Non-working Nikon F5

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by ed_farmer, Jul 19, 2019.

  1. Tomorrow morning I'm going to look at an F5. It's a private seller. It appears that AA batteries leaked in the battery holder. The camera doesn't turn on. The current owner says that he can't see any damage in the body (where the battery holder goes) but that he thinks it will work with a new battery holder. He's tried cleaning the hold and the contacts in the body.

    The price is low enough that the risk might be worthwhile but I haven't handled an F5 since about 1998.

    What does the collective wisdom here have to say?
  2. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    If the seller thinks it would work with a new battery holder, why doesn’t he get a new holder and then sell the working F5 for more?

    Other than some collector’s items, film cameras tend to be dirt cheap in these days. In case you are buying the F5 to take pictures with, I would get one that is proven to be working. I still have mine sitting around, but they sure are heavy. I think the F100 can perform most of the same functions and is much lighter and cheaper.

    In any case, unless they are practically giving it away, I would not pay money to acquire someone else’s problem.
    DavidTriplett and bgelfand like this.
  3. Sandy Vongries

    Sandy Vongries Administrator Staff Member

    ed_farmer likes this.
  4. I've never actually seen one, but if you put batteries in the holder and measure the tabs that connect it to the camera, you should see the total voltage. If you see that, and the camera doesn't work, something else might well be wrong. If you don't see voltage, the battery holder needs the contacts cleaned or the whole thing replaced, but the camera has a good chance of working.
  5. Yeah . . . Even that's a great price! The problem is that I don't NEED the camera. I WANT the camera. The one that I'm looking at will be less than $100. Probably $75. I've seen holders for under $40.

    I didn't, for some reason, think of bringing a meter with me. Great idea!
  6. With solid F5s bringing under $300, I'd have a hard time spending $75 on an unknown one. By the time you buy a battery holder, you're probably at half the price of a perfectly useable and known good one. I'm always a bit leery of battery-damaged used equipment also since even if it comes back to life, I've seen it die a more permanent death down the road. I've also taken a cheap chance on pieces that I THOUGHT would work because the damage didn't look bad, but when I later dug into them I found that damage had migrated to circuit boards and other places.

    If it were me going to look at it, I'd pull the battery holder out of my F5 and test with that, but I'm assuming that you don't have that option.

    I've come to appreciate cameras that use CR123s a lot, since I've never seen one of those actually leak...
  7. No . . . Leakage with the CR123 and other batteries isn't a problem. But, even back in 1997 when the F5 was released, availability was an issue. "Pro" camera had to have batteries that you could run into a burning CVS to buy in order to take pictures of the burning CVS.
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  8. How times have changed...15 years before the F5 was released, it was a crime that the F3 only had ONE available shutter speed when the batteries died, and then 8 years later the F4 was a paperweight with dead batteries.

    Of course, if we want to, we can always throw lithiums in our AA powered cameras and not ever have to worry about them leaking. I'm cheap, especially when you need 8 for an F5 or 10 for an MD-2, and have too many cameras, so I just try to remember to take the batteries out when I'm done.
  9. I tend to use rechargeables in flashes and alks in cameras. That may change now that rechargeables produce far more power than in the old days.
  10. FWIW, I found that lithiums made both my F5 (8 AAs) and my Pentax 645 (6 AAs) much more usable. Also flashes, since the weight is cantilevered. I don't use them enough that I kill the single-use batteries all that fast; I have 18650-powered flashlights that I'd be more worried about if they weren't rechargeable.

    I just pull the battery holder out of the camera but leave the batteries in it. At least you can get at it if it goes wrong, and there's no route for leakage current. It's quick enough to reinsert, whereas loading 8 AAs into a holder takes a while.

    An F5 is fun for scaring small children and freaking people out with the autofocus motor. It's an interesting piece of engineering. Can't say I've used mine in a while (other than occasionally to play with the F mount for answering questions on this forum, because I don't have to worry about getting fluff on a sensor) - but that has more to do with the limitations of 135 film compared with 36+MP sensors than the body itself. When I use it I do tend to be reminded just how much technology has advanced, when it comes to electronics (five AF points! count them! none of Canon's 45-point actually-being-able-to-choose-what-to-focus-on nonsense) and ergonomics. Does make a passable morning star if I need to repel someone trying to steal my dSLR, though.
  11. Unfortunately, mine mostly sits unused too.

    When I want a high tech 35mm camera, an F100 or F6 suits me a lot better since they weigh a lot less and are smaller, while for all out lens compatibility in a reasonably high tech package the F4 is the better match. A good example of this is using manual focus non-CPU lenses-the F4 gets me matrix metering as long as the lens is a "real" AI lens, while the F5 and F100 revert to CWA and the F6 requires digging into the menus to set up the lens correctly.

    To each their own, though. I wouldn't want to not have an F5, but it's actually the only single digit F camera for which I feel satisfied with a single example. I'd have two F6s if not for the cost...
  12. Exactly, new-in-box ones are selling for around $7-800 and good used ones for as little as $200 on eBay as of today. $75 -100 is too much for one that doesn't work. "doesn't see anything wrong" indeed!
  13. Good luck with getting a battery tray for an F5. A couple of years ago I wanted to sell my old F5, but the tray had corroded from some ruptured batteries. I searched for around 3 months until I found one on Germany's eBay. Cost me around $50, including shipping, but I got $375 for the camera. Well-spent money.
  14. Next!
  15. Thanks for all of the notes here . . . I decided to bag this one and probably wait a while before looking seriously. As I noted earlier, the F5 is more of a camera that I have wanted for 20 years, since before I could afford one, than it is anything that I need right now.
    Sandy Vongries likes this.
  16. If you do want one, I don't think that you could go wrong by heading over to KEH and picking up a "Bargain" grade one in the $200-300 range.

    If you don't like it, send it back within 14 days, plus I think they still give a 90 warranty on everything bargain grade and better.

    My first F5 from them had problems(wouldn't lock focus, vertical AF-On button didn't work) and when they didn't have any more BGN ones in stock at the time they ended up giving me a really, really good deal to "upgrade" to an Excellent one(that also came with an L screen).
    ed_farmer likes this.
  17. Vincent Peri

    Vincent Peri Metairie, LA

    I just looked on the KEH site, and I don't see ANYTHING stating the warranty time. Poor web site design if you ask me.
  18. 180 days actually: Warranty Information at KEH Camera
  19. While the F5 is dirt cheap the accessories for it are not. So don't buy an F5 that you will have to replace something.

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