Buying a Nikon F5: Any Advice?

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by PhotoJim, Jan 5, 2007.

  1. PhotoJim

    PhotoJim Member

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    After selling some surplus equipment on good old eBay, I am soon going to have a little surplus of money. Most is going toward our European holiday in September, but I am diverting (with permission :smile: ) enough to treat myself to a nice used Nikon F5 body.

    I've shot 35mm for about 25 years and it's still my favourite format. I bought a new F100 about four years ago and it's become my favourite body, unquestionably. I've always wanted to own a very high-end body and the low prices now present an opportunity to indulge my wants but also make my system more usable. (The F100 has a user interface that is almost identical to my F100; my current #2 body, the F90x, is much different to use and is also much slower on AF and motor drive speed.) In essence, I suppose I'll be making the F100 the #2 body, although in some situations where weight is an issue I will be using it in preference.

    KEH has a non-US EX-rated body for around $400 US, and US bodies with similar ratings for about $450. I live in Canada so Nikon USA's anal policies about grey market gear are a non-issue to me. From all I've heard, KEH's EX-graded gear is awfully nice; I've not been disappointed with BGN-graded stuff I've bought. My logic here is that an EX body was probably owned by an amateur and not used and abused.

    Any advice, suggestions...? Are there any accessories I should seriously consider? (The NiMH batteries to get the higher advance rate are cheap, but the chargers are ridiculous - can one use one of those intelligent battery chargers to charge Nikon's batteries?) I should also get an E focusing screen for it at some point.

    Incidentally, don't worry about the size and weight - I really do know it's a big camera. I take my pair of FE bodies and some prime lenses when I want to travel light. This stuff is so cheap now that one can have the precise tool for the job without sacrificing too much of the budget.

    Thanks!
     
  2. copake_ham

    copake_ham Inactive

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    Sounds like you've analyzed the situation well. Go for it - you will enjoy the F5 - espescially when used in conjunction with your F-100.
     
  3. pentaxuser

    pentaxuser Subscriber

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    At these prices KEH should consider an advert in the UK and direct dealing with U.K. customers. I can't think of any good reliable secondhand stockist in the U.K. selling a F5 for the equivalent of about £210 or even within about £150 of it. This is bargain basement stuff even allowing for carriage costs from the U.S.

    I recently had the opportunity to handle a F100 and F5 in a local secondhand shop. If you attach the F100's grip to it to make it a fair comparison, I didn't think that the F5 felt appreciably bulkier.

    pentaxuser
     
  4. PhotoJim

    PhotoJim Member

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    KEH will ship to the UK. You'll have to pay VAT on the purchase, but it sounds like that might still be worth considering.

    Even though I'm in Canada, I get my colour negative and slide film from New York because the price is better than I can get locally. Black and white film is surprisingly competitive in price here, though, which puzzles me (and pleases me).
     
  5. bjorke

    bjorke Member

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  6. PeterB

    PeterB Subscriber

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    Hi Jim,
    have you read this review ? Be sure to checkout the "drawbacks" section.
    see also Nikon Forum: Nikon F5 batteries and Nikon Forum: Nikon F5: Rechargeable Batteries. for using other brand chargers. The Nikon NiMH battery pack uses 9 cells in it in order to get a decent voltage out (nominally 12V which is either 8x1.5V alkaline cells, or 9x1.35V NiMH cells). The best way to charge NiMH cells is to do so individually rather than all in series, I'd be surprised if the dedicated Nikon charger doesn't do that somehow. Actually if it did, the interface would require 10 wires to charge the Nikon 9 cell NiMH pack.

    regards
    Peter
     
  7. snegron

    snegron Member

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    I just purchased a Nikon F3 in EX condition from KEH last week, paid $286.00 plus shipping. I am happy with it. It looks very clean, almost new actually. I have purchased many things from KEH, including new cameras and used DSLR's. When it comes to film equipment their rating system is very accurate. As for digital stuff it is a bit of a toss up. They have a good return policy and surprisingly helpful customer service people as well. If you buy the F5 and don't like it for some reason, send it back to them. Because of their customer service, hassle-free return policy, and accurate equipment rating I only buy used stuff from them. I don't buy anything from ebay, too risky compared to KEH.
     
  8. Matt5791

    Matt5791 Subscriber

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    I bought an F5 about 6 months ago and predominantly use it for weddings - rally love it, even though I was always a diehard manual camera fan.

    I suppose the only thing is to make sure you only buy a mint one - pointless buying anything less with the current prices.
     
  9. Blighty

    Blighty Subscriber

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    The F5 is a fantastic camera but, as with the F4 before it, can be a tad heavy on batteries. So much so that I sent it to Nikon UK and asked them to check it over. Everything checked out fine. I couldn't afford Nikon's own dedicated rechargable battery set, so I stuck with alkalines or the occasional set of lithiums. For gawds sake don't use Duracells, they're utter bollocks.
     
  10. copake_ham

    copake_ham Inactive

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    Odd, I get very good life out of Duracells - although I do buy the "digital" version (bit of blue paint on the positive end of the sleeve) which is supposed to have "nicad like" life cycle (i.e. steady current until just before they die).
     
  11. Blighty

    Blighty Subscriber

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    Maybe I'm being a little unkind to Duracells. It's been some time since I used them, perhaps they improved.
     
  12. copake_ham

    copake_ham Inactive

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    Hard to say. There also could be a difference in the quality of the brand as sold in UK?

    Also, I do favor those "digital" ones over the "Ultras" as they do seem to have the longer-life that Duracell touts as an "improved" feature.

    What I'm curious about - has anyone here had any experience with that expensive rechargeable pack Nikon makes for the F5?
     
  13. PhotoJim

    PhotoJim Member

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    Thanks, all. I have an EX-rated F5 body in a box on a FedEx plane on its way from Atlanta. It should be here sometime tomorrow. KEH-grade EX is close enough to mint for me. My F3HP was BGN and it's really quite nice.
     
  14. MartinB

    MartinB Member

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    Jim,

    I have an F5 I bought from auction 5 yrs ago. It was "well" used and had significant wear (black anodizing rubbed off on all corners, dings in the metal, etc) but it has never had a problem! It is one tough camera - I stuff it in my unpadded backpack skiing at Lake Louise all the time. I don't think you will have any issues with yours working. The rubber covering on mine is coming off but I don't worry about it.
    Mine had the AA battery tray - I though about getting the expensive Nikon rechargeable but get good life out of AA NiMH batteries (Costco Calgary has a great Sanyo charger/batteries set) so never bought Nikon's. I found instructions for adding a 9th batteryto the AA tray (there is just room to stuff another battery and some wires to add it in series to the existing 8 in the tray ) that will boost it to full voltage. I jury rigged it and it worked but I was OK with performance of 8 NiMH batteries so did not make it permanent. The 8 NiMH work fine even when out all day in -30 C weather so should be OK in Regina!
    I find the autofocus is great - it tracks World Cup downhill skiers at 120 kph - and the matrix metering rarely misses even with transparencies. Best metering in any camera I have owned. Also works well with manual focus lenses (centerweighted only) and provides focus confirmation with manual lens.
    Handles well too although I think that is mostly personal preference.
    Hope you enjoy the one you ordered!

    Martin
     
  15. PhotoJim

    PhotoJim Member

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    My F5 arrived last night. KEH EX-graded. It's really in excellent condition. I see little evidence of usage, other than some marks from a tripod on the bottom. I'm very happy.

    Unfortunately the 135mm lens I got with it has a bad diaphragm, but that's ok. It was only forty bucks and was really just a tag-along part of the purchase. :smile:

    I think I'll really enjoy the F5. The user interface is more different from the F100 than I expected, but it's still pretty similar. I think those two cameras will go together exceptionally well.

    I may end up using my F100 without the vertical grip a lot more, since I imagine I'll use the F5 when I want to use a camera with a full vertical grip.