Troubles with Nikon F4 35mm Film Camera

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by kobe_wagstaff, Feb 5, 2017.

  1. Hi! I just recently purchased a Nikon F4 film camera along with a Nikon Nikkor-S Auto 50mm 1.4 Early Pre-AI lens. I am having a little trouble trying to figure out how to use the viewfinder. I am looking into the viewfinder but it is not giving me an ADR reading. So how am I supposed to know what aperture to set my lens at? I don't know if my viewfinder is broke and that is why it is not showing the ADR reading or if my lens is just so old that it does not provide that information for me. I have provided pictures in the link below. Im not sure if it is my lens that is the issue or if it's the viewfinder. I am just am so use to shooting on the cannon ae-1 and having my ideal aperture shown to me so this new camera is very new to me. Would I have to get a light meter to read that information for me? Or should I get a different lens? Or is there something wrong with my settings? Would love to get some help!
    LINK:
    https://www.dropbox.com/sh/x53yun5g2lce2sv/AAC-icEqPf1NvSnDedQkc5Apa?dl=0
     
  2. There is no ADR on pre-AI lenses. Nikon's ADR is purely optical, with a little window that actually looks at the aperture ring. AI lenses have a set of little numbers on them that the ADR sees. People who do their own AI conversions sometimes manage to make a little printed ADR strip to put on the ring. I never bothered.
    Having shot that old lens and other pre AI examples for a million years, including on the F3 and F4, I found the quickest way to do this is simply to remember what the apertures are. On that lens there are only 8, conventional full stop numbers with no half stops, and you know one end is 1.4, and the other 16, so if you lose track, just put it over to one end and count the clicks.
     
  3. Very simple. Just look at the aperture ring on the camera to see the aperture set. White dot on the camera body above the lens mount, pointing to the lens aperture, 1.4 to 16. or, what ever it is set, Ai or not Ai Nikon lens you using. Using 60 years manual cameras, with NON Ai or Ai, I never had a problem with this.
     
  4. SCL

    SCL

    You can get a free copy of the user manual here: www.butkus.org, although he would like a small donation to fund the hundreds of manuals he has scanned and made available to all of us.
     
  5. I am just am so use to shooting on the cannon ae-1 and having my ideal aperture shown to me so this new camera is very new to me. Would I have to get a light meter to read that information for me?​
    You need to think of it the other way round. For a given aperture that you set, the camera's meter will show you the 'ideal' shutter speed for a correct exposure. Because this is a pre-AI lens, you also need to press the depth of field preview button once you have selected the aperture to get a correct shutter speed reading - this is called 'stop down metering'. It's necessary because the camera has no other way of knowing what aperture a pre-AI lens is set at. See previous discussion:
    http://www.photo.net/nikon-camera-forum/00cSDi
    Or should I get a different lens?​
    Stop-down metering wouldn't be necessary with AI lenses, or AF lenses, so it might make your life easier, and you'd see the aperture you have set in the ADR window in the viewfinder. But avoid recent AF lenses without aperture rings, which won't allow you to set the aperture manually (or in some cases at all) on this camera.
     
  6. As mentioned above, to use that lens properly one must flip up the AI follower tab on the camera and it has no communication with the meter at all. You can read the camera's meter only by stopping down the lens with the preview button. In manual mode, you would then set the shutter speed to what the meter recommends. In Aperture priority mode, you can stop it down, see whether the chosen shutter speed is what you like, and then change the aperture as needed to get the desired shutter speed. You can expose either by holding down the preview button or by holding down the AE lock button before releasing the preview.
    The F3 can get a good exposure from an uncoupled lens in A mode without holding any buttons because it meters "on the fly" during exposure, and since the lens stops down before the shutter opens, the meter sees it stopped down. I can't recall whether I ever tried that on the F4, but none of the instructions I've seen suggest that it would work the same.
    e.t.a. i would suggest that if the above procedure is tedious, and if one wants more seamless performance, an AI or AF lens would make a lot of sense. You can get the wonderfully sharp 50/F2 AI, for example, for peanuts, have ADR and proper metering - even matrix.
     
  7. May be you're better off using the AE-1. If you even need to buy one it's cheaper than the F4 and the lenses for it are plenty and cheap.
     
  8. The F3 can get a good exposure from an uncoupled lens in A mode without holding any buttons because it meters "on the fly" during exposure, and since the lens stops down before the shutter opens, the meter sees it stopped down. I can't recall whether I ever tried that on the F4, but none of the instructions I've seen suggest that it would work the same.​
    Interesting! The link above suggests that with a pre-AI lens in A mode on the F4 you need to hold down the DOF button while taking the shot (or set the AE lock when the lens is stopped down), but perhaps not? Does anyone know for sure? Obviously in M mode you will have to use stop-down metering.
     
  9. I suggest you send the lens to John White at:
    http://aiconversions.com/
    and have it converted to AI. Mr. White converted several of my lenses. They continued to work on my FTn, work on my F100 and on my new D750. He does first rate work at a very reasonable price.
     
  10. John White is definitely the way to go, if you have the lens converted.
    But why modify ("butcher", I might call it except Mr White does a nice job) an old and honorable lens? I suggest just buying an AI lens that is actually contemporary with the F4. It won't cost too much for the standard ~50mm lens. For example, KEH has them for around $100
     
  11. But why modify ("butcher", I might call it except Mr White does a nice job) an old and honorable lens?​
    To allow that "old and honorable lens" to continue to do what it was made to do - capture great images. The lens will continue to work on the old cameras; Mr. White leaves the rabbit ear prongs on the lens. But now it will work as intended on new cameras like my F100 (if you can call it new), and digital bodies like my D750.
    If the lens were a collector's item, I can see your point of leaving it pristine. But the 50mm f/1.4, and my 105mm f/2.5 and my 24mm f/2.8 were made by the tens of thousands. They were made to be working lenses, and thanks to Mr. White, remain working lenses.
    Why spend a $100 you don't have to spend (well, probably about and extra $60 after paying for the conversion and shipping)?
    Oh, well, just my $0.02.
     
  12. The F3 can get a good exposure from an uncoupled lens in A mode without holding any buttons because it meters "on the fly" during exposure, and since the lens stops down before the shutter opens, the meter sees it stopped down. I can't recall whether I ever tried that on the F4, but none of the instructions I've seen suggest that it would work the same.​
    That is not true! The F3 never changes the shutter speed on the fly. The actual shutter speed is the one it displays in the viewfinder. The F3 hold the meter reading before the mirror up. This unlike 2 other cameras directly compete with it (the Pentax LX and the Olympus OM4). And this the reason I like the F3 better than the competition.
     
  13. Well, I must have misremembered or been misinformed, or mis somethingorothered, because I double checked both an F3 and and F4 and BeBu Lamar is quite right and I am quite wrong. It's pretty clear with a quick test that neither corrects the meter after the shutter opens. I should have double checked before posting.
     
  14. (On the F3, in "A" mode, the speed you see on the display could not be the exact one... there are intermediate speeds that are not shown. You can e.g. actually shoot at 1/50" and the camera could show 1/60" on display).
     
  15. Jose, I think it's possible that I (and perhaps some source I mistakenly believed) thought that the slight difference in operating shutter speed from what was displayed was a fine adjustment occurring when it wasn't.

    I do recall seeing something suggesting that - that the reading was a ball park that is fine tuned in the shooting - and though it's clearly false, it's easier to blame somebody else for it anyway! So that''s my story and I'm sticking to it.
     

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