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Leica TL vs Nikon P950

The Leica TL and the Nikon Coolpix P950 are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in November 2016 and January 2020. The TL is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera, while the P950 is a fixed lens compact. The cameras are based on an APS-C (TL) and a 1/2.3-inch (P950) sensor. The Leica has a resolution of 16.1 megapixels, whereas the Nikon provides 15.9 MP.

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

Headline Specifications
Leica TL VS Nikon P950
Leica TL Nikon P950
Mirrorless system camera Fixed lens compact camera
Leica T mount lenses 24-2000mm f/2.8-6.5
16.1 MP, APS-C Sensor 15.9 MP, 1/2.3" Sensor
1080/30p Video 4K/30p Video
ISO 100-12500 ISO 100-6400 (100-12800)
Viewfinder optional Electronic viewfinder (2359k dots)
3.7" LCD, 1230k dots 3.2" LCD, 921k dots
Fixed touchscreen Swivel screen (not touch-sensitive)
5 shutter flaps per second 7 shutter flaps per second
400 shots per battery charge290 shots per battery charge
134 x 69 x 33 mm, 384 g 140 x 110 x 150 mm, 1005 g

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Leica TL and the Nikon Coolpix P950? 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 Leica TL and the Nikon P950. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three successive views from the front, the top, and the rear are shown. All size dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

The TL can be obtained in three different colors (black, silver, titanium), while the P950 is only available in black.

Size Leica TL vs Nikon P950
Compare TL versus P950 top
Comparison TL or P950 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Nikon P950 is considerably larger (67 percent) than the Leica TL. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the TL nor the P950 are weather-sealed.

The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the P950 has a lens built in, whereas the TL is an interchangeable lens camera that requires a separate lens. Attaching the latter will add extra weight and bulk to the setup.

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 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.

Camera Body Specifications
  Camera
Model
Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life
(CIPA)
Weather
Sealing
(yes/no)
Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Camera
Model
 
Leica TL» 134 mm 69 mm 33 mm 384 g 400 n Nov 2016 1,695iLeica TL
 
Nikon P950« 140 mm 110 mm 150 mm 1005 g 290 n Jan 2020 799 iNikon P950
 
Fujifilm X70« » 113 mm 64 mm 44 mm 340 g 330 n Jan 2016 799iFujifilm X70
 
Fujifilm X-E2S« » 129 mm 75 mm 37 mm 350 g 350 n Jan 2016 699iFujifilm X-E2S
 
Fujifilm X-A2« » 117 mm 67 mm 40 mm 350 g 410 n Jan 2015 399iFujifilm X-A2
 
Fujifilm X-T10« » 118 mm 83 mm 41 mm 381 g 350 n May 2015 799iFujifilm X-T10
 
Fujifilm X-Pro1« » 140 mm 82 mm 43 mm 450 g 300 n Jan 2012 1,699iFujifilm X-Pro1
 
Leica CL« » 131 mm 78 mm 45 mm 403 g 220 n Nov 2017 2,795 iLeica CL
 
Leica TL2« » 134 mm 69 mm 33 mm 399 g 250 n Jul 2017 1,950 iLeica TL2
 
Leica T« » 134 mm 69 mm 33 mm 384 g 400 n Apr 2014 1,850iLeica T
 
Leica X2« » 124 mm 69 mm 52 mm 345 g 450 n May 2012 1,995iLeica X2
 
Nikon B600« » 122 mm 82 mm 99 mm 500 g 280 n Jan 2019 349 iNikon B600
 
Nikon A1000« » 114 mm 72 mm 41 mm 330 g 250 n Jan 2019 429 iNikon A1000
 
Nikon P1000« » 146 mm 119 mm 181 mm 1415 g 250 n Jul 2018 999 iNikon P1000
 
Nikon P900« » 140 mm 103 mm 137 mm 899 g 360 n Mar 2015 599iNikon P900
 
Panasonic G7« » 125 mm 86 mm 77 mm 410 g 350 n May 2015 649iPanasonic G7
Note: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.

Any camera decision will naturally be influenced heavily by the price. The listed launch prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The P950 was launched at a lower price than the TL, despite having a lens built in. 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. 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. Moreover, a large sensor camera will give the photographer more control over depth-of-field in the image and, thus, the ability to better 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.

Of the two cameras under consideration, the Leica TL features an APS-C sensor and the Nikon P950 a 1/2.3-inch sensor. The sensor area in the P950 is 92 percent smaller. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 1.5 and 5.6. The sensor in the TL has a native 3:2 aspect ratio, while the one in the P950 offers a 4:3 aspect.

Leica TL and Nikon P950 sensor measures

With 16.1MP, the TL offers a slightly higher resolution than the P950 (15.9MP), but the TL nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 4.80μm versus 1.33μm for the P950) due to its larger sensor. However, the P950 is a much more recent model (by 3 years and 1 month) than the TL, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that further enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixels. 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 Leica TL has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 12500. The corresponding ISO settings for the Nikon Coolpix P950 are ISO 100 to ISO 6400, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 100-12800.

TL versus P950 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.

Sensor Characteristics
  Camera
Model
Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
Camera
Model
 
Leica TL APS-C 16.1 4928 32641080/30p........Leica TL
 
Nikon P950 1/2.3 15.9 4608 34564K/30p........Nikon P950
 
Fujifilm X70 APS-C 16.0 4896 32641080/60p........Fujifilm X70
 
Fujifilm X-E2S APS-C 16.0 4896 32641080/60p........Fujifilm X-E2S
 
Fujifilm X-A2 APS-C 16.0 4896 32641080/30p........Fujifilm X-A2
 
Fujifilm X-T10 APS-C 16.0 4896 32641080/60p........Fujifilm X-T10
 
Fujifilm X-Pro1 APS-C 16.0 4896 32641080/24p........Fujifilm X-Pro1
 
Leica CL APS-C 24.1 6014 40144K/30p........Leica CL
 
Leica TL2 APS-C 24.1 6014 40144K/30p........Leica TL2
 
Leica T APS-C 16.2 4944 32781080/30p23.012.7108275Leica T
 
Leica X2 APS-C 16.1 4928 3264none........Leica X2
 
Nikon B600 1/2.3 15.9 4608 34561080/30p........Nikon B600
 
Nikon A1000 1/2.3 15.9 4608 34564K/30p........Nikon A1000
 
Nikon P1000 1/2.3 15.9 4608 34564K/30p........Nikon P1000
 
Nikon P900 1/2.3 15.9 4608 34561080/60p........Nikon P900
 
Panasonic G7 Four Thirds 15.8 4592 34484K/30p........Panasonic G7

Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. Both cameras under consideration are equipped with sensors that have a sufficiently high read-out speed for moving images, but the P950 provides a better video resolution than the TL. It can shoot movie footage at 4K/30p, while the Leica is limited to 1080/30p.

 

Feature comparison

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. For example, the P950 has an electronic viewfinder (2359k dots), which can be very helpful when shooting in bright sunlight. In contrast, the TL relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. That said, the TL can be equipped with an optional viewfinder – the Visoflex (Typ 020). The adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Leica TL and Nikon P950 along with similar information for a selection of comparators.

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
Camera
Model
 
Leica TLoptional n 3.7 1230 fixed Y 1/4000s 5.0 Y n Leica TL
 
Nikon P9502359 n 3.2 921 swivel n 1/4000s 7.0 Y Y Nikon P950
 
Fujifilm X70optional n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 1/4000s 8.0 Y n Fujifilm X70
 
Fujifilm X-E2S2360 n 3.0 1040 fixed n 1/4000s 7.0 Y n Fujifilm X-E2S
 
Fujifilm X-A2none n 3.0 920 tilting n 1/4000s 5.6 Y n Fujifilm X-A2
 
Fujifilm X-T102360 n 3.0 920 tilting n 1/4000s 8.0 Y n Fujifilm X-T10
 
Fujifilm X-Pro11440 n 3.0 1230 fixed n 1/4000s 6.0 n n Fujifilm X-Pro1
 
Leica CL2360 Y 3.0 1040 fixed Y 1/8000s 10.0 n n Leica CL
 
Leica TL2optional n 3.7 1230 fixed Y 1/4000s 7.0 n n Leica TL2
 
Leica Toptional n 3.7 1300 fixed Y 1/4000s 5.0 Y n Leica T
 
Leica X2optional n 2.7 230 fixed n 1/2000s 5.0 Y n Leica X2
 
Nikon B600none n 3.0 921 fixed n 1/4000s 7.4 Y Y Nikon B600
 
Nikon A10001166 n 3.0 1036 tilting Y 1/4000s 7.0 Y Y Nikon A1000
 
Nikon P10002359 n 3.2 921 swivel n 1/4000s 7.0 Y Y Nikon P1000
 
Nikon P900921 n 3.0 921 swivel n 1/4000s 7.0 Y Y Nikon P900
 
Panasonic G72360 n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 1/4000s 7.0 Y n Panasonic G7

One differentiating feature between the two cameras concerns the touch sensitivity of the rear screen. The TL has a touchscreen, while the P950 has a conventional panel. Touch control can be particularly helpful, for example, for setting the focus point.

The P950 has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing. This characteristic will be appreciated by vloggers and photographers who are interested in taking selfies. In contrast, the TL does not have a selfie-screen.

The Nikon P950 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.

Concerning the storage of imaging data, both the TL and the P950 write their files to SDXC 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 Leica TL and Nikon Coolpix P950 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.

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
Camera
Model
 
Leica TLYstereomono--micro2.0Y--Leica TL
 
Nikon P950YstereomonoY-micro2.0Y-YNikon P950
 
Fujifilm X70YstereomonoY-micro2.0Y--Fujifilm X70
 
Fujifilm X-E2SYstereomonoY-micro2.0Y--Fujifilm X-E2S
 
Fujifilm X-A2Ystereomono--mini2.0Y--Fujifilm X-A2
 
Fujifilm X-T10YstereomonoY-micro2.0Y--Fujifilm X-T10
 
Fujifilm X-Pro1Ystereomono--mini2.0---Fujifilm X-Pro1
 
Leica CLYstereomono--nonenoneY--Leica CL
 
Leica TL2Ystereomono--micro3.0Y--Leica TL2
 
Leica TYstereomono--none2.0Y--Leica T
 
Leica X2Ynonenone--mini2.0---Leica X2
 
Nikon B600-stereomono--micro2.0Y-YNikon B600
 
Nikon A1000-stereomono--micro2.0Y-YNikon A1000
 
Nikon P1000YstereomonoY-micro2.0Y-YNikon P1000
 
Nikon P900-stereomono--micro2.0YY-Nikon P900
 
Panasonic G7YstereomonoY-micro2.0Y--Panasonic G7

It is notable that the P950 has a microphone port, which can help to improve the quality of audio recordings by attaching an external microphone. The TL does not feature such a mic input.

The P950 is a recent model that features in the current product line-up of Nikon. In contrast, the TL has been discontinued (but it can be found pre-owned on eBay). As a replacement in the same line of cameras, the TL was succeeded by the Leica TL2. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Leica and Nikon websites.

Review summary

So what is the bottom line? Is the Leica TL better than the Nikon P950 or vice versa? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.

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Reasons to prefer the Leica TL:

  • Better image quality: Features bigger pixels on a larger sensor for higher quality imaging.
  • Richer colors: The pixel size advantage translates into images with better, more accurate colors.
  • More dynamic range: Larger pixels capture a wider spectrum of light and dark details.
  • Better low-light sensitivity: Larger pixels means good image quality even under poor lighting.
  • Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.7" vs 3.2") for image review and settings control.
  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1230k vs 921k dots).
  • Fewer buttons to press: Is equipped with a touch-sensitive rear screen to facilitate handling.
  • More flexible: Accepts interchangeable lenses, so that lens characteristics can be altered.
  • More compact: Is smaller (134x69mm vs 140x110mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
  • Longer lasting: Can take more shots (400 versus 290) on a single battery charge.
  • More prestigious: Has the Leica luxury appeal, which ensures a high resale price.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in November 2016).

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Arguments in favor of the Nikon Coolpix P950:

  • Better video: Provides higher definition movie capture (4K/30p vs 1080/30p).
  • Better sound: Can connect to an external microphone for higher quality sound recording.
  • Easier framing: Has an electronic viewfinder for image composition and settings control.
  • 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.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (7 vs 5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • Easier time-lapse photography: Has an intervalometer built-in for low frequency shooting.
  • Ready to shoot: Has an integrated lens, whereas the TL necessitates an extra lens.
  • Sharper images: Has stabilization technology built-in to reduce the impact of hand-shake.
  • Easier wireless transfer: Supports Bluetooth for image sharing without cables.
  • More affordable: Was introduced at a lower price, despite coming with a built-in lens.
  • More modern: Reflects 3 years and 1 month of technical progress since the TL launch.

If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the match-up finishes in a tie (12 points each). However, the pertinence of the various camera strengths will differ across photographers, so that you might want to weigh individual camera traits according to their importance for your own imaging needs before making a camera decision. 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.

TL 12:12 P950

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Leica TL and the Nikon P950 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera and Best Superzoom Camera listings 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 TL or the P950. User reviews that are available, for instance, at amazon can sometimes shed light on these issues, but such feedback is all too often partial, inconsistent, and inaccurate.

Expert reviews

This is why hands-on reviews by experts 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.

Review Scores
  Camera
Model
cam
era
  labs  
dp
re
  view  
e
photo
  zine  
ima
ging
resource
photo
graphy
  blog  
Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Camera
Model
 
Leica TL........4/5 Nov 2016 1,695iLeica TL
 
Nikon P950....4/5..4/5 Jan 2020 799 iNikon P950
 
Fujifilm X70..76/1004.5/54/54.5/5 Jan 2016 799iFujifilm X70
 
Fujifilm X-E2S..77/1004.5/5..4.5/5 Jan 2016 699iFujifilm X-E2S
 
Fujifilm X-A2....4.5/54/54.5/5 Jan 2015 399iFujifilm X-A2
 
Fujifilm X-T10+ +80/1005/54/55/5 May 2015 799iFujifilm X-T10
 
Fujifilm X-Pro1+ +79/1004.5/54/54.5/5 Jan 2012 1,699iFujifilm X-Pro1
 
Leica CL........4/5 Nov 2017 2,795 iLeica CL
 
Leica TL2....4/5..4/5 Jul 2017 1,950 iLeica TL2
 
Leica T....4/5..4/5 Apr 2014 1,850iLeica T
 
Leica X2....3/5..4/5 May 2012 1,995iLeica X2
 
Nikon B600+..3.5/5..3/5 Jan 2019 349 iNikon B600
 
Nikon A1000+ +..3.5/5..3/5 Jan 2019 429 iNikon A1000
 
Nikon P1000+73/1003.5/54.5/53.5/5 Jul 2018 999 iNikon P1000
 
Nikon P900..77/1004/54.5/54/5 Mar 2015 599iNikon P900
 
Panasonic G7+ +80/1005/54.5/54.5/5 May 2015 649iPanasonic G7
Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.

The review scores listed above should be treated with care, though. The ratings were established in reference to similarly priced cameras that were available in the market at the time of the review. Thus, a score needs to be put into the context of the launch date and the launch price of the camera, and rating-comparisons among cameras that span long time periods or concern very differently equipped models make little sense. It should also be noted that some of the review sites have over time altered the way they render their verdicts.

Leica TL:
Check Ebay offers
Nikon P950:
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 use the search menu below. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting.

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    Specifications: Leica TL vs Nikon P950

    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 Leica TL Nikon P950
    Camera Type Mirrorless system camera Fixed lens compact camera
    Camera Lens Leica T mount lenses 24-2000mm f/2.8-6.5
    Launch Date November 2016 January 2020
    Launch Price USD 1695 USD 799
    Sensor Specs Leica TL Nikon P950
    Sensor Technology CMOS CMOS
    Sensor Format APS-C Sensor 1/2.3" Sensor
    Sensor Size 23.6 x 15.7 mm 6.17 x 4.55 mm
    Sensor Area 370.52 mm2 28.0735 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 28.3 mm 7.7 mm
    Crop Factor 1.5x 5.6x
    Sensor Resolution 16.1 Megapixels 15.9 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 4928 x 3264 pixels 4608 x 3456 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 4.80 μm 1.33 μm
    Pixel Density 4.34 MP/cm2 56.73 MP/cm2
    Moiré control no AA filter no AA filter
    Movie Capability 1080/30p Video 4K/30p Video
    ISO Setting 100-12500 ISO 100-6400 ISO
    ISO Boost no Enhancement 100-12800 ISO
    Screen Specs Leica TL Nikon P950
    Viewfinder Type Viewfinder optional Electronic viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 90%
    Viewfinder Magnification ..x
    Viewfinder Resolution 2359k dots
    LCD Framing Live View Live View
    Rear LCD Size 3.7 inch 3.2 inch
    LCD Resolution 1230k dots 921k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen Swivel screen
    Touch Input Touchscreen no Touchscreen
    Shooting Specs Leica TL Nikon P950
    Focus System Contrast-detect AF Contrast-detect AF
    Manual Focusing AidNo Peaking FeatureFocus Peaking
    Max Shutter Speed (mechanical) 1/4000/s 1/4000/s
    Continuous Shooting 5 shutter flaps/s 7 shutter flaps/s
    Time-Lapse Photographyno IntervalometerIntervalometer built-in
    Fill Flash Build-in Flash Build-in Flash
    Storage Medium SDXC cards SDXC cards
    Second Storage Option Single card slot Single card slot
    UHS card support no no
    Connectivity Specs Leica TL Nikon P950
    External Flash Hotshoe Hotshoe
    USB Connector USB 2.0 USB 2.0
    HDMI Port micro HDMI micro HDMI
    Microphone Port no MIC socket External MIC port
    Wifi Support Wifi built-in Wifi built-in
    Bluetooth Support no Bluetooth Bluetooth built-in
    Body Specs Leica TL Nikon P950
    Battery Type BP-DC13 EN-EL20a
    Battery Life (CIPA)400 shots per charge290 shots per charge
    In-Camera Charging USB charging USB charging
    Body Dimensions 134 x 69 x 33 mm
    (5.3 x 2.7 x 1.3 in)
    140 x 110 x 150 mm
    (5.5 x 4.3 x 5.9 in)
    Camera Weight 384 g (13.5 oz) 1005 g (35.5 oz)

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