F100 vs N90

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by david_krivan, Nov 8, 2011.

  1. I have been shooting film with N6006 bodies for 20 years, but I am starting to find these 20 year old cameras to be unreliable. I thought maybe getting a newer Nikon film SLR would be the way to go. I have heard that the build quality of the N90 is better than the newer F100, but a lot of people seem to recommend the F100 as the best non professional Nikon film SLR. Any suggestions on which camera would be best? I only shoot a couple rolls a month, max. I was thinking of getting a SB400 speedlight. These have iTTL capability which means the F100 or N90 light meter will communicate with the flash to adjust output appropriately? Thanks for your help.
  2. An N90 or N90s will be the cheapest option; they can be found for less than $50. Another plus is that the controls are similar to the N6006 you're accustomed to.
    As for the flash, the SB-400 only works in its iTTL mode with digital bodies. On a film camera it'd be Manual only. A similar sized flash for a film camera would be Nikon's SB-23. I see one on eBay right now with a Buy It Now price of $45.
    I prefer the F100 over the N90/s but it's easy for me to make that choice because I have both sitting on the shelf.
  3. Ergonomically, the F100 is a better camera, and has faster AF, and I think of it as the "F5 lite".
  4. "I was thinking of getting a SB400 speedlight. These have iTTL capability which means the F100 or N90 light meter will communicate with the flash to adjust output appropriately?"
    No. The SB-400 is iTTL only, which means it will not work with the film based TTL flash system of either the F100 or N90s. The only film camera that supports iTTL is the F6. If you want a flash that supports both film based TTL and digital iTTL, then you'll need to look for either a SB-600 or SB-800.
    Personally, unless the difference in price is a strong deciding factor, I would recommend a F100 over an N90 any day of the week.
  5. F100 can be recommended.
    F100 and N90 have a film TTL. It is different from iTTL. iTTL is for digital.
    SB400 fits, but does not operate, maybe on fully manual mode it is operable with F100.
    A film based TTL system exists in the older flashes like SB26, 27, 30 etc. Used units are available and are at reasonable price. To my knowledge SB400 is only for digital. The best/only good flash for both film and digital is SB800.
  6. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    While the F90/N90, F90x/N90s are cheaper, the F100 should be cheap enough in these days. If you can afford it, I would get the F100 for much better AF and VR compatiblity.
    For any one of those, you need a film-TTL-compatible flash. As long as you don't need to use that same flash on DSLRs, there are many inexpensive options available on the used market. The only two Nikon flashes that are both film TTL and i-TTL compatible are the SB-800 and SB-600; the SB-400 is not as several people have already pointed out.
  7. I have both, prefer the F100. The build quality on the F100 is definitely better than the N90, and given the choice I'd go with that. You can probably get an F5 for a similar cost at this point, if you wanted.
    I don't know about the SB400 compatibility: I suspect if I had to guess, it is more likely to be compatible with the F100.
  8. I have owned the N90, N90s, and F100.
    The F100 was definitely the best. It has a smaller body too. Construction is perfect, ergonomics are about the same as the F5 and very close to the current DSLR bodies such as D300s and D3s.
    Of the 2 N90 models I would make sure to get the N90s as it offered a much improved AF system and allows for 1/3 stop adjustment vs 1/2 stop in the N90.
    Honestly I do not see any reason to choose the N90/N90s. I remember what a joy the F100 was to use compared to the older camera. Everybody was so excited when it was released, the reviews were great and the early users were ecstatic. It also proved to be a great seller for Nikon. I think it's fair to say the F100 fits the definition of a classic. I have owned an F5 as well but the F100 was my favorite, it's size and weight were just perfect.
  9. Save money go for the N90s. Have some more money get the F5. Pass the F100.
  10. I don't think you will find a consensus here. ;-) :)
    But the SB400 is definitely not compatible with any film camera except the F6. The Nikon specifications also imply it will only work in M mode on the D40. There is no M/iTTL switch on the flash, just ON/OFF, so it can only be switched between M and iTTL modes from a compatible DSLR camera.
    As others have noted, if you only need the flash to be compatible with film based TTL, there are far better (and less expensive) options in the legacy SB-xx series (anything from a SB-20 up to the final SB-80DX). My personal recommendation for a N90s or F100 would be a SB-28.
  11. I have N90s and F100. While N90 is not a bad camera I do not like so much the way it handle, it seems that the shape does not fit well with my hands... also is heavy... F100 is a very sweet camera... very powerful, a nice shape, looks and feels very similar with D300, is a joy to use it. I really did not met any problem using it and I've got my copy second-hand.
    If you shoot also a digital body for a better compatibility a SB 800 would be the best choice for your flash.
  12. Get the F100 and SB-30 flash. The F100 is Nikon's best value in an AF film camera. Light, handles great, controls similar to D700 and AA batteries available everywhere. The SB-30 is so light you won't even notice it on the camera but it provides all the flash (TTL, auto and manual) you'll need in most situations. And when you don't need it you can just fold it down like a pop-up flash!
  13. I've had both. Get the f100. Focuses faster, handles better.
  14. I always found the examples of the N90 that I tried to be 'grinding' in that the focus motor and shutter sounded rough compared to the F100. Also the surface of the N90 can degrade suddenly (in the space of two weeks) for some reason. The F100 is a better camera all round I feel.
  15. I was going to offer you my N90s which is in perfect condition for free, I would have asked you to pay for the shipping - - but since the F100 is such a superior camera I'm not going to insult you by doing that.
    Ah well........
  16. Ian Rance [​IMG], Nov 08, 2011; 07:02 p.m.
    I always found the examples of the N90 that I tried to be 'grinding' in that the focus motor and shutter sounded rough compared to the F100.​
    The N90 used a different, noisier AF system. That doesn't mean that some didn't have problems though, or that the average N90 is likely to be pretty well-worn by now. Offhand, the only reason I can see to pick the N90 over the F100 is that there is a very small amount of lenses that will only autofocus with the N90 and other generation cameras, unless you pay to have them rechipped. The Tamron 300 f/2.8 comes to mind, and I believe there was some big Nikon glass with this issue too. But unless you use big glass, I'm pretty sure it's a non-issue.
    Also, I second the recommendation of the SB-30. It's a great little flash for the money (even if you don't get a deal on it), and (I believe) one of the only small flashes that will work in manual mode as well; meaning it can be used on just about any Nikon body, provided you shoot from the chart on the back of the flash.
  17. I started with an N6006, then bought an N90s, then bought an F100. I consider the F100 the best 35mm camera Nikon ever made, and one of the best film cameras ever. It will function with AFS and VR lenses. I really like the feel of the F100 and it held up very well for me. At least up until it was run over by a combine when I was photo'ing a grain harvest one day. It actually still works but it is squished a bit.
    Kent in SD
  18. I would look at either the F100 or the F80 and look at an sb26 or an sb28.
  19. I can't think of any reason NOT to get the F100. The F90/N90, though a good camera, has much less sophisticated AF and has no manual aperture control of G lenses. The F5 pays for its performance by being bigger and heavier than some medium format cameras and using a crate full of batteries. The F80/N80 might be worth considering if you want something smaller, lighter and quieter than the F100 at the expense of AF performance and viewfinder quality, etc.
  20. Kent -- did your negatives look a bit grainy after the combine? ;)
  21. F100 all the way.
  22. The F100 is a newer camera and it has been a favorite of photographers since its beginning. I have one and cannot fault it. I use the SB600 flash which is fully functional with the F100 technology.

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