Advice: Sony SEL 50 1.8 or Sigma 60 2.8

Started Aug 4, 2013 | Discussions
EvtK
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Advice: Sony SEL 50 1.8 or Sigma 60 2.8
Aug 4, 2013

Hi All,

I have been reading around on the forums here and I have checked many reviews on both the Sony SEL 50 1.8 and the new Sigma 60 2.8. I can't figure out which one to buy, and I'm hoping to find some advice here. Thanks already!

I'm new to photography and have the NEX 6 with 16-50 and 55-210 glass. I want to expand my collection for the main reason to shoot under low light conditions (in the house). This is because I have a 2 months old son and I like taking some good portrait candids of him. I managed to do this with the kitlens, but on 50 mm I can't get a higher aperture of 5.6. I'm scaring the crap out of the kid, if i get closer than 50 mm

My conclusions from reading around is that the sony 50 mm has some flaws on wide open aperture. Only from f2.8/f4.0 it starts to become a 'good' lens. The sigma has very good IQ out of the box at f2.8. Ofcourse the sony has OSS as a pre.

If I would should portraits in good light conditions, I think I would go for the sigma based on the many good reviews online. But: I want to shoot inside the house, without having optimal light conditions. Would in that case, the sony 50 mm with higher aperture and OSS better suit my needs? I wonder if I, since I'm just starting as a photographer, I would notice the flaws of the sony 50 mm...

Finally: here in the Netherlands, the sigma is 100 euro's cheaper than the sony. 270 vs 170.

Thanks for taking time to think with me.

Oh: here are some of my shots (random picked). Always nice to know what you think of it:

Tired - ƒ/8 84mm 100 1/200s

Blackscapes 6 - ƒ/11 23mm 100 1/200s

At-the-swimming-pool - ƒ/13 16mm 100 1/400s

Small-Curaçao - ƒ/13 56mm 100 1/320s

TiagoReil
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Re: Advice: Sony SEL 50 1.8 or Sigma 60 2.8
In reply to EvtK, Aug 5, 2013

This is my logic.

In good light both are good, cause if you have good light, you can have the 50mm at a smaller aperture and have very good IQ.

In bad light one will give you acceptable images, the other will give you camera shake. Unless you use something to keep the shutter at 1/100 , or give you very noisy images with high ISO.

So in the end, the 50 mm is the better lens. And it is not as bad as they say at 1.8. It is more than acceptable.

Now, when would I choose the 60mm? When I want the extra sharpness. Probably if I worked making portraits, or as a hobby, but with makeup, good props, portraits with planning, I would want all the sharpness, and use flash. Then yes, I would get the 60mm. Also the 60mm is better for portraits, if you have the space. But for everything else, the 50mm is the lens to get. 50mm is already a bit large for a bedroom for instance. 60mm would make it harder indoors, unless you live in a very big house/flat. Also, if I had a good park, a swimming pool, etc, at home, I would get the 60mm for good light, but you will loose the possibility of good portraits inside the house or at night, unless you use flash. Still, I think the 60mm is a better portrait lens, but the 50mm is a more rounded and useful lens.

Again, in my opinion.

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captura
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Re: Advice: Sony SEL 50 1.8 or Sigma 60 2.8
In reply to EvtK, Aug 5, 2013

Did you try searching the Forum's search engine? This subject has been discussed a couple of times, recently.

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seachicken2000
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Re: Advice: Sony SEL 50 1.8 or Sigma 60 2.8
In reply to EvtK, Aug 5, 2013

Here's a nice example of what the SEL 50mm can do wide open in portraiture.

In tests the Sigma 60mm seems to be the sharper lens, but the 50mm is plenty sharp and sharp at every aperture in the center of the frame, where it needs to be for portraits.

If you care about cost or sharpness in the corners wide open then the Sigma seems like the better bet.

If your priorities are rendering (the true strength of the SEL 50mm), DoF control, or low light performance I'd give the nod to the SEL 50.

Both lenses are superb in their own ways IMO.

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Philnw2
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Re: Advice: Sony SEL 50 1.8 or Sigma 60 2.8
In reply to captura, Aug 5, 2013

Here's an alternative view. I shoot a lot of rehearsal pictures for a local playhouse. I often will use 1/125 or 1/160s on my Pentax K5 to freeze the actor's motion. Even with that shutter speed, i will still get occasional blur on a leg or arm if an actor is moving fast. 1/2N seconds, where N is focal length will usually get a sharp image as a shutter speed. For a 60mm focal length, than 1/125 or faster would be a good speed. If you've got fast moving kids in the house, OSS isn't going to keep up with their speed through the house, unless they are napping OSS is much more useful if you're going to be doing still shooting at night, handheld, or macro shooting by hand. I actually turn off the IBIS in my Pentax K5 to avoid blurring during actor movement. I seem to get a lot more sharp shots that way. Maybe Zeiss is onto something by not putting it on their lenses. Just my opinion, and like they say, everyone has one - some may even be correct

They're both good lenses but I'm really waiting for more news about the G zoom to be issued this year.

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Phil B
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Craig Gillette
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Re: Advice: Sony SEL 50 1.8 or Sigma 60 2.8
In reply to EvtK, Aug 5, 2013

There are a number of lens reviews out there to check out.  I'd suggest trying to find some that tested/reviewed both so the comparisons would be based on (hopefully) close or exactly the same testing considerations.  However, I wouldn't over think this, optical quality differences may not be easily seen in real world use and the way you use the pictures - like no prints, large prints, only screen sharing, etc.  I'd expect both primes out perform the two zooms (but read the reviews there, too).

It would seem the Sony has the edge with both OSS and the faster aperture.  F1.8 will help keep shutter speeds up dealing with subject motion.  OSS for the most part helps with controlling camera motion.  So both help but if the concern is moving kids, OSS probably won't do anything for you.  One can always go to flash if needed or higher isos.

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nevercat
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Re: Advice: Sony SEL 50 1.8 or Sigma 60 2.8
In reply to EvtK, Aug 5, 2013

To start with, nobody can tell you what lens is best for you, you have to deside by your self.

Second, both are great lenses.

Third, the IQ difference s may not show up in real life pictures.

Some thoughts on these lenses

1. The 50 mm is faster, a thing that might help in low (er) light

2. The 50 mm has OSS, what can help with static subjects, but will not help with fast moving kids. OSS is very usefull when shooting video.

3. the 60mm lens is cheaper

4. the 60 mm gives 10 mm extra range

About lens tests, it is very hard to do a good test. A lens has many specs that might or might not be important to you.

A few points from dxo:

The 50 mm is better in transmission, distortion and chromatic abberation

The 60 mm is better at price, sharpness and vignetting

The comparison is not totaly fair as the given scores are at max apperture for the lenses, when you look at both lenses at 2.8 the differences are minimal.

So when you want to use the lens for video, the Sony is the best option.

when you want to use it in low light, the Sony is the best option as you can take very sharp pictures at 1.8 that might not as sharp with the Sigma as you have to use longer shutterspeeds (camera shake and motion blur) or higer ISO, with more noice.

When you want a great lens for the lowest price the Sigma is your lens.

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Cailean Gallimore
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Re: Advice: Sony SEL 50 1.8 or Sigma 60 2.8
In reply to EvtK, Aug 5, 2013

I have both and they are very good.

In good light, the Sigma beats the 50mm 1.8.

In low light, the 50mm 1.8 beats the Sigma just because of it's speed.

My 50mm 1.8 focuses slower than the Sigma, and occasionally misses focus altogether, when wide open. This doesn't happen with the Sigma.

Optically, I would say that the Sigma is better, but not by a mile.

If you're not afraid of raising the ISO a bit - and you shouldn't be, the Sigma is fine under normal domestic lighting.

ymmv.

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wb2trf
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Buy the SEL5018
In reply to nevercat, Aug 5, 2013

Buy the SEL5018.

Your  use, kids around the house, is the same as my main use for my NEX.  The SEL5018 is my main lens.  If you said you were shooting adults and had good controllable light, then it might favor the 60mm, for the greater subject to camera distance, but not this.

The big issues are that you will want to shoot at f1.8-2 in order to get your shutter speed up for the moving children while keeping ISO as low as possible.  Indoors this can be a real concern.

On the other hand working with a 60mm indoors can be little tricky because of the subject distance you need and harder to work with moving children.  My experience is that 40-50 is the right length with children (for more stationary adults who are usually more camera shy I sometimes go with a longer length.)

Do not believe the "not sharp enough" wide open.  It is excellent.  You will be happy with it.

The OIS, in my opinion, for this subject is only useful for video, but there it is very useful.  It is not useful for stills because with children you must keep your shutter speed up anyway to freeze their movement.  However, video is very nice for children and you can't predict when you want to capture it, so switching lenses isn't a good option.   OIS for video makes a huge difference.

So that sums it up. In fact for your use if I were going to get a second lens from among the very excellent Sigmas, I'd get the 30mm 2.8 for those occasions when you need a little wider angle of view than the 50 can give you.

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captura
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Re: Advice: Sony SEL 50 1.8 or Sigma 60 2.8
In reply to seachicken2000, Aug 5, 2013

- and bokeh? (probably the 50)

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Hin Man
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Re: Advice: Sony SEL 50 1.8 or Sigma 60 2.8
In reply to Cailean Gallimore, Aug 5, 2013

Cailean Gallimore wrote:

I have both and they are very good.

In good light, the Sigma beats the 50mm 1.8.

In low light, the 50mm 1.8 beats the Sigma just because of it's speed.

My 50mm 1.8 focuses slower than the Sigma, and occasionally misses focus altogether, when wide open. This doesn't happen with the Sigma.

Optically, I would say that the Sigma is better, but not by a mile.

If you're not afraid of raising the ISO a bit - and you shouldn't be, the Sigma is fine under normal domestic lighting.

ymmv.

I have two side questions to ask. If you have the SEL 50mm f/1.8 and pretty happy with it. How do you justify buying the 60. Do you see the two lenses compete in usage or you see that they do fit in complimenting each other for different shooting scenes?

I have the first version of Sigma 19 & 30 along with the SEL 50. The Sigma surprise me in a good way: the good sharpness, AF and less hunting make them charming. How does the size of Sigma 60 with the hood on compare to the SEL 50? Which one is taller when the hood is mounted?

I actually love the 50 for its color, contrast and good speed but if there is one little gripe to share about the SEL 50 is on its slower AF and occasional hunting indoor. The lens hood is also a bit big when mounted.

Thanks for the help,

Hin

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captura
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Re: Advice: Sony SEL 50 1.8 or Sigma 60 2.8
In reply to Philnw2, Aug 5, 2013

Philnw2 wrote:

Here's an alternative view. I shoot a lot of rehearsal pictures for a local playhouse. I often will use 1/125 or 1/160s on my Pentax K5 to freeze the actor's motion. Even with that shutter speed, i will still get occasional blur on a leg or arm if an actor is moving fast. 1/2N seconds, where N is focal length will usually get a sharp image as a shutter speed. For a 60mm focal length, than 1/125 or faster would be a good speed. If you've got fast moving kids in the house, OSS isn't going to keep up with their speed through the house, unless they are napping OSS is much more useful if you're going to be doing still shooting at night, handheld, or macro shooting by hand. I actually turn off the IBIS in my Pentax K5 to avoid blurring during actor movement. I seem to get a lot more sharp shots that way. Maybe Zeiss is onto something by not putting it on their lenses. Just my opinion, and like they say, everyone has one - some may even be correct

They're both good lenses but I'm really waiting for more news about the G zoom to be issued this year.

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Phil B
Nex 6, 5n, Pentax K5, Epson R3000

Hi Phil,

For indoor shots of fast-moving subjects, nothing beats a high shutter speed and fast lens. The usefulness of OSS or IBIS is sometimes overstated. Not to mention that some in-camera IBIS systems are not always very effective, such as the Olympus Pen's older models. But the NEX's OSS in some of the native lenses seems to work quite well, gaining 2 or 3 f-stops.

" OSS is much more useful if you're going to be doing still shooting at night, handheld, or macro shooting by hand."--totally agree.

Steve

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EvtK
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Re: Advice: Sony SEL 50 1.8 or Sigma 60 2.8
In reply to captura, Aug 5, 2013

Hi All,

Wow.. what a lot of nice and useful reactions. Based on the things written down here and in some other topics here on DPReview... I have decided to go for the Sony.

I'll keep you all informed. Thanks for giving me such nice advice

Cheers.

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Cailean Gallimore
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Re: Advice: Sony SEL 50 1.8 or Sigma 60 2.8
In reply to Hin Man, Aug 5, 2013

Hin Man wrote:

Cailean Gallimore wrote:

I have both and they are very good.

In good light, the Sigma beats the 50mm 1.8.

In low light, the 50mm 1.8 beats the Sigma just because of it's speed.

My 50mm 1.8 focuses slower than the Sigma, and occasionally misses focus altogether, when wide open. This doesn't happen with the Sigma.

Optically, I would say that the Sigma is better, but not by a mile.

If you're not afraid of raising the ISO a bit - and you shouldn't be, the Sigma is fine under normal domestic lighting.

ymmv.

I have two side questions to ask. If you have the SEL 50mm f/1.8 and pretty happy with it. How do you justify buying the 60. Do you see the two lenses compete in usage or you see that they do fit in complimenting each other for different shooting scenes?

I mainly use the 60mm for street portraits where I find the focal length to be just right for me. The 50mm is pretty much only used for indoors portraiture.

There is some overlap, but they are two very different lenses. That 10mm difference is bigger than it sounds.

I have the first version of Sigma 19 & 30 along with the SEL 50. The Sigma surprise me in a good way: the good sharpness, AF and less hunting make them charming. How does the size of Sigma 60 with the hood on compare to the SEL 50? Which one is taller when the hood is mounted?

With the supplied lens hoods attached the Sony is longer by @ 40mm. That's quite a bit longer.

I actually love the 50 for its color, contrast and good speed but if there is one little gripe to share about the SEL 50 is on its slower AF and occasional hunting indoor. The lens hood is also a bit big when mounted.

My Sigma focuses faster and more accurately than the 60mm, though the 50mm performs well enough in most cases.

Honestly speaking, I think the Sigma is the better lens.

Thanks for the help,

Hin

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Hin Man
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Re: thanks to Cailean's replies on Sigma 60 and SEL 50
In reply to Cailean Gallimore, Aug 5, 2013

Much thanks to your thorough replies.   The smaller size, faster AF and noticeable longer FL will be valuable inputs for my planning for the Sigma 60 in the near future.

Cheers,

Hin

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Cailean Gallimore
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Re: Advice: Sony SEL 50 1.8 or Sigma 60 2.8
In reply to Cailean Gallimore, Aug 5, 2013

Cailean Gallimore wrote:

Hin Man wrote:

Cailean Gallimore wrote:

I have both and they are very good.

In good light, the Sigma beats the 50mm 1.8.

In low light, the 50mm 1.8 beats the Sigma just because of it's speed.

My 50mm 1.8 focuses slower than the Sigma, and occasionally misses focus altogether, when wide open. This doesn't happen with the Sigma.

Optically, I would say that the Sigma is better, but not by a mile.

If you're not afraid of raising the ISO a bit - and you shouldn't be, the Sigma is fine under normal domestic lighting.

ymmv.

I have two side questions to ask. If you have the SEL 50mm f/1.8 and pretty happy with it. How do you justify buying the 60. Do you see the two lenses compete in usage or you see that they do fit in complimenting each other for different shooting scenes?

I mainly use the 60mm for street portraits where I find the focal length to be just right for me. The 50mm is pretty much only used for indoors portraiture.

There is some overlap, but they are two very different lenses. That 10mm difference is bigger than it sounds.

I have the first version of Sigma 19 & 30 along with the SEL 50. The Sigma surprise me in a good way: the good sharpness, AF and less hunting make them charming. How does the size of Sigma 60 with the hood on compare to the SEL 50? Which one is taller when the hood is mounted?

With the supplied lens hoods attached the Sony is longer by @ 40mm. That's quite a bit longer.

I actually love the 50 for its color, contrast and good speed but if there is one little gripe to share about the SEL 50 is on its slower AF and occasional hunting indoor. The lens hood is also a bit big when mounted.

My Sigma focuses faster and more accurately than the 60mm, though the 50mm performs well enough in most cases.

Honestly speaking, I think the Sigma is the better lens.

Thanks for the help,

Hin

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(I meant to say that the 'Sigma focuses faster than the 50.')

I'm not a great fan of the way the Sigma 19 and 30 render out of focus areas (bokeh,) but the 60 has nice creamy/dreamy rendition. Perhaps not quite as nice as the 50, but nice nontheless.

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IrGoofy
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Re: Advice: Sony SEL 50 1.8 or Sigma 60 2.8
In reply to EvtK, Aug 5, 2013

I have the same initial setup as you (SELP1650 + SEL55210.) I have a very active kid (she can't stay at one spot for more than 2 minutes) I have been tried both SEL35f18, SEL50f18. both of them delivered excellent IQ, sharpness. However, both suffered in chasing my kid into focus. Especially in low light situation, with my slow hands and camera slow AF, I couldn't keep up with my kid and turned out that majority of the shots were blurry. SEL50f18 also is very slow focus when in low light condition which defeats the purpose of having the lens @ F1.8 (it is excellent with static, non-moving objects)

So, I returned both of the SEL and I am ordering LA-EA2 + SAL35f18 or SAL50f18 or 1.4. I tested out at the local Sony store using LA-EA2 + SAL35f18 and the result was AWESOME. I let my kid actively roaming around the shop and I could quickly capture clear, sharp shots at a low light corner of the room. Somehow, I found that LA-EA2 rested nicely in my support hand (left), I was able to hold the camera and focus better in DMF/Manual mode. It maybe bulky to some photographers but I didn't find it bulky, instead it's comfy and providing more grip to the lens/camera.

Also, 50mm will give you very tight working spots unless you have a big house.

I just wanted to share my experiences with those lens. Maybe I am not skilled enough to use them efficiency as others.

Just my 2 cents.

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Cailean Gallimore
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Re: thanks to Cailean's replies on Sigma 60 and SEL 50
In reply to Hin Man, Aug 5, 2013

Hin Man wrote:

Much thanks to your thorough replies. The smaller size, faster AF and noticeable longer FL will be valuable inputs for my planning for the Sigma 60 in the near future.

Cheers,

Hin

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If you buy one you won't regret it. It's a very good lens.

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blue_skies
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Re: Advice: Sony SEL 50 1.8 or Sigma 60 2.8
In reply to EvtK, Aug 5, 2013

EvtK wrote:

Hi All,

I have been reading around on the forums here and I have checked many reviews on both the Sony SEL 50 1.8 and the new Sigma 60 2.8. I can't figure out which one to buy, and I'm hoping to find some advice here. Thanks already!

I'm new to photography and have the NEX 6 with 16-50 and 55-210 glass. I want to expand my collection for the main reason to shoot under low light conditions (in the house). This is because I have a 2 months old son and I like taking some good portrait candids of him. I managed to do this with the kitlens, but on 50 mm I can't get a higher aperture of 5.6. I'm scaring the crap out of the kid, if i get closer than 50 mm

My conclusions from reading around is that the sony 50 mm has some flaws on wide open aperture. Only from f2.8/f4.0 it starts to become a 'good' lens. The sigma has very good IQ out of the box at f2.8. Ofcourse the sony has OSS as a pre.

If I would should portraits in good light conditions, I think I would go for the sigma based on the many good reviews online. But: I want to shoot inside the house, without having optimal light conditions. Would in that case, the sony 50 mm with higher aperture and OSS better suit my needs? I wonder if I, since I'm just starting as a photographer, I would notice the flaws of the sony 50 mm...

Just get the Sigma 60 with the SEL35F18. This will give you the 'long' lens with the extra sharpness, and the 'fast' lens for indoor use, with a wider view, so it is a bit easier to use.

If your kid pictures are a must, and (bounce) flash is not an option, then you will need some extra lighting (1 stop) when using the Sigma 60 over the E50. Don't be afraid to crop with the E35.

The E50 is pretty clean from f/2.2 onwards.

I believe the E50 has nicer OOF rendering (bokeh) than the Sigma.

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Cheers,
Henry

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George Costanza
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Re: Advice: Sony SEL 50 1.8 or Sigma 60 2.8
In reply to EvtK, Aug 5, 2013

I would go for SEL50mm - it's faster indoors. Period.

Also, as your kid will grow very quickly and will become accustomed to you, you won't need to be as far as 50mm, and 35mm will be much more usable (but expensive as well SEL35mmf1.8).

Can you consider a flash? Especially bounce flash - it will not harm baby eyes since it is not direct light, but will give you much better results than just using a fast lens alone. In fact with good flash you can skip buying any lens and just use your zooms or buy some lens that suits you better (eg. 60mm Sigma) and not worry about it being slow. Flash will set you free.

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