Best quality/value A/F body?

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by donaldamacmillan, Jan 15, 2010.

  1. Hello people,
    I've been really dithering for a number of months now (nearly a year!) wanting to choose a very good reliable auto-focus body, to compliment my manual FM3a, but i have really struggled to make up my mind. I realise that the 2nd hand market (even here in the UK) is awash with good condition options but at this moment in time i feel that my main options are probably the F100, the F3, the F4, the F80 and/or the F90. Any of these cameras, on description, sound very good spec for me. The main reason i want an auto-focus body is to make life much easier for me when i try to take photos of my four year old while she's running around like a wild thing! But i also just wish to experience the pleasure of using another wonderful quality Nikon camera for all my general photography interests, and that will hopefully serve me well for many many years.
    Any thoughts and advice regarding the above models, or any other options that i might consider, very gratefully received.
    Many thanks,
  2. That's an easy question. The best quality/value ratio right now in a Nikon autofocus body is the F100, hands down. What was a $1000US camera when in production is now easily found for under $250US. Yes there are less expensive options, but you won't get close to the build quality and performance at such a great value.
    FWIW, the F3 does not autofocus very well. ;-)
  3. Dither no more...F100. I think most would agree the value is disproportionately high (very high!) relative to the modest price...coming from a very satisfied F100 user for many years.
  4. F100 no doubt. Michael I payed 1700 Euros when I bought it I'm afraid. It is one great camera.
  5. F100. Handles very nicely, compatible with VR & AFS, and is solid.
    Kent in SD
  6. I you opt for the F100, make sure you are getting one with the upgraded film rewind fork. The earlier models were fitted with a fragile plastic fork prone to break preventing you from removing the roll you had just shot.
  7. The "rewind fork issue" is frankly, IMHO, a red herring. Any early F100 with a rewind fork that was going to fail has probably already failed. Those bodies would now be approximately 10 years old if still in use, which means they have been happily humming along with a "fragile plastic fork" for close to 10 years (or have had the fork replaced). Yes, there were failures, but the percentage of actual failures was probably very low.
    FWIW, the redesigned rewind fork in later bodies is also plastic. ;-)
  8. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    It is rare to have such agreement in this forum, but the F100 is the easy choice.
    BTW, the F3 is not an AF body and for all practical purposes, neither is the F4, whose AF is pretty much useless in today's standards.
  9. mbh


    Love my F100. It's light, auto focuses great, and in my opinion, is the right choice for pulling out and shooting casual shots of friends and family.
  10. One vote for a 'old' Nikon N8008s or F801s (non-USA version, same camera) body. It had no 'rubber clad' issues or film fork problems. The auto-focus has some tracking ability. Runs on four AA batteries, NiMH work OK (some voltage issues on the F100 with 1.25 volt or AA cells that are not 1.5 volt rated.)
    Good luck!
  11. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    The N8008/N8008S, F801/F801S has the opposite problem from the current lower-end DSLRs: The N8008 can only AF with older AF lenses that use screwdriver AF lenses but not AF-S (and AF-I) lenses. If you put one of the many current AF-S lenses on the N8008, it becomes manual-focus only.
    If you want AF, I would avoid the N8008 for that reason.
    The rewind fork issue is kind of like memory card failures on DSLRs. People talk about it a lot more often in forums such as this one, but in real life it doesn't happen very often. One should not avoid the F100 for some silly reason like that.
  12. SCL


    Although I no longer own one, the F100 wins the contest in my mind. The issue some people raised on the F100 has been an issue for such a small number of users that it has been blown all out of proportion. I truly loved the F100 as one of the most versatile film cameras ever, especially for somebody who already owned Nikon lenses or lenses adapted to use on Nikon cameras.
  13. Stop dithering and get the F100! Ffordes have several in the £159-200 range GBP right now, about 20% of the original price.
    You could get a battered F5 for not much more if you need the extra features (or have a large door that needs propping open), but the size and weight may well be off-putting. The F80 goes for about half the price of the F100, and you get a smaller/lighter/quieter camera, but also a poorer viewfinder, less responsive AF, and cheaper build. I wouldn't bother with the older AF cameras if the price of the F100 is acceptable.
  14. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    The F80/N80 cannot meter with lenses that have no CPU. Since the OP also uses an FM3a, if there are also AI/AI-S lenses, no metering can really be an issue, since there is no histogram to verify exposure on film SLRs.
  15. At the risk of being banned from the forum for being facetious, can I suggest a DSLR. You do ask for other options to consider. For photos of your four year old running around, you would be well served by a D3(00)S. Outstanding autofocus, instant feedback - and the option of video. Surely this will make life much easier for you.
  16. "F3 is not an AF body and for all practical purposes, neither is the F4, whose AF is pretty much useless in today's standards."
    That's overly harsh. I have read that many of the modern AF lenses focus no faster on the F100 than the F4. It may be with the extra battery holder, making it an F4s, but none the less, it is definitely an AF body.
  17. The best bang for the buck is by far the N80. I wouldn't worry about durability...mine has been up and running flawlessly for the last decade. Since I don't photograph sports, the AF is perfectly fast for me.
  18. F100 great value as Michael said But I seen to remember that camera being some were around the $1800 mark new. At couple hundred bucks its a steal
  19. Don't know what the price was when first released, but I have an old B&H Photo ad from 2002, and a USA body sold for $999.95.
    Of course, north of the border here in Canuckistan, it probably was $1800! :)
  20. I listed my N8008s for $50, and my F100 for $150, and got no takers. Maybe I should make a trip to Canuckistan. Or keep them as mementos. If I should come across a Meryl Streep, I'll leave her these, like Clint Eastwood did.
  21. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    For whatever it is worth, the F100 was announced in late 1998 and the initial price in the US was around $1100. I waited a year and ordered mine from B&H in January 2000. I actually called B&H and asked them whether they were willing to match some other advertised prices, and they sold me one for $950 or so. At that time it was Nikon's best selling SLR.

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