Which AF lens is best for the Nikon F4?

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by brydie_mack, May 24, 2014.

  1. Hi all,
    I recently purchased a Nikon F4 & have been shooting with 2 manual focus lenses: 28mm f2.8 & 85mm 2.0. I want to buy an AF lens, as I tend to shoot a lot of movement, and as you can imagine, I miss a lot of shots using MF. I've been scarred from my experience using the Contax G2 for a test shoot & the AF was useless. Not one photo was in focus. Although, I understand the G2 takes a little practise to get used to. So you see why I'm hesitant to make the switch to AF & let go of a little control.
    After doing some research online, it looks like the best all-rounder/sharp lens for portraiture is the Nikkor 24-120mm f4 (open to other suggestions). However, the 90% compatibility with the Nikon F4 means that I could only shoot in shutter priority, as there's no way to set the aperture on the lens. My question to you is, do you think it's worth sacrificing manual mode for this lens? And is this lens THAT much sharper than the 85mm?
    Thanks in advance,
  2. So what if you get the 24-120mm f/4 AF-D? I think the built in motor in the AF-S wouldn't make it faster on the F4 as the F4 has fast enough motor for the AF just slow AF sensor.
  3. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    If you need auto focus, the F4 wouldn't be my choice. It is one of the first Nikon AF cameras and its AF capability is very poor in today's standards.
  4. I used the F4 with AF lenses for a little while. I thought AF worked better with AF-S lenses than with screw drive lenses. I used the F4 AF more or less as an automated rangefinder, using single servo focus with focus and recompose technique.
    The new version 24-120 AFS constant f/4 should work OK on the F/4. Not sure if the VR feature would work, though. Others, chime in here.
    For sticking with film, I think you would find that an F100 body might work out a little better for not a lot of money these days, all things considered.
  5. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    None of the Nikon SLRs with only one AF point is compatible with the VR feature. For VR to work, the earliest body would be the F5 with 5 AF points.
    Since the F4 has no sub-command dial, if you put any G lens on the F4, there is no way to directly control the aperture. That would be the case for both the 24-120mm/f4 AF-S VR and the 200mm/f4 AF-S VR suggested above, although I assume Ellis a bit of tongue in cheek.
    To me, the best way to use the F4 is as a manual-focus camera.
  6. To me, the best way to use the F4 is as a manual-focus camera.​
    That's the reason I don't own and F4 as it's best as a manual focus camera yet I see no advantage over the F3 so I use the F3 instead.
  7. Shun, thanks for the reminder about the G lenses not having an aperture control ring. At least shutter priority autoexposure could be used.
    I was thinking that I used the 24-85 AFS G first version on an F4 camera, but maybe I used it on my F100 instead.
    Looking at Nikon USA website, there are not many AFS lenses in production with an aperture control ring any more.
  8. The Nikon 28-105mm AF-D is a good all-around lens, and reasonably fast for its range of focal lengths; also has a fairly useful 1:2 macro mode. KEH doesn't show any in stock right now, but a quick look at eBay has them running for less than $150.
    Though not big on range, the 28-70mm f/3.5-4.5 (there are AF and AF-D versions) is a nice little lens that focuses close. KEH's price in EX condition is $53 as I write this.
  9. The classic lens would be a 35-70/f2.8AF, push-pull professional lens.

    Rockin' it old-school :)

    I also second the 28-70/f3.5-4.5D-AF, great little lens.
  10. Wow, I shoot on the street with a Contax G2 and don't have a problem at all with its autofocus. Are you sure it wasn't broken, or? G2 is quite fast.
  11. Thanks for all your help guys, I've settled on the Nikon 28-70mm f/2.8 AF-S as it's got an aperture ring & I'll just use it on MF, if not satisfied with the AF speed. Thanks again.
  12. I bought an F4s in 2003 and have to say that I don't think the AF is that bad. When I used to own the original 80-400 VR, I thought the F4s did better with it than my F100.
    I'll admit I never tried to shoot sports or birds with an F4s, but for most subjects it works well for me if I give it something with enough contrast.
  13. Agree. I have never found the A/F on the F4 to be as bad as people say. I had an F5 before an F4 & yes, the F5 is faster, but I have never found the F4 A/F overly slow or to hunt a lot.
    Another vote for the for the Nikkor 28-105 AFD. Have been very happy with mine.
  14. "Which AF lens is best for the Nikon F4?"​
    I prefer to use manual focus prime lenses on my Nikon F4 for portraiture. However, there are two auto focus lenses that I use when I need auto focus.
    Nikkor 35-70mm Zoom f2.8 AF
    Nikkor 80-200mm f2.8 D AF-S
  15. When I had an F4 I used a 35-70 f2.8 and several fast prime auto focus lenses such as the 35 f2, 50 f1.4 and 85 f1.8 and af seemed fast. The only exception was the original 80-200 f2.8 push-pull lens which was very slow. It was also slow with the N90s that I had at that time. So IMO, af speed depends on the lens used.
  16. I have found my F4 to work very well with all my auto focus Nikon lenses, to include, 20mm AFD, 35mm AFD, 50mm F1.8 AFD, 80-200mm AFD, and even my 24-70mm AFS G (which I have used successfully on overcast days - at F2.8). I use it with manual Nikon lenses as well in order to take advantage of it's very outstanding matrix metering. It's an exceptional camera.
  17. Just popped my 28-70/2.8 AFS on an F4S. The combo seemed to have very good AF operation, though I did not run and develop film to check!
    I never really liked the grating sound of some of the screw drive AF lenses on that body, and the associated hunting, but the 28-70 seemed very pleasant on the F4, with only a hint of hunting in extreme situations. Most of the time it locked on to the target without issue, though the modern bodies are a little quicker.

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