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Thread: Newbie Asks for Advise

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    Wink Newbie Asks for Advise

    Have used film and now DSLR for many years. I am just a serious amateur and have wanted to try MF for a long time. After reading much of this site I have to ask what would I gain over my present 5D2 or if I had a D800e as the OP on one thread has? I would like to get one foot wet, but not soaked. Looked around on eb and see some Hass 500/503 with dig backs and wonder if that is the way to try MF out and then move up? Any help you may have will be greatly appreciated and I thank you, Jay

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    Re: Newbie Asks for Advise

    What sort of things do you shoot?

    What do you love about photography? What do you love about your current camera? What do you want to improve on?

    What's the budget you could imagine allocating?
    Doug Peterson , Digital Transitions | Email
    Dealer for: Phase One, Mamiya Leaf, Arca-Swiss, Cambo, Eizo, Profoto
    Office: 877.367.8537. Cell: 740.707.2183

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    Re: Newbie Asks for Advise

    Landscape, birds, animals, flowers, insects, etc. A little close up/macro. Tried some street. Have never done real portrait. The challenge is producing that elusive perfect image. When you know you got a good one, you feel it. I feel that back in my film days, I went a lot slower, because every press of the shutter cost. With the dslr, they a free. I want to slow down and work on composition when called for. The 5D2 the more I use it, the more I know it. It looks like 20k would get you a good outfit, but do I want to go there yet?

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    Re: Newbie Asks for Advise

    The simplest answer is of course to try one out. Where are you located? A forum member might live near enough to arrange a get together or you might have a dealer close by you at which you could try some of the options. We also have a few people a year who fly to NYC from places without a good dealer network to try out several systems.

    20k will get you a good medium format kit. Whether it will do what you want it to do, or be a good fit for you is a fairly involved question. Landscape and still life are ideal realms for medium format. Birds and insects a bit less so, though there are some medium format shooters doing them.

    Likely with the range of subject matter you mention a medium format system will not be the best tool for all of them. So you'd still want a dSLR for those subjects which are better served by a 35mm dSLR. Would you be okay adding a medium format system and having both, rather than attempting to replace your current camera?

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    Re: Newbie Asks for Advise

    I live near Leesburg, Fl. And yes I would keep dslr.

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    Re: Newbie Asks for Advise

    Here's another thought, why not get a nice medium format camera and shoot film? Sounds to me like you'd enjoy shooting film again, and if you buy the right camera you could even get a digital back in the future if you absolutely want to go that route. But starting with film and see if that scratches the itch might be a good way to start. I'm shooting more film than digital these days, even though I have both digital backs and DSLRs.

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    Re: Newbie Asks for Advise

    Quote Originally Posted by Sabrejet View Post
    Landscape, birds, animals, flowers, insects, etc. A little close up/macro. Tried some street.
    Well, you can do all that with MF, but I would choose the system carefully. Research cameras and lenses. It probably will not be a Hasselblad 500 series camera. Pentax probably has the most flexible system at the moment.

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    Re: Newbie Asks for Advise

    Did not think film. What camera? Why not a Hassy? Do you do the developing or send it out?

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    Re: Newbie Asks for Advise

    Quote Originally Posted by Sabrejet View Post
    Did not think film. What camera? Why not a Hassy? Do you do the developing or send it out?
    Mamiya 645AFD (versions 1, 2 & 3) are hybrid cameras & accept both digital & film backs. Features, compatible lenses & digital backs may vary.
    Kits start around $600. Www.keh.com
    You can always resell for about what you paid if you don't like it.

    If you have no local film developing labs in your area there are plenty to mail out for processing.

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    Re: Newbie Asks for Advise

    I do a lot of landscape and wildlife with my camera. Landscape is easy as it generally doesn't move. Macro is also easy so long as I have it locked down on a tripod. The real fun begins with wildlife or other things that move around and in general refuse to stand still and pose. The one draw back to medium format is the slow and sometime inaccurate ability to focus - however that can be overcome with practice.

    I began using medium format film and the first trip I had was to FL where I shot a combination of sunset and birds. Film isn't dead and is a cheap way to get into medium format. Warning here is that once you crack the medium format door you can easily become a junky and the next step is digital. I'd research local camera store to make certain they can still handle medium format film. If they do and can both develop and scan it it just might help make your mind up.

    The other option is to bypass film and go directly into digital using one of the great sponsors on this forum that have a location in FL. Set up a visit to do a test run. There's a lot of great used values out there.

    In the end which system you use is a personal thing. What works best for be may not for you; just like what feels better in my hands might not in yours.

    Good luck to you.
    Don Libby
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    Re: Newbie Asks for Advise

    Hybrid film/digital systems would include Hasselblad V and H, Mamiya 645, Pentax 645, Alpa, Arca Swiss, and Linhof. But like Greg pointed out, you need to do a bit of research. I think the only thing that would tempt me in film would be 6x6 or panoramic systems. Film handling and scanning can wear out the novelty of film. When film and processing is easily and cheaply available, it is not bad, but when that becomes a hurdle, then it makes too much inertia.

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    Re: Newbie Asks for Advise

    I agree with Will, the only thing that would bring me back to film is a pano camera or large format and only if I could keep total control over developing it as I do with digital but that would require a wet dark room, a place I haven't visited in decades.

    But the pano camera is tempting.....
    Don Libby
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    Re: Newbie Asks for Advise

    I agree with both Will & Don that if high volume comes into play, film gets old very fast. On the other hand if you are going for a select few shots per outing, the entry into film with a hybrid camera is pretty cheap way to test the waters.
    Also, 645 is small in the film world. 617 is great for panos. LF is very nice, but a is completely different experience.

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    Re: Newbie Asks for Advise

    Quote Originally Posted by Sabrejet View Post
    Did not think film. What camera? Why not a Hassy? Do you do the developing or send it out?
    I use a Mamiya rz67, Hasselblad 501cm, and Rolleiflex 3.5F with film. I also have a Mamiya 645AFD that I use strictly with a digital back, I can also mount the DB to my rz67 Pro IID which is my favorite camera by far. It's got a huge 6x7 negative, beautiful bright finder and it's very versatile thanks to the bellows focusing. The only downside is the weight, but I personally find it very manageable.

    As far as development and scanning goes I send it out, there are plenty of good and relatively cheap lab options, especially in the states. Here's a couple of them...

    Indie Film Lab
    Blue Moon Camera and Machine | Cameras, Typewriters, and Film Processing | Portland, Oregon, USA
    Richard Photo Lab
    North Coast Photographic Services
    Digital Printing | Large Format Graphics | Design Services | Duggal New York

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    Re: Newbie Asks for Advise

    I have checked out the rz67 7 645AFD on ebay and find some nice ones.
    Just a slight change of thought. I have read a lot of the threads and follow ups on this page. I do not know if I am correct with my observation, but I feel the majority by far, refer to Phase One/Mamiya. Is there a reason that is so few references to Hasselblad? Talked to a pro last week that was selling his H4D because he did not need it any more. His 5D3 was all he needed.???
    Jay

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    Re: Newbie Asks for Advise

    Quote Originally Posted by Sabrejet View Post
    Is there a reason that is so few references to Hasselblad?
    Most members have Phase systems here.

    Talked to a pro last week that was selling his H4D because he did not need it any more. His 5D3 was all he needed.???
    Jay
    That is probably a good choice for him and his work. But how does that relate to anyone else?

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    Re: Newbie Asks for Advise

    Quote Originally Posted by Sabrejet View Post
    I have checked out the rz67 7 645AFD on ebay and find some nice ones.
    Just a slight change of thought. I have read a lot of the threads and follow ups on this page. I do not know if I am correct with my observation, but I feel the majority by far, refer to Phase One/Mamiya. Is there a reason that is so few references to Hasselblad? Talked to a pro last week that was selling his H4D because he did not need it any more. His 5D3 was all he needed.???
    Jay
    I'm not a MF expert by any means but I will speak from my research experience of looking into possible MF systems for my needs.

    First thing I will say is to try out as many of the systems as possible. Look at sample images and see how the rendering appeals to you. Read as many reviews and anecdotal accounts as possible. Take it all with a grain of salt as presences are very subjective but the education into the pros/ cons as well as potential problems go a long way into being an educated consumer.

    What's your digital workflow like? Cameras under the Phase One Umbrella work best and are designed to be used with Capture One. Hasselblad Cameras are designed with a Phocus + Lightroom workflow. Pentax and Leica work well with most of your standard RAW converters that aren't Capture One or Phocus. Ask yourself if you're comfortable with potentially switching RAW converters... I'm not. Having a great and responsive dealer BEYOND THE POINT OF SALE seems to also be an important factor.

    So cameras I've tried out so far are the Pentax 645D, 645Z briefly, and a few MF Film cameras. The 645D was definitely nice although shutter shake is very prominent on longer lenses when not on a tripod. The 645Z was easier to hand hold an vastly more responsive for a person coming from 35mm systems. Between the two I'd go 645Z and maybe get a 645D for back up if peace of mind is needed. When the local dealer gets another Leica S in I will try that as well. I also wouldn't mind trying a Hasselblad either as I really like the look and skin tones I've seen out the camera. True focus seems like a great feature for slower studio and portrait work. Regarding Phase One, they makes a great digital back... Possibly the most advanced technically. Capture One Software eliminates the possibility of me ever owning a Phase system. I just don't like Capture One after trying it out again recently and prefer to remain working in Adobe software - that's all personal preference. It's not a slight to the capability of the camera but it comes down to personal choice.

    Photokina is around the corner so there will probably be new announcements coming which means some newer gear will be offloaded soon after for more reasonable prices. Get out there and test and rent what you can though.
    Sony Visible Light & IR Photographer
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    Re: Newbie Asks for Advise

    Quote Originally Posted by HiredArm View Post
    Regarding Phase One, they makes a great digital back... Possibly the most advanced technically. Capture One Software eliminates the possibility of me ever owning a Phase system. I just don't like Capture One after trying it out again recently and prefer to remain working in Adobe software - that's all personal preference.
    All modern Phase One backs are supported in LightRoom, so if you want a P1 back you can use LR if that's your preference, including for tethering via the hot-folder option.

    My understanding from your comments on other threads is you've never done any formal instruction on Capture One. It has one of the larger learning curves, but it's very popular amongst digital techs, rental houses, and major production studios as well as many quality-oriented individual photographers.

    We include Capture One training with every digital back sale and if learning the software is an obstacle to your considering the equipment I'm sure we could arrange for some free training to help you get the most out of the software as part of your evaluation.

    Wandering around C1 without training can be a bit painful. But with even a bit of "here's what they were thinking" overview the overwhelming majority of our clients find it pretty straightforward.
    Doug Peterson , Digital Transitions | Email
    Dealer for: Phase One, Mamiya Leaf, Arca-Swiss, Cambo, Eizo, Profoto
    Office: 877.367.8537. Cell: 740.707.2183

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    Re: Newbie Asks for Advise

    This is my personal advice. This is what I did. I waited. 20K can give you a reasonable system that is currently out of date and will be even more so 2 yrs down the line. I'm not sure you would want to go film. If you did, you would have already. There is one exception here: using Velvia for landscaping. Except for the IQ180, nothing beats or comes close to Velvia and 8x10 or even 5x4. Now that is a completely different ballgame.
    Coming to your question and situation: "I am just a serious amateur and have wanted to try MF for a long time". Its a bit like getting introduced to alcohol.
    You can either try a run of the mill brew, or try the best available port or malt. The first one might grab you by the senses initially, but when you collect more experience, you will really begin to understand greatness of the second.
    So my advice is to wait if you are considering a digital back. Today, if my budget was close to 20K, I would consider waiting a few months and then considering a Leica S system ( expected to drop to 15K body only by Sept when a new model is rumoured to be announced ).
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    Re: Newbie Asks for Advise

    That makes a lot of sense to me. I think I have come to the conclusion, the normal MF cameras are really best suited for the studio and they produce big files. The reviews I have read and the one Leica dealer I talked to, indicate the S is like holding a 35mm. I will find a dealer and go see one.
    Jay

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    Re: Newbie Asks for Advise

    Quote Originally Posted by Sabrejet View Post
    That makes a lot of sense to me. I think I have come to the conclusion, the normal MF cameras are really best suited for the studio and they produce big files. The reviews I have read and the one Leica dealer I talked to, indicate the S is like holding a 35mm. I will find a dealer and go see one.
    I'd say at this point only a minority of our Phase One users are using their system only for studio work. The IQ series was a major turning point in that regard since the user interface on the P+ only provided very basic review of the image in the field, whereas the IQ has a Retina touchscreen LCD and a fast feature-full review system.

    The size of the raw files out of an IQ140 is about the same as a Leica S.

    Integrated cameras like the S2 will give you slightly more portability/compactness but are not compatible with the tech cameras popular with many landscape shooters.

    The S is a great camera and you should try it out. I'd just also suggest trying out at least one of the Phase/Hassy/Pentax options prior to committing to any system of such expense.
    Doug Peterson , Digital Transitions | Email
    Dealer for: Phase One, Mamiya Leaf, Arca-Swiss, Cambo, Eizo, Profoto
    Office: 877.367.8537. Cell: 740.707.2183

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    Re: Newbie Asks for Advise

    Sounds like you've made up your mind, but it's a strange choice if you ask me. You said you wanted something different, the Leica S is going to be the least different from your 5D2 of any MF camera. Personally I don't even regard it as a MF camera as the chip is small and it's even got that horrible 3:2 aspect ratio. You also mentioned you wanted to get one foot wet but not soaked, the S-system is probably the most expensive you could possibly get into. Then there's your desire to slow down which again I don't see how the Leica S would help you with.

    But hey, it's your money, it just doesn't sound to me like you're quite sure what itch you are trying to scratch.

    P.s. I use all my cameras out and about, not just studio, I even shoot street & documentary with them.

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    Re: Newbie Asks for Advise

    Quote Originally Posted by dougpeterson View Post
    All modern Phase One backs are supported in LightRoom, so if you want a P1 back you can use LR if that's your preference, including for tethering via the hot-folder option.

    My understanding from your comments on other threads is you've never done any formal instruction on Capture One. It has one of the larger learning curves, but it's very popular amongst digital techs, rental houses, and major production studios as well as many quality-oriented individual photographers.

    We include Capture One training with every digital back sale and if learning the software is an obstacle to your considering the equipment I'm sure we could arrange for some free training to help you get the most out of the software as part of your evaluation.

    Wandering around C1 without training can be a bit painful. But with even a bit of "here's what they were thinking" overview the overwhelming majority of our clients find it pretty straightforward.
    There's also the limiting factor of C1Pro not supporting lens profiles for my "other" cameras to deal with.

    To your original point though - no I haven't done formal training and it's not so much that the software is really THAT difficult to learn but it's not second nature for me. I'm an intelligent person and I know what the buttons do. I know how to edit an images. It just doesn't mesh as well as DXO Optics Pro, Aperture, Lightroom, or even Photoshop CC for that matter. The lack of natural usability, the bugs in the software, the extra time spent to do edits, and the requirement to use another RAW converter for my other cameras makes it a no go FOR ME. Training won't fix bugs in the software but all you can do is demo the software to make your decision.

    C1 works fine for many people and that's great for them but for me I would try to stick with the best supported "native" solution - especially when it comes to MF. Native workflow is a huge part of the investment from everything I've read be it reviews or user experiences from photographers far more experienced than myself.
    Sony Visible Light & IR Photographer
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    Re: Newbie Asks for Advise

    I have a lot more research to do. And yes, I must at least hold these in my hands if I can find them here in Fl.
    Jay

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    Re: Newbie Asks for Advise

    Honestly, I think you should take a step back and think about this. Why are you considering investing a very large amount of money in a kind of camera system you have never used before when you are not particularly focused regarding what kind of photography you want to do? I don't mean this to say you don't have the right to buy a camera like this unless you are a pro, not at all...but this is a very large investment in a very different kind of camera. What are you really trying to gain out of this? In what way is the 5D2 holding you back? It's not to say that medium format digital cameras don't offer better image quality, because they usually do, but they have other sacrifices compared to 35mm digital cameras -- be it cost, ISO performance, speed, portability, weight, general handling. Don't get me wrong...I shoot MFD and love my camera, but it is quite a different experience than 35mm and it is not for everyone, particularly considering the resolution and performance of modern digital cameras, which are so good that there are really few practical reasons to go larger. (There are some lovely impractical reasons though!!)

    If you want to slow down and focus more on composition, why not try only shooting on manual and only with one prime lens? If you really want to try something different, why not get used medium format film camera and try that? You can find an extremely good one for less than the cost of your 5D Mark II, and you can get a lot of film and scanning before you get anywhere close to the cost of a MFD system.

    By all means try out some MFD systems if you can...Florida seems to be a good location to find some, but please think before you leap, otherwise you might be badly burned on the investment, particularly if you buy new and then decide it is not for you...
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    Re: Newbie Asks for Advise

    Quote Originally Posted by Sabrejet View Post
    I have a lot more research to do. And yes, I must at least hold these in my hands if I can find them here in Fl.
    Jay

    Hello

    Capture Integration has an office and great representative in Florida - Chris will get you what ever you want to try out.

    Chris Snipes
    [email protected]
    Sales Manager, Florida
    813.335.2473

    If you are closer to Atalanta - Then you can go to their Main office

    Steve Hendrix
    [email protected]
    Sales Manager, Atlanta
    404-543-8475

    I highly recommend them.

    Thanks

    Phil
    Philip
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    Re: Newbie Asks for Advise

    I want to thank all that helped me in my quest. I am now the proud owner of a Mamiya RZ67 Proll. Now for some lenses, any recommendations?
    Thanks, Jay

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    Re: Newbie Asks for Advise

    Congrats! I'd say start with whatever normal lens you got with the camera, the 90mm and 110mm are both fantastic lenses. Then when you are more familiar with the camera and know what you are missing in terms of focal length you can start adding to the collection. There are no real stinkers in the rz67 lens lineup, but if you want the best of the best go for the ULD or L/A version if there are two versions available, the only drawbacks are they are usually more expensive, bigger and heavier. Make sure you download the PDF manual if you didn't get a physical one with your camera, and read it thoroughly, then look forward to being blown away when you see that first roll of glorious 6x7 film back from the lab. Good luck and have fun!

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    Re: Newbie Asks for Advise

    Good choice, plenty of RZ lenses for little $. Get the ULD 50mm, best MFD lens I've used. The RZ is hands down the best value to shoot both digital and film. The H1/2's are also nice, but feel kinda cheap with that plastic window at the top.

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    Re: Newbie Asks for Advise

    Hello Sabrejet,

    We live interesting times actually. You already have a 5DII, it is a good and solid camera but I understood that you want to go further in your pictures, taking your time, improving the quality.

    So yes you have the choice today. Going with an old system in time consuming imho. Going D810 and good lenses will cost you some. So here are my 3 options :

    - You jump directly into MF land and take a Pentax 645Z and a smc FA 645 45-85mm F4.5 to start with. For animals you will buy later a long lens, like the smc FA 645 400mm F5.6 ED (IF), not an expensive lens. On the net you will find plenty of Pentax legacy lenses for nothing. You have the most advanced and versatile sensor/system available.

    - You jump on Nikon. D810 + Zeiss 135 f2 + Nikkor 50 f1.2 + Zeiss 21 f2.8 + Sigma 120-300 f2.8.
    More versatility, lighter, very good IQ but not an MF, at all. MF will bring you a very different experience.

    - You just had to your gear a brand new MF film camera. Or two... Just grab a Voigtländer Bessa III 667 and his brother the Voigtländer Bessa 667 W, a scanner EPSON V750 and some films. Then you make your local film lab working a bit more.
    Kind regards - Hulyss - hulyssbowman.com

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    Re: Newbie Asks for Advise

    I have done a lot of reading of the manual and playing with camera, shot one roll and like what I see. Now for some lenses. I think I know the order, non W, W, W-N, L-A, ULD and Floating. My question is, from what I see on E, is the IQ that much better with the increase is price? Talked to a person that said he had worked for Mamiya and did not feel for instance the 50mm floating was any better than the original one.
    See a lot of lenses listed from Japan. Is anyone here that can recommend a dealer from there?
    Thank you, Jay

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    Re: Newbie Asks for Advise

    There are no real stinkers in the rz67 lens range, so it's hard to say if it's worth the extra money for you or not. The L-A versions are supposed to be better mainly at the edges, but you have to remember to set the floating lens ring to the right distance, an extra step that's easy to forget at times.

    If you live in the states there's no real reason to buy from Japan, it will only cost you more and there are plenty of lenses available for sale in the US. Wherever you end up buying from make sure you check for fungus when you get the lens, especially if you are buying from a region that has a humid climate (like Japan in the summer).

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    Re: Newbie Asks for Advise

    I now have two lenses for my rz67. There is a member in our local club that has a compendium hood he wants to sell me. I have always used hoods now and in the past. A little I see on e is all I know about them. Do the just hang on the front of the lens?
    Thanks, Jay

  34. #34
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
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    Maryland
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    Re: Newbie Asks for Advise

    The V-series (traditional) Hasselblad is a great system for both film and digital.

    I have two 555ELD motorized bodies, and they work like a champ.
    With a full set of lenses from 40mm to 500mm, a CFV-39 digital back, and film backs, I can shoot whatever I want.

    Since the modern Hasselblad cameras have come out, prices on the V-series bodies and lenses have dropped significantly. They're still excellent performers.

    - Leigh

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