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Leica X2 vs Nikon D300

The Leica X2 and the Nikon D300 are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in May 2012 and August 2007. The X2 is a fixed lens compact, while the D300 is a DSLR. Both cameras are equipped with an APS-C sensor. The Leica has a resolution of 16.1 megapixels, whereas the Nikon provides 12.2 MP.

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

Headline Specifications
Leica X2 versus Nikon D300
Leica X2 Nikon D300
Fixed lens compact camera Digital single lens reflex
36mm f/2.8 Nikon F mount lenses
16.1 MP, APS-C Sensor 12.2 MP, APS-C Sensor
no Video no Video
ISO 100-12,500 ISO 200-3,200 (100 - 6,400)
Viewfinder optional Optical viewfinder
2.7 LCD, 230k dots 3.0 LCD, 922k dots
Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive) Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)
5 shutter flaps per second 6 shutter flaps per second
not weather sealedWeathersealed body
450 shots per battery charge1000 shots per battery charge
124 x 69 x 52 mm, 345 g 147 x 114 x 74 mm, 925 g

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Leica X2 and the Nikon D300? 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 physical size and weight of the Leica X2 and the Nikon D300 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 size dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

The X2 can be obtained in two different colors (black, silver), while the D300 is only available in black.

Size Leica X2 vs Nikon D300
Compare X2 versus D300 top
Comparison X2 or D300 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Nikon D300 is considerably larger (96 percent) than the Leica X2. It is noteworthy in this context that the D300 is splash and dust-proof, while the X2 does not feature any corresponding weather-sealing.

The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the X2 has a lens built in, whereas the D300 is an interchangeable lens camera that requires a separate lens. Attaching the latter will add extra weight and bulk to the setup. You can compare the optics available for the D300 and their specifications in the Nikon Lens Catalog.

Concerning battery life, the X2 gets 450 shots out of its BP-DC8 battery, while the D300 can take 1000 images on a single charge of its EN-EL3e power pack.

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, you can navigate to the CAM-parator app and make your selection from a broad list of cameras there.

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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.
 
Leica X2 124 mm 69 mm 52 mm 345 g 450 n May 2012 1,995i
2.
 
Nikon D300 147 mm 114 mm 74 mm 925 g 1000 Y Aug 2007 1,799i
3.
 
Canon SX510 104 mm 70 mm 80 mm 349 g 250 n Aug 2013 249i
4.
 
Canon SX500 104 mm 70 mm 80 mm 341 g 195 n Aug 2012 329i
5.
 
Leica D-LUX 7 115 mm 66 mm 65 mm 392 g 300 n Nov 2018 1,195 i
6.
 
Leica TL 134 mm 69 mm 33 mm 384 g 400 n Nov 2016 1,695i
7.
 
Leica T 134 mm 69 mm 33 mm 384 g 400 n Apr 2014 1,850i
8.
 
Leica X Typ 113 133 mm 73 mm 78 mm 486 g 350 n Sep 2014 2,295i
9.
 
Leica X Vario 133 mm 73 mm 95 mm 680 g 450 n Jun 2013 2,850i
10.
 
Leica D-LUX 6 111 mm 68 mm 46 mm 298 g 330 n Sep 2012 699i
11.
 
Leica X1 124 mm 60 mm 32 mm 306 g 260 n Sep 2009 1,995i
12.
 
Nikon Coolpix A 111 mm 64 mm 40 mm 299 g 230 n Mar 2013 1,099i
13.
 
Nikon D7000 132 mm 105 mm 77 mm 780 g 1050 Y Sep 2010 1,499i
14.
 
Nikon D300S 147 mm 115 mm 81 mm 938 g 950 Y Jul 2009 1,799i
15.
 
Nikon D700 147 mm 123 mm 77 mm 1074 g 1000 Y Jul 2008 2,999i
16.
 
Nikon D2Xs 158 mm 150 mm 86 mm 1252 g 3800 Y Jun 2006 4,699i
17.
 
Nikon D200 147 mm 113 mm 74 mm 920 g 400 Y Nov 2005 1,699i
Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or 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. Normally, street prices remain initially close to the MSRP, but after a couple of months, the first discounts appear. 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.

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Sensor comparison

The size of the sensor inside a digital camera is one of the key determinants of image quality. A large sensor will generally have larger individual pixels that offer better low-light sensitivity, provide wider dynamic range, and have 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 tend to be associated with larger, more expensive camera bodies and lenses.

Both cameras under consideration feature an APS-C sensor, but their sensors differ slightly in size. The sensor area in the D300 is 1 percent bigger. They nevertheless have the same format factor of 1.5. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.

Leica X2 and Nikon D300 sensor measures

Despite having a slightly smaller sensor, the Leica X2 offers a higher resolution of 16.1 megapixels, compared with 12.2 MP of the Nikon D300. 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 4.79μm versus 5.53μm for the D300). However, it should be noted that the X2 is much more recent (by 4 years and 8 months) than the D300, 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 Leica X2 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the X2 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 24.6 x 16.3 inches or 62.6 x 41.5 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 19.7 x 13.1 inches or 50.1 x 33.2 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 16.4 x 10.9 inches or 41.7 x 27.6 cm. The corresponding values for the Nikon D300 are 21.4 x 14.2 inches or 54.5 x 36.2 cm for good quality, 17.2 x 11.4 inches or 43.6 x 28.9 cm for very good quality, and 14.3 x 9.5 inches or 36.3 x 24.1 cm for excellent quality prints.

The Leica X2 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 12500. The corresponding ISO settings for the Nikon D300 are ISO 200 to ISO 3200, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 100-6400.

X2 versus D300 MP

Since 2007, DXO Mark has published sensor performance measurements that have been derived using a consistent methodology. 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 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
1.
 
Leica X2 APS-C 16.1 4928 3264none........
2.
 
Nikon D300 APS-C 12.2 4288 2848none22.112.067967
3.
 
Canon SX510 1/2.3 15.9 4608 34561080/24p........
4.
 
Canon SX500 1/2.3 15.9 4608 3456720/30p........
5.
 
Leica D-LUX 7 Four Thirds 16.8 4736 35524K/30p........
6.
 
Leica TL APS-C 16.1 4928 32641080/30p........
7.
 
Leica T APS-C 16.2 4944 32781080/30p23.012.7108275
8.
 
Leica X Typ 113 APS-C 16.1 4928 32641080/30p........
9.
 
Leica X Vario APS-C 16.1 4928 32721080/30p23.412.7132078
10.
 
Leica D-LUX 6 1/1.7 10.0 3648 27361080/60p........
11.
 
Leica X1 APS-C 12.2 4272 2856none........
12.
 
Nikon Coolpix A APS-C 16.1 4928 32641080/30p23.413.8116480
13.
 
Nikon D7000 APS-C 16.1 4928 326410800/24p23.513.9116780
14.
 
Nikon D300S APS-C 12.2 4288 2848720/24p22.512.278770
15.
 
Nikon D700 Full Frame 12.1 4256 2832none23.512.2230380
16.
 
Nikon D2Xs APS-C 12.2 4288 2848none22.210.948959
17.
 
Nikon D200 APS-C 10.0 3872 2592none22.311.558364
The D300 offers Live View, so that it can project the live image that the sensor receives onto the rear screen for framing. The X2 lacks this capability. Both cameras are still-image focused and cannot record videos.
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Feature comparison

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. For example, the D300 has an optical viewfinder, which can be very useful when shooting in bright sunlight. In contrast, the X2 relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. That said, the X2 can be equipped with an optional viewfinder – the EVF 2. The adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Leica X2 and Nikon D300 along with similar information for a selection of comparators.

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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
1.
 
Leica X2optional n 2.7 230 fixed n 1/2000s 5.0 Y n
2.
 
Nikon D300optical Y 3.0 922 fixed n 1/8000s 6.0 Y n
3.
 
Canon SX510none n 3.0 461 fixed n 1/1600s 3.8 Y Y
4.
 
Canon SX500none n 3.0 461 fixed n 1/1600s 0.8 Y Y
5.
 
Leica D-LUX 72764 n 3.0 1240 fixed Y 1/4000s 11.0 n Y
6.
 
Leica TLoptional n 3.7 1230 fixed Y 1/4000s 5.0 Y n
7.
 
Leica Toptional n 3.7 1300 fixed Y 1/4000s 5.0 Y n
8.
 
Leica X Typ 113optional n 3.0 920 fixed n 1/2000s 5.0 Y n
9.
 
Leica X Variooptional n 3.0 920 fixed n 1/2000s 5.0 Y n
10.
 
Leica D-LUX 6optional n 3.0 920 fixed n 1/4000s 11.0 Y Y
11.
 
Leica X1none n 2.7 230 fixed n 1/2000s 3.0 Y n
12.
 
Nikon Coolpix Aoptional n 3.0 921 fixed n 1/2000s 4.0 Y n
13.
 
Nikon D7000optical Y 3.0 921 fixed n 1/8000s 6.0 Y n
14.
 
Nikon D300Soptical Y 3.0 920 fixed n 1/8000s 7.0 Y n
15.
 
Nikon D700optical Y 3.0 922 fixed n 1/8000s 8.0 Y n
16.
 
Nikon D2Xsoptical Y 2.5 230 fixed n 1/8000s 5.0 n n
17.
 
Nikon D200optical Y 2.5 230 fixed n 1/8000s 5.0 Y n

One feature that is present on the D300, but is missing on the X2 is a top-level LCD. While being, of course, smaller than the rear screen, the control panel conveys some of the essential shooting information and can be convenient for quick and easy settings verification.

The Nikon D300 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 X2 writes its imaging data to SDHC cards, while the D300 uses Compact Flash cards.

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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 X2 and Nikon D300 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
1.
 
Leica X2Y----mini2.0---
2.
 
Nikon D300Y----mini2.0---
3.
 
Canon SX510-stereomono--mini2.0Y--
4.
 
Canon SX500-stereomono---2.0---
5.
 
Leica D-LUX 7Ystereomono--micro2.0Y-Y
6.
 
Leica TLYstereomono--micro2.0Y--
7.
 
Leica TYstereomono---2.0Y--
8.
 
Leica X Typ 113Ystereomono--mini2.0---
9.
 
Leica X VarioYstereomono--mini2.0---
10.
 
Leica D-LUX 6Ystereomono--mini2.0---
11.
 
Leica X1Y----mini2.0---
12.
 
Nikon Coolpix AYstereomono---2.0---
13.
 
Nikon D7000YmonomonoY-mini2.0---
14.
 
Nikon D300SYstereomonoY-mini2.0---
15.
 
Nikon D700Y----mini2.0---
16.
 
Nikon D2XsY-----2.0---
17.
 
Nikon D200Y-----2.0---

Studio photographers will appreciate that the Nikon D300 (unlike the X2) features a PC Sync socket, so that professional strobe lights can be controlled by the camera.

Both the X2 and the D300 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The D300 was replaced by the Nikon D300S, while the X2 does not have a direct successor. 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.

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Review summary

So how do things add up? Is there a clear favorite between the Leica X2 and the Nikon D300? Which camera is better? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.

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Arguments in favor of the Leica X2:

  • More detail: Offers more megapixels (16.1 vs 12.2MP) with a 15% higher linear resolution.
  • Ready to shoot: Comes with a built-in lens, while the D300 requires a separate lens.
  • More compact: Is smaller (124x69mm vs 147x114mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
  • Less heavy: Is lighter even though it comes with a built-in lens (unlike the D300).
  • More prestigious: Has the Leica luxury appeal, which ensures a high resale price.
  • More modern: Reflects 4 years and 8 months of technical progress since the D300 launch.

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Advantages of the Nikon D300:

  • Easier framing: Has an optical viewfinder for image composition and settings control.
  • Easier setting verification: Features a control panel on top to check shooting parameters.
  • Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.0" vs 2.7") for image review and settings control.
  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (922k vs 230k dots).
  • Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/8000s vs 1/2000s) to freeze action.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (6 vs 5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • Easier time-lapse photography: Has an intervalometer built-in for low frequency shooting.
  • More flexible: Makes it possible to change lenses and thus to use specialty optics.
  • Longer lasting: Gets more shots (1000 versus 450) out of a single battery charge.
  • Better sealing: Is splash and dust sealed for shooting in inclement weather conditions.
  • Better studio light control: Has a PC Sync socket to connect to professional strobe lights.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been around for much longer (launched in August 2007).

If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the D300 is the clear winner of the contest (12 : 6 points). 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.

X2 06:12 D300

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Leica X2 and the Nikon D300 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Prime Lens Compact Camera and Best DSLR Camera listings 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 X2 or the D300 perform in practice. 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 (amateurphotographer [AP], cameralabs [CL], 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 
 DPR 
 score 
 EPZ 
 score 
 PB 
 score 
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
1.
 
Leica X23/5....3/54/5 May 2012 1,995i
2.
 
Nikon D300..+ ++ +5/54.5/5 Aug 2007 1,799i
3.
 
Canon SX510..+ +..4.5/54/5 Aug 2013 249i
4.
 
Canon SX500..+ +..4/54/5 Aug 2012 329i
5.
 
Leica D-LUX 7........4.5/5 Nov 2018 1,195 i
6.
 
Leica TL........4/5 Nov 2016 1,695i
7.
 
Leica T3/5....4/54/5 Apr 2014 1,850i
8.
 
Leica X Typ 1133.5/5....3.5/54/5 Sep 2014 2,295i
9.
 
Leica X Vario3/5....4/54/5 Jun 2013 2,850i
10.
 
Leica D-LUX 6......4/54/5 Sep 2012 699i
11.
 
Leica X13/5..+..4/5 Sep 2009 1,995i
12.
 
Nikon Coolpix A4/5+75/1004/54/5 Mar 2013 1,099i
13.
 
Nikon D70004/5..80/1004.5/54.5/5 Sep 2010 1,499i
14.
 
Nikon D300S5/5+ +82/1004/54.5/5 Jul 2009 1,799i
15.
 
Nikon D700..89/100+ +4.5/54.5/5 Jul 2008 2,999i
16.
 
Nikon D2Xs.......... Jun 2006 4,699i
17.
 
Nikon D200..+ ++ +o.. Nov 2005 1,699i
Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.

The above review scores should be interpreted with care, though. The ratings are only valid when referring to cameras in the same category and of the same age. A score, therefore, has to be seen in close connection to the price and market introduction time of the camera, and comparisons of ratings among very different cameras or across long time periods have little meaning. Also, kindly note that some of the listed sites have over time developped their review approaches and their reporting style.

Leica X2:
Check Ebay offers
Nikon D300:
Check Ebay offers

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: Leica X2 vs Nikon D300

    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 X2 Nikon D300
    Camera Type Fixed lens compact camera Digital single lens reflex
    Camera Lens 36mm f/2.8 Nikon F mount lenses
    Launch Date May 2012 August 2007
    Launch Price USD 1,995 USD 1,799
    Sensor Specs Leica X2 Nikon D300
    Sensor Technology CMOS CMOS
    Sensor Format APS-C Sensor APS-C Sensor
    Sensor Size 23.7 x 15.6 mm 23.6 x 15.8 mm
    Sensor Area 369.72 mm2 372.88 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 28.4 mm 28.4 mm
    Crop Factor 1.5x 1.5x
    Sensor Resolution 16.1 Megapixels 12.2 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 4928 x 3264 pixels 4288 x 2848 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 4.79 μm 5.53 μm
    Pixel Density 4.35 MP/cm2 3.28 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability no Video no Video
    ISO Setting 100 - 12,500 ISO 200 - 3,200 ISO
    ISO Boost no Enhancement 100 - 6,400 ISO
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) .. 67
    DXO Color Depth (bits) .. 22.1
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) .. 12.0
    DXO Low Light (ISO) .. 679
    Screen Specs Leica X2 Nikon D300
    Viewfinder Type Viewfinder optional Optical viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 100%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.63x
    Top-Level Screen no Top Display Control Panel
    LCD Framing Live View
    Rear LCD Size 2.7inch 3.0inch
    LCD Resolution 230k dots 922k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen Fixed screen
    Shooting Specs Leica X2 Nikon D300
    Focus System Contrast-detect AF Phase-detect AF
    Continuous Shooting 5 shutter flaps/s 6 shutter flaps/s
    Time-Lapse Photographyno IntervalometerIntervalometer built-in
    Fill Flash Build-in Flash Build-in Flash
    Storage Medium SDHC cards CF cards
    Second Storage Option Single card slot Single card slot
    Connectivity Specs Leica X2 Nikon D300
    External Flash Hotshoe Hotshoe
    Studio Flash no PC Sync PC Sync socket
    USB Connector USB 2.0 USB 2.0
    HDMI Port mini HDMI mini HDMI
    Wifi Support no Wifi no Wifi
    Body Specs Leica X2 Nikon D300
    Environmental Sealingnot weather sealedWeathersealed body
    Battery Type BP-DC8 EN-EL3e
    Battery Life (CIPA)450 shots per charge1000 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 124 x 69 x 52 mm
    (4.9 x 2.7 x 2.0 in)
    147 x 114 x 74 mm
    (5.8 x 4.5 x 2.9 in)
    Camera Weight 345 g (12.2 oz) 925 g (32.6 oz)

    Did you notice an error on this page? If so, please get in touch, so that we can correct the information.

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