A new F4 in the stable

Discussion in 'Modern Film Cameras' started by matthew_currie, Jan 31, 2013.

  1. Up until a couple of years ago I was a loyal user of original Nikon F's, and then I stumbled and got an F3 that I could not resist, and, of course, the inevitable erosion has occurred! My local dealer had an F4, in perfect working order but looking rather nasty, for about a hundred bucks, so I had to try it. I've been carting it around for the last few weeks, using mostly a Vivitar 28-90 zoom, which vignettes at 28 but has a grand, brooding look to its color, and a 70-300 auto focus zoom that my wife superseded on her F100, a middling decent lens with a soft long end. But I was curious how the F4's metering and the like worked "right out of the box." The answer is, very well indeed, judging from print quality. These are from Fuji 200 and 400 consumer print film.
  2. I tried various compensations for snow, and found that what the matrix gives is about the best.
    Of course I can only use Aperture priority with the manual lens, but then I tried autofocus and auto exposure with the 70-300 D lens....
  3. Sorry, double post, clumsy fingers.
  4. Well, plenty of time to examine that one, eh? Decent exposure here, I thought. Hyde Manor, up the road from where I live, is a favorite subject as it finds its way to the ground. An old resort which once had an outpost on nearby Lake Hortonia, the manor has been deteriorating for many years, the owners unable to get funding for preservation. A couple of years ago they shored up the front in a primitive way, but it's just going back now instead of forward.
  5. The dam at Vergennes is another favorite subject, because there's lots of spray and it ices up in picturesque ways. In keeping with this project, the previous shot was made with no compensation at all.
    I turned around and fired at the power connections too, to see how the meter would handle this rather tricky bit of silhouetting....
  6. I probably could have gotten a better test with a less gray sky, but hey, this is Vermont. It's what we get!
    Brandon, Vermont has been a bit messy ever since the big flood, but it makes for interesting pictures.
  7. I don't do much flashing, but I do have an SB 14, and this is the first camera I've had that can actually use it in auto mode, so I had to try it. Quick and dirty, but it sure did flash.
  8. I guess I'd better close here. Anyway, I'm pretty pleased with the way the F4 works. Nothing new here in lenses, but the metering on this thing does work quite nicely, and the autofocus is surprisingly fast and accurate (my previous experience being with the original Minolta Maxxum 7000). It's a heavy monster, but not bad to hold, and I like the view, the built in diopter, and a few other features as well. I am not sure it will ultimately get more use than the F3, but it's a grand machine for grabbing quick shots, and it sure is solid!

    Even the relatively low line 70-300 zoom works pretty well here.
  9. The F4s was a favorite the first time I
    picked one up, the only camera I ever
    thought was as good as the F2. Some
    people say the AF is too slow but I
    don't know for what. As for being a
    handful, it is that. I don't like small
    cameras, they make me tired and give
    me a headache. Wish I could find one
    for $100. Although I have two already.
    Thanks for posting.

    Rick H
  10. Congratulations. The F4 is my favorite Nikon, I had two of them at one time, with a pair of AF-D zooms. I could never fault their performance. I also never tried shooting in the snow. I gotta say you got great results! The metering wasn't fooled at all.
  11. Cool post Matthew, never handled the F4, but looks to be a nice camera.
  12. I must correct one accidental lie, though. That last shot of the needles was not auto focus and was not with the autofocus lens. It was with a pre-AI 105/2.5. I forgot for a moment that I'd put that one on for the end of the roll. No wonder the bokeh was nice!
  13. Nice series, Matthew. Hyde Manor looks like an interesting place. I really liked the F4 too. A great performer with a real hefty, pro feel. Too hefty for me in fact because I would get tired carrying all day. I found those spongy neck straps helped a bit. I sold mine years ago while it was still worth a goodly amount. Still, for a C-note, you got a great camera.
  14. congrats matthew on your f4! you got me curious about how your camera looks like. do post up a pic of your $100 keeper/beauty
  15. A bit rushed this morning, and my digital camera doesn't want to behave well, but here's a quick mugshot of the F4, along with its manual Vivitar Series 1 Zoom that I got for 8 bucks because it has a mark on the front element. As you can see, it's pretty well worn, with some paint damage, and the whole surface is a bit worn, but it all works.
  16. I love the "old modern" Nikon film cameras. I just picked up a mint F5 and and SB 25 flash. Fun camera to use. Its big and hefty. It feels just like my D300 with the battery grip.
  17. The F4 is a great camera. My daily walk around kit used to be one of those, w/ an 80-200 2.8 D zoom lens hung on the front of it. I must have been out of my mind! You certainly looked professional whilst out shooting it, but after a while my shoulder would get sore from all that weight. What I really liked was the power of it's AF motor. It may not have been the speediest, but a half press of the shutter button would crank that lens into focus w/ so much torque, you knew 100% that it was focused correctly.
  18. The F4 was the first "pro" camera I ever had. And, although I use mine so much less nowadays, it's still my favourite camera ever, and I still take it out to play occasionally. Superb for manual focus and macro--the finder is like looking at a movie screen compared to most other cameras, especially my D300 (even with the KatzEye screen).
    It's also quite snappy with autofocus because, as Steve mentioned, that AF motor could probably power a truck! I used to use mine with an 80-200 AF-D to shoot high school football on crappily lit fields, and the AF could usually keep up with the action (although anticipating where the play was going to go and pre-focusing did help things considerably).
    The F4 was possibly the most versatile camera ever made. Besides working well as either an MF or AF camera, it was one of Nikon's few cameras that could use non-AI lenses nearly as well as AI lenses, and it probably metered effectively with the widest range of lenses ever. It even anticipated the AF-S lenses--they will focus just fine on the F4. Plus, the range of accessories, including grips and finders, made it superbly configurable.
    If someone designed a full-frame digital camera today that was identical in every respect to the F4 (well, maybe with a few extra AF points thrown in--but not too many, as some DSLRs seem to have) I'd be a very happy buyer indeed. (I know you can argue that the D800 or something is pretty close; but I'd even take the cheesy late-80s covering on the F4, having had to replace the rubber on my D300 twice now--of course, I've taken over 500,000 shots with that damn thing, killing two previous shutters in the bargain, so I guess I can't fault Nikon too much for the current camera coverings.)
  19. What a beauty you got there Matthew. Sure shows how durable and reliable the f4 is
  20. I picked up a very fine specimen at Naniwa Camera for ¥16000. Now I am in love with the F4.
  21. I have an F4S and was lucky enough to just score an MIB MB-23 on Fleabay for just over a C-note! I love the F4, it is big, heavy but feels great in the hand. Because I only use AI/AIS lenses, I swapped out the standard F4 screen, which sucks for manual focusing, and replaced it with a K2 screen for an F3. It works like a champ. That is a home-converted non-AI 50mm f/1.4 on it.

    I got mine new many moons ago and it even after all these years it is still nearly pristine, in spite of all the use it has gotten. The F4 was the last of the basically traditional "dial" F's
  22. I replaced the standard battery pack with the smaller and lighter MB20. I don't need the extra FPS of the heavier pack, and the weight reduction is appreciated. I normally shoot single shot anyway, so I don't miss the FPS reduction. Although I do like the shutter on the bottom right of the std pack, so you can use that when shooting in the vertical format.
    I wish I could find a P screen for my F4.

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