F5 reliability

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by williams_gallery, Sep 27, 2011.

  1. Any other F5 users out there finding issues with reliability as these cameras age? I recently went through two bodies from a reputable used dealer, and there was a significant problem with each.

    On the first one, the mirror hung in the up position (without MLU engaged) which necessitated a return, and the replacement for the first defective body also had an issue. There was a strange short somewhere in the body - the thing would fire 2-3 frames off without my finger being anywhere near the shutter release. Before I realized how to "fix it," I had almost burned through an entire roll of film. I found that by keeping my finger on the shutter release it must have grounded the short because the camera then functioned normally and I was able to finish my shoot without wasting any more frames.

    It's ironic because I picked up an F5 for the tank-like reliability I've heard so much about, but maybe the years of hard use that many of these F5s saw are taking their toll on bodies... I have decided to pick up a nicer F100 to do the same job, as the F100s haven't seen nearly as much hardcore pro-use. Here's hoping anyway. Just wondering if anyone else is encountering strange electronic problems with your F5...
  2. I have one of the mid-range serial numbered F-5's. It was purchased new by me and it has never had an issue.
    Up until K-64's demise , I ran alot of film thru it. It never even let a out a sigh.....
  3. Yeah Andy, I wish I had been able to grab one new - I take good care of my gear. I would imagine an unabused F5 would be very reliable - probably just bad luck getting two in a row.
  4. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Well, if you were able to buy one new, say, a decade ago, it would have cost you $2000 or so. The F5 was initially $2850 back in 1996.
    A lot of the used ones are actually abused ones.
  5. Indeed Shun - I was just hoping by buying one in the EX+ range I would get one that hadn't been beaten to death yet, but it's not to be I suppose. I can use the F100 to get what I need done for now, and keep my eyes peeled for the elusive "like new" F5 in the future...
  6. One particular F5 was found to have shot more than one million exposures, when it was sent in for service with Nikon
    Germany some years ago... I still prefer the F100 for its smaller size and more visible AF points, though.
  7. Glad to hear Soeren - thanks for the feedback. What really excites me about shooting 35mm in Nikon again is using the new Zeiss ZF2 lenses. So I don't actually often use autofocus, but the focus screen itself is pretty important to me. How do you feel the F100 focus screen stacks up against the F5, given that the F100 doesn't have 100 coverage and is not replaceable? I found the F5 screen to be fantastic - it had a 3D quality comparable to shooting with medium format.
  8. Oops on the header space, my bad.
  9. ere should be many F5 available second hand in EX+++ condition, many photographers bought these, and really handled these very careful ......
    I bought one for approx 300 eur in beautiful condition ....i guess 2 years ago or so
  10. In my experience, tank-like reliability better reflects the characteristics of the Nikon F4/F4s. When the Nikon F5 came out, I tried one for about a month and was not impressed. After having film advance problems with it, I decided to return to my Nikon F4s. I preferred the Nikon F4s and it's metering system anyway, as many of my former colleagues did when the F5 came out. I purchased my F4s on 4/10/89 and still have it. It has never given me a problem. With the MB-20 battery pack, the body is relatively compact.
  11. SCL


    I picked up an F5 for less than $500 a couple of months ago, having used a F100 for about 2 years. I had no problems with either, but decided to sell the F100 and keep the F5. All said and done, the F4s remains my favorite Nikon film body for the reasons Robert H mentions above, plus its ergonomics, for my hands, are just perfect.
  12. The F5 is my 35mm workhorse. I picked up mine about a year ago for $450. It was the last year it was produced and is in pristine condition. It's an awesome beast and I'll keep it forever!
  13. What really excites me about shooting 35mm in Nikon again is using the new Zeiss ZF2 lenses.​
    Actually, I think the Nikon F4s will give you Matrix metering with Zeiss F mount lenses. It will with Nikon manual lenses. I don't think the Nikon F5 can do that.
  14. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Robert, that depends on whether you have the original version of ZF lenses or the new ZF II. The new version of ZF has a built-in CPU; the old version doesn't.
  15. I have 2 F5 bodies. One was faulty when I bought it (duped by a slightly unscrupulous eBay seller) and has been repaired by Nikon UK, the other was well used (but well cared for) by a pro wedding and portrait photographer. Both have performed faultlessly since.
    There are still some excellent condition, low mileage F5 bodies to be had - you just have to look for them. They're not cheap though.
    @Robert Hooper - You're correct, the F5 will only matrix meter with CPU lenses. With non-CPU lenses you're limited to spot or centre-weighted metering.
  16. I've had mine for more years than I can recall. It has recently developed a battery depleting symptom though. I used to be able to keep a roll of film in the body and as long as I kept the camera on "off" I could pick it up anytime in a month or more and shoot. Now I have to install new "Duracell Coppertop" only by the way, no other type of batteries will work and use up that roll quickly otherwise a week later the batteries are drained. Other than that it still works like the champ that it is.
    Maybe you got a bad one or two, it happens.
  17. It's all a crap shoot really. I have two F2 bodies that I've given up on. Age and previous use makes these cameras too expensive to maintain. I'm waiting today for a F3 to arrive. I have a 16 month warranty so if I can go this long without having to replace it, I'll be happy.
  18. I have an F5 that I bought new in 2002. It was $1950 for the body. I don't like it very much because its accuracy in shutter speed and meter with ambience and flash are not very good. I have sent it back to Nikon for calibration twice and still not very good. Otherwise I have no problem with it but then I take good care of it and have not used it very much.
  19. Thanks for all the feedback folks - I changed my mind overnight about forgetting an F5 after going over more of the negatives I processed last night from my wedding this weekend - despite the fault with the F5 I had for the wedding, the matrix metering handled a lot of challenging lighting situations superbly, and I was happy to see I got a nice series of the bride and groom speeding off in a convertible (and me running alongside for as long as I could blazing away) that I couldn't have achieved with any of my medium format cameras... the F5 just never got in my way and allowed me to get what I expected to get. And I can confirm that the matrix metering worked just fine with the ZF2 lens - I shot aperture priority most of the wedding and have almost zero missed frames in terms of exposure.

    Also, for the first time it is so nice to see in my negatives what I saw when shooting - for me the 100% viewfinder is an absolute must, especially since I tend to "print" (scan/crop) full frame for my personal work. So I'm still returning the F5 with the electronic issue, but instead of taking the couple hundred bucks savings back and picking up a nice F100, I'm going to actually outlay a little more and get the best quality F5 they have in hopes of getting one that has been used more gently and thus hopefully without any quirks. Of course any machine can break at any time, but I have a feeling if I can go through a month of use with no issues I'll have finally gotten one I can count on for weddings. Probably get a F100 at a later date for backup. But there is just something about the F5 that works for me - just seems like the perfect tool for what I do. Thanks again to all who posted!
  20. Find one that works properly and you'll be well rewarded. But the F100 is also excellent, a good choice for a backup
    because it's smaller.
  21. I continue to exclusively use a duo of F5s for all my professional work. In over 700,000 exposures spread across the two cameras since 1997, I have not had a single failure or mechanical problem. I wish my cars showed such reliability and build quality...

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