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Canon SX500 vs Sony H400

The Canon PowerShot SX500 IS and the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-H400 are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in August 2012 and February 2014. Both the SX500 and the H400 are fixed lens compact cameras that are equipped with a 1/2.3-inch sensor. The Canon has a resolution of 15.9 megapixels, whereas the Sony provides 19.9 MP.

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

Headline Specifications
Canon SX500
versus
Sony H400
Canon SX500   Sony H400
Fixed lens compact camera Fixed lens compact camera
24-720mm f/3.4-5.8 24.5-1550mm f/3.4-6.5
15.9 MP – 1/2.3" sensor 19.9 MP – 1/2.3" sensor
720/30p Video 720/30p Video
ISO 80-1,600 ISO 80-3,200
No viewfinder, LCD framing Electronic viewfinder (210k dots)
3.0" LCD – 461k dots 3.0" LCD – 460k dots
Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive) Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)
0.8 shutter flaps per second 0.7 shutter flaps per second
195 shots per battery charge300 shots per battery charge
104 x 70 x 80 mm, 341 g 130 x 95 x 122 mm, 628 g
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Check H400 offers at
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Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Canon PowerShot SX500 IS and the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-H400? 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

The side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size and weight of the Canon SX500 and the Sony H400. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three consecutive views from the front, the top, and the rear side are shown. All width, height and depth measures are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

Size Canon SX500 vs Sony H400
Compare SX500 versus H400 top
Comparison SX500 or H400 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Sony H400 is considerably larger (70 percent) than the Canon SX500. Moreover, the H400 is substantially heavier (84 percent) than the SX500. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the SX500 nor the H400 are weather-sealed.

Concerning battery life, the SX500 gets 195 shots out of its NB-6L battery, while the H400 can take 300 images on a single charge of its NP-BX1 power pack.

The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the two cameras alongside a broader set of comparators. In case you want to display and compare another camera duo, you can use the CAM-parator app to select your camera combination among a large number of options.

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Body Specifications
    Camera
Model
Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life
Weather
Sealing
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
1.
 
Canon SX500 104 mm 70 mm 80 mm 341 g 195 n Aug 2012 329ebay.com
2.
 
Sony H400 130 mm 95 mm 122 mm 628 g 300 n Feb 2014 319ebay.com
3.
 
Canon SX740 110 mm 64 mm 40 mm 299 g 265 n Jul 2018 399 amazon.com
4.
 
Canon SX730 110 mm 64 mm 40 mm 300 g 250 n Apr 2017 399ebay.com
5.
 
Canon SX420 104 mm 69 mm 85 mm 325 g 195 n Jan 2016 299ebay.com
6.
 
Canon SX410 104 mm 69 mm 85 mm 325 g 185 n Feb 2015 279ebay.com
7.
 
Canon SX520 120 mm 82 mm 92 mm 441 g 210 n Jul 2014 399ebay.com
8.
 
Canon SX700 113 mm 66 mm 35 mm 269 g 250 n Feb 2014 349ebay.com
9.
 
Canon SX400 104 mm 69 mm 80 mm 313 g 190 n Jul 2014 249ebay.com
10.
 
Canon SX510 104 mm 70 mm 80 mm 349 g 250 n Aug 2013 249ebay.com
11.
 
Canon 100D 117 mm 91 mm 69 mm 407 g 380 n Mar 2013 549ebay.com
12.
 
Canon G16 109 mm 76 mm 40 mm 356 g 360 n Aug 2013 549ebay.com
13.
 
Leica Q Typ 116 130 mm 80 mm 93 mm 640 g 300 n Jun 2015 4,249ebay.com
14.
 
Sony RX100 IV 102 mm 58 mm 41 mm 298 g 280 n Jun 2015 999ebay.com
15.
 
Sony HX400V 130 mm 93 mm 103 mm 660 g 300 n Feb 2014 499ebay.com
16.
 
Sony H300 128 mm 89 mm 92 mm 590 g 350 n Feb 2014 219ebay.com
17.
 
Sony H200 123 mm 83 mm 87 mm 530 g 240 n Jan 2013 249ebay.com
Note: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.

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 H400 was somewhat cheaper (by 3 percent) than the SX500 at launch, but both cameras fall into the same price category. 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.

Sensor comparison

The imaging sensor is at the core of digital cameras and its size is one of the main determining factors of image quality. All other things equal, a large sensor will have larger individual pixel-units that offer better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and richer color-depth than smaller pixels in a sensor of the same technological generation. Further, a large sensor camera will give the photographer additional creative options when using shallow depth-of-field to isolate a subject from its 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 1/2.3-inch sensor and have a format factor (sometimes also referred to as "crop factor") of 5.6. Within the spectrum of camera sensors, this places the review cameras among the smaller-sensor digicams that favor affordability and compact design. Both cameras feature a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 4:3.

Canon SX500 and Sony H400 sensor measures

While the two cameras under review share the same sensor size, the H400 offers a higher resolution of 19.9 megapixels, compared with 15.9 MP of the SX500. This megapixels advantage translates into a 12 percent gain in linear resolution. On the other hand, these sensor specs imply that the H400 has a higher pixel density and a smaller size of the individual pixel (with a pixel pitch of 1.19μm versus 1.33μm for the SX500). However, it should be noted that the H400 is a somewhat more recent model (by 1 year and 5 months) than the SX500, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time that at least partly compensate for the smaller pixel size. Coming back to sensor resolution, it should be mentioned that neither of the two cameras has an anti-alias filter installed, so they are able to capture all the detail the sensor resolves.

The resolution advantage of the Sony H400 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the H400 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 25.8 x 19.3 inches or 65.4 x 49.1 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 20.6 x 15.5 inches or 52.3 x 39.3 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 17.2 x 12.9 inches or 43.6 x 32.7 cm. The corresponding values for the Canon SX500 are 23 x 17.3 inches or 58.5 x 43.9 cm for good quality, 18.4 x 13.8 inches or 46.8 x 35.1 cm for very good quality, and 15.4 x 11.5 inches or 39 x 29.3 cm for excellent quality prints.

The Canon PowerShot SX500 IS has a native sensitivity range from ISO 80 to ISO 1600. The corresponding ISO settings for the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-H400 are ISO 80 to ISO 3200 (no boost).

Technology-wise, both cameras are equipped with CCD (Charged Coupled Device) sensors. Both cameras use a Bayer filter for capturing RGB colors on a square grid of photosensors. This arrangement is found in most digital cameras.

SX500 versus H400 MP

Since 2007, DXO Mark has published sensor performance measurements that have been derived using a consistent methodology. This service assesses and scores the color depth ("DXO Portrait"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports") of camera sensors, and also publishes an overall camera score. The following table provides an overview of the physical sensor characteristics, as well as the sensor quality measurements for a selection of comparators.

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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
1.
 
Canon SX500 1/2.3 15.9 4608 3456720/30p19.811.149443
2.
 
Sony H400 1/2.3 19.9 5152 3864720/30p20.111.463045
3.
 
Canon SX740 1/2.3 20.2 5184 38884K/30p20.612.1105051
4.
 
Canon SX730 1/2.3 20.2 5184 38881080/60p20.511.992450
5.
 
Canon SX420 1/2.3 19.9 5152 3864720/25p20.311.780648
6.
 
Canon SX410 1/2.3 19.9 5152 3864720/30p20.211.672047
7.
 
Canon SX520 1/2.3 15.9 4608 34561080/30p20.111.567246
8.
 
Canon SX700 1/2.3 15.9 4608 34561080/60p20.111.462945
9.
 
Canon SX400 1/2.3 15.9 4608 3456720/30p20.111.567246
10.
 
Canon SX510 1/2.3 15.9 4608 34561080/24p20.011.358645
11.
 
Canon 100D APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p21.811.384363
12.
 
Canon G16 1/1.7 12.0 4000 30001080/60p21.011.723054
13.
 
Leica Q Typ 116 Full Frame 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.312.7222185
14.
 
Sony RX100 IV 1-inch 20.0 5472 36484K/30p22.812.659170
15.
 
Sony HX400V 1/2.3 20.2 5184 38881080/60p20.111.462945
16.
 
Sony H300 1/2.3 19.9 5152 3864720/30p20.111.463045
17.
 
Sony H200 1/2.3 15.2 5184 2930720/30p19.911.252944
Note: DXO values in italics represent estimates based on sensor size and age.

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 (720/30p).

Feature comparison

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. For example, the H400 has an electronic viewfinder (210k dots), which can be very helpful when shooting in bright sunlight. In contrast, the SX500 relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. The following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Canon SX500, the Sony H400, and comparable cameras.

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Core Features
    Camera
Model
Viewfinder
(Type or
000 dots)
Control
Panel
(yes/no)
LCD
Specifications
(inch/000 dots)
LCD
Attach-
ment
Touch
Screen
(yes/no)
Max
Shutter
Speed *
Max
Shutter
Flaps *
Built-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Built-in
Image
Stab
1.
 
Canon SX500none n3.0 / 461 fixed n 1/1600s 0.8/s Y Y
2.
 
Sony H400210 n3.0 / 460 fixed n 1/2000s 0.7/s Y Y
3.
 
Canon SX740none n3.0 / 922 tilting n 1/3200s 10.0/s Y Y
4.
 
Canon SX730none n3.0 / 922 tilting n 1/3200s 5.9/s Y Y
5.
 
Canon SX420none n3.0 / 230 fixed n 1/4000s 0.5/s Y Y
6.
 
Canon SX410none n3.0 / 230 fixed n 1/4000s 0.5/s Y Y
7.
 
Canon SX520none n3.0 / 461 fixed n 1/2000s 1.6/s Y Y
8.
 
Canon SX700none n3.0 / 922 fixed n 1/3200s 8.5/s Y Y
9.
 
Canon SX400none n3.0 / 230 fixed n 1/1600s 0.8/s Y Y
10.
 
Canon SX510none n3.0 / 461 fixed n 1/1600s 3.8/s Y Y
11.
 
Canon 100Doptical n3.0 / 1040 fixed Y 1/4000s 4.9/s Y n
12.
 
Canon G16optical n3.0 / 922 fixed n 1/4000s 2.2/s Y Y
13.
 
Leica Q Typ 1163680 n3.0 / 1040 fixed Y 1/2000s 10.0/s n Y
14.
 
Sony RX100 IV2359 n3.0 / 1228 tilting n 1/2000s 16.0/s Y Y
15.
 
Sony HX400V210 n3.0 / 921 tilting n 1/4000s 10.0/s Y Y
16.
 
Sony H300none n3.0 / 460 fixed n 1/1500s 0.8/s Y Y
17.
 
Sony H200none n3.0 / 460 fixed n 1/1500s 0.8/s Y Y
Notes: *) Information refers to the mechanical shutter, unless the camera only has an electronic one.

Both the SX500 and the H400 have zoom lenses built in. The SX500 has a 24-720mm f/3.4-5.8 optic and the H400 offers a 24.5-1550mm f/3.4-6.5 (focal lengths in full frame equivalent terms). Hence, the Canon provides a wider angle of view at the short end than the Sony, but less tele-photo reach at the long end. Both cameras offer the same maximum aperture.

The SX500 writes its imaging data to SDXC cards, while the H400 uses SDXC or Memory Stick PRO Duo 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 PowerShot SX500 IS and Sony Cyber-shot DSC-H400 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
Mic / Speaker
Microphone
Port
Headphone
Port
HDMI
Port
USB
Port
WiFi
Support
NFC
Support
Bluetooth
Support
1.
 
Canon SX500-stereo / mono---2.0---
2.
 
Sony H400-mono / mono--micro2.0Y--
3.
 
Canon SX740-stereo / mono--micro2.0Y-Y
4.
 
Canon SX730-stereo / mono--micro2.0YYY
5.
 
Canon SX420-mono / mono---2.0YY-
6.
 
Canon SX410-stereo / mono---2.0---
7.
 
Canon SX520-stereo / mono--mini2.0---
8.
 
Canon SX700-stereo / mono--micro2.0YY-
9.
 
Canon SX400-stereo / mono---2.0---
10.
 
Canon SX510-stereo / mono--mini2.0Y--
11.
 
Canon 100DYmono / monoY-mini2.0---
12.
 
Canon G16Ystereo / mono--mini2.0Y--
13.
 
Leica Q Typ 116Ystereo / mono--micro2.0YY-
14.
 
Sony RX100 IV-stereo / mono--micro2.0YY-
15.
 
Sony HX400VYstereo / mono--micro2.0YY-
16.
 
Sony H300-mono / mono--micro2.0Y--
17.
 
Sony H200-mono / mono---2.0---

It is notable that the H400 offers wifi support, which can be a very convenient means to transfer image data to an off-camera location. In contrast, the SX500 does not provide wifi capability.

Both the SX500 and the H400 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on ebay. The SX500 was replaced by the Canon SX510, while the H400 does not have a direct successor. Further information on the features and operation of the SX500 and H400 can be found, respectively, in the Canon SX500 Manual (free pdf) or the online Sony H400 Manual.

Review summary

So what conclusions can be drawn? Which of the two cameras – the Canon SX500 or the Sony H400 – has the upper hand? Is one clearly better than the other? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.

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Arguments in favor of the Canon PowerShot SX500 IS:

  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (0.8 vs 0.7 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • Wider view: Has a wider-angle lens that facilitates landscape or interior shots.
  • More compact: Is smaller (104x70mm vs 130x95mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
  • Less heavy: Is lighter (by 287g or 46 percent) and hence easier to carry around.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in August 2012).

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Reasons to prefer the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-H400:

  • More detail: Has more megapixels (19.9 vs 15.9MP), which boosts linear resolution by 12%.
  • Easier framing: Has an electronic viewfinder for image composition and settings control.
  • Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/2000s vs 1/1600s) to freeze action.
  • More tele-reach: Has a longer tele-lens for perspective compression and subject magnification.
  • Longer lasting: Gets more shots (300 versus 195) out of a single battery charge.
  • Easier file upload: Has wifi built in for automatic backup or image transfer to the web.
  • More modern: Was introduced somewhat (1 year and 5 months) more recently.

If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the H400 emerges as the winner of the match-up (7 : 5 points). However, the relative importance of the various individual camera aspects will vary according to personal preferences and needs, so that you might like to apply corresponding weights to the particular features before making a decision on a new camera. A professional wedding photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a travel photog, and a person interested in cityscapes has distinct needs from a macro shooter. Hence, the decision which camera is best and worth buying is often a very personal one.

SX500 05:07 H400

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Canon SX500 and the Sony H400 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Superzoom Camera listing whether the two cameras rank among the cream of the crop.

In any case, while the comparison of technical specifications can provide a useful overview of the capabilities of different cameras, it remains incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the SX500 or the H400 perform in practice. 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 expert reviews are important. The table below provides a synthesis of the camera assessments of some of the best known photo-gear review sites (amateurphotographer [AP], cameralabs [CL], digitalcameraworld [DCW], dpreview [DPR], ephotozine [EPZ], photographyblog [PB]). 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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Expert Camera Reviews
     Camera 
 Model 
 AP 
 score 
 CL 
 score 
 DCW 
 score 
 DPR 
 score 
 EPZ 
 score 
 PB 
 score 
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
1.
 
Canon SX500..+ +....4/54/5 Aug 2012 329ebay.com
2.
 
Sony H400..o....3.5/53.5/5 Feb 2014 319ebay.com
3.
 
Canon SX740..+3.5/5..4/54/5 Jul 2018 399 amazon.com
4.
 
Canon SX730..+....4/54/5 Apr 2017 399ebay.com
5.
 
Canon SX420..........3/5 Jan 2016 299ebay.com
6.
 
Canon SX410..o........ Feb 2015 279ebay.com
7.
 
Canon SX520..+....3.5/53.5/5 Jul 2014 399ebay.com
8.
 
Canon SX700..+ +....4/54/5 Feb 2014 349ebay.com
9.
 
Canon SX400..+........ Jul 2014 249ebay.com
10.
 
Canon SX510..+ +....4.5/54/5 Aug 2013 249ebay.com
11.
 
Canon 100D4/5+..78/1004/54/5 Mar 2013 549ebay.com
12.
 
Canon G164/5+....4.5/54.5/5 Aug 2013 549ebay.com
13.
 
Leica Q Typ 1165/5....80/1004.5/54.5/5 Jun 2015 4,249ebay.com
14.
 
Sony RX100 IV4.5/5+ +..85/1004/54.5/5 Jun 2015 999ebay.com
15.
 
Sony HX400V4/5+ +....4/54/5 Feb 2014 499ebay.com
16.
 
Sony H300..+....4.5/54/5 Feb 2014 219ebay.com
17.
 
Sony H200........3.5/53.5/5 Jan 2013 249ebay.com
Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.

The above review scores should be interpreted with care, though. The assessments were made in relation to similar cameras of the same technological generation. Hence, a score should always be seen in the context of the camera's market launch date and its price, and comparing ratings of very distinct cameras or ones that are far apart in terms of their release date have little meaning. Also, please note that some of the review sites have changed their methodology and reporting over time.

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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 use the search menu below. There is also a set of direct links to comparison reviews that other users of the CAM-parator app explored.

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    Specifications: Canon SX500 vs Sony H400

    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 SX500 Sony H400
    Camera Type Fixed lens compact camera Fixed lens compact camera
    Camera Lens 24-720mm f/3.4-5.8 24.5-1550mm f/3.4-6.5
    Launch Date August 2012 February 2014
    Launch Price USD 329 USD 319
    Sensor Specs Canon SX500 Sony H400
    Sensor Technology CCD CCD
    Sensor Format 1/2.3" Sensor 1/2.3" Sensor
    Sensor Size 6.17 x 4.55 mm 6.17 x 4.55 mm
    Sensor Area 28.0735 mm2 28.0735 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 7.7 mm 7.7 mm
    Crop Factor 5.6x 5.6x
    Sensor Resolution 15.9 Megapixels 19.9 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 4608 x 3456 pixels 5152 x 3864 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 1.33 μm 1.19 μm
    Pixel Density 56.73 MP/cm2 70.91 MP/cm2
    Moiré control no AA filter no AA filter
    Movie Capability 720/30p Video 720/30p Video
    ISO Setting 80 - 1,600 ISO 80 - 3,200 ISO
    Image Processor DIGIC 4 BIONZ
    Screen Specs Canon SX500 Sony H400
    Viewfinder Type no viewfinder Electronic viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 100%
    Viewfinder Resolution 210k dots
    LCD Framing Live View Live View
    Rear LCD Size 3.0inch 3.0inch
    LCD Resolution 461k dots 460k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen Fixed screen
    Shooting Specs Canon SX500 Sony H400
    Focus System Contrast-detect AF Contrast-detect AF
    Continuous Shooting 0.8 shutter flaps/s 0.7 shutter flaps/s
    Fill Flash Built-in Flash Built-in Flash
    Storage Medium SDXC cards MS or SDXC cards
    Single or Dual Card Slots Single card slot Single card slot
    UHS card support no no
    Connectivity Specs Canon SX500 Sony H400
    External Flash no Hotshoe no Hotshoe
    USB Connector USB 2.0 USB 2.0
    HDMI Port no HDMI micro HDMI
    Wifi Support no Wifi Wifi built-in
    Body Specs Canon SX500 Sony H400
    Battery Type NB-6L NP-BX1
    Battery Life (CIPA)195 shots per charge300 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 104 x 70 x 80 mm
    (4.1 x 2.8 x 3.1 in)
    130 x 95 x 122 mm
    (5.1 x 3.7 x 4.8 in)
    Camera Weight 341 g (12.0 oz) 628 g (22.2 oz)
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