The Rise of Mirrorless Cameras: A Game-changer in the World of Photography

The world of photography has been revolutionized by the rise of mirrorless cameras. These compact and powerful devices have quickly gained popularity among photographers of all skill levels, and for good reason. With their sleek design, advanced technology, and impressive features, mirrorless cameras have become a game-changer in the world of photography.

In this article, we’ll explore the ins and outs of mirrorless cameras, discussing their key differences from DSLR cameras, the advantages they offer, and their impact on the photography industry. Whether you’re a seasoned professional or a budding enthusiast, understanding the rise of mirrorless cameras is crucial in navigating the ever-evolving landscape of photography.

So, let’s dive in and uncover the fascinating world of mirrorless cameras, and why they have become such a game-changer in the industry.

Understanding Mirrorless Cameras

Mirrorless cameras have taken the world of photography by storm, revolutionizing the way we capture images. With their compact size, advanced features, and improved performance, mirrorless cameras have become a popular choice among both amateur and professional photographers.

What are Mirrorless Cameras?

Mirrorless cameras are a type of digital camera that do not have a mirror mechanism like traditional DSLR cameras. Instead, they use an electronic viewfinder to preview the image before capturing it. This allows for a more accurate representation of the final image and eliminates the need for a bulky mirror inside the camera body.

Key Differences from DSLR Cameras

There are several key differences between mirrorless cameras and DSLR cameras that make them unique:

  1. Size and Weight: One of the biggest advantages of mirrorless cameras is that they are much smaller and lighter than DSLRs. This makes them more portable and easier to carry around, especially for photographers who are constantly on the go.
  2. Electronic Viewfinder: Unlike DSLR cameras that use an optical viewfinder, mirrorless cameras utilize an electronic viewfinder (EVF). The EVF displays a real-time preview of the image, allowing photographers to see exactly how the final photo will look before pressing the shutter button.
  3. Autofocus System: Mirrorless cameras often have advanced autofocus systems that make it easier to capture sharp and in-focus images. Many mirrorless cameras use a combination of contrast-detection and phase-detection autofocus, resulting in faster and more accurate focusing.
  4. Lens Compatibility: Mirrorless cameras typically have a shorter flange distance, which means they can use a wide range of lenses, including DSLR lenses, with the help of an adapter. This gives photographers more flexibility and options when it comes to lens selection.

Benefits and Advantages

Using a mirrorless camera comes with a range of benefits and advantages:

  • Portability: Mirrorless cameras are lightweight and compact, making them ideal for travel or situations where carrying heavy equipment is not feasible.
  • Silent Shooting: Since mirrorless cameras do not have a mirror mechanism that flips up and down like in DSLRs, they offer silent shooting modes. This is especially useful in situations where noise could be a distraction, such as weddings or wildlife photography.
  • Electronic Viewfinders: The electronic viewfinder in mirrorless cameras provides a real-time preview of the image, allowing you to see the exposure, white balance, and other settings before capturing the shot. This helps in getting the desired result without the need for post-processing.
  • Autofocus Performance: Mirrorless cameras have made significant advancements in autofocus technology. They often offer faster and more accurate autofocus systems, including eye-tracking and subject-tracking capabilities, ensuring that your subjects are always in focus.

With these key differences and advantages, mirrorless cameras have emerged as a game-changer in the world of photography. They provide photographers with the versatility, performance, and convenience they need to capture stunning images in various situations. So, if you are considering entering the world of mirrorless cameras, get ready to take your photography to the next level.

Evolution of Mirrorless Technology

Mirrorless cameras have come a long way since their inception, and their evolution has been driven by advancements in technology. Let’s take a look at the timeline of how mirrorless cameras have developed and improved over the years.

Early Development and Introduction

The concept of mirrorless cameras dates back to the early 2000s when manufacturers started experimenting with the idea of removing the mirror mechanism from traditional DSLR cameras. These early prototypes were bulky and lacked the features we associate with modern mirrorless cameras.

In 2008, Panasonic and Olympus were the first to introduce mirrorless cameras to the market. These cameras, known as Micro Four Thirds cameras, used a smaller sensor size compared to DSLRs, but still offered DSLR-like image quality in a more compact body.

Technological Advances and Improvements

As mirrorless cameras gained popularity, manufacturers began investing heavily in research and development to improve their capabilities. Over time, several key technological advancements have significantly contributed to the growth of the mirrorless camera market:

  1. Sensor Technology: Mirrorless cameras now boast advanced sensor technology, including higher megapixel counts and improved low-light performance. This allows photographers to capture stunning images with exceptional detail and dynamic range.
  2. Electronic Viewfinders: One of the notable features of mirrorless cameras is the electronic viewfinder (EVF), which displays a real-time preview of the image before it’s captured. EVFs have evolved to offer better resolution, faster refresh rates, and the ability to preview exposure and setting adjustments in real-time.
  3. AutoFocus Performance: Early mirrorless cameras struggled with autofocus speed and accuracy compared to DSLRs. However, manufacturers have made significant strides in improving autofocus performance, incorporating advanced autofocus systems with phase-detection and eye-tracking capabilities.
  4. Video Capabilities: Mirrorless cameras have gained recognition for their video capabilities. Many models now offer 4K video recording, with some even supporting higher resolutions like 6K or 8K. Additionally, features like in-body image stabilization (IBIS) and focus tracking in videos make mirrorless cameras a popular choice among videographers.
  5. Connectivity and Wireless Features: Mirrorless cameras have embraced connectivity features, allowing photographers to instantly transfer images to smartphones or connect to Wi-Fi networks for remote control and live-view shooting. This has greatly improved workflow efficiency and ease of sharing images on social media platforms.

With each passing year, mirrorless cameras continue to evolve and push the boundaries of what is possible in photography. Manufacturers are constantly innovating and introducing new features to enhance the user experience and provide photographers with more creative options.

As mirrorless technology continues to advance, it’s no surprise that more photographers, both amateurs and professionals, are embracing this new breed of cameras for their versatility, compactness, and innovative features.

Advantages of Mirrorless Cameras

Mirrorless cameras have gained immense popularity in the world of photography, and for good reason. These innovative devices offer several advantages over traditional DSLR cameras, making them a top choice for both professional photographers and photography enthusiasts. Let’s explore some of the key advantages of mirrorless cameras:

Size and Portability

One of the standout features of mirrorless cameras is their compact and lightweight design. Unlike DSLR cameras, which feature a mirror and a pentaprism, mirrorless cameras eliminate the need for these components, resulting in a significantly smaller and lighter body. This makes mirrorless cameras much more portable and easier to carry around, making them ideal for travel photography or any situation where weight and size are a concern.

Electronic Viewfinders

Mirrorless cameras come equipped with electronic viewfinders (EVFs) instead of optical viewfinders found in DSLRs. EVFs offer several advantages, including real-time preview of exposure, white balance, and creative filters. They also allow you to see the effects of different settings before you take a photo, which can be extremely helpful in achieving accurate exposure and composition. Additionally, EVFs are especially useful in challenging lighting conditions, as they can automatically adjust the brightness to provide a clear view of the scene.

Silent Shooting

Another significant advantage of mirrorless cameras is their ability to shoot silently. Since mirrorless cameras do not have a flipping mirror mechanism, they produce minimal noise during operation, making them perfect for situations that require silent shooting, such as weddings, wildlife photography, or any other scenario where noise can be distracting or disturb the subject.

Autofocus Performance

Mirrorless cameras have made remarkable advancements in autofocus technology. While DSLRs traditionally relied on phase-detection autofocus, most mirrorless cameras now utilize hybrid autofocus systems that combine phase detection and contrast detection. This allows for faster and more accurate autofocus, ensuring that you can capture sharp and well-focused images, even in challenging shooting conditions. Some mirrorless cameras even offer eye-tracking autofocus, which can automatically detect and track a subject’s eyes, ensuring sharp focus on the subject’s face.

Overall, the advantages of mirrorless cameras make them a compelling choice for photographers of all levels. Whether you value portability, electronic viewfinders, silent shooting, or advanced autofocus capabilities, mirrorless cameras offer a range of features to enhance your photography experience.

Image Quality and Sensor Technology

When it comes to image quality, mirrorless cameras have come a long way and are now able to rival the performance of DSLR cameras. The sensor technology used in mirrorless cameras plays a crucial role in capturing stunning images. Here’s what you need to know about image quality and sensor technology in mirrorless cameras:

Sensor Types and Sizes

Mirrorless cameras are equipped with two main types of sensors: full-frame sensors and APS-C sensors. The sensor size affects image quality, low-light performance, and depth of field control.

  • Full-frame Sensors: These larger sensors offer excellent image quality, superior low-light performance, and better dynamic range. They are ideal for professional photographers or enthusiasts who require the highest level of detail and image quality. However, full-frame mirrorless cameras tend to be more expensive.
  • APS-C Sensors: These sensors are smaller in size compared to full-frame sensors but still deliver impressive performance. APS-C sensors are more affordable, making them a popular choice among entry-level and intermediate photographers. They offer good image quality and provide a greater reach when using telephoto lenses.

Megapixel Count and Image Resolution

The megapixel count refers to the number of pixels on the camera’s sensor. More megapixels allow for higher-resolution images and the ability to crop or enlarge photos without losing details. However, it is essential to note that megapixels are not the sole factor determining image quality. Other factors like sensor size and technology also contribute to image sharpness and overall quality.

  • Higher Megapixel Count: Mirrorless cameras are known for their high-megapixel offerings, with some models boasting resolutions upwards of 40 or even 50 megapixels. These cameras are well-suited for photographers who need to capture intricate details, such as landscape photographers or those who enjoy large-format printing.
  • Lower Megapixel Count: In contrast, there are also mirrorless cameras with lower megapixel counts, typically around 20 to 24 megapixels. While these cameras may not have the same level of detail as their high-megapixel counterparts, they still produce excellent image quality and are more than sufficient for most photography needs.

Low Light Performance

Capturing images in low light situations can be challenging, but mirrorless cameras have made significant strides in this area. Improved sensor technology, along with advances in noise reduction algorithms, have resulted in mirrorless cameras that excel in low-light conditions. Here’s what you can expect from mirrorless cameras in terms of low light performance:

  • ISO Range: Mirrorless cameras offer a wide range of ISO settings, allowing photographers to adjust the sensitivity of the camera’s sensor to light. The higher the ISO, the more sensitive the sensor becomes, which can help capture images in low-light situations. Some mirrorless cameras have impressive native ISO ranges, reaching up to ISO 25600 or even higher.
  • Low Noise Performance: Mirrorless cameras generally produce low levels of noise at high ISO settings. This means that even in low light, you can expect clean and noise-free images. Noise reduction algorithms and advancements in sensor technology have contributed to this improvement, making mirrorless cameras a viable option for low-light photography.

In conclusion, mirrorless cameras offer impressive image quality and sensor technology that can rival the performance of DSLR cameras. The choice of sensor type and size, megapixel count, and low light performance are crucial factors to consider when selecting a mirrorless camera. Whether you’re a professional photographer or a passionate enthusiast, mirrorless cameras provide the tools you need to capture stunning images in a compact and portable package.

Interchangeable Lens Systems

When it comes to photography, one of the biggest advantages of mirrorless cameras is their ability to use interchangeable lenses. This feature allows photographers to customize their gear to suit different shooting situations and creative needs. Let’s dive into the world of interchangeable lens systems and explore why they are an essential aspect of mirrorless cameras.

Adaptability and Versatility

Interchangeable lens systems give photographers the freedom to choose from a wide range of lenses, each designed for specific purposes. Whether you’re capturing landscapes, portraits, macro shots, or sports action, there’s a lens available to achieve the desired effect.

With a mirrorless camera, you can easily swap lenses depending on the subject and composition. This adaptability and versatility make mirrorless cameras a popular choice among photographers who value flexibility in their shooting workflows.

Native and Third-Party Lenses

Mirrorless camera manufacturers like Sony, Panasonic, Fujifilm, and Canon have been expanding their lens lineups to cater to different needs. These manufacturers offer a variety of lenses known as “native lenses” that are specifically designed for their respective camera systems.

In addition to native lenses, mirrorless cameras also have the advantage of being compatible with third-party lenses. Companies like Sigma, Tamron, and Zeiss manufacture lenses that can be used on multiple camera systems, including mirrorless cameras. This extensive compatibility allows photographers to choose from a wide range of lenses, further expanding their creative options.

Lens Selection and Availability

As the popularity of mirrorless cameras continues to grow, the availability and variety of lenses have also increased significantly. Regardless of your budget or specific photographic requirements, you’re likely to find a lens that suits your needs.

From ultra-wide-angle lenses to telephoto zooms, prime lenses to specialty lenses like tilt-shift or fisheye, there are options for every type of photographer. Mirrorless camera systems now offer a comprehensive lens range that matches, and in some cases exceeds, what is available for DSLR cameras.

Having a robust selection of lenses means that photographers can take their creativity to new heights. It allows them to experiment with different focal lengths, achieve desired depth of field effects, and capture stunning images with precision and detail.

In conclusion, the interchangeable lens systems found in mirrorless cameras provide photographers with adaptability, versatility, and creative freedom. With a multitude of native and third-party lenses to choose from, the possibilities are endless. Whether you’re a professional or an enthusiast, investing in a mirrorless camera with an interchangeable lens system can elevate your photography game and enable you to capture breathtaking images.

Video Capabilities and Features

In addition to their advanced still photography capabilities, mirrorless cameras have also become a popular choice for videographers. These cameras offer a range of impressive video features and capabilities that make them a versatile tool for capturing high-quality video footage. Let’s explore some of the key video capabilities and features that mirrorless cameras bring to the table:

4K Video and Beyond

One of the most significant advancements in mirrorless cameras is their ability to shoot in 4K resolution. 4K video offers four times the resolution of Full HD, resulting in incredibly sharp and detailed footage. Many mirrorless cameras also go beyond 4K, offering options like 6K and even 8K video recording capabilities. This level of resolution is particularly appealing for professional videographers who require the utmost clarity in their productions.

Stabilization and Focus Tracking

Mirrorless cameras often feature advanced in-body image stabilization (IBIS) technology, which helps to reduce camera shake when shooting handheld videos. This is especially useful when capturing footage in challenging conditions or while on the move. Additionally, many mirrorless cameras have superior autofocus systems that excel at tracking moving subjects. This makes them ideal for capturing fast-action scenes where maintaining focus is crucial.

Artistic Features

Mirrorless cameras often come equipped with a wide range of creative features that allow videographers to experiment with different filmmaking techniques. These include various picture profiles, such as LOG (flat) profiles, which preserve more dynamic range and allow for greater flexibility in post-production. Other features like slow-motion video, time-lapse, and high-speed video capture add even more creative possibilities to a videographer’s toolkit.

Mirrorless cameras also tend to offer a silent shooting mode, which is ideal for video recording. Unlike DSLRs, which rely on a mechanical mirror flipping up and down during exposure, mirrorless cameras don’t have this mechanism and therefore produce no sound when capturing video. This is particularly advantageous when shooting in quiet environments or when recording interviews.

Overall, mirrorless cameras have become a popular choice for videographers due to their advanced video capabilities and features. With their ability to shoot in high-resolution formats, excellent stabilization systems, and a wide range of creative options, these cameras offer a compelling alternative to traditional camcorders or DSLRs.

“Mirrorless cameras have revolutionized the world of video production. Their ability to shoot in high resolutions like 4K and above, along with advanced stabilization and focus tracking, makes them a powerful tool for videographers. Additionally, the artistic features offered by mirrorless cameras provide endless creative possibilities. It’s no wonder why so many professionals are making the switch.”

Professional Applications

Mirrorless cameras have quickly gained traction in the photography industry, and their versatility and advanced features make them ideal for various professional applications. Whether you’re a commercial photographer, a photojournalist, or a wedding photographer, mirrorless cameras can enhance your work and take your photography to the next level. Here are some of the professional applications where mirrorless cameras shine:

Commercial and Advertising Photography

When it comes to commercial and advertising photography, image quality and versatility are key. Mirrorless cameras offer high-resolution sensors and outstanding image quality, allowing photographers to capture every intricate detail of their subject. The ability to shoot in RAW format also provides greater flexibility in post-processing, enabling photographers to achieve the desired look for their commercial and advertising campaigns.

Moreover, mirrorless cameras’ silent shooting capability is a game-changer in this field. Being discreet and minimizing disruptions on set is crucial, especially when photographing for sensitive products or shooting in noise-restricted environments. The absence of the mechanical mirror enables mirrorless cameras to capture images silently, ensuring a smooth and uninterrupted shooting experience.

Documentary and Photojournalism

Mirrorless cameras have become a favorite among documentary and photojournalism professionals due to their compact size and lightweight design. These cameras allow photographers to blend in and capture authentic moments without drawing unnecessary attention. Whether you’re capturing street scenes, documenting social issues, or covering newsworthy events, the inconspicuousness of mirrorless cameras helps photographers maintain a low profile and ultimately get the shot.

Additionally, the electronic viewfinder (EVF) of mirrorless cameras offers real-time exposure and focus information, giving photographers an accurate representation of the final image. This feature is especially beneficial in fast-paced situations where capturing the decisive moment is crucial. The EVF’s ability to preview exposure and white balance settings allows photographers to make necessary adjustments on the fly, ensuring that they capture the best-possible image in challenging lighting conditions.

Wedding and Event Photography

Mirrorless cameras have also found their place in the world of wedding and event photography. Weddings and events require photographers to be nimble, discreet, and quick on their feet. Mirrorless cameras, with their small form factor, lightweight construction, and silent shooting mode, are perfect for capturing intimate moments and candid shots without disturbing the atmosphere of the occasion.

Furthermore, mirrorless cameras excel in low-light situations, which are common in wedding and event venues. The advanced sensor technology in mirrorless cameras, combined with their fast and accurate autofocus performance, allows photographers to capture sharp and well-exposed images even in challenging lighting conditions. This capability ensures that photographers can deliver stunning images to their clients, regardless of the lighting conditions they encounter during a wedding or event.

In summary, mirrorless cameras have made a significant impact on professional photography across various industries. Their compact size, advanced features, and exceptional image quality make them an attractive choice for commercial and advertising photography, documentary and photojournalism, as well as wedding and event photography.

Considerations when Choosing a Mirrorless Camera

When it comes to choosing a mirrorless camera, there are several factors to consider. Whether you’re a professional photographer or an enthusiast looking to upgrade your gear, here are some key considerations to keep in mind:

Budget and Price Range

  • Determine your budget before starting your search for a mirrorless camera.
  • Mirrorless cameras come in a wide range of prices, from entry-level models to high-end professional options.
  • Set a budget that aligns with your needs and photography goals.

Lens Ecosystem

  • Consider the availability and variety of lenses that are compatible with the mirrorless camera system you choose.
  • The lens ecosystem is an important aspect to consider since it influences the versatility and creative possibilities of your photography.
  • Research the native lenses available for the camera brand you are interested in and also consider the availability of third-party lenses.

Ergonomics and Handling

  • Pay attention to the ergonomics and handling of the mirrorless camera.
  • Since mirrorless cameras are generally smaller and lighter than DSLRs, they may have different control layouts and grip sizes.
  • It’s important to hold the camera in your hands and see how it feels before making a purchase.
  • Consider factors such as button placement, menu navigation, and overall comfort during extended use.

“Choosing the right mirrorless camera involves finding a balance between your budget, lens selection, and ergonomics that match your shooting style and preferences.”

Ultimately, the best mirrorless camera for you will depend on your specific needs and shooting style. Consider what type of photography you primarily engage in and what features are essential to you.

Remember to do thorough research, read reviews, and even try out different cameras before making a final decision. Taking your time and finding the right mirrorless camera will greatly enhance your photography experience and help you capture stunning images.

“Don’t rush into a decision. Take your time to find the mirrorless camera that fits your needs and preferences. It will be worth the wait!”

Impact on the Photography Industry

Mirrorless cameras have taken the photography industry by storm and have had a significant impact on how photographers approach their craft. Let’s explore the ways in which mirrorless cameras have influenced the industry:

Market Trends and Sales Data

  • The market for mirrorless cameras has been rapidly growing over the past few years. According to a report by CIPA (Camera & Imaging Products Association), the sales of mirrorless cameras have been steadily increasing, while the sales of DSLR cameras have been declining. This shift in consumer preference indicates the growing demand for mirrorless cameras.
  • Mirrorless cameras are appealing to both amateur and professional photographers. With their compact size, advanced features, and versatility, mirrorless cameras offer a compelling alternative to traditional DSLR cameras. As a result, more and more photographers are choosing mirrorless cameras as their primary tool for capturing images.

Influence on DSLR Market

  • The rise of mirrorless cameras has undoubtedly had an impact on the DSLR market. As mirrorless cameras continue to improve in terms of image quality, autofocus performance, and overall functionality, photographers are finding fewer reasons to invest in DSLRs.
  • Major camera manufacturers are also acknowledging the shift in consumer preference and are investing more resources in the development of mirrorless camera systems. This increase in competition between mirrorless and DSLR cameras is driving innovation and pushing the boundaries of what is possible in the world of photography.

Adaptation by Professional Photographers

  • Professional photographers are not immune to the allure of mirrorless cameras. In fact, many renowned photographers have embraced mirrorless technology and are using it to capture breathtaking images.
  • The benefits of mirrorless cameras, such as their lightweight design, silent shooting mode, and high-quality electronic viewfinders, make them well-suited for various professional applications. Mirrorless cameras have shown their capabilities in commercial and advertising photography, documentary and photojournalism work, as well as wedding and event photography.
  • Additionally, the ability to adapt different lenses to mirrorless camera systems further expands the possibilities for professional photographers. With a wide range of native and third-party lens options available, photographers have the flexibility to choose lenses that best suit their specific needs.

Mirrorless cameras have made a lasting impact on the photography industry, and their influence is only expected to grow in the coming years. As technology continues to evolve, we can anticipate even more advancements in mirrorless camera systems, further solidifying their place as a game-changer in the world of photography. So, whether you’re an aspiring photographer or a seasoned professional, it might be worth considering a mirrorless camera to elevate your photography experience.


In conclusion, the rise of mirrorless cameras has been nothing short of a game-changer in the world of photography. With their compact size, advanced technology, and impressive image quality, they have quickly gained popularity among both amateur and professional photographers. Let’s recap some key points:

  • Mirrorless cameras are a new type of digital camera that eliminates the need for a traditional mirror mechanism found in DSLR cameras.
  • They offer several benefits and advantages over DSLR cameras, including smaller and lighter bodies, electronic viewfinders, silent shooting, and improved autofocus performance.
  • The evolution of mirrorless technology has seen significant advancements in recent years, with improvements in sensor technology, video capabilities, and overall performance.
  • Interchangeable lens systems make mirrorless cameras versatile and adaptable to various photography styles and genres.
  • Mirrorless cameras also offer impressive video capabilities, with features like 4K video, stabilization, and focus tracking, making them a great choice for videographers as well.
  • Professional photographers have embraced mirrorless cameras for commercial, documentary, and wedding photography, among other applications.
  • When choosing a mirrorless camera, factors to consider include budget, lens ecosystem, and ergonomics.
  • The impact of mirrorless cameras on the photography industry has been significant, with increasing market trends and sales data, and an influence on the DSLR market.
  • Professional photographers have recognized the benefits of mirrorless technology and have started to adopt it in their work.

In conclusion, mirrorless cameras have revolutionized the way we capture and create images. Their technological advancements, superior image quality, and versatility have made them a go-to choice for photographers worldwide. If you want to explore more about mirrorless cameras, check out, where you will find helpful articles, camera reviews, and inspiration for your photography projects. Happy shooting!

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What are mirrorless cameras?

    Mirrorless cameras are a type of digital camera that do not have a reflex mirror, which is present in DSLR cameras. They use an image sensor to capture light directly and display the image on an electronic viewfinder or LCD screen.

  2. What are the advantages of using mirrorless cameras?

    Mirrorless cameras offer several advantages over DSLR cameras, including smaller and lighter size, silent shooting, faster burst mode, better video capabilities, and advanced autofocus systems.

  3. Can I use my existing lenses with a mirrorless camera?

    Most mirrorless cameras support the use of interchangeable lenses through lens adapters. However, it’s important to check compatibility and functionality before using your existing lenses with a mirrorless camera.

  4. Are mirrorless cameras suitable for professional photography?

    Yes, mirrorless cameras have become increasingly popular among professional photographers due to their advanced features, image quality, and portability. Many professionals have made the switch from DSLR to mirrorless cameras.

  5. Are mirrorless cameras more expensive than DSLR cameras?

    Mirrorless cameras come in a wide range of price points, and while some high-end models can be expensive, there are also affordable options available. It’s important to consider your budget and specific needs when comparing prices.

wim arys

Wim Arys is a photographer from Belgium Europe with a passion for mirrorless cameras.

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