N90s VS F4: Which autofocus is faster?

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

  1. First of all, I do own a Nikon N90s. Two, actually. I am totally and completely satisfied with their AF speed and accuracy.
    I like having a single AF zone, I don't like a viewfinder cluttered with a bunch of AF brackets. I don't need to use G lenses, I don't want an F5, F6, F100, N80, etc.
    So my question is, how does the F4 compare to the N90s?
  2. N90s is far faster than an F4.
  3. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    After Nikon introduced the F90/N90 and AF-I lenses in 1992, the N90 became the preferred body for sports photographer who were still using Nikon because its AF was improved from the F4, and AF on the N90s from 1994 was further improved. However, most sports photographers had already switched to Canon by that time.
    Nikon finally had very good AF when they introduced the F5 in 1996.
    If you want better AF then your N90S from a film SLR, you need to get one of those bodies you listed as what you don't want. Part of the reason that AF improves is due to having many AF points. If you definitely don't want that, you'd better stick with the N90S.
  4. The adverts that Nikon ran for the N90s was Fast and Acurate. I bought an N90s to try out while I worked as a cruise ship photographer it was a nice body and I liked that it would also take older manual focus Nikkor lenses and I liked the FM2 bodies that we had onboard when used with primes but with a zoom and a Sunpak 555 they did not balance well. I was an EOS user at the time EOS1 and EOS100 but I decided I did not want hammer those bodies and my own lenses due to the large volume we shot. So buying the N90s body saved my Canons and my lenses. I liked the N90s alot and bought the SB26 to go with it (after others raved about it due to the excelent fill flash when in TTL mode). I sold the N90s and SB26 to another photog when I changed ships (he had been borrowing it for around a month), the body failed on him a few months later I would estimate at around 90,000 exposures maybe a bit more. He did get them very cheap though. The N90s did focus better than the F4 bodies that some of the guys had but the F5 bodies I tried were better and much better with bigger lenses like the old 80-200 2.8. As Shun said the F5 was the body that Nikon really got the AF well sorted on.
  5. So my question is, how does the F4 compare to the N90s?​
    N90s F4
    Professional No Yes
    Weight Lighter Heavier
    Size Smaller Bigger
    Finder Fixed Interchangable
    Seal Worse Better
    Control 1 wheel and LCD many dials and switches
    Settings Memory Positions of dials and switches
    Rewind Motorized Motorized and manual
    Finder covers 92% 100%
  6. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    I believe the OP's main interest is AF speed.
    When you restrict the choices to only among Nikon AF film SLRs that have exactly one AF point, the N90S/F90X that OP already owns has the fastest and "best" AF.
    If we consider Nikon's DSLR era starting from the 1999 D1, there is no Nikon DSLR that has only 1 AF point. The minimum is 3 (Multi-CAM 530) such as the D40, D40X, and D60.
  7. Thanks for all the information! I am quite happy with the N90S, I was only wanting a more durable body with similar speed. I will probably keep what I have, and I MIGHT consider an F5 later, and just ignore the somewhat more cluttered viewfinder.
  8. The F4 is slow focusing compared to the N90s under most conditions. However, the F4 has a strong motor which might make a difference if you are focusing big lenses.
  9. It's slower because it keeps hunting, and it keeps hunting because it doesn't do guessing much but instead seeking a more accurate focus. The F5 has better focusing mainly because its motor has more power (with 8 AA = 12V). The F4 also has more powerful motor than the N90s.
    One should be ok with the N90s as I have no problem with my old buddy Maxxum 7000
  10. Do you own any AFS lenses- 17-35, 80-200? While AFS lenses on an F4 won't be as blinding fast as on later bodies, I was suprised how quick a 17-35 AFS responded on an F4s. That being said,I have both cameras and as others have already stated, the N90s has better AF performance.

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