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Nikon D40 vs Sony H300

The Nikon D40 and the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-H300 are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in November 2006 and February 2014. The D40 is a DSLR, while the H300 is a fixed lens compact. The cameras are based on an APS-C (D40) and a 1/2.3-inch (H300) sensor. The Nikon has a resolution of 6 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
Nikon D40 versus Sony H300
Nikon D40 Sony H300
Digital single lens reflex Fixed lens compact camera
Nikon F mount lenses 25-875mm f/3.4-6.5
6 MP, APS-C Sensor 19.9 MP, 1/2.3" Sensor
no Video 720/30p Video
ISO 200-1,600 (200 - 3,200) ISO 80-3,200
Optical viewfinder No viewfinder, LCD framing
2.5 LCD, 230k dots 3.0 LCD, 460k dots
Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive) Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)
2.5 shutter flaps per second 0.8 shutter flaps per second
470 shots per battery charge350 shots per battery charge
124 x 94 x 64 mm, 522 g 128 x 89 x 92 mm, 590 g

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Nikon D40 and the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-H300? 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 Nikon D40 and the Sony H300 is provided 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 measures are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

Size Nikon D40 vs Sony H300
Compare D40 versus H300 top
Comparison D40 or H300 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Sony H300 is somewhat smaller (2 percent) than the Nikon D40. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the D40 nor the H300 are weather-sealed.

The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the H300 has a lens built in, whereas the D40 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 D40 and their specifications in the Nikon Lens Catalog.

The following table provides a synthesis of the main physical specifications of the two cameras and other similar ones. If you want to switch the focus of the display and review another camera pair, you can move across to the CAM-parator tool and choose from the broad selection of possible camera comparisons 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.
 
Nikon D40 4.9 in 3.7 in 2.5 in 18.4 oz 470 n Nov 2006 499i
2.
 
Sony H300 5.0 in 3.5 in 3.6 in 20.8 oz 350 n Feb 2014 219 i
3.
 
Canon SX610 4.1 in 2.4 in 1.1 in 6.7 oz 270 n Jan 2015 249i
4.
 
Nikon D3400 4.9 in 3.9 in 3.0 in 15.7 oz 1200 n Aug 2016 499i
5.
 
Nikon D3300 4.9 in 3.9 in 3.0 in 15.2 oz 700 n Jan 2014 499i
6.
 
Nikon D3100 4.9 in 3.8 in 3.0 in 17.8 oz 550 n Aug 2010 599i
7.
 
Nikon D3000 5.0 in 3.8 in 2.5 in 18.9 oz 500 n Jul 2009 599i
8.
 
Nikon D60 5.0 in 3.7 in 2.5 in 18.4 oz 500 n Jan 2008 629i
9.
 
Nikon D40X 4.9 in 3.7 in 2.5 in 18.4 oz 520 n Mar 2007 729i
10.
 
Nikon D80 5.2 in 4.1 in 3.0 in 23.6 oz 600 n Aug 2006 999i
11.
 
Nikon D50 5.2 in 4.0 in 3.0 in 21.9 oz 400 n Apr 2005 749i
12.
 
Nikon D70s 5.5 in 4.4 in 3.1 in 24.0 oz 500 n Apr 2005 899i
13.
 
Nikon D70 5.5 in 4.4 in 3.1 in 24.0 oz 400 n Jan 2004 999i
14.
 
Sony HX90V 4.0 in 2.3 in 1.4 in 8.6 oz 360 n Apr 2015 429 i
15.
 
Sony HX400V 5.1 in 3.7 in 4.1 in 23.3 oz 300 n Feb 2014 499 i
16.
 
Sony H400 5.1 in 3.7 in 4.8 in 22.2 oz 300 n Feb 2014 319 i
17.
 
Sony H200 4.8 in 3.3 in 3.4 in 18.7 oz 240 n Jan 2013 249 i
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 manufacturer’s suggested retail prices give an idea on the placement of the camera in the maker’s lineup and the broader market. The H300 was launched at a lower price than the D40, 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. 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. 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 are more costly to manufacture and tend to lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.

Of the two cameras under consideration, the Nikon D40 features an APS-C sensor and the Sony H300 a 1/2.3-inch sensor. The sensor area in the H300 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 D40 has a native 3:2 aspect ratio, while the one in the H300 offers a 4:3 aspect.

Technology-wise, both cameras are equipped with CCD (Charged Coupled Device) sensors.

Nikon D40 and Sony H300 sensor measures

Despite having a smaller sensor, the H300 offers a higher resolution of 19.9 megapixels, compared with 6 MP of the D40. 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 1.19μm versus 7.85μm for the D40). However, it should be noted that the H300 is much more recent (by 7 years and 2 months) than the D40, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that make it possible to gather light more efficiently. Coming back to sensor resolution, it should be mentioned that the H300 has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.

The resolution advantage of the Sony H300 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the H300 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 Nikon D40 are 15 x 10 inches or 38.2 x 25.4 cm for good quality, 12 x 8 inches or 30.6 x 20.3 cm for very good quality, and 10 x 6.7 inches or 25.5 x 16.9 cm for excellent quality prints.

The Nikon D40 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 200 to ISO 1600, which can be extended to ISO 200-3200. The corresponding ISO settings for the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-H300 are ISO 80 to ISO 3200 (no boost).

D40 versus H300 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 adjacent table reports on the physical sensor characteristics and the outcomes of the DXO sensor quality tests for a sample of comparator-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.
 
Nikon D40 APS-C 6.0 3008 2000none21.011.056156
2.
 
Sony H300 1/2.3 19.9 5152 3864720/30p........
3.
 
Canon SX610 1/2.3 20.2 5184 38881080/30p........
4.
 
Nikon D3400 APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.813.9119286
5.
 
Nikon D3300 APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.312.8138582
6.
 
Nikon D3100 APS-C 14.2 4608 30721080/24p22.511.391967
7.
 
Nikon D3000 APS-C 10.0 3872 2592none22.311.156362
8.
 
Nikon D60 APS-C 10.0 3872 2592none22.511.456265
9.
 
Nikon D40X APS-C 10.0 3872 2592none22.411.451663
10.
 
Nikon D80 APS-C 10.0 3872 2592none22.111.252461
11.
 
Nikon D50 APS-C 6.0 3008 2000none20.910.856055
12.
 
Nikon D70s APS-C 6.0 3008 2000none20.410.352950
13.
 
Nikon D70 APS-C 6.0 3008 2000none20.410.352950
14.
 
Sony HX90V 1/2.3 18.0 4896 36721080/60p........
15.
 
Sony HX400V 1/2.3 20.2 5184 38881080/60p........
16.
 
Sony H400 1/2.3 19.9 5152 3864720/30p........
17.
 
Sony H200 1/2.3 15.2 5184 2930720/30p........

Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. The H300 indeed provides for movie recording, while the D40 does not. The highest resolution format that the H300 can use is 720/30p.

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Feature comparison

Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the D40 has an optical viewfinder, which can be very useful when shooting in bright sunlight. In contrast, the H300 relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. The table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Nikon D40 and Sony H300 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
1.
 
Nikon D40optical n 2.5 230 fixed n 1/4000s 2.5 Y n
2.
 
Sony H300none n 3.0 460 fixed n 1/1500s 0.8 Y Y
3.
 
Canon SX610none n 3.0 922 fixed n 1/2000s 2.5 Y Y
4.
 
Nikon D3400optical n 3.0 921 fixed n 1/4000s 5.0 Y n
5.
 
Nikon D3300optical n 3.0 921 fixed n 1/4000s 5.0 Y n
6.
 
Nikon D3100optical n 3.0 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
7.
 
Nikon D3000optical n 3.0 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
8.
 
Nikon D60optical n 2.5 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
9.
 
Nikon D40Xoptical n 2.5 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
10.
 
Nikon D80optical n 2.5 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
11.
 
Nikon D50optical n 2.0 130 fixed n 1/4000s 2.5 Y n
12.
 
Nikon D70soptical n 2.0 130 fixed n 1/8000s 3.0 Y n
13.
 
Nikon D70optical n 1.8 130 fixed n 1/8000s 3.0 Y n
14.
 
Sony HX90V638 n 3.0 921 tilting n 1/2000s 10.0 Y Y
15.
 
Sony HX400V210 n 3.0 921 tilting n 1/4000s 10.0 Y Y
16.
 
Sony H400210 n 3.0 460 fixed n 1/2000s 0.7 Y Y
17.
 
Sony H200none n 3.0 460 fixed n 1/1500s 0.8 Y Y

The D40 writes its imaging data to SDHC cards, while the H300 uses SDXC or Memory Stick PRO Duo 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 Nikon D40 and Sony Cyber-shot DSC-H300 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.
 
Nikon D40Y-----2.0---
2.
 
Sony H300-monomono--micro2.0Y--
3.
 
Canon SX610-----micro2.0YY-
4.
 
Nikon D3400Ymonomono--mini2.0--Y
5.
 
Nikon D3300YmonomonoY-mini2.0---
6.
 
Nikon D3100Ymonomono--mini2.0---
7.
 
Nikon D3000Y-----2.0---
8.
 
Nikon D60Y-----2.0---
9.
 
Nikon D40XY-----2.0---
10.
 
Nikon D80Y-----2.0---
11.
 
Nikon D50Y-----2.0---
12.
 
Nikon D70sY-----2.0---
13.
 
Nikon D70Y-----1.0---
14.
 
Sony HX90V-stereomono--micro2.0YY-
15.
 
Sony HX400VYstereomono--micro2.0YY-
16.
 
Sony H400-monomono--micro2.0Y--
17.
 
Sony H200-monomono---2.0---

It is notable that the D40 has a hotshoe, while the H300 does not. This socket makes it possible to easily attach optional accessories, such as an external flash gun.

The H300 is a recent model that features in the current product line-up of Sony. In contrast, the D40 has been discontinued (but can be found pre-owned on eBay). As a replacement in the same line of cameras, the D40 was succeeded by the Nikon D40X. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Nikon and Sony websites.

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Review summary

So how do things add up? Is there a clear favorite between the Nikon D40 and the Sony H300? 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 Nikon D40:

  • Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
  • 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.
  • Easier framing: Has an optical viewfinder for image composition and settings control.
  • Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/4000s vs 1/1500s) to freeze action.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (2.5 vs 0.8 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • More flexible: Can take a variety of interchangeable lenses, including specialty optics.
  • Longer lasting: Can take more shots (470 versus 350) on a single battery charge.
  • Better lighting: Features a hotshoe and can thus hold and trigger an external flash gun.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in November 2006).

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Reasons to prefer the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-H300:

  • More detail: Has more megapixels (19.9 vs 6MP), which boosts linear resolution by 78%.
  • Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
  • Broader imaging potential: Can capture not only stills but also 720/30p video.
  • Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.0" vs 2.5") for image review and settings control.
  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (460k vs 230k dots).
  • Ready to shoot: Comes with an integrated lens, while the D40 requires a separate lens.
  • Sharper images: Has stabilization technology built-in to reduce the impact of hand-shake.
  • Easier file upload: Has wifi built in for automatic backup or image transfer to the web.
  • More affordable: Was introduced at a lower price, despite coming with a built-in lens.
  • More modern: Reflects 7 years and 2 months of technical progress since the D40 launch.

If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the D40 emerges as the winner of the contest (12 : 10 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 wildlife photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a family photog, and a person interested in architecture has distinct needs from a sports shooter. Hence, the decision which camera is best and worth buying is often a very personal one.

D40 12:10 H300

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Nikon D40 and the Sony H300 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best DSLR Camera and Best Superzoom 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 says little about, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance of the D40 and the H300 in practical situations. User reviews, such as those found at amazon, can sometimes inform about these issues, but such feedback is often incomplete, inconsistent, and biased.

Expert reviews

This is where reviews by experts come in. 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.
 
Nikon D40..81/100+ +o4.5/5 Nov 2006 499i
2.
 
Sony H300..+..4.5/54/5 Feb 2014 219 i
3.
 
Canon SX610......4/54/5 Jan 2015 249i
4.
 
Nikon D34004/5+76/1004/54.5/5 Aug 2016 499i
5.
 
Nikon D33003/5+77/1004.5/54.5/5 Jan 2014 499i
6.
 
Nikon D31005/5+ +72/1004.5/54.5/5 Aug 2010 599i
7.
 
Nikon D3000..+72/1004/54.5/5 Jul 2009 599i
8.
 
Nikon D60..80/100+ +4/54.5/5 Jan 2008 629i
9.
 
Nikon D40X..79/100+ +4/54/5 Mar 2007 729i
10.
 
Nikon D80..++ +o4.5/5 Aug 2006 999i
11.
 
Nikon D50..78/100+ +4/54.5/5 Apr 2005 749i
12.
 
Nikon D70s........5/5 Apr 2005 899i
13.
 
Nikon D70....+ +.... Jan 2004 999i
14.
 
Sony HX90V4/5+ +..4/54.5/5 Apr 2015 429 i
15.
 
Sony HX400V4/5+ +..4/54/5 Feb 2014 499 i
16.
 
Sony H400..o..3.5/53.5/5 Feb 2014 319 i
17.
 
Sony H200......3.5/53.5/5 Jan 2013 249 i
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. 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. Also, kindly note that some of the listed sites have over time developped their review approaches and their reporting style.

Nikon D40:
Check Ebay offers
Sony H300:
Check Amazon price

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 make your choice using the following search menu. 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: Nikon D40 vs Sony H300

    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 Nikon D40 Sony H300
    Camera Type Digital single lens reflex Fixed lens compact camera
    Camera Lens Nikon F mount lenses 25-875mm f/3.4-6.5
    Launch Date November 2006 February 2014
    Launch Price USD 499 USD 219
    Sensor Specs Nikon D40 Sony H300
    Sensor Technology CCD CCD
    Sensor Format APS-C Sensor 1/2.3" Sensor
    Sensor Size 23.7 x 15.6 mm 6.17 x 4.55 mm
    Sensor Area 369.72 mm2 28.0735 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 28.4 mm 7.7 mm
    Crop Factor 1.5x 5.6x
    Sensor Resolution 6 Megapixels 19.9 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 3008 x 2000 pixels 5152 x 3864 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 7.85 μm 1.19 μm
    Pixel Density 1.63 MP/cm2 70.91 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter no AA filter
    Movie Capability no Video 720/30p Video
    ISO Setting 200 - 1,600 ISO 80 - 3,200 ISO
    ISO Boost 200 - 3,200 ISO no Enhancement
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) 56 ..
    DXO Color Depth (bits) 21.0 ..
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) 11.0 ..
    DXO Low Light (ISO) 561 ..
    Screen Specs Nikon D40 Sony H300
    Viewfinder Type Optical viewfinder no viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 95%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.53x
    LCD Framing Live View
    Rear LCD Size 2.5inch 3.0inch
    LCD Resolution 230k dots 460k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen Fixed screen
    Shooting Specs Nikon D40 Sony H300
    Focus System Phase-detect AF Contrast-detect AF
    Continuous Shooting 2.5 shutter flaps/s 0.8 shutter flaps/s
    Fill Flash Build-in Flash Build-in Flash
    Storage Medium SDHC cards MS or SDXC cards
    Second Storage Option Single card slot Single card slot
    UHS card support no no
    Connectivity Specs Nikon D40 Sony H300
    External Flash 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 Nikon D40 Sony H300
    Battery Type EN-EL9 4xAA
    Battery Life (CIPA)470 shots per charge350 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 124 x 94 x 64 mm
    (4.9 x 3.7 x 2.5 in)
    128 x 89 x 92 mm
    (5.0 x 3.5 x 3.6 in)
    Camera Weight 522 g (18.4 oz) 590 g (20.8 oz)

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