Film Cameras in Movies and TV Shows

Can anyone name the three cameras sitting on the desk in this scene from the Rodney Dangerfield comedy Easy Money?

If you’re like me, it is exciting to see an old camera in a movie or television show set in the past.  My attention is quickly diverted and I play this little game with myself where I try to see how quickly I can both identify the camera and whether it is period correct for whatever I’m watching.  If my wife happens to be in the room with me when this happens, she rarely shares in my excitement that I spotted a Contax IIa rangefinder in a 1950s drama, nor does she understand my resentment when I see a Canon AE-1 Program in a show set in 1980 when only the Canon AE-1 would have existed.

Recently, while browsing r/AnalogCommunity on Reddit, I came across a post by u/po1aroidz who has spent the last year and a half making a list of cameras in movies and TV shows that he has seen.  I’ve found other resources online with lists of cameras in movies and TV shows, but this list is the most complete I’ve found.  With his permission, I am republishing the list here with some additions that I’ve found myself.

I cannot vouch for everything on this list as I haven’t seen all of the shows and movies here, and of course there are many more cameras in shows and movies out there, so if you see any errors or anything that should be added, let me know and I’ll add/change them!

SLRs

If only James Bond had a dashcam, Holly Goodhead wouldn’t have had to drive like this in 1979’s Moonraker.

Canon F1

Mindhunter (2017, S2E8) – Garland Periwinkle

Moonraker (1979) – Holly Goodhead

Canon F1 (New)

Crocodile Dundee (1986) – Sue Charlton

Groundhog Day (1993) – Background reporter

Spider-Man (2002) – Peter Parker

Jericho (2006, S1) – Robert Hawkins

Canon sold millions of AE-1 and AE-1 Programs from 1976 to 1987, so it’s probably no surprise to see one in films set during that time period.

Canon AE-1

Parks and Recreation (2009, S3E5) – Ron Swanson / April Ludgate

Patriot Games (1992) – FBI Photographer [Could also be the AV-1]

Stargirl (2020) – Tess Reid

Canon AE-1 Program

Kong: Skull Island (2017) – Mason Weaver

Manhunt: Unabomber (2017, S1E8) – Prison Guard

Canon EOS 1D

Contact (1997) – Background Reporter

Canon EOS 1

The Bang Bang Club (2010) – Ken Oosterbroeck

Canon EOS Elan II

Contact (1997) – Background Reporter

Community (2009, S3E13) – Britta Perry

Exakta VX

Easy Money (1983) – Monty Capuletti’s desk in Opening Sequence

Rear Window (1954) – LB ‘Jeff’ Jeffries

Jimmy Stewart’s use of an Exakta SLR with this monstrous Kilfitt 400/5.6 Fern-Kilar is one of the most iconic appearances of a camera in a motion picture and one that many collectors would love to have in their collection.

Kodak Instamatic Reflex

City of God (2002) – Photojournalist

The 2002 movie, City of God shows up several times on this list as it features a large variety of film cameras.

Kodak Retina Reflex S

City of God (2002) – Rocket / Benny

Kodak Retina Reflex IV

City of God (2002) – Rocket

Leica R6.2

Ronin (1998) – Sam

Minolta SRT 303

Riverdale (2017, S3) – Jughead Jones [Could also be XE-7 or X-7]

Random extras in films often point cameras at things, as did this guy in Rocky IV using a Minolta X-570 and Sunpak flash.

Minolta X-570

Rocky IV (1985) – Press Photographer

Nikkormat

The Killing Fields (1984) – Al Rockoff

Nikkormat FTN

The Bang Bang Club (2010) – Greg Marinovich

Nikon F

Lolita (1962) – Clare Quilty

Blow-Up (1966) – Thomas

I don’t know what’s prettier, Farah Fawcett or this black Nikon F with motor drive and standard prism in 1981’s The Cannonball Run.

Cannonball Run (1981) – Pamela Glover

Vanishing Point (1971) – Extra

Apocalypse Now! (1979) – The Photojournalist

The Killing Fields (1984) – Sydney Schanberg

The Killing Fields (1984) – Al Rockoff

Full Metal Jacket (1987) – Pvt. Joker

Full Metal Jacket (1987) – Rafterman

Bridges of Madison County (1995) – Robert Kincaid

Nikon F Photomic

The French Connection (1971) – Ms. Marie Charnier

Vanishing Point (1971) – Background Photographer

Apocalypse Now! (1979) – The Photojournalist

Under Fire (1983) – Russell Price

Full Metal Jacket is highly regarded for it’s authentic look at the Vietnam war including it’s frequent use of period correct Nikon F SLRs. Many different ones are seen, including this original F with Photomic meter, and what looks to be a Nikkor 50/1.4 lens.

Full Metal Jacket (1987) – Rafterman

Groundhog Day (1993) – Background Photographer

City of God (2002) – Rocket

Walk the Line (2005) – Press Photographer

Pan Am (2011, S1E6) – Graham (LIFE Photographer)

Ford v Ferrari (2019) – Italian Photographer

Nikon F2

Jaws (1975) – Matt Hooper

Taxi Driver (1976) – Secret Service Photographer

Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977) – Multi-Camera Apparatus

The Amazing Spider-Man (TV Series, 1977) – Peter Parker

The Amazing Spider-Man (TV Series, 1977) – Julie Masters

Under Fire (1984) – Russell Price

Contact (1997) – Background Photographer

The Bang Bang Club (2010) – Joao Silva

Brooklyn Nine-Nine (2013, S4E18) – Capt. Ray Holt

Nikon F3

The Bang Bang Club (2010) – Ken Oosterbroeck

Wonder Woman 1984 (2020) – Wedding Portrait Photographer

This season 9 episode of American Horror Story shows a nice looking Nikon F3 with the HP prism and what looks to be a 50/1.4 AiS lens.

Nikon F3 HP

American Horror Story (2019, S9E8) – Stefanie Black

Stranger Things (2015, S3E2) – Flash Studio Photographer

Wonder Woman 1984 (2020) – Wedding Portrait Photographer

Nikon F3/t

Secret Life of Walter Mitty (2013) – Sean O’Connell

Nikon F4

Heat (1995) – Neil McCauley / Police Officers

Parks and Recreation (2009, S3E7) – Background Photographer

The Bang Bang Club (2010) – Ken Oosterbroek

The Bang Bang Club (2010) – Greg Marinovich

Nikon F5

Contact (1997) – Background Photographer

The Lost World: Jurassic Park (1997) – Sarah Harding

Secret Life of Walter Mitty (2013) – Sean O’Connell (only mentioned)

Nikon FE2

BlacKkKlansman (2018) – Ron Stallworth

Big Trouble in Little China (1986) – Bus Tourist Extra

In the opening sequence of Ghostbusters, Ray Stantz is maniacally photographing a ghost in the basement of the New York Library with this Nikon FE2 shortly before it scares the be-jeeezus out of him!

Ghostbusters (1984) – Ray Stantz

Ronin (1998) – Gregor

Nikon FM2

The Bang Bang Club (2010) – Greg Marinovich

Olympus OM-1

National Lampoon’s Vacation (1983) – Ellen Griswold [Could also be OM-2]

Olympus IS-1000

Sleepless in Seattle (1983) – PI Detective

Pentax ME

Stranger Things (2015) – Jonathan Byers

Pentax ME Super

Stranger Things (2015, S3E2) – Jonathan Byers

Throughout “Stranger Things”, Johnathan Banks is often seen with his Pentax SLR.  In different episodes, the camera alternates between a Pentax ME and an ME Super, but I can forgive that small error as both cameras are period correct, giving it’s use a thumbs up from me!

Pentax KM

Riverdale (2017) – Toni Topaz

This Asahi Pentax Spotmatic was featured heavily in Welcome to Marwen, starring Steve Carrell.

Pentax Spotmatic

Jaws (1975) – Newspaper Photographer

The Killing Fields (1984) – Jon Swain

Welcome to Marwen (2018) – Mark Hogancamp

Yashica FX-1

Pretty Woman (1990)

Rangefinders

Argus C3

Carol (2015) – Therese Belivet

Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow (2004) – Polly Perkins

For a short while after the Argus C3 Matchmatic appeared in Harry Potter, prices skyrocketed as it was sold as the “Harry Potter Camera”.

Argus C3 Matchmatic

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002) – Colin Creevey

Canon Canonet 28

Pecker (1998) – Pecker

Canon IV SB

Carol (2015) – Therese Belivet

Kodak Retina IIc

Catch Me if You Can (2002) – Frank Abagnale Jr.

Tom Hanks did an excellent job of portraying Fred Rogers in A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, including his use of a nice Kodak Retina IIIc, the same model that Rogers used in real life.

Kodak Retina IIIc

A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood (2019) – Fred Rogers

Leica IIIa

Chinatown (1974) – Jake Gittes

Leica M2

Mad Men (2006, S6E1) – Don Draper/Dr. Arnold Rosen

Leica fans went nuts over Brie Larson’s M3 with a 35mm Summaron with close-up goggles and an MR meter. Later in the film she is seen loading in a roll of period correct Kodak Plus-X film.

Leica M3

Man with a Camera (1958) – Mike Kovac

Coraline (2009) – Wybie / Coraline

Pan Am (2011, S1E10) – Laura Cameron

Kong: Skull Island (2017) – Mason Weaver

Leica M4

The Bang Bang Club (2010) – Kevin Carter

Leica M4-P

The Midnight Meat Train (2008) – Leon

Kodachrome (2017) – Ben

Leica M4-2

Under Fire (1983) – Russell Price

Julie Roberts has a rather awkward hold on this beautiful Leica M6, but at least is practicing shooting with both eyes open.

Leica M6

Big Fish (2003) – Josephine Bloom

Closer (2004) – Anna

Vicky Cristina Barcelona (2008)

All About Steve (2009) – Steve

Secret Life of Walter Mitty (2013) – Sean O’Connell

Minolta Hi Matic 7

Kong: Skull Island (2017) – Mason Weaver

Nikon SP

Bridges of Madison County (1995) – Robert Kincaid/Francesca Johnson

Nikon S2

Lolita (1962) – Clare Quilty

Nikon S3 Y2K

Batman v Superman (2016) – Jimmy Olson

Rollei B35

Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977) – Jillian Guiler

Peter Parker used a variety of cameras in different Spider-Man movies and comics, but in this 2012 movie, is seen shooting a Yashica Electro 35 GSN.

Yashica EE

Pan Am (2011, S1E3) – Laura Cameron

Yashica Electro 35 GSN

The Amazing Spider-Man (2012) – Peter Parker

Yashica Lynx 5000

Brooklyn Nine-Nine (2013, S1E15) Capt. Ray Holt

Medium Format

Agfa Isolette

Lolita (1962) – Charlotte

Brooks-Veriwide

Ghostbusters 2 (1989) – Peter Venkman

The Brooks-Veriwide is one of the more obscure cameras to make an appearance in a movie, here seen in Ghostbusters 2 as Peter Venkman is curiously holding the camera vertically, which would produce a very tall panoramic image!

Fujipet EE

Hawaii Five-0 (1968) – Steve McGarrett

Graflex Speed Graphic

Rear Window (1954) – LB ‘Jeff’ Jeffries

You probably wouldn’t think the Rodney Dangerfield comedy, Easy Money would be good for spotting classic cameras, but there are many scenes like this one with a Graflex Speed Graphic.

Easy Money (1983) – Monty Capuletti

Hasselblad 500C

Blow-Up (1966) – Thomas

Vanishing Point (1971) – Background Photographer

Hasselblad 501

Closer (2004) – Anna

George Costanza may have had impressive hands, but I was more impressed with this Kiev 88 with a metered prism in this Season 5 episode of Seinfeld.

Kiev 88 (w/ TTL Prism)

Seinfeld (1989, S5E2) – Hand Photographer

Kodak Brownie Hawkeye Flash

Vanishing Point (1971) – Extra

Walk the Line (2005) – Fan Extra

Lomography Diana F+

Jurassic World (2015) – Gray

Mamiyaflex C/C2

Vanishing Point (1971) – Background Photographer

Mamiya 645 Pro TL

Friends (1993, S7E5) – Portrait Photographer

I admit to having never seen the movie Lavendar, but Abbie Cornish’s grip on this very heavy Pentax 67 is impressive, but I can’t help but wonder if the prop master couldn’t have found her a smaller camera.

Pentax 67

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (2009) – Slughorn’s Party Photographer

Lavender (2016) – Jane

Rolleiflex T Type 2

From Russia With Love (1963) – James Bond

Rolleiflex 2.8F

Bullitt (1968) – Background Photojournalist

The Killing Fields (1984) – Al Rockoff

Rolleiflex 2.8GX

Where the Heart Is (2000) – Novalee Nation

Yashica TLR

Easy Money (1983) – Monty Capuletti’s desk in Opening Sequence

Polaroid / INSTANT

J66

Pan Am (2011, S1E5) – Ginny Sadler

In this scene at the very end of the first Terminator movie, a boy takes a photo of Sarah Connor, selling it to her for $3. This photo would be a key element in several flashback scenes from this and future movies. I always assumed the image was a Polaroid, but here we can see it was a Kodak!

Kodamatic Instant 960

The Terminator (1984) – Boy at the End

Land Camera Automatic 100

Apocalypse Now! (1979) – Praying Soldier

Pan Am (2011, S1E1) – Narducci Couple

Land Camera Automatic 103

Manhunt: Unabomber (2017, S1E6) – David Kaczynski

Sun 660

E.T. : The Extra-Terrestrial (1982) – Mary

OneStep

Wonder Woman 1984 (2020) – Diana Prince

OneStep 600

Stranger Things (2015, S2E2) – Karen Wheeler

Fear the Walking Dead (2015, S2E10) – Wedding Photographer

Rick Grimes uses a Polaroid OneStep to photograph something in this Season 8 episode of the Walking Dead.  Knowing how poorly Polaroid film survives after it’s expiration date, I wonder if this image ever came out.

OneStep Close-Up

The Walking Dead (2017, S08E01) – Rick Grimes

One-Step Flash

Mr. Bean (1990, S1E4) – Mr. Bean

One-Step LC

Seinfeld (1989, S6E21) – George Constanza / Jerry Seinfeld

Supercolor 600

Seinfeld (1989, S5E4) – Kramer

690

Memento (2000) – Leonard

Adam Driver is seen here taking a photo using a period correct Polaroid SX-70 with a flash bar attached.

SX-70

Almost Famous (2000) – Penny Lane

Warm Bodies (2013) – Julie

Mindhunter (2017, S2E6) – ADT Serviceman

BlacKkKlansman (2018) – Ron Stallworth

What We Do in the Shadows (2019, S2E8) – Background Familiar

SX-70 Model 2 (Autofocus)

The Golden Child (1986) – Chandler Jarrell

Spectra System

Home Alone 2 (1992) – Kevin McCallister

Casper (1995) – Nicky

Point and Shoots

Canon Sure Shot WP-1

Bend It Like Beckham (2002) – Jules

I’ve seen reruns of the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air several hundreds of times in my life, and it wasn’t until I started collecting cameras that I noticed he was holding this camera, which is almost certainly a Kodak Pony.

Kodak Pony 135

Pan Am (2011, S1E4) – Local Burmese Man

The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air (Intro)

Leica Minilux Zoom

One Hour Photo (2002) – Nina Yorkin

Minolta Freedom Zoom 140EX

Seinfeld (1989, S8E5) – George Constanza

Minolta Freedom Zoom 150

One Hour Photo (2002) – Seymour Parrish

In a very short scene from Home Alone that sets up the entire plot of the movie, the McAllister’s neighbor is rummaging through the family’s luggage when he finds this Nikon L35AF.

Nikon L35AF

Home Alone (1990) – Neighbor Kid/Bag content

Rollei 35 S

Walking Dead: World Beyond (2020) – Elton Ortiz

110/126 Camera

Kodak Instamatic X-15

Almost Famous (2000) – Bowie Fan Extra (Front)

Kodak Instamatic X-25

Stranger Things (2015, S2E2) – Mrs. Sinclair

Kodak Instamatic X-35

Stranger Things (2015, S2E2) – Mrs. Henderson

Kodak Instamatic X-35F

Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977) – Roy Neary

Kodak Instamatic 77X

City of God (2002) – Rocket

Kodak Instamatic 100

Once Upon A Time.. in Hollywood (2019) – Bruin Box Office Girl

Additional Reading

Here are a few more sites with lists of cameras found in shows and movies.

https://productplacementblog.com/tag/cameras/

http://leica.nemeng.com/005ea.shtml

https://rangefinderforum.com/forums/showthread.php?t=67617

31 Comments

      1. In the poster for the Oliver Stone movie Salvador (1986), James Woods is holding a Canon F1 with a 24/2.8 lens. I seem to recall another character using a Leica M series camera, possibly an M3, as well.

  1. In one scene from the 1957 film Funny Face, the character played by Fred Astaire has at least 3 Rolleiflexes hanging around his neck.
    Within the last few days I’ve viewed one episode of the original US TV Perry Mason series in b/w, which is being aired in the UK, shows Paul Drake with a Rolleiflex, but I suspect that the print from the original has been copied back to front as Drake winds on in reverse for each exposure he makes. He winds anti-clockwise and completes the sequence by winding clockwise. He does this 3 or 4 times so I had ample time to do proper checks. Rolleiflex users know that we wind clockwise first and then anti-clockwise to bring the lever back to its resting state.

  2. what a great list! My partner doesn’t appreciate me freeze framing cameras in movies either 🙂
    Off the top of my head some additions: Canonet 19 in Ramen Shop (2018), Instax Mini in Yes Man (2008), Minolta HiMatic AF2 in The Wailing (2016), Mamiya Family in Serpico (1973)

  3. “The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet” TV show had quite a few instances as they had shameless product placement. (Such as when Coke was a sponsor and Harriet comes into the living room with a tray with six bottles of cokes, all with straws pointed skyward at the same angle and all with the name facing the camera to offer to the guests. But I digress.) Kodak was, I think, an original sponsor and then with stronger presence later. For a while, at the beginning every episode where the family is introduced Ricky has a Kodak camera around his neck. Looks like the model “Pony II”. You can see it at 0:20 seconds here: (104) 1959, Ozzie and Harriet “Ricky the Bullfighter” with KODAK tv commercials – YouTube . The 57th episode “The Cameras”, Jan 15, 1954 has a storyline where Ozzie buys four cameras for the family. You first see the cameras at 5:20 here: (104) The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet Camera Show – YouTube They look like Kodak “Baby Brownie Special” cameras to me.

  4. There was an unusual camera in a TV episode of “The Saint” (Roger Moore starred). A woman is at some tourist place at a stone wall using a Tessina camera. This is a fairly unique camera that is quite small and straps to the wrist. 14×21 mm pictures on 35 mm film in a special cassette. Sorry, I don’t know the episode, but did take a photo of my TV screen showing it.

    1. Charles, a wonderful little camera, stainless steel body, clockwork film advance, and it’s a TLR* to boot! Mine is missing its dedicated wrist strap, but I do have a (non-working) exposure meter, waist level finder, and magnifying hood.
      *In fact it is a twin TLR sysem. Conventional TLR for viewing, but also the taking lens reflects off a mirror to the film, and this results in a reversed image. This means that when printing, the negative is placed shiny side down in the enlarger, rather than shiny side up.
      Whilst not quite 1/2 frame, the negative is a little larger than the 17x14mm standard on many of the 16mm film sub-miniature cameras of the day.

  5. I’m surprised the Minox isn’t on the list. It has probably been used in more TV and movies than any other camera as a “spy camera”. Some examples I could easily find are the 1968 movie “Pretty Poison”, 1988 movie “Tucker: The Man and His Dream” where Jeff Bridges is using it attached to binoculars with a cable release and you see the camera only very briefly, 1990 TV movie “Family of Spies”, 1985 movie “The Falcon and the Snowman that also shows on a desk the little Minox tripod and camera holder, 1997 movie Grosse Point Blank, 1959 movie “Up Periscope” where James Garner used one, 1948 movie “Northside 777” where Jimmy Stewart used one, and, of course, a Bond film – the 1969 “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service”.

  6. There is the ubiquitous Minox. Certainly seen more than any other camera. Just a few examples. 1948 “Northside 777” (Jimmy Stewart). 1959 “Up Periscope” (James Garner). 1998 “Tucker: The Man and His Dream” where Jeff Bridges uses one attached to a binocular and a cable release. 1990 TV movie “Family of Spies”. 1985 “The Falcon and the Snowman” where it also shows on a desk the little Minox tripod with camera holder. 1898 “Troop Beverly Hills”. Bond of course in 1969 “Her Majesty’s Secret Service”. And more. Plenty of TV shows, too.

  7. In the movie Operation Petticoat, as the submarine pulls into a harbor, it is photographed with a Pacemaker Crown Graphic
    then shown in a frame. This movie takes place in 1941~2. The trouble is the Pacemaker was produced from 1947-1973,

  8. Mike, another candidate is a Contax II used by James Mason in one of his early b/w films. I’ve consulted the EMBD film database but none of the film descriptions ring a bell with me.

    1. There’s a “Movie Planes,” “Movie Cars/Trucks,” and Movie Guns” database. So, are you proposing a “Cameras Seen In The Movie” database? That would be quite interesting, since these other databases feature movie stills as well. I suspect that for movies of the Silent Era, you would need this and other vintage camera sites to distinguish a Wet Plate from a Dry Plate camera of the 19th century. I would also guess that the “professional hand camera” seen at the moon base in “2001: A Space Odyssey” is a prop, rather than an actual image taker.;)

      1. Patrick, there’s also a watches in films site. A lot of the names you’d expect, such as Rolex, Longine, Jaeger Le Coulter as these are often placements, but the fun bit is trying to identify regular brands.
        Next time (oops, a pun) look out for watches worn by actors playing German military personnel of WWII and see if you can spot Doxa, or Tutima and Hanhardt for the Luftwaffe.I believe Hamilton was popular with the US military.

    2. Commenting on my own post earlier, the James Mason film has just been broadcast on UK TV. “Hotel Reserve”, 1944. My memory was faulty in recalling it was a Contax II, as it turns out to be a Contax 1. Nice close up, about 4 minutes into the film.

  9. The other night I had music videos (remember those?) on while I folded laundry, and I caught a glimpse of a camera in Paula Abdul’s “The Way the You Love Me” video. I had to grab my laptop and figure out which one it was…a Leica M6. I feel so much better now about this oddly obsessive behavior.

  10. Mike, as usual, this was a great article. One TV show that featured many different cameras was the 1958 series “Man With A Camera” starring Charles Bronson. The DVD set is available online. It’s a very fun series to watch if you are an avid photographer.

    1. Jim, thanks for this. I’ve discovered it’s available in the UK via Amazon Prime, so I’m looking forward to viewing the series.
      You’ve also reminded me of another US series “Kolchack, The Night Stalker” from the 1970’s, starring Darren McGavin as a newspaper reporter. Unfortunately, the NTSC transfer to DVD shows the horizontal resolution lines of the original standard definition broadcast system of the time and which are quite noticeable with movement when viewing on a present day HD TV.
      Anyway, he uses a Rollei 16, although a search reveals it is a 16S. I have both versions, the only difference being the “S” stands for its snake skin covering.

  11. I’m presently watching a TV broadcast of a 1963 film, The Mouse in the Moon, and the actor Terry-Thomas has a Periflex 2 or Periflex 3. The image quality of the transmission is quite soft and we never see the camera in close-up, but the circular viewfinder which was common to Periflex, as is the tube like lens, is quite a giveaway.

  12. Joe Pesci makes use of a number of interesting cameras in The Public Eye, based on the life of Arthur “Weegee” Fellig. Along with his Speed Graphic, Pesci uses a Univex Mercury II and an Exakta, although which model I am not sure.

  13. A Nikon F Photomic co-stars in that classic movie, Animal House. Makes only very limited appearance.

    And, the Julie and Julia features some sort of Rolleiflex.

    In the series Your Honor, some sort of M2 or later Leica (I’m not a Leicahead, forgive me)

    And how does Peter Parker get to have an S3 Y2K on a cub reporter’s paycheck……………..did he sell a kidney?

  14. Another example from a British TV series, Life on Mars. In episode 5, a street photographer is clearly seen with either a 6×6 Prakisix or Pentacon Six. Weirdly, he’s using it at eye-level, with no pentaprism, and with the waist level hood closed! And instead of the clap of the shutter, the audio gives us a more normal 35mm slr sound.

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