Sony A7 III vs A7R II
The Sony Alpha A7 III and the Sony Alpha A7R II are two enthusiast cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in February 2018 and June 2015. Both the A7 III and the A7R II are mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras that are equipped with a full frame sensor. The A7 III has a resolution of 24 megapixels, whereas the A7R II provides 42.2 MP.
Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.
|Sony A7 III||Sony A7R II|
|Mirrorless system camera||Mirrorless system camera|
|Sony E mount lenses||Sony E mount lenses|
|24 MP, Full Frame Sensor||42.2 MP, Full Frame Sensor|
|4K/30p Video||4K/30p Video|
|ISO 100-51200 (50-204800)||ISO 100-25600 (50-102400)|
|Electronic viewfinder (2359k dots)||Electronic viewfinder (2400k dots)|
|3.0" LCD, 922k dots||3.0" LCD, 1229k dots|
|Tilting touchscreen||Tilting screen (not touch-sensitive)|
|10 shutter flaps per second||5 shutter flaps per second|
|In-body stabilization||In-body stabilization|
|Weathersealed body||Weathersealed body|
|610 shots per battery charge||290 shots per battery charge|
|127 x 96 x 74 mm, 650 g||127 x 96 x 60 mm, 625 g|
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Sony Alpha A7 III and the Sony Alpha A7R II? 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 side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size and weight of the Sony A7 III and the Sony A7R II. 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.
In this particular case, the Sony A7 III and the Sony A7R II have exactly the same width and height, and, thus, have identically-sized bodies. However, the A7R II is slightly lighter (4 percent) than the A7 III. In this context, it is worth noting that both cameras are splash and dust-proof and can, hence, be used in inclement weather conditions or harsh environments.
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. In this particular case, both cameras feature the same lens mount, so that they can use the same lenses. You can compare the optics available in the Sony FE Lens Catalog. Mirrorless cameras, such as the two under consideration, have the additional advantage of having a short flange to focal plane distance, which makes it possible to mount many lenses from other systems onto the camera via adapters.
Concerning battery life, the A7 III gets 610 shots out of its NP-FZ100 battery, while the A7R II can take 290 images on a single charge of its NP-FW50 power pack. The battery packs of both cameras can be charged via USB, which can be very convenient when travelling.
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, 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.
|Sony A7 III»||127 mm||96 mm||74 mm||650 g||610||Y||Feb 2018||1,999||Sony A7 III|
|Sony A7R II«||127 mm||96 mm||60 mm||625 g||290||Y||Jun 2015||3,199||-||Sony A7R II|
|Canon 6D Mark II« »||144 mm||111 mm||75 mm||765 g||1200||Y||Jun 2017||1,999||Canon 6D Mark II|
|Nikon Z6« »||134 mm||101 mm||67 mm||675 g||310||Y||Aug 2018||1,999||Nikon Z6|
|Olympus E-M1 II« »||134 mm||91 mm||67 mm||574 g||440||Y||Sep 2016||1,999||Olympus E-M1 II|
|Panasonic G9« »||137 mm||97 mm||92 mm||658 g||400||Y||Nov 2017||1,699||Panasonic G9|
|Panasonic GH5« »||139 mm||98 mm||87 mm||725 g||410||Y||Jan 2017||1,999||Panasonic GH5|
|Sony A7R III« »||127 mm||96 mm||74 mm||650 g||650||Y||Oct 2017||3,199||-||Sony A7R III|
|Sony A9« »||127 mm||96 mm||63 mm||673 g||650||Y||Apr 2017||4,499||Sony A9|
|Sony A99 II« »||143 mm||104 mm||76 mm||849 g||490||Y||Sep 2016||3,199||Sony A99 II|
|Sony A7S II« »||127 mm||96 mm||60 mm||627 g||370||Y||Sep 2015||2,999||Sony A7S II|
|Sony A7 II« »||127 mm||96 mm||60 mm||599 g||350||Y||Nov 2014||1,999||-||Sony A7 II|
|Sony A7R« »||127 mm||94 mm||48 mm||465 g||340||Y||Oct 2013||2,299||-||Sony A7R|
|Note: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.|
Any camera decision will obviously take relative prices into account. The listed launch prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The A7 III was launched at a markedly lower price (by 38 percent) than the A7R II, 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 imaging sensor is a crucial determinant 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.
Both cameras under consideration feature a full frame sensor, but their sensors differ slightly in size. The sensor area in the A7R II is 2 percent bigger. 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.
With 42.2MP, the A7R II offers a higher resolution than the A7 III (24MP), but the A7R II has smaller individual pixels (pixel pitch of 4.52μm versus 5.94μm for the A7 III). Yet, the A7 III is a much more recent model (by 2 years and 8 months) than the A7R II, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that further enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixel-units. 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 A7R II implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the A7R II for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 39.8 x 26.5 inch or 101 x 67.4 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 31.8 x 21.2 inch or 80.8 x 53.9 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 26.5 x 17.7 inch or 67.3 x 44.9 cm. The corresponding values for the Sony A7 III are 30 x 20 inch or 76.2 x 50.8 cm for good quality, 24 x 16 inch or 61 x 40.6 cm for very good quality, and 20 x 13.3 inch or 50.8 x 33.9 cm for excellent quality prints.
The Sony Alpha A7 III has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 51200, which can be extended to ISO 50-204800. The corresponding ISO settings for the Sony Alpha A7R II are ISO 100 to ISO 25600, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 50-102400.
For many cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. This service determines an overall sensor rating, as well as sub-scores for low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and color depth ("DXO Portrait"). The Overall DXO ratings for the two cameras under consideration are close, suggesting that they provide similar imaging performance. The adjacent table reports on the physical sensor characteristics and the outcomes of the DXO sensor quality tests for a sample of comparator-cameras.
|Sony A7 III»||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||4K/30p||25.0||14.7||3730||96||Sony A7 III|
|Sony A7R II«||Full Frame||42.2||7952||5304||4K/30p||26.0||13.9||3434||98||Sony A7R II|
|Canon 6D Mark II« »||Full Frame||26.0||6240||4160||1080/60p||24.4||11.9||2862||85||Canon 6D Mark II|
|Nikon Z6« »||Full Frame||24.3||6048||4024||4K/30p||25.3||14.3||3299||95||Nikon Z6|
|Olympus E-M1 II« »||Four Thirds||20.2||5184||3888||4K/30p||23.7||12.8||1312||80||Olympus E-M1 II|
|Panasonic G9« »||Four Thirds||20.2||5184||3888||4K/60p||-||-||-||-||Panasonic G9|
|Panasonic GH5« »||Four Thirds||20.2||5184||3888||4K/60p||23.9||13.0||807||77||Panasonic GH5|
|Sony A7R III« »||Full Frame||42.2||7952||5304||4K/30p||26.0||14.7||3523||100||Sony A7R III|
|Sony A9« »||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||4K/30p||24.9||13.3||3517||92||Sony A9|
|Sony A99 II« »||Full Frame||42.2||7952||5304||4K/30p||25.4||13.4||2317||92||Sony A99 II|
|Sony A7S II« »||Full Frame||12.0||4240||2832||4K/30p||23.6||13.3||2993||85||Sony A7S II|
|Sony A7 II« »||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||24.9||13.6||2449||90||Sony A7 II|
|Sony A7R« »||Full Frame||36.2||7360||4912||1080/60p||25.6||14.1||2746||95||Sony A7R|
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, and both provide the same movie specifications (4K/30p).
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. The two cameras under review are similar with respect to both having an electronic viewfinder. However, the one in the A7R II offers a slightly higher resolution than the one in the A7 III (2400k vs 2359k dots). The following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Sony A7 III, the Sony A7R II, and comparable cameras.
|Sony A7 III»||2359||n||3.0||922||tilting||Y||1/8000s||10.0||n||Y||Sony A7 III|
|Sony A7R II«||2400||n||3.0||1229||tilting||n||1/8000s||5.0||n||Y||Sony A7R II|
|Canon 6D Mark II« »||optical||Y||3.0||1040||swivel||Y||1/4000s||6.5||n||n||Canon 6D Mark II|
|Nikon Z6« »||3690||Y||3.2||2100||tilting||Y||1/8000s||12.0||n||Y||Nikon Z6|
|Olympus E-M1 II« »||2360||n||3.0||1037||swivel||Y||1/8000s||18.0||n||Y||Olympus E-M1 II|
|Panasonic G9« »||3680||Y||3.0||1040||swivel||Y||1/8000s||20.0||n||Y||Panasonic G9|
|Panasonic GH5« »||3680||n||3.2||1620||swivel||Y||1/8000s||12.0||n||Y||Panasonic GH5|
|Sony A7R III« »||3686||n||3.0||1440||tilting||Y||1/8000s||10.0||n||Y||Sony A7R III|
|Sony A9« »||3686||n||3.0||1440||tilting||Y||1/8000s||20.0||n||Y||Sony A9|
|Sony A99 II« »||2400||Y||3.0||1229||full-flex||n||1/8000s||12.0||n||Y||Sony A99 II|
|Sony A7S II« »||2400||n||3.0||1229||tilting||n||1/8000s||5.0||n||Y||Sony A7S II|
|Sony A7 II« »||2400||n||3.0||1230||tilting||n||1/8000s||5.0||n||Y||Sony A7 II|
|Sony A7R« »||2400||n||3.0||1230||tilting||n||1/8000s||4.0||n||n||Sony A7R|
One differentiating feature between the two cameras concerns the touch sensitivity of the rear screen. The A7 III has a touchscreen, while the A7R II has a conventional panel. Touch control can be particularly helpful, for example, for setting the focus point.
The reported shutter speed information refers to the use of the mechanical shutter. Yet, some cameras only have an electronic shutter, while others have an electronic shutter in addition to a mechanical one. In fact, both cameras under consideration feature an electronic shutter, which makes completely silent shooting possible. However, this mode is less suitable for photographing moving objects (risk of rolling shutter) or shooting under artificial light sources (risk of flickering).
The Sony A7 III 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 A7 III and the A7R II write their files to SDXC or Memory Stick PRO Duo cards. The A7 III features dual card slots, which can be very useful in case a memory card fails. In contrast, the A7R II only has one slot. The A7 III supports UHS-II cards (on its first slot), while the A7R II can use UHS-I 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 Sony Alpha A7 III and Sony Alpha A7R II and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
|Sony A7 III»||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||micro||3.1||Y||Y||Y||Sony A7 III|
|Sony A7R II«||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-||Sony A7R II|
|Canon 6D Mark II« »||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||Y||Canon 6D Mark II|
|Nikon Z6« »||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||micro||3.1||Y||-||Y||Nikon Z6|
|Olympus E-M1 II« »||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||micro||3.0||Y||-||-||Olympus E-M1 II|
|Panasonic G9« »||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||full||3.0||Y||-||Y||Panasonic G9|
|Panasonic GH5« »||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||full||3.1||Y||-||Y||Panasonic GH5|
|Sony A7R III« »||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||micro||3.1||Y||Y||Y||Sony A7R III|
|Sony A9« »||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||micro||2.0||Y||Y||Y||Sony A9|
|Sony A99 II« »||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||micro||2.0||Y||Y||Y||Sony A99 II|
|Sony A7S II« »||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-||Sony A7S II|
|Sony A7 II« »||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-||Sony A7 II|
|Sony A7R« »||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-||Sony A7R|
The A7 III is a recent model that features in the current product line-up of Sony. In contrast, the A7R II has been discontinued (but it can be found pre-owned on eBay). As a replacement in the same line of cameras, the A7R II was succeeded by the Sony Alpha A7R III. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Sony website.
So what conclusions can be drawn? Is there a clear favorite between the Sony A7 III and the Sony A7R II? Which camera is better? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.
Arguments in favor of the Sony Alpha A7 III:
- More dynamic range: Captures a larger spectrum of light and dark details (0.8 EV of extra DR).
- Fewer buttons to press: Is equipped with a touch-sensitive rear screen to facilitate handling.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (10 vs 5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Easier time-lapse photography: Has an intervalometer built-in for low frequency shooting.
- Longer lasting: Can take more shots (610 versus 290) on a single battery charge.
- Faster data transfer: Supports a more advanced USB protocol (3.1 vs 2.0).
- Easier wireless transfer: Supports Bluetooth for image sharing without cables.
- Greater peace of mind: Features a second card slot as a backup in case of memory card failure.
- Faster buffer clearing: Supports a more advanced SD data transfer standard (UHS-II vs UHS-I).
- More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (38 percent cheaper at launch).
- More modern: Reflects 2 years and 8 months of technical progress since the A7R II launch.
Reasons to prefer the Sony Alpha A7R II:
- More detail: Has more megapixels (42.2 vs 24MP), which boosts linear resolution by 33%.
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1229k vs 922k dots).
- More heavily discounted: Has been around for much longer (launched in June 2015).
If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the A7 III is the clear winner of the match-up (11 : 3 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 sports photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a street photog, and a person interested in family portraits has distinct needs from a landscape 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 Sony A7 III and the Sony A7R II place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera listing whether the two cameras rank among the cream of the crop.
In any case, while the comparison of the spec-sheets of cameras can offer a general idea of their imaging potential, it remains partial and cannot reveal, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance when actually working with the A7 III or the A7R II. 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 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 (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.
|Sony A7 III»||+ +||89/100||5/5||5/5||5/5||Feb 2018||1,999||Sony A7 III|
|Sony A7R II«||+ +||90/100||5/5||4.5/5||5/5||Jun 2015||3,199||-||Sony A7R II|
|Canon 6D Mark II« »||+||80/100||4.5/5||4/5||4/5||Jun 2017||1,999||Canon 6D Mark II|
|Nikon Z6« »||-||-||4.5/5||4.5/5||5/5||Aug 2018||1,999||Nikon Z6|
|Olympus E-M1 II« »||+ +||85/100||4.5/5||5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2016||1,999||Olympus E-M1 II|
|Panasonic G9« »||+ +||85/100||5/5||5/5||5/5||Nov 2017||1,699||Panasonic G9|
|Panasonic GH5« »||+ +||85/100||4.5/5||5/5||5/5||Jan 2017||1,999||Panasonic GH5|
|Sony A7R III« »||+ +||90/100||4.5/5||5/5||5/5||Oct 2017||3,199||-||Sony A7R III|
|Sony A9« »||+ +||89/100||5/5||5/5||5/5||Apr 2017||4,499||Sony A9|
|Sony A99 II« »||-||85/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2016||3,199||Sony A99 II|
|Sony A7S II« »||+||-||4.5/5||5/5||5/5||Sep 2015||2,999||Sony A7S II|
|Sony A7 II« »||+||82/100||4.5/5||5/5||5/5||Nov 2014||1,999||-||Sony A7 II|
|Sony A7R« »||+ +||82/100||4.5/5||5/5||5/5||Oct 2013||2,299||-||Sony A7R|
|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. 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.
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 make a corresponding selection in the search boxes below. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting.
- Canon 5DS vs Sony A7R II
- Canon 7D vs Sony A7 III
- Canon G1 X vs Sony A7R II
- Canon T1i vs Sony A7R II
- Fujifilm X-A5 vs Sony A7R II
- Nikon D50 vs Sony A7R II
- Olympus E-450 vs Sony A7 III
- Panasonic FZ300 vs Sony A7 III
- Panasonic GF3 vs Sony A7R II
- Sony A7 III vs Sony H300
- Sony A7 III vs Sony RX0 II
- Sony A7R vs Sony A7R II
Specifications: Sony A7 III vs Sony A7R II
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||Sony A7 III||Sony A7R II|
|Camera Type||Mirrorless system camera||Mirrorless system camera|
|Camera Lens||Sony E mount lenses||Sony E mount lenses|
|Launch Date||February 2018||June 2015|
|Launch Price||USD 1999||USD 3199|
|Sensor Specs||Sony A7 III||Sony A7R II|
|Sensor Format||Full Frame Sensor||Full Frame Sensor|
|Sensor Size||35.6 x 23.8 mm||35.9 x 24.0 mm|
|Sensor Area||847.28 mm2||861.6 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||42.8 mm||43.2 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||24 Megapixels||42.2 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||6000 x 4000 pixels||7952 x 5304 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||5.94 μm||4.52 μm|
|Pixel Density||2.83 MP/cm2||4.90 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||no AA filter||no AA filter|
|Movie Capability||4K/30p Video||4K/30p Video|
|ISO Setting||100-51200 ISO||100-25600 ISO|
|ISO Boost||50-204800 ISO||50-102400 ISO|
|Image Processor||BIONZ X||BIONZ X|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||96||98|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||25.0||26.0|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||14.7||13.9|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||3730||3434|
|Screen Specs||Sony A7 III||Sony A7R II|
|Viewfinder Type||Electronic viewfinder||Electronic viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||100%||100%|
|Viewfinder Resolution||2359k dots||2400k dots|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0 inch||3.0 inch|
|LCD Resolution||922k dots||1229k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Tilting screen||Tilting screen|
|Touch Input||Touchscreen||no Touchscreen|
|Shooting Specs||Sony A7 III||Sony A7R II|
|Autofocus System||On-Sensor Phase-detect||On-Sensor Phase-detect|
|Manual Focusing Aid||Focus Peaking||Focus Peaking|
|Max Shutter Speed (mechanical)||1/8000/s||1/8000/s|
|Continuous Shooting||10 shutter flaps/s||5 shutter flaps/s|
|Shutter Life Expectancy||200 000 actuations||500 000 actuations|
|Time-Lapse Photography||Intervalometer built-in||no Intervalometer|
|Image Stabilization||In-body stabilization||In-body stabilization|
|Fill Flash||no On-Board Flash||no On-Board Flash|
|Storage Medium||MS or SDXC cards||MS or SDXC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Dual card slots||Single card slot|
|UHS card support||Single UHS-II||UHS-I|
|Connectivity Specs||Sony A7 III||Sony A7R II|
|USB Connector||USB 3.1||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||micro HDMI||micro HDMI|
|Microphone Port||External MIC port||External MIC port|
|Headphone Socket||Headphone port||Headphone port|
|Wifi Support||Wifi built-in||Wifi built-in|
|Near-Field Communication||NFC built-in||NFC built-in|
|Bluetooth Support||Bluetooth built-in||no Bluetooth|
|Body Specs||Sony A7 III||Sony A7R II|
|Environmental Sealing||Weathersealed body||Weathersealed body|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||610 shots per charge||290 shots per charge|
|In-Camera Charging||USB charging||USB charging|
127 x 96 x 74 mm
(5.0 x 3.8 x 2.9 in)
127 x 96 x 60 mm
(5.0 x 3.8 x 2.4 in)
|Camera Weight||650 g (22.9 oz)||625 g (22.0 oz)|
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