. It would be sensible to just stop there and be happy, but noooooo...
    This a load of do-do IMHO. Relax and enjoy what you have. Not long ago I had a 503CW/CFV and Zeiss optics, and bunch of other guys here also use that set-up. While not all the Zeiss optics were stellar, most of them can bark with the big dogs. What they may lack in sterile Japanese edge sharpness they more than make up for with incredible color, microcontrast and over-all character. If you get a Zeiss 50, get the FLE version. The 65 and 100 are legendary, and the 180 and 250SA are hard to beat.

    If you get a CFV, them the images can be processed in Phocus software and the DAC lens corrections can applied to most every Zeiss V lens ever made.

    Can't speak to the Pentax ... never used one.

    BTW, a whole lot of really good photographers exclusively use Lightroom which gets better more versatile and faster with every new release ... which they just did again with v3.4.

    Shoot pictures. Have fun.

    -Marc

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    Workshop Member kuau's Avatar
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    Re: Torn between Pentax 645d and IQ + RM3di

    marc,
    everything you mentioned is true, and i totally forgot about phocus software, duh.
    personallyi did not get to try the 50mm fle, correct me if i am wrong but that lens only works on the 200 series blads, no shutter in it,
    on the 500 series, i think 60mm and above are all good edge to edge using the cfv39 back., if you are a landscape shooter i feel this is important, portraits, fashion, etc not nearly as important.

    steven
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    Re: Torn between Pentax 645d and IQ + RM3di

    I agree with Marc. It wouldn't be prudent to lump all previous MF lenses manufactured during the film era as sub par when used with a digital sensor. It was and continues to be a mostly case by case basis when evaluating pre-existing 35mm lenses when they are used on 35mm DSLR's. This continues to be continual process as the sensors and cameras change along the way, in regards to the demands they put on optics. Along with this is better and more sophisticated software that in many ways has become exceptional in handling older glass and some of the anomalies they might exhibit.

    As I posted in a few previous posts in this thread, the Pentax FA 645 autofocus lenses have very good potential to perform exceptionally well with the Pentax 645D, so the system is not completely dependent on just newly released lenses. In fact the new 55mm f2.8 released alongside the 645D, is a lens that I would rate in the middle of the pack....with many previously released FA 645 lenses easily equaling or exceeding it in performance. It's not all rosy with all previous FA lenses, but many are turning out to be very very good and good buys too! So as was the case in 35mm DSLR's, a digital specific lenses doesn't always translate to better, and if it does, it may be many times more expensive with not a lot in return compared to previously released lenses.The more samples of a given lens I've had the opportunity to test, the more I am convinced that a good system can be put together incorporating the 645D, that ultimately will satisfy a large number of discriminating users. That's not to say there aren't better lenses/platforms out there....there most certainly are! As its said so often...it's all comes down to needs, budget and expectations.

    Dave (D&A)

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    Subscriber and Workshop Member MGrayson's Avatar
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    Re: Torn between Pentax 645d and IQ + RM3di

    Do-do. Do-do?

    What did I say about the Hassy that isn't true? It's a fabulous camera. I love using it as a 6x6. I'd hate to crop it. The 50 FLE and 100 CF arrived in the mail today (I did my homework) and I'm scanning my first roll as we speak. It's a blast.

    Shooting pictures. Having fun.

    Matt
    Last edited by MGrayson; 29th April 2011 at 06:48.

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    Re: Torn between Pentax 645d and IQ + RM3di

    Quote Originally Posted by kuau View Post
    marc,
    everything you mentioned is true, and i totally forgot about phocus software, duh.
    personallyi did not get to try the 50mm fle, correct me if i am wrong but that lens only works on the 200 series blads, no shutter in it,
    on the 500 series, i think 60mm and above are all good edge to edge using the cfv39 back., if you are a landscape shooter i feel this is important, portraits, fashion, etc not nearly as important.

    steven
    No, that is incorrect Kuau. The 50/4 CFi FLE is the improved version of the older non FLE 50mm for the 500 series V cameras.

    FLE means Floating Lens Element which the user manually sets based on distance to subject. It specifically optimized optical performance at various distances, but in particular improved closer focus.
    The Zeiss 50mm 200 series lens was a non-FLE with a f/2.8 maximum aperture as opposed to f/4 of the 500 series ... which was possible because there is no central shutter in the lens.

    The latest version of the 40mm is the Zeiss 40CFE IF, which significantly improved corner to corner, edge to edge performance over the previous 40mm but at the expense of some additional distortion ... which Phocus automatically corrects with a mouse click ... software easily fixes this type of issue compared to edge sharpness issues which it can't fix. I would consider the 40IF a digital inspired lens since it was developed well after digital had become dominate.

    The lens designation C, CF, CFi CFE meanings are: "C" Central Shutter, "F" Focal Plane (meaning there is an F setting on the 500 series V lens that disables the central shutter so the lens can be used on the 200 series Focal Plane cameras) The "i" of CFi lenses means "improved" (newer locking sync port, better reflection suppression inside the lens, improved internal springs, and better hood mount coating, etc.) The E of CFE stands for Electronic data bus contacts which allowed for automatic meter indexing when used on a 200 series camera that has a built-in meter, and also indexes itself when a CFE Zeiss lens is used on an H camera via the CF adapter.

    If one is using a CFV/16 back on a V camera, the crop factor is 1.5X, so some of the older lenses are less of an issue compared to using the CFV/39 or 50. If using the CFV 39/50, I strongly suggest the 40IF and 50CFi FLE for optimized optical wide angle performance.

    -Marc

    P.S. if one doesn't already exist, my bet is that someone will offer a V to Pentax 645 adapter which will allow use of the Zeiss lenses on the Pentax 645D, which is possible because it is a focal plane camera.

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    Workshop Member kuau's Avatar
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    Re: Torn between Pentax 645d and IQ + RM3di

    marc,
    thanks for the clarification.
    when i had a had a 503cw and cfv39 back on loan from hasselblad, i had the older 40mm cfe, 120mm and 150mm lens which both worked very well.
    i could not get my hands on the IF version ofthe 40mm, this as you know is a very expensive piece of glass around $8k, and i was told by hasselblad support that yes it was improved yet when coupled with the cfv39 back still some softness in the corners..

    i then had hasselblad do a test for me with the newer 50mm cfi cfe lens ona 503cw 39 back f11 and f16 tripod mlu shot at infinty, they sent me the 3fr files to open up in phocus, and still edge performance was sub par, yes, color, micro contrast excellent in 2/3 rds of the frame but thats it.

    so that was my experience with the 503/cfv39 combo. although i loved the setup, totally retro and all mechanical, for wa landscape work, not a good performer based on my tests.

    my older h3d39 with hcd lens provided superior results from the hcd 28 and hcd 50.

    im going in september to iceland on a hasselblad work shop, i will be shooting there h4d, 40 and 50mp cameras alongwith complete set of hcd lenses. cant wait for the trip

    steven

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    Re: Torn between Pentax 645d and IQ + RM3di

    Seems like many here assume Pentax glass is of much lower quality than rest of the MF lenses. I know Lloyd Chambers (diglloyd.com) was not too impressed with some of the lenses but are there any more tests confirming his findings?
    Hrannar Hauksson
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    Re: Torn between Pentax 645d and IQ + RM3di

    I don't think that the issue is that the Pentax MF glass isn't good, just that most of the existing non-digital optimized glass isn't up to the demands of a 40mp digital sensor. With film things were much more forgiving.
    Remember: adventure before dementia!

    As Oscar Wilde said, "my tastes are simple, I only like the best"

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    Re: Torn between Pentax 645d and IQ + RM3di

    Quote Originally Posted by GrahamWelland View Post
    I don't think that the issue is that the Pentax MF glass isn't good, just that most of the existing non-digital optimized glass isn't up to the demands of a 40mp digital sensor. With film things were much more forgiving.
    Hi Graham,

    Well yes and no. No doubt some of the lenses do show their weakness on the digital body but some don't, relative to the only 645 lens that Pentax specifically designed for use on the 645D body...the new WR 55mm. (other than the just released 25mm). Although I haven't yet posted my comprehensive testing of almost all of the FA af 645 lenses, as my previous post indicated, most of the previously released FA af lenses did as well or better than the new digital specific WR 55mm. That's not to say they are as good as say Zeiss 645 lenses, but just that many of these previously released Pentax FA af 645 lenses held the own again what Pentax released aa a digital specific lens. I'd even go out on a limb and say many of the Pentax lenses would do well when compared to some of the Mamiya or Phase lenses...though of course it would have to be on a case by case basis. I think where some of the Pentax lenses are getting a bad rap is the sample to sample variation, which in many cass I found considerable.

    Dave (D&A)

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    Re: Torn between Pentax 645d and IQ + RM3di

    Dave

    I'd certainly agree that the lens challenge isn't unique to Pentax and absolutely applies to Mamiya/Phase One/Hasselblad too. That said, I suspect that in many cases the "problem" is over emphasized due to pixel peeping vs actual prints. I know that I've certainly got some really nice prints from Mamiya glass that struggles in the corners etc when pixel peeped - the recipients of the prints just don't see or care which is exactly how it should be.
    Last edited by GrahamWelland; 1st May 2011 at 09:25.
    Remember: adventure before dementia!

    As Oscar Wilde said, "my tastes are simple, I only like the best"

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    Re: Torn between Pentax 645d and IQ + RM3di

    Graham and Dave are both 100% ccorrect.

    Pentax 645 glass vs mamiya /phase glass is a wash, sample to sample variation.
    Besides the newly designed Phase glass, i was told by a dealer that the only difference between older
    mamiya glass and phase glass is that phase is testing the lenses in house before they are sent out to the dealers. i.e. the new phase 35mm lens, i was told there was no design change, just better qc and rebranded of course as compared to the phase 45 which i beleice is a new design.

    will pentax ever put back into manufacture there Fa lens line and do what phase is doing, i was told by pentax usa probably not. there lens road map confirms this and alll we can hope for if we are lucky is one new lens a year. i think the next lens is a mid range zoom for 2012

    in tne mean time my lense dealer is Ebay lol
    steven
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    Re: Torn between Pentax 645d and IQ + RM3di

    [QUOTE=kuau;311916]Graham and Dave are both 100% [\QUOTE]

    Pentax 645 glass vs mamiya /phase glass is a wash, sample to sample variation.
    Besides the newly designed Phase glass, i was told by a dealer that the only difference between older
    mamiya glass and phase glass is that phase is testing the lenses in house before they are sent out to the dealers. i.e. the new phase 35mm lens, i was told there was no design change, just better qc and rebranded of course as compared to the phase 45 which i beleice is a new design.

    will pentax ever put back into manufacture there Fa lens line and do what phase is doing, i was told by pentax usa probably not. there lens road map confirms this and alll we can hope for if we are lucky is one new lens a year. i think the next lens is a mid range zoom for 2012 [END QUOTE]
    ---------------------------------------------_

    I agree! I think much of the issue with Pentax FA glass is that the QC for the lenses (for each individual sample) was sufficient for the film bodies they were designed for but not for the stricter requirements on a digital body. Part of it I found was simply carefully fine tuning the 645D AF fine tuning to compensate for front/back focusing, which in some samples were considerable. Other times it was issues with the individual sample itself where optical performance was weak due to some other optical anomaly, that might have been insignificant when used on a film body (and therefore passed QC) but not adequate for use on a digital body.

    Let me also just mention that my comments in my previous post "above"' were in relationship to pixel peeping, in that my assessment of Pentax FA af lenses on the 645D were performed at 100% (actual pixels) and that many of the already existing Pentax FA lenses (good samples) did quite well across the entire frame. Graham's post above though is well taken regarding pixel peeping vs. actual prints made.

    Like their 35mm system, Pentax discontinued almost all their film era designed 35mm FA lenses when they were well into their 35mm DSLR era, so I too agree with Steven that's it's unlikely that Pentax will re-release any of their 645 FA lenses...although that had as much to do with the companies economic situation as anything else. I suspect that this is also part of the reason for Pentax going slowly with new 645 lens releases, as they went with some trepidation into finially deciding to "green light" the production of the 645D body and want to make sure there will be an adequate market for new lenses.

    Dave (D&A)

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    Re: Torn between Pentax 645d and IQ + RM3di

    Quote Originally Posted by Hauxon View Post
    Seems like many here assume Pentax glass is of much lower quality than rest of the MF lenses. I know Lloyd Chambers (diglloyd.com) was not too impressed with some of the lenses but are there any more tests confirming his findings?
    It seems many of the old lenses MF show weakness on a MFDB; Lloyd was not very impressed with the Hasselblad lenses he tested either. He tested a large number of Pentax lenses on the 645D, and I have followed his results closely, some are excellent on the 645D, e.g. 120mm macro and the 400mm ED. All of lenses he tested, other than the new 55mm, were used (in fact I lent him two of the lenses he tested); many were the older “A”, manual focus versions - 30-year-old lens designs. Some of the sample variation Dave refers to may have its origin in the previous use of each lens along with any from manufacture. Who knows what history of a used lens is? Some of the lenses he tested may have been 25-years-old and none was very young.
    As Steven has mentioned, a weakness of this system is the difficulty of getting new lenses. Steven, do you know for sure that they are no longer manufactured? When Hoya announced the end of film 67/645 bodies they stated that 645 lens production would continue. I know Pentax USA has indicated no intention to import lenses for sale in the US, but that’s not quite the same thing. Many of the old FA lenses appear on the current lens road map.
    Dave, any timeline for your review of the FA lenses? It will be interesting to compare your results to Lloyd’s and my own for that matter.

    Tom

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    Re: Torn between Pentax 645d and IQ + RM3di

    Quote Originally Posted by Guy Mancuso View Post

    Weather sealing is a BS gimmick sorry. Get a rain jacket for 30 dollars. Count how many landscape Hassy, Phase, Leaf and Sinar shooters are out in the world shooting amazing landscapes. None of them have weather sealing but all of them find a work around to get the job done.
    Hi Guy
    Just a note on this - I've trashed 3 cameras in the last 5 years due to water damage - none of them was weathersealed. In none of the cases would one have considered using a rain jacket (it wasn't raining).

    The first one was a rogue wave
    the Second one was dropped for a few seconds into an inch or so of water, and the third was a similar situation and a ditch, and a dog.

    In each case a weather sealed camera would have been fine, in none of the three cases was the camera covered in water for more than a few seconds.

    Of course, it's nice to have weathersealed lenses as well, but not so important - it only takes a couple of drops of water hitting the edge on a non-sealed LCD, and the whole camera / body is gone.

    You live in Arizona - I live in the Uk.

    Believe me - weathersealing is worthwhile!

    all the best

    Just this guy you know

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    Re: Torn between Pentax 645d and IQ + RM3di

    Living in Arizona has nothing to do with it. Shot a hundred year storm a couple months ago with ziplock bags. Seriously I have been around a good chunk of the world shooting for many years . I never ever needed weather sealing. Not to say it is not useful but would not even consider buying a cam for that reason. Nice feature but there are work arounds . Now dropping it is operator error. I buy insurance for that. Lol
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

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    Re: Torn between Pentax 645d and IQ + RM3di

    They have recently introduced water to Arizona.

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    Re: Torn between Pentax 645d and IQ + RM3di

    Tom,

    The issue I now realize with some who might have tested some of the Pentax 645 lenses on the 645D body, is generally they had or were given one sample to test. If it happened to be a sample that fell in the "excellent" zone with regards to performance on the 645D, it generally would be pronounced good. If it happened to be one of those samples that tested poorly, then that lens would have been pronouced "not good". In other words if I had tested only the first sample of each FA lens I got a hold of, I would have said the system has too many holes and weeknesses to be viable and a good many lenses are poor performers on teh 645D. Instead, after I was able to test multiple samples of each focal length on the 645D, my feelings about the system and FA lenses changed considerably. It had nothing to do with how old the lens were and generally how they were handled, as I knew the history of many of them. Remember when I communicated to you that I was ready to pronounce the FA 200 f4 lens a relatively weak entry and one not deemed appropriate for the 645D? Turned out that was the way it was with the first few samples of this particular lens, but at a later date, I got my hands on two more samples and it was night and day...they were both very good! Should a person have to go through this to come up with a group of excellent performing lenses? Of course not and that is problematic...but if they are willing to do so, then there is a whole pentax FA 645 lens system out there that has the potential to perform well. I hope to post something in regards to my observations with these lenses soon.

    Dave (D&A)

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