Is the F100 Durable?

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by steven_bristow, May 13, 2010.

  1. Okay, I've heard horror stories about the F100's plastic rewind fork breaking. I'm used to an N90S, and an N8008. They're metal. So are their door latches. So, what do you think? Are the F100's any good?
  2. The original rewind fork was a bit fragile. Not guaranteed to break fragile but a higher failure rate than you'd hope for in a semi-pro model. They changed the design later, and offered the new fork as a fix for existing cameras. Easy to tell the difference - the bad one has pointy fork tines, the good one is squared off (Google and you'll find photos). Aside from that it's quite durable and fairly hefty. All around it's a fantastic camera and they're a real bargain used.
  3. My F100 is a tank: never had a problem over the last 8 or 9 years.
  4. SCL


    Had one for about 6-7 years. It took lots of lickings and kept on ticking beautifully. For every horror story you heard there were probably 100,000 good ones. People generally only report difficulties, not daily when things go the way they should.
  5. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    I've heard horror stories about the F100's plastic rewind fork breaking.​
    Those were stories that were propagated among internet forums such as this one. I don't recall reading a whole lot of actual cases that people reporting about personal experiences with a breaking rewind fork. (In fact, I don't remember any actual reported cases, but it has been several years since the F100 was a popular camera, and my memory might not be all that good.) I personally used an F100 for several years with the old fork without any problem.
    In any case, it is a big enough problem that Nikon addressed it.
    My only problem with my F100 is that its depth-of-field preview button broke. I press on it and nothing happens, and I need to dry fire the shutter once (without exposing any film) to clear it. I have heard of a few isolated cases of the same problem, but this issue seems to be uncommon. By then I knew I was switching to digital and never bother to get that fixed.
  6. Steven -
    I have one of the f100s with the plastic rewind fork; I bought it used, never replaced the fork, and it's still going strong. Granted I'm not a pro, and it hasn't seen much action lately, but it's never caused me any problems. I'm sure the plastic forks must have a higher failure rate than the metal ones, but it's not as if it's going to self-destruct on your first roll.
  7. Alright, sounds better than I thought, I guess the problem was exaggerated. I might consider one now. How does it compare to the F5? Those are certainly affordable now.
  8. The F5 is a brick! If you have to club your way out of an angry mob, the F5 would be the right camera. It is all metal, even the contoured back. Film is pulled by the sprockets, not just measured, so frame spacing is very uniform. You have to unlock the sprockets when rewinding, but have the option to use a crank (much quieter for concerts and wedding ceremonies). It will rewind a 36 exposure roll in 6 seconds flat - about 1/3rd the time as the F100. It has a separate motor just for focusing, which is nearly twice as fast as the F100.
    The F100 is pleasant to use, fits the hand nicely and weighs about half as much. The focusing screen outlines the brackets in red, rather than grey on grey in the F5 (nearly impossible to see indoors). You get about the same number of shots on a set of batteries as the F5, but with only 4 instead of 8 AA cells. Exposure accuracy is not nearly as good as with the F5 - say 80% hits vs 90%. The 1005 point, RGB sensor on the F5 is especially good in artificial lighting - I always had to compensate with the F100, while the F5 was dead on.
    My F100 would occasionally rewind the roll before the end. In a noisy event, I continued to shoot (like Roy Roger's pistol) without realizing what had happened. That can't happen with an F5.
    Each has its strengths and weaknesses, and either would work in a casual or professional application.
  9. I have my F100 set to rewind the roll only when I tell it to, it's one of the custom functions available on the body. Also, the F100 pulls the film through the camera with a geared sprocket, you can see the sprocket when you open the film back. I have never had any issues with the two F100 bodies I've owned (my first purchased used in 2002, sold in 2005, and my second purchased used last year and will stay with me until 35mm film is no longer available).
  10. Also, the F100 pulls the film through the camera with a geared sprocket, you can see the sprocket when you open the film back.
    The sprocket in an F100 is free-wheeling, and will turn in either direction. It is connected to an optical encoder which tells the takeup spool when to stop pulling the film.
    My camera was set to rewind on demand only, but the camera lost its mind on a couple of occasions.
    Another problem which occurs in the F100 but not the F5 is that the contacts between body and back get dirty and lose communication with the four-way switch. That's because you tend to touch the contacts when loading film. Loading the F5 is a lot more positive, and the contacts are more out of the way. You have to put a turn or so on the F100 spool to keep it from slipping. That's not necessary in the F5.
    If the four-way stops working, wiping the contacts with a microfiber cloth will usually solve the problem.
  11. I bought my first Nikon F100 about 7 years ago ... and a Nikon F5 about two years later .. not a single problem with the first F100; got a second F100 hoping my daughter would assist w/wedding and events .. she did .. offered to give her the F100 and she declined .. ended up giving her the F5 (which I still miss sometimes for it ability to push focus faster than the F100) .. all in all both f100's are great cameras.
    Only problem w/F100 #2 was the switch to set spot-center-matrix .. developed a glitch and would stick on center-weighted (switch moves fine, but the meter did not change unless I wiggled it a bit) .. tried blower brush and it temporarily resolved it .. and I now clean the switches frequently and avoid rain/moisture .. simply stated, the F100 is not as durable as the F5, but it is still an amazing camera ..never had a "fork" problem with it .. or any other problems .. I consider it a very reliable and worthy camera .. but is is no F5. Also note that the F100's - the back is plastic and I've heard of dust problems (not in my experience though).
  12. I don't think I'd like a camera being twice as heavy as an F100. You've got to carry that around all day. If you're shooting news or sports or something, sure, but if you're shooting for fun a brick around your neck is going to put a damper on the fun.
  13. Three words about F100: NO MIRROR LOCKUP
    A mirror lockup is an absolute must for me. There are a million cases where the sharpness of your pictures could be improved by utilizing mirror lockup and there are those that ultimately make the difference between the "keeper" and the "trash". You MIGHT do without it but that depends a lot on what kind of work you do. Chances are that sooner or later you will at least wish you had it handy.
    Otherwise F100 is a great camera (with a few tiny problems)... Make me an F100 with mirror lockup and I'll buy two.
    PS: I have 2 F5's and sometimes I wish I had 1 or 2 more.
  14. Door latches broke on the F100 I got used. Simple to replace the door .... Otherwise a very solid camera
  15. I've shot 2 second + exposures on my F100 and have no issues with mirror slap. Just something else for people to fret over in forums. I've got the newer forks but they do feel kind of fragile. I'm careful loading and unloading film. That said, the F5s are going for just a little more than the F100s now on ebay, KEH, etc. If I were buying one today I'd probably step up to the F5. When I bought my F100 it sold for about half of what F5s were at the time.
  16. It's a great camera, and the lack of MLU doesn't bother me because I use miniature formats for shooting action.
  17. If we judge durability by "feel," meaning whether if feels like a lump of plastic (i.e. N80) or a lump of metal (i.e FM) I'd put the F100 on a par with a good digital body like the D200. It feels more plasticky than my FMs but beefier than the N80.

    The F100 is not quite ready to hammer nails, but it can be used for light self-defense. I picked up the F5 in a camera store and thought it was a bit much.
  18. Steven,
    I never heard of horror stories when I bought my F100 7 years ago. I first bought Nikon F5 and the following year I bought F100. Both cameras are more or less smilar, F5 is bulkier and heavier than F100.
    One issue has not been discussed by anyone in this forum is the focusing sensor of F100, which I find a unique feature. The sensor turns bright red when you change, which you do not find in many Nikon SLR and recent DSLR cameras. I find it very useful feature, especially in low light and dark situation.
    My F100 is still working flawlessly and I have never got it serviced. I really like its self rewinding system. You can even factory customize it to leave the leader end of the film out. It helps to rewind the film back before exposing all frames and replace with different film and re-expose the film later. The camera body design is excellent, solid and right size. Of course, with battery pack it is heavier.
    So, I have only good things to say about F100. I don't mind to get another new F100 body.
  19. A 35mm camera mirror is pretty small. Also, who shoots serious stuff on a tripod with 35mm? 35mm is for sports, events, candids, and hand hold portraiture.

Share This Page