Help with a Nikon F5

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by Ha Eretz, Jul 29, 2013.

  1. Ha Eretz

    Ha Eretz Member

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    After a couple of years using Digital I have decided to go back to 35mm. My camera of choice is a Nikon F5, I would greatly appreciate your views on this camera, are there any cameras better than the Nikon F5. I thank you in advance for your help. Stuart (Ha Eretz).
     
  2. benjiboy

    benjiboy Subscriber

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    Don't worry the Nikon F5 is a better camera than 95+ percent of the people who use them are photographers.
     
  3. Marvin

    Marvin Member

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    I have an F5 and like it very much. This was the camera that the working photographers used daily. The color Matrix metering and autofocus were the best at the time.
     
  4. PtJudeRI

    PtJudeRI Member

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    I have had mine for a few years now, and it replaced my N80. Its an amazing camera. I personally like the weight, but some complain its heavy. Focus is great (try it with a 50mm 1.8 and hold on!), but the sensors in the viewfinder are black, which is not the best for low light. Other than that, you can customize everything, and I love the removable prism (low angles, incognito shooting) and focus screens. The meter is dead on ( some people tune it down 1/3 stop for slide film, I just fire away) and I trust it to meter for other cameras that dont have a meter. I dont think the battery life is as bad as some people say, although Im in the habit of switching off my camera instead of leaving it on, so YMMV on that one. In short, you wont regret the purchase.
     
  5. TheToadMen

    TheToadMen Subscriber

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    The Nikon F5 is wonderful camera. I love its size and weight, but for some folks it is too much. An other good camera is a Nikon F4s. Both are fine, it's a matter of personal taste and feel. Either will get the job done!
    If you have used a digital camera like a Nikon D1X you won't mind using a F5.
     
  6. Aja B

    Aja B Member

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    If possible spend some time with an F5 (and your lens of choice) dangling from your neck or hand. It's large and heavy. Consider your subject matter. Do you need (want?) the majority of the F5's features and functions? If so, an F6 is more compact since it has a detachable vertical grip. I bet an F100 would suit your needs quite well...an excellent camera for a very modest price...and my preferred AF body.
     
  7. markbarendt

    markbarendt Subscriber

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    Different? Sure.

    Better than the F5? No.
     
  8. mweintraub

    mweintraub Member

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    What digital do you have?

    I sold my F100 when I got the F5. I don't use it a lot as I don't shoot 35mm as much as MF. But I love picking up the F5. It's a bit heavy, but it's balanced very well. The screw focus is fast!

    Few things I wish were different / better:
    No sub-command dial on vertical grip
    AF focus points elumination (as mentioned above) are hard to see. (plus I'm spoiled to 51 points, I guess)

    Edit/Add: What's better? Probably the F6. For the price (compared to the F5), the F5 is amazing. The F6 has iTTL control and wireless CLS when using an external commander... but is the $2000+ price difference worth it? Not for me. :smile: I know if I would get the F6, I'd want the grip. At that point it's much bigger than the F5.
     
  9. Chan Tran

    Chan Tran Member

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    I bought my F5 new in 2002 when I got back to photography after many years absent. It is a great camera. I don't mind its weight as I like heavy cameras. The controls are pretty much the same as Nikon digitals and it was the first Nikon to have an uniform controls. Before the F5 and after the F3, that period of time Nikon was not sure where to put the controls so they are not uniform. It's actually a great camera for manual exposure and manual focusing as well. The focusing screen is very usable for manual focusing.
    The down side of the F5? Actually for me the F5 failed me on 2 areas where it has the most praised among users. First of all the color matrix meter while works very well for color tranparency as well as for digital (if you were to use the F5 reading and set it on a digital camera) but it works very poorly for both color negative and B&W film. The reason is that I found it tends to do a good job to what many nowaday called expose to the right. It watched out for highlight and tend to place the highlight where it won't burn out on slide film. That approach is ok for slide but not for negative where the shadow is generally most important. Negative film has enough latitude toward overexposure to cover the highlight but insufficient exposure in the shadow they look ugly. Since I shoot mostly color neg I now no longer use the matrix meter. The second thing is that while the F5 is great for fill in flash it does it very poorly if the flash is the main light. It tends to underexpose about 2/3 to 1 stops.
     
  10. TheToadMen

    TheToadMen Subscriber

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    I can't speak out of personal experience in this matter, but this argument is sometimes mentioned in favor of the Nikon F4s metering system. Anyone out there who can make the (unbiased) comparing argument for these two cameras?
    (Stuart: if this is off topic, just say so and we'll shut up ...)
     
  11. mablo

    mablo Member

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    I agree with Chan Tran. With B&W and color negative film just use center weighted metering instead of matrix and you're always spot on. The same trick works for F100 as well.
     
  12. Ricardo Miranda

    Ricardo Miranda Member

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    The F100 has a different meter, based on the F90X, with 10 segments (F90X=8 segments). In reality little difference with the F90X, but a bit different than the F5 colour meter, as was noted above.
     
  13. TheToadMen

    TheToadMen Subscriber

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    The F90x (N90s in USA) is also cheap nowadays. I recently bought mine for $25.
     
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  15. lightwisps

    lightwisps Subscriber

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    Experience with Nikon F5

    I have 2 of them. Fantastic cameras. A bit heavy but built like a tank. Had a strap let go bouncing one of mine off the ice on a paved road. No damage at all to the camera. I was shocked. I love the meter. It is hard to fool. Backlit flowers are a snap. My wife shoots them and they come out perfect. She has had no training and didn't even know what backlighting meant when she met me and gave it a whirl. Unbelievable shots. The controls are laid out much better than the F4 that I had. Easy to manual focus as well. I would give it the highest rating. Don
     
  16. Wolfeye

    Wolfeye Subscriber

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    I had an F5 briefly, bought used from Adorama. The darn thing wouldn't auto-focus to infinity so I sent it back and now have an F6 instead. I do not know if infinity focus is an issue with the F5 but it is something I'd check on any potential body purchase.
     
  17. chuck94022

    chuck94022 Subscriber

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    Obviously an issue with that particular body. If the venerable F5 had an issue with infinity focus in general it would not have become such a popular camera.

    (Mine has certainly never had a problem auto-focusing at infinity.)
     
  18. Chan Tran

    Chan Tran Member

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    Mine won't auto focus if I point it at a blank sky. I don't think it's a defect.
     
  19. Oxleyroad

    Oxleyroad Subscriber

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    +1 Chan. But It has not proven to be an issue.
     
  20. mweintraub

    mweintraub Member

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    Mine won't auto focus when I have the lens cap on too. :smile:
     
  21. pentaxuser

    pentaxuser Subscriber

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    Nor presumably will a F6 either? Don't all autofocus cameras rely on contrast and texture to focus otherwise they "hunt" back and forth.

    pentaxuser
     
  22. John_Nikon_F

    John_Nikon_F Subscriber

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    Want your F5 to be lighter? Shoot with lithium AA's. Yeah, they aren't cheap, but they definitely make the camera lighter. Infinity focus has never been an issue for me on the F5's I've owned. It's possible my current one might have that issue, but can't really test at this time, since I'm missing a couple pieces. Namely the battery clip and the back.

    -J
     
  23. drkhalsa

    drkhalsa Member

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    The size of the center weighted metering area can be set to several different choices in the Custom Settings menu of the F5.

    Do you have a preference of setting size? I think 12mm is the default.
     
  24. Chan Tran

    Chan Tran Member

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    TTL autofocus system the kind used in SLR do need subject with contrast to focus. There are other system that don't need contrast at all like the sonar system used by polaroid and the active IR system used in some small P&S camera. Both of these however can't focus on distance subject.
    My post meant to ask the poster who said his F5 won't AF on infinity I am wondering what kind of subject he aim the camera at.
     
  25. Chan Tran

    Chan Tran Member

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    When I carry gear around weight isn't a problem but size is more of a problem.
     
  26. Chan Tran

    Chan Tran Member

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    I would prefer the 12mm like other Nikon CW system. Come to think of it you can set the spot to be the entire frame thus making it a true averaging metering system.