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Canon R vs Nikon Z6

The Canon EOS R and the Nikon Z6 are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in September 2018 and August 2018. Both the Canon R and the Z6 are mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras that are equipped with a full frame sensor. The Canon has a resolution of 30.1 megapixels, whereas the Nikon provides 24.3 MP.

Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.

Headline Specifications
Canon R versus Nikon Z6
Canon R Nikon Z6
Mirrorless system camera Mirrorless system camera
Canon RF mount lenses Nikon Z mount lenses
30.1 MP, Full Frame Sensor 24.3 MP, Full Frame Sensor
4K/30p Video 4K/30p Video
ISO 100-40,000 (50 - 102,400) ISO 100-51,200 (50 - 204,800)
Electronic viewfinder (3690k dots) Electronic viewfinder (3690k dots)
3.2 LCD, 2100k dots 3.2 LCD, 2100k dots
Swivel touchscreen Tilting touchscreen
8 shutter flaps per second 12 shutter flaps per second
Lens stabilization onlyIn-body stabilization
Weathersealed bodyWeathersealed body
370 shots per battery charge310 shots per battery charge
139 x 98 x 84 mm, 660 g 134 x 101 x 67 mm, 675 g

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Canon EOS R and the Nikon Z6? Which one should you buy? Read on to find out how these two cameras compare with respect to their body size, their imaging sensors, their shooting features, their input-output connections, and their reception by expert reviewers.

Body comparison

An illustration of the physical size and weight of the Canon R and the Nikon Z6 is provided in the side-by-side display below. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three consecutive perspectives from the front, the top, and the back are available. All size dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

Size Canon R vs Nikon Z6
Compare Canon R versus Z6 top
Comparison Canon R or Z6 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Canon R and the Nikon Z6 are of equal size. However, the Z6 is slightly heavier (2 percent) than the Canon R. In this context, it is worth noting that both cameras are splash and dust-proof and can, hence, be used in inclement weather conditions or harsh environments.

The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete since they do not consider the interchangeable lenses that both of these cameras require. Hence, you might want to study and compare the specifications of available lenses in order to get the full picture of the size and weight of the two camera systems.

Concerning battery life, the Canon R gets 370 shots out of its LP-E6N battery, while the Z6 can take 310 images on a single charge of its EN-EL15b power pack. The battery packs of both cameras can be charged via USB, which can be very convenient when travelling.

The adjacent table lists the principal physical characteristics of the two cameras alongside a wider set of alternatives. If you would like to visualize and compare a different camera combination, just use the right or left arrows in the table to switch to the respective camera. Alternatively, you can also navigate to the CAM-parator app and make your selection from the full list of cameras there.

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Body Specifications
  Camera
Model
Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life 1
Weather
Sealing
Camera
Launch 2
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
 
Canon R 5.5 in 3.9 in 3.3 in 23.3 oz 370 Y Sep 2018 2,299 i
 
Nikon Z6 5.3 in 4.0 in 2.6 in 23.8 oz 310 Y Aug 2018 1,999 i
 
Canon RP 5.2 in 3.3 in 2.8 in 17.1 oz 250 n Feb 2019 1,299 i
 
Canon 90D 5.6 in 4.1 in 3.0 in 24.7 oz 1300 Y Aug 2019 1,199 i
 
Canon 6D Mark II 5.7 in 4.4 in 3.0 in 27.0 oz 1200 Y Jun 2017 1,999 i
 
Canon 6D 5.7 in 4.4 in 2.8 in 27.2 oz 1090 Y Sep 2012 2,099i
 
Leica Q2 5.1 in 3.1 in 3.6 in 25.3 oz 370 Y Mar 2019 4,995 i
 
Leica M10 5.5 in 3.1 in 1.5 in 23.3 oz 210 Y Jan 2017 6,595 i
 
Nikon Z5 5.3 in 4.0 in 2.6 in 23.8 oz 470 Y Jul 2020 1,399 i
 
Nikon Z7 5.3 in 4.0 in 2.6 in 23.8 oz 330 Y Aug 2018 3,399 i
 
Nikon D750 5.6 in 4.4 in 3.1 in 26.5 oz 1230 Y Sep 2014 2,299i
 
Panasonic GH5 5.5 in 3.9 in 3.4 in 25.6 oz 410 Y Jan 2017 1,999 i
 
Sony A9 II 5.1 in 3.8 in 3.0 in 23.9 oz 690 Y Oct 2019 4,499 i
 
Sony A7 III 5.0 in 3.8 in 2.9 in 22.9 oz 610 Y Feb 2018 1,999 i
 
Sony A7R 5.0 in 3.7 in 1.9 in 16.4 oz 340 Y Oct 2013 2,299i
Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.
(1) Number of images that can be taken on a full battery charge according to the CIPA-standard; (2) Official announcement.

The price is, of course, an important factor in any camera decision. The manufacturer’s suggested retail prices give an idea on the placement of the camera in the maker’s lineup and the broader market. The Z6 was launched at a somewhat lower price (by 13 percent) than the Canon R, which makes it more attractive for photographers on a tight budget. Usually, retail prices stay at first close to the launch price, but after several months, discounts become available. Later in the product cycle and, in particular, when the replacement model is about to appear, further discounting and stock clearance sales often push the camera price considerably down. Then, after the new model is out, very good deals can frequently be found on the pre-owned market.

Sensor comparison

The size of the sensor inside a digital camera is one of the key determinants of image quality. A large sensor will tend to have larger individual pixels that provide better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and richer color-depth than smaller pixel-units in a sensor of the same technological generation. Furthermore, a large sensor camera will give the photographer more possibilities to use shallow depth-of-field in order to isolate a subject from the background. On the downside, larger sensors tend to be more expensive and lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.

Both cameras under consideration feature a full frame sensor, but their sensors differ slightly in size. The sensor area in the Z6 is 1 percent smaller. They nevertheless have the same format factor of 1.0. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.

Canon R and Nikon Z6 sensor measures

With 30.1MP, the Canon R offers a higher resolution than the Z6 (24.3MP), but the Canon R has smaller individual pixels (pixel pitch of 5.36μm versus 5.94μm for the Z6). It is noteworthy in this context that the two cameras were released in close succession, so that their sensors are from the same technological generation.

The resolution advantage of the Canon R implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the Canon R for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 33.6 x 22.4 inches or 85.3 x 56.9 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 26.9 x 17.9 inches or 68.3 x 45.5 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 22.4 x 14.9 inches or 56.9 x 37.9 cm. The corresponding values for the Nikon Z6 are 30.2 x 20.1 inches or 76.8 x 51.1 cm for good quality, 24.2 x 16.1 inches or 61.4 x 40.9 cm for very good quality, and 20.2 x 13.4 inches or 51.2 x 34.1 cm for excellent quality prints.

The Canon EOS R has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 40000, which can be extended to ISO 50-102400. The corresponding ISO settings for the Nikon Z6 are ISO 100 to ISO 51200, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 50-204800.

Canon R versus Z6 MP

Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for many cameras. This service is based on lab testing and assigns an overall score to each camera sensor, as well as ratings for dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), color depth ("DXO Portrait"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"). Of the two cameras under consideration, the Z6 has a markedly higher DXO score than the Canon R (overall score 6 points higher), which will translate into better image quality. The advantage is based on 0.8 bits higher color depth, 0.8 EV in additional dynamic range, and 0.3 stops in additional low light sensitivity. The table below summarizes the physical sensor characteristics and sensor quality findings and compares them across a set of similar cameras.

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Sensor Characteristics
  Camera
Model
Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
 
Canon R Full Frame 30.1 6720 44804K/30p24.513.5274289
 
Nikon Z6 Full Frame 24.3 6048 40244K/30p25.314.3329995
 
Canon RP Full Frame 26.2 6240 41604K/30p........
 
Canon 90D APS-C 32.3 6960 46404K/30p........
 
Canon 6D Mark II Full Frame 26.0 6240 41601080/60p24.411.9286285
 
Canon 6D Full Frame 20.0 5472 36481080/30p23.812.1234082
 
Leica Q2 Full Frame 46.7 8368 55844K/30p26.413.5249196
 
Leica M10 Full Frame 23.8 5952 3992none24.413.2213386
 
Nikon Z5 Full Frame 24.2 6016 40164K/30p........
 
Nikon Z7 Full Frame 45.4 8256 55044K/30p26.314.6266899
 
Nikon D750 Full Frame 24.2 6016 40161080/60p24.814.5295693
 
Panasonic GH5 Four Thirds 20.2 5184 38884K/60p23.913.080777
 
Sony A9 II Full Frame 24.0 6000 40004K/30p25.014.0343493
 
Sony A7 III Full Frame 24.0 6000 40004K/30p25.014.7373096
 
Sony A7R Full Frame 36.2 7360 49121080/60p25.614.1274695

Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but also of capturing video footage. The two cameras under consideration both have sensors whose read-out speed is fast enough to capture moving pictures, and both provide the same movie specifications (4K/30p).

Feature comparison

Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The Canon R and the Z6 are similar in the sense that both feature an electronic viewfinder, which is helpful when framing images in bright sunlight. Moreover, their viewfinders offer an identical resolution of 3690k dots. The table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Canon R and Nikon Z6 in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras.

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Core Features
  Camera
Model
Viewfinder
(Type or
000 dots)
Control
Panel
(yes/no)
LCD
Size
(inch)
LCD
Resolution
(000 dots)
LCD
Attach-
ment
Touch
Screen
(yes/no)
Mech
Shutter
Speed
Shutter
Flaps
(1/sec)
Built-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Built-in
Image
Stab
 
Canon R3690 Y 3.2 2100 swivel Y 1/8000s 8.0 n n
 
Nikon Z63690 Y 3.2 2100 tilting Y 1/8000s 12.0 n Y
 
Canon RP2360 n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 1/4000s 5.0 n n
 
Canon 90Doptical Y 3.0 1040 swivel Y 1/8000s 11.0 Y n
 
Canon 6D Mark IIoptical Y 3.0 1040 swivel Y 1/4000s 6.5 n n
 
Canon 6Doptical Y 3.0 1040 fixed n 1/4000s 4.5 n n
 
Leica Q23680 n 3.0 1040 fixed Y 1/2000s 20.0 n Y
 
Leica M10optical n 3.0 1037 fixed n 1/4000s 5.0 n n
 
Nikon Z53690 n 3.2 1040 tilting Y 1/8000s 4.5 n Y
 
Nikon Z73690 Y 3.2 2100 tilting Y 1/8000s 9.0 n Y
 
Nikon D750optical Y 3.2 1229 tilting n 1/4000s 6.0 Y n
 
Panasonic GH53680 n 3.2 1620 swivel Y 1/8000s 12.0 n Y
 
Sony A9 II3686 n 3.0 1440 tilting Y 1/8000s 10.0 n Y
 
Sony A7 III2359 n 3.0 922 tilting Y 1/8000s 10.0 n Y
 
Sony A7R2400 n 3.0 1230 tilting n 1/8000s 4.0 n n

One feature that differentiates the Z6 and the Canon R is in-body image stabilization (IBIS). The Z6 reduces the risk of handshake-induced blur with all attached lenses, while the Canon R offers no blur reduction with lenses that themselves do not provide optical image stabilization.

The Canon R has an articulated LCD that can be turned to be front-facing. This characteristic will be appreciated by vloggers and photographers who are interested in snapping selfies. In contrast, the Z6 does not have a selfie-screen.

The reported shutter speed information refers to the use of the mechanical shutter. Yet, some cameras only have an electronic shutter, while others have an electronic shutter in addition to a mechanical one. In fact, both cameras under consideration feature an electronic shutter, which makes completely silent shooting possible. However, this mode is less suitable for photographing moving objects (risk of rolling shutter) or shooting under artificial light sources (risk of flickering).

The Nikon Z6 has an intervalometer built-in. This enables the photographer to capture time lapse sequences, such as flower blooming, a sunset or moon rise, without purchasing an external camera trigger and related software.

The Canon R writes its imaging data to SDXC cards, while the Z6 uses XQD cards.

Connectivity comparison

For some imaging applications, the extent to which a camera can communicate with its environment can be an important aspect in the camera decision process. The table below provides an overview of the connectivity of the Canon EOS R and Nikon Z6 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.

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Input-Output Connections
  Camera
Model
Hotshoe
Port
Internal
Microphone
Internal
Speaker
Microphone
Port
Headphone
Port
HDMI
Port
USB
Port
WiFi
Support
NFC
Support
Bluetooth
Support
 
Canon RYstereomonoYYmini3.1Y-Y
 
Nikon Z6YstereomonoYYmicro3.1Y-Y
 
Canon RPYstereomonoYYmicro2.0Y-Y
 
Canon 90DYstereomonoYYmini2.0Y-Y
 
Canon 6D Mark IIYstereomonoY-mini2.0YYY
 
Canon 6DYmonomonoY-mini2.0Y--
 
Leica Q2Ystereomono----Y-Y
 
Leica M10Y------Y--
 
Nikon Z5YstereomonoYYmicro3.2Y-Y
 
Nikon Z7YstereomonoYYmicro3.1Y-Y
 
Nikon D750YstereomonoYYmini2.0Y--
 
Panasonic GH5YstereomonoYYfull3.1Y-Y
 
Sony A9 IIYstereomonoYYmicro3.1YYY
 
Sony A7 IIIYstereomonoYYmicro3.1YYY
 
Sony A7RYstereomonoYYmicro2.0YY-

Both the Canon R and the Z6 are recent models that are part of the current product line-up. Neither of the two has a direct predecessor, so perhaps they will constitute the origins of new camera lines for Canon and Nikon. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Canon and Nikon websites.

Review summary

So what is the bottom line? Is there a clear favorite between the Canon R and the Nikon Z6? Which camera is better? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.

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Advantages of the Canon EOS R:

  • More detail: Offers more megapixels (30.1 vs 24.3MP) with a 11% higher linear resolution.
  • More flexible LCD: Has a swivel screen for odd-angle shots in portrait or landscape orientation.
  • More selfie-friendly: Has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing.
  • Longer lasting: Can take more shots (370 versus 310) on a single battery charge.

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Reasons to prefer the Nikon Z6:

  • Better image quality: Scores markedly higher (6 points) in the DXO overall evaluation.
  • More dynamic range: Captures a broader range of light and dark details (0.8 EV of extra DR).
  • Larger viewfinder image: Features a viewfinder with a higher magnification (0.80x vs 0.76x).
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (12 vs 8 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • Easier time-lapse photography: Has an intervalometer built-in for low frequency shooting.
  • Sharper images: Has stabilization technology built-in to reduce the impact of hand-shake.
  • More affordable: Was released into a lower priced segment (13 percent cheaper at launch).

If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the Z6 emerges as the winner of the match-up (7 : 4 points). However, the relevance of individual strengths will vary across photographers, so that you might want to apply your own weighing scheme to the summary points when reflecting and deciding on a new camera. A professional sports photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a street photog, and a person interested in family portraits has distinct needs from a landscape shooter. Hence, the decision which camera is best and worth buying is often a very personal one.

Canon R 04:07 Z6

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Canon R and the Nikon Z6 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera listing whether the two cameras rank among the cream of the crop.

In any case, while the specs-based evaluation of cameras can be instructive in revealing their potential as photographic tools, it remains partial and cannot reveal, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance when actually working with the Canon R or the Z6. At times, user reviews, such as those published at amazon, address these issues in a useful manner, but such feedback is on many occasions incomplete, inconsistent, and unreliable.

Expert reviews

This is why hands-on reviews by experts are important. The table below provides a synthesis of the camera assessments of some of the best known photo-gear review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, and photographyblog). As can be seen, the professional reviewers agree in many cases on the quality of different cameras, but sometimes their assessments diverge, reinforcing the earlier point that a camera decision is often a very personal choice.

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Review Scores
  Camera
Model
camera
  labs  
dp
review  
ephoto
  zine  
imaging
resource
photography
  blog  
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
 
Canon Ro79/1004.5/54/54/5 Sep 2018 2,299 i
 
Nikon Z6....4.5/54.5/55/5 Aug 2018 1,999 i
 
Canon RP+..4.5/54.5/54/5 Feb 2019 1,299 i
 
Canon 90D+85/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Aug 2019 1,199 i
 
Canon 6D Mark II+80/1004.5/54/54/5 Jun 2017 1,999 i
 
Canon 6D+ +83/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Sep 2012 2,099i
 
Leica Q2..84/1004.5/5..4/5 Mar 2019 4,995 i
 
Leica M10....4/5..4.5/5 Jan 2017 6,595 i
 
Nikon Z5....4.5/5..4/5 Jul 2020 1,399 i
 
Nikon Z7+89/1004.5/54.5/55/5 Aug 2018 3,399 i
 
Nikon D750+ +90/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Sep 2014 2,299i
 
Panasonic GH5+ +85/1004.5/55/55/5 Jan 2017 1,999 i
 
Sony A9 II..90/1005/5..5/5 Oct 2019 4,499 i
 
Sony A7 III+ +89/1005/55/55/5 Feb 2018 1,999 i
 
Sony A7R+ +82/1004.5/55/55/5 Oct 2013 2,299i
Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.

The review scores listed above should be treated with care, though. The assessments were made in relation to similar cameras of the same technological generation. Thus, a score needs to be put into the context of the launch date and the launch price of the camera, and comparisons of ratings among very different cameras or across long time periods have little meaning. It should also be noted that some of the review sites have over time altered the way they render their verdicts.

Canon R:
Check Amazon price
Nikon Z6:
Check Amazon price

Other camera comparisons

Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? If you would like to see a different side-by-side camera review, just make a corresponding selection in the search boxes below. As an alternative, you can also directly jump to any one of the listed comparisons that were previously generated by the CAM-parator tool.

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    Specifications: Canon R vs Nikon Z6

    Below is a side-by-side comparison of the specs of the two cameras to facilitate a quick review of their differences and common features.

    Camera Specifications
    Camera Model Canon R Nikon Z6
    Camera Type Mirrorless system camera Mirrorless system camera
    Camera Lens Canon RF mount lenses Nikon Z mount lenses
    Launch Date September 2018 August 2018
    Launch Price USD 2,299 USD 1,999
    Sensor Specs Canon R Nikon Z6
    Sensor Technology CMOS BSI-CMOS
    Sensor Format Full Frame Sensor Full Frame Sensor
    Sensor Size 36.0 x 24.0 mm 35.9 x 23.9 mm
    Sensor Area 864 mm2 858.01 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 43.3 mm 43.1 mm
    Crop Factor 1.0x 1.0x
    Sensor Resolution 30.1 Megapixels 24.3 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 6720 x 4480 pixels 6048 x 4024 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 5.36 μm 5.94 μm
    Pixel Density 3.48 MP/cm2 2.84 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability 4K/30p Video 4K/30p Video
    ISO Setting 100 - 40,000 ISO 100 - 51,200 ISO
    ISO Boost 50 - 102,400 ISO 50 - 204,800 ISO
    Image Processor DIGIC 8 EXPEED 6
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) 89 95
    DXO Color Depth (bits) 24.5 25.3
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) 13.5 14.3
    DXO Low Light (ISO) 2742 3299
    Screen Specs Canon R Nikon Z6
    Viewfinder Type Electronic viewfinder Electronic viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 100% 100%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.76x 0.80x
    Viewfinder Resolution 3690k dots 3690k dots
    Top-Level Screen Control Panel Control Panel
    LCD Framing Live View Live View
    Rear LCD Size 3.2inch 3.2inch
    LCD Resolution 2100k dots 2100k dots
    LCD Attachment Swivel screen Tilting screen
    Touch Input Touchscreen Touchscreen
    Shooting Specs Canon R Nikon Z6
    Focus System On-Sensor Phase-detect On-Sensor Phase-detect
    Manual Focusing AidFocus PeakingFocus Peaking
    Max Shutter Speed (mechanical) 1/8000s 1/8000s
    Continuous Shooting 8 shutter flaps/s 12 shutter flaps/s
    Shutter Life Expectancy200 000 actuations200 000 actuations
    Electronic ShutterYESup to 1/8000s
    Time-Lapse Photographyno IntervalometerIntervalometer built-in
    Image StabilizationLens stabilization onlyIn-body stabilization
    Fill Flash no On-Board Flash no On-Board Flash
    Storage Medium SDXC cards XQD cards
    Second Storage Option Single card slot Single card slot
    Connectivity Specs Canon R Nikon Z6
    External Flash Hotshoe Hotshoe
    USB Connector USB 3.1 USB 3.1
    HDMI Port mini HDMI micro HDMI
    Microphone Port External MIC port External MIC port
    Headphone Socket Headphone port Headphone port
    Wifi Support Wifi built-in Wifi built-in
    Bluetooth Support Bluetooth built-in Bluetooth built-in
    Body Specs Canon R Nikon Z6
    Environmental SealingWeathersealed bodyWeathersealed body
    Battery Type LP-E6N EN-EL15b
    Battery Life (CIPA)370 shots per charge310 shots per charge
    In-Camera Charging USB charging USB charging
    Body Dimensions 139 x 98 x 84 mm
    (5.5 x 3.9 x 3.3 in)
    134 x 101 x 67 mm
    (5.3 x 4.0 x 2.6 in)
    Camera Weight 660 g (23.3 oz) 675 g (23.8 oz)

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