Contax N Digital vs Nikon Df
The Contax N Digital and the Nikon Df are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in February 2002 and November 2013. Both are DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras that are equipped with a full frame sensor. The Contax has a resolution of 6.1 megapixels, whereas the Nikon provides 16.2 MP.
Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.
|Contax N Digital||Nikon Df|
|Digital single lens reflex||Digital single lens reflex|
|Contax N mount lenses||Nikon F mount lenses|
|6.1 MP, Full Frame Sensor||16.2 MP, Full Frame Sensor|
|no Video||no Video|
|ISO 50-1600||ISO 100-12800 (50-204800)|
|Optical viewfinder||Optical viewfinder|
|2.0" LCD, 200k dots||3.2" LCD, 921k dots|
|Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)||Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)|
|4 shutter flaps per second||5.5 shutter flaps per second|
|Not weather sealed||Weathersealed body|
|100 shots per battery charge||1400 shots per battery charge|
|152 x 138 x 80 mm, 990 g||144 x 110 x 67 mm, 760 g|
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Contax N Digital and the Nikon Df? 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.
The physical size and weight of the Contax N Digital and the Nikon Df are illustrated in the side-by-side display below. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three successive views from the front, the top, and the rear are shown. All width, height and depth dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
The Df can be obtained in two different colors (black, silver), while the N Digital is only available in black.
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Nikon Df is notably smaller (24 percent) than the Contax N Digital. Moreover, the Df is markedly lighter (23 percent) than the N Digital. It is noteworthy in this context that the Df is splash and dust-proof, while the N Digital does not feature any corresponding weather-sealing.
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.
As can be seen in the images above, the N Digital has a battery grip built in. This facilitates image-taking in portrait orientation and gives it additional battery power. In order to provide similar functionality for the Df, there are third party battery grips available as optional accessories (see here on eBay).
The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the two cameras alongside a broader set of comparators. If you want to switch the focus of the display and review another camera pair, just select a new right or left comparator from among the camera models in the table. Alternatively, you can also move across to the CAM-parator tool and choose from the broad selection of possible camera comparisons there.
|Contax N Digital»||6.0 in||5.4 in||3.1 in||34.9 oz||100||n||Feb 2002||7,399||-||Contax N Digital|
|Nikon Df«||5.7 in||4.3 in||2.6 in||26.8 oz||1400||Y||Nov 2013||2,749||Nikon Df|
|Canon 10D« »||5.9 in||4.2 in||3.0 in||30.0 oz||500||n||Feb 2003||1,999||-||Canon 10D|
|Canon Rebel« »||5.6 in||3.9 in||2.8 in||22.9 oz||400||n||Aug 2003||899||-||Canon Rebel|
|Canon 1Ds« »||6.1 in||6.2 in||3.1 in||44.6 oz||600||Y||Sep 2002||8,999||-||Canon 1Ds|
|Canon D60« »||5.9 in||4.2 in||3.0 in||30.2 oz||620||n||Feb 2002||2,999||-||Canon D60|
|Leica M10-P« »||5.5 in||3.1 in||1.5 in||23.3 oz||210||Y||Aug 2018||7,995||Leica M10-P|
|Leica M10« »||5.5 in||3.1 in||1.5 in||23.3 oz||210||Y||Jan 2017||6,595||Leica M10|
|Leica SL« »||5.8 in||4.1 in||1.5 in||29.9 oz||400||Y||Oct 2015||7,450||Leica SL|
|Leica M9« »||5.5 in||3.1 in||1.5 in||20.6 oz||..||n||Sep 2009||7,999||-||Leica M9|
|Nikon D850« »||5.7 in||4.9 in||3.1 in||35.5 oz||1840||Y||Jul 2017||3,299||Nikon D850|
|Nikon D750« »||5.6 in||4.4 in||3.1 in||26.5 oz||1230||Y||Sep 2014||2,299||Nikon D750|
|Nikon D810« »||5.7 in||4.8 in||3.2 in||34.6 oz||1200||Y||Jun 2014||3,299||-||Nikon D810|
|Nikon D610« »||5.6 in||4.4 in||3.2 in||30.0 oz||900||Y||Oct 2013||1,999||Nikon D610|
|Nikon D4« »||6.3 in||6.2 in||3.6 in||47.3 oz||2600||Y||Jan 2012||5,999||-||Nikon D4|
|Nikon D100« »||5.7 in||4.6 in||3.2 in||27.5 oz||370||n||Feb 2002||1,999||-||Nikon D100|
|Nikon D1X« »||6.2 in||6.0 in||3.3 in||38.8 oz||1200||Y||Feb 2001||5,999||-||Nikon D1X|
|Note: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.|
The price is, of course, an important factor in any camera decision. The retail prices at the time of the camera’s release place the model in the market relative to other models in the producer’s line-up and the competition. The Df was launched at a markedly lower price (by 63 percent) than the N Digital, which puts it into a different market segment. 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.
The size of the sensor inside a digital camera is one of the key determinants 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. 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 are more costly to manufacture and tend to lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.
Both cameras under consideration feature a full frame sensor, but their sensors differ slightly in size. 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.
Despite having a slightly smaller sensor, the Df offers a higher resolution of 16.2 megapixels, compared with 6.1 MP of the N Digital. This megapixels advantage comes at the cost of a higher pixel density and a smaller size of the individual pixel (with a pixel pitch of 7.29μm versus 11.90μm for the N Digital). However, it should be noted that the Df is much more recent (by 11 years and 8 months) than the N Digital, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that make it possible to gather light more efficiently.
The resolution advantage of the Nikon Df implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the Df for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 24.6 x 16.4 inch or 62.6 x 41.7 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 19.7 x 13.1 inch or 50.1 x 33.3 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 16.4 x 10.9 inch or 41.7 x 27.8 cm. The corresponding values for the Contax N Digital are 15.2 x 10 inch or 38.6 x 25.5 cm for good quality, 12.2 x 8 inch or 30.9 x 20.4 cm for very good quality, and 10.1 x 6.7 inch or 25.7 x 17 cm for excellent quality prints.
The Contax N Digital has a native sensitivity range from ISO 50 to ISO 1600. The corresponding ISO settings for the Nikon Df are ISO 100 to ISO 12800, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 50-204800.
For many cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. 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"). The adjacent table reports on the physical sensor characteristics and the outcomes of the DXO sensor quality tests for a sample of comparator-cameras.
|Contax N Digital»||Full Frame||6.1||3040||2008||-||-||-||-||-||Contax N Digital|
|Nikon Df«||Full Frame||16.2||4928||3280||-||24.6||13.1||3279||89||Nikon Df|
|Canon 10D« »||APS-C||6.3||3072||2048||-||21.1||10.9||571||57||Canon 10D|
|Canon Rebel« »||APS-C||6.3||3072||2048||-||21.0||10.8||544||55||Canon Rebel|
|Canon 1Ds« »||Full Frame||11.0||4064||2704||-||21.8||11.0||954||63||Canon 1Ds|
|Canon D60« »||APS-C||6.3||3072||2048||-||-||-||-||-||Canon D60|
|Leica M10-P« »||Full Frame||23.8||5952||3992||-||-||-||-||-||Leica M10-P|
|Leica M10« »||Full Frame||23.8||5952||3992||-||24.4||13.2||2133||86||Leica M10|
|Leica SL« »||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||4K/30p||25.0||13.4||1821||88||Leica SL|
|Leica M9« »||Full Frame||18.1||5212||3472||-||22.5||11.7||884||69||Leica M9|
|Nikon D850« »||Full Frame||45.4||8256||5504||4K/30p||26.4||14.8||2660||100||Nikon D850|
|Nikon D750« »||Full Frame||24.2||6016||4016||1080/60p||24.8||14.5||2956||93||Nikon D750|
|Nikon D810« »||Full Frame||36.2||7360||4912||1080/60p||25.7||14.8||2853||97||Nikon D810|
|Nikon D610« »||Full Frame||24.2||6016||4016||1080/30p||25.1||14.4||2925||94||Nikon D610|
|Nikon D4« »||Full Frame||16.2||4928||3280||1080/30p||24.7||13.1||2965||89||Nikon D4|
|Nikon D100« »||APS-C||6.0||3008||2000||-||-||-||-||-||Nikon D100|
|Nikon D1X« »||APS-C||5.9||3008||1960||-||-||-||-||-||Nikon D1X|
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. The N Digital and the Df are similar in the sense that both have an optical viewfinder. The latter is useful for getting a clear image for framing even in brightly lit environments. The viewfinder in the Df offers a wider field of view (100%) than the one in the N Digital (95%), so that a larger proportion of the captured image is visible in the finder. On the other hand, the viewfinder of the N Digital has a higher magnification (0.73x vs 0.70x), so that the size of the image transmitted appears closer to the size seen with the naked human eye. The following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Contax N Digital, the Nikon Df, and comparable cameras.
|Contax N Digital»||optical||Y||2.0||200||fixed||n||1/8000s||4.0||n||n||Contax N Digital|
|Nikon Df«||optical||Y||3.2||921||fixed||n||1/4000s||5.5||n||n||Nikon Df|
|Canon 10D« »||optical||Y||1.8||118||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||Y||n||Canon 10D|
|Canon Rebel« »||optical||n||1.8||118||fixed||n||1/4000s||2.5||Y||n||Canon Rebel|
|Canon 1Ds« »||optical||Y||2.0||120||fixed||n||1/8000s||3.0||n||n||Canon 1Ds|
|Canon D60« »||optical||Y||1.8||114||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||Y||n||Canon D60|
|Leica M10-P« »||optical||n||3.0||1037||fixed||Y||1/4000s||5.0||n||n||Leica M10-P|
|Leica M10« »||optical||n||3.0||1037||fixed||n||1/4000s||5.0||n||n||Leica M10|
|Leica SL« »||4400||Y||3.0||1040||fixed||Y||1/8000s||11.0||n||n||Leica SL|
|Leica M9« »||optical||n||2.5||230||fixed||n||1/4000s||2.0||n||n||Leica M9|
|Nikon D850« »||optical||Y||3.2||2359||tilting||Y||1/8000s||9.0||n||n||Nikon D850|
|Nikon D750« »||optical||Y||3.2||1229||tilting||n||1/4000s||6.0||Y||n||Nikon D750|
|Nikon D810« »||optical||Y||3.2||1229||fixed||n||1/8000s||5.0||Y||n||Nikon D810|
|Nikon D610« »||optical||Y||3.2||921||fixed||n||1/4000s||6.0||Y||n||Nikon D610|
|Nikon D4« »||optical||Y||3.2||921||fixed||n||1/8000s||11.0||n||n||Nikon D4|
|Nikon D100« »||optical||Y||1.8||118||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||Y||n||Nikon D100|
|Nikon D1X« »||optical||Y||2.0||120||fixed||n||1/16000s||3.0||n||n||Nikon D1X|
The Nikon Df 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 N Digital writes its imaging data to Compact Flash cards, while the Df uses SDXC cards.
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 Contax N Digital and Nikon Df and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
|Contax N Digital»||Y||-||-||-||-||-||FW||-||-||-||Contax N Digital|
|Nikon Df«||Y||-||-||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Nikon Df|
|Canon 10D« »||Y||-||-||-||-||-||1.1||-||-||-||Canon 10D|
|Canon Rebel« »||Y||-||-||-||-||-||1.1||-||-||-||Canon Rebel|
|Canon 1Ds« »||Y||-||-||-||-||-||FW||-||-||-||Canon 1Ds|
|Canon D60« »||Y||-||-||-||-||-||1.1||-||-||-||Canon D60|
|Leica M10-P« »||Y||-||-||-||-||-||-||Y||-||-||Leica M10-P|
|Leica M10« »||Y||-||-||-||-||-||-||Y||-||-||Leica M10|
|Leica SL« »||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||full||3.0||Y||-||-||Leica SL|
|Leica M9« »||Y||-||-||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-||Leica M9|
|Nikon D850« »||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||mini||3.0||Y||Y||Y||Nikon D850|
|Nikon D750« »||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||mini||2.0||Y||-||-||Nikon D750|
|Nikon D810« »||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||mini||3.0||Y||-||-||Nikon D810|
|Nikon D610« »||Y||mono||mono||Y||Y||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Nikon D610|
|Nikon D4« »||Y||mono||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||-||-||-||Nikon D4|
|Nikon D100« »||Y||-||-||-||-||-||1.1||-||-||-||Nikon D100|
|Nikon D1X« »||Y||-||-||-||-||-||FW||-||-||-||Nikon D1X|
Both cameras feature a PC Sync terminal to control professional strobe lights, which will be appreciated by studio photographers.
The Df is a recent model that features in the current product line-up of Nikon. In contrast, the N Digital has been discontinued (but it can be found pre-owned on eBay). There has not been a direct replacement model for the N Digital from Contax. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Contax and Nikon websites.
So how do things add up? Is the Contax N Digital better than the Nikon Df or vice versa? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.
Reasons to prefer the Contax N Digital:
- Larger viewfinder image: Features a viewfinder with a higher magnification (0.73x vs 0.70x).
- Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/8000s vs 1/4000s) to freeze action.
- More portrait friendly: Features an integrated vertical grip for easier portrait shooting.
- More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in February 2002).
Arguments in favor of the Nikon Df:
- More detail: Has more megapixels (16.2 vs 6.1MP), which boosts linear resolution by 63%.
- More complete view: Has a viewfinder with a larger field of view (100% vs 95%).
- Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.2" vs 2.0") for image review and settings control.
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (921k vs 200k dots).
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (5.5 vs 4 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Easier time-lapse photography: Has an intervalometer built-in for low frequency shooting.
- More compact: Is smaller (144x110mm vs 152x138mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
- Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 230g or 23 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
- Longer lasting: Gets more shots (1400 versus 100) out of a single battery charge.
- Better sealing: Is splash and dust sealed for shooting in inclement weather conditions.
- More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (63 percent cheaper at launch).
- More modern: Reflects 11 years and 8 months of technical progress since the N Digital launch.
If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the Df is the clear winner of the contest (12 : 4 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.
How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Contax N Digital and the Nikon Df place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best DSLR 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 partial and cannot reveal, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance when actually working with the N Digital or the Df. User reviews, such as those found at amazon, can sometimes inform about these issues, but such feedback is often incomplete, inconsistent, and biased.
This is why expert reviews are important. The following table reports the overall ratings of the cameras as published by some of the major camera 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.
|Contax N Digital»||-||-||-||-||-||Feb 2002||7,399||-||Contax N Digital|
|Nikon Df«||-||81/100||4/5||4/5||4/5||Nov 2013||2,749||Nikon Df|
|Canon 10D« »||-||+ +||-||o||-||Feb 2003||1,999||-||Canon 10D|
|Canon Rebel« »||-||+ +||-||o||-||Aug 2003||899||-||Canon Rebel|
|Canon 1Ds« »||-||+ +||-||-||-||Sep 2002||8,999||-||Canon 1Ds|
|Canon D60« »||-||+ +||o||-||-||Feb 2002||2,999||-||Canon D60|
|Leica M10-P« »||-||-||-||-||4/5||Aug 2018||7,995||Leica M10-P|
|Leica M10« »||-||-||4/5||-||4.5/5||Jan 2017||6,595||Leica M10|
|Leica SL« »||-||84/100||4.5/5||4/5||4/5||Oct 2015||7,450||Leica SL|
|Leica M9« »||-||-||4.5/5||4.5/5||-||Sep 2009||7,999||-||Leica M9|
|Nikon D850« »||+ +||89/100||4.5/5||5/5||5/5||Jul 2017||3,299||Nikon D850|
|Nikon D750« »||+ +||90/100||4.5/5||5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2014||2,299||Nikon D750|
|Nikon D810« »||-||86/100||5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2014||3,299||-||Nikon D810|
|Nikon D610« »||+ +||87/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Oct 2013||1,999||Nikon D610|
|Nikon D4« »||-||-||4.5/5||-||4.5/5||Jan 2012||5,999||-||Nikon D4|
|Nikon D100« »||-||+ +||o||o||-||Feb 2002||1,999||-||Nikon D100|
|Nikon D1X« »||-||+ +||-||o||-||Feb 2001||5,999||-||Nikon D1X|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (-) not available.|
The review scores listed above should be treated with care, though. The ratings are only valid when referring to cameras in the same category and of the same age. Thus, a score needs to be put into the context of the launch date and the launch price of the camera, and comparing ratings of very distinct cameras or ones that are far apart in terms of their release date have little meaning. It should also be noted that some of the review sites have over time altered the way they render their verdicts.
Other camera comparisons
Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? In case you would like to check on the differences and similarities of other camera models, just use the search menu 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.
- Contax N Digital vs Fujifilm X70
- Contax N Digital vs Nikon D800
- Contax N Digital vs Olympus PEN-F
- Contax N Digital vs Panasonic FZ82
- Contax N Digital vs Panasonic GX800
- Contax N Digital vs Sony RX100 VI
- Nikon A1000 vs Nikon Df
- Nikon B700 vs Nikon Df
- Nikon Df vs Olympus E-P2
- Nikon Df vs Olympus E-PL6
- Nikon Df vs Panasonic FZ1000 II
- Nikon Df vs Sony NEX-C3
Specifications: Contax N Digital vs Nikon Df
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 Model||Contax N Digital||Nikon Df|
|Camera Type||Digital single lens reflex||Digital single lens reflex|
|Camera Lens||Contax N mount lenses||Nikon F mount lenses|
|Launch Date||February 2002||November 2013|
|Launch Price||USD 7399||USD 2749|
|Sensor Specs||Contax N Digital||Nikon Df|
|Sensor Format||Full Frame Sensor||Full Frame Sensor|
|Sensor Size||36.0 x 24.0 mm||36.0 x 23.9 mm|
|Sensor Area||864 mm2||860.4 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||43.3 mm||43.2 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||6.1 Megapixels||16.2 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||3040 x 2008 pixels||4928 x 3280 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||11.90 μm||7.29 μm|
|Pixel Density||0.71 MP/cm2||1.88 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||no Video||no Video|
|ISO Setting||50-1600 ISO||100-12800 ISO|
|ISO Boost||no Enhancement||50-204800 ISO|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||..||89|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||..||24.6|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||..||13.1|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||..||3279|
|Screen Specs||Contax N Digital||Nikon Df|
|Viewfinder Type||Optical viewfinder||Optical viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||95%||100%|
|Top-Level Screen||Control Panel||Control Panel|
|LCD Framing||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||2.0 inch||3.2 inch|
|LCD Resolution||200k dots||921k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Fixed screen|
|Shooting Specs||Contax N Digital||Nikon Df|
|Autofocus System||Phase-detect AF||Phase-detect AF|
|Continuous Shooting||4 shutter flaps/s||5.5 shutter flaps/s|
|Time-Lapse Photography||no Intervalometer||Intervalometer built-in|
|Fill Flash||no On-Board Flash||no On-Board Flash|
|Storage Medium||CF cards||SDXC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Single card slot|
|Connectivity Specs||Contax N Digital||Nikon Df|
|Studio Flash||PC Sync socket||PC Sync socket|
|USB Connector||Firewire||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||no HDMI||mini HDMI|
|Wifi Support||no Wifi||no Wifi|
|Body Specs||Contax N Digital||Nikon Df|
|Environmental Sealing||Not weather sealed||Weathersealed body|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||100 shots per charge||1400 shots per charge|
152 x 138 x 80 mm
(6.0 x 5.4 x 3.1 in)
144 x 110 x 67 mm
(5.7 x 4.3 x 2.6 in)
|Camera Weight||990 g (34.9 oz)||760 g (26.8 oz)|
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